Last week’s Witches’ Voice essay that I posted about my divorce experience did get me some new participants for the survey on neopagans and divorce – after I straightened out the survey close dates (which are likely to move again, anyway.) I am happy to report that the data now has over 100 respondents, and a few more volunteers for the video project portion that I plan to list on Blip.TV since Youtube has really stupid sign-in with Gmail only requirements now. ((I should write a list/post about things I want to bitch at Google for, starting with their Listen subscriptions.I like Google, but they so need more geek-to-English around.))
I also noticed some interesting/amusing/angering things:
1. Obviously, some respondents still felt bitter about their divorce. Less than you’d think. But those who were wanted blood – mine, their exes’, anybody’s. Hopefully they’ll feel more heard after participating in the survey, since that bitter comes from the “can’t you hear me???” phenomenon. There are ways to make yourself heard, and that I need to mark for further exploration here.
2. A few felt it necessary to direct that bitterness toward me. Book authors have a peculiar status in the Pagan/occult world as it’s the closest we get to celebrity most of the time. This celebrity has absolutely none of the perks that come with actual fame as we know it in the west, but it does come with all of the downsides. This can include stalkers, demands for money (one of the perks we pretty much don’t get – just look to the rather rich occult tradition of self-publishing going back to the Renaissance and before) and weird accusations of attention-seeking that you can’t really determine until you actually read that person’s book/see how that person handles his/her publicity. Certainly I am seeking attention – platform building of a nonfiction book requires attention above all else – but since all that’s publicly available at this point is the proposed table of contents, I’m amused at a few insinuations. It’s literally maybe 3 people out of 100, so I’ll know to graph that 3% of “here’s where the Pagan crazy lives” so we can all apply that to our demographic studies, conventions and public ritual planning in the future.
I am especially amused since even by Pagan standards, I’m not famous. I don’t even qualify as a cult author. This may have a lot to do with the only “book” I’ve ever finished being a pdf of something I drew in crayon.
3. Open-ended questions get some hilarious interpretations. One question, that I carefully phrased to be as open to interpretation as possible, was “what opportunities opened up to you as a result of your divorce?”
Someone actually responded, “they did, but not how you mean.”
One person was so determined to be individualistic that s/he managed to misinterpret an open question. It’s so hilariously, negative-stereotype Pagan that I had to laugh.
Most people, however, did recognize that I wasn’t asking in a specific manner. I tried to organize the questions in a way that no one felt led, because really, love opens paths – and not all of them lead to more love and sexing, as I said more eloquently in the essay.
I got several lovely notes from people who felt personally touched by the piece, although more than one thought I was speaking of current events. Because I’ve had trouble with publication delays in the past – there was an unnecessary hullabaloo once even after I explained that Llewellyn annuals publishes on a year long delay, making my “current” in print actually not current – I want to clarify this: Witch’s Voice posts on a two month delay. It took me around three months to craft that essay with the drafts, rewrites and feedback. I’m not sure I referred to a specific time frame, but a few people got the incorrect impression I’m going through a divorce right now.
I assure you, I’m not. I married Mike last December. I wasn’t particularly noisy about it because a)wedding planning and carrying on about it is really obnoxious and boring and b)I was so stressed out because of family behaviors that I bordered on a schizophrenic episode so severe I actually had to call in two different shamans. It’s embarrassing, especially since I also help people eradicate their own hauntings, but I suspect I’m not the only long-time practitioner who has had shit happen. We need to admit this stuff when things go wrong, because it’s not like we’re working with science as anybody could possibly recognize it here. Since stress is more of a danger to my health than it rightfully should be for anyone, you can imagine how very thrilled I am to find out I’ve moved from chronic hiving to chronic paranoia.
I guess I need to get over the “look at me” aspect and actually put blurbs in “after my own divorce at the end of 2002,” and specifically mention that I remarried. It’s my own insecurity; something about it makes me feel like I sound childish. I know that’s not true, it’s just one of my more open insecurities.