Wednesday, June 13, 2012
A LITTLE PRIVACY, PLEASE
I'm a writer. Much of my life is spent in my little cubbyhole of an office, glued to a computer screen, a Kindle or a bookcase. Things like tornadoes and minor earthquakes sometimes pass unnoticed. I'm writing (or reading). When the kids were younger, there was a sign on my closed office door: "If you're not bleeding and the house isn't on fire, don't come in." It was a joke, of course, and one really loud noise from child or dog would bring me out like a mother grizzly, but there was a serious underlying message--I have a life, I have a job, I am a person. Now that the kids are grown the door is open, but I still utter a primal scream occasionally when the phone rings in the middle of a crucial scene.
I'm a writer. My privacy is my life and my life is private. Or it was until I (unwisely) friended someone who knew others in my online groups. Seemed harmless enough.
The first approach was by Facebook. "Dear Ms. Lonely Hearts." No, it didn't really read that way, but might as well have. He had seen my profile. I looked like a nice person. Was I married? He was looking for love (in all the wrong places, I might add.)
He looked for love by email addy, too. Mine. Next it was an instant message. Finally I started to get...dare I say it?...pissed. I am not THAT nice a person.
I've done what you can do: blocked, logged out, moaned and groaned to my publisher who fortunately takes such matters seriously. Hopefully this will end it. If not, I am prepared--really, seriously prepared--to take stronger measures. This is a lot worse than a phone ringing at the crucial moment.
Have you ever had this problem? If so, how did you deal with it? Are we as writers even more vulnerable to this sort of thing because we--you know--put ourselves out there? Does this make us celebrities? Funny, I don't feel like a celebrity. I feel like your average, slightly out-to-lunch writer. Sometimes I'm out to breakfast and dinner, too. I'm plotting.
I think I'm reasonably friendly. Genuine fan mail or fan discussion is delightful and I do respond. I love dogs and cats and am kind to children and little old ladies (after all, I'm rapidly becoming one). Still, if you're not bleeding or the house isn't on fire...