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Renting Space in Your Brain

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I’ve been a user of the internet in all of its many forms since the mid 90s, and since then I have had my fair share of trolls and mean comments – usually simple one offs like “I don’t like your voice” left on a video (which is ironic when I have acted and sang semi professionally!). But in my history of using the internet and becoming a content creator, I can count on one hand the number of people who just don’t know when to stop and start to become a nuisance . The first incident happened around 15 years ago and was a guy my husband and sister dubbed “Batteries” and things got so bad with him and his threats that I did have to go to the police. The second was about 10 years ago, and it might have been more than one person but at any rate, the result was *me* getting banned from a useful website I posted on and I had to speak with the police about the harassment. Then we delve into the land of psycho expats with more than one just losing their shit and stalking several fellow expats…and now we get to the most recent, ridiculous harassment/trolling efforts of someone who…well, they’re anon as far as I know. They do have internet handles, but I’m not going to mention them out of politeness.

Here’s where we get to the title of my post – Renting space in your brain. It’s incredible how ONE SINGLE COMMENT can kill you. For example, ONE music director in 2002 didn’t like my voice and I didn’t sing for 10 years. These comments weren’t about my singing, but another way I contribute to the arts – these comments were on the words I wrote.

The first comment came in September on my account over on Fanfiction.net. It was from a fellow “author”, and it was nasty and harrassive. FFN doesn’t let you remove nasty comments from registered users, so I simply deleted (And later re-posted) the story the comment had been left on and blocked the user id. Speaking to a fellow reader, I found out that the author in question “does this to any author who writes better than them and has a following”. Ok, so it was down to sheer jealousy then. Fine, whatever. I kept publishing.

I made the move to Archive of Our Own a few months ago after I finally got my invite to the site. I moved over much of my fic from FFN, but I also made an announcement on FFN that I was going to be posting on AO3 and if I wasn’t updating on FFN, to check me on AO3 and I listed my AO3 pseudo – AnnaOnTheMoon.

AO3 allows you to screen comments before they are posted, and a few came in from a person. Again, they were filled with harassment and well, they tried to tell me what I should write. Like, telling me “You need to write blahblahblah and blahblahblah needs to happen.” My response wanted to be “Go write it yourself”, but instead I just deleted the messages, figuring they would get the hint that I wasn’t interested in their “orders”. Other readers left comments requesting different storylines and if I felt I could write them, I did.  But when someone demanded I do something or another…no. AO3 doesn’t have a block feature, so I just had to delete the comments as they came in.

Finally, they stopped using their registered profile, and swapped to posting anon. And funny enough, the only reason I found out they were the same person was due to what they wrote in their comments when they referenced “a lack of negative feedback”.  Now, why would you assume someone even had negative feedback unless you had been the one who tried to leave it in the first place under your other nom de plume?

It was at this point I turned to getting advice from Author Dayton Ward on Twitter:

Dayton Ward was right. Just ignore, ignore, ignore. Don’t let them have space in my brain. But…it was hard. Especially with the comments that were coming through. At one point, they seemed to blame me for the entire Picard/Crusher fandom.

They decided that a fic I wrote called “The Comment Box” was about them. The fic itself was a tongue in cheek story about the ridiculous comments that are posted on Trek pages. Their response? Dedicating a story to me (and a friend of mine who is a big supporter of my writing.)

They thought they were writing an opt-ed. Uhm…no.  They also decided to steal my own tag of tongue in cheek, because…well, why not.

They admitted they had been reading me on FFN and had been the FFN user I blocked. They claimed to have “Been stalked in high school” (I also should note, that basing their age on what they mention in their own author’s notes, they aren’t much out of HS) and yet they decided to stalk me. (oh, and told me my depiction of stalking was wrong, because the way they were stalked is the absolute only way things ever happen)

The story got weird. I was Queen of the kingdom who churned out shit, but then I also inspire people? But the gem had to have been where I basically get blamed for the entire fandom.

I mean…what now?  But this “fic” was the final straw, and I contacted the AO3 admins and reported the story and the user for harassment.

…but I still can’t get their comments out of my head.  It’s poisoned my story, just like it poisoned one of my previous stories.  At this point, I want to either abandon the story (and the series as it’s second in a series), or delete it.  But if I delete it, I doubt I’ll ever re-write it, so then that also means that months of work will just be down the toilet because I can’t evict this asshole from my brain.

