Answering the critics
Sometimes it takes weeks to get back to reading your comments. I can read the 50 fun/nice/playful ones and then hit the sourpuss and it really harshes my mellow. Because there are still ratfinks out there who wish I'd dry up and blow away.
And I ain't gonna. So stick that in your bong and puff away.
Was I a "liability," as one commenter put it, because I was blogging about the goings-on on campus? And were they justified in zarching me out of a teaching job because some rich fat cat and his daughter Ashley didn't like the mirror I was holding up?
I was writing anonymously, not using real names or real identities or real locations. Call me Jimmy Frey if you want to, but I thought I was "fictionalizing" enough of the details to keep me out of trouble. Nobody was ever "lured" into telling me anything. I wasn't seeking material. It came to me uninvited. I also had no idea anybody was reading it.
Many of the stories I've written have been about students and others who passed through my classroom (and life) so many years ago that it would be almost impossible for them to recognize themselves. One reason I make up the funny names is that I can't remember the real ones. (To wit: The other day I ran into the former prof I called "Hot Pockets" and for the life of me, dang, it took me about three hours to remember his last name. )
And the bit about writing other people's stories being unethical. Are you kidding me? The bookstore shelves would be nearly empty if writers didn't use other people's lives and foibles and adventures and sexual indiscretions and odd conversational snatches in their own material. And the way I look at it, all of my stories are about me. They are my observations of the world around me, including what the people in it say or do when I'm in the room.
Whatever writing class taught you that it's unethical to write "other people's stories," forget it. That's crazy talk. Just don't write other people's printed stories word for word. That's called plagiarism. Or chick lit. Take your pick.
If anything, I wish I'd written MORE before I was dooced and lost the cloak of anonymity. Memory fades like a cheap t-shirt. I'm racing to get down now things that I will forget by August.
That's it for today. Keep reading. Keep leaving comments. I'm killing out the extra mean ones because they upset my mom. That's the only reason. I can dish it out and I can take it. But she can't.
And by the way, I just reread the Scary Mary Sunshine entry, which I posted last fall. And I still think that girl and her hideous yellow Juicy Couture towel dresses are ridiculous. She's graduating and no doubt settling into a cushy, high-paying job her father arranged for her. Sic transit gloria mundi.