What the actual fuck, people? Authors, readers, people with common sense… I am calling on you.
Seriously… I am scrolling through my feed, taking a word count break, and I run into this…
A book cover artist and member of our small realm has attempted to take her own life by swallowing a crap ton of pills after being accused of being a book cover thief. From what I am given to understand, about 80 authors and readers, 80 people urged her to kill herself, calling her a cunt and other degrading names and once again because I can’t get the disgust out of my mind, urged her to kill herself.
Bullying is not something that ends in school nor is it solely in the spectrum of kids who don’t know better. (Bullshit excuse if you ask me…) Bullying can happen to anyone, no matter your age or profession. And as I see it, 80 people were complicit in her suicide attempt. 80 fucking adults who should have known better.
Did she steal bookcovers? Don’t know and don’t care. Whatever was or was not done does not warrant a death sentence. From what I understand, some authors joined in on this. Authors!
I don’t know about anyone else, but as an author, I research a lot of issues and people. I try to understand the POV’s of others and I feel that research has taught me a lot about other people and cultures. It has helped me widen my view of the world and matured me. I foolishly thought that this applied to all authors that I know, barring a few who were too willfully ignorant to learn.
Sadly, these past few years, these past few weeks, have proved to me that the ignorance is more wide spread than I thought. From racists doctrines and utterings in the RWA to the whole shit storm that fell down on Riptide, some of my fellow authors and editors have shined the spotlight on the underbelly of my profession and it is a seething writhing cesspool that I missed with my Pollyanna attitude.
Writers are people, I grant you that, but I assumed writers were people who leaned, grew, and knew better. Because of the standards I hold myself to, I foolishly thought that all authors did the same. Grant you, most of the authors I know, that I associate with and call friends and family do. I guess that is why I was so blind to what was going on in our world and added to my assumptions that most authors thought like me. I never before realized I was so blind.
The brick of reality is a painful thing.
We have to do better. A young woman clinging to her life and her sanity proves that we have to do better. She will never be the same even if she recovers. How will she ever trust again?
Resist bullying. Don’t jump on the fucking bandwagon when someone is tearing some else down. Your opinions are not worth a life. Don’t aid and abet. Call out bullying when and where you see it. Stop it before it gets bad. Nip that shit in the bud. If someone you know is engaging in this behavior, call them out on it. Let them face the consequences be it loosing their friendship or readership, or reputation… None of that is worth a life.
People, we have to do better than sending thoughts and prayers after the fact. We have to learn how to stop it before it starts. Otherwise, we are going to be looking at more cases like Lee Ching’s.