Let's talk about Ann Somerville. Yes, that's right, the elephant in the room. You know her, I'm sure. You have come across her before. You may even have, in the words of someone who told me, emerged from an exchange with her feeling as if "[you] have been run over by a truck. Twice." I'm sure many of you will rather claw your way through the roof and crawl down the air vents than to be trapped in an elevator with her.
But you know what? I like her. I don't care if she has declared me her enemy over some measly thing like a book title with a naughty word. I like her. You want to know why? Here are the reasons why.
- I will always know where I stand with Ann. I will know if she likes me or hates me. Sure, she doesn't listen as well as I'd like her to, especially when it comes to opinions that are different from hers, but at least I will know when she is having an issue with me. Compared to some of the ridiculous schoolyard politics played by her peers in the MM circles, Ann's upfront and brusque manner is far more preferable. I hate to use a cliché, but Ann does "keep it real" and I appreciate that. I can't say that I appreciate being at the receiving end of her ire, heh, but I understand why she's coming on strong the way she does.
- She writes very well. Yeah, I'm a pushover, but she writes well.
- She actually makes very valid and good points when she is not working herself up into a frenzy. She has offered some of the best detailed advices I've come across on Dear Author's First Page series. She also has offered some interesting perspectives on the industry on blogs such as Dear Author. Like many of you, I run for the hills the moment Ann's eyes figuratively turn red and smoke starts coming out from her nostrils, but I'm a tough gal. I can take it. I don't mind taking a few bruises on my ego because you know what? It's just words. They can't hurt me. So Ann calls me a "fucktard" (okay, this is just an example, I'm not aware that she has called me that, at least to my face). I'll call her a fucktard back and we'll take it from there.
I believe Ann won't appreciate me saying this, but I'm really starting to feel sorry for her due to the recent flak she has been getting. I know she doesn't want sympathy, but I can't help feeling this way. You see, I'm sure we all know that Ann has no tact or subtlety. She doesn't do nuances. Fine. But she also views others in the same way that she views opinions: in shades of black and white. As a result, she never fails to fall right into the trap of her sparring opponents. All they have to do is to lay down a few choice phrases in a post that will set her off and then step back as Ann flies into a frenzy and alienates even her own allies as everyone flees from the resulting explosion. Ann never comes off well in such a confrontation because her mistake is that she does not know how to play as cunningly as her sparring partners. In such a situation, Ann is starting to look like... well, dare I say it? A valiantly barking little dog who is cornered but doesn't know how to get out of the situation?
It's Christmas time, folks. So let's just leave Ann be. If you think that she has been beaten, then savor the defeat and let her be. There is no need to behave as if she has to be beaten into submission and erased off the face of the earth. Yes, so some of the things she has said hurt your feelings, but they are just words. She didn't come over and kill your puppies. Don't buy her books if you don't like her. Ignore her blog posts. Tell her to fuck off.
Just call off the burning torches, pitchforks, and buckets of blood, please. Ann is not Carrie wanting to attend the MM Prom. Just let her be, ignore her if she's saying things that you find disagreeable, and take the high road.
Merry Christmas, everyone. You too, Ms Somerville.