Ann Bogle, someone who I thought was a friend (or at the very least, a friendly acquaintance), has been spreading malicious gossip about me online, saying that I called her friend Bobbi Lurie “psychotic”. Here’s the link to it on her blog:
You will need to scroll down the page to find her reference to Bobbi Lurie, so I’ll quote it:
"Jeffrey Side, you had represented (though I might have wanted an editor in you besides) my e-chapbooks, so, for that career-related investment I had made with you, I failed to defend Bobbi Lurie more fully (by disassociating from you? retracting my e-books?) when you described her as psychotic in an email."
As can be seen, this is mostly incoherent, but her comment relating to Bobbi is quite clear. What Ann hasn’t done is to explain the context whereby I came to use that word in relation to Bobbi. Here is that context.
In late 2011, Ann, asked me to publish an ebook of Bobbi’s poetry. I told her that I would rather not do so, as Bobbi and I had, a few years previously, been in an email communication with each other that had started off amicably but for some reason on Bobbi’s part became what I can only describe as increasingly eccentric, incoherent and somewhat belligerent towards me, for no reason I was aware of. The culmination of this was an accusation she made towards me, saying that I was trying to make her cancer worse. Because of this, and because, by that time, I was so exasperated by the frequency and confusing nature of her emails, I called a halt to our communications.
When Ann asked me to publish Bobbi, I mentioned this state of affairs to her, saying that I would rather not have anything to do with Bobbi because of it. However, after Ann had explained to me that Bobbi had been going through a difficult period, I was moved to reconsider my refusal and agreed to publish her after all, but on condition that Ann, or her then literary associate, Marc Vincenz, be an email intermediary between Bobbi and myself, as I couldn’t cope with the thought of having to communicate with her again, to which Ann agreed. As things turned out, though, I heard no more from Ann about this, and assumed that Ann or Bobbi had changed their minds regarding publication. I later found out from Ann that the reason Bobbi had decided not to publish with me, after all, was because Ann had told her that I had said she was “psychotic” in one of my emails to Ann.
The following is the full email correspondence that Ann and I had regarding the publication of Bobbi’s ebook. As can be seen, Ann has taken the word “psychotic” very much out of its original context:
21 November 2011
I just got a note from my friend and one of my favorite writers, Bobbi Lurie. She's learned her first poetry collection has gone out of print, and she asked if I know anything about ebooks. What I know is that you publish them - amazing ones. Could I suggest that she contact you?
1 December 2011
I've had dealings with Bobbi Lurie in the past, and to be frank it wasn't all that pleasant. Her email exchanges with me became more and more psychotic and confusing, and her tone and language were so belligerent towards me (at one point accusing me of trying to make her cancer worse - whatever that meant) that it would be a pain to have to deal with her again. Sorry for my negativity, and I appreciate your trying to help her out.
1 December 2011
Thanks for letting me know of the experience you've had with Bobbi, as sad as it makes me to hear it. Marc Vincenz suggested he might be able to reissue her first book via Mad Hatters', but I haven't mentioned it to her yet, not wanting to get her hopes up and disappoint her in case Carol Novack withdraws funding from the press. Carol has cancer, too. I have had to make my way carefully with Bobbi myself, as I know her life circumstances have not been easy, and she becomes suddenly distrustful. The internet, especially, though she is a good writer there, sometimes even better than good, at times deluges her with confusion.
I'm sure there will be a place for her first book as an ebook.
Thanks for writing.
3 December 2011
The only way I could consider doing an ebook for her is if you or Marc act as intermediaries for me. I'm very sorry Carol has cancer also.
I've attached an email I send to people who have cancer, advising them how to treat it using apricot kernels. Perhaps you could forward it to Carol and Bobbi.
9 December 2011
Thanks. I'll pass on your file to Bobbi and Carol. Carol cannot read due to her brain cancer, but her assistant and friend, Douglas, can read it for her.
Bobbi is on the road for cancer treatment, but I heard from her, and she'd like to bring out the first book as an ebook with Argotist. I talked to Marc Vincenz, and he said that he and I can handle the details with her. Sound good? Let me know if there's anything we need to do first and when. Thanks so much, Jeff.
Ann initially accused me of calling Bobbi “psychotic” in the Otherstream Facebook group, after I had removed her from The Argotist Online Facebook group for ignoring my requests not to post things there that were not related to poetry. Here is how I announced to the other group members that I had removed her from it:
“I’ve had to remove Ann Bogle from the Argotist FB group, as she was relentless in her determination to carry on starting threads that were not poetry related, and also “hijacking” other threads by posting comments not related to the threads’ topic matter. I explained to her that the Argotist group was solely for discussion of poetry but she ignored me, and continued unrelentingly. I, therefore, had no choice but to remove her from the group.”
I assume Ann was so outraged at this, that she felt the need to vent her anger in the Otherstream Facebook group, and in doing so try to damage my character by representing falsely the Bobbi Lurie situation, as explained above.
For Ann to have done this is quite disturbing. She must have known the potential damage it could have caused to my character. It is especially disquieting considering the reason for it was fairly trivial: merely my removing her from a Facebook group.
Here is the Otherstream Facebook group exchange I had with Ann where she says I called Bobbi “psychotic”. As can be seen her posts are extremely incoherent and rambling, whether this is intentional on her part, I don’t know:
You had represented (though I might have wanted an editor in you besides) my e-chapbooks, so, for that career-related investment I had made with you, I failed to defend Bobbi Lurie more fully (by disassociating from you? retracting my e-books?) when you described her as psychotic in an email. The links to my e-books are probably still working. Rachel Lisi designed the cover of one of them, and Daniel Harris gave ten illustrations. All I wanted to say, and you are avoiding the subject rather stupidly, is, and I said it in more than one place and way, your poetics collection of essay, responses, etc. and fight with Seth Abramson about it, did not name names in a way that might have been useful in considering or applying your arguments. Your cry that it went by not celebrated caused me to plunge in as a reader preparing to review your email correspondence, Other Voices, with Jake Berry. Jake, in turn, took a dip, a little swim, in my prosetics, and responded kindly. I am in your coral as a writer, and you are revoking my digressive strategies. It seems strange you represented my collections as e-books unless you were aligning yourself in another silent debate in poetry.
Ann, I was unaware that the links to your ebooks were not working. I will correct that. If I had intended to remove the actual ebooks I would not have left them as listed on the site. If that is what all your silliness is about, then you should have told me the links were inactive instead of causing trouble here. I assumed you were more mature than this.
Regarding my saying Bobbi Lurie was psychotic. I said her emails to me had become psychotic and confusing to me, much like your posts here have been.
Define "psychotic" then. You are wildly evasive. Who knew you were wild? I wrote "distrustful" and you are not? I wrote "confusion" and you are not confused. Bobbi knows about this correspondence that Jeff quotes here accurately (it is plain that Jeff and I do not have day jobs), painstakingly, and ... okay, Princess Di ...
Shortly after this exchange, Marc Vincenz told me that Ann had now left the Otherstream Facebook group. I wish her no ill will, and hope she can resolve some of the issues she has with me.