Response to the Oxymoron

I came across this blog post the other day, and there are just so many things wrong with it. I’m kind of hoping that it’s all an elaborate hoax to sell books, because the idea that someone could legitimately think in this manner is utterly terrifying. And yet, as a youngish woman, I, like many others, have been the target of a stalker myself, and know that for many men, for some reason, there is a sort of twisted logic that tells them that because they covet you, you should be theirs, regardless of your feelings on the matter.

Ah, being a woman. Sometimes, I forget that I am just a pretty incubator, just a thing, a belonging, meant to be chosen by a dominant male specimen until he feels like tossing me aside for a more attractive, younger model.

But here is my annotated version of one of the creepiest blog posts ever written:

Her smile stimulated the deepest feelings of wonderment inside my being.

This sentence is thoroughly disturbing. The use of the words “stimulated,” “deepest,” and “inside” are all symbolic of the rape culture vibe of this piece. Right in the first paragraph, there are signs that this piece is going to piss me off.

Some people offer fake smiles, but a smile should never be forced.

Interesting that the writer posits a smile should not be forced, yet has no similar qualms regarding a relationship, since stalking is, in essence, the attempt to force a relationship on someone who has no interest in it.

I invited her onto the BBC University Challenge team that I was putting together. “I don’t know if I’m brainy enough Rich,” she said.

“We need beauty as well as brains,” I replied.

Yet more evidence that the author has a rape culture view of the world.

She let me choose a picture of her to use on the form, since she was busy.

That evening, I went through her many Facebook pictures. “Maybe this one?” I asked in a chat message.

“It’s not opening,” she said. “What photo is it?”

“You’re wearing a low-cut black lace-trimmed top. On your pink lips, a mischievous smile is playing,” I described.

“Ermm, if you think I look smart enough,” she replied.

This whole section shows a guy who just… has no clue. She “let” him choose a picture – interesting word choice. It doesn’t exactly sound like she desires for him to pick a photo of her, just that she was like “eh, whatever…” And then, he goes “through her many Facebook pictures.” I mean, sure, a lot of us Facebook stalk, but I doubt we would phrase it in exactly that manner.

Then, there is his choice of a completely inappropriate picture for an application to join a trivia team. This team is theoretically supposed to be about intelligence, or at least rote memorization, but that he has suggested this female join because the team needs “beauty as well as brains,” which makes total sense, because beauty is an integral component of intelligence and trivia testing, right?

Oh, wait… no. That’s completely wrong.

He chooses an inappropriate picture, he tries to flirt as he describes it in a way that probably resulted in some creepy shivers crawling down this poor girl’s spine, and she firmly gave him “I’m not into this” signals by repeating that she’s interested in the resume-building aspect of this team she’s joining.

Determined to impress her and get our team onto TV, I intensively revised my general knowledge. I also frequented the student bar where she worked. I figured out what hours she did each day and went at those times.

Um… stopping by at someone’s place of work once in awhile to say hi is general friendliness. Obsessively pouring over their work schedule and lurking at their place of work every shift is creepy.

A couple of weeks before our University Challenge audition, she unfriended me on Facebook. I was a little shocked and asked her why.

“You’re kinda freaking me out,” she explained. “You’re a good guy but you’re being far too forward.”

“Are you still doing University Challenge with us?” I asked.

“Only as a friend, but nothing more,” she replied.

She’s being honest. She doesn’t hate this guy, but she’s not into it, and she wants to make sure that she’s not sending him any signals that could be construed as a “maybe.”

She does it because she’s worried that he will respond in exactly the way that he does:

For some reason, I then decided to tell her how I really felt; that I had become infatuated with her, and that I was in love with her. With hindsight, of course I wouldn’t have done that. In fact, I would have done almost everything differently but, at the time, I felt compelled to do what I did.

When someone specifically, honestly tells you they’re not into you in a romantic way, you take them at their word. Period.

Then, there’s the fact that infatuation is not the same thing as love, and it’s not clear from this paragraph that the author can tell the difference.

