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I feel it closing in, I feel it closing in - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
I feel it closing in, I feel it closing in
This morning I looked from the screen to the sky and, for one frightening moment, I could no longer tell them apart. All I could see was flickering white in front of me and flickering white through the window. The only difference I could see was that the one which was fractured by trees was bright enough to hurt my eyes. Then everything was fractured by tears.

There is nothing poetic about tears running down one's cheeks when their fall ends in a prosaic splash on a wood-effect desk. There is nothing romantic about fishing for tissues in a drawer full of teabags. Energy tea, detox tea; a collection of warm, comforting lies. Change your life with tea. Happiness is a steaming cup of ginseng, ginger, echinacea, redbush, flowering fad, organic bandwagon.

I'm hedging my bets today: alternating between the quasi-spiritual cleansing properties of herbal teas and the cheap comfort of sweets, doughnuts, and fizzy drinks. My body is not so much a temple as a racetrack, or perhaps a market.

In between drinking and eating, I watch words scroll past on IRC. Sometimes I even type some of them. Having other people to "talk" to is about the only thing that's keeping me faintly sane on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis; but according to a recently published flamme à clef by a local would-be author it's all just a game of Ego Stroking.

Alt-4. Alt-4. Shutting down applications one by one. They disappear like the days, the weeks, the months, the years. Time to start the daily journey into the dark.

Now playing: Alison Krauss & Union Station: New Favourite

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From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 23rd, 2002 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Right; so you're not bothering with the à clef then?

If you want me to stop talking about things as I see them, then you're asking more than I'm prepared to give. We are stuck in a small, incestuous and claustrophobic community of friends and acquaintances and there is no single one of us who does not need an outlet for the frustrations that can occasionally give rise to. Don't criticise me for finding mine.

Oh, and you are aware I've already been published once, aren't you?

lnr From: lnr Date: November 24th, 2002 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Look, you were bitchy about her, she was bitchy back about you. If it's OK for *you* to have an outlet it's OK for Jan to have one too neh?

And if reading each other's journals really makes you both so unhappy maybe you should consider whether you actually want to carry on or not. I'd prefer it if both of you stopped sniping at each other, because I don't like being stuck in the middle when my friends fall out with each other, but hey, I'm not going to try and stop you.
From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 24th, 2002 11:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Look, you were bitchy about her, she was bitchy back about you

I was not bitchy about Janet; if I'd wanted to bitch specifically about Janet I wouldn't ahve done it in a public entry. See below. Further, I will not tolerate this sort of manipulative half-saying of objections; if she wants an apology or something she can come out and ask me for one, or object on the entry itself, not in another forum from which she's well aware the content will get back to me one way or another. I don't turn off comments on my journal entries as a matter of policy; they're there for a reason, and if people aren't prepared to use them them I will not be held responsible for their sense of victimhood.
lnr From: lnr Date: November 24th, 2002 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was not bitchy about Janet;

Fine. Then I mis-read you, and Jan mis-read you. But misreading people is easily done. Especially when people are stressed and unhappy. Which I guess we've all been lately. Can you understand how easy it would be to read your article the way Jan read it? And how bad the "get a room" etc. comments look especially when you make a point of telling *me* it's nothing personal, and deleting some of them after they'd been read?
From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 25th, 2002 06:19 am (UTC) (Link)
I understand that Janet has a habit of misreading things in ways which make them personal attacks on her. I do not understand why I should be required to support that habit. I have no personal vendetta against her, but if she persists in complaining about the content she perceives in my writing while refusing to actually take up those complaints with me directly, then there is nothing for me to do but wash my hands of the matter entirely.

As for the other stuff: would you rather I restored the deleted comments? Can you understand how easy it would be to read gushing public articles about someone's new girlfriend the way they were read? Please do not demand of me accommodations you're not prepared to make yourself.
lnr From: lnr Date: November 25th, 2002 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't *know* how they were read because you didn't actually *say* you just got grumpy. Perhaps you'd like to explain?

One pointed grumble in a journal is hardly "persists in complaining about the content she perceives in my writing while refusing to actually take up those complaints with me directly" though. Or is there something I've missed?

I'm sorry but I just can't believe how bitter this whole thing has got so quickly, and how awful it's making me feel, to the extent I'm nervous about reading each new mail message I get and didn't last a whole day at work today. If you really do think Janet is being so completely unexcusable then please do wash your hands of the whole thing. At the moment it's just making me and her and presumably also you very unhappy indeed.
From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 25th, 2002 07:41 am (UTC) (Link)
The original comment was a grouchy half-joke expressing the fact that I don't appreciate having my nose rubbed in my ex-girlfriend's new squeeze. The second one in the same thread I deleted because I believed it was unjustified given the circumstances; unfortunately I'm not in much of a state to make decisions like that quickly at the moment.

The 'persists' was about Janet continuing to pull the sort of freedom-of-speech stunt that's going on below in the future, which I do not believe is impossible if I fail to make my attitude to open insults clear from the outset.

