Sandy, thank you for your feedback. (BTW when I try to call out your profile name it comes out funny: @S. Lynn Knight)
Of course, you’re right about the difference between writing with skill and art versus vomiting on the page with the same grace as a neighborhood drunk kicked to the street after closing time.
It’s strange what may happen when someone responds thoughtfully to what was, at the time, a cynical personal rant that I thought would go unnoticed. There was a nuance to what you wrote about art that made me ask if what I wrote was incomplete or incorrect when seen through calmer eyes.
So I reread my article, and it brought a completely unexpected experience.
Aside from my embarrassment at my poor proof reading skills, I was amazed at how much had changed in the month since I wrote the article.
In a small way, I gave A. McEnnis a really important gift, throwing a green heart of validation to one of the millions of people who float around the internet feeling lost and alone. And then other people found her, and now she’s a valued member of the community. That means more to me than anything else I’ve done at Medium.
After that, I noticed people started recommending other authors like I did, instead of begging for personal validation. I don’t know who did it first, but I hadn’t seen anyone do it, so it’s cool to have the delusion that I dropped a small stone in my small pond and perhaps those ripples had some larger effect.
Since then, I have been taught about the micro-aggressions people suffer because of their sex or race — something I never could have learned personally in my sheltered privileged existence — by reading and responding to some of those viewpoints expressed on Medium. As you wrote, “it is a priceless gift we have paid NO price for ourselves.”
Some of the personal conversations I’ve shared with other writers have brought to light some things in my past that were either forgotten or had remained unconscious, an experience no less illuminating than being personally invested in group therapy. To them I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Unfortunately, I have also felt the anger and pain and helplessness of learning that Kel Campbell left Medium in response to the virtual brown shirts who invaded Medium.
In my anger, I wrote too hasrshly in response to some people. And I saw how easy it was for others to pick up on even a harmless comment that, without the context of my tone of voice and facial expression could hurt someone I consider a friend.
Finally, I experienced a small taste of the simmering hatred and veiled threats of violence that so many women and minorities experience on a daily basis, and it blew my mind.
It never occurred to me that anything I wrote online would matter to anyone else, but now I am even more aware of writing only things that I would say to that same person if we met face to face.
Having said all that, nice to meet you!