Thursday, December 14, 2006

Laughing At and With - How They're Different

I have been called many things. I have been called by my legal name, my Hebrew name, "Hey you!" Miss Rejecter, Rejector, and various other things usually related to roleplaying game characters. I have to say, being called someone's "maiden aunt on a dope free day" pretty much takes the cake. I am stupified. I understand that the words that are coming out of his mouth are meant to have some kind of meaning, and that taken apart, they can be found in a dictionary, but seriously. Does it mean I speak with exceptional clarity for a virgin with a nephew? That wasn't really the tone I was going for on this blog, but hey - whatever floats your boat.

Allow me to be clear about this - if you post a link to your crappy POD or eBook, and I respond by saying something that can be easily translated into, "Uh, you suck. No, as a writer. You might suck as a person, too, but I don't know that for sure yet," I am not offering constructive criticism. Do not thank me. Stop writing. Very few responders to the previous posts's thread posting of a .pdf novel actually meant to offer constructive criticism. They meant to insult you. I just don't know how to say it more simply. We are not laughing with you, we are laughing at you. You cannot have a positive attitude and start laughing with us in some fashion to negate the general feeling that you are a terrible writer. Also, that old adage that any publicity is good publicity is not true in the writing world. You just look like a dork who can't spell or write anything sensical to more people than you previously did. This is not a cause for celebration.

Normally I don't feel like crushing writer's dreams, but when I do, well, that's a real indicator that maybe your dreams to be crushed. Or at least, not posted on my blog.


Anonymous said...

let's be perfectly clear about this. when someone has the nerve to call me a
"maiden aunt on a dope free day".... all I have to say is..... Nixon in a closet boiling potatoes. yeah. uh-huh. expletive expletive expletive!!!!

also, I think at this point, we're laughing toward someone, which is--I suggest--the act of physically hurling laughter in someone's general direction. every last gallon of the stuff.

Laura K said...

Having just read the entire comment thread of the previous post, I feel sick to my stomach.

When I was in graduate school I was forced to read something that called itself "language poetry". In the instance we were subjected to, the author had written a "book" in which there was a chapter, and within each chapter a sentence, for each year of her life. Both the sentences and the chapters were self-serving, annoying and followed no kind of logical sequence. My Modern Lit prof thought it was great; my Medieval Lit prof said the only way to get through it was by reading each sentence like a fortune cookie...putting "in bed" at the end.

The endless whining about "here are great authors and critics who say I can break the rules" sounds SO much like grad student bitchiness that it made me wonder if I were in one of those dreams where you're suddenly back in school.

The problem with breaking rules is that it doesn't necessarily make you a good writer. Just as following them doesn't. And being a good--or even great--writer doesn't mean you will be commercially successful.

Knowing your audience is one of the most important things for a writer...clearly, Meika has not only never considered her audience, but she has taken far too many Lit Crit courses.

Anonymous said...

I like his spirit, and the love that he has for his work. I think too many writers look at that and think 'ego' but pride in your work counts for something.

Without that you'd never have James Joyce, the literary king of, "I meant to spell it that way, don't you get it?"

Of course, I hate Joyce.

Anonymous said...

Though posting it in blog comments was weird and sort of rude.

For the record Meika, if you're still around, Joyce would have had his own blog. And a half dozen rich women to pay his bills.

Anonymous said...

Mieka looks like he's wearing an orange jumpsuit.

Hey Mieka, are you in the pokey?

ann said...

I was thinking all along that M. is not a native English speaker and was sort of willing to give him a pass. Meaning, I skimmed a lot.

But -- if that's a good sample of the slush pile -- I cringe.

Anonymous said...

But Rejecter...
Tell us how you really feel.

Sean Lindsay said...


I think I ... well, I really like you. You've elevated the Stop Writing argument to a new level.

Can I suggest that in future, you direct them to 101 Reasons to Stop Writing? May save you some time.

Simon Haynes said...

Sean, Sean, Sean. I keep telling you*, people read the title of your blog as "101 reasons for everyone else to quit writing"

* Actually, this is the first time I've mentioned it. But I promise I'll repeat it a few more times.

Word verification: Some mildly obscene collection of consonants. I mean, who gives a stuff?

Anonymous said...

It's "stupefied."

Anonymous said...

Meika is obviously a native speaker. The mistakes he makes are not the ones of a person trying to learn English.

Anonymous said...

