On the eve of my “new” life …

[While I was writing this, I saw the trailer for Strike Back 2 on the TV in my motel room! This is the first time I’ve ever seen Richard Armitage on actual U.S. broadcast TV, I think!]

All of the visits are done, and tomorrow I’ll be home. Maybe I’ll write a bit about the trip, eventually. I intensely love Middle America with all of its foibles, and they were on display in droves this trip. But for now, my thoughts are turning toward putting my feet under my mother’s table again. There’ll be plenty of challenges there as well, and I thought it would be well to take a bit of time to rest and contemplate them, or at least make a list of the ones I am aware of, so I decided to take a night for myself tonight and I’m holed up in a Motel 6 about a day’s drive away. It will probably be a long day of driving tomorrow as there’s a museum near here that I’d like to visit and have been meaning to for years, and I’m not sure when I’ll come this way again. I wouldn’t have written tonight except that, wow, it feels like a lot has happened, and I feel the need to muse.

What a devastating blow: Mulubinba and Nat both deciding to stop blogging / take a break. Go over to their pages and give them some love. Those blogs are both very important markers of the development of Armitageworld. I respect both of these women immensely, and I hope they’ll occasionally add a post or two as time permits. I, for one, will be eager to publicize anything else they write.

Blogging is an inherently finite genre. The reason for a blog can appear suddenly, and disappear just as suddenly, along with the circumstances that made it possible. So it’s not surprising to see blogs spring up and then suddenly stop updating or get deleted. Sometimes the goal of the blogging is accomplished, or perhaps people get to the end of what they have to say on a topic, for instance, or the time in their day that was devoted to blogging disappears or seems better devoted to some other project. That’s all normal. Blogging here on this topic is of central importance to me in my search for an explanation of what’s happened to me, and what my new identity should be, as I’ve said before. Armitagemania saved me. I plan to continue to blog here, and have taken some steps toward doing so, but the plan is only ever as good as the parameters for the plan, as blogging is almost never the most important activity in one’s life. If my parents’ illnesses become significantly worse, for example, that will affect my plans, too.

If the next paragraphs read vaguely, that’s intentional.

There’s also the issue of context: the world in which the blogger feels herself to be located and situated as a writer can change in the blink of an eye. An activity that feels desirable or acceptable one minute can appear troublesome the next. What bothers me does not bother you, but what does not bother me drives you crazy, and so on. One has to be in a particular emotional place to write anything that is personally meaningful, and sometimes the context in which one writes makes finding that place impossible. That’s happened to me a number of times in other situations: the context that frameworked a particular piece of writing disappeared or was destroyed and the writing task, and the prose associated with it, became unsalvageable. I have more than one lengthy unpublished manuscript that this has happened to.

Audiences for certain kinds of writing can disappear overnight out of circumstances beyond anyone’s control, of course, and when those changes happen because of personal circumstances in the writer’s life, that’s one thing. That’s happened to me, too. No point in writing a love poem to someone you’ve fallen out of love with, for instance.

What’s sad, though, is when it happens because other people in the same community intentionally damage or destroy the context for certain kinds of writing. I think we’ve all experienced this on the web. A blogger expresses a political opinion, and she’s showered with violent hate comments or threatened with rape. It’s not always mean-spirited; sometimes it happens out of truly high-minded intentions. In the case of Richard Armitage, for example, a tiny group of people, maybe only a handful, are vociferously devoted to policing what others can ask, say, or discuss about him in open forums, and I really do believe that this action is motivated by an honestly and strongly felt desire to protect him. On “Armitage Protection Mode,” see what Frenz said today, in a very intelligent post. I can only reiterate what I’ve written about this before: that I personally don’t think that on the whole, other fans are endangering him, or that if they are, there’s anything we can do or not do to protect him from them / us by means of our behavior on the Internet. And furthermore, in my opinion, such policing is a waste of time that could better be spent on responding to a core cause of Armitagemania for many of us, which is, in my opinion, the need for an outlet for our inherent and often unfulfilled creativity, an impulse that his work calls forth in so many of us.

Yes, I’m aware that some fans of Mr. Armitage don’t like this blog, and that a lengthy piece has recently been written in allegory on the incredible danger it and, by extension, I pose to Richard Armitage. I’ve been honest here, perhaps a bit too honest at times, and that always involves a risk. Like Armitage, I’m an adult, and belief in the legitimacy of what one is doing requires one to have a thick skin. If I write about my fantasies and the role that they’ve played in a really difficult phase of my life, I expose myself to the possibility that some people will not understand what I mean, and by speaking at all, I am thus colluding in a misunderstanding. I think everyone who speaks occasionally asks herself if it wouldn’t be better for her to have been silent or to shut up forthwith. I certainly have and continue to accept criticism, both public and private, for writing what I write, although ad hominem attack has always been and continues to be verboten.

