By Carsten Tolkmit from Kiel, Germany (crossroads) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
By Carsten Tolkmit from Kiel, Germany (crossroads) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


Maybe you’ve seen this?

There’s some interesting stuff there, stuff about my emotional stability and pain and inability accurately to recount a conversation with someone.  I received an email from that someone, actually a few, demanding I label my work fiction.

Unfortunately, I don’t write fiction.

Pays better, I hear.  I’ve only managed to write one short series of fiction in the last two years, What We Built From Ruins. Otherwise–no.

There’s a bit of fictive metaphor in Perceval.  It’s in the first section.  My interlocutor wasn’t wielding a scepter. Also, there’s a mythic element in it.  I can’t prove a fragment of my soul suddenly found itself in Gwynedd again, at the shores of Llyn Dinas.  The earlier was a literal device, the latter a spiritual experience.  That’s the sum of it, though. The rest?  All true, and particularly my accounting of my interlocutor’s words.

Here’s the thing, though.  He claims I am not telling the truth. But he says some awfully nice things, too, mixed in with some questioning of my emotional state and a description of my ‘pain.’

So, you know how this works, yeah?  I claim my account to be true; he claims otherwise.  Thus, I am either lying, delusional, or telling the truth.

If I’m lying, you have no reason to trust anything else I say.  My accounts of meeting gods, my description of ritual visions, pretty much everything else should be suspect.  You should not trust me.

If I’m delusional, you have similar reasons to doubt everything else I’ve said.  I say I encounter a land spirit or sense the dead: you should wonder how sane I actually am.  As I’ve said previously, the mystic or the spiritualist reports a reality outside normal observation, and the easiest way to shut them out is to diagnose their condition.  I could have been crazy (either temporarily or possibly chronically), and if this is so, that would qualify me as (what we call in social work) a ‘poor historian.’

In your judgment is that I fall into one of the first two cases, I’m gonna politely suggest, for your own integrity and mental health, that you stop reading me.  I claim to write the truth, and if what I say is untrue or delusional, I’m guilty either of a very grave crime (misleading people) or need some medications.  It’s the same advice I’d give anyone else.  It’s not safe to believe people who mislead or outright lie; it’s also very unsafe to be caught in other people’s delusions.  You should stop reading me.  No hard feelings, seriously.

If the third, though–awesome.  Glad you’re around.  You’re who I’m writing for, and you have my love.

Be very well and in peace. I will be, too.

27 thoughts on “Nonfiction

  1. I’m not surprised that the man you reported about in your last piece attempted to gaslight you. I would have been shocked had he not. Manipulation, domination, blahblahblah: narcissism.

    I will continue to read your words with great pleasure and carry on with my respect for you. I do not doubt your integrity or sanity, nor do I doubt your courage.

  2. I looked at his words, the ones mentioned and others. I have been inspired by your vulnerability and honesty in your writings. This other man hides in his words and his supposed status.

  3. I don’t think you can trust anyone who says “that person is delusional or a liar but they are a fine young man that I respect.” He is just so clearly being disingenuous whereas you, Rhyd, are one of the most damned sincere chaps around.

  4. I’m fascinated that he chooses to blur the line between mercantile activity and Capitalism. Either he really is grievously ignorant (amazingly so for someone who claims to value formal education) and doesn’t know the nature of a word he uses frequently or he is more dangerous than I thought.

    1. Also, you were courteous enough in your creative nonfiction (which you do better than anyone I know!) to not name names, whereas he has kind of “claimed” it, and there’s actually nothing to suggest that it must be him in the post itself (a certain Carly Simon song comes to mind?); thus, a suggestion: publish the e-mails? I’d be interested in seeing how they differ from his comments on your blog post and his public BaceFook statements.

  5. It would be interesting to get the account of the woman who overhead what he said and looked shocked. That would really throw hi response into the light.

      1. There’s two women. One, the treasurer of the Pantheon foundation (and thus invested in its continuance) who, in a comment claims to have heard our entire conversation. I’d be intrigued by her account, as I’ve never met her before.

        The woman I mentioned exists but I will not ask her to confirm what she heard or did not hear.

      2. My bad for not expanding more on my comment. Did anyone really notice what SW included in his response in the “Perceval” entry?

        …>>My inquiry was innocent, and rooted in my late wife being a LCSW. Mostly I was hoping you were getting paid properly<<….

        Death, grief & loss and concern for the other person receiving renumeration commensurate to their contribution, is a classic 8th house/Scorpio-Taurus concern.

        Every treasurer of any foundation is accountable to somebody higher up the food chain. Who is the Auditor
        and where is the IRS in all this?

  6. Someone responded on facebook saying the following: “I honestly don’t have to time to weed through the entirety of someone’s personal epic poetry blog entry directed to slander you”. How do they bloody know it’s slander without reading it I wonder.

    But of course reading anything that takes more than 10 min. to sink in, is beyond most people nowdays.

  7. That’s the longest Facebook post I’ve ever seen. I didn’t finish reading it… I got bored.

    Never get bored reading your blog posts. (Especially the ones I don’t really understand.)

    I think you are both honest and crazy– good crazy, passionate for life. I keep hoping I’ll catch a case of it from you.

  8. Not knowing either of you or the community involved, after reading both accounts, I believe you, for two reasons.

    First, I have made it an intentional bias to believe the less powerful person in a dispute, as they have the most at risk to lose and less reason to lie.

    Secondly, the response sounds EXACTLY like what someone else, a powerful cis white man in a lefty organization, said when first accused of harassment. He wasn’t ANGRY, oh no, just sorry for the poor deluded woman who had misinterpreted him .It wasn’t her fault, poor thing, she was TROUBLED, and had a history of mental illness, you know, and he sincerely hoped she got help.

    And everyone was SO impressed by how magnanimous he was being about these obviously baseless accusations, and any future targets were put on notice that if they said anything, they’d be dismissed as hysterical delusional attention-seekers. And then later on, it turned out that he was a serial harasser and had been abusing less powerful younger women for years.

    It’s uncanny how similar the tone and phrasing of the response linked above is.

  9. After reading both, I see it that he used the same well-worn tactics that are disingenuously pulled out to disregard and “other” someone. You just got called, “little-lady”…

  10. Probably not on the same level… but I’ve had a judge in a poetry competition refer to my work as magical realist ie. that I’m taking a magical / mythic perspective for the time period of writing but don’t actually believe the persons (often spirits and deities) I’m writing about are real… Some people just don’t get these things!

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