And the sharks are circling. Or at least that’s what it feels like every time a writer of some notoriety brings out a new novel. This week will see the release of Dan Brown’s latest novel Inferno; a novel that continues the story of his most famous character to date Robert Langdon. It’s a story that will capture the attention of the world and draw much needed attention to the world of creative writing and literature.
We live in a world where everything has an expiry date of five minutes and with each passing generation the onus and importance placed upon literature and knowledge diminishes. Mankind has grown lazy and the thought and effort required to enjoy the intricate world of words means that many choose to avoid the art forms of reading and writing in favour of watching. So as an avid reader and writer it fills me with a sense of excitement when a novel can capture the attention of the world and draw it back towards the industry that I love. On top of this I’m also a little bit of a Dan Brown fan. His novels aren’t the most technically savvy affairs, but their smooth flow and catchy storylines are always engaging and easy to devour.
But it seems that not everyone is as fond of his novels as I, and many others are. A few days ago I was scrolling through a Facebook advertisement for Brown’s novel and was a little shocked at some of the vicious remarks that had been left behind by a bunch of talentless fucks trolling the page. Trolls really are the scum of the earth aren’t they? They’re often sorry pieces of shit who are so bent out of shape by the fact that someone else has the talent and the balls to strive towards their dreams that they feel the need to attack and degrade them. I’ve been exposed to trolls before; as I am sure that everyone has. In this day and age of social media they are everywhere, spreading hate and animosity like wildfire from the safety and comfort of their keyboards. But nevertheless, I was still a little shocked that even my beloved world of literature was tarnished by a bunch of arseholes who need nothing more than for someone to kick their fucking teeth down their throat and teach them a little humility and respect.
The negative and scathing posts towards Brown’s body of work was extensive, ranging from comments about his style of writing to the more alarming personal attacks such as accusations of homosexuality. They were your stock standard slurs written by intellectually devoid knuckle-draggers that couldn’t construct a decent insult if their life depended upon it. But amongst the childish profanities and piss-weak taunts was one comment that caught my interest. It said…
‘This is a disgrace. I know REAL writers, STARVING writers who would be so upset by this.’
It got me thinking; what is a real writer? And by what instrument can we effectively measure whether or not someone stands up to the criteria of being real? Is it the man like Brown who has achieved success and now writes the novels that he wants and enjoys to create? Or is it the man toiling away at his manuscript so desperate for success that he is literally starving himself for his craft?
The truth is that a real writer can be both. A real writer is anyone who enjoys the process of creating something beautiful, ugly, dangerous, or extravagant with words. Every single man, woman, or child who puts pen to paper in the hopes of creating anything is a real writer; there’s no such thing as a false or pretend one. So where the fuck does some dead-shit troll get off accusing a man who has achieved his dreams of not being a real writer? And why would anyone else be upset by his success?
It was at this point that I started one of those long and in-depth conversations that I have with myself on a regular basis where I weigh up my opinions of mankind and decide whether or not I have lost all faith in humanity yet again. I debated the concept of real writers from both perspectives; that of Brown’s and that of the Troll’s. And in the end I came up with an idea for those negative pieces of shit who go out of their way to break down others via the internet or otherwise. And here it is: Shut the fuck up. To all the keyboard warriors out there I urge you to take your hands off of your keyboard and take a moment to reflect on just how much of a sad fucking prick you must be if you constantly feel the need to go out of your way to destroy others.
Take me for instance; as a twenty four year old male I wasn’t ever going to be a huge fan of novels like Twilight or Fifty Shades. I’m not their target audience and frankly the authors probably don’t care if someone of my description loves or loathes their work. And while I have no issue in stating that I’m not a fan to my friends during the course of conversation, I would never go out of my way to actively search for fan pages of these franchises and attack the authors for their hard work. So why do so many others feel a sense of entitlement to do so? In fact why do these people believe that anyone actually gives a fuck about their opinion in the first place?
Sadly the answer to these questions is this: these people troll because by doing so they feel better about the fact that their own lives are less than perfect. They troll artists like Brown because they believe that by doing so they will somehow feel better about themselves. Every time a writer puts pen to paper they open up their heart and allow it to pour into the ocean of critics waiting to judge them. They spill blood in the water and watch as the sharks start to circle in a vain attempt to eat them alive. For many the sharks do manage to sink their teeth into the writer and drag them beneath the surface, destroying their hopes and dreams with their vicious remarks. But for a few select writers of Brown’s caliber they somehow manage to tread water and fight off the sharks circling menacingly around them. They learn how to overcome their critics and transcend beyond the meaningless remarks of the jealous and misinformed.
As a writer I will always be my own toughest critic, I will always assess my strengths and weaknesses and force myself to work harder. Encourage myself to become better. Implore myself to grow. And hopefully by doing this, by constantly breaking myself down and reassessing every aspect of my work, I can instill a confidence within myself that allows me to overcome the jealous and misinformed trolls who will undoubtedly attack me when I succeed.
So to all of the trolls out there I will say this in parting: until you yourself have produced something of equal or greater quality to that which you are criticizing (as assessed by your peers), then you really need to learn to shut the fuck up. It’s better to be considered the fool than to open your mouth and prove it beyond all doubt.