In 2010, I had the offer I have dreamed of since childhood, a book deal with a major publisher! My dreams of a bestseller however, were crushed. For many reasons, tis true, it was the wrong time, it broke the Misery Memoir genre (not miserable) and my name was absolute filth on the internet. No-one would review it, and no-one would publicise it. No-one would connect their name to it.
There were also a number of dedicated sites such as 'The Lies of Rosalinda Hutton' and hundreds of pages devoted to my 'imagined' life as a Hater in their notorious death dossier and they trashed my books on Amazon. They had great fun discussing my mental health issues, urging me to take my meds, and rolling on the floor laughing when they pushed me to the edge. All tastefully accompanied by eating popcorn emojis.
But I'm no victim - as if! I get knocked down, I get back up again (among, my funeral songs), I've never had the resources to launch legal battles, and I wouldn't if I could. Listening to barristers hurling references from ancient books at each other, is an experience I never want to have again, in this life or the next.
I do however, care very much about the legacy I leave, almost as much as I care about my kids. I don't want to be remembered as that evil woman online who tormented a grieving family. I will put my hands up to every crazy thing I have done in my life, but I have never been malicious. The words of my beloved Dad are always with me. 'Never hurt someone just because you can'.
For me, commenting negatively on the Madeleine case was a real crisis of conscience. I could not forgive myself if I added to the McCanns pain if they were innocent. I didn't comment negatively, until I had passed my own, very strict criteria, of 'beyond reasonable doubt'. And even once I did, I stuck within my own self inflicted moral codes, those that allow me to sleep well. I don't libel anyone, I don't accuse anyone and I try my best to steer 'antis' away from hysteria. I know the power of words, as Maya Angelou said much better than I, it's the way you make people FEEL.
The words Honesty and Integrity too, have served me well. In one of the first writing classes I attended, the lecturer (thanks Mike), wrote them in large letters on the blackboard (yes it was that long ago). You can use writing a memoir as 'payback' for example - but why would you? When it can so easily be used as a basis for reconciliation.
But I want to use the Million mark, to thank all those readers who have stuck with me, many of whom go back over the years and with whom I share fond (and crazy) memories. It's been a roller coaster ride. My blog is as it is. Nothing planned. As an ageing hippy chick, I can't complete a daily 'to do' list let alone a life plan - I accidently wrote New Year's Resolutions on the last whiteboard I had in permanent ink, by March it was driving me demented.
Whether we should or shouldn't discuss the case of missing Madeleine McCann is a dilemma we all face from time to time, I'm sure. On the surface, it seems ghoulish, dig deeper, and it seems judgemental and a class issue. You can see why no MP wants to bring the subject up. Those hurling rocks at Gerry and Kate, are chavs and Sun readers, the educated elite wouldn't dream of being so crass as to suspect, two middle class doctors of disposing of their child's body.
That isn't true of coursse, as the exposure of poor Brenda Leyland revealed, disbelieving the McCann's abduction story is not restricted to the Council estates and the travellers' sites. Not believing the McCanns, crosses every class, and educational level. Saying it out loud however, is another matter. It is still politically incorrect and can destroy a journalist's or blogger's career in seconds.
Any 'sane' person in my position would have stopped commenting on the McCann case, as soon as the backlash began. I didn't of course. Unfortunately, their attacks brought back that outraged little 5 year old, who refused to accept any form of injustice! I was the only girl in the boy scout pack for example. My instinct was to fight back, my dear old dad would have said, for heaven's sake don't follow your instincts, but I probably wouldn't have listened to him. Much of his wisdom, didn't kick in until many years later. Doh! That I followed my instincts, should make it absolutely clear that I wasn't in it for the money.
