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    The New York Times CompanyRobert Kolker10/5/2151 min
    7 reads3 comments
    The New York Times Company
    7 reads
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    • Pegeen
      Reading streakScoutScribe
      2 weeks ago

      This is an absolute 10! Such a compelling read. From the outset, I was uncomfortable with the publication of doing an act of extreme generosity - which is a theme here. But it’s SO much more. Lots to think about - layers - which makes for exceptional writing. Loved it! Thanks chronotope for an excellent find!

      • Karenz
        1 week ago

        I found this a very compelling read. I thought Dorland’s reaction to her kidney donation was extremely self-serving. Because publishing is so difficult, there can be a lot of jealousy in writer’s groups and that really seemed like Dorland’s motivation to me in coming after Larson. Needless to say, the writer’s group did not handle any of the situation in an honorable way but I can hardly believe Dorland had any legal grounds here.

    • DellwoodBarker
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      2 weeks ago

      Hands down a 10. One of those articles where I planned to just read rather casually and it is so engrossing that I didn’t want to stop (I had to split the read over last night and this morning; having to stop was a frustrating cliffhanger).

      At the core of this whole mess is Communication. If Larson had just mentioned that Dawn had inspired the short story with a posted letter on FB and the two had a Focused Civil Discourse of Artistic Freedom and such I feel like a lot of this mess could have been avoided.

      Throughout the first half and beyond I was pretty open to both parties perspectives yet the revelations below really sealed me more on Dawn’s side…to find out that a group had been tearing her down behind her back was pretty low and the comment about was she supposed to donate her organs? While honest could’ve been handled better. I can’t help but wonder how much better the situation would have turned out if Dawn had been included in the group with such transparent and honest feedback of how they felt she was handling the kidney donation, etc.

      The litigation crept along quietly until earlier this year, when the discovery phase uncorked something unexpected — a trove of documents that seemed to recast the conflict in an entirely new way. There, in black and white, were pages and pages of printed texts and emails between Larson and her writer friends, gossiping about Dorland and deriding everything about her — not just her claim of being appropriated but the way she talked publicly about her kidney donation.

      “I’m now following Dawn Dorland’s kidney posts with creepy fascination,” Whitney Scharer, a GrubStreet co-worker and fellow Chunky Monkey, texted to Larson in October 2015 — the day after Larson sent her first draft of “The Kindest” to the group. Dorland had announced she’d be walking in the Rose Bowl parade, as an ambassador for nondirected organ donations. “I’m thrilled to be part of their public face,” Dorland wrote, throwing in a few hashtags: #domoreforeachother and #livingkidneydonation.

      Larson replied: “Oh, my god. Right? The whole thing — though I try to ignore it — persists in making me uncomfortable. … I just can’t help but think that she is feeding off the whole thing. … Of course, I feel evil saying this and can’t really talk with anyone about it.”

      “I don’t know,” Scharer wrote. “A hashtag seems to me like a cry for attention.”

      “Right??” Larson wrote. “#domoreforeachother. Like, what am I supposed to do? DONATE MY ORGANS?”

      Among her friends, Larson clearly explained the influence of Dorland’s letter. In January 2016, she texted two friends: “I think I’m DONE with the kidney story but I feel nervous about sending it out b/c it literally has sentences that I verbatim grabbed from Dawn’s letter on FB. I’ve tried to change it but I can’t seem to — that letter was just too damn good. I’m not sure what to do … feeling morally compromised/like a good artist but a shitty person.”

      The last line is a projection that speaks volumes to me and should have changed how Larson handled the situation.

      I deeply admire the closing words and perspective of Dawn at the end. Allowing the past to wash away for healing ❤️‍🩹.

      1. Update (10/11/2021):