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I was planning to delete my short story, Just Chivas and Me. It’s had one lovely like and two views since I’ve published it. I’m concluding that people are either offended or uninterested. It’s not my usual style and I’m a timid type so it’s taken me some time to decide whether or not to air it. For me this story was more about putting the words together than about the actual story. Sounds dumb saying that as a writer it’s all about the worlds and how they mesh. After all, every other writer since the dawn of time has said it. But it’s as true for me as anyone else, so when the story arrived (maybe the stork dropped it at the wrong house), I was knocked for a loop. It’s turned out to be a story about revenge and betrayal, but big deal I hear you saying, Shakespeare and Dumas could knock off something better one hand tied behind their back on one of their least inspired days. Of course there’s nothing new under the sun (Shakespeare and Dumas got there before I did, didn’t they?), so maybe after all, all I’ve got is a bunch of well put together words.

As I said, I was planning to delete it, but I’ve decided against doing so. That’s called self-censoring and I haven’t got a taste for that unless it’s in situations where it means that somebody will be hurt by my words. Of course I’m a writer and not a journalist so I feel differently about how things will affect others. I’m not being critical of journalists. I think the important thing a journalist can do is offer up opinion based on facts. The trouble is that not everyone likes to see facts exposed.

There’s an awful lot of self-censoring going on already, including in our country right now. In fact the Australian government calls it ‘self regulation’ and doesn’t think there’s enough of it going on. It and the so called Independents and Greens want to be in the forefront of all other democratic countries. They haven’t liked what the media has had to say about the way they conduct the business of running our country. There are plans afoot to muzzle free speech through a new media regulation package. As far as I understand it, if the Bill goes through the government will appoint and pay a Public Interest Media Advocate to regulate the current regulatorss all for the public good. But who will regulate him/her is the question begging to be answered. And what other changes can we all expect once government changes? Someone who explains it a fair bit better than I can is Chris Kerby so here is a link to his article which he calls: ‘Your rights at Stake.’ http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/chriskenny/
I don’t get it, there does not seem to be much of an outcry here about this proposed Bill. People don’t realise to them down the track, especially as different govenments with different philosophies and different political leanings will want to tinker round the edges of that Bill.

Mine might not be much of a story (if you ever read it you will note that this ‘newbie’ to fiction is terrified of dialogue) but it’s my creation. Last year I deleted a piece I felt would offend some people and I have been sorry ever since that I did it. I absolutely live for the comments and likes and feel like a fake until the next time somebody says they like something that I have written or I see a star in my notifications section. Having said that, I intend to keep on keeping on no matter what, and writing what matters (to me).

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8 thoughts on “What’s at stake

  1. That Chivas story was the first one of yours I read. And I read it because I noticed this article immediately after. If you thought of deleting and decided against it, I thought that would tell me a bit about you… and just having landed on your blog, I didn’t know anything about you, and your blog isn’t so easy to browse. I don’t know how many readers you had at the time, but we have to keep in mind that we attract a certain reader base to our blog according to the prevailing style of the blog. If this was a change in style, or radically different from other things you’d published before, many of your readers might not have chosen to read the post, or might not have liked it, and refrained from saying so because they didn’t want to offend you. I thought the story was lacking something. We didn’t get to know the relationship between husband and wife. We didn’t get to know why they were married at all… what had once tied them together. We didn’t really get to know the personalities of the husband and wife. We were just seeing them in a time of crisis. And so, my first impression was that the murder of two people was uncalled for. That it was too extreme. That she had a lot of other options. Speaking as a writer, I think that it could have been a very good introduction to a book. Because then, there would have been a lot of interest generated to understand just why she reacted the way she did. I am writing all of this because I have the impression that you would like some objective criticism. If anything I’ve said offends you, please feel free to chuck the comment.

    • Thanks, Shimon, it’s so nice to have some constructive criticism. I’m happy to get it, and when I revisit it, it will definitely be with your comments in mind. When you made the original comment of ‘interesting story’ I was tempted to ask whether you meant what people generally mean when they say that, which is that they were too polite to say they did not like it. I thought I’d better not in case I offended you.
      I’d be interested in why you feel my blog it difficult to browse.
      I’ll have to visit you some more to see what else you have to say.. I originally hopped over from Charles Gulotta’s blog to yours. I enjoyed your post about your mother. Mine is elderly and she doesn’t like to learn new things either so I could relate.. But t don’t think it’s an old person thing. My father was like a magpie, always collecting tools and gadgets and interested in learning new things, almost to the very end.

  2. So glad you didn’t delete it, or I would have missed out on a good one. And that story didn’t need dialogue!

    Mary, when I saw how well erotica was doing, and how much money some of those authors were making, I sat down one day, and a 5,000 word short of erotica came out. It was pretty darn good and it sizzled. I know I could have made money with it on Smashwords. I had it on my computer for about a week, and then I deleted it. That’s not the direction I ever want to go, and I hated the thought that I might accidentally die, my family would find the story and think they never knew me. In this case, I think censoring my experiment was a good idea. 🙂

    • You know, Maddie, when I originally hesitated about it, it was because people who don’t know me would be judging me and even thinking it was about me. Neither my family nor yours would have made that mistake about us.Trouble is there’s no recreating an original. I know I couldn’t do it now. Never delete.

  3. Firstly, I think politics is about staying/gaining power. Statesmanlike leadership with the the
    best interests of the people at heart has long gone, overtaken by petty gainsaying, Party politics and factional interests. I may not vote in September in protest! Now off my soapbox, rest easy, I find likes and comments depend on the day, there is no consistency, no predictability. I know myself if I’m short of time I read and move onI thought your Chivas piece was really strong, I liked its dark side, you wrote it with the voice of a woman scorned!

    • Dear Sandra thanks for your thoughts. How are you feeling today with everybody with a couple of interesting exceptions falling on their swords? I’m sure that you aren’t alone in your disgust. Most people are confused about what they shpuld do this September.

      • I see no change in attitude to leadership in the near future from either side unfortunately. I was impressed with Simon Crean’s interview on the ABC Thurs 7.30 report, shame his mature and realistic attitude is not applied across the board.

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