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*sigh* Hopefully, by getting this all out, I will be able to evict them once and for all and return to my writing…because how does that phrase go? The best revenge is a life well lived?

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+Meme made by me, screenshot from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
++Meme by Swear Trek
All other screenshots are from Archive Of Our Own or my own Email and Twitter accounts. 

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission.

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An Evening with Sir Patrick Stewart


A little over a month ago, my Google Alert for Patrick Stewart (shut up) went off with an interesting alert – Sir Patrick Stewart would be giving a talk during the Huddersfield Literature Festival. Tickets were £15, and I hadn’t yet seen it pop up on Twitter.

…So I blagged front row tickets. And then I waited…and waited..and waited for the day…and OH, was it worth it!

I had a bit of a panic on Thursday when I started to read the weather report for both Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Snow. But not until the wee hours, so we would likely be fine. To be on the safe side, we packed sleeping bags, extra warm clothing (hats, scarfs, fleeces), water,and snacks into the back of the car just in case the snow turned into a second Beast and we had to sleep in the car.

Our day started off with a walk through Huddersfield. There was an international food fair going on, so we checked that out and we headed to the Town Hall to make sure we knew where we would need to be and we scoped out the place we were meeting up with some friends for dinner before settling down into a local coffee shop (I’ve forgotten the name!) for a cup of Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. (Naturally.)

We met up with friends for dinner at the Zephyr. None of us were familiar with the place. The food was…ok. I had a Cajun grilled chicken burger and there was no spice at all on my chicken, which was disappointing. But the Strawberry gin was good.

We all were scattered around the auditorium, so we parted in the lobby and Tim and I headed to our seats. I still didn’t think it was real…I would actually see one of my heros live on stage? Talking? Telling us about his life and career?

When Nick introduced Sir Pat, he explained that Patrick agreed to photos during the first five minutes (and he even posed for pics), and then asked for phones/cameras to be put away and asked that it wasn’t recorded. In fact, we were told if anyone did get caught with their phone held up during the talk, they would be kicked out. I did spot one guy on the balcony out of the corner of my eye holding up a phone though, so if any footage gets posted online I’ll link it.

Patrick Stewart was brilliant. He warned us that he didn’t give short answers, so there weren’t a whole lot of questions asked, but the stories the man told…it was worth it. I’d have gladly sat there for another hour..two….three…just listening to his stories. Perhaps one day he’ll publish a memoir (and Mr Stewart, if you’re reading this, Please can I edit it?)

We even got a rare treat! Not one accent,not two, but three accents! Sir Pat imitated a local accent when he was telling us about his interview to receive a scholarship to attend the Old Vic (and apologized for it being bad, though as a non-local I couldn’t tell), and then he gave us “Space, ze final frontiere” in a French accent. I have to say, I’m quite happy Paramount didn’t make him use a French accent! His third accent was a recreation of his role in 1967 on Coronation Street, plating a Fireman from Lancashire.

We also learned his favourite episode is the Inner Light (though the questioner asked “What’s your favourite Enterprise episode, so I’m not sure if the questioner was confused over which series Sir Pat was in!). This is honestly no surprise to me as it is an incredible episode and it’s made even better by the appearance of Daniel Stewart playing his son!

Sir Patrick told us about his early days in acting, about meeting and becoming bezzies with Sir Ian McKellen, and how he felt when he was on the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are and discovered more about his father. We also learned that the two charities he is patron for are in memory of his parents – Refuge for his mother and Combat Stress for his father.

And speaking of his early days in acting – did you know he lied his way into gaining his scholarship? Naughty Patrick! But I think he paid his debt in full back to Yorkshire in the end when he became Chancellor of the Huddersfield Uni.

I’m still giggling over his (former) hair piece having been flown across the atlantic specifically for his audition for Captain Picard…and then it was never used. While he did mention he wore a hair piece in one episode (Violations, in a flashback Beverly has), he didn’t specify if it was the same one or styled the same way. Hmm. Something to ask him in the future, perhaps?

Sir Patrick said in an interview on BBC Radio Leeds on Thursday that his favourite childhood book was Treasure Island…and I really think he should record an audiobook for it, don’t you?

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All in all, it was an incredible evening. Sadly, I didn’t get to ask him my question. I wanted to ask him to give advice to those of us in the arts (Performing, writing, creating) who face criticism and how you can bounce back from it…but it wasn’t meant to be and I’ll hopefully get to see him again and ask.

It started to snow on the way home. Not a significant amount, but enough to be annoying.

