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Remember when I used to come to you with all my emotional posts? No? Well it happened. One of the interesting things about being in a relationship is both that I have someone to talk with about emotional things personally, but also that I have someone I don’t want worried about me. I don’t know if that’s working though, since I’m plenty worried about her, and she probably feels the same.
At the start of November, I wanted to participate in Nanowrimo by writing a book worth of “blog prose” in the form of a daily journal. I did it for a day and a half before realizing that it was depressing the fuck out of me to actually talk about all my anxieties and shit. I thought about publishing it on tumblr, but I didn’t want people worrying about me. But now I feel pretty much the same as then, and I realized that I probably just need to get these out there and off my chest. So, here’s the first parts of a November novel that never came to be. enjoy
It’s 7:40 AM On November First And I’m Too Anxious To Sleep
This will be rough. November’s mere prospect and the dregs of last night’s alcohol sitting low in my stomach whip a gale of old anxieties to the top of my head:
“I really hope none of my friends commit suicide or tragically die anytime soon!” (Advice: if you can find friends who aren’t depressed, gravitate towards them.)
“I hope my girlfriend won’t stop loving me!” (I know you’re reading babe, and I’m sorry this anxiety is still hanging over me.)
“I hope I don’t completely fuck up my budding career!” (Hello, dear readers! Donations appreciated!)
Ash told me to hug the Chibiterasu plushy and think of her; I’m hanging on for dear life.
My life isn’t a rollercoaster, and nothing so sheer as a rock climb, but it’s certainly a mountain hike, like the ones I’ve had two summers now: challenging, fun, exhausting; and scenic in a funny way—in how the views are nice, but most of the time is spent staring at my feet, making sure I don’t trip and bust my ass. I’m clumsy, and everyone in my life laughs when I fall, but half at least have the decency to help me up. I suspect the world wouldn’t hold their worth in trade.
You’ll be hearing a lot about my friends, ‘cause let’s be real: you’ve opened my book. My book is probably akin to a daily diary more so than any kind of novel. This book is about what’s important to me, and that’s why you’ll know the names of all the people I care about by the end of it. Most of my life occurs in a hypersonic blur, but if I can gab on about anything, it’s pop media and people—especially myself. Don’t pretend you had no idea what you were getting into; you’ve been warned.
There’s an odd orbit to my emotions, in that anxiety doesn’t need an excuse to crop up and spook me every so many days. It would probably be much worse if I couldn’t remember a time when I spent my days crying over it, followed by a time when, through medication and general life improvement, I got past it. I started feeling anxious again the other night, and the pivotal moment may have been when Victor got me to watch Annie Hall with him. A stream of consciousness that could only better approximate Victor’s mind if Woody Allen had been 20 when he made it—and not unrelatable for me as well.
I don’t want to relate to any part of a story of failed romance while I’m in a romance, and I don’t like looking at the connections. I’m nothing like Woody Allen or his character, or that movie, or anything, but anxiety doesn’t work in a linear fashion, or by way of logic, and it’s only my luck that I can power through with logic of my own. I know I’m doing okay when my paragraphs come out stilted at worst. Last time I tried to write a novel-length journal, the first paragraph was just the word, “blood,” written a hundred times.
But hey, don’t get me wrong. These days, I’m mostly fine most of the time. This isn’t an introduction, but an opening chapter, and it’s hardly my fault if November First comes right after Halloween night. I doubt this will be the weirdest chapter of this book, but I hope like hell it’s not the most normal.
Let’s Start The Month Off Right
“Institutions are inherently dangerous because every person is intrinsically different.” - Me
I hear that the straight, white, privileged male perspective is tired, but I only partly agree. More imperatively, it’s over-represented and overvalued. However, inasmuch as I think every person is a little different from the next, I think every viewpoint is worth a look—though given my profession, this could be a self-defense reflex.
Knowing what this month will entail, I thought it best to start my day off right. I cleaned my laundry, shaved my face, cleaned my room, vacuumed my floor, cleaned my body, and quenched my insatiable appetite for fast food at Hardee’s before jumping into a call with Ashley.
I should clarify, for those less embedded in the modern culture of trans-national relationships, that, “a call,” these days, refers to a Skype call. In our case, we’re on webcams, voices coming through one-another’s speakers, talking into microphones. We stay in calls most of the time that she’s home. (I’m always home.)
To clarify further, Ashley is in the Air Force, and she alternates between being at work for several days (meaning no Skype access, so we talk by phone and facebook), and being at home for several days. You need to know that because it means our calls literally last all day and all night much of the time, even if one or both of us is asleep or away from the computer.
If you’re wondering why we leave the calls open when we aren’t saying anything to one-another—sometimes muting our microphones while the other sleeps in total darkness through which we can’t even see them—I ask that you participate in a thought experiment. If you have any loved ones, then this should be easy; if not, then imagine you have someone you really, truly love. Now imagine that they live further away than you can affordably travel with any regularity, and you can only see their face three or four days out of the week.
