It's taken me a while to post about the Helix mess. I'm not going to make yet another summary of the situation. Better bloggers have already done that. A quick google should turn up more posts than anyone could digest in a lifetime.
I woke up to this after an all-night shift at the Hospital. I tried to figure it out, shook my head in denial and went back to bed. At the time it felt wise to postpone decisions until I was fully awake and rational. I did not think, at the time, of asking Helix to pull down my two stories: for good or bad, I'd signed a contract, and I knew they had the right to display those stories unto eternity, if they so chose.
When I woke up again, it turned out that removing the stories had been possible at some point, but by then, Helix was already charging and I was too poor to be pantiwadulous. Would I have asked them to remove the stories if they hadn't started charging? Honestly, I don't know. The contract aspect weighed heavily in my decision to postpone a decision, if that makes sense. I didn't see why the whole magazine should suffer because of one bigoted editor (and lets not sugar coat this, shall we, clearly this was a display of bigotry). Maybe I was just too stunned to react. This is the first Internet storm in which I've been involved personally, and I had no clue what to do. The thing is, I like Helix. I think the mag fills a niche that needed to be filled. This has been a huge letdown.
Afterwards, I spent a wonderful vacation in Brussels (more on that later) with intermittent Internet. That still doesn't explain why it's taken me so long to talk about this. I tend to avoid conflicts and general ugliness. This is my brand of emotional procrastination.
So, what do I think of this whole mess? I'm sad that Helix imploded. I'm angry at the wording of the rejection letter and equally angry at the way other writers were treated when they asked to have their stories removed. I feel really stupid when dealing with these topics; maybe I wasn't taught to talk about them in school. Just another example of my white privilege, I guess, that I can go through life without the language and the skills to shoot down this kind of crap. Not to speak of the sexism surrounding the whole "pantiwadulous" aspect of this little drama.
I will leave my stories up at Helix because I signed a contract. I'll keep my word. But I'll look at contracts more carefully in the future.