Daniel’s Journal #10 – The Bookening

Or: A Tale of Trolling

Recently, I had some troll activity due to my tweets regarding Trump and the state of our country. You may even recall my blogging from yesterday: Another Day, Another Shooting. I garnered a reaction from a tweet of mine:

“Is America great again yet?”

This is something I tweet every so often, mostly when politics or the MAGA-heads get to be a little too much for me to stomach. I had a response in the form of another question.

“Have you sold any books yet?”

The answer is no, I haven’t, if you really need to know. I have manuscripts written, three that are past the editing phase, and I’m focusing my efforts on finding an agent or publisher. This is a long and exhausting exploratory process that can take months. Even the best authors can get dozens of rejections before hitting their mark, and my subject matter isn’t exactly “safe” for a seasoned agent or publisher looking for the next YA dystopian novel. It’s a big and tough business to break into, and most fresh writers take years to make that first, glorious sale. I see no shame in my literary endeavor thus far. No real writer would.

But I somehow think that long-ass paragraph wasn’t why they were asking.

I get why people troll. I’ve been there, on the other end of the spectrum. You want to share your misery, your personal shortcomings. You can’t get revenge on society or the fucked up world around you, so you lash out at some writer jerk on social media for a quick laugh, and the internal pain goes away for a moment or two. Maybe it doesn’t really go away, but at least you have solace that you’ve passed the pain inside to another.

Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s jealousy, as I’ve assumed in the past. My gut reaction, if I could answer their question with my own this time, would be: “How many have you sold?”

The answer, of course, would be zero. Same as me, I know, but at least I have drafts, manuscripts, options, aspirations, and an awesome writer-based support system around me. But that may be what’s pumping up the jealousy.

I’ve looked into a number of people who you’d call trolls in the past. No, really, I have. I’ve come to know some personally, and I know quite a few through various friends of friends. I’ve seen the patterns: Miserable home life, mental illness, personality disorders, disabilities, alcohol and/or drug abuse, etc… It’s easy to lash out toward someone with ambition, skill, and optimism if your world is shit.

I am a firm believer in the saying: “Do not feed the trolls.” It’s a cry for attention, and they want you to lash out in return. They want you to tweet them back, call them out for being jealous, petty assholes. There are no winners in an online argument. Even if you report them and get them banned, they’ll be back on a backup account in minutes. More will come, too. They sense the reaction and want their own. They want whatever fleeting joy they get from their tormenting, and they’ll know you’re the right target for it. Don’t believe me? Google what happened to Leslie Jones the day she started calling out trolls when Ghostbusters was released. They all wanted in on that hot, troll action.

Someone once explained to me how to deal with as troll, but I’m OK with my “block and ignore” policy. I don’t have time for epic battles with people who don’t even know why they do what they do, and I’m sure they’re appreciative I let them go live their own lives without belittling themselves by engaging me in verbal combat.

So live and let live. Who really gives a shit anyway?

-Daniel Aegan

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