This has been a busy, crazy week. As most of you know by now, I spent much of my time in the virtual world helping to promote the release of Paper Angels, Billy Coffey’s second novel. It’s been an atypical week in other ways as well. Work has required that my husband travel out of town more frequently than usual, and the stress of single parenting–albeit temporary–has left me more than a little emotionally drained at times.
In the midst of a rather chaotic morning, I received an email notification for a post I had written last year. My initial assumption was that it was a spam comment which had made its way through the filter.
It was an author who took offense to the title of my post, which happened to be the same as a book she had written and claimed to have copyrights to. Mine was a silly post about ugly Christmas sweaters with a deceptively serious title (Y’all know how I am.) Her book, which shared the same title as my post was her story of child abuse and prostitution. In the comment, she informed me that I did not have her permission to use her book title as the name of my blog post, that “she would contact her copywrite the following day”, and that “it was not something I wanted to get involved in”. She also stated that her (past) life was hell.
I could have argued with her, because the title is a very common phrase, and since I didn’t even know of the existence of her book when I wrote the post, my blog post title mirroring the title to her book was completely coincidental. For the briefest of moments, I considered challenging her, but sometimes the best argument is no argument at all. She was obviously upset, and challenging her would only serve to upset her more, especially considering the serious nature of her book versus the lighthearted nature of my blog post. I removed the post and sent her an email telling her as much. She sent me a brief but gracious email thanking me for doing so.
That brief exchange this week served as a much needed reminder that we all carry burdens, we all hurt, just because we don’t intend to hurt anyone doesn’t mean we don’t, and that sometimes we say we’re sorry not because we did something wrong, but simply because we didn’t know any better.