Thanks Huddersfield Literature Festival for having him, and THANK YOU Sir Patrick Stewart for speaking with us!

You are, forever, O Captain my Captain.

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+Photo by Neil Armstrong.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission.

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Hatred and Fandom in Star Trek

I know I haven’t updated properly in ages (not since before October, and then it was fanfic for #BevCrusherDay). I’m sorry. I’ve been busy. But right now, I feel like I need to write this post about hatred and fandoms. More specifically, I’m talking about the Star Trek fandom. Call us trekkies or trekkers, I really don’t care…but there’s a whole lot of hate in the fandom right now.

Don’t like the new series? Don’t watch it. You don’t have to watch week after week so you can spread your hate. And you most definitely don’t need to tweet the actors to tell them how much you hate it. No. That’s just…I’m not sure I have words. Now, I haven’t watched all of Discovery yet, because it’s something my husband and I want to watch together and we haven’t had time, so I can only speak based on what I’ve seen on the Facebook groups and Twitter. There is so much of this “this isn’t Star Trek” BS it could fill the Enterprise — all of them. My only response is – Does it have the trek logo? It’s Star Trek. It’s all part of one main franchise, people! And guess what? You don’t have to like ALL of the franchise to be a fan! You don’t even have to like the original series to be a fan!

And speaking of the original series, if I hear one more time “Your series wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for TOS!” Don’t you think we know that? But acknowledging TOS as the granddaddy of our franchise doesn’t mean it has to be my favourite series. And you can’t really compare Discovery to TOS. TOS was made in the 60s, for chrissake. It was the best sci-fi out there FOR ITS ERA. Yes, it has cheesy effects, the storylines are dated, the model ships look funny….but this is how sci fi was done in the 60s. You have to suspend some of your modern ideas when you watch TOS and try to be a person from the 60s watching it. And if you still think its awful, look for other sci fi series from that era and you’ll soon see that TOS was actually the best.

Move forward to the 80s and 90s of TNG, DS9, and VOY and the effects still won’t compare to the resources someone has in 2018. (And I’m saying that as a die hard TNG fan)

Or compare the Harry Potter films with Fantastic Beasts. FB takes place over 50 years before Harry Potter is even born, yet the effects in FB far outstrip HP. Why? Because HP was made in the early 00s, and FB was made in 2016. Yes, just a small time frame of FIVE YEARS separate the last HP film being made from the first FB film, and the effects have gotten better. OR we could look at Rogue One compared to A New Hope. Again, SAME THING. Film and TV makers aren’t going to take steps backwards with effects.

Another ridiculous amount of hate seems to be aimed at women – both fans and actors. It sometimes feels like as a woman, I’m somehow not supposed to like sci fi or have opinions and the female actors only role is to be sexy eye candy. Uhm…how about no? But you see it over and over again and it’s no wonder we had to make our own Feminist Trek group where we actually support each other.

While we’re talking about fandom and Star Trek, I also feel like I need to talk about fanfiction. I love fanfic, I write fanfic, I read fanfic. For those of you who don’t know what fan fiction is – Fan fic is Fiction written by a fan of a TV series, book, film, etc. that uses the characters/setting for their own storyline. And yes, there’s slash (which is pairing same sex characters together who are usually hetero in canon). I don’t write slash, for reasons I’m not going to get into on this post, but I do write a lot of fan fic. I mean, a lot. Most people like it and encourage me, and I love that. But what I don’t like are the people who decide to tell me what I should be writing or what I should do with my characters or even demanding that I explain why I made someone do something…and…no. The whole idea of fan fic is that you do whatever the heck you want to do with the characters and setting. I have one troll in particular…they must really hate me. They leave me PAGES of negative reviews…even told me they don’t like my writing. Fine. Don’t like me, don’t read me. And yet…they still read and still leave comments. Comments that I ignore and delete. I mean, get with the program already. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Why is this so hard to comprehend?

And the sheer length of some of these comments – It must take them hours to compose…like, really? Don’t you have something better to do? I get that you don’t like my fic, you told me over a month ago. Pretty sure the answer to not liking something is to stop looking at it. Whether we’re talking about TV shows, Films, Books, Fanfic, Blog posts, Twitter posts, FB posts, Youtube videos…etc. I don’t look at things I dislike, why do you?

tl;dr – I think Swear Trek said it best with Picard up there.

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Gifs from Swear Trek, which if you aren’t following them on Twitter, you really should!

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission.

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