| Me & CC; or, BNFs do not have more fun
||[Jun. 18th, 2006|11:05 pm]
This post is in response to slackerbitch, who asked me to describe the fallout between myself and Cassandra Claire. Since it's been 2 1/2 years, the stories and the reports have gotten watered down and people's memories have blurred, so I think this might be a good idea, particularly as HP fandom is revisiting that time frame anyway. My response is much too long for an lj comment, so I'm posting here, instead.
There are places where the whole thing has been more or less archived, such as FWGreatestHits and the FW Wiki--but none of those are completely accurate (the Greatest Hits entry is pretty inaccurate, actually, at least as far as the part that concerns me), so I'd much rather anyone who was really curious just ask me directly. I'll be the first person to say that I'm not blameless here, nor am I completely done being bitter, haha--but I do think I'm objective.
The story is long and complicated, and covers a number of wanks between July and October of 2003. But basically it boils down to 3 separate events that all culminated in October of that year.
[This post edited for clarity and content on 6/23/06]
1) The Secret Diary Wank.
This part of the wank is pure Snacky's Law: I hated Ivy because I felt she didn't do enough for the H/D fandom. (I know, right. I look back and laugh, but that's how I felt in those days--that you should actually have to *earn* your BNF status by contributing meaningful things to the fandom.) Anyway, I hated Ivy, I liked Cassie; Cassie liked Ivy; I was irrationally jealous.
A few weeks before Nimbus in June, I made a post on my private journal that was filtered to 5 people. That post was discovered by rubemalfoy, now gin_and_ironic, who had the password of someone on the filter. She emailed the post to a good number of people, including Stacey, the Veelas including Ivy, and CC. It was passed all over fandom and wound up on a journalfen account called thexhibitionist, which was created for the purpose of wanking me, and where you may read the post, "The Secret Diary of." [ETA 6/23/03: Thexhibitionist was deleted at some point in the few days following the public posting of this lj post. We have long-believed the author of this journal to be phatphatkitty aka Stacey or luciusmalfoy aka Libertine; the deletion coincides with a post made by Lib which mentions the contents of this post (wank mention here in case of locking), and would seem to indicate that Lib was most likely the one who created thexhibitionist.] [You can read a copy of the original, filtered post that was stolen and made public here on its FW wiki entry.]
Ivy at this time had already decided not to attend Nimbus because of financial issues; however, not having made that information public, she lashed out at me and accused me of making death threats against her. The post that I had filtered to 5 people was a parody of the whole BNF lifestyle, a blatant mockery of all three of us. So, yeah, it was potentially offensive. It was not, however, by any means, a death threat. Ivy, however, used the 'Death Threat' as a way to invent a better excuse for not attending Nimbus than financial issues--fear for her life. The wank over this right before Nimbus was big.
At some point in the following months, Libertine, who ran Ivy's website, banned my entire university IP referral from being able to access the site. I discovered this shortly after, in early October, when I tried to access the sites of friends who were hosted there and found that I couldn't. I worked at the university in the computing labs at that time, and was unable to access websites from any site or any computer on campus, while logging into multiple accounts. Libertine claimed to have checked with IU students who could still access the site, but never provided any evidence of this. So what she essentially did was ban more than 40,000 people (it's a very large public university) from accessing Ivy's site.
I made an angry public post about this when I discovered it. Specifically I blamed Ivy, not realizing that Libertine was the site owner (though Ivy obviously never objected). There was lots of wank. I even posted the wank myself. Unfortunately, Cassie et al were not pleased that I was shit-stirring again, and upon realizing that I had incurred their displeasure, I deleted my FW post and drastically edited my LJ post to a much more watered-down version of the original content. (The original, unedited version was snagged by my favorite stalker journal and posted here.) There was even more wank after I deleted my original wank. In my edit I apologized to Ivy--however, the act of editing that post, retracting my words because of fear of pissing off my friends, was pretty much an ongoing fandom theme at that point for me, and I was, frankly, sick of it.
