Yes, anyone can find you these days. No need for the phonebook, the postman or private detectives. Nearly everything you’ve participated in, voted for or supported is on the Internet and so are you!—even if you’re not Facebooking or Tweeting, people can find you. Those you don’t know, those you know, and those who think that they have the right to say whatever they want to you.

Got my first hate mail today. Disrespect from cyberspace.

And there’s a little lesson in it for everyone.

I sort of figured the hate mail would happen sooner or later. I just didn’t think the “hater” would be the person it was.

Ironically, or maybe not, the hate mail had nothing to do with Searching for Tina Turner—but then, maybe it did. Maybe that person didn’t like my characters or story, maybe they were having a bad day, or maybe they just wanted to “dis” me for having written and published my novel. Maybe they’re sad because I took steps in a direction away from them. Maybe they had a hard time separating fantasy and reality. Funny, that people forget FICTION means invention or fabrication NOT statements of fact. They forget that a writer’s job—my new job—requires embellishment, twisting and turning the ordinary into stories that entertain, charm, baffle, scare, or carry a reader away from reality. Stories provide readers company on the beach, on the train home, in bed until deep into the night, until they have reached that final chapter, until they cry with the protagonist or slam the book down in fear or anger or better yet, the desire for more.

I suppose all authors, at one point or another, get hate mail. I suppose. But when I opened the emails, four of them, I wasn’t thinking about other authors. I was thinking about the person whose name was in the FROM line; someone I used to love. I was thinking about perceptions and reality. I was thinking about the past and letting go and moving on.

Here’s the lesson I want to share, because it’s taken me a while to accept it—the past is dust. It’s over. Dead. Gone. Never to be recaptured, changed, corrected or relived. Whatever mistakes or successes we’ve had only serve to provide guidance, a road map for the next time around. The only benefit the past has for each and every one of us is the lessons gained from it—the good, the bad, the ugly; the bitter or the sweet. If we live our lives rehashing he did/ she did we will waste the gift the good Lord has given to us. We will become bitter and spoiled, just as surely as a fungus attacks sweet fruit and ruins the bounty. We will waste our lives. And life is too short for that.

The emails hurt. They struck a chord so deep inside me that I had to catch my breath. They struck a chord so deep that twenty years flashed before my eyes, and I had to remember that I have always tried my best. The past is dust.

I was on my way to exercise when I opened the emails. I had to make a choice. To sit in the car and bawl my eyes out, to exercise or go home and hide under the covers. Oh! How I wanted the comfort of my bed. But I made a choice—no angry rebuttal, no (well, a few) tears. I let time and endorphins and writing this blog calm me. I knew that the best and only thing I could do for myself and that person—who is really not a “hater”— was to ask The Universe to send loving blessings, a wish that they find their own inner peace and understand the lessons available to them, and for the ability to move on.

And I do.