should it all be about?
Some take it very, very seriously. I think I may have been guilty of
that last year, when I was unceremoneously dumped from the competition
under questionable circumstances. At the time, I took things very
personally, and I was very angry. I had to decide, at that point, if I
wanted to continue and join the contest again for the 08-09 season.
I decided to do so. But I also decided to totally rethink my purpose for
being in it, what I expected to happen, what I thought people's
motivations should be, and what I thought people's motivations
would be. Most importantly, I tried preplanning my reactions.
In an ideal universe, the LJ Idol thing would be about writing ability
and people's reception of that writing ability. You write something that
people want to read, you get votes for it. You write something that
people don't want to read, you don't get the votes. I've always tried to
at least play the game that way. For a lot of people, though, the
game has turned into a loyalty contest: "If you don't vote for me, you
are not loyal to me". It is this view that makes me question whether I
want to participate in future incarnations of the contest. LJ Idol is
fun. It should be fun. But it's simply not something worth making or
breaking friendships over. I told kittytech at the beginning
of last season that, even though she's my girlfriend, if she didn't like
what I wrote, I didn't expect her to vote for me. And I meant it. This
notion that votes equal loyalty and no votes equal disloyalty is the
stuff that elementary school brawls are made of. I wanted to be judged
based on my writing, or rather, on people's perception of my writing. I
do not feel that happened last year, but I do feel that it did this
year. I was voted out of the contest fair and square, and it had nothing
whatsoever to do with loyalty or disloyalty, it had everything to do
with the fact that I wrote a piece not worthy of a lot of votes.
In a competition such as this, you have to write not for yourself, but
for your audience. It's not about what you would want to read, but what
your audience wants to read. As much as I do not particularly enjoy
putting my blindness front and center in my writing, others enjoy
reading what I write on the subject. As much as I'd like to devote my
writing to CocaCola, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, sleep,
memories of my dad, and my passionate dislike of mushrooms, these
subjects don't interest the general public nearly as much as the
blindess thing does, so in a contest where public opinion is everything,
I write accordingly: not just about blindness, of course, but a little
more than I might normally do.
So there are my thoughts, for whatever they may or may not be worth.
I'll probably be back next year, because the contest is great and I like
the way clauderainsrm runs things. But if I start losing
friends over this, or if I start equating votes with loyalty, then I'm
out, because it's just not worth that kind of a price.