Today I’ve received a large number of messages and Tumblr “asks” about whether or not I am feeling well. There has been some confusion and I am tired of the back and forth. I cannot address the statements directly, because I will not in good conscience “call out” someone directly. They know who they are. The trouble also is, that there were witnesses, and they know who it is too. And people talk, and I would rather the encounter just vanish, but since I cannot do that, and people see fit to keep asking about it, I will discuss it, if only obliquely. I hope that the other party knows I do not do this out of a sense of “stirring the pot” or “causing drama”. In fact, I am attempting to quash it.
Someone culled the internet for old archives of my website. Fair enough. They asked permission to research me, and I consented. I do not object to that, but please allow me to demystify my reactions to the presentation of what was “uncovered”.
Firstly, how it was presented. Approaching me in private and asking for an explanation of anything variances would have been the prudent way. Instead this person made several offhand comments about my particulars “depending upon canon.” I did not understand this phrase. It was explained that this person had found supposed discrepancies in old copies of the website versus the content on it now. For a moment, I was very worried, my first thought being that this person had somehow hacked my site and found very old copies, and had discovered the details — names, places, dates, before they were edited. They then told me that this was not so, but did so with offense that I’d suggest they would be flippant with the safety of my friends. I find this very confusing. I could have done without the insinuating remarks, the “Are you really sticking to that story” sort of banter, the comment that in 2014 I “got my ducks in a row”. Yes, I am sticking. Because I have never written anything differently. But we will come to my feelings later.
Secondly, about getting my ducks in a row…”back-story” if you will. To answer your question, Seeker, I have never had another website. I have only ever had the one you have researched. When I began the site, my progress was slow. I had few readers. It did gain steadily though, and by the end of the events that transpired in the first book, I had several of a persistent nature. When I was approached by my editor and agent, I did remove or lock the entries. This upset some readers. My site was repeatedly hacked. Entries were deleted or replaced after deletion, entries were added, comments were left from me or for me. I changed the passwords. I did my level best to shut the site down. Other events transpired, of which I have not told you, and now will not because they are given in the confines of other volumes, but suffice it to say, I found cause to protect myself further. I made a bargain with someone to make certain that there were no records before the year 2014. This person was young and reckless. They had a criminal past. I gave them a chance to help someone. I have kept tabs on them ever since.
Now to my feelings:
When you brought up your concerns, Seeker, you did so in a way that hinted that you had found deep and serious variations. This immediately filled me with a sense of dread that you did indeed have those old copies that came before the editing process that scrubbed the details of my friends and that my hacker had not fulfilled our bargain. My first and only thought was that I would now have to track down a young man who had just reformed his life and kill him. You scoff, but I am being quite serious. By saying what you said, how you said it, you put me in fear for my friends. You triggered a certainty that I was now going to have to hurt someone I have come to like, punish them for not being honest. Suddenly, I was back in the fields, the caves, the squalor of the tenements, wondering if I was going to have to cut my way out of this situation.
These were my first thoughts.
Then you implied that the others should go and read the archives for themselves because “they probably won’t be there for much longer” as if I am set upon scrubbing the truth from my past. As if I am insidious. You even offered, in to me a somewhat condescending way, to help me learn how to delete the information “I didn’t want seen” from the cache sites. This, to me…was very hurtful. I dislike the implication that I would do such a thing. I dislike this encouraging of my friends to think less of me. But mostly, I must come back to what I was thinking behind all of this.
You gave me your address. We both know where you live, Seeker. We both know I could find you if I chose. You gave me that, I thought, as a show of trust and companionship. All the while, you maintained this disbelief and this negative impression of me. What I thought was a show of fealty was actually a show of profound doubt. You gave me your address because I was handing out gifts, and you really thought there was nothing to fear from me at all, so what the hell? The minute you began to drop your little hints…my heart, such as it is, broke.