Just as I don’t love everything that happens in Armitageworld, I can’t expect everyone in the world to love the blog or even understand where it comes from or believe that my impulses are benevolent. I, for one, never was very and am definitely no longer interested in policing others’ activities. Some people can never be pacified, and discussions with them are pointless. Their threats are tiresome.

~ by Servetus on June 21, 2011.

51 Responses to “On the eve of my “new” life …”

  1. I hope you enjoy your new life eve! I’ve always admired and respected the honesty with which you write your blog. Authenticity is rare thing indeed. Your blog is a unique and valued voice in this crazy RArmitage world. xox

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    • Thanks, Skully. I hope we can continue this discussion, I had a lot of time to think while driving and think it would be really productive. The average Armitage fan is more than smart enough to have it, I think.

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  2. First time on US broadcast TV? We can’t avoid him over here. He’s supposed to be taking a break from The Hobbit and he’s narrating a Wimbledon documentary. Richard, happy though I am to hear your lovely voice, we ordinary mortals have this thing we call a “holiday”…
    Servetus, I hope circumstances allow you to take a holiday too, to reconnect with the world, your family and yourself. Take care.

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    • I thought that, too: he needs a vacation (US for “holiday”). I wonder about him sometimes. OK, actually I wonder about him a lot 🙂 On the other hand, if the result is three wonderful new audio books?

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      • I have mixed feelings. Part of me so wants him to just rest and relax and enjoy himself and not think about work. The other part of me, the selfish part, would love to see/hear him in something new.

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        • I assume we’ll just trust that he knows what he’s doing, but I’m torn by the same impulses, Angie.

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  3. Servetus,

    I love what you do with your blog, both your analytical entries and your POV which is candid and yes, authentic. And for selfish reasons I truly hope you will continue blogging. But as a daughter and now orphan who has spent considerable time looking after aging and ill parents and doesn’t regret a minute of it, I definitely understand there are things much more important than blogging.

    As someone whose writing, both professional and “volunteer” (fan fic) is out there on a regular basis for people to hate, love, or be indifferent to, to be picked apart if they choose and be misunderstood at times in a way that puzzles and confounds me–I think I know where you are coming from. Like you, I really don’t care about policing other people’s activities, either. “Some people are never pacified, and discussions with them are pointless” . . . how very, very true. Something I need to remind myself of from time to time.

    I hope your period of transition goes as smoothly as possible. My best wishes to your family and prayers for their health and wellbeing.

    I guess they left the light on for you at Motel 6? 😉

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    • Motel 6= oh yeah. In fact at some point during the trip a Motel 6 person said to me that they would leave the light on for me. I am a big fan of Motel 6!

      A lot of blogging has been me learning to get used to the kind of things that get said on the Internet, many of which I find horrifying. This isn’t to say academic discourse isn’t bad at times — people say incredibly vicious things to each other, face to face, in the name of pursuing truth — but it’s different in quality.

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      • I thought of the commercials with the owner saying that about the light. 😀

        On the internet sometimes it just seems people want to be nasty just to be nasty. “I do it because I can”–because they know they have that cloak of anonymity. To me that is not only mean-spirited but cowardly.

        Maybe because my own mistakes are always out there for people to see in the paper (fortunately I don’t make a lot 😉 ) in print AND online, I feel it is important to cut folks some slack. Civility is a good thing.

        And gosh, it is nice to have you back! 😀

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  4. Servetus, what I very much admire in your posts is the honesty and accuracy to put your finger at exactly the center of a certain problem and even for some may be an uncomfortable place right at the center where it hurts.
    I am sorry you came accross narrow minded fellows trying to convince everyone from their own opinion and who do not see the artfulness of your writing.
    I always watch out for a new mail announcing a new blog post from you and am happy to read them. I get myself a cup of coffe and start reading. Sometimes the coffee does not find its right way, because I sit there cringing with laughter, sometimes I need tissues for my tears. But your blog posts never leave me unaffected.

    Have a good and safe journey back home and enjoy the museum!

