I'm sure you've heard that I devote a goodly amount of my time to the Mormon arts community. I promote folks' work here and at Motley Vision and, newly, at Linescratchers (not to mention frequent tweets on the subject). And if you've paid really close attention, you'll know that I was once burned by another player in the community and so I try to be supertransparent so no one I work with will ever feel burned.
But guess what? I've failed. Now there's a young Mormon artist out there who hates me, who thinks I attempted to take advantage of him, that I mocked him, who thinks I'm pretty much a grade-A bastard. And while I'm used to being thought a grade-A bastard (I teach high school, after all), his final email has really been eating at me. And I think I've figured out why:
What if this interaction has damaged the community?
I don't want out failure to communicate to result in one more hater who thinks Mormons can't succeed in the arts. One more bloke who thinks the community is filled with amateurs and fools and, yes, grade-A bastards. What if this animosity drips into other realms and I end up meeting people (in my community!) who enter their first conversation with a sure and certain knowledge that Theric is a grade-A bastard?
I know that it's impossible to get through life without causing and receiving offense and I don't see much reason to let this bother me, but it is bothering me. It is. But I don't see any possible way for me to fix the breach. If he's decided I'm a snake, no apology will be taken seriously. Add to that the fact that I don't feel much guilt (I thought I was being helpful and forthright, no matter how he interpreted my intentions) and I don't see anyway to solve this problem. A couple more night's sleep and I won't think about it much anymore, and I hope the same is true of him. I don't feel animosity when I think of him or our exchanges. Just sadness.
I just feel sad.