It's style of substance - and not a style I care for.
Rejecter, let this man's petty insults wash over you. Inside he knows it's a pile of s*$t.

Sandra (Uk)

Mig said...

Thank you Rejecter for this and the previous post (and for your wonderful blog). Just priceless. You're very generous to provide this forum so that the next T.S. Elliot can make himself known to the world.

Mieka, keep up the effort and rest confident in the knowledge that you made the right choice in deciding that the POD route is best suited for your talent.

Writerious said...

Unfortunately, every artistic field has its Meikas. Some seem to have attended the Barnum and Bailey School of Art (you know, "There's a sucker born every minute," hence we get any piece of crap tossed in front of us and we're supposed to coo and say it's art because The Artist says so), or the Narcissus School of Writing ("It's all about meeee! If you don't like it, you're soooo stupid."), or the Conan the Thespian School of Performance Art ("I say this crap is art, so it's art, you Philistine. Bow to me.").

Best to ignore them and let them go off and whine in their own corners about how noooobody understands them. ::sniffle::

Anonymous said...

I have spent 12 years and borrowed untold thousands of dollars to become educated and jump through the necessary hoops to receive degrees; written for bylines in places both high- and low-brow; earned about $.012 per hour for my first collection of poetry (which is actually a pretty good wage for a poet); supported my writing as a teacher, baker, and cop; and wasted a lot of time reading what comes over the transom without barfing in order to pull a few jewels out and champion them in print.

My reward? To have someone come up to me at a meet-and-greet and say, "Now that I'm retired from my successful career as a social worker, I'm planning to become a writer," then proceed to tell me what I need to do to help them.

It's all I can take some days to stop myself from saying, "When I've retired from my modestly successful career as a writer and critic, I plan to become a social worker."

Like anyone can do it. Like it's easy. Like you don't need training and discipline.

/rant off

Kel Munger

kis said...

What Meika doesn't see is that people can tell if you're breaking the rules because you know them and want to be stylistic (the reason I was willing to forgive him his lower case i), but they also know when you're breaking them cause you just don't know how to write (the reason I can't forgive him his bipolar blithering and incomprehensible metaphors).

When you take the time to learn your craft, you can thumb your nose at Miss Mivens, your eighth grade English teacher, all you want. But thumbing your nose from a position of obvious ignorance just makes you look like a dimwit. I'm guessing there are more than 101 reasons for Meika to stop writing. Too bad the chances of him actually stopping are, well, something like 1 in 101.

chuckles said...

There is laughter flowing both ways. Always has been.

meika said...

I retract the maiden aunt comment. Sorry. (Dale Spender said of her Mothers of the Novel she should have called it Aunts of the Novel because many women writers were inspired by the example of their maiden aunts who wrote, but I digress.)

All I can suggest, is that people read the last story in .before Country first. (Isle of the Dead).

And then maybe the last story to be written which is the second story (Exit Cave).

The comments on my writing in the blogs are agreed with in these stories, though of course qualified by the middle excursions into prose poem 'crappiness' (which the 'i' in Originary might warn you about).

Genre warning: SF, prose poetry (child rajer was written before I had ever heard of language poets).

I am not offering constructive criticism. Do not thank me. Stop writing. Very few responders to the previous posts's thread posting of a .pdf novel actually meant to offer constructive criticism. They meant to insult you.

That's the market for you, WEB 2.0 is a market where all commentary, kind, ignorant, inquiring and keen now flows and these words, values, contexts and arguments become the presses of tomorrow. It called negotiation. Its how we build culture, and make things. The market is now a factory, the factory is now the market.

That's why we have egos. At least, it is our egos that keep the whole thing turning over. In our disagreements over style (did I mention Mary Douglas before?) we built the marketplace. Insults are the cobbles beneath our feet. Prices are the stalls by the gate. Icons are the crystallation of our desires.
We make them. We make these things in negotiation, in rejection and in offers.

It's an egology.

Our own wee place in the market is made according to our own preferences, which themselves are partly inherited forms, partly self-made and self-making. We accept them as we accept ourselves: blindly, knowingly, proudly...

And reject others, WEB 2.0 will capture that.

I just hope a divergence will not spiral us out of a new day of order into chaotic catastrophe. To avoid that we must not avoid that which we do not like.

To choose live in the ghetto of our own likes is to choose death.

I choose life and that's why I am here.

My trackback.

PS I report the download numbers because I do not understand them yet, not as an index to quality. (5649 times?)

