The Thorny Meltdown

Once again, someone in the community hasn’t performed as expected or conformed to the group’s vision of how people need to act, and the villagers are out with the torches and pitchforks, gnashing their teeth and slavering for a kill.

I’m talking about the Thorny/Missy blowup.  It seems a middle-aged woman dared to present herself online as a young gay boy, and his family and friends, writing an elaborate story of how they lived their lives–which everyone who followed the blog ate up with a spoon, me included–and worse, made and sold beautiful paintings to some of those followers. How dare she have real talent! How dare she charge money for her work!

Wait! Before you turn those pitchforks in my direction, let me assure you I was as shocked as you when I found out Thorny & Co. didn’t exist. Shocked, dismayed, and after a bit, amazed at her creativity. She created four different characters and gave them a depth some people I’ve met in real life don’t have. They struggled, they made tough decisions, they had jobs, two of them got a cat… just life. Thorny, the blog owner, was unerringly cheerful and spread sunshine around like a fairy scatters glitter. I admit it: I loved dropping by to see what they were up to next. 

But it wasn’t real. It was a story, and why the author decided to write it as a blog instead of putting it in a novel, I don’t know. She said she was lonely and wanted friends. Who am I to decide that reason isn’t good enough? I’ve been lonely. I’ve wanted friends, and while I’ve never gone as far as she did to get them, I refuse to judge her motives. I don’t know her. I don’t know her life or circumstances.

“But,” some of you pointed out, “ALEC. And MORES.”

And you’ve made excellent points. She impersonated an alcoholic vet with one leg. I don’t know anything about Mores, not being around when that happened, so I can’t comment except to say it could be dangerous killing off a character people think is real because of the possible ricochet effect. That was clearly crossing a line.

But Alec? How do I know she’s not a vet? Or maybe someone in her family is, or a close friend came back from the gulf in that shape. How do I know everything she wrote for Alec was a lie? I don’t, and neither do you. Was creating Alec wrong? Probably, but again, I refuse to judge. I simply don’t know enough about her situation.

Look, I get that you’re pissed, and you have every right to be. You feel used and abused, and those feelings are valid. But after you’ve expressed your anger, let it go and get on with your lives.

Any time we interact with anyone, whether it’s in real life or online, we run the risk of getting hurt, of being betrayed. And when it happens, as it inevitably does, we suck it up, learn from it, and move the hell on. We don’t get out the pitchforks and try to destroy that person.

We don’t know why she did it. We may never know. But the one thing we have to remember is this is a human being. She may need psychiatric help, and if she does, I hope she gets it. If she was only fucking with people, manipulating them to sell books or get gifts and make money, well, now you know. Lick your wounds, consider it another of life’s cruel little lessons, and forget it.

If you bought her books or sent gifts or gave her money, you did it out of a sense of joy. Doing it gave you great pleasure. Remember that feeling and ignore the rest. Your feelings were real, even if what prompted them was not.

I will continue to accept people at face value, whether I meet them in real life or online. I will assume they are good people who have no intention of defrauding, hurting, or betraying me. To do anything less is to be less than human.

Please put the pitchforks away. Frankenstein’s monster is dead.

____________

I disabled comments at 2:44 Eastern Time. I think enough has been said. 

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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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21 Responses to The Thorny Meltdown

  1. Patricia says:

    British Author William Boyd wrote a book which was a joke, he did it with the help of a select few and David Bowie. It’s called “Nat Tate–An American Artist-1928-1960.” Read about the details; many were sucked in, and Boyd even painted pictures himself. One just was auctioned at Southebey’s. His purpose was to puncture the fakery of the art world. I read Thorney’s column too but wasn’t deeply engaged. I agree with you, she took her artistic license and ran with it. Let her live her life in peace, move on.

  2. Lisa B. says:

    I agree with everything you said, Theo. I learned the hard way long ago not to believe most of what I read on the Internet, unless it’s coming from a credible source. I too enjoyed reading the blog but was not deeply emotionally invested in these people. I was disappointed that they weren’t real but not for the reasons some were. I’m disappointed because it’s over. I enjoyed reading the antics of Thorny. I still laugh when I think about him getting stuck in the window. Did it actually happen to the real person? Maybe. Maybe not. But it’s still funny as hell.

    I did buy paintings and I received a good quality product for my money. I have them hanging in my office at work and most people who visit me there comment on their beauty. The fact they didn’t actually come from a young gay man in Ohio does not diminish my enjoyment of them. There were even a few pictures I wish I’d gotten before the store was shut down.

    There are other blogs out there that I read on a regular basis. Until I meet these people or meet people who personally know these people, I’m going to assume that they too are not exactly who they say they are.

    • A sensible and sane attitude to adopt. I, too, have a couple of Thorny’s paintings. They’re beautiful.

      Thorny wrote some really funny posts. 🙂 The writer obviously has talent. I hope she will put it to better use in the future.

