"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane
I was not directly affected by Strikethrough 2007. I did, however, know some of the people whose support communities were suspended.
I am, above all, a believer in freedom of speech and thought.
I also know what it feels like to lose your writing.
It may have been naive, but those people on the fiction and fandom communities had not backed up their material.
I was trapped for 15 years in an abusive marriage which operated like a psychotic chess game. My daughter was held hostage to my “good behavior.” I was backed into a corner where I could have escaped if I had been willing to abandon my child. But I had promised her that I would never leave her. I eventually found a way to checkmate my ex and get out with my child.
But that is not the subject of this post. I want to tell you what happened to my manuscripts.
The last year that I was with my ex we got a scanner. I knew that to escape meant traveling light. So I began to scan all my files and manuscripts into the computer and I put them on floppies. The year was 1994.
I got rid of my paper versions as I got them onto floppies and I hid the floppies, which I had also passworded. My ex figured out what I was doing. He was a genius after all. An extremely brilliant man.
He located those floppies that I had hidden and he brandished them at me and then he stomped them, destroying all the data, all the stories and novels I had on them.
Years later I reconstructed one of the novels from pieces of several drafts and while I was reconstructing them I cried. I cried every time I ended up with a gap in the novel. That novel had gotten me a full scholarship at a major women’s college. I had sold it to a publisher, but it was canceled when the editors changed.
I still have the copies of Locus where the sale was announced. But all i have of the novel is a cobbled together ghost of what it once was.
Writers, whether they are professional or fans, put their heart and their soul into their work. Even when the work is shoddy and unpublishable, the soul that created it is still there.
When I went to bat for those fandom writers, it was because I understood their pain.
Call it wank if you wish, but what is the price of your artistic soul?