There is a reason I love public defenders, friends and readers so much. In response to my earlier posting about the vaguely legal dust-up over a story in the book about a lawyer who went off on a judge, I've gotten a number of e-mails and a few comments. And you, my friends and readers are essentially unanimous in your advice. "Take the high road" seems to be the overwhelming sentiment. Judy tells me to avoid righteous indignation, and Windy actually wants me to call and make peace.
So thanks all--I appreciate the fact that you all encourage the emergence of my better self. And you'll be pleased to know that I did decide to take the high road. While the story is in there, I didn't just change her name, I omitted names completely--sticking with "a lawyer I once knew." I even took out details that might have been painful. And then, once again, I went to bed feeling good. I was actually considering Windy's advice and thinking I might just make that reassuring call.
But the saga continues...
The lawyer called again.
This time, though he suggested that we might be able to put this whole thing to rest if I were to send the revised version to him so his client could tinker with it. Now I might have read it to her had she called me directly--after all I was willing to do that initially, but after all this, to hand over the text to the subject of the story just seemed stupid, and the truth of the matter was, once again, I felt like my good intentions had been misunderstood and my good will squandered. I said no.
So that's where we are. I don't hurt her at all (even though based on the record that would be unbelievably easy to do) nor do I identify her. But I wind up leaving this whole episode regretting that I bothered to try to do something nice. Or maybe just disgusted at the way people throw the weight of their entitlement and privilege around. She'd have made more headway by just being cordial, but the truth is, as anny points out, she's probably just scared. Still, had I just published she'd have been hurt but wouldn't have had any legitimate claim against me anyhow. So maybe in the final analysis the lesson here is that wasn't worth trying. Then again, as all of you point out, taking the high road needs to be it's own reward.
Thanks for the e-mails and comments...