It is rare for me to be feeling so strong with the community spirit, but sometimes it’s just necessary for me to say what I have to say because I feel it should be said. Sometimes I like to raise a point that goes against the “flock of birds” mentality that can run rampant through the writers at times, others times, it’s just to get the word out.
This is one such time.
This writing community is a strange gathering of people. All ages, all walks of life, from a lot of different countries. Rich, poor, white, black, men, women, young and old. Some of the writers here are fourteen years old, probably younger, and some are into their fifties and sixties. It’s a weird place, because you’re mixing with so many vastly different people, and you really can’t tell who’s who just by a message in your ask box, a comment on your work, or the contents of someone’s blog/subject matter/how they present themselves through this digital medium.
You’re bound to get the wrong idea about some people, and you’re bound to misrepresent yourself. I misrepresent myself here all the time behind anonymity, because it’s just makes things less complicated. I post what I write, you like it or not, and you don’t have any bias because you’ve got less context because most of you know so little about me. That’s the idea anyway.
It’s weird, because we’re writers and readers, but you don’t judge a book by how fuckable, or how ugly, or how nice, or how much of a dick the author is do you? You don’t say “wow, I really connected to that book because the author is fucking hot.” Yet, that’s the way it is here. Whether you acknowledge it or not, it doesn’t matter, it’s the truth. We’re all easily accessible, unless you disable your ask box and never give out any contact details.
It seems that there’s a lot of lonely people here, searching for something. Loneliness is a constant theme in just about everyone I follow’s work, which probably says more about me than anything else. Everyone seems lost, or stuck, or trapped, or broken, or healing. Rename this place Sgt. Pepper’s and then the TWC can be called the Lonely Heart’s Club, and it’s a place where we’ve all gathered to share ourselves, and then we somehow feel connected to all those who share things with us. Even fiction, is something that a writer has slaved, fretted, and lost sleep over. Ideas, feelings, and traumas are all here. It’s easy to get connected to people, it’s easy to attach your heart to people if your guard is down.
Especially when people talk about love and sex. I mean, there’s so much out there that’s easily accessible, it’s easy to pick up all the do’s and don’t’s of a little sexy prose piece yeah? Especially when most people’s sexual gratification comes from porn, or porn-like encounters. Porn is easy, free, streaming. Sex is fucking everywhere. Shit, Mummy-Porn has it’s own section in libraries and book stores. Tumblr writers aren’t too shabby at it, most of it is way hotter than any Fifty Shades-esque crap. It’s so easy to become sexualised here, so easy to write about love and lust and wanting, because it’s fuelled by that loneliness we’ve all come here to try to put a band aid on. There are many highly sexual people under 18 in the world right? Some of them have come here to write.
The point I’m getting at, is that it’s hard to know who’s who. Some of the younger writers here write so elegantly you’d think they were in their twenties as some kind of English or Lit major. Depending on their voice, some of the people here seem much younger than what they are. It’s easy to get confused, and it’s easy to be caught in a situation that you don’t even know you’re in, because you don’t really know the person you’re talking to.
People can hide who they are here, but they can’t in the real world. There are a lot of people here that you’re “friends” with that you just wouldn’t be in the real world. You’re in the mix with a lot of people that you just don’t get the chance to be around any other time. Different countries, different age groups… you get the idea.
To keep to the point of this message, you can’t tell if someone is a creep, or a predator, or someone who is just looking to take advantage of a few lonely people for their own pleasure. In real life, if you were a seventeen year old girl and somebody much, much older than you was trying to befriend you, you would be quite suspicious I think, and probably a little bit concerned that someone much, much older than you was trying to be so friendly with you.
But here, you can’t see people coming like you can in real life, not just because you can’t physically see them and read their body language, but because you’ve got rose coloured shades on, because this is where you come to feel vulnerable, and you’re supposed to feel safe to do so. Your heart is on your sleeve and on your blog for the world to see, and you assume that everyone else is the same way. But, some people aren’t.
So, I would like to put the word out, that any kind of predatory actions will not be tolerated.
This is a place for young writers to develop themselves, not be solicited or harassed. This is not a dating/adult website. Actually, scratch that, this is a place for ALL writers to develop and not be solicited or harassed.
So, I want to let the younger members of the community know, that there are many, many people who have your back and will support you should any one try to solicit you for erotic pictures, chats, or anything of a similar nature that makes you feel uncomfortable. You’re not alone, and you can come forward and feel safe.
We’re all here for you if you need it.
I will personally name and shame anyone, anyone, I have tangible evidence of making advances against the younger, illegal, members of this community, and remember ladies and gents, kids these days are pretty smart, and everything you do leaves a really fucking long paper trail. I don’t care what their blog is like, or how strong willed or sexual they may be, if they’re under 18 they’re children.
If you think this message may be aimed at you or your behaviour, then I suggest you quickly and quietly change those behaviours, or leave this place and don’t come back.