Distance is a brutal beast, and I’ll get into that later, but for now another thought is imposing. Namely that this morning, the thought of distance brought me to anxiousness, which I wrote my way out of with chapter one. Now, I’m deliberately writing about distance, but with almost a dash of excitement. Maybe you can understand the passion I have for introspection (doubly so for writing) in that the ability to describe my pain is the very mechanism by which I cope with it.
I Hate Singing
This chapter header could be misleading, as I really hate singing in the way that, “love,” and, “hate,” are two sides of the same coin. Singing is something I love and think I can do well, but half the time can’t do well and hate myself for trying. Every time I film or record myself singing, I can’t perform under pressure. Every time I do perform well, it turns out I didn’t hit the record button, or the audio levels were wrong. It’s happened more times than you’d need to believe that my singing voice is cursed.
It sucks, because I think that if I could get my voice right on a recording just a few times, my musician friends would want to work with me. They know I want to work with them—they say they’ll put me in the works for something, but damn if all of them don’t put out a hundred projects with other singers while I never get a callback.
But I hate writing music, and I have no musical sensibility, and everything I manage to record is weird, and listenable to only myself, and I’m tone deaf, and I don’t know how to sing, and I don’t care, fuck it, I’m done.
I Love Ashley
And the funny thing about our relationship is that I’m highly analytical of everything, while she isn’t analytical of anything. Our moment-to-moment experience of our relationship is almost the same, but I see everything coming a mile away, while she’s taken by surprise.
Even though we met online, as soon as our relationship started I knew that we needed to be together physically. Much of our relationship is expressed less in words and actions, more in feeling, and feeling is easier to convey with our bodies and intimacy than it is over a Skype call that keeps crashing. I wonder how much of us playing Pokemon together was a coping mechanism for our distance—and dear god did I ever just realize that we need to get into an MMORPG together STAT.
She doesn’t need to analyze anything to know how badly she wants me back with her, and if I shut my brain down completely my body would remind me all to blatantly how much I need to find my way to Montana post-haste. Neither of us is patient beyond a facade by which we trick ourselves into coping, and I suspect if we didn’t want to keep one-another from worrying, we’d be sending emo poetry back and forth saying, “this is how I feel without you here.” I think we mostly say, “I miss you,” in text because we don’t want the other to see us upset.
You’ll get used to this ambivalence between the intensely romantic feelings she and I have for one another, and the heartbreaking reality of our distance, because this is a November novel, and I can’t move in with her until Spring. This book should have a happy ending, but I promise it’s already looking bittersweet.
I’ve Really Gotta
I’ve really gotta do another two videos on Pokemon Y before the hype dies down, and I’ve really gotta do some more videos on My Little Pony because that’s my only source of income right now, and I’ve really gotta play some Zelda games this month, and I’ve really gotta write this novel about how I’m playing a lot of Zelda games this month, and I really oughtta make something about how fantastic the Nausicaa manga is, and I REALLY gotta get these Patreon rewards done, and I really oughtta lose some weight, and I really oughtta rank all the Pokemon designs ever, and I really gotta figure out what my top albums of 2013 are, and I really gotta—
Two Wakeups (3:30AM)
After a strong windup this morning I proverbially passed out all at once—now I’m staring into space in that miserable way. Ashley was too tired to talk two hours ago, but she’s still reblogging stuff on tumblr. I’m almost certain she’s been upset with me the last few days, but in the way that my inability to be with her is infuriating. She keeps mentioning how she’s been emotional the last few days, as if to say, “look, don’t ask—I’ll see your face when I want to.” Besides the point.
Not horny enough for porn, not tired enough for sleep, not inspired enough to write a video, not energetic enough to hook up the Wii, and it’s way too fucking humid to do anything. Kind of ridiculous, considering it’s November fucking second. It rained all day.
I took another shower, because why not; thought up five random topics to add to this book, but all of them were tangents, and I’m way too spent for that shit. Why does my phone keep randomly vibrating? I hate this phone so fucking much.
Put the AC on, but it’s made the air pressure worse. Let’s face it—I’m in no mood to stop listening to Hokey Fright any time this hour. I’m gonna take a nap, and as completely fucked up as this sounds, I’m gonna try not to think about Ashley right now. My heart is in pain, and this anxiety is sitting rather comfortably on my chest. I love you, Ash.
[Addendum: totally failed the not thinking part.]
i almost hate to bring this up, because it’s a sad thing for me, but this was the original demo i sent to bbctol which he recorded his verses to. it’s pretty bare bones and basically unmixed but it actually sounds a lot better than what finally turned out, which was trash. i still feel bad about it too, because it distracted from bbctol’s lyrics, which were excellent. anyways, i bring this up now to sort of get it off my chest, but also to say that there were a lot of ideas that went that same way during S2 — and i still feel bad about all of them. i have the idea now to try and redo the best of them in Unmakeablelove depending on how they’ll fit. (i edited this paragraph about a hundred times.)
Avoiding this problem is why I tend to rush my work out the door as fast as possible. Nothing will ever feel as polished as I know it can be, and that’s fine. It still has something of worth in it, and is worth putting out.
