Monday, August 08, 2005

The old bag's mailbag

We had a weekend houseguest, so I knocked off blogging for three days, but that didn't prevent my e-mail inbox from being flooded by people who disagreed with my response to the RWA awards ceremony brouhaha. Some messages were polite, others quite offensive, but each writer desired me to answer his or her point-by-point challenges. Since I've never received this many private e-mails about a single blog post, I can only conclude that this was a concerted effort to innundate me with mail on the subject. I think it's particularly telling that I recognized none of the e-mailers' names and that none identified themselves as regular readers of this blog.

I sent the same brief reply to everyone who wrote:
I regret that I'm unable to address your comments about the awards ceremony. The blog is something I do for fun, and I'm afraid I don't have any extra time to engage in private correspondence to explain or defend what I've posted there.

You're welcome to post your comments on the blog, where I will respond when I find the time, and where other people may wish to engage in a discussion with you.

Thanks for reading my blog.
Friends, this blog is not my job, it's my recreation, and I have only so many free hours to spend on it. I don't owe anyone a private e-mail debate, and those of you who are spoiling for a fight are going to be disappointed if you try to engage me that way. If you want to take issue with something I write on the blog, the place to do that is here on the blog. You need not be registered with Blogger to post a comment, and if you prefer to post anonymously, you can certainly do that.

If there's something in particular you'd like to see me post about or if you have suggestions for making this blog more interesting, by all means shoot me an e-mail. The only kind of e-mail I'm discouraging is the kind that challenges me to defend facts and opinions I've posted here.

I don't mean this to sound unfriendly, but there is a lot more to my life than this blog. I'm doing this for fun, so if it ever stops being fun, I'll shut this puppy down in a New York minute.

Now. Comment if you dare. ;-)


Robin said...

Hi, Brenda. I had to bow out of attending the RWA conference at the last minute, so I can't comment on the awards night ceremony. However, I did like reading your perspective since it is impossible not to be aware of the latest controversy.

You are so right about there always being *something* to stir the RWA pot. Every RWA President, including me (more than a decade ago), has had to deal with one controversy or another. The one thing I have come to believe is that no one ever runs for an office on the RWA board (or volunteers for other positions) with bad intentions. They come because they think they have something to offer. Sometimes they make mistakes -- sometimes really big ones (and it sounds like this was) -- but that doesn't make them bad people.

I hope it will all die down soon.

Thanks again for the great posts.


Anonymous said...

I agree. No matter how mangled a presentation may be, I don't believe for one second anyone went at it with anything but good intentions. I just can't fathom someone saying, "Yeah, let me make a program that will tick off a good percentage of members."

I read Tara's response and I can see how this kind of thing went awry. We're human. Poop happens. That's enough for me.

I say, cut Tara some slack.

While I understand totally Nora's objections, I also get Tara's explanation of why she didn't make the statement THEN AND THERE. That night wasn't about Nora. It was about a lot of contestants and their family and friends and fellow writers.

It just got messed up communications-wise. So...c'est la vie.

I just hope that all future presentations focus on RWA and the Publishing industry--which ties in with the scope of the conference. And I hope we always remember that these are people doing work on our behalf and they're not gonna get it 100% right, anymore than we would in their shoes.


Julana said...

I think it's funny that romance writers get so upset. Maybe they are in the wrong genre.

Anonymous said...

Julana, romance writers are no different than anyone else. What? You never got upset at your job about something? I know I got upset about something at every job I ever had, and didn't like some management decisions or some mgmt screw-ups. Writing is a business. Writing associations have business aspects. That means, people will get upset about something at some time. :)


Brenda Coulter said...

Mir, if Julana's been reading the same blogs I have, she knows the romance writers posting on them aren't merely "upset," they're enraged. Like Julana, I think it's strange that a bunch of romance writers (aren't we all warm, loving people?) have been so vitriolic about one misguided awards program. As Robin Lee Hatcher said above (thanks for the compliments, Robin; it's always good to see you here), the RWA leaders are well-meaning volunteers who work very hard. These people are giving up their free time (and, I suspect, a good portion of their sanity) for the good of the organization. As you say, Mir, they hardly set out to see how many people they could offend with that program.