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    • Grateful for the kind words and the message that I am not the only one who’s losing her coffee 🙂

      The museum was really interesting. It was a Laura Ingalls Wilder museum. Maybe I’ll write more about it here eventually. My fingers are itching to write to day.

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      • Oh, I loved the Little House books! I didn’t read them until I was an adult, but I have re-read them several times since then. A fascinating account of pioneer life. Can’t wait to read what you think if you do choose to write about it.

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      • Oh yes, please write more about it, Servetus.
        I had to look up the name, as the name of the author did not mean anything to me. But I grew up with the TV series of “Little House in the Prairie” (Unsere kleine Farm). What fond memories that awakens ;o)

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  5. Glad you are enjoying the ride. I was so happy to see a post this am! I missed them. For years I wrote a very personal mommy blog and then stopped. I wanted to devote that time to writing other projects. I treasure that blog because it got me writing for an audience. Now, that I am interviewing for corporate jobs, I deleted the blog because of the personal content. I didn’t want a future employer to google me and read my rant about waxing my vaginal hair!!! I am going to miss Nat’s blog, she is a great girl.

    As for your blog, what I repsond to and respect is your honesty. To reveal parts of yourself that you’d just assume to deny is a mark of a true writer. As for other bloggers and commentators, so be it. I would just let them be and not respond because you are going to expend a lot of wasted energy. I am hard pressed to find how you are a danger to Mr. Armitage. Your posts are in context of you, yourself.

    Safe travels and Gospeed to you on this next leg of your journey. I am going to spend this hot steamy sticky summer solstice hoofing it around the city interviewing for jobs.

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    • There’s a saying in the newspaper business, “If we haven’t made at least one person angry today, we haven’t done our job.” I am with you, Rob, I’d rather my stuff be loved or despised than to be met with indifference.

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    • Stay dry and cool, @Rob. I’ll be job hunting, too …

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  6. One more thing, with my writing, I much prefer that people either love it or hate it, because then I know I am onto something. I have hit a nerve. When I get the “meh” response, I know that I am on the wrong track.

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    • I think that’s true. I wonder if some people think I am writing for the value of sensation. It’s impossible not to consider audience in writing, of course, but perhaps that’s what bugs some people, as if I were saying, “look how strange I am.” Of course, they are unaware of the many things that I don’t say. They might think I was a whole lot weirder.

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      • LOL about the weirdness. Same thing here, though. If people knew everything I thought in my head, oh dear.

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        • “I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.” — John Lennon

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          • I am learning more and more as I get older to appreciate my unique qualities and “eccentricities.” I used to feel like the person always on the outside looking in, a bit of an oddball, and I worried about that.
            Now I celebrate it.

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  7. Safe journey back home and *cheers* to your new beginning…let it be truly that…

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    • Thanks. I’m praying. Of course, since I’m moving home it won’t be that completely, but it will be a new perspective, I think.

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  8. You already know what I think, but I can’t help putting a comment here. 😀

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  9. As I have already mentioned over in the comment section at RAFrenzy’s this morning, I am a bit in the dark about what is going on but I think you and others are correct in pointing out that RA is quite capable of taking care of himself — he seems like a mature and intelligent adult, capable of blocking out distracting internet chatter –be it flattering or uncomfortable — and carrying on with his life and work. It is definitely sad, however, when members of this lovely community feel threatened or intimidated to express themselves — I hope those who feel discouraged by these events take heart in the knowledge that there are many of us out here who love you and support you 🙂

    I am glad to hear that you are almost home and about to begin a new chapter in your life…

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    • Thanks, soaplady. Thinking about having written this 24 hours later, I think I’m really bugged most by the fact that a small number of fans in a fandom that seems to be all about creativity are so hostile to creativity.

      Oh, it’s great to be home. I know it’s just the initial rush but I’m riding it for all it’s worth. There is some wonderful smelling soap in my room now, by the way. Lemon Verbena smells to die for.

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      • And I for one do not believe Richard Armitage, of all people, would ever want to stifle creativity. I mean, the man is one creative soul.

        I bridle at anyone who tries to tell me there is only one way to write fanfic (although thankfully it’s only been one person who has actually attacked me on that subject). It’s not a newspaper article where I have to follow AP style; It’s not a research paper. Hello, it’s-fiction!! You didn’t pay for it and you don’t have to read it if it’s not your cuppa. Same thing with blogs.

