Open Letter to Sarah Daltry

Background: I read today on Nicholas Rossis’ blog about author Sarah Daltry’s post (read that for this post to make sense) in which she said that she was “closing up shop” and removing herself from social media and her books from Amazon, having been bullied into giving up her dreams of being able to make a living as an author by people too callous to care.

Here’s my response to Sarah.

You’re wrong, Sarah.

You’re wrong to think the bullies “win” this way, wrong to think they feel good about themselves for breaking someone, wrong to believe you can’t make a difference by attempting to fight back. Wrong to think that the “majority of people” are like those bullies. They’re the vast minority, they just have the loudest voices and the foulest mouths.

I think they do what they do out of fear, or anger, or sheer stupidity, not realising what effect they are having on an actual human being. They’re the sort of idiots who walk along the streets at night, drunk, and throw the bottle onto the sidewalk, just not getting that a toddler could cut her foot on the shards the next morning, more interested in the fact that the bottle made a different sound than it did last night. They’re the sort ot wankers who sit in their parents’ basement, testing their boundaries in the knowledge that they can remain anonymous on the Internet. The sort of people lashing out because they themselves were bullied, ridiculed, or rejected. Only a tiny fraction of them are actually malicious; most are just ignorant poor sods.

Most people are not like that. Nowhere near it. The average person cares. I have to believe that. If you are hearing so much negative feedback from people who don’t seem to care, you’re listening to the wrong people. I know that’s easier said than done, and I can’t claim to even begin to imagine what you must have gone through to get to where you are, what it must have cost you to make the decision you have, how much guts it took to write that post. For what it’s worth, I am devastated, I am truly sorry and ashamed on behalf of humanity. Surely there are some people in your area (I’d tell you to move, out of the city or even out of the country, but again, that’s easier said than done when you’re struggling to make ends meet – I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt) you can reach out to, family or friends you can talk to, a church (even if you join for all the wrong reasons) maybe, a community group of some kind?

I don’t have an answer for you, but I can tell you that some of your assumptions and conclusions are wrong. Probably due to a systematic trampling of your hopes and your belief in the goodness in people, but still wrong. The best advice I can give is to listen to the right people, and to learn to take the opinions of the loud-mouthed bullies for what they are: utterly pointless drivel, not even worth paying attention to.

We care

Do you care about mindless bullying destroying the lives of good people? We can’t change the world and rid it of bullies overnight, but we can all send Sarah a small token of encouragement. If you’ve read this blog post, please take a moment out of your busy lives to go to Sarah Daltry’s blog while it’s still up and leave her a comment of encouragement. She isn’t showing comments publicly for obvious reasons, but says she reads them all. It may not be much, but I feel that every positive message she receives can contribute a tiny bit to helping her restore her faith in the goodness in people.

About Amos M. Carpenter

Web dev by day, author by night, and generally interested in (and opinionated about) way too many things.

Posted on 8 April, 2014, in Encouragement, Miscellaneous and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thank you, Amos! I really appreciate the post. 🙂

  2. It breaks my heart to see people give up their dreams because of bullies. Our pastor talked about the power of words last Sunday, and I thought of this and other situations like it. Some people just don’t realize how their words can truly wound people, how off-hand comments can crush a person’s heart.

    I have nothing against honest (if low-rated) reviews, and I think sometimes authors do over-react to the negative and make things worse. But the fact remains that there are groups of people out there who will systematically bully a person until something like this happens, and it’s wrong on every level. I don’t understand why people get pleasure from hurting others, or even how they can be so completely thoughtless and careless. Sarah’s post made me sad. No one should feel she needs to give up like that.

    Great post, BTW. Glad you addressed this.

    • Thanks, Kate, and I agree with you completely. Awareness of others is an attribute of maturity that some people just seem to be missing.

      • The anonymity of the internet doesn’t help, either. We can say these horrible things and then just walk away and never deal with the consequences like we would in real life. Or worse, it becomes a form of entertainment. 😦

      • Exactly – this is one of the issues I need to deal with in my day job as a web developer. You want people to be able to easily interact with your site, to feel like they’re contributing and making a difference, but in some way they also need to be accountable, or you need to at least give people the ability to “report abuse” and hope that the majority will do the right thing. I don’t really use Amazon much (costs of sending things to Australia are quite high), so I’m not sure how exactly they deal with this problem.

  3. Thank you sincerely for this. I have not even considered looking at comments or posts about me, because of some of what happened, but this was sent to me when I asked.

    Ironically, the open letter to bullies was written months earlier and about something unrelated. It was about horrible people in general. A close friend and young person I know was dealing with some stuff at school and I just felt sick about it. It wasn’t about me, although I’ve been there.

    When I decided to walk away from my writing, as I had said in a different post, it was actually because I was suicidal. I’ve suffered from depression my entire life and I said it was getting to be too much for me to do it and stay healthy. Yes, there was negativity. There were things that happened, but I still maintain that it was my depression and not anyone else that really made me need to walk away. I have also discovered that it was my own fault for trying to force myself to belong in a world I don’t belong in – for trying to write genres I don’t feel comfortable writing. I listened to other people’s opinions too much and I’m stupid and naive, but I still blame myself.

    On the other hand, what happened AFTER I posted (for the ten people who usually even look at my blog) was a different story. When you open up to people – strangers – and you reveal something as personal and vulnerable as your PTSD and mental health, and then it’s turned into a mockery, that’s just wrong. However, as you said, that’s a small group of people. I said this in my original letter (and I really wish I had never deleted everything) to bullies but they can keep being awful and loud and trying to take up more space than they warrant. At the end of the day, though, they aren’t the only voices. My mental health was a priority, but I’m a strong believer in speaking up and I’m slowly starting to be ready to do that.

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