I like this group of friends I have built. I became accustomed to the notion that even if they did not necessarily believe in what I am, they at least chose not to care. For someone like me, that is a thing I have never found before. Humans always want proof. They always want me to show my teeth. They want to disrobe me and put their fingers in the wounds. They want to own some piece of me before they’re willing to accept me, and that is … very painful. Humans do not do this to one another. Your neighbor does not take hold of your face and squeeze your jaw open to see your tongue. Yet, humans have always done that to me. Every time I have been found out or suspected, it ends in that. Even my humans now, who know me as a friend, went through their own versions of this, with few exceptions. Chef and Rebecca saw what I am and accepted it. Porter and Gray read the site and simply decided it must be true. My therapist had her own reasons for not questioning. All of them have accepted me because all of them had reason to. I was pleased to finally have found friends who accepted me simply because I asked to be accepted. In this experiment, I found people accustomed to the metaphysical plain of the web, uncaring for such things. It was refreshing. I have come to love it and my correspondents who have become a large portion of my life. In that moment, all of this seemed to go from something important and momentous to something flimsy and shallow.
Understand me when I say, that I am not offended you researched me. I encouraged it. I still do. I welcome people to read history and see if they can find me or the lack of me. Fair enough. I am not angry with that. I am saddened that I was held to account in front of a group. Granted, when you attempted to back down from your statements, I was already so concerned for the particulars, that I insisted you continue. I acknowledge that. But there was really no way for me to reply. I did not know what you had seen. I have since gone through the archives to reassure myself; there are no records before 2014. And yet, I still cannot see what you point to as being so glaring a defect. I am sure there are some. I will say that I have written an exceedingly large amount of material, and sometimes many versions of it. I say things differently after a while, for simple lack of time or clarity, much as you do, when you discuss your life, or tell the same story fifty billion times (you see, I have a sense of hyperbole too). For example, I have at times claimed to be immortal, that is because it is a far more convenient way of saying “I really do not know if I can die, and I’ve been around long enough to have tried it a few hundred times.” You can see the utility, I presume. I claim my height at 5’8″. It is just that, but I have several times said much more vague things along the lines of “I am around the modern human average” or “The human average is about 5’6” and I am close to that. I have said “I got my first veneers in the late seventies” and “I experimented with many types of teeth coverings and finally settled upon one in the early 80’s”. I have said that I was mute before now, and I have said that I sometimes did speak. Both are true. But in the hundreds of years of history I own, do you really want me to go through my entire life and detail every single time I spoke, and how long went between each interval, the circumstances thereto, and what I sounded like in the moment, sometimes having spoken a language I have heard for years for the very first time aloud? Or can I simply say I really was mostly mute for most of my life? What liberties am I allowed to take with my own past?
I have seen enough conspiracies come and go to know how it happens, and I can only say that I apologize for vagueness, that it does give rise to this sort of detail-oriented disassembly, but I am a person. I make mistakes. I speak rashly. I take liberties. I also feel completely within my rights to do so.
I also forget. You’ve read my books. You know how much I have forgotten. I hope that to some degree you know what I feel when I realize what I have forgotten, or feel that drift between present and past. I would hope I conveyed that well enough, such that you would be sensitive to the effect words can have when they appear to address discrepancies. You ask me if I mean to stick to a story, and now I am thinking, “What have I forgotten? My god has it happened again? Did I forget a decade this time? A century? What now?” And it fills me with complete disorientation and fear. I go and try to find what you say I wrote, because I honestly have no idea what is real. Then the world realigns, and I realize that it is simply a miscommunication. And I feel…completely drained.
Now let me address the apology. You chose to point out the errors you think I’ve made. I tried to explain some of them. Still reeling from all this, I told you that my oldest version of the compiled entries is a file created in 2012, that I can prove this with a screencap. I even offered to show you the first entry, that was completely specific about my height and other details. I was grasping at straws, stupidly, emotionally… And you said something like “Am I understanding you correctly? Did you just offer to show me the first draft? Because I would like to see that.” No. I am not offering that. Nor shall I ever. And that hurt even more.
This is a game to you. I see that. I am to blame for it. I suppose I made it seem like a game. There are many games that compare. But that was the point. All along I have said that I could hide in plain sight, because everyone would think it a game. You have proven me right. Sometimes being right hurts. Very much.
It is a game. To me it is my life. I suppose I cannot ever undo that linkage, though I do try. I am shooting myself in the foot, I suppose, by refusing to give any physical detail or proof. It cannot be helped. It is what it is.
And so here we are.
Everyone approaches me in their own way, and addresses the truth I offer in a unique fashion. I do not begrudge you that. I am simply aware now that I have a weakness. Several in fact. And now I have to work through that.