I agree this has escalated unusually fast; however that's mostly because I believe it would be beyond ludicrous to lumber my entire journal with an albatross of entirely unnecessary political correctness over two slightly misanthropic paragraphs of creative writing, and am also not prepared to tolerate outright rudeness whether or not it's well written. I try not to dig my heels in this deeply often, but in this case I believe very strongly in what I'm being stubborn about.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 24th, 2002 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm certainly not asking you to stop talking about things as you see them. But if you talk about things in public, you invite public reply; and, particularly, if you vent public spleen then you only have one person to blame if other people choose to exercise their right to vent their frustrations in reply. "Freedom of speech" is a double-edged sword, as well you know.

For the record, I wasn't particularly impressed with your response to my post about me and Ellie, but I originally thought it was just a joke that I happened not to find very funny, and accordingly made a noncommittal response. I later learned that it was actually intended to upset me, to pay me back for daring to speak about a brief moment of happiness in public. If (as I believe you do) you have a right to use LiveJournal as an outlet for your bitterness, then surely I have an equal right to use it as an outlet for my happiness? Once again the double-edged sword bites the hand who wields it. (Although, of course, you have just as much right to comment... and so the game continues, an endless war of rights and retributions.)

Ironically, if you'd simply told me that it was upsetting you to see me being happy, I would have made an effort to hide those feelings from you. I never set out to upset you by posting what I did -- I'm afraid I assumed that since you were in at least two apparently-happy relationships you were unlikely to still be bitter about one brief unsuccessful one. If you'd asked me to stop posting romantic nonsense I would have tried to do so, at least for a while, and it could have been a private issue between adults; you were the one who took the decision to drag it all into the public view by behaving like a petulant teenager in a public forum, and I (for better or for worse) am not sufficiently meek to just lie down and let myself be attacked like that -- experience has taught me that this only invites the bullies to continue. By carrying on this oh-so-genteel "discussion" in public I'm merely respecting your choice of arena.

(Incidentally, I don't think our respective writing careers are of much relevance here, but if you really want to make an issue of it then I'm sure we can trade backlists some time.)

Having said all that ... I really don't want to end up upsetting my partners and my friends by continuing this pathetic high-school-style feud any further. (Since some of them are also your partners and your friends, you might also want to consider how all this is going to affect them.) You've had your say, I've had mine, we've both pulled each other's pigtails and slung enough mud to keep the porcine population happy for a week. You're under no obligation to read my livejournal, and I'm under no obligation to read yours. You know where the off-switch is as well as I do; may I suggest that we both use it until (or unless) we can reach a point where we can co-exist civilly.
From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 24th, 2002 11:13 am (UTC) (Link)
if you talk about things in public, you invite public reply

Indeed. And if I'd been talking exclusively and pointedly about #cakes, I would not be objecting to you responding. Although, if I'd been talking exclusively and pointedly about #cakes you'd never actually have seen the entry in the first place; I am neither totally without a shred of common decency nor stupid. As ever, Janet, you are excelling at taking general complaints personally; I doubt very much, however, that I can argue you into developing a sense of proportion. By your argument - that my entry about IRC is a thinly veiled personal attack on you - then it should also be a thinly veiled personal attack on everyone else I'm satirising; so in addition to your being offended, I should also be being flamed by (at least) antinomy, emperor (damn - I forgot to put in Gut Parasites I Have Known), mobbsy, iwj, Owen, _myself_ (where do I work this week?), the rest of #chiark and anyone else who's ever used IRC. I'll let you know when I get the petition.

"Freedom of speech" is a double-edged sword, as well you know.

The world-weary sarcasm and heavy moralisation really don't suit you any better than the self-indulgent rambling, I'm afraid; and I'm not fooled by either tactic. You are anxious to emphasise that you also have a considerable intellect and creative skill; then don't waste it on petty bitchery, and don't expect me to believe that you're the injured innocent given I know about it, either.

It was very clever of you to accuse me of covert flaming - it's a nice way to divert the reader's attention from the fact that the last part of your entry is in fact exactly that, a flame carefully disguised as an expression of your profound and utter misery - but I'm afraid I'm bright enough to spot the actual tenor of the piece, and all the similar stuff that's going on underneath your comment above as well. The only difference I can detect between the two of us is that you appear compelled to attempt to claim the moral high ground, whereas I am quite aware there is effectively none in an argument like this.

In future, if you've got a problem with what I say in my journal, either make it known in a comment on my journal - much the same strategy I use, you'll find, whether or not I find the most literarily polished, considered and perfected wording when I write a comment off the cuff - or spew your bile somewhere I won't see it. If you don't like comments I make, it's your journal: be proactive, get rid of them. Custom friends groups and the delete/hide comments function are the tools you need.
j4 From: j4 Date: November 25th, 2002 03:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't want to continue this argument, because I can see how much it's hurting the people I care about, but I can't let this pass:

"if you've got a problem with what I say in my journal, either make it known in a comment on my journal [...] or [...] somewhere I won't see it."