On top of that is the fact that this guy was sent very unsubtle signals that this girl is not romantically interested in him, at all, and he proceeds to respond to this with “I love you.” Like, were you even paying attention?

She pulled out of the team. We found a replacement and failed the audition anyway (I doubt that her inclusion would have made a difference). My dream of winning University Challenge and impressing the maiden was shattered.

Way to pull out the chivalrous, condescending language.

For those of you who think that knights rescuing damsels in distress is a romantic notion to which we should all aspire, let me inform you that you’re wrong, and that I can hold the fucking door open myself, thank you very much. I am not so weak that I need someone else to save me. And when I do need help, it’s probably not from the freak in two tons of metal.

Over the next few weeks, when it became clear that I had no chance with her, my behaviour became increasingly erratic. I would drink 2 bottles of wine and go into a club, climb over the fence after being kicked out, and get into fights. I got banned from my SU, which meant that I could no longer go to the bar where she worked.

But… she never sent you any positive signals. If you were just being wild because you were young, okay. But going crazy because some chick who never even slightly pretended to be interested in you is a little weird. Like, I think the guy who plays Hook from Once Upon a Time is crazy hot, but the fact that he doesn’t know I exist doesn’t mean I’m going to put on a poofy dress and try to throw myself off of a tall building because he doesn’t reciprocate my lust.

Occasionally, I passed her on the street. Once, I saw her in the library, and she smiled at me. She was prolific on Twitter and it often felt like her tweets were directed at me.

Her tweets are not directed at you. Get help.

I wrote love letters to her. I still had her address from the forms that she filled out for University Challenge. I felt a bit guilty using that information, but I wasn’t turning up at her door or anything. I sent a few love letters through the post, rose-themed cards containing poetry and drawings. I also left messages on her phone.

No.

You feel guilty using that information, because that information was not given to you in a personal context. You are abusing your power – in this case, the power of information derived from a position of in a group she briefly considered joining until you freaked her out.

She has told you she’s not interested in you – you are ignoring her personal interests, which is odd, since you supposedly love her.

This. Is. Wrong. Stop it.

After that, I thought long and hard about what I was doing. I think that is when I first accepted that I had become a stalker. Before, I had been an admirer. But what does stalking really mean? It seems to mean that you truly love someone who does not love you back.

I’m pretty sure you don’t understand what love is; it’s not ignoring what the other person wants if it doesn’t mesh with what you wish that person wanted. It doesn’t mean harassing someone, becoming such a toxic presence in that person’s life, that they must turn to law enforcement to try to get you to stop calling them and sending them love letters.

Every great romance is about two partners who are utterly obsessed with each other. Romeo, Juliet, Tristan and Isolde are people who are so passionately and powerfully in love that nothing else matters to them. But what if that feeling was felt on only one side? What if Juliet had rejected Romeo? Would he become a stalker?

Probably not. Given the beginning of that play, Romeo probably would have whined to his friends for a few days before he found someone else to bone.

It seems that modern society drools over depictions of this intense, obsessional love, but only when it is mutual. When it comes from just one side, it is suddenly deemed a terrible thing.

Here, you have a point. Society does depict obsessional love a lot of times – and maybe that’s not the most healthy thing.

Seven months later, when it was complete, I decided to try to make my book known by getting into the national news. I found out that she worked in Glasgow, so I traveled there with a plan. I was going to tell her that if she came with me, and we faked a kidnapping, we would both become famous. We would go into the hills and camp out for a few days while the nation searched. I had brought the necessary supplies.

Why…? I am so confused as to why this was ever even semi-seriously contemplated. First of all, who agrees to a fake kidnapping? That didn’t even work in season 2 of 21 Jumpstreet, which taught us that if you’re contemplating a fake kidnapping, you probably haven’t thought through all the details, and that Johnny Depp is extremely attractive in drag.

And she went to the authorities to get you to leave her alone. She doesn’t want to even see you, let alone plan fake kidnappings with you to try to help you get some book sold.

