A Sudden Sense of Reeling
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
It was one thing to have the recent online attacks, the vicious ones focusing on my religion, confirmed today as coming from a woman I Â worked side by side with and considered Â a Â trusted Â friend…years Â ago.Â Â Weâ€™ve Â grown apart. Her Â recent Â shenanigans Â donâ€™t hurtâ€”Iâ€™m Â agitated but Â Iâ€™m relieved to discover this now before partnering on future Â business projects or volunteer Â work with her and wasting Â my time and Â money. Â But we were friends years agoÂ and not recently, Â and she really Â has no clue whatâ€™s happened in my life over the past five or more years.
By the end of the work day, my mindâ€™s been chugging along, Â processing Â things Â while I carried Â on my normal workday. Something very old and unexpected bubbled up during the day, and now? Now Iâ€™m pissed.
When you get a good review on a book, you feel validated. Then you forget about it.
Get a Â bad Â review Â and Â you Â remember Â every Â word.
Even years later. I think most writers are like that. Yes, itâ€™s just one Â opinion, but you so want everyone to love your baby and call it pretty.
But this happened a long time ago.
When some Â of Â my Â first Â book Â reviews Â showed Â up online, there were two that troubled me, mainly because they were downright mean. One ridiculed my beliefs even though the book had nothing to do with spirituality. The other clearly hadnâ€™t read the book and focused on elements in the online Â cover Â blurb Â and drew Â conclusions about the story that were wrongâ€”which reading the first few pages would have answered.
The reviews Â were Â prominently Â posted. Â I Â remember reading them and wondering who Iâ€™d pissed off because they were Â Â out-of-lineÂ Â Â Â mean…and yes, some Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â reader- reviewers can be quite mean, but this really set the standard in those days. Both reviews Â were anonymous Â and used similar language that told me they were by the same person, and by a fellow writer. There are certain terms that readers Â just donâ€™t use, but writers who are used to critiquing or judging contests certainly do.
Those terms stuck in my head. So did another phrase Iâ€™ve rarely heard in my life, but was prominent in the re- views.
Today I seemed to dip back in time, to years ago, in a rather Â sudden meditation Â that Â was Â more Â of Â a Â flash Â of memory mixed with Â Etheric interplay. I was sitting in a room with this woman and others, Â listening to her talk, listening to her use writer Â terminology, Â the same Â as Â in those reviews. Â I specifically remember Â this. As she was talking, not facing me, a watermark of those old reviews played behind her like a faded, waving flag. The conversation shifted to a bit of gossip about someone she disliked and in response to the news of this maligned person, she uttered her trademarked phrase that she saved for anyone she truly disliked. Except when she said it, she turned and looked directly at me in this impromptu meditation, as if she could see me back in time with her.
The same usual phrase in those reviews.
The words jarred me out of my meditative flash and I went reeling backward in my chair. I was so stunned. Of course. I used to hear that phrase from her all the time, yet when the mean reviews showed up, I never connected them with her. Why would I? She was a friend. We sat across the table from each other on a regular basis and shared ideas and efforts.
But with the end of the day comes the realization that she Â badmouthed Â me Â often, Â to Â friends, Â to Â strangers, Â to people online. I now understand little tidbits people tried to warn me about over the years but they all backed off when I mentioned that this woman was in my circle Â of friends. Maybe they knew I wouldnâ€™t believe them.
Iâ€™m wondering now if she disliked me from the first time we ever Â met and agreed to work together Â or if it started only when our religious beliefs diverged.
But what pisses me off is not that sheâ€™s declared war on me and Â my like-minded kind in a public but anonymous way, but that she was Â already actively engaged in guerilla tactics so many years ago when I was working by her side and always gave her any help she asked for, even if her frequent asking was sometimes enough to be a joke in my family. I guess I Â expect such tactics from people who donâ€™t like me or even from people Iâ€™ve grown apart from, but not from people I called friends, during the time they called me a friend to my face.
This a friendship Â that I thought Â had quietly slippedÂ away over the years. I donâ€™t regret losing it. It was gone a long time before I knew it, if it was ever really there at all.