I made a tough decision last week, but one that had been a long time coming, to be honest. After 16 years of membership, including two years serving on the board of my local chapter, I resigned my membership in both RWA and that chapter. This will not surprise those who have been following this debacle since the events that came to light on December 23. Those who don’t care and have not been following along . . . well, you won’t care about my reasons and, frankly, you’re better for not knowing.
But just in case there is some third group of people who do care and don’t know what I’m talking about, or in case you just want to see what I sound like when I’m being all stern and serious, here’s a link to the twitter thread where I posted a portion of my resignation letter.
I normally wouldn’t share something like that publicly, even though many other writers have done so. But part of the problem with RWA is the dearth of communication and lack of transparency about process and decisions. So it felt important to be clear and open about my decision and the reasons behind it. After 16 years, I figure I’ve earned the right to Say Some Things.
As I mentioned, this has been a long time coming, a response to deep-seated bigotry and discrimination in RWA that might never be resolved. I expected to feel some degree of loss or remorse or maybe have second thoughts. Interestingly, I don’t. It’s more a feeling of immense relief. RWA is not my problem anymore.
It’s a heavy toxic weight off my shoulders, a clearing of brain space, a freeing up of energy. Much needed.
* * *
And then there’s the other definition of resignation, which I also dealt with around the same time:
“2. the acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable.” – Dictionary online
I refer, of course, to my trees. Specifically, to my trees, and parts thereof, falling.
OK, here’s something you might not know about me: I have fears.
Everyone: We knew that.
Me: FEARS, I tell you.
Everyone: Yes, we’re aware.
Me: Good. Glad we cleared that up.
Mostly these fears involve storms, especially storms with high winds. I refuse to qualify these fears as phobias — which I also have, thanks brain — because they aren’t irrational. And they’re different from general anxiety — which I also have, thanks again brain — because they’re specific.
I’m trying to be less fearful and more resigned to the fact that if you have tall pines and massive oak trees in your yard, and I do, and you also live in an area where occasionally there are storms with strong winds, and I do, eventually those trees are going to fall. And they do.
Obviously, it just serves to reinforce my fears, rather than alleviate them, when this happens.
It’s always disorienting to look out the window and see a large piece of tree or a root ball in a place where it doesn’t belong. My poor flowering cherry tree, getting crushed like that. There’s a fraction of a second when your brain refuses to accept what it’s seeing. “How can that possibly be there?”
Followed swiftly by, “How much is it going to cost and how quickly can I get that mess cut up and hauled away before the city gives me a citation for blocking sidewalk traffic?”
Partial answer: Before noon the next day, for the cutting up part. Impressive response time, yard guys. And see how neatly they piled it up?
Still waiting for them to find time in their schedule to come back and haul it away. And send me the bill.
Luckily, as you can see if you look waaaaay up (I’m guessing that’s about 80 feet up, on a 110-foot-tall tree), losing a limb of that size didn’t damage or weaken the pine tree AT ALL.
Probably the rest of it won’t come crashing down with the next strong wind. Or heavy heaping of snow.
Did I mention tomorrow’s forecast is for some unknown description and quantity of wintry precipitation? It might be anything from some light cold rain to perhaps several inches of snow. Or maybe just sleet. Or freezing rain that clings to branches and weighs them down and . . .
So far, I’m one-for-two on achieving various definitions of resignation this month. Fingers crossed I don’t get the opportunity for more practice any time soon.
8 responses to “Resignation and, well, resignation”
But they are beautiful trees… well, while vertical.
The thing that troubles me* most about the RWA audit is not that they admitted they had no grounds to censure her and then went ahead and censured her. It’s that the final conclusion was this could be avoided in the future if they made sure everyone was bound by confidentiality.
So I’m paying to be part of a membership that can act as a kind of Star Chamber???
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I confess, Mouse, I had to google “Star Chamber.” Yes, exactly like that.
