It’s been a privilege to have our son home for a few days; I learn something new every time he’s here. For example, I was telling him about a particularly snarky email I’d received from a Hattie reader and how I agonized over my reply. Tyler’s terse advice: “Mom, don’t feed the Trolls.”
Everyone but me is probably aware that “Trolls” are people who like to email and/or post inflammatory comments with the sole intent to incite reaction. They do not stop to think that they are making said comments to real live human beings with feelings (and in the case of this particular author, very tender feelings when it comes to her work). Like the yellers on talk radio and much of TV, the last thing they’re interested in is discourse.
That got me to thinking, of course, of all the Trolls in my writing life, the largest and vilest of whom live in the corner of my study, oozing their swampy-sewagey scent, always at the ready to tell me that what I’ve written is no good, or that I will soon be discovered as a fraud. Their favorite mantra of the past two years: “You’ll never write again.” (Barbara O’Connor talks about feeling her “idea box” is empty).
I’ve also been hearing from some Trolls –even well-meaning ones — bringing up all the reasons we shouldn’t be taking this trip to the Middle East. My mom always told me not to borrow trouble. And that’s how I’m approaching this trip. I’m going for a good purpose and will be with good people so I am expecting nothing but wonder and connections.
So, thanks to Tyler, I have a new mantra: Don’t feed the Trolls. In writing, in life — I’m going to starve the ugly buggers every chance I get.
The next time you’ll hear from me will be from Doha!