Join Prism Book Alliance® as Brandon Witt goes Outside the Margins today.
(Disclaimer: I’m running late with this submission, and the proofreading didn’t happen. Consider my atrocious spelling a gift of transparency for which you never asked.)
Today, I am writing from a coffee shop in Seattle, the city that is tied as my favorite in the country. I made a quick trip on a buddy pass and am staying in a hotel that might catch fire as I sleep. Luckily, there is no wifi, so I won’t be able to capture my flaming death live on Facebook. Sorry. I used to dream of writing everyday at a coffee shop. What was wrong with me? Even if I could afford that old addiction, my house has not one loud talker in it. Not a one. Every coffee shop has at least one. And I’ve become a cantankerous old man before my time, a loud talker does not make a conducive book writing environment. She’s right across from me at the moment, not that it would matter. You can hear her from a block away. People, please teach your children about inside voices. Loud talkers are the only plausible exclusive for physical violence.
There. That’s out of the way.
On a positive note. Seattle. Dear lord. Beautiful and some of the best food in the country.
For today’s blog, I’m going to beat a horse that has been long dead and beaten so much you’d think the poor thing was a loud talker (sorry, guess I wasn’t quite done). I’ve tried to talk myself out of this blog for the past couple of weeks, and I haven’t succeeded, but at least the two weeks have hopefully lessened my venom.
Our MM community is phenomenal. Truly. I’ve never been so heartily embraced by a group of beautiful people. However, we’ve been a bit ugly as of late. And I know this is nothing new probably, I’m just getting my eyes open to it a bit more and more, and it’s hard to see. I’ve even seen some people leave our community the past couple of weeks (or at least claim that they will) because of their disillusionment over our actions. I find that a little dramatic. And, that says something coming from me. I might occasionally give in to flights of drama. On the other hand, maybe those individuals haven’t had their own rose colored glasses shattered by religion and its followers. Luckily, I have. Therefore, I know, that we are people. Whether we are in church, on a school board, in an office, or part of a gay romance book community. People are people. We have to deal with it. Pretty parts and ugly.
Obviously, I’m referring to the shit show that occurred over Josh Lanyon being a woman. It reminded me of the attacks on Max so many months ago, though for different reasons.
Now, to put it out there, I didn’t have any investment in Josh one-way or the other. I’ve read one of his books and I greatly enjoyed it. I’ve never spoken with him. I get that people have had interactions that I’m not aware of. I get that people are entitled to have any feeling they chose, positive or negative. In a community, we don’t all have to get along or like each other. However, in my short time in this world, this is the third author I’ve seen where I feel like I’m watching vultures morph into sharks and loose control in a zombie like feeding frenzy. (Yeah, I know that makes no true sense. I blame the loud talker.)
I guess, on a personal note, because I’m a self-centered man, it’s all about me, I’m learning from all of this that I’m not safe. No safer than I was in a church. I had to hide who I was there in order to be accepted. Which is one of the main reasons (not the only, surprisingly) why I left. The same appears to be true in our MM community. Strangely, I find this even more threatening. I cannot use my hard earned shell of ‘I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks, this is me.’ This, after all is my life-long dream, my sought after career and passion. Therefore, to a very huge degree, I have to play the game. And part of that is okay. It is a business, therefore game play is expected. Fine. As much of a hermit as I’ve become, I don’t actually think I can be successful without interacting with people and playing the game, putting on my ‘church’ face. You’re an idiot if you don’t play the game and expect to succeed.
That said, there is a difference between having to play the game and having your throat ripped out while others cheer. To see threats and cries of boycotting an author’s books? Seriously?
That’s gross. And it makes me ashamed of us.
I’m not even touching how people on both sides have treated each other through this.
It’s one thing to do that on your own. (I’m a big boycotter. There is another MM author that I refuse to by their books. I’m sure they’re wonderful. But I’ll never buy one. Ever. However, the only person I’ve told that to is my boyfriend. I want them to have a wonderful career, hell, they are having a wonderful career. And that’s wonderful! Success breed success. I just don’t want to be part of it for that particular writer.) It’s another to raise up a war cry and get others to do the same, to join in ripping apart a person’s career and integrity. Especially in our small community. This is a person’s life we’re talking about (peoples’ lives, since I’ve seen this a few times now).
I have to acknowledge that it’s my life. All about me, remember? At some point, even if I play the game, I will make a misstep. A big one. I promise you that. Because I’m a human, just like you. Just as beautiful and just as fucked up and ugly (I’m a writer, so probably even more fucked up and ugly than you). It terrifies me to realize I am not safe here. Not like I was. Or thought I was.
Honestly, I’m not any different than those that have attacked a few members of our community. Just his week, comments that Matt Damon made about gay actors had me ready to call for a boycott of him. Then I saw Ellen take up for him and let him speak. Do I know where he really stands? Nope. I don’t. However, it’s easy to not see him as a human. He’s a celebrity. He’s not one of us. Although he really is. He’s allowed to say what he thinks, even if its wrong, offensive, or different than what I want. He’s also just as likely to be misunderstood or misrepresented as we are. It’s strange that our little community is no different. He went viral within moments the entire world over. None of us are celebrities, but yet our attacks go viral within our ‘family.’ It’s painful.
No, this isn’t me wanting out of our community. I don’t. I love it. And I’m beyond thankful for it. And, if this blog post is the misstep that leads you cut me off, please close your eyes and pretend you didn’t read it. Or shoot me a message with your address and I’ll mail you cookies to buy back your affection. How’s that for playing the game? This blog post is nothing more than a chance to vent my own disappointment in us, and to express my fear and sense of loss having further proof that I am not as safe as I’d like to believe.
And maybe that’s point. If I’m not safe, neither are you. And that’s sad. I’d like us to be safe with each other.
And safe or not, inside voices, people! 🙂
About Brandon Witt
Brandon Witt resides in Denver, Colorado. When not snuggled on the couch with his two Corgis, Dunkyn and Dolan, he is more than likely in front of his computer, nose inches from the screen, fingers pounding they keys. When he manages to tear himself away from his writing addiction, he passionately takes on the role of a special education teacher during the daylight hours.
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,
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