Oh, the shivers this man brings me. (And not in a shirtless, yummy Hugh Jackman way.) No, this particular member of my online writer’s group routinely feels the need to tout his publishing success, (translation: one article in The New Yorker circa 1986) as the benchmark we, the mere mortals of cyber-lit world can only hope to one day attain. For now, let’s refer to him as Tolstoy; pretty much sums up the ego.
Writers are like ice cream; flavorful, varied and the majority - full of nuts. As a proud member of the macadamia enhanced, I regard my critique partners as manna from Heaven, each more talented than the next - with one disturbing exception.
Tolstoy claims to be a tenured English professor; although for all we know he could be Inmate #432 at Rikers Island. Profession aside, his condescending attitude defeats the group’s mission: offering insightful feedback and constructive criticism to aspiring writers in an encouraging environment. (We share snack ideas, too. Tolstoy hates that! And Writegirl221 – I made the Heath Bar Brownies – can I get an Amen! Thx!)
For instance, I started today’s post with a simile. Tolstoy would gag in admonishment at the obviously pedestrian lead approach. Gag away big guy; it’s the first week of school, you’re lucky I remember punctuation. (Sometimes I just want to grab his goofy ascot and twist, HARD. OK – no idea if he wears an ascot, but that’s how I picture him.)
Bottom line, if your support system offers more hurt than help – writer or real world – make a change. And if one bad apple spoils the pie – time to vote him or her off the island! Oh, and no worries, Tolstoy won’t read this. “Blogs are an outlet for undereducated, narcissistic type personalities craving attention.” (Admit it – you hate him now, too?!)