Don’t take it personal

25 Feb

‘What is the hardest part about writing a column?’ I had to think about what to answer for a second. I got the question from one of the participants in a column writing workshop, organised by a youth centre in my neighborhood.
The topic usually announces itself, that’s not an issue. The angle? Writer’s block? No problem with that either. No, the hardest part about writing a column is not the actual writing of the column. It’s the sometimes shockingly rude reactions afterwards.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good discussion with my readers. If I wanted everybody to always agree with me, I would have written for the North Korean party paper. But what I find in my mailbox sometimes, goes beyond imagination.
That I need to keep my ugly left-wing mouth shut. That I need to get the hell out of here to some faraway place, and take those bloody immigrants with me. That I am a scary bitch. After a column on domestic violence someone even had the nerve to tweet that my ex should have aimed better, ‘so we wouldn’t have to listen to this crap’.
What is it, that people feel the need to share such nastiness? Some kind of verbal diarrhea? Simply unstoppable?
It’s all part of the game, according to some. ‘Don’t take it personal!’ But that is easier said than done when people want you dead. Charlotte Dawson, the Australian tv host who killed herself last Saturday after being harrassed by Twitter trolls for years, can unfortunately no longer testify to that.

Again, I love a good debate. So do you think it’s ridiculous I critize the Dutch secretary of state for immigration, are you happy that anchor Margreet Spijker had to leave RTL or are you an outspoken fan of the new Spanish anti-abortion law? I’d love to hear from you. But please, attack the column, not the columnist.

‘Don’t you ever think about quitting?’ the kids in my workshop asked me. No way. Not for a second. Writing columns is the best thing there is. ‘What makes writing columns so much fun then?’ they wanted to know. I didn’t need to think about that answer. The nice reactions. Cause thankfully, I get those, too.

One Response to “Don’t take it personal”

  1. Theo Maas February 25, 2014 at 9:40 pm #

    Dear Kirsten,
    I love your columns, I love youre guts, I love your struggle, I love to disagrea, I love to agree.
    The freedom of speech is an important right of men and women. But, the responsability to use that freedom in a right and respectfull way is just as important.
    Make my day and keep on writing your colums.

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