Monday, September 12, 2005

Oh, the webs we weave...

There is a lie going around outside of LiveJournal that began with minnalavendar and it is time for me to tell what really happened.

Last year I offered to edit -- for free -- one of Mattie's books because she said she couldn't afford to have it done. Just after I received the book, which took two tries to get here -- some postage issue on her end was the trouble -- I was informed by my doctor's office that they mistakenly told me my last mammogram was negative when in fact it showed I had cancer. They had waited six months to let me know. "We're sorry about the clerical error." Right.

During this time I was emotionally distraught and having a really hard time coping with the knowledge that I had breast cancer and it had had six months to get a good hold on me. I wasn't thinking about Mattie's manuscript. Meanwhile, Mattie was on a very long cruise and vacation, but the minute she got back she asked about her manuscript. I explained the situation and she said she didn't care about what I was going through and that she wanted her manuscript edited and returned. I did so and sent it back. She told me she didn't get it.

Because of problems with mail not reaching its destination, and specifically because of the snafu on this particular manuscript, I took the time and my materials and had made a copy of the manuscript just in case. When the manuscript still didn't get to Mattie, I offered to take the copy (printed on the back of a first draft of one of my novels) and redo the editing. Mattie told me to just throw it away. I explained that, despite what I was going through with the doctors and waiting for my appointment for themammogram and biopsy to be redone the following month, I wanted to finish what I started. She again told me to just throw it away, asking me why I bothered to offer to help when I had no intention of doing so. Feeling very snarky and not a little narked, I wrote her back with a very flip remark. "Because I wanted to steal your book and have it published under my name." I went on to explain, yet again, that I had wanted to help her but my own situation with breast cancer got in the way.

Mattie didn't want to hear it. She said she didn't care what I was going through and she went on to say I was no friend and that I would get what I deserved. She said again to throw away the manuscript. She didn't want it back.

By this point, I was angry and I won't work on anyone's manuscript when I can no longer maintain my objectivity and neutrality. I threw away the copy I had. I never mentioned it to my friends and I didn't give it a second thought. In my mind, the situation was ended.

Not so.

I have heard rumors and whispers from several sources that Mattie has spent the intervening months painting me in deepest black and accusing me of stealing her manuscript. Please. She accused me of trashing her book. If she never got it, how could she know what I did to it. I didn't trash her book. I suggested that she get into the story at the heart of the action instead of taking the long and winding road through the protagonist's personal history and angst. She could weave the threads of the history into the rest of the story once she got into it, but begin the book with the murder and how the protagonist was involved first. The rest of it was grammar and sentence structure and clearing up a lot of passive voice. I have never trashed anyone's book, story or writing. I have, however, gone straight to the heart of the matter and pulled no punches when dealing with sentence structure, grammar, passive voice and characterization. People pay me for my professional opinion not to be their glad-handing, back-patting friend. If you don't want my honest PROFESSIONAL opinion, have your buddies and family edit your work. I don't have the time.

Now I am hearing that I have stolen another author's work and plan to publish it under my own name from people outside of LJ in the real world. And I know where it comes from. It comes from elementalmuse. How do I know? Because several people told me what she has been saying about me just last night. For four hours I listened to the laundry list litany of my sins and how some of these people, who had been told about my evil doings, were so afraid of crossing my path (probably for fear I would blast them with a spell to turn their brains to mush -- something it seems has already been accomplished without me lifting a finger or casting a wand in their direction) they didn't go to the metaphysical fair that was held over the weekend. Like one of the people said, I am indeed a powerful force to cause so much fear.

For anyone to take an offhand comment made with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek as gospel, someone who supposedly knows me and has been the recipient of many favors done and gifts exchanged, things they said they couldn't afford and I happened to have and not using, they must be either high on drugs, need their anti-depressant dose increased, or are just plain stupid. I'm sure the real cause is that I didn't make my smiley face big enough or noticeable enough -- or, more than likely, I left it completely off.

If, after reading this, you believe that I am capable of stealing another author's work, this is not the place for you to be. If you have helped to perpetuate this lie, please remove yourself from my friends list. If you cannot tell fact from fiction, I feel sorry for you. If you believe that I would take any author's work as my own, especially someone who writes fantasies about LA bartenders who are part elf and thrust into the middle of a murder in their bar, you need to find somewhere else to be. I don't write that kind of fantasy and I don't need to steal anyone's work. I have enough of my own written and in progress that stealing someone else's work, especially when it needs so much rewriting and editing, would be a waste of my time and energy when I could take that same time and write it from word one.

I have kept quiet about this situation, and many others involving these two people, long enough. I have apologized and been slapped in the face over and over and yet I remained a good friend, finally being forced to walk away and wishing them both well. I have not lied about either one of them, but the persist in perpetuating lies about me to people who have never met me and don't know me. Some of those people took the time to find out the truth. You now have a piece of the truth. If you want to know the rest of it, ask me. I have nothing to hide. For the most part, I write everything in public and I don't hide behind a friends only journal or concoct dramas to make people feel sorry for me. I don't wear masks and I am not different from one day to the next or from LiveJournal to real life. I don't say anything behind someone's back I won't say to their face. I do keep confidences when asked and I don't do or write anything that isn't true. This is my life as I live it and I make no apologies for it. I only apologize when I'm wrong -- and I am wrong more often than you think.

If you are going to judge me -- and many of you have judged and pronounced sentence on me without both sides of the story or giving me my day in court -- you need to get both sides of the story first. Don't settle for just my side or only someone else's side. Don't take as gospel (that means good news, btw) what someone who was not involved says, but has heard second or third hand. Do what those people did yesterday: take the time to dig a little further and seek the truth for yourself. Sometimes a lie is woven out of the dusty spider threads of half truths that might contain a small microscopic fragment of the truth. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Take nothing at face value. Weigh and measure the stories carefully and pay attention to where they differ and where they are the same. Ask yourself if the person seems to always be in the midst of a drama and playing the victim.

If I am a victim, it is of my own making. Had I not been angry and upset I would not have made such a sarcastic reply that was taken to be true by someone who should have known better, should have known me better. I have been tried and hung in the court of whispers behind my back and without a chance to defend myself. How would you feel?

Oh, and one more thing... I find it difficult to believe that someone who spent many tedious hours talking about so-called friends to me behind their backs can be believed when they say they don't talk about me behind my back. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. If strangers who never met you, don't know you and were not involved in the coven when I was still there can recite chapter and verse of all my evil doings, they don't have accounts on LJ and do not know Mattie at all suddenly come to me out of the blue should I believe that their only link to me -- the muse -- is not talking behind my back (some of whom joined the group within the past one month) or should I believe they pulled my name and stories about me I never spoke of to anyone before, except the one person involved, out of thin air? The air in Colorado Springs is thin, but not that thin.

And btw, in order to be convicted of slander or libel the accuser must prove that the information is false and has cost them standing in the community, damage to their reputation and/or loss of revenue to their business and/or livelihood. The key is that the information must be false and the intent malicious. Telling the truth, even in a public venue or in print, is not slander or libel. Want to test it? File charges and let the court decide. I'm ready. Are you?

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