In one of my Art History classes at ASU, my professor forced us to watch a droning documentary about a deconstructionist philosopher who I considered to be a total idiot. [But then, I was the student and she was the professor and what did I know? I had to do a whole lot of conforming to land an “A” in that loathsome course.]
Anyway, I remember nothing–nothing–from ARS 451, save that documentary. Or more specifically, one line in the documentary. The French philosopher, in reference to his publications, said this: It is extremely difficult for me to allow any of my theories to be published. I feel I must always apologise for my words.
Afterwards, I questioned my professor as to the philosopher’s meaning. “Didn’t he believe in his life’s work? Why should he apologise for his existence?”
She said [condescendingly, as though my very presence was irritating her], “It’s not that he didn’t believe in his theories; he simply wasn’t brash enough to take time out of people’s lives by publishing something they might happen to read.”
Excuse me? Are you being serious with yourself? I could not–nor can I yet–grasp how someone could talk themselves into writing a work–any work–put all that effort into it, and then feel repentant for having bothered the world. I don’t understand.
The reason I am taking this stroll down memory lane is because I have been faced with a similar decision: whether or not to publicise my thoughts on a certain issue, and if so, whether or not to apologise for writing it. I posted something not long ago–a post of which I was rather proud. It is not often that I can perfectly convey my meanings and ideas in words–they usually get lost in translation somewhere between my muddled brain to everyone else’s. But that time I wrote about how hard it is for me to make good, quality friends, I pretty much nailed it. I wrote what I meant–what I’d pondered for months, or maybe years. I didn’t intend that post to be insulting, or as a “hint” to people who would otherwise be my friends. I mean, as far as I’m concerned, I am friends with anyone who reads my blog.
Then, more than a week after I wrote it, someone commented anonymously, telling me I could go to Hell. Yes, Hell.
At first I was startled. I never imagined I could offend someone with that post–I didn’t mean to, after all…The only woman I was talking about was the one I’ve been working with for the past three weeks, and I know she doesn’t read my blog.
Then I got mad. It is a fool who takes offence where offence is not intended. Someone wise said that–I don’t recall who. Anyone who wants to tell me to go to Hell anonymously, and not give any reasoning or rationale, well…that’s just petty.
But then I got over both the shock and the anger, and have finally settled on being flattered. It means people actually read my blog! It means I stir up feelings–albeit negative feelings–in my “readers.” And that is an honour.
I am controversial! I should write a book and apply to be on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
(P.S. Spell Check knows the word “Oprah.” Maybe if my book is good enough, spell check will recognise my name!) And I will owe all my future success to my own writing–the post that made someone mad enough to tell me I could go to Hell.