On trolls / by Vanessa Fiola

**The next 27 days I’ll be posting 500 words a day as part of a creative writing challenge. You can join the fb group here. ** 


This morning I read this two-year old article on Medium about shitty internet comments. It was written by the same guy who wrote the article about the cruelty of getting a burrito made by a dude who doesn’t understand the importance of layering the ingredients horizontally, not vertically, in order to get a decent cross-section when you take a bite. So duh, he has my heart.

I paged the article feeling fairly smug because, well, I don’t make shitty internet comments. I wish I could say that it’s because I don’t need attention, but the truth is I have a healthy fear of karma—the web is a small town. Which is not to say I don’t think them.

Today Glenn Frey died. He was in The Eagles, and I don’t listen to the Eagles because, cliché that I am, I mostly listen to bands I can’t see in a stadium. Actually, that’s not even true. Now I only listen to lullaby music while driving my toddler around begging him to go the eff to sleep like a normal f*cking adult. Anyway, I had just come off reading this article about how not to be an asshole, and then I found out Glenn Frey had died and, soulless creature that I am, thought, “Not really my thing.”

I know. I hate me too.

Before lunch we took a family walk in our neighborhood. Down the street from our house is a mural on the front of a creative studio, painted by the artist Dallas Clayton. The mural is a rainbow of doodles and at the top it says, “STAND HERE AND THINK ABOUT SOMEONE YOU LOVE.” I love this mural for its sweetness and because I frequently see people smiling under it, arms intertwined, capturing the moment on an iPhone. Except today we walked past it and discovered it covered in tagging. I felt angered by the arrogance. I thought about my own street art project, an ode to Los Angeles, created with my love at the beginning of our relationship, which stood for three years before succumbing to vandalism. Taggers are basically to street artists what internet trolls are to online creators. I felt loss for a place that was no longer.

And then tonight I came across the Clayton’s post on Instagram, uploaded shortly after we had walked past his defaced mural.  “Nothing is forever,” he said of his painting. “…make what you can while you can and share it with the world. Best of luck to any and all vandals out there trying to share their messages, voices screaming out in the night, hope you find beauty somehow!”

His humanity shook my bones.

I thought I knew what art was.

So if this makes any sense, thank you, Glenn Frey, for creating beauty for this world. May you rest in peace.