You cannot dictate to me where I may, or may not, say what I want to say. I will continue to say whatever I want in my livejournal, and indeed in any other forum. As for posting "somewhere [you] won't see it" -- this is largely governed by what you choose to read. You don't have to see what's in my journal.

I decided before I started using LJ that I wasn't going to remove comments unless specifically asked to by people (other than myself) who are mentioned in the comment. However, this doesn't mean I have to like what is posted -- and it also doesn't mean I have to follow your orders concerning what I choose to do with things I don't like.
From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 25th, 2002 07:23 am (UTC) (Link)
You cannot dictate to me where I may, or may not, say what I want to say. I will continue to say whatever I want in my livejournal, and indeed in any other forum. As for posting "somewhere [you] won't see it" -- this is largely governed by what you choose to read. You don't have to see what's in my journal.

Basically, Janet, the content of that comment amounts to the statement that you believe it is perfectly reasonable to use your livejournal as a forum for direct, public personal attacks on other journal owners, whether or not those attacks are justified. I would remind you that Livejournal is a community with rules about permitted content, unlike Usenet; and those rules make no bones about whether the content is visible on one's friends list or not.

If you are not in fact stating this, then perhaps you could explain clearly and succinctly exactly what you do believe your original response to my IRC article was.

You're quite right that I cannot dictate to you where you should make your more vindictive posts; maturity and common decency should do that for you. I am quite prepared to accept that everyone needs an outlet for frustrations and that those frustrations often concern other people; however, accepting that is a far cry from accepting that you have the right to insult me directly simply and purely because you're doing it in your own journal.

I have also lost patience with this little game. If I read or am informed about another entry in your journal which is visible to me and is either explicitly or implicitly an offensive and hostile response to a visible entry in my journal which I did not intend as an attack on you, I will not hesitate to report it as harrassment. I have copied the original entry which sparked this debate for reference, and will be saving a copy of this comment as a private entry in my own journal.
(Deleted comment)
From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 26th, 2002 09:17 am (UTC) (Link)
To be perfectly honest, given that you have a fairly obvious bias in this response and don't really know me at all, I don't think I'm going to pick up on it, other than to say this: I have no personal vendetta against Janet. I maintain a good relationship with all my recent exes and consider her in no different light to the rest of them, of whom there are a considerable number. However I am not prepared to be pushed around for anyone's sake; at the moment I have less than no reserves of charity and resilience with which to be magnanimous about this sort of thing, and frankly, I have to look after myself. As I've already expained to ewx, if Janet makes a post I feel is unreasonable as a response to something in my journal, then I will explain that to her in a comment on the entry and ask her, once, politely, to make it non-visible to me. If she refuses to be reasonable about that then I will report it as harassment. I cannot apologise for doing things which are necessary to my continued wellbeing.
emperor From: emperor Date: November 26th, 2002 10:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that's a curious use of the word "harassment". I could understand you saying that Janet posting things you considered offensive as comments in your journal was harassment, but it seems to me that saying that her posting things in her journal about you is harassment is a difficult assertion to support; the defense "vicky doesn't have to read janet's LJ" appears quite convincing from here. If you considered it defamation then that would be a different ball-game entirely, but that doesn't seem to be the issue here.

Personally speaking, I'd rather people bitched about me in posts that I could read, but YMMV.
(Deleted comment)
From: ex_lark_asc Date: November 27th, 2002 06:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't see that politely requesting not the removal, but the concealment of something I find offensive and hurtful can possibly count as harrassment. It's only in the case that Janet unreasonably refuses to conceal it that I intend to escalate it that far; the point I wished to make is that if I really did have to do that out of self-preservation, I would, and I don't want that to come as a surprise to people. I've already said that you don't know me particularly well; in particular neither you, j4 (I assume) nor emperor know one or two aspects of my current situation which go some way towards explaining the use of the word 'self-preservation' there. It's not something I wish to discuss in a rancorous public argument; suffice it to say that I'm not in the healthiest state of mind myself and I cannot - and I really do mean that I am not capable of it - let people ride rough-shod over me if I'm going to get any better any time soon. j4 of all people should be able to understand this.

The livejournal abuse team apparently refuse to arbitrate in flamewars, which is entirely understandable. If they didn't I'd have asked someone to step in here ages ago, for the sake of a quiet life: responding to j4's own extreme reactions with basic coherence and rationality has been difficult enough for me, without also fighting a constant rearguard action against all but one of her current partners. As it is, the strategy I have taken appears to be the only one available to me to prevent this kind of thing becoming a regular occurrence, which would be catastrophic for all concerned. Once more, I repeat that I am not doing this out of malice; I'm doing it because I have to. It is unfortunate that neither j4 nor I were in a fit state to handle the original dispute differently, but especially given that, I still believe that there is no blame to be apportioned here and no moral high ground to be taken.

I also think that both you and Emperor are not helping the situation by jumping into it now. I understand that you're motivated by caring about Janet; but please think very carefully about what it is that you're trying to do for her before you continue this.
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