So I’m finally through the Extreme Pantser’s Guide reposts, which means I have to find something to write about on my own again. That or just ramble at the screen until I’ve filled in enough space. Or swear at the cat who decided to leap on me and drape himself over my shoulder – and who hangs on.
Yeah. Swearing at the cat is good.
Seriously, the fracases (which aren’t nearly as enjoyable as fricasees, alas) that have been roiling around lately are sadly typical of what happens when someone has spent so long being told just how wonderful (transgressive, brave, insert adjective of choice) they are in an environment that gives them buggerall actual feedback. It’s an ailment politicians and writers (among others) are terribly prone to. Sarah calls it drinking your own ink. Me, I’m a bit less couth, and my description is more like sniffing your own shit.
It’s a very special form of self-delusion that’s all but impossible to break, not least because as the joke about the psychologist and the lightbulb goes, the person has to want to change. It doesn’t matter that they’ve wrapped themselves up so much in the miasma of their own excrement they’re turning odd colors and people flee them whenever they approach. They see pure gold and sweetest nectar of rose.
For people who write, the danger is sliding too deeply into our made-up worlds (which are in all honesty, often more enjoyable than the one the have to live in) to be able to read the danger signals from the real one. For people who are Odd and often hosting some form of clinical or subclinical neurological issues as well that’s a bad thing.
I know because a lot of you have mentioned it that many of us have worked out what makes people tick by observation and taught ourselves how to pass as a result. If we miss a cue that a normal (for values of normal, of course) person would have caught subconsciously we can torpedo careers, relationships, and on occasion, battleships as well.
Which makes the people who enable the seriously self-delusional the worst kind of abusive assholes out there.
Yes, that does mean the ones applauding the buzzword laden screeds being thrown at people who dare to say “Emperor Hugo hasn’t got any clothes on.” At worst they are being directly abusive themselves. At best they’re letting some poor sap who just wants to fit in and is trying to do what the self-described cool kids say is right take the heat for their sub-Machiavellian maneuvers (very sub-Machiavellian. These specimens couldn’t even muster a quarter-Machiavelli, much less the full thing).
I’d step back and let them destroy themselves in an orgy of self-cannibalism except that their inchoate flailings are destroying a whole lot that’s actually worth keeping. They threw the baby out with the bathwater and anyone who notices it is evil and wants to kill the baby.
Okay. I think that’s enough ranty metaphor mangling. About all I can offer is to be like Granny Weatherwax, and be yourself just as hard as you can. And try to leave things in better condition than they were when you found them. It might not look like you’re making much of a dent, but it matters to the person who comes after you.