        I am bugged by the same things you are, as you might have noticed. 😉

        Enjoy the rush!!! It always felt good when I would return home to visit while we were living so far away. Certain scents, sights, accents. The soap sounds delicious to smell. 😀

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  10. I am not advocating censorship of your blog. On the other hand, criticism from others about a blog can be painful–painful enough, at times, to make a writer self-censor or shut down, and thus alter what she would really like to write. It’s clear to me that there are many people here who enjoy all aspects of your blog, but I can imagine that some RA fans might find parts of it uncomfortable. Since there ARE many readers who enjoy all of the blog, I wonder if careful password protection for posts you feel may garner a negative response is a good idea? The comments here are generally positive, day after day, and it’s clear that some who comment frequently are big fans of yours and have no problems with any aspect of your blog. Hearing from them is bound to be a positive thing, especially at a time of real-life transition when things are a bit up in the air. Giving them password protection to parts of your blog might be a very positive thing, since it would reduce opportunistic criticism–and other people could apply to join that group, or be personally recommended by members of that group.

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    • Thanks for the comment. I’ve thought about this a lot (as you may guess), and I have also thought about going commentless. I don’t have an answer, except, of course that I want to spend as much time writing and thinking and as little time administrating as possible. I also don’t want to create an in-group of readers, even though I am sure it’s obvious to people who read this that there’s a group of dedicated commentors whom I know better than some others. I think a lot of intensely personal blogs eventually go private, and it might perhaps eventually make sense to go that direction. Part of what I am supposed to be learning here, though, is how to write for audiences, how to make the intensely personal fit for broader consumption. I’m going to make some mistakes in the process and get some bruises, I suppose.

      All of which is to say I don’t have any answers yet. I think what I mostly hoped to say was that I wish some people would not burden the consciences of others unnecessarily, and that they would take a few minutes to think charitably.

      “Honi soit que mal y pense,” I suppose. I have a need to be liked as much as the next person, unfortunately.

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  11. Servetus, I have treasured your blog since first I found it and have always admired your willingness to be honest, sometimes painfully so. Yours is a wonderfully authentic voice and I so much hope this blog will continue.

    As far as other commentators are concerned, if they do not like/agree with what you are writing, then they are not obliged to read it nd perhaps they should leave it to those who do appreciate your words. That said, I havce to agree with @Rob, I simply cannot see or imagine how you are or could be a danger to Mr. Armitage. Your posts are, as noted, in context of you, yourself and you have always made your position very clear.

    For my money, you and any other bloggers who point out that RA is quite capable of taking care of himself are spot on. It is not appropriate, for me at any rate, to think in this way, but I believe people are entitled to their own opinons and it makes me terribly sad if members of this community feel they cannot express themselves.

    Safe journey home and wishing you all the best for a new start.

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    • Thanks for the kind words.

      One thing I’ve wanted from this blog w/r/t the fan community was to create an inbetween place — between completely unmoderated forums where rather vicious discussions go on, and the moderate forums where the administrators have decided, in my opinion reasonably so, that they don’t want to deal with certain kinds of conversations. I wanted this blog to be inter alia a place where a semi moderated discussion of difficult issues could take place. My problem is not with people who say, “I don’t want to talk about x.” I have those issues too and you could probably guess what they might be if I you have been reading for awhile. Servetus doesn’t say everything that I think :), something that a few readers have missed. My problem is with people who say, “because I consider discussions about x inappropriate, I don’t think anyone else should engage in them anywhere, and I will bully people who do so.”

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  12. Your blog is, and has been a thought-provoking pleasure. It’s lovely to hear from you on the road.

    No need to censor yourself; we’re adults here. For the most part. 🙂

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  13. I wanted to say “thank you” for your blog. I have recently entered the world of the Armitage and am surprised (and possibly worried!) at the level of intense pleasure I get from both his work and reading about other people talking about his work! I really enjoy your blog and hope you continue for some time to come. You bring pleasure to those who cant but wish they could! (Blog!) and your honesty is refreshing. I love your fantasies when you speak to the characters that RA has created. It’s fantastic that he creates such believable characters that they have a life of their own! It’s a measure of his acting abilities that I am way more interested in what his characters are doing when tne camera is switched off (hence my need to read fan fiction) than what the sublime Mr A is doing as his “alter ego” in real life!
    Anyhow, I wish you well (as Margaret said to Mr Thornton) on your new journey and look forward to hearing about it.

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    • Thanks, Scarlett1960. This is a nice point: that we are just as or more interested in our fantasies about these personae he’s created as we are in him. It’s a testament to the success of his work that we fantasize about them / him. Thanks for underlining this.