There are SO MANY things that trouble me about this situation, and I haven’t even read the entire audit yet. But chief among them is that the complaints shouldn’t even have been given consideration to begin with, and doing so was against stated policy. But then, we’ve seen that RWA “policy” is more of a whim than something to actually be followed. Especially if you hold a personal grudge against someone. GRRRR. I’m going to stop now, while my blood pressure is still within safe limits.
Really hope it snows heavily here tomorrow. Watching snow fall is good for the soul.
I’d have clicked Like if I were able to log in to WP. Instead I’ll try to remember this snow thing you speak of. Before I drove to the coast to walk along the beach in short sleeves.
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I quit RWA about three years ago when I finally realized they weren’t doing anything for me except helping to make me a pauper. Now the only conference I consider, and it’s been a couple years since I’ve managed to go, is the Emerald City one because you don’t have to be an RWA member to attend and it’s fabulous. RWA has had a lot of problems for a long time. I could debate though who was originally in the wrong, but I won’t. I will say going after a 10 year old book and the manner in which it was done was…wrong to begin with.
As to your trees! I have no trees. Well, I do now since we planted a couple. I miss my trees at our old house where my property was encroached upon by a nature preserve. It was glorious. I understand exactly how you feel though.
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Cali, taunting not allowed . . . unless I’m doing it! Actually, we’ve had such a warm winter (everything is blooming way too early) I’m really looking forward to some cold temps and snow. Just not ice, please.
NM, I first considered quitting about three years ago too. I wish now that I had. I went to one RWA national conf and one was more than enough for this introvert.
I watched the original kerfuffle over that book in real time on twitter and I wouldn’t say it was “wrong,” exactly. I mean, if anyone has the right to call out stereotyped depictions of Chinese women, it’s Milan, who is Chinese American. But the entire thing made me really uncomfortable. I strongly disapprove of writers criticizing other writers’ work like that. I was more concerned about Sue Grimshaw and her bigoted influence over the years, but that topic just faded away. Much like she did, apparently. UGH.
KD, I just think it was handled all wrong. I had a run-in with Milan many years ago. She’s obnoxious and abrasive and while she has a right to be if she sees that as okay, the tweet itself, aimed at a 10 year old book was just so wrong on so many levels. She should have contacted those involved privately first. But she would rather take things public and be nasty about it from the get go and that, to me at least is just wrong. If she couldn’t have gotten any satisfaction or some kind of compromise on future releases, then going public is reasonable.
I posted a couple pages of a WIP (which I’ve since finished) looking for some input. The romance had to due with a masseuse. After she got done with her tirade about it, I almost quit writing. So while I think it’s fine to point out where people go wrong in their writing and their research, the way it’s done should be in a way to uplift and not to tear to pieces.
But that’s me.
I have an author friend who quit RWA many years ago. We talked often on my staying with them. I finally realized, when the dues went up yet again, that I really didn’t get anything for what I was paying other than notices to pay more for this or that. I ended up joining Savvy Authors and haven’t looked back.
And this is my third or fourth try posting this so I don’t know what’s going on, but if you can see it, you can delete all the multiples.
YIKES, NM! Sorry for the over-active spam filter. We lost power here for a while due to the snow storm and I just now noticed your comment got trapped.
Yes, your experience with “feedback” is exactly my problem with writers criticizing the work of other writers. It’s not just the fact that it’s “mean” or whatever, it’s the fact that writers will absolutely improve over time, given the chance. You look back at the early work of ANY writer who has been at it for more than a couple years and you will see vast improvement. A writer who has had that chance to grow and improve over time has no business denying or interfering with that chance for anyone else. It shows a stunning lack of empathy to beat up on someone, especially in public, who perhaps only needs a bit of helpful writing advice or gentle guidance in the right direction. I’m sorry that happened to you.
I have a different experience regarding Milan and I truly respect her for the courage it took to publicly stand up to that judge (honestly can’t remember his name– Kosinski?) regarding sexual harassment. Her blunt outspokenness and the risks she took personally in that situation were admirable. But none of us are just one thing. None of us make just one impression. It’s good to keep that in mind and I SO appreciate you sharing your differing opinion.