Oh, Deer! Lessons from a Misguided Buck
We've all heard of tilting at windmills, but this week, in Viroqua, Wisconsin, a buck went that old saw one better, mistaking a 640-pound concrete elk statue (to give him credit, it was a misty dawn, and mating season, when buck hormones run amok) for a rival and head-butted the immovable object to hard that Very Bad Stuff ensued. Sure, his "enemy" was toppled and its antlers broken, but the poor, misguided buck cracked his own noggin, stumbled a short distance, and succumbed to his miscalculation.
Almost immediately, I saw the corollary with writers frustrated by rejection, inattention, or poor sales. Perceiving an enemy in the guise of an agent, editor, or publishing house, these writers allow their feelings of impatience, rage, and helplessness to lead them to attack, often in the form of ill-thought e-mails, public Internet postings, and rants at writers' conference. As in the buck's case, the results (to the writers' hoped-for careers, at any rate) can be equally calamatous. Publishing is a very small world, and things do get around. Even more importantly, fury, frustration, and feelings of impotence tend to drive the muse to warmer climes... which leaves a writer no product to peddle.
Just remember, "enemies" are often inanimate or immovable objects, attempts at revenge tend to backfire, and a dead buck gets no doe/dough. I'm not saying that the writer should put up with any old abuse that comes down the pike, only that it might be wise to give the situation the old smell test before you lower your antlers and make a headlong charge.