Still Reading and Much More

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It has been awhile since I blogged. I have felt fine, guilty, wasteful, disloyal and then fine again for not needing to blog. Yet today as I received another reminder to pay for my blog domain, and yes finally decided to pay it, I feel moved to blog a little.

 

I am doing fine, my OCD is still with me but perhaps less rampant. I still have my perfected avenues of avoidance, but I also have the ability and will to talk myself off an emotional ledge when required.

 

I am not dependant, nor do I find it necessary, to share how I feel with others often and I am accustomed to safeguarding myself. I take no medication for my mental illness anymore and am currently receiving no formal therapy. I will review this with a professional in June to see if this is still advisable.

 

Most days I am fine, but there are days, as we all know when interractions with others or incidences, can rock the boat and in those situations I find I need support but less so and not for too long.

 

For example, recently I wrote a five star review for a book I had finished reading and usually after doing so I am met with either an expected silence from the author or a friendly and appreciated thanks (not compulsory, my social awkwardness prefers the silence), however on this occasion I turned to social media to find the author had complained about me to an admin on a Facebook book group alledgedly accusing me of giving away a spoiler. Something I have in my over 1500 books read and reviewed, never done. I disagreed, at most I had said a main character (not named) had died and in the crime thriller genre thats hardly news, but removed the post and reposted how much I enjoyed her book and apologised for the alledged spoiler anyway.

 

It is fair to say the incident stuck in my craw and I will think twice before interracting with or reading another from the author in question, who was on my Facebook friendlist at the time of her complaint, I have since removed her.  I don’t need this sort of negative interaction.

 

Drastic? Possibly. I blocked her too. Why? Because she has contacted me and interracted with me on numerous occasions on social media when she asked me to read or review yet in this case she made a complaint to a third party, who incidently is a good friend of mine, rather than using other less inflammatory channels to get her point across, hence losing a fan and a reader.

 

In the past I would be upset, possibly tearful and lamenting all of humanity and smoldering over this for days if not weeks, but today I remain resolute that I did nothing wrong and I don’t know what this individual is going through, however, I do have my own issues and there are plenty of other books to be read so I choose to no longer risk being at the mercy of someone elses’ ire or opinion of what constitues a damaging spoiler. I make no apologies for my reaction and actions I subsequently took.

 

That is progress in adversity for me and I am fine with that. Others may have handled it differently, may disagree with the whole spoiler question and be subsequently more laid back about the whole interraction, but I am me and this is what I do. I am no longer second guessing myself.

 

 

The Arrogance-Humility Balance

Years ago, before the cats came into my life, I read a book. One of many and it was a paperback at that time as it was also pre-Kindle days. The book contained a glaring error. I had never contacted an author before but felt it was an error that needed addressing, so contacted her through her web page. Having your own web page was a new phenomenon at the time. I was cordial and explained why it was an error and why it was important to me. I think I was expecting a, “thank you for bringing it to my attention,” response but what I got was a simple statement which said she didn’t respond to comments when they got personal and I was to never contact her again. I was baffled. Personal? I didn’t know anything about her personally. Never contact her again? What did I do? Never having been asked ever before to refrain from contacting people I was bewildered. I read my message to her over and again. I asked colleagues, friends and family to read the message too as I honestly couldn’t see how I was being offensive at the time. Fortunately, neither could they.

It appears that my offence was my audacity to point out her mistake. How dare I take issue, or criticise anything she had written? She was after all a published author and I was only one of the many minions of unwashed who bought her books. My experience, knowledge and indeed point of view was not relevant to anything she had put on paper. When I reviewed the book I pointed out the error and I received an email from the author headed with the words, “You lied!” She apparently wasn’t thrilled with my review of her book, particularly by my omission in my review, much to her chagrin, that i had allegedly harassed her(!) I was alarmed at receiving such an email at the time, it was pre-cat breeding days and I have since received many strongly worded emails from various unsavoury folk, at the time though I was a young, naive, practicing GP and people didn’t speak to me in such a manor, unless trying to dupe me into prescribing drugs or signing them off work etc..

I was asked not to contact her and yet she had used my personal information I entered into her website to contact me. It was quite a dilemma, so I asked my husband to write back on my behalf stating that according to her wishes I would not contact her but I had the right to express my opinion where I felt appropriate and when you ask someone to refrain from contacting you it’s an unsaid given that you shouldn’t contact them, however as this obviously wasn’t obvious to her, my husband asked her on my behalf not to use my contact information any more.

I use this experience as an example to demonstrate arrogance. Instead of saying, “oops my bad,” or words to this effect, the author chose arrogance over humility. Her literary career flagged somewhat after and I couldn’t help but feel maybe her reluctance to consider her errors, learn and grow had something to do with that.

We all make mistakes. I know I’ve made mistakes. I have written drug charts incorrectly in hospital, I have forgotten to write a letter of referral, send patient information leaflets when I said I would and I have also owned up to not knowing the ins and outs of the fluids used in peritoneal dialysis on the renal wards. Luckily by admitting my shortcomings and that I don’t know I implemented better mechanisms to avoid errors and I learnt things from wonderful people to make me better at my job and value the power of humility.

Arrogance robs you of opportunities to connect with people and improve yourself. It isolates you and puts a barrier between you and those who may enlighten you positively or negatively. We all have bad experiences but arrogance turns any experience into a bad one.

I admire the new breed of Independently published authors because the majority seem humble. They listen and might very well discard what I say, but they listen. They don’t make their own bad PR and hide behind a publisher. Learning to take criticism is valuable as is learning from mistakes if you have the humility to accept them first.

Thankfully this experience was a one-off and I have not had anything similar in the last 7 years since my unfortunate dealings with this author despite reviewing and being candid with my thoughts about many books.

So in summary don’t let arrogance rob you of opportunities that humility will empower you with.

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