Essay Non-Fiction posted February 7, 2016

This work has reached the exceptional level

Have You Heard?

by michaelcahill

Just some writers getting together to share their writing. 

What a great concept. With that in mind a writing site was born. The concept couldn't be more simple. I will post an example of my work, you look it over and tell me what you think. In return, you then post an example of your work, I will look it over and tell you what I think. 

Well, that would be fine for a couple buds or even a small group meeting for coffee once a week. But the scope of a website's vision requires a more complex operating system to handle hundreds and hundreds of members. 

A system of rewards and rankings served as an organizing tool and an incentive program to encourage reviews and reward quality pieces, as well good old fashioned hard work and effort. 

Member dollars were earned by reviewing, and rankings were a source of pride and prestige.

This turned out to be fine with the growing membership. Leaders among the membership emerged and familiar names became site wide icons at the top of the list. Positions were earned fair and square, so rancor didn't exist. If you wanted a spot, you earned it like everyone else. 

The site grew and with it the importance of prestige grew. The desire for prestige grew. When that happens, things take a turn. People take a turn. It is a heady feeling to be called the best, the best at anything. "Take it to Joe, he's the best carburetor man in the shop", "Drop by Sandy's desk, no one knows stock transfers like Sandy", and Joe and Sandy take pride in their positions. But they come to identify with it as well. Then it becomes a problem. The positions they hold becomes their respective identities and, they become secondary to it. 

Such is the case with our little writing community. It isn't little anymore. Well, it is little in the grand scheme of things, and there is great irony in that. There is a tempest in a teapot within a restaurant supply business. 

This is a wonderful place and I've met wonderful people here. There are people I count among my dearest friends. Yes, there are those for whom I'd board a plane to help if they needed it. I'd go in a hearbeat if I were in a position to do so. I know that a great many people here can say the same thing. 

But there are problems here as well. There's jealousy and envy of a magnitude I've seen nowhere else. It shocks me to see it in the confines of an organization devoted to art. It tells me I'm not surrounded by strictly artists here. What a shame. 

False accusations and wild innuendos are the norm here. Are you aware that there is an entire network of members in communication behind the scenes of our little club? I'm sure you've heard of telephones, the social media and the like. Indeed, we have private messaging available round the clock right here. 

I can click on any name active on the roster and tell them anything I want. Any member here can do the same to me. It isn't difficult to imagine that an occasional private gripe is expressed about another member is it? "Damn! So and so just gave me a four. What the hell. Have they ever done that to you? I think they have it in for me", "Can you believe how high that bitch has risen in the rankings? I wonder who she's doin'?", "I can't write for crap, so I'm complaining and making crap up". 

How do you know you aren't complaining to my best friend? Maybe you're making up lies about me and telling them to my best friend in the world. That doesn't seem too wise, does it? 

Hmm. Do you suppose phone numbers are ever exchanged? I wonder if anyone here meets in chat rooms on various sites. Do you suppose people plot and connive behind everyone's back? I wonder if they've ever discussed me or my friends. I wonder if they've speculated as to what relationships some of us REALLY have. I bet they've come to conclusions and spread that information all over the site. That's what gossips do, ya know. They speculate about others, come to conclusions and then spread their findings all over the place as gospel truth.

What for? Yeah, good question. I guess where everyone stands as far as prestige and ranking and all of that matters to some people. I know a lot of ranked people, and I've even been one. It doesn't matter all that much to most of us. It's mostly incentive to do what we love ... WRITE STUFF. 

But, I suppose others see it as something to be coveted. Some see being the best carburetor guy in the shop as all there is to life. Maybe it is for them. That's so sad. 

If you think you're being talked about behind your back, you are. If you think lies are being spread about you behind your back, they are. If you think there is a network of people operating behind the scenes plotting against you, you are correct. 

Well, I just wanted to bring it out into the open. Now they know that we know. It's no secret. What do we do about it? Not a damn thing. Who cares? Write what you want, compete if you want to and ignore all but your real friends. It's just like the real world, just a little more petty and vicious. 

I'm not referring to anyone in particular. Of course, it is the mentality here to jump in that message box and speculate, isn't it? Hmm. Who is he talking about? I bet it's so and so, yeah so and so thinks they're all that, it's so and so for sure. 

See, there's no end to it. 

I'm talking about the people who are doing it. If you're doing it, I'm talking about you. If you're not doing it, then I'm not talking about you. 

This is my last word on any of this. I just bring attention to myself and spark debate and light up telephones and chat rooms when I do this. So, have fun. 

My next post will be about the rise of imperialism in post-modern Lancaster, California. Did the influx of the Irish truly influence potato sales in the Antelope Valley, or was poverty the real impetus? Fascinating stuff, folks. 



I realize this isn't creative writing. Yes, I do plan to return to that endeavor.

I'm hoping that not a single other member leaves or stops posting because of a few or even several members who have turned this into a vanity site. A vanity site exists to boost the egos of a small group of individuals by excluding everyone else. Don't be excluded.

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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