A bit of background here: I had been to visit Cassie and Co. in August, under great pressure to come though I really couldn't afford it. Once there I felt uncomfortable the whole time I was there. All of my hosts, Cassie, Clio, and Ali, were extremely nice, courteous, entertaining, and very gracious--but there was a vibe that I didn't fit in, that I didn't belong, that really shook me up, and I spent the whole 2 weeks of my visit feeling deeply insecure and out of place. The aftereffects of that visit were that I didn't feel like I belonged in a circle that had been constantly attempting to dictate my behavior, my lj codes of conduct, my circles of friends. I had been frustrated that Cassie stuck by Ivy when Ivy first overreacted to my post being made public, and was even more frustrated at her response when I posted about Ivy banning my IP. And that frustration really tapped into a much deeper frustration with the social codes I was expected to follow as one of Cassie's close friends. Which brings us to...
2) Stacey, aka phatgirlfics, now phatphatkitty.
When I first became friends with Cassie in early 2002, she had another friend named Stacey who didn't like me. Stacey didn't like me so much that she continually harrassed me, insulted me publicly, and abused Cassie for being friends with me. However, instead of effectively dealing with Stacey's abuse, Cassie, during the summer we became friends, asked me to keep our friendship a secret. You can see evidence of this if you go to the thank you notes for Draco Veritas chapter 9 at FA, where she thanks someone named "Darcy." Darcy is me. It was literally the code name we used so she could thank me without Stacey knowing. Stacey, however, found out anyway, by hacking into Cassie's email account. When she did, she threw a bitchfit, quit FA, where she was a head mod, and left the fandom. The farewell on her userinfo was "I hate the liars. You can fucking die." The liars, of course, being Cassie and Heidi, who had lied to her about me being CC's friend. This was in late summer of 2002.
For the next year, Stacey continually harrassed me, spread lies about me, and did everything but post publicly about me again. I had already deeply resented being asked to keep my friendship hidden, but during the year I was coming under attack from Stacey, I got basically no allowance from CC & co to do anything about it publicly. I felt (and still feel) that if they had come forth to share what Stacey had done to them, if they had stepped forth to publicly discredited her, I wouldn't have had to put up with all the crap from Stacey that I did.
After the final Ivy wank, I had basically reached the end of my rope with being expectd to just put up and shut up any time somebody crapped on me, just because I had to preserve the rank and file of the Inner Circle. So when, shortly after the Ivy wank, phatphatkity posted her first public post in over a year, about how the Ivy wank had proven that I was nuts, well....
I lost it.
Stacey's post is no longer public; the text, however, was saved and is quoted below:
[Jul. 5th, 2003|08:15 pm]
You know, it was this kind of obsessive/compulsive behaviour that first alerted me to the fact that Aja is completely and utterly insane. When she first entered fandom a year and a half ago, she sucked up to all the big slash fanfic names. She followed me around to chatrooms that I went to, posted on boards that I frequented, tried to draw me into conversations with her through all media. When I finally got my phatgirlfics Livejournal, she added everyone that I put on my friends list, and would somehow get in contact with anyone I mentioned in passing. For instance, salazaar, she wouldn't have given you the time of day if I hadn't pimped "Shatter" in my journal. Hope you feel all warm and fuzzy about that friendship.
I never encouraged her butt-sucking behaviour. As some of you may recall, I was uncomfortable with my fandom fame, and the fact that someone was trying to take up residence in my bowel freaked me right out. I avoided Aja as much as possible, to the extent of ceasing to go into chatrooms and posting on my favourite boards. I couldn't stand how she tried to ingratiate herself into every aspect of my online life.
[Aja's note: this section refers to the fact that Stacey had hinted in the past, as she states directly on this post, that she thought I had followed her around friending all of her friends, so when she began commenting on the Ivy wank, I added everyone on her friends list one night--partly as a joke, partly hoping it would draw her out, which it did.]