They've admitted their error and promised to do better in the future. So like Robin, I hope this will die down now. We need time to catch our collective breath and brace ourselves for the next controversy.

Camy Tang said...

I completely agree with your stand about this blog and the RWA stuff. Kudos to you, B, for having the kahones to say what you mean and mean what you say.

Anonymous said...


I guess I"m glad I ain't reading those blogs, then. I just don't think this is sufficient cause for "getting enraged" levels of reaction. Maybe 'cause I read so much global news (ie, persecution of the church in assorted places, famine and drought in Africa,kidnappings in South America, assorted ear and hand-chopping offs by Muslim extremists, Asian child prostitution, anarchist idiots in California) that this can't really ruffle my feathers overly much. :)


Cory said...

Now. Comment if you dare. ;-)

Ms. Coulter,

Speaking only for myself, I’m an expatriate working in Hong Kong. I’m also an avid romance reader - not avid enough I guess, because, as I have said in my email, I haven’t heard of Brenda Coulter before this debacle (though I have heard of Ann Coulter, hence my question). Which would also mean you wouldn’t recognize my email name either. I’ve read about this debacle, not from any writer’s blog or romance website but from a liberal political blog called Dailykos. From there, I followed the link to other sites including Nora Robert’s statement, came across yours at a site called Lee Goldberg’s blog and just so happens to disagree with what you said. Hence my email. No concerted effort here (on my part at least) to inundate you with email on this particular subject. Gosh, that sounds like a conspiracy theory. Neither was it sent with an intention to engaged you in a debate. There’s no conspiracy here. Just to state my own opinions as a response to yours. Like you, I only have so many free hours to spend on and engage on a discussion w/c, if I have to post on a blog, will have to include a few other people also. That's why I preferred to send you an email. Plus, I haven't been to you site before and didn't know the rules.

<<< The only kind of e-mail I'm discouraging is the kind that challenges me to defend facts and opinions I've posted here.>>>

Sorry if what I or the others have said is putting you so much on the defensive. I also apologize for taking up so much of your valuable time. Rest assured, this will be the last. As a conclusion, let me just say I still stand up to what I said. Let me add a quote from Josemaria Escriva (Opus Dei founder), something which I believe in -

***You never want “to get to the bottom of things”. At times because of politeness. Other times - most times - because you fear hurting yourself. Sometime again, because you fear hurting others. But always because of fear. With that fear of digging for the truth you’ll never be a man of good judgement.***

Yours sincerely,

Anonymous said...

Daily Kos is talking about this? Wow. What a nutbag that guy is. Now I know this must be a real non-issue if that loon picked it up. ; )

Brenda Coulter said...

Mir, you're incorrigible. ;-)

To Cory, just in case you come back:

All right, so you weren't part of a conspiracy to flood me with e-mails on this subject. But I still believe there was one, because I've never seen anything remotely approaching 30 e-mails regarding a single blog post. To put it in perspective for you, I generally get only two three e-mails a day about this blog (not counting the comments people post here). It's pretty obvious that someone published my e-mail address in a forum somewhere and encouraged people to write. Several of the e-mailers appeared not even to have read the blog entry; I'm guessing that after being told what I had said (and how to feel about it), they saw no need to read it for themselves. Unlike you, none of the others have come over here and posted their comments. That srongly suggests that their aim was never to exchange opinions and enjoy a healthy debate, but merely to tell me off.

By the way, Cory, there's nothing to get to the bottom of. Explanations have been issued, apologies have been made, and RWA members have been assured such a thing won't happen again.

Brenda Coulter said...

Oops. Forgot to wave to Camy.

Thanks, sweetie.