I have recently installed Bloglines and subscribed to the feeds of all the writers blogs listed in my sidebar (and the cooking ones I like to check out as well). Pot suggested it, as it was a way to have them all in one place and one click away instead of thirty. Plus it only shows the ones that have been updated, and the notifier allows you to see whether something’s been updated or not so you don’t waste the time clicking over to check. Thus far I’ve enjoyed it. I have missed actively trolling the blogosphere during my hiatus and this seems to be the answer to being able to do it without it just taking over all of my free time. /shameless plug for feed manager.
As I have been reading this week, I came in on the end of a big discussion of the actions of Deborah MacGillivray, who apparently has gone to some pretty extreme lengths to remove a bad review on Amazon. There’s a pretty decent summary of what’s going on over at Galleycat. It’s caused quite the brouhaha and opinions abound regarding MacGillivray’s behavior. I think the whole thing is kind of silly myself–it is a given that not everyone is going to like your work and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, period. Going to extreme measures to have such a review removed and apparently harassing the reviewer is well into inappropriate behavior territory. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
Author Tess Gerritsen has been openly expressing her opinion of the matter over the last few days, which is certainly her right. It’s her blog (and personally I think she makes a lot of perfectly valid points). Well this morning I got up to find this post. It looks like she’s going to take a break from blogging and may or may not come back. I think this is a crying shame. I enjoy reading her blog. She’s open, honest, and funny. I like that she doesn’t shy away from sensitive issues. But apparently she’s getting blasted for it. This is the second author I’ve seen practically forced to leave the blogosphere because of comments made about some furor in the publishing community since I started reading writer’s blogs. The other was Stephanie Feagan, whose blog was “temporarily taken offline” about a year ago in response to her comments regarding–well I can’t remember what drama. But it was, again, a real shame. Stephanie was a hoot to read. I appreciate people who are candid and honest. They’re real. I’m not a woman who likes to pussyfoot around things. My mother says I have no tact (which is practically the 11th commandment here in the South), but it’s more that I generally don’t see the point in beating around the bush. Say what you mean and be straight about it. Nothing either of these women said was obnoxiously rude. So why are they getting castigated in public forums for speaking their minds?
It’s something to think about. Obviously you have to be careful what you say on a blog. Whether your readership is 10 or 10,000, your words are out there in a public forum to be read by all–for better or for worse. It’s an issue in personal blogs (you talk about your friends and speak your mind as if it’s a private journal and they read it–it’s going to come back to bite you in the ass) and professional ones. But it’s absolutely ridiculous to have to guard every word that comes out of your mouth–it takes the personality and, well, the fun out of blogging. If you can’t be yourself, what’s the point? There has to be some kind of balance between being able to express oneself and being held accountable for it. The fact that a readership can (and does) take exception to something that someone says is their right. But in our country where freedom of speech is paramount, it’s the right of the speaker to say whatever the heck they darn well please.