“Write something,” he said in the thirty-fourth of thirty-eight messages sent at 5:14 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. “Anything. Share it. If you want to be a writer, this is what you do. Write.”
The only problem I had with the advice is that I am a writer. A published author, in fact. His words utterly dismissed my hard work and the accomplishment that comes from having published.
I knew this writer from my critique group days. We worked in two groups between 2012 and 2014 during which time, I sent a critique to the man admonishing what I felt was a misogynistic writing style. I cautioned that he risked alienating a large fan base with such a voice. Upon further reflection, I apologized for what I felt might be censorship. He accepted my apology and I put the incident out of my mind.
We stayed connected through social media randomly messaging one another for feedback and encouragement on various writing projects.
I managed to publish my first novel in 2015 and then completed my second novel. After several traumatic life changes, I decided to take some time off from writing to focus on myself. I heard from him a few times during my writing sabbatical. Once, he called offering to help me move, suggesting we go out for drinks afterward. Having already moved, I declined the offer. No big deal.
Our contact remained sporadic but friendly until recently when he called my cell at three a.m. to ask if I was in town. My SO asked who was calling so late, and hearing him, my friend responded, “He’s asking the wrong question. He should be asking why I’m calling.”
The conversation continued as awkwardly as it began, consisting of incoherent ramblings with disjointed references to that critique I had sent some three to four years prior with an odd fixation on my sexual relationship with my ex and my sex drive level. Uncomfortable with the discourse, I informed my friend that my SO and I were retiring for the evening and suggested we resume the conversation later in the day. When I woke, I discovered the following message to which I tried to offer a polite response. He messaged again, but I decided not to respond.
My silence prompted a barrage of early morning messages, thirty-eight of them, to be exact.
And so, after a year-long hiatus in writing, I felt compelled to sit down and pen this carefully thought out response:
LOL. What the actual fuck? I’ll pass on the critique as, after all these years, your writing is still nothing more than misogynistic drivel. That whole rejected male/fragile ego plot is played out and oh, so cliché, though it lends itself well to your tired, redundant adjectives and poorly written insults. Feminazi? Really? Yawn.
I’d love to write more but must get back to social justice warrioring, but I’ll leave you with the words you requested:
I would never fuck you.
And that’s really what this is all about. Right?
K. S. Bowers