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      • Well, as you know, they HAVE taken on a life of their own at my house. Even the supposedly dead ones (yes, guy, I know you are SND, darling).
        The fact those characters do live and breathe and take on a life of their own and are written about so extensively beyond what the series have given us–you are right, Servetus, it is a wonderful tribute to him.

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  14. Ditto to what fitzg says!!!! Those who do not wish to read what is written here can look away.

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    • I have to agree with fitzg and soaplady. No one is being forced to read this or any other blog just as they are not forced to read fanfiction or watch videos or watch certain of Mr. Armitage’s performances they do not care for.

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  15. I completely agree with what the other commentators have said. I am always looking forward to any new entries to your blog.I could never write anything like this myself and I very much appreciate its thoughtfulness and its openness. As RAFrenzy has pointed out quite correctly: RA doesn’t need our protection. He’s definitely grown up and very probably not interested in what is written about “him” in all those forums, blogs or on Twitter. Anybody who doesn’t like your blog or RAFrenzy’s just shouldn’t read it – your definitely right there Angieklong. I hope all of you bloggers and writers of fanfic do not let any negative reactions you seem to be getting stop you from continuing. So once again – thank you very Servetus and all the others who write, blog or produce videos (hope they are all following your blog 🙂 ).

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  16. I absolutely agree with what has been expressed above—it is unfortunate that a minor faction of people choose to “police” others rather than START THEIR OWN BLOGS and relieve you (and the rest of us) from their vitriol.

    Rock on Severtus! It’s always a pleasure to read your blog. Stay smart. 🙂

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  17. On the repeated point about how people who disagree should start their own blogs: I’ve suggested this many times. If you object to my voice, LOOK FOR YOURS. We should have more voices in Armitageworld, not fewer. It’s not always as easy as starting a blog. Not everyone is creative using words, and maybe writing about Armitage does not speak to your talents. But the fact that he allows people to give voice to their inner stirrings is perhaps the greatest ongoing positive benefit of his work. It’s always easier to criticize than to create, though.

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  18. You say that it is easier to criticize than create,but not everyone can criticize so well as you do, with the level of detail that you notice and the intelligence and insight with which you comment. That is what draws me to your blog. It is always fascinating to watch an expert at work. It is also (part of) why I like to watch RA’s acting and read the interviews in which he comments on the acting process.

    I certainly understand you wanting to explore your creativity but please don’t stop exercising your critical skills!

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    • Hey, thanks, LostinaGoodbook. I doubt I’ll leave behind criticism anytime soon — it’s definitely in my blood. I’m probably more of a critic than a creator myself.

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  19. […] In this post and elsewhere, I understand or define objectification as the reduction of a person to the status of a thing, which is then instrumentalized for a specific purpose. More narrowly, sexual objectification involves the reduction of a person to a thing for the purpose of sensual or sexual gratification. A few disclaimers: I am myself a major objectifier (sexual and analytical) of Richard Armitage, so hopefully nothing I write in this post will make anyone think that I’m pointing fingers at anyone beyond myself. I’ve copped to my feelings about objectifying Richard Armitage and the reasons for them, but everything about this blog has turned out to be a journey and my feelings on this topic certainly will go on that journey, as well. Also, I’m not criticizing you if you agree with Judi, or prefer a simpler discussion of these things. Nor do I think less of anyone who just looks at pictures of Richard Armitage and thinks, “beautiful!” “sexy!” “I want him!” or something salacious, and nothing beyond that. I think those things, too. Short of engaging in actual endangerment — and looking at a picture and admiring it, no matter…. […]

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  20. […] the person who’s doing it — I know who you are, and I suspect that you still read here. I’ve been the victim of your words, and though they really hurt at the time, now I mostly feel sorry that you derive such joy from spreading bad feeling. I won’t […]

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  21. […] I have written before (multiple times, it turns out), the intentional destruction of a safe place for community that allows us to be who we are among the …. Fedoralady, since I can’t leave a comment at your blog: I hope that you’ll back soon […]

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  22. […] to great, it saddens me no end. If people leave because they need to, that’s one thing; but if they leave because flames destroy the atmosphere for creativity, that’s a different thing. I really hope that we can be consciously on alert to prevent the […]

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  23. […] The woman left her job. With difficulty. She stored her books. She cut her hair. She applied for a few jobs, to keep up appearances, but she didn’t take the applications seriously. She made herself stop. She drove home. […]

    Like

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