Saturday, March 28, 2009

Resisting the urge to... advice

Some time ago, I emailed a writer, a fellow acquaintance, quite successful in the world of commercial writing. We used to be `email` pals so when I read her submissions in a critique group I belonged to, I wrote to her about how similar our lives are. I am a few years older than her, so I saw her, in the pattern of her life now, living in a situation which will be a huge impact on the next few decades. So I added a few sentences in my email about certain good and bad decisions I had taken in my life, and basically telling her to weigh in all pros and cons.

I certainly wasn't interfering or telling her what she should do with her life. I wish all the time that some one mentored me when I was young and stupid, so I really didn't think that I had crossed any limits - in my mind, I was simply sharing tips with a fellow writer from my country. She and I used to be quite pally-pally in the early days when we both were struggling freelancers, so I assumed that it's not out of line to send an email like that.

But I received no reply at all for that email, and since I knew the writer was relocating to another country during the time I mailed, I thought she was just too busy to keep track of her things. But I was surprised - I knew her email was working, so I always wondered what was up with that. Did I offend her with any of my comments?

If yes, I hoped she had replied back to me, instead of acting like a school girl. Because I found recently why she didn't reply my mail for a long time. I read a post in her blog, which was basically a rant against all people who sent her unwanted advice in email. It was obvious who she was hinting at - yours truly.

Now, possibly this person did get unsolicited email about her personal life and she has every right to hate them. Still, I was really hurt that my email - which, I swear to God, wasn't about gossip but was every bit genuine and full of friendly advice - too was classified as one of the irritating ones. If that was the case, then I would have appreciated a reply that said `Drop dead, Rads`, instead of a roundabout post in her blog, mocking all the people who emailed her (yes, she got a lot of emails - but that's what happens when you talk about your choices and your personal life all the time).

After reading her acerbic post, I wandered around a few days, feeling as if kicked in the shin, and gradually recovered. It is her loss that she is so full of herself she can't differentiate between genuine emails and gossipy ones. I have learned time and again that people change once they taste the fruits of success. It was my mistake to assume that this person would be the same as before, when she was up and coming.

And I, obviously being the wiser one, should learn to mind my business more.


  1. Wow! Finally, we get to hear from you after over a month of silence. It was a nice read. Hope you are doing well.

  2. Anonymous2:30 AM

    And honey, always, people like only like to learn from their own mistakes, not from others'. So till she goes thru it herself & realises that she could have saved a lot of time if she learnt from you, what can you do?

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  4. Thinking alowd: Are you one of my weird writer friends :)

    Mash: As always, you bestow clarity on me. It's true isn't... enlightenment cannot be offerred!

    Sam: where is your comment?

  5. Hello OBG, you will probably guess who I am pretty soon. But I'm going to let you guess for a little while longer. >:) (evil sinister laugh)