An Open Letter to the Participants in the June WEP Story Competition

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I want to thank everyone for their recent comments and I will try and make sure that I visit all of the blogs on the list. I have had an extremely bad month. I don't take criticism well in any case. I am one of those people who never reads reviews of my work because I can get nine positive reviews and one bad one, and the bad one is the one that sticks with me. I then become intolerable to live with. It's better for my family that I don't read my reviews.

Nobody who has responded to this piece has been unnecessarily cruel or even harsh. I just feel like maybe for this particular competition, vampires are a subject which is really polarizing. I was kind of surprised because I tend to write about the paranormal, and the last piece I wrote featured a ghost/angel and it didn't raise anyone's hackles nearly as much as this one.

I know I'm not a great writer. I'm not even setting out with the intent to be a great writer. I like to write cheesy, over-the-top stories about the supernatural. My biggest influences are authors such as Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and Stephen King. I was also strongly influenced by the original Twilight Zone series.

I don't always respond this badly to "constructive criticism." I do have rapid cycling type 2 bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, so I tend to be more sensitive than the average bear. 

Marsha Linehan, an American psychologist and author, uses a great analogy to describe what Borderline Personality Disorder.

”People with BPD are like people with third-degree burns over 90 percent of their body. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement”.

There is an excellent post about the "burn of borderline personality disorder" here.

There is a misconception that people with borderline personality disorder all act out in very overt ways, which isn't true. I'm an extremely introverted person and if I wasn't a large person with a mop of very thick and vivid hair on my head, no-one would ever notice me. The truth is that most people living with psychiatric issues suffer in silence. Most of us don't want to cause any trouble because we're tired of being stigmatized and victimized.

There are those who would say that people like me simply shouldn't participate in activities like this. I say that isn't true.

Sometimes my emotional skin is a little thicker than it's been this month. This has been a rather difficult year so far. 

One thing's for sure, though. Vampires are off the table with future WEP challenges. Because, yikes!

~Cie Has Vomited Words~



18 comments:

  1. There are those who would say that people like me simply shouldn't participate in activities like this. I say that isn't true.
    DEFINITELY NOT TRUE!!!
    Love that analogy too, and mourn for those for whom it is fact rather than metaphor.

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    1. I do wish I'd known what was going on with me when I was younger and more full of piss and vinegar. I was misdiagnosed until I was close to 40. The doctors kept trying this SSRI and that SSRI, all of which only served to make me manic and psychotic. Except for Prozac, which made me want to cut my arm just to see if I could still feel anything, because that's how numbed out it made me.
      A lot of "mental health professionals" won't even work with people with borderline personality disorder. All the coping skills I've learned have been on my own, and they're a bit of a Frankenstein monster.
      It isn't that I want people to pity me. When I participate in this sort of challenge I do want critique of such factors as I wrote something in a confusing way. Sometimes I know my story so well in my own head that I inadvertently assume that everyone else knows it too!
      When I'm reading a genre that isn't really my cup of tea (i.e. most romance) I try to concentrate on whether I find the telling of the story to have clarity and to look at the interactions between the characters. Sometimes I find that I enjoy something better than I thought I would.
      As Denise said, there was a bit of a "follow the leader" thing that happened, and I quite felt piled on. I think it reminded me a bit much of my school days when I was always the butt of everyone's joke and the focal point of their aggressions.

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  2. Your reactions are totally understandable. Now I now the health issues you live with I feel guilty. I have an invisible illness - well, it's visible now I'm in a wheelchair - so I should be more sensitive.

    So, my apologies if my comment on your WEP post were harsh. By saying I didn't read vampire stories was not meant as a criticism of the writer. But it meant assessing one was hard as out of my depth and unqualified to judge. So, my failing not yours. I should never have judged.

    Sincere apologies.

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    1. Roland, you've no need to apologize. You simply stated that my story wasn't really your cup of tea. Your comment didn't bother me. It was more an expression of your own tastes. Kind of like how I like country music sometimes, but a lot of time it really isn't my thing, you know? It's cool.

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  3. If my previous comment sucks just delete it, please.

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    1. And I may not read 'vampire stories' - or romance - but give me a good movie and I'm glued: favourites include 'Nosferatu' [1922 and 1979 versions] 'Shadow of the Vampire', 'The Lost Boys' and 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'. And Spike and Angel...

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    2. The Lost Boys is one of my all-time favorite movies. Wonderful performances all around and a great sense of humor.
      One time someone set the 1922 Nosferatu up with Type O Negative's music playing in the background, and it actually worked amazingly well.
      Angel was great. Another favorite character, the vampire with a soul. Really enjoyed him quite a bit.

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    3. Don't tell anyone - except Denise - but you've triggered something to send me back down a rabbit hole. Or is it a warren?

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    4. Well, I hope it's a good rabbit hole! Mad hatters and tea, or perhaps classic vampire movies. :-D

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  4. Hello Cie! As you would have seen on your post, I'm appalled that the comments have made you feel you can't write about vampires. That's not right. WEP says 'ALL GENRES WELCOME, except erotica', and by gosh, it makes me want to write a vampire story for the next prompt. I know you felt you were 'picked on', but you did nothing wrong. I think a bit of follow-the-leader took place. The vampire genre is raking it in at the 'box office' and i hope you'll reconsider. I don't want to be the only vampire writer out here! There is a lot of support for you, even though you are probably concentrating on the negative comments. Don't. Feel free to email me if you want to talk some more...x

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    1. Hi Denise,
      Thank you for your kind thoughts. I agree there was a bit of a...I don't want to say "mob rules" thing going on as no-one was threatening my life by any means or even saying that I sucked, but there was certainly a snowball effect.
      I have already written my Red Wheelbarrow story, which is, in fact, a vampire story, although it's tongue in cheek. Sometimes the best revenge is to give the people what they DON'T want!
      I think part of the reason a lot of people have decided they don't like vampires is because the genre is popular. I've never been one to go along with the tide. I've liked (and feared) vampires since I was a kid hiding under my blanket to read vampire comics with a flashlight and then being afraid to get up to pee! Still love them, and no amount of glitter will change that! ;-)

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  5. I am delighted to read that you're going to be back with a vampire flash for red wheelbarrow! - am a great fan of tongue in cheek across genres. Look forward to reading it.

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy it. It was done purely in fun. Of course I'm waiting for the backlash that is sure to accompany it.

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  6. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. It's brave to share so much about yourself and the challenges you face. I hope you'll continue to participate in future WEP challenges!

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    1. I'm like toenail fungus. I keep coming back!
      I appreciate your prompts. They help me focus.

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  7. Hey, if you can write vampire stories that make even those of us who don't normally read them read all the way to the end, you're doing something right! And I look forward to the tongue-in-cheek August story. My tongue spends most of its time in my cheek. If my comment felt like "piling on," I apologize for that. It certainly wasn't my intention to imply that you were a bad writer OR that you shouldn't do vampire stories (my tastes have nothing to do with what you should write).

    I'm glad you haven't let this discourage you from participating--or from writing more vampires.

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  8. I enjoyed your Vampire story a lot and do hope you will write more. Comments and critique can be upsetting sometimes especially if they don't always come from the most balanced perspective and are carelessly worded. Our stories are our babies and we birth them carefully, sending them out into the world with trepidation. It feels awful when they're rained upon.

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