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Lee Battersby.

A couple of days ago, Lee Battersby made a post to his blog informing everyone that he was going to have to shut it down due to outside influences. My first thought was that the job he'd just picked up didn't like its employees having a blog, which is not an unknown experience throughout the world. But unlike Joe Gordon, a British man who made headlines when he was fired for commenting about his boss on his blog, Battersby closed down his blog because lawyers involved in defending a doctor against his [Battersby's] lawsuit have been reading his blog and are using it against him.

The legal action Battersby is involved in surrounds the death of his first wife. He writes, "The last three years have seen a procession of delaying tactics, lies, and fallback positions as the defenders of this upstanding member of the medical community have stood by his hard-won honour. I mean, my wife went into hospital to have a baby, and then he killed her. He killed her. And we're still arguing? 3 and a half years later?"

What exactly are the doctor's lawyers trying to prove with his blog?

Battersby writes that, firstly, they are trying to prove "that I have a spectacular writing career that's so successful I was able to leave work, not for the reasons of stress, grief, and the need to look after my baby that I had mentioned, but because my career was so brilliant that I had to take care of it as it leapt towards superstardom. Believe it: these people want me to give them proof of my earnings!" They then go on to suggest "that I no longer care about the death of Sharon, because I don't mention her very often." And finally, he writes that because of "the positivity I do express in the blog, the mention I make of friends and family, the plans I talk about, in fact, everything in this entries that does not paint me as a ruined wreck of a man, prove to these money-grubbing leeches that I deserve no recompense, no compensation, no sense of closure over their client killing someone who was in his care."

Nothing more than cheap tricks by lawyers, really.

The last two accusations are so utterly stupid, I don't even need to push them over to reveal how hollow they are. The first one, however, might require a small tip because there's a chance you don't know who Lee Battersby is, and maybe you're reading this and thinking that authors who write short fiction make chunks of money and float in yatchs with big screen TVs and supermodels. Well, it's not true. Battersby's publication record is primarily with short fiction, with the addition of some reviews and a handful of poems. He hasn't published a novel. Novels, I want you to know, are where the cash is... if you've a strong readership, a proven track record, and publications that aren't limited to Australia. Last time I heard, the cash paid for a first novel of speculative fiction in Australia to an unknown author by a big publisher like Harpercollins was around five grand. It might be more, might be less, I'm not sure, but needless to say, it's not enough to live anywhere on. I mean, you could write novels and still collect the dole, you know? In addition to this, a short fiction sale is substantially less than a novel. In the small press Australian markets, you're lucky if you're reaching past a hundred bucks per slae, and you're lucky if you're reaching more than three hundred people with it.

So, in short, all the accusations against Battersby are stupid and ridiculous and just fucked up. As Battersby writes, "According to them, I am not allowed to live a life. They've lived lives over the last 3 years. My own lawyers have lived their lives. The man who killed Sharon has lived his life. Hell, he's even practiced, and undoubtedly been allowed to deal with other pregnant woman (and doesn't that make your blood a little colder?)."

Pass it round.


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May. 27th, 2005 01:29 pm (UTC)
Um, there's really no tactful way to say this.

It's been three years.

I don't know Battersby at all, but I would seriously hope that in three years, he had managed to make it past his initial grief and start living again. I mean, good god, what kind of spouse would want the survivor to be some sort of living wreck? I wouldn't. I hope the guy is dating again and making friends and having some fun in his life, because god knows losing your wife like this is tragedy enough. Why screw up another life?

The "acceptable" time to date again after the death of a spouse, by the way, is usually held, over in the U.S., to be anywhere between 6 months to a year and a half, depending. Obviously, not everyone starts dating again within that time, because everybody's grieving time is different. But three years is a different story altogether.

May. 27th, 2005 01:33 pm (UTC)
yeah, after three years he's begun to move on. got married again a couple of months back.
May. 27th, 2005 01:41 pm (UTC)
Good for him :)

May. 27th, 2005 01:42 pm (UTC)
In the U.S. too. I know several people that have had some good work combined with some good luck here and there who can't support themselves as a writer. That is a ludicrous argument.

And the fact that he doesn't mention his wife's death every day in a public forum? To me this just shows he is trying as best he can to work through things. To most thinking people this would be considered a positive attitude and a selectiveness of what one would want to share in a public forum. For the lawyers to twist that is just really awful.
May. 27th, 2005 01:51 pm (UTC)
it's just an evil to twist it like that. i've no idea how anyone with a touch of humanity could do it (and since i believe everyone has some, i'm just stumped).
May. 27th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
This is pretty shocking.

Certainly one of the main reasons my journals is "anonymous" is so that I can have at least some control over what people can find out about me.

(Actually i'm pretty sure that if someone *really* wanted to work out who I was, there's enough info on my lj to have a good crack at it - i'm banking on the fact that what I write is really not that interesting to random passers by to try ;-)
May. 30th, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
it's one of the reasons i don't really talk about personal issues here. not, of course, that i have anything to worry about--no one wants to make my life difficult with lawyers, after all.
May. 30th, 2005 02:11 pm (UTC)

That's just screwed up.

Crazy "writer=wealthy" assumptions aside, you can't judge grief from a blog. Barring rants (which have their own delightful vitriol), most blogs I read are fairly positive. People tend not to mention the bad stuff - if anything, it's the times *nothing gets said* that indicate something's going down. Of course, no posts can also mean any number of other things, from "busy" to "lazy" to "nothing to say".

Damn lawyers.
May. 30th, 2005 10:58 pm (UTC)
lawyers are an evil. i don't think there's any other way to look at it, really.
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