  3. I dont think it is about the male / female author penname thing it is about the life’s she purposly created and got people involved with . She gained financial and emotional gain out of it and in the wake devistated many people when this came out . Please try to understand what it feels like for those people . Being on the other site myself ( in different sitation) I know how much it hurts and what it does to you.

    • I get it. Not one person alive today hasn’t been betrayed at one point or another in their lives, and by people they thought they knew and trusted. What she did was wrong; I’m not saying it isn’t. I’m just trying to provide a different perspective that might help calm things down a little.

      It’s very upsetting when the community is in an uproar, and they seem to be in one every other week lately.

      • I understand that too , I am not saying she couldnt have support because everyone needs some and obviously she had a reason to do this. I am just saying the reasons she is giving dont justify what she did imho I sure do hope she gets help and sort herself out because the compasionate part of me feels very sorry and sad for her

  4. He, sorry she, created a whole fictional world where we gullible idiots (and yes, I know you are included Fen) responded so warmly to Thorny, Jazz, Alec et al. We took them into our hearts, and believed that they were real because it so nice to see gay guys getting good press for a change. That of course has now been shattered, and what really p****s me off is that I bought her Missy Welsh stories anyway. Was she miffed that Thorny maybe got more attention than she did?? If so, she really needs to seek help. Whatever her reasons, she has just put a bomb under the M/M publishing genre…again!! Haven’t we all had enough of this?? I’m beginning to think that I should just stay offline and avoid all this confrontation….:(

    • There is nothing wrong with believing what someone says. We’re wired that way. We want to trust. And it doesn’t make us bad or stupid or gullible when the other person turns out to be a liar. It makes us human.

      Staying offline won’t solve anything. There are liars in real life, too. Just exhibit a little caution when you talk to people. Living in a cave wouldn’t be any fun at all. 😉 They’re wet and cold and dark, and there are things crawling on the walls.

  5. Jaycee Edward says:

    Fen’s Island is looking better and better every day. 😦

    • You’re damn right Jaycee!! 😀

    • The reason why we like the idea of the island so much is because we think it will protect us from shit like this.

      It won’t. Nothing does. If you are alive, if you interact with others, whether in real life or online, bad things will sometimes happen to you.

      In the long run, that bad stuff will make us stronger and better able to cope with all the nasty in the world.

  6. Trish says:

    Couldnt’t disagree with you more. You may be surprised to read my pov but here goes my pitchfork. You just put up a blog post telling others how they need to deal with a situation that you had absolutely no personal involvement in. That screams selfish and egotistical. You mention above to not being around on the blog from the beginning so you had no idea about her killing off a character. 1st… Let’s make one thing very clear. Mores, Alec, Carter et al were real people to the followers of that blog. She didn’t kill off a character. She blogged about Mores committing suicide. My god, how is it that anyone finds that acceptable at all because she can paint! 2nd, and now that I know you weren’t around from the beginning, your entire post for me, is null and void of any merit. Please continue to enjoy your art while the rest of those hurt by “her” fraud get back to their lives.

    • Thanks for your comment, Trish. You realize you just dismissed my feelings altogether? Told me I wasn’t entitled to an opinion because I didn’t suffer enough?

      Hm.

      • Trish says:

        I didn’t say you weren’t enitlted to an opinion, only that for me, its null and void based on what you wrote in your post.

        • Of course you did. You said, since I hadn’t been around from the start, my post is null and void, meaning I’m not entitled to voice an opinion.

          I get you’re fucking pissed, but please direct that anger to the person who made you feel that way, which is not me. I was attempting to give some perspective on the situation. In no way did I say you weren’t entitled to be furious with her. Scream and shout and stamp your feet, but please don’t do it here. Kade Boehm already has a post set up on his wall for that.

          • Ann says:

            You want her to direct her anger at the person who caused it? Isn’t this entire post designed to shame people who are angry? They’re to put their pitchforks away, right?

          • This post was not written to shame anyone. It was an attempt to cool things off, help people take a step back and put things in perspective. Don’t put words in my mouth. Pretty sure what I wrote is very clear.

  7. JadeCrystal says:

    I had a long comment typed out, but it was getting more and more heated as I typed so I deleted it because you don’t deserve that, Theo. Instead I’ll just say this:Yes, I should just let it go, and no, I shouldn’t let experiences like this make me mistrust other people, but I am who I am. I hold onto things and it hurts for a long time. There was also another reason that “Thorny’s” deception hurt me personally, but I guess it doesn’t matter to anyone but me. The whole thing just sucks, and not in the good way.

    • I know how hard it is to dial it back when you’re upset and angry, so thanks for your restraint. Yes, this whole thing sucks. I’m deeply sympathetic to those who invested so much time, emotion, money… hell, themselves into that blog. Your pain is palpable. It’s terrible someone hurt you that much.

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