Speaking of the wise. I once watched a documentary about the fighter pilots horrifically injured in WWII. They were a terrific bunch, brave beyond compare, and even in the face of all they had suffered, they were still having a giggle at the funny side. Their Treasurer for example had no legs, they said with mischievous grins. One particularly outspoken old gent recalled his days flying out to protect Britain's shores. 'The cheek of it!', he said, with such force, the handlebars on his moustache flew upwards. I found myself applauding and saying 'here, here' or is it 'hear hear', as his words and the way in which he said them became a permanent fixture in my brain!
The cheek of it! How dare these people think they can destroy my childhood dream. Now, I can hear my feisty mum, shouting 'here, here'. My blog, I hope, has gone some way to repairing the damage caused to my name by my links to this case. That is, those who take the time and trouble, can see for themselves, that this is not a hate site filled with malcontents abusing the McCann family.
But should we discuss the details of such a high profile crime on social media? And the most likely answer is, most of us do feel uncomfortable with it, and are very aware that it affects real people, including children. But it should be clear by now, that 99% of my posters, observe their own high moral code and are considerate in their replies.
Against that, people are being hurt by the deception that is being put out, and having children, should not make public figures immune from criticism. The idea is absurd. Common decency tells us that families, and kids in particular, should never be stalked and harassed, but they shouldn't be held up as human shields. And they shouldn't be used to prevent the public from discussing the validity of the abduction story. Particularly, as Gerry and Kate have historically always called on the public to help find their daughter.
I regularly question myself on the morality of what I am doing here. I don't need Judges, censors or lawyers from Carter Ruck, I torture myself enough already. Ultimately, I feel I have no option but to continue. I have to get past the 'bad name' label that has blighted every area of my life.
I know for example, that should I publish a book, which I am going to within the next few months, hopefully by Christmas, it will immediately be trashed on Amazon. However, as I mentioned above, I am not a victim, and I believe just as much as I did at 8 years old, that I was going to write a seminal book! And I believe talen will always find a way. Tis true, I didn't think it would take this long to find the right formula, but there you go.
If I am ever to fulfil my dreams, a cottage where I can hear the sea, a bright yellow noddy car, a country kitchen where I can make cherry pies for my platonic friend Big Ears, I will have to get my head down. I would also have a crazy mutt, or several, the kind of dejected looking oldies who appreciate being pampered and won't criticise my pastry or give me zero points for my hostessing skills. Dogs are great - even if you throw 'the fecking pie' at them, they are not offended, in fact, they come back for more. To my readers of old, I haven't entirely given up on the idea of a beach hut in Cuba and a toenail painting, guitar strumming Rastafarian, but now I am considering all the dangers of a swinging hammock - I fear it would play havoc with my arthritis.
But before I go book a flight to Cuba, or go visit a local dog Rescue, I am committed to clearing my name. I know that my blog is read by many, including the educated elite, and I hope that when this case reaches it's conclusion, both my real name and my pen name will no longer be taboo.
Meanwhile, the million mark has emboldened me to have another go at publishing a book online, this time, in my favourite genre, comedy. Beneath this serious, academic, exterior (yeh, I know), lies the crazy, wise cracking spirit of my deceased (and hilariously funny), mad Irish mother. At the moment she passed, I felt her character take over mine, like a Queen passing her crown on to her heirs, I got all her gags. In my mum's lifetime, I didn't mimic her elaborate body language, her booming 'royal voice', or urges to cause mischief, because it would have felt disrespectful. But she when she passed, she gave me a shove, a sort of have as much fun with them as I did, wink, wink.
But I have probably given enough away about where my book will be coming from. Suffice to say, it will have nothing whatsoever to do with the Madeleine case and I hope this time around, the fair reviews will counter the predicted bad ones.
But let's get back to the opening question. Is it morally right to discuss the case of missing Madeleine? It is a question I ask myself regularly, then I wonder if it is morally right to watch and read propaganda that is intended to hurt and deceive others without challenging it? The Edmund Burke quote, '.......when good men do nothing', makes me wonder how I would answer when future generations ask how the wonder and freedom of the internet was taken away from us, by the government and armies of vigilantes? Where did it all begin?
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