TL;DR: I was sent an Eve mail that made me debate where the boundaries are to others dictating what I may or may not do as a 'public' figure.
Sometimes, in the evenings when I settle down at my desk to write I feel that I have nothing to say. I look at my list of drafts and go, 'meh'. Nothing quite works. The words do not flow. The ideas are behind a barrier. But, it is not really writers block.
It, is instead, annoyance block. My writing is whatever dances across my mind. However, those are not always happy, positive things. And while I do not mind approaching topics I do not wish to write post after post venting.
Sometimes, I do have to vent. And I will today, because something happened that is on my level of not acceptable. But, before I vent I like to remind myself of the positive things.
The Eve community is often under a lot of fire. It is easy, very easy to skim across the top of the community and come away with nothing but bitterness and negativity. It is incredibly easy to not see past that thick, ranting foam that coats so much of the media that is connected to Eve. It is easy to sink into it. It is easy to talk about it. It is easy to indulge in it. After all, this is why the news is popular.
However, under that thick, frothing, negative foam is the actual core of the game. The place full of people who are just good people. It is all of those moments when people are not jockeying to make the best sounding, 'don't care' statement or are not in immediate challenge with each other.
It is the moments when someone hands me a player that needs some help and coaching. 'Sugar, I put them in your chatroom,' they say to me. And I say, 'thank you'. I don't ask them why they didn't help. They did help. I thank them for taking a moment to communicate to someone with more than smack talk or 'your tears are delicious'. And its not just my personal distaste of smack talk. It is because this is also part of the community and it is one that is sadly overshadowed by the much more showy negativity.
Sadly, positive things just don't sell as well. That doesn't mean they are not there. And so, when I have days like today where I wonder what I just read, I remind myself of everything else before I get angry. That's just because I don't want to soak in the negativity. I won't deny its there. I won't deny any of it. I simply will not accept that the negative is all that is there. Because it is not.
On Saturday, a very inexperienced player was invited along on our roam. A player who has never roamed with a low sec corporation on the hunt found themselves thrown into the deep end and overwhelmed. And I watched players be supportive, and be helpful, and not lose their temper. I watched people take a minute to remember what it was like to be new and overwhelmed and not understand things that are now second nature. And that made me feel good. I know that everyone comes to Eve for different reasons. Lots of people don't come to Eve to spend their time dealing with people in the early stages of learning what many consider the fun parts. But, it made me feel good to see it happen. It reminded me of all of the good parts of being in the community.
It may be why it stops me cold and leaves a terrible taste in my mouth when I receive Eve-Mails from people who tell me that I should not associate with various individuals because I have a responsibility as a member of the CSM not to potentially validate or add credibility to people. Those are the times when I wonder, 'where are the boundaries?' I want to know where are the boundaries that permit someone to mail me and tell me that I am in the wrong, or potential wrong, for communicating with someone. “No Sugar, you can’t talk to them!”
I've made it my policy to be open and approachable. I want people to come sit on my virtual couch with me for tea. I love just hanging out in game and talking to people. So to have someone tell me that its not acceptable for me to speak to someone in public because they disapprove of the person... well I found it terrible.
Then I got angry. Then I got sad. It was a disappointing moment. It was the type of moment that I could spread to everything else in my Eve experience. I could taint everything and let that bitterness grow.
But, as the miffed feeling grew and I debated how to deal with it as it consumed my thought, I logged in for the evening. It's a work night. I'll soon go to bed. But, someone tells me immediately that they herded another new player towards me.
I stopped being mad.
I'm still deeply disappointed. I can not but feel that this is an okay thing to be told that I need to ignore people other's do not approve of. I take pride in communicating. I respond to people. I engage with people. I try, very hard, to be what I'd like to have now that I have this CSM position. And nowhere in what I've wanted to do is ignore people.
So, I won't. It's a pretty simple decision. I will not stop engaging people. I will not stop talking to people. Even if I have sacrificed my Eve privacy by elected office and writing a blog I will not give it over. I will not cast aside people because others have demanded. I will not allow their distaste to make my opinion for me. I will not accept it any more than I accept the bitterness people try to pour into my cup.
Back in March, I wrote a poem on the way to the airport. I called it "That None are Lost". I wrote it as a response to a true bitter vet who had lost any ability to enjoy the game and complained that nothing was interesting anymore because all of his skill queue's were now long. Every word he typed in was just awful. At the time, I was riding the up and downs of excitement about my CSM campaign. I had some interviews coming up and my path in Eve was full of unknown, shining potential.
And that’s kind of my every day. Some of that is my own naivete. But, that's okay to. I'm that kind of person at the end of the day. I’m not interested in being here to spend my time angry, scornful, or ostracizing people.
And so to the person who asked me to ignore someone. The answer is no. That's not who I am. That is not who I will be. That is not how I play Eve.
And that will hopefully be writers block fixed.