Thursday, January 22, 2015

I Guess That Makes Me Michael Bivins.

Two posts in one week? Shocking! Someone call the tabloids!

But I have something that needed to be written out, because y'all know that's how I solve things best, and I'm trying to depend less on The Facebook (even though engagement is BETTER there than here).

So I've been in a writing group since about October, and there were five of us. For the past few months we've taken turns submitting stories for feedback and giving feedback on others' work, combined with weekly meetings to discuss said feedback. Easy-peasy.

Well last night, sort of out of nowhere (and I'll explain the sort of later), the guy who organized the group, let's call him Ralph (Tresvant), told one of the other members, we'll call him Bobby (Brown), that he had to go. The actual equivalent of "You can't sit with us!" except among a bunch of nerdy, writing grown-ups. Before he handed down his edict, Ralph had started building his case against Bobby, asking him accusatory questions about the revision he had submitted, questioning his commitment and seriousness and work ethic. From what I gathered, Ralph implied that Bobby wasn't pulling his weight, and was mostly half-assing his writing and editing efforts, and Ralph feels it's a waste of the group's time.

You could have cut the tension with a knife last night.

And listen, those are legitimate concerns to have whenever you're in a group like this. If you feel one member is a weak link, address it before the whole group suffers. I get that. Where this went left is that, right before my eyes, Ralph channeled Rafael LeĆ³nidas Trujillo Molina, made an executive decision, and told Bobby to step. Another member, we'll call him Ricky (Bell), tried to intercept and asked Ralph, "Are we going to discuss this?" but Ralph was all "Nah. Bobby gotta go. And y'all can stay or go, but Bobby GOT TO GO." And I'm sitting there, locking eyes with the other member, Ronnie (DeVoe), who happens to be Ralph's partner, wondering if suddenly I had to prove I could properly pronounce perejil or risk getting chucked into Massacre River.

Y'all. I don't need this stress. I just want a safe space to share my work and get honest feedback so that I can get my work published. DASSIT. How did my life become fodder for a "Behind the Music Writing" episode?

And regarding the sort of, Ralph and Bobby have been clashing since Day 1, and I could see that their personalities didn't match up. And frankly, a lot of times Bobby needs to be wrangled and reigned in, and yes, if the personalities don't mesh in a group then YES, changes need to be made.

However, the way Ralph pulled rank and refused to discuss his decision, and basically implied that Ricky and I don't have a say--the equivalent of "If you don't like it, you can leave, too!"--did not, DOES NOT, sit well with me. Yes, he organized the group, but we're a group. Why can't we discuss this? Why can't you approach Bobby on your own with your concerns? Why the blow up at the table in front of god and everyone at the coffee shop? Child. I mean, is it me, or does that speak to an issue with Ralph's personality, as well as coping and leadership skills?

I've already discussed this with 2/3 of the Jaded Advisory Board, so now I guess I'll see what y'all think; I'm about 82.7% sure of my next move, which starts with contacting both Ralph and Bobby, and letting them know I won't be participating in a tug-o-war. Le sigh.

And quietly, I'm starting to feel more like Tamar Braxton, in that scene of "Braxton Family Values" when her sister Towanda yelled, "Every group you've ever been in has failed!" Every writing group I've been in fizzled. Is it me? IS IT ME?

What say you, lovelies?

*smooches...wondering if I should just create in a bubble*
I like collaborating, but these hos ain't loyal... and sorry about the mixed analogies, by the way