She's done it again, however. She's added everyone on my friends list, which includes not only fandom people, but also my sister [name deleted], my husband [name deleted], my real-life friends [names deleted], and [name deleted], who is in no way connected to Harry Potter fandom, and isn't likely to be so, after witnessing the behaviour of its most psycho member. In case she's rethought her wicked ways and defriended them by now, here's today's screencap of Aja's user page for your perusal.
(Note: the sister, husband and [name deleted] accounts were set up by me so that they could log in and see my friends-only posts. They are empty accounts, and no one except me has any reason to friend them.)
So why has she done this, other than just for the sake of being an idiot? Maybe it's because she's upset that I outed her as a member of the Fandom Bitches (aka avada_sarcastic), of former "What Inner Circle" and "Which Fanfic Archive" quiz fame. However, Ali already took the rap for that (very kindly, I must say, considering she is shouldering the blame not only for herself, but also Aja, Cassie, Heidi and I) so Aja should have been clear of that for a motivation to annoy me.
What else is there? Is it because the rumour that my husband frequently calls Heidi to apologise for my behaviour toward her and fandom didn't take hold? Maybe it didn't catch on because it was such a STUPID rumour. (By the way, if any of you have heard other such fantastic rumours about me, I would love to hear them.)
Could it be that Aja's paranoid and sees "Stacey is after me" signs everywhere she looks? I'm hoping it's that. It's rather flattering, being someone's bugbear. I wish I was buggin' someone more worthy. My husband calling Heidi... honestly! If any of you have any idea why Aja continues to feel that she must annoy, threaten, and harass me, I would dearly love to hear it.
And so, for once I'll leave the comments section open. I can't wait to see who shows up to defend Aja. Or maybe no one will. :D
 Oh, apparently it was on a whim that she friended MY ENTIRE FRIENDS LIST. Wow, I guess when the mood strikes, the mood strikes!
The wank about this post is here. The post I made in response is linked to on that post, though that post has since been made private.
The entirety of my post on the subject dealt with airing the full history of my experience with Stacey. Among the accusations I made were that she stalked and harrassed me online for a year and a half, slandered me to mutual friends and basically to anyone who would listen, and had harrassed and abused Cassie for entertaining a friendship with me early on. I explained that Stacey had put Cassie into a 'her or me' corner, and compelled her to lie about our friendship for months. I explained that Stacey had hacked into CC's email account looking for evidence that we had been corresponding (a fact that Durendal aka eleveninches can confirm). I explained that when she discovered this she went to Heidi and told her she was resigning from FA. I explained that I was making this post in an attempt to discredit her publicly so that I would never have to worry about her again.
My post drew deliberately on the influence of Cassie and Heidi's experiences with Stacey to try and gain legitimacy for my claims that Stacy was nuts--she wasn't just nuts in my opinion, but in theirs as well. However, I had not asked Cassie or Heidi to use their names in my post. I had done it on the assumption that as my friends, they would understand.
They emphatically did not understand. They were, in fact, enraged. And coming just 2 days after the Ivy wank, very few people in my circle of friends wanted to hear more wank from me either. People who weren't close to me were generally more supportive than people who were; most of the friends in my fandom circle didn't want to hear about it.
And there was wank. Lots and lots of wank.
Cassie and Heidi both made public posts distancing themselves from my post about Stacey. The fact that they did this was a huge slap in the face as far as I was concerned, and I
responded by defriending Cassie. She defriended me, and we agreed to basically take some space from each other. It wasn't, at that point, meant to be a permanent parting of the ways.
Except then I did something really stupid.
3) Plagiarism & Fic Stealing
Rewind a year.
I had been accused in 2002 of plagiarizing Cassie. She wrote "A Season in Hell;" I wrote "Twelfth Night." Cassie felt that I had plagiarized. I felt that I hadn't. There was no wank about this at the time: I took down the fic to spare Cassie's feelings, and Cassie and I made up. A year later I would repost it again, which was the act that ended my friendship with CC.
