From time to time I receive emails with subject lines like, "Have you seen this?" Sometimes it’s from a close friend, other times a regular reader. They’ve stumbled across another blog and wonder if I’ve seen it. This happened to me today: a "can people be more delusional?" email found its way to my inbox. And my answer to their query was a definite, "no." People cannot be more delusional than those who assume so much about my life. This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve learned through the years of having a blog that there are people out there with far too much time on their hands, smart people, but really, misguided. I once wrote a post about museum and zoo dates, mentioning that I wouldn’t like a first date at the zoo because it would be over before it started if my date wanted to spend his time watching the reptiles instead of the monkeys. A deluded reader believed there was secretive code in my post and insisted, I swear to God, that he’d seen a snake in his office and was certain I planted it there. So for the record, when people comment, and when I choose to post their comments, I do NOT alter them in any way, unless they’ve planted an irrelevant url (and then I simply remove it). I do not go to any length to create a public persona, painting details as I image the collective "you" will receive them. I get praised on this blog. I get bashed on this blog. People read way too into my spats with husband (this has always been the case), and play very well-intentioned armchair therapists, and I allow it, read it, and sometimes listen. I’m not perfect, but I am truthful. And I would never bother to create false comments in the comment section. Not only do I not have the time nor inclination, but why? Believe me, there’s enough controversy surrounding everything I end up writing. And I’m fine with that. See, people want to analyze my life because I put it out there, but I’m not the one asking you to. I’m just sharing… "stories of my life" just as the tagline reads.
I also receive quite a few emails asking how I’m able to handle the nasty comments. They’re just beginning to receive them and want some advice. I usually jump right into "why do you let the comment bother you?" logic, asking if they worry there’s truth in what the reader is saying. Then into the "Dude, they’re clearly the one with the issues" speak. "Yeah, but the good outnumber the bad, right?" and ultimately, "If they’re lashing out anonymously, they’re just bored. Fucked up and bored." And sometimes, they’re just very mean people with very little lives. And these things are true, but really, at the end of the day, it’s just a blog. Say it with me. Just a blog. A two-dimensional account where strangers are entertained and feel they can find a voice. Strangers, who in most cases, don’t know you, just want to provoke you. So let them. Don’t let them. It doesn’t matter. Respond to the trolls, don’t respond. Whatever. Just remember you can shut your laptop and walk away knowing you can’t possibly write accurately and in enough detail for the public to get it exactly right. They don’t know what you’re like, your mannerisms, the way you tell a story at a bar, and they certainly don’t know the other side of the stories you tell. Long story long, they don’t know your life, just the bits you put out there, which makes it IMPOSSIBLE for them to get it right. And as a writer, you need to keep that in mind, close to you, so you don’t stop telling your stories, the way you want to tell them.