A Matter of Grace ~ Brandon Witt: Outside the Margins

Join us as Brandon Witt goes Outside the Margins.

Brandon Witt Outside the Margins

One day, I’ll write something happy again, I promise. Of course, if you’ve read much of my writing, you’re probably asking yourself, “Did he write something happy already and I missed it?”

Good question.

I’ve debated about writing this blog post for nearly a month now. Which is rare for me; I tend to simply say what I think whenever I want. I spent nearly twenty-five years being told what to do, who to be, what to think and believe, blah, blah, blah. I’ve sworn I would never do it again. And I haven’t. Until now, possibly.

Being a writer and struggling to make it full time, which I’ve not even come close to, has added a pressure I never foresaw. My thoughts, opinions, statements, everything about me, whether it is the core of who I am or a simple misjudgment or badly timed statement could ruin my career, my dream, before it even truly starts. That’s a little bit of terrifying, honestly.

Let me switch tracks for a moment and then I’ll tie it all back together. Or at least try.

Growing up in church, I’ve seen a lot. Enough that I left the church. They are supposed to be, at the very, very least, loving to each other. By the time I was old enough to understand nuance, I began to realize how rarely that truly happened.

I also grew up Republican, and though I am now a registered Democrat, I still relate more the Republican standards that they spout: Personal freedom, less government control and input, etc. I believe in those! However, the Republican party only believes in that for those that agree with them, negating the truth of their message. Democrats are no better.

Having worked in social work and teaching special education students for fifteen years, I’ve also come to see how it all boils down, ultimately, to politics and a dollar bill. It’s painful to be involved in.

I finally started going back to church. A gay church. Amazing. Then, a few months ago, it became church, like everywhere else. A few people in the congregation got it in their heads to get the pastor out and they were vicious in their quest. And they succeeded. They neither acted like Christians nor supportive gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

Since coming into the MM world, I’ve experienced nothing but people being unbelievably accepting, supportive, loving, and the kind of people I hoped all the groups I’ve just spoken about would be. A few warned me that the rose colored glasses would shatter eventually. I knew they would, too. We are human, we are all beautifully broken. Sometimes not so beautifully. At the beginning of November, there was a certain blog post by an author I’ve met once and never had a conversation with. No reason we hadn’t, our paths simply hadn’t crossed. I say that in an effort to ‘prove’ I’m not out to protect a friend. I have those in the MM community that have become very close, dependable friends, and those people I would defend with everything me. In this instance, that is not the case. I observed the response to this blog in horror. It was like watching someone get knocked to the ground and then fallen upon with knives repeatedly. It felt like mob mentality.  Getting way too political here, I know. But it is like watching the news about Ferguson.   A bad, horrible situation made so much more horrendous by violence and destruction. It takes away from the message, from whatever original wrong was done. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. Everyone is entitled to disagree. Everyone is entitled to decide whether or not to support a person, artist, or product. That said, seeing such unkind, rather vicious, and personal attacks from a community that I love, to another member of our community, was hard to watch, and hard to stay silent through.

There may be a day when I express an opinion that is counter to our ‘family,’ state a belief or thought that may offend some of us or even hurt one of us. I hope not, but I am human too, so I’m willing to bet that day will come. Hell, maybe this blog is it. When it comes, I hope I am shown more love, compassion, and understanding than I’ve seen demonstrated in the situation I’m referring to (and even a couple different ones since). The fact that I was afraid to even speak up, to voice my opinion (which falls somewhere in the middle, honestly), due to the possibility of alienating readers and ending my career tells me that there’s a problem. Granted, I know I need to use wisdom in what I choose to say and do. There are consequences to everything, as there should be. However, we in this community have been shown so little grace and compassion by much of the world; some of us do not even receive from family. I love our community. I’m proud of the work we all do, from authors to artists to bloggers to readers. We are an amazing group. Strong. Creative. Passionate. Capable of more love than most, I believe. I hope we can remember to show each other grace, even when our words may offend others or we may even be wrong. We are still part of our ‘family.’ I pray I am shown grace, and I pray that I will show it as well.

Thank you for listening. I hope I haven’t alienated anyone, but it felt wrong to stay silent.

Love you all. Truly! Brandon

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~ Brandon Witt

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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8 thoughts on “A Matter of Grace ~ Brandon Witt: Outside the Margins

  1. Hey Brandon. I’m glad you didn’t remain silent. Just like you said, everyone has a right to express their opinion.

    Painting a broader brush, my guess is that we’re all still trying to work it out when it comes to communicating and the internet. So much of what gets put out there would have previously only been spoken aloud, never to be captured for all time, and certainly wouldn’t have resulted in instances of the mob mentality we sometimes see that just keep going and going. Yes, this has always happened out here in the real world, in person, but not to the extent it feels like happens now.
    Everything these days feels so permanent in that sense, in expressing ourselves, much more than it did before.

