Making Things More Personal

Here is a nice reminder that all of this involves real people on both sides doing real things.

Instead of summarizing Mr. Wright’s post I’ll quote the important part:

At the reception just before the Awards Ceremony itself, my lovely and talented wife, who writes for Tor books under her maiden name of L Jagi Lamplighter, and who had been consistently a voice of reason and moderation during the whole silly kerfluffle, approached Mr. Patrick Nielsen Hayden at the party to extent to him the olive branch of peace and reconciliation.

Before she could finish her sentence, however, Mr. Hayden erupted into a swearing and cursing, and he shouted and bellowed at the tiny and cheerful woman I married.

To give you an idea of the person he yelled at, here is an example of Mrs. Wright’s nonfiction:

So, next time you feel the urge to bridge the endless gap—and maybe talk to that crazy lunatic on the other side who used to be a bosom buddy—try this simple trick:

Pick the lines the other person says that upset you the most. Ignore them. Just pretend that they are not there. Pretend that they are static. Noise.

Because, chances are, that to him, it is just noise.

And you’ve been missing the signal, tuning it out, all along.

Then, listen closely to whatever he seems to think is the most important part–even if it sounds like mad nonsense to you. NOT, mind you, what he says at loudest volume—that is likely to be noise, too—the part he speaks about fervently or with reasoning.

From there, you can often find a bridge, a common point of agreement—because at the very least, you now know what the important issues actually are. To use my first example: you are speaking kindness to kindness or threat to threat.

Even if you can’t agree, at least you will be talking signal to signal, instead of noise to noise.

It’s difficult, but after a few tries, you’ll be a champion Great Divide bridger in no time.

Give it a try.

Yeah. THIS is the person he yelled at and cursed at, then stormed off. Not, mind you, Mr. Wright, the person he actually had the issue with. His wife, whose only intention when approaching him was to offer an olive branch of reconciliation.

So, let me tell you why I say this is making things more personal: I’ve spoken with Mrs. Wright.

Not in person, but through private e-mail conversations, as in, not in group chats or mass emails to large groups of evil. We spoke on a direct, one to one basis. Here is what happened:

After my co-editor and I came up with the idea to put together an anthology of theological robot stories, we needed to decide who we wanted to ask to write for us. I had two people in mind immediately, and as we brainstormed other possible authors to ask it occurred to us to try to get in touch with Mrs. Wright. She was one of the first authors to get back to us.

At this time, both my co-editor and I had absolutely no idea how to go about making an anthology. We explained to Mrs. Wright our central conceit, she accepted our offer, then questioned our payment method.

Without going into financial details, our original payment idea was to fund it as if it was a magazine – each author would be given a certain amount of money per story, paid in advance. It was Mrs. Wright who first gently pointed out to me that this is generally not how anthologies work, then gave us examples of more typical payment methods.

She then invited us to ask her more questions about making anthologies, she having been involved in the editing process of several. She answered several questions and even, when necessary, went out of her way to get other editors in on the discussion to help answer our questions. Eventually, when she asked us who the publisher was going to be and we answered “Don’t know”, she personally introduced us to the editor of a publishing house who has since been working with us throughout the process.

She did all of this for us for no good reason except that that’s the kind of person she is. We had never met her, spoken to her, interacted with her, or done anything but regularly read her nice blog and some of her fiction; she possibly remembered me as the guy who got into the long argument with her husband that involved me leaving his blog in a huff.

The story that she later submitted to us was, of course, fantastic, and throughout the making of the anthology Mrs. Wright has been nothing but an absolute delight to work with, polite, enthusiastic about the project, easy to work with, and very helpful.

So when I read this, my first reaction was real anger. Everything I’ve heard from everybody who has spoken with Mrs. Wright has matched up with my assessment of her. This was an uncalled for, unprovoked attack on a person whose intent was to make a peace offering, and about as kind of a person as I’ve ever talked to.

What disgusting, dirty, despicably, cowardly thing it is to verbally accost a man’s wife when the man himself is in the room.

The long story short – I officially and fully support the Tor boycott, encourage all of you to do the same, and now consider myself an official Rabid Puppy supporter. When fools consider actions such as these acceptable, it’s time to tear the system down.

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4 Responses to Making Things More Personal

  1. Chad says:

    Off topic for the professionally curious; what pay system did she suggest and you go with?

  2. Res says:

    Patrick Nielsen Hayden wouldn’t happen to be the sci-fi version of Coriolanus perchance.

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