I wish I was perfect but I am not.
I bet most of us wish we were perfect, that we could mind-read everyone and anticipate issues before they arise.
Wouldn't life rock if we all were perfect in looks, thoughts, career choices, money management, and love?
But alas, most of us aren’t even a tiny bit close to perfect about most of that on a regular basis if ever.
However, it seems that we live in such an instant gratification narcissistic culture that everything has to happen quickly, and if it doesn't happen quickly, then god help you. And god REALLY help you if you happen to use the wrong words or labels in speaking your thoughts and feelings about any thing at all.
On some days it really feels like:
No one is allowed a contrary opinion any more.
No one is allowed to be human.
No one is allowed frailty or transformation.
No one is allowed to make mistakes from the President of the U.S. to fetuses. Everyone has to be perfect all the time. Every misstep is documented forever on the world wide web. It's always someone else's fault. So god knows, when us mere mortals don’t jump through others' hoops in a lickety-split manner and kowtow to people with chips on their shoulders for perceived past hurts, then it’s off to the pit with you where you will be immortalized in Google searches forever as the pendulum swings closer. Seriously.
Horror Writers Association
HWA is a fucking writers organization.
It is run by volunteers.
Some of us have been there for many years while others come and go.
No one gets paid except for one person.
Everyone who volunteers does so because he or she wants to do good things for the organization. We all want to work together to push up the genre and create opportunities through scholarships, conventions, pitch sessions, mentors, podcasts, library outreach programs, diversity committee, googlehangout roundtables with experts, and so much more. We have charity drives, reading series, anthologies, and other great stuff that anyone who is a member can access at any time.
And yet, that’s not good enough. Nope, Not Good Enough.
Those Who Don’t Think It’s Good Enough!
If you don’t want to join, don’t join.
But why on earth do you spread lies about an organization that you can’t be bothered to join?
All organizations have scandal and bullshit. Hell, I watch American Greed all the time and other shows like that. There’s always a rat in the barnyard but we all know that. Human nature.
Hey, horror writers, we all have done our research. One in four people is a narcissist/psychopath/sociopath.
So shit is going to happen when you are dealing with hundreds of people around the world from different cultures and time zones. For Sure.
Should current hard-working volunteers be held accountable for nefarious activities that previous volunteers participated in, often before many of these current volunteers were even members?
And it’s funny. The minute there is a leak in the ship, as there are with all ships, there are certain folks who can’t wait to rip that hole open a little bit more.
So twenty-four hours isn’t FAST ENOUGH to make a decision for YOUR LIKING?
Then hey, YOU step up and be president. And I don’t want to hear, "I already tried". Obviously not hard enough.
Don’t try. Do.
And this comment is not directed at Brian Keene. It's directed at others who truly have never tried.
HWA Ontario Chapter
As I’ve said before, if the HWA isn’t for you, don’t join. I don’t care. I am happy running my thriving chapter. But I get pissed off when my work is dismissed as a hot mess or that I contribute nothing to the genre.
We have our own website
HWA Ontario logo that's different from the HWA logo
Individual social media promo tools that Brad Middleton creates for each event that we do
Google hangouts for meetings
Consistent monthly meetings second Tuesday of month that don't cost a lot to attend and that have FREE parking in an easy to reach location and people can attend by Google Hangout
Twitter handles for Chapter and Podcast
Our own Canadian Content Corner in the HWA newsletter
Great Lakes Horror Podcast which is weekly
Podcast buttons, logo, t shirt, signage
Charity promo opportunities such as Warm It Up!
Booths at conventions such as Fan Expo, Toronto Comicon, Niagara Comicon, Word on the Street, Horror-Rama, Dark Carnival and more.
Library talks and presentations
HWA panels at Fan Expo and other big cons
I’m not sure what else our chapter can do but our team of enthusiastic members continues to amaze me with their hard work and dedication.
I’m deeply saddened that my peers are attacking the very organization that helps us achieve our goals and visions. So many of our members have made fabulous networking connections over the past twenty years, even by attending just one meeting. We could not do any of this without the support of HWA.
Here's A Quiz!
What am I’m thinking? Right now!
