I'm a big bloke (7ft tall) and I am forever reading. This will mostly be my thoughts as I am reading and possibly a review or two. You may know me as Archer.
I am basically a lurker. My life revolves around my wife, my cats, Books, and entertainment.
I'm working on building and setting up a forge and I'm generally one of those people who can be found causing or in the middle of mischief somewhere...
I am currently sat in work, bored out of my skull but blasting Queen out of the little ipod dock (So it's not totally unbearable) and I felt the urge to just do a post. A brief ramble from the nonesensical workings of my memory palace.... Fuck me this place is dusty.
I remember back when I started reviewing. I was worried y'know. What if people don't like my reviews, what if I don't succinctly express my thoughts and feelings on the book... What if I fail. Then I thought fuck it, it'll be a laugh...
And for the first few months it was. I made friends, people liked my reviews, they laughed at my jokes, I entertained them. And so I kept reading. I kept reviewing. Five or six books a week at times. And then I made a terrible mistake. I over extended myself. I had freshly arrived on Australian shores when my friends Kat and Steph put out a call for a coblogger, and I applied and was picked. It was glorious. Then I burnt out (a brief aside to Kat and Steph - I'm Sorry, I wasn't up to it. I miss talking to you guys). I read book I didn't want to read after book I didn't want to read for months at a time.
Don't get me wrong, not all of the books I read for Cuddlebuggery were bad, far from it. I found some true gems. But it burned me out. Then all the bully shit kicked off and I was targeted for one innocuous comment on a thread. One picture that I, to this day, regret. One comment I apologised via message for but left up for context's sake. And I became buried in bullshit. I didn't want to be, I wanted to be reading fantasy. I wanted to read horror. I wanted to read... But I couldn't because I'm an idiot. It mattered to me for the longest time that there were people out there who were tarnishing me with the brand of bully.
Y'see I was bullied as a kid. I know everyone says that but when you go to as many schools as I did and were the perpetual new kid, it happens. I was a year 7, roughly 11/12, and I was the height and build pf the 15/16 year olds. I've said this before, I've always been big. No great issue, I managed to deal. I learned to just become a part of the backdrop. To blend in. Then I became friends with this kid. This kid (who in hindsight was so fabulously gay that it shocks me to this day that I didn't see it) was bullied in front of me, by a group of loud obnoxious teens... Y'know the type. So I helped him out. Big mistake. They made my life hell. They'd use spitballs with pins in and shoot them at me. They'd throw shit at me. I was miserable.
I took that shit for three goddamned months of the school saying "Boys will be boys" and 'Adam needs to grow a thicker skin" before I snapped. One night on the school bus home one kid stabbed my in the thigh with a stitch cutter. It fucking hurt, not gonna lie. And then he started in on the familial insults and I saw red. I punched him, and he went down. He didn't get back up. I got off the bus and walked 7 miles home.
I went into school the next day and what happened? I got taken to the headmasters office with my parents. There was the kid I'd hit, this smug superior year 10, with his parents, a black eye, a broken nose, and a broken jaw. I was banned from riding the school bus. I was about to be expelled when my parent withdrew me from classes and we left. I changed schools and it was all behind me.
That was the day I knew truly how much damage that bullying could do, not just for the victim. Y'see this kid, I later found out, was beaten and abused by his dad and uncle. And he lashed out at me because of the myth in the school yard then that big kids won't fight back because really they're gentle giants. But really, even the most gentle animal has it's breaking point.
After that I promised myself I'd not let myself become a bully. Yet lo and behold, I wrote some negative reviews, was my usual caustic sarcastic self and was labelled a bully. When at worst I was probably just an arsehole.
Now I'm not sharing this as a "woe is me the poor bullied fat guy", truly, fuck your pity I don't want or need it. I'm sharing this because if a negative review, from someone who feels let down by an authors actions/work is constituted bullying now, then there is something very wrong with the world.
No I'm not always the nicest of people, frankly I'm quite often a downright cunt (apologies for the C-bomb). Quite often I read reviews and think to myself "this person doesn't really get the point" or think "Maybe this person should reword things a little differently" and that's fine, thats their opinion. Do I ever blast them for it... as much as I may want to at times, No. Because I cannot every say that anyone's opinion on something is wrong, I can disagree and debate but I can't flat out say it's wrong (I'm talking books and shit here not things like racism, that shits abhorrent). Why? because I don't have the same world view and life experiences they have.
It's been said myriad times by myriad voices, everyone is unique. Every single person had their own individual viewpoint. And because of their experience you cannot say that they're wrong. You can just say "I respectfully disagree, and please allow me to explain why" or words to that effect.
So when I see in lots of communities (games, films, restaurants, books, TV, holidays etc) that people go "no you're wrong" on reviews it breaks my fucking heart.
Was I wrong to retaliate to the bully in school? With hindsight yes, I was a rugby player, I was a hockey player, I was a big kid who was strong. I was wrong. I apologised to him years ago, and I do it again now. I'm sorry.
Was I wrong to sarcastically tell a minor to Fuck off. Yes, I admit it. I apologised through an inbox. I'm not a perfect person and I never claim to be. But one thing I am not is a bully. Any one who says otherwise is ignorant of all of the facts and is ignorant of me as a person. and can kindly fuck off.
This ramble hasn't been triggered by anything in particular, I just needed to get this off of my chest.
TL:DR - I'm a fucking human, deal with it