At the same time I was accused of plagiarizing Twelfth Night, I was accused by a former friend of passing around spoilers for future plot points of Draco Veritas. Cassie and I had a very--I would call it a near-symbiotic relationship regarding the creation of her fic, especially the subtextual slash elements. Before leaving fandom, Stacey had accused me of trying to lead a "crusade" to get Cassie to slash the trilogy. While that's not accurate, anybody in the H/D fandom at the time would probably say that it was accurate that I was sort of seen as the DV slash cheerleader. I was privileged to see many parts of Draco Veritas as it was being written; however, I never passed around future plot spoilers or spoilers of any kind. The extent of my "leaking" portions of DV consisted of my pasting bits of DV fic into YM windows with my then-friend legomymalfoy, and doing a lot of fangirling. When this accusation was brought to light in late 2002, I freely confessed that I had done that to Cassie. Cassie saw no problem with what I'd done, forgave me on the spot, and that was the end of the matter.
To return to October 2003.
About a week and a half after Cassie and I defriended each other, I reposted Twelfth Night on my journal. This was a ridiculously stupid thing to do, haha. At the time, I remember very clearly my logic going something like this: "Hmm, I want to give everyone a distraction from the wank. I know! I'll post fic! What fic can I post? I have nothing handy--oh, but hey, I have this old fic that I can repost!" Or at least that's definitely what I told myself.
I knew reposting the fic was going to cause wank, but I think I really just wanted to, in some way, reassert my autonomy again--to say definitively to myself that I was no longer under the sway of Cassandra Claire. Remember, I had never believed I had plagiarized ASiH, and I had removed the fic only to make her happy. I wanted to get a little of my own back. I re-posted Twelfth Night. And that was the final straw.
The exhibitionist posted a copy of my fic with commentary, and fandom wank picked sides about whether I had or hadn't ripped off Cassie.
A day later, Cassie made a post explaining that she was taking time off to rewrite future parts of Draco Veritas which she claimed had been ruined by someone whom she thought was a friend, whom she now knew she couldn't trust. She implied that that person had leaked crucial plot elements of the story, and that she therefore needed to revamp and rewrite.
I was devastated by this post--though really I was kind of numb by this point--and emailed Cassie to say "please don't change your story because of me." She responded very angrily, by saying it was my fault she had to change Draco Veritas, and that she now knew that Stacey had been right about me all along--I was a social climber who only wanted to manipulate her. She then said, "Stay away from me. Stay the fuck away from me." I don't remember the rest of the email after that.
This section added 6/20/06:
CC and I did not interact in any way until summer of 2004, when I at some point decided to remove "Twelfth Night" from the public again. CC emailed me a one-line email that said "Why can't you just let it go?" I did not respond. Exactly one year after we defriended each other, CC responded in comments to this thread in a post by slytherincess. That post is now locked, but this wank includes mention of it, and specifically Cassie's participation. At one point, she replied to another person (longtimegone) who had said: it's...rather rude to steal something you KNEW a friend was working on, especially after they told you in confidence. CC's response was curt: "That it is." I replied to her directly: "It is rude. When it's intentional--because sometimes it isn't. And sometimes, you think they stole something of yours, when they didn't." At that point she deleted her comment. She deleted others on the post as well, but was still wanked according to her own history as an accused plagiarist.
I was really and truly devastated by all of this. October 2003 is a month I will never forget. I can easily look back and see how I incited the wank, how I refused to let things drop, how I was obsessed with Stacey's obsession with me, and of course the whole Ivy thing which, dude, whatever. What I also see very clearly is that I was chafing against the expectations of the Inner Circle. I couldn't be what they wanted me to be; I couldn't effectively curb my own feelings and stifle my own voice for the good of the Group, or to preserve Cassie's reputation, which is what I was asked to do time and time again since becoming her friend. In the end I think what happened was inevitable, because I simply couldn't play that role. That made me a liability to Cassie, and I understand why. The whole wank really made me understand where she was coming from in a way I hadn't been able to before: of course she needed her friends to pull rank and file, because she was so susceptible to attack anyway, just for being who she was, that with any additional provocation she would have that much more crap to deal with. What her friends do affects her. I know that's still the case with me, years later, and I respect her for not being even more strict about dictating the course of her friendships, under the circumstances.