    Coming back to this community specifically, it’s such a sticky wicket: everyone has the right to say what they want, but we all also need to exercise restraint and common sense. That bravery that many feel when sitting behind a keyboard probably wouldn’t be there if the “discussion” were happening in person. As tempting as it may be to unload in online comments and discussions, we can all try to treat the activity as if it were happening in person and maybe lessen some of the intense negativity as a result.

    Along with restraint and common sense, forgiveness should be included. We all say stupid crap, say stuff that either we didn’t mean or gets taken the wrong way by someone. Instead of jumping right to the negative, taking a moment to turn it around, try to interpret it in a different way, would probably end some of the nastiness that seems to breed.

    Innyway, we’re all basically imperfect beings and we’re all going to step in it sometimes, and that’s what I try to keep in mind whenever things get tense and blow up. As much as anyone can watch what they say, no one can avoid the foot-in-mouth 100% of the time. We still haven’t figured out smell-o-vision or a way to convey tone and intent through words typed on the screen, so we’ll have to keep using our imperfect ways to be more perfect towards each other.

    Thank you for sharing this with all of us. We’re all a work in progress (would be kinda boring if that wasn’t the case) and talking about this kind of thing can only be helpful… it also makes me want to do a lot of hugging LOL 😀

    ~Andrea

  2. Writing is fun. Keep it that way! Isn’t that why you want to do this? Yes? Well stop stressing so much about offending people, geez! We are artists, entertainers. Originality is our only currency, Brandon. That, and a hard ass that can take at least three hours a day or being sat upon. (Hopefully more, but that’s a bit of a minimum.) Don’t care so much. Don’t care what your readers think, what other writers think. Be kind, sure, you’re always that already. But don’t let your creative juices dry out because you worry what someone might think. Who the fuck cares??? Write whatever you want, no matter how angsty/edgy/non-PC/smutty it might be. Write it so you are pleased and entertained in the process. Tell a good story. Because, you know, if you don’t feel comfortable putting your name on it at the end, you can always use a pen name 😉

  3. Hey, Brandon. I’m glad you wrote the post, but I totally understand where you’re coming from as a part of this community. I’m a reader. I come at this only knowing people through their books, then I start participating more in blog conversations and on twitter, and it’s a whole different world. I’m an outsider and don’t know who’s offended who in the past, or who pissed someone off in person or digitally, but I can sometimes feel it.

    We’re all probably more like a big high school than we like to think. I’m probably doing a lot of what I did then, sticking my head in a book or being the observer. I don’t like a lot of drama (or to hurt people’s feelings), so I do get worried about speaking up, and I don’t even have anything to lose. I think it’s just hard when some people are so intractable, and I just say it’s not even worth the fight, even though we’re adults and should be able to discuss things without it turning into a fight.

    Anyway, I think if you want to speak up, you should, and conversely, if you’d just rather stay out of it, you can do that, too. Please don’t feel like your career is on the line if you do. Even if you said something to piss someone off, you are not an unkind person. You’ve been in enough untenable situations to see when it’s time to step back and regroup. No matter how some people may appear, no one is the ruler of book land ready to expel you.

    On a personal note, I had a blog post in response to the one I think you are talking about it. It was all about the point of the post, and not about the deteriorating situation, but I just dropped it. Some people just won’t listen, and we have far too many more important issues to spend our time and energy on. One of the rules I try to live my life on is, do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy? Most of the time the answer is ‘happy,’ but once in awhile I still want to be right. 😉

  4. Brandon,

    There is the old saying that if your don’t stand up for what you believe in you believe in nothing. And there is a lot of truth to that. There is also truth to what Michael Jordan said when asked why he didn’t take political stands – even Republicans buy shoes.

    I don’t know if those two principles are reconcilable all the time. Sometimes you need to stand up and be who you are and shoe (book) buyers be damned. And let’s face it, there are going to be third rail areas you may strongly believe in that you’ll want to steer clear of lest you alienate folks.

    But there are also places – like this – where you want to stand up and say decor and manners and respectful disagreement are still appropriate even when we don’t all agree on something. If saying that gets you in hot water, I guess I’ll be joining you in the hot tub. This was well said.

    -AQG

  5. Great blog post, Brandon.

    What a terrible thing to have happen to your pastor. I know church is important to you and I’m glad that you found one that you felt was a good fit. It’s horrifying what “Christians” will do to others in the name of God…it makes my heart hurt. The God I grew up learning about, believing in and loving doesn’t want it that way. I hope they get their act together and everyone can feel safe, comfortable and welcome worshipping there.

    On the other part of your blog post…the only thing I can say to that is often times the internet is wonderful, but sometimes not. It’s not always clear whether the writer is being serious or trying to be funny. And yes, I agree that when one feels offended or wronged it’s hard to show grace. We are human, and we are flawed, and no that’s not an excuse to act badly.

    I’m glad you posted this and got your feelings out. I hope you never go back to the place where you feel the need to be silent.

    Sandy

  6. I’m fairly certain I know what you’re referring to, and I was horrified at how that evolved. Sort of reminded me of the Dixie Chicks thing from years ago. Hopefully this author had enough support to put this behind him and move forward.

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