An interesting thing transpired the other day. I recently took over a meet-up group that I have been an active member of since February of this year. It is structured as a critique group. We upload the work we want reviewed and we review the other submissions, then we get together and offer up our thoughts and ideas as to what is really strong in the piece and where perhaps it may be improved. This is done in a very supportive and encouraging manner. I have found this group so beneficial in the completion of my book. Now that I am doing the edit, the thoughts and suggestions have been invaluable. It is great to get a sampling of people who write in a variety of genres and all come from different backgrounds. This creates a fantastic test audience.
The gentleman who started this group is moving to Boston with his wife and baby and since he lives just two blocks away from me I offered to take the group over. I changed the evening and extended the meetings by an additional hour. Other than that, the format remains. A discussion began on the site the other day with members discussing adding additional meetings at other locations. Currently we have the meetings every second Wednesday in my home. This was bounced around and by days end I simply stated that I would keep the meetings as they were but encouraged other members to look for additional writing groups (I myself belong to two) and suggested that they may want to develop another group apart from this one.
I just didn’t want the additional responsibility of adding meetings and managing where they would be held, etc.
I left work and went running with my group. Had an awesome run. My energy has been a little low as of late, but its coming back. I got home about 7:45 PM and showered quickly then the phone rang. One of the women in my writing group wanted to know what my take on the ‘discussion’ that was occurring on the meet-up site. I had not viewed it since posting my comment about maintaining the current setup. We chatted for a bit, then I went to check out the comments that had been made.
It became a bit of a battle between two members, one of whom had just joined and had only attended one meeting. His comments were becoming increasingly condescending and held the note of insult to them. His last entry that he posted was crude and vulgar and very insulting.
I got very hot under the collar. I emailed him directly and told him that posting such comments on this site was unacceptable and suggested that an apology was in order. I got an earful of ‘respect has to be earned’ and ‘if you give in to whiny shit disturbers then you are no better’. You get the idea.
So I suggested that someone of his advanced years should not feel the need to be reduced to the sandbox mentality of calling names to other people and suggested that if amends were not made then perhaps this was not the group for him.
I just wonder sometimes at the lack of manners a person feels they can display with such an arrogance. I did point out that respect in my mind is a platform from which to work from. It is not, in mind, something that needs to be ‘earned’. It is something that should be afforded to everyone.
I respect many thing. I respect the earth, the air, the trees, the grass, all life forms, be they animal, human, bird or sea creatures. I respect a point of view, an opinion, a person’s belief, etc. And whether I agree with another person or not they are entitled to their opinion. I might walk away shaking my head because it is so at odds with how I view things, but hey? Healthy debate can be a good thing. But I will not tolerate name calling and aggressive behaviour. And in this case, the new member weighed into an area that really did not concern him. Fine to make your comments, but don’t target someone and this is what occurred.
I had people who were scheduled to come to the next meeting actually cancel after they saw these comments. So yes, I went in deleted them from the forum and will make if very clear that if no apology is forthcoming, then he is not welcome. The group does not tolerate or accept this type of behaviour.
So that was my introduction into taking over the writing group. Let’s hope it settles down a bit.