The internet can be a strange place. Every place can be, of course, and maybe I'm wrong to think of the internet as somehow separate. But. Still.
I don't have any alerts set up. Not for my name, not for my stories, not for anything I've been involved with. I don't vanity search. I do, occasionally, read my reviews, but even that tends to be something I'm careful about. I avoid these things because, honestly, I feel like there's some sort of unspoken internet rule that as soon as you set these things up, the universe will slap you - the first review you find will be bad, the first mention will be something hurtful. And I know how I am, and I know how my brain works, and so I know that I am much better off missing the good stuff, if it means that I also miss the bad.
And we hear all the time "don't read the comments" "don't feed the trolls" "avoid the bottom half of the internet." There is, it seems, something in the fact that the interface is a screen, not a face, that allows people to be crueler here than they would be in physical life.
Though, sometimes, we are cruel face to face, too.
I was walking my dog this morning and a man I had never met before blocked my way on the sidewalk. "Your dog looks old," he said. "You should put it to sleep."
I'd like to say that I was tough, that I was a badass, that I said something cutting, and punched him for good measure. But my dear cat died in November, and it has been an awful few months for beloved pets among my friends and family, and so I did not act like a badass. Instead, I grabbed Sam I Am into my arms, and burst into tears.
And then I came inside and told twitter.
And the internet was collectively awesome.
Maybe it doesn't seem a big deal, to type "hugs" or "I'm sorry" or "that guy was a jerk" in response to someone. But seeing a timeline fill up with collective support, it's kind of great. And in this instance, it was a really clear reminder that, even though there are cruel people in the world, there are also kind ones, that people can act from love, too.
So thank you, to everyone who took a moment to be kind today.