But I can't excuse her behavior to me, and believe me, I have tried and tried over the years, because I loved her dearly. We hurt each other very much--she honestly felt betrayed by me, and I don't blame her for needing to rewrite parts that reminded her of my influence over Draco Veritas; I know that I couldn't really write my fic either after we parted ways. October 2003 was the real end of Love Under Will. But emotional baggage aside, the bottom line was that she asked me repeatedly to put aside my own needs and cater to hers. Our friendship began in secrecy and went downhill from there; it was incredibly unhealthy for me, and probably for her too.
In March of last year, I sent her an email, the first time I'd emailed her since her response to me, because I was trying to rid myself of feelings of guilt and exonerate myself from having to look back on my conduct during that time period and have anything to regret. It took me a long time to cease to regret losing my friendship with Cassie, because she was a good friend. In the email I talked a bit about that summer, and my emotional state. I reminded her that I had contributed financially to her fund during Laptopgate and that her response to everyone, sent via mass email, had been "I consider you all friends now." I told her that I did not want friendship, but I would like forgiveness. She's the kind of person who burns bridges and doesn't look back, but I'm the kind of person who needs closure, who needed to know that somewhere, Cassie isn't looking back and thinking nothing but ill thoughts of the time when we were friends.
So I told her that, and asked for forgiveness.
She responded: "Got your email. Need some time to think about it. Will get back to you."
That was March of last year. I've not heard from Cassandra Claire since. I wish her well.
eta: August 29, 2011
Shortly after making this post, I received word from a mutual acquaintance that it was upsetting Cassie herself. This post was never intended to cause more pain to either of us. As a means of trying to accurately reflect what my friendship with her was like, I think it speaks for itself. It was intended as a record of a very crazy time in HP fandom, and how that time affected me personally. Nothing more.
But it was never my intention to hurt Cassie by making this post (not that I imagined she would ever see this post to begin with), so I locked it not long after it was made.
Now I am unlocking it, because I'm very sorry to say I have information to add to it.
On August 25, 2011, I published an essay at The Mary Sue in response to a NY Times article decrying the rise of girl-centric YA publishing. I am proud of that article, of what it says, and the response to it, which was very positive and discussion-heavy.
( The article briefly mentions Cassandra Clare's City of Bones on a list of books that I witnessed boys reading during the three years I spent tutoring kids. )
On the day this article was published, YA author and internet celebrity Maureen Johnson tweeted a link to it. I was delighted, and we had a brief exchange where I thanked her and she said it was a great article. :)
A few minutes after that, this happened:
I feel pretty sick about this, frankly. It has always been a small fear of mine that if I ever got too close to her world, the publishing world, she might slander me. But I never actually thought she really would. I didn't do anything to Cassie--I have never done anything to Cassie, as I hope this post makes clear. And if a mega-bestselling author with so much power and influence in the publishing world has decided that eight years after last speaking to me she needs to slander me, publicly, to other authors with power and influence, then there is not a single thing I can do about it.
But if those authors are going to be hearing Cassie's side of the story in private email exchanges, then the least I can do for myself is make my side of the story known as well. That's this post.
I hope this will be the last update I ever have to make to this post. I will continue to always try to be honest and straightforward, and to let my character speak for itself, and to avoid Cassandra Clare. :))
But no matter what. I've finally realized something: when someone is still trying to punish you for leaving a friendship eight years later, it's proof that the friendship was never healthy to begin with, and you were right to get as far away from it as possible.