PPS I am an INTP and this Myers-Brigg type indicator personlality find insults a bit like water of a ducks back. We're also about 5% of the population and when I write for me I tend to write for this bright geeky minority. So all I can say is, get out of your self-indulgent ghettoes. (we're also brave and tend to rush things we're very excited and passionate about, maybe we'll be the one who drive web 3.0)

PPPS And no, none of my responses are reason enough for you to like my work.

The conversation is more important than my work.

But you can focus on the crap if you 'like'.

kiss-me-at-the-gate said...

You're all just encouraging him, you know, and the comments he's coming back with are clearly nonsensical and it's giving me a headache trying to decipher them.

Rejecter, I love the blog; I've been reading it for a few weeks now without commenting, but this is just ridiculous.

chris said...

Writing has got to make sense to readers on some level. Yes, of course the writer can vault over all the rules of grammar and usage, essentially bypassing them in a direct connection to the reader that transcends the rules. The occasional genius does that. But the writing has got to make sense on some level to someone -- you've got to have an audience beyond yourself or you're not an author. And Meika, you're writing to yourself. Sorry, but it's self-important gibberish.

BuffySquirrel said...

I am an INTP and...I tend to write for this bright geeky minority.


I too am an INTP and your writing is definitely not for me. If I'm your core readership, then you're not catering even to them. Back to the drawing board.

meika said...

BuffySquirrel have you looked at Isle of the Dead in .before Country.

i know the opening paragraph is pretty awkward.

Feel free to comment at my site too.

Anonymous said...

Know you audience? Sorry, it's the least important thing for a writer -- but the most important thing for a marketeer. Which are you?

Gerri said...

Know you audience? Sorry, it's the least important thing for a writer -- but the most important thing for a marketeer. Which are you?

In the end, there'd better not be a difference if you want to sell your book. Target audience is very important to consider unless you're writing only for yourself. That's called journaling or diarying. Anything that goes out to another person had better have a target audience in mind. It doesn't matter if it's a letter to your previously referenced maiden aunt or a letter to a senator or a novel of any genre. You'd better know who you're talking to and what they're expecting--and how to twist what they're expecting to make them both surprised and delighted.

Is having a target audience the most important thing? I don't think there's a lot of things more important. Equally important? Yes. There's a lot of room at the top for stuff that's gotta be known.

When I taught college English composition, the very first thing I talked about was writer-purpose-reader. The stronger that writers know who they are, why they're writing, and who they're writing to, the stronger the letter, essay, story, novel, what-have-you, will be.

Laura K said...

You're quite's the most important thing for a writer who wishes to be read, as Meika clearly does. I write a great deal. Most of it is for me, so I have no need to consider audience. That which I intend for anyone else *has* to consider who that is and what relationship I wish to have with them or I will have a writer, not as a marketer. Even if the relationship I am aiming for is merely one of mutual animosity, I have to know who they are to be effective.

Sean Lindsay said...

"i know the opening paragraph is pretty awkward."

That says everything you need to know about Meika's approach to writing.

desert snarkling said...

If you have to say "read the last story first," you already know there's something wrong with your book, whether you're willing to admit it or not.

meika said...

The discussion (with reference to recent comments here) has moved to

The Rejecter said...

Thanks, Meika. And BTW, you really made my week with the maiden aunt comment. It was so confounding that I wasn't insulted at all. In it's own way, it was a work of pure genius.

meika said...

I swear it was not intended as an insult (even if you were my aunt), but as some wayward gesture, a flick of the wrist, the hand open palm outwards, like, and I was like, and he was like, like


Anonymous said...

OK, I read this guy's comments and then followed the link to the PDF.

Are you all ABSOLUTELY sure you haven't been taken in by one of those "random text generators" they use to defeat spam filters? I mean, the comments and the MS make so little sense they can only be artifacts of "The Policeman's Beard is Half-Constructed".

meika said...

.before Country FAQ in response to some comments here and on other blogs.

meika said...

I really suggest possible readers look at Marie-Laure Ryan's paper entitled Narrative and the Split Condition of Digital Textuality, and even though it focusses on computer games its first sections are quite enlightening and frame .before Country really well. I find on reading it, that I am an Antarctic explorer returning to the temperate zones.

Derrick said...


Barbara Bauer, of the Barbara Bauer Literary Agency would LOVE to read your book. Just go to her website, and send her a query letter with your brilliant book. .before Country

Don't delay, query that bitch today!