Yesterday I covered my sole experience with a critique group. Or, at least the traditional type of critique group (as in off-line and in person) and why it was a disaster for me. Yet, the Universe is still hounding me to either join or create one. And here's the problem.
I don't trust people. No, it's not the normal paranoia among newer writers that "someone will steal my ideas" but something a bit less profound and at the same time a major stumbling block, for me at least.
I've noticed, after a while, when a bunch of folks start hanging around each other they start sharing personal stuff. Stuff that goes beyond writing and how the rest of their lives are doing. And when it comes right down to it, I'm socially inept in group situations. One on one I'm fine and dandy, but more than that and I'm a blubbering idiot. I talk too much, share too much and frankly, I just don't know when to shut the hell up. Within this "sharing" that I do, I have a tendency to be unable to know just when I'm making people nervous, or, worse, scared.
People, as a whole, are a jittery group and with my macabre sense of humor tied along with my fringe beliefs as well as my "not so happy" background, the majority of folks don't know what to make of me. This isn't anything new, so I should be used to it, right? Wrong.
My entire life I've been told to be "less blunt" which I've interpreted to mean "less honest" considering the situations I've been told this (after someone has asked me their opinion in other words), "not so loud" (it's a party, how the hell else am I supposed to be heard for Goddess's sake?), and, worst of all to "calm down" (why the hell should I calm down? I'm pissed!).
I'm not saying these folks don't have a point. Sometimes they do, but for the most part it's overboard. In the guise of "politeness" strangers go out of their way to tell someone else how to act. In the guise of "normalcy" folks are afraid of anything that doesn't fit into whatever their idea of it is. In the guise of "peace" people try to tell others to "calm down" when the person who isn't "calm" has every damn right in the world to be pissed.
So yeah, I don't trust people, do you blame me?