In hindsight, I’d like to apologize for the way I framed last week’s blog post. In my mind I had wanted to lay to rest a tense question left unanswered, but instead I can’t help but feel I just fed a troll and made internet drama. I saw the comment and felt the emotions it caused, and thought, “Oh hey, this will be a great opportunity to answer people having these thoughts in a way that definitively answers everything!”
It did not. Go figure, the person who had accused my readers of being molesters and had said “I never went to an American high school and even I know that <things that had happened to Bashful Scribe in real life> never happen to anyone!” did not respond in good faith. They were uncomfortable with a certain subject matter and instead of understanding the nuance that people read things for different reasons, decided everyone who reads it is immoral, seemingly, objectively immoral. (Of course, that’s only my take – all comments that did not accuse anyone of a crime are still up, so by all means, make your own judgement.)
While I don’t agree with this reader’s conclusions, I can’t help but sympathize with their reasoning. I’ve made it no secret that I struggled with depression in the past, and I too have been triggered by reading subject matter in certain erotic stories. Even just a sentence that sounds like something my assaulter once said to me can make me want to never read erotica again (the feeling lasts only a few days of course).
So, I’m making a compromise. I’ve added a new tag to the sidebar today, independent of Hazelwood High stories, since some of those purely involve people over eighteen. This new category, the cheesily named Age Escapism, will highlight every story that contains sexual participants under the age of eighteen. To those that do not like stories that involve these characters: there’s your blacklist. I want it on the record why I write what I do, why I believe my readers enjoy my stories, and what I don’t endorse or support: namely, crimes and things that can leave a person scarred for life.
However, on the other end of the compromise is the inch I’m taking. I know in my heart of hearts why I write my stories the way I do, and I will unapologetically continue to do it. In addition, I’ll be taking a page from the book of the most recent critic, and using disappointment. Should someone dislike the mere existence of my high school stories and try to make some kind of 50s Moral Panic pathos argument for it, I’ll say this: I’m disappointed that you can’t distinguish true reprehensible endorsements of criminal behavior, and a story that uses the feelings of teenage hormones as a way to play to the reader’s nostalgia and suck them in, often only to have the true morals of my story revealed to them thereafter. If you see all stories with underage participants with equal reprehension, I’m disappointed. I thought you were a more astute reader. I thought you were better than that. Please make good on your promise not to visit my little corner of the Internet again; if you can’t distinguish my stories from genuine advocacy for peddophilia, I don’t think you’re ready to view my work. I like for my stories to be morally ambiguous and not contain 100% clear morals, but someone who paints that broad a brush and can’t distinguish these shades of grey more resembles a child than any character I could ever write.
If you don’t like these depictions and choose not to read them, or even don’t agree with me but don’t make my readers out to all be criminals, let me say here and now I respect your maturity, your ability to understand nuance, and above all: your restraint, clearly something I lack more than I’d previously thought. Perhaps I’m still a teenager at heart myself.
Speaking of, the first chapter for Consequences has arrived today! I’m actually quite happy with it. Not because I think the writing style is particularly mind-blowing or anything, but because I’m just excited. It’s a nice feeling. I’ve never written a first chapter to a sequel before, and one thing I had realized early on was that I didn’t want a reader to be completely lost if they had never read Being More Social before, so a slightly bitter consequence of that is that chapter one is filled with exposition. I tried to make it flow as well as I could, but hey, who ever says that their favorite chapter in a story is chapter one anyways?
I’m excited. Nicole is fun to write. These new characters are fun to write. Adam is fun to write. I feel good. I know where the story is going and I’m both excited and dreading to tell it. I’m going to stop saying the whole “many of you may not like it” drivel, and instead say this: I sure hope you like it. I’ll make sure to make it as exciting, joyous, and dramatic as I can.
Even if readers don’t enjoy my blogs or my morals or the types of stories I occasionally write, that all is immaterial to me. I want my art to outlive me, both in longevity and in importance while I still live, because I want to bring people joy. So let’s have some fun and craft some stories together. I’ll talk to you all next week.