Yesterday, I saw her on the street and approached her, and called her name, but she freaked out.

It’s almost like you’re stalking her or something.

But the most disturbing part of the post, is its’ ending:

I left Glasgow, and I think our relationship is finished now. I gave it my best shot. I really thought that we would both become famous. We would have disappeared for a few days, people would have read my book, and she could have played the lead role when The World Rose is made into a movie. But alas; I’ll have to find another way.

Oh, I see. So since YOU’VE decided the “relationship” that wasn’t really a relationship is “finished,” now it’s really over. When she explicitly told you, I don’t like you like that, but you decided you loved her, it was okay for you to use information that you had derived in a completely inappropriate manner from an application she filled out for a resume-building activity to CALL her and WRITE to her and HARASS her in a manner that was, at the least, extremely hard to avoid. When she talked to the police, to try to really send home the message that she wasn’t interested in you being in her life anymore, it was okay for you to send her disturbing, creepy valentine’s, and plan to pretend to kidnap her (which, are any of your readers really buying the idea that you know the difference between a pretend and real kidnapping when you don’t even know the difference between a pretend and real relationship – I really, sincerely, truly hope not). But now, you’re kind of over this chick because you wrote an insanely creepy blog post about your insistence to create a relationship where no mutual attraction existed, and in which you admit that you stalked her, but in a “benevolent” way, when that’s not even possible. Stalking, in its’ very essence, is malicious. It is the refusal to pay any regard to the feelings and wishes of a fellow human being, because you don’t feel like it. By admitting to being a stalker, you are admitting to being someone whose grasp of reality needs help, and I sincerely hope that you seek it. Because if you have had trouble comprehending the clear signals, words, phrases, and actions of someone who was never interested in you, then if you do not receive psychiatric help, this cycle will likely repeat.

And that is not okay.

Conflict

A novel is nothing without conflict.

ef4e4a916adadc65030ecea34441c199So if you’re getting bored or lost during NaNo, perhaps think about what conflict your novel is currently centered around. Maybe it’s the wrong one. Maybe it’s not in there yet.

& I feel it is often said to kill off a character, if you’re stuck, although I don’t know if that advice is good or bad.

Share your favorite conflict story in the comments! Let’s get motivated.

Setting Yourself Up to Win: Notebook in October, Novel in November?

london - notebook

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have no clue what I plan to write about in November. There are always ideas swirling in my head, but I probably don’t have the time to outline before November 1st, so I plan to kind of fly by the seat of my pants.

fly by seat of pants

I feel that the best way for me to approach November might be to observe the world around me, jot down thoughts in my notebook, and when November hits, figure out what coalesces in my mind, based on what has tickled my fancy during October.

How about you guys? How are you preparing for the month of little sleep & bleeding creativity out onto a Word document?

bleed

THIS is why you’re contemplating participating in NaNoWriMo:

closer

Even contemplating participating in the insanity that involves writing 1,667 words every day immediately after you’re done being scared by Halloween, and thus, in the midst of the holiday season, is a big task.

Writing a novel is a lot of work. It is not advisable to sugar coat the endeavor; you sit in a chair, with your real-life experiences and/or your imagination, and try not to focus on the blinking cursor (b/c that shit can be mesmerizing, which probably won’t help with the dilemma of writer’s block). Writing is work, and only the most persistent finish their works, and if they want, get published.

But if you’re contemplating participating in National Novel Writing Month, you should probably do it. Take the jump, giving yourself the chance of a great reward by leaping into a large risk. If you’re thinking of writing 1,667 words or more every day in November, there is a story inside of you that you want to get out. And if you don’t do it in November, when will you do it?

I think I’m going to try to post something writing related and/or inspirational throughout October, to help remind myself why I want to participate in NaNoWriMo, to stoke myself up for the process (b/c you’re more likely to achieve your goals if those goals are materialized in your mind), and to provide a place to turn to when I begin to feel lost in November.

Writing novels is hard, but we can do this. In the spirit of pending commiseration, what is your favorite piece of writing advice?