What are my religious beliefs?
What would come up on my criminal background check?
What is my gender?
What is my sexual preference?
What groups am I a member of?
What do I do at night?
What websites do I look at?
What demonstrations have I ever attended?
What charities do I support?
Am I fit to be Ontario Chapter Head of the Horror Writers Association?
Has anyone done a background check on me?
WHO would run a background check? HWA is not a person! Nor a job! It's just a bunch of volunteers! So who is running these background checks?
What about my members?
Are they are respectable citizens fit to be the face of HWA at public functions? Are they to be trusted in other peoples' houses? Are they going to speak properly on a panel?
And there are other HWA Chapters in Canada! I believe we're up to four now! Who is screening them? What do they REALLY do at meetings? Are they mentally sound? What are their belief systems?
I hope you see how foolish this whole witch hunt has been.
Back to the Topic
The minute the information was unearthed, action was taken in a calm, deliberate, decisive, legal manner. And holy smokes, in twenty-four HOURS. Not days. In fact, some may point to days as the first musings were uttered a couple of days previously and the investigation began at that point.
All of you unhappy people couldn’t wait patiently for people to gather facts, make decisions, and do things in proper legal order so that no lawsuits could happen. I think my favourite post was from someone wailing that more people should be on Facebook caring about this situation and since they haven't posted they obviously don't care. It amuses me at how those of us who live on social media forget that others do not. I know many people, my own parents and brother, for instance, who rarely go online to check Facebook or anything except email. So why would HWA members know about an explosion within hours and it was all over within hours except for those kicking around the cinders?
The Board of the HWA handled this situation as best they could with day jobs, time zones, and a barrage of people demanding their attention while discussing the most diplomatic, legal way to do what we all know will be done and was done. The Board was elected to deal with this kind of incident and they did! And very quickly. What more do you want? Why the bullying? We are all learning together! None of us took a course in how to run the HWA!
No one has a Time Machine to change what happened.
It is done.
Enough is Enough!
Can you please stop the attacks on the very time-consuming chapter work that I do for free and can we please carry on with writing good horror fiction.
The genre needs to unite, not split apart further.
I think all of your anger should be pointed towards more meaningful causes, not a writers organization run by volunteers.
HWA is not a person. And yes, if HWA was a person as you all seem to think, then maybe I would have a different attitude. It is currently a collective of 1300 people who all have the same opportunities to form chapters, speak at libraries, run booths at conventions, create podcasts, and so on. If you want it to happen, YOU have to make it happen.
HWA is not a faceless corporation. And if HWA was a corporation run by the same people since 1985, then maybe I would have a different attitude.
But until YOU are running this volunteer organization, please put down your pitchforks. We are all working to make things nice for YOU! Yes, YOU! So stop tracking in mud while we're washing the floor. Thank you.
Horror Writers Association Facebook Group
As for the HWA Facebook page, it is open to everyone who wants to click. Most of the people who were upset weren't members so when people are mocking the HWA as haemorrhaging from the inside, that wasn't true either. And truly, who cares?
If the HWA were the Evil Empire, they would have deleted all negative comments like other groups do. They, ME, YOU wanted and still want to hear what other people think, and how solutions can be found and what needs to happen next. That's the only way things improve. And things have improved so much in recent years. I've been on this ride since the late eighties. I've been there for ALL OF IT. If anyone can say with a straight face that things are getting better, it's me.
So join us or don't. But please stop with the bullying. It actually DOES hurt. I am not perfect. Nor is anyone I know or have ever known.
Update: Some people seem to think that I'm talking about Keene's list on his blog. In part, yes. Certainly, that's the springboard most are using. But mostly, I am upset about people posting lies and misinformation around social media when they have never been members or are flogging horses that have been dead for a decade or two!
I've known Brian for many years, we are friends, and I know what he's done and been through and that is NOT what this post is about. This is for those who don't have the facts, and who just love to hate the HWA as a whole instead of admitting that there were some assholes who fucked it up for a lot of us.
This post does NOT reflect the views or opinions of the HWA or the HWA ONT Chapter. This is the personal opinion of Sèphera Girón.