As I continue to work on something, I kind of get better at doing it, which makes me keep going back and hating what I’ve done up to now. My best bet is to shove something out while I still like it, and hope I won’t hate it too much when I look back. But I never pull any of my old content, even when I don’t like it. I’d rather be able to look back at my progress. And I know that even in a post that I hate because it’s written like ass, someone else might be able to find value somewhere in the points I made, so it’s worth keeping around.
A huge incentive for me to send stuff out “unfinished” (because when is something ever truly “finished?”) is that I have too much stuff I want to do. If I kept working on one item longer than I needed to, it would cut into the time I want to spend on the next item.
Note that I’m not writing this as a criticism of SGAP’s way of doing things, but as a way of showing just how different my perspective is, as someone who essentially stalks SGAP across the internet and is constantly perplexed at his ways of removing old (and even new) songs and posts. (I edited this post one time.)
[Note: This is a response to a deleted post lol]
Back in January, I had an idea for a magazine which would contain articles written by all of my friends, but mostly by me. I ended up working on it bit by bit over the first half of the year, but never completed it
I don’t know you. I don’t even like you.
Not in particular; I mean, I don’t hate you. You mean little to me. Measurably little. Approximately one-hundred and forty characters worth of little, as many as twenty times a day.
Does that sound too little? It’s probably because you care more about other people than I do. After all, I’m kind of an asshole.
It’s not hard to figure out why I feel some connection to you. You’re like a next-door neighbor whom I see a couple of times a day, and share a sentence or two with.
Actually, that’s not true. That’s what I want it to be. I wish we had that kind of simple but friendly relationship. Those little howdy-dos to remind one-another that we care—even just in a neighborly sense—about each-other. But that’s not what’s going on.
Instead, we live in a culdesac with some three-hundred houses on it. Every so often, each neighbor comes outside and shouts something into the air. Sometimes, this begins a mid-air conversation between them and other neighbors. Sometimes, we shout into the air and head back inside.
I’m the grouchy neighbor who spends most of his time indoors playing video games, only stepping out every once in a while to scream random shit, often going back inside before any neighbors can reply. I’m happy when they do—I really am—even if it’s hard to hear them over all the other fucking neighbors chattering their skulls off all day. Only fifty of the three-hundred live within earshot to begin with; but they never shut up. And I don’t even know most of these guys.
I don’t even like them.
The conversation is actually happening inside, while we’re all playing video games. In the past, playing video games inside never meant that we didn’t want this conversation—it only meant that we couldn’t have it. I’m the one who’s playing video games and avoiding the conversation. It’s not a circumstance—I’m just a shitty neighbor.
It came to this logically. I once cared about this neighborhood. I once maintained my lawn and listened in on more of the conversation. I once kept up with talking points and discussed popular topics. Eventually, I lost track of the conversation. I stayed in a little too long. I ignored the hot topics. I didn’t watch the newcomers. I distanced myself. I let my lawn grow and grow, and I painted my house in new, garish colors. I only listened to the people who lived right next to me.
Now, when I pop my head outside, I hear a bunch of noise in a bunch of tongues that I don’t recognize. I hear some familiar voices, but I don’t know what they’re talking about, nor who they’re talking to. People I don’t know. People I don’t even like.
The conversation has gotten old. I wonder if I can lock myself in.
I forget what to do with myself. It’s too much to be inspiration—too misguided and misdirectional. This is what people mean when they say that music makes them “emotional,” or call it “powerful.”
I have a hard time buying those sensational statements, which add nothing to conversation. And because I don’t like reading them, I don’t like stating them. But then what is there to say? How do I express it?
Inspiration. Dangerous inspiration. The feeling from a song that makes me wish I could capture it in a song my own, even though I’m not passionate about making songs. The desire to capture the feeling in prose, when my prose always distorts the feeling and turns it into something new. I never get the fulfillment of having sated the emotion.
It wells up every time. When I listen to Shinsei Kamatte-chan or SoGreatAndPowerful, or so many other artists, but especially those two and another handful. The ones that crush and destroy—that render everything I’m doing stupid and useless, yet leave me with nowhere to go into their light. They are the birth of self-loathing and sorrow, even as they create within me the greatest kind of passion that my heart can know.
That’s what it boils down to. One massive Fuck. One, “what do I do?” And the ever-present question: why does it stop mattering when the music stops? Did I stop caring? Or is it that the me who hears that music is a different, new me, whom I haven’t learned to be? I sometimes wish I could listen to the same song forever until I’ve spent enough time there that I can learn to create the emotion.
This kind of craving could kill me.
According to the Terribadder, I was destined to write a hybrid of Garzey’s Wing and Ryokunohara Labyrinth. After watching the latter, this seems like a natural combo for me. So, here’s my first attempt at such a terribad catastrophe, which I wrote in about fifteen minutes.
Tetragram Panopticon ~Unholy God Requiem~
The soul does not exist. It should be common sense, and I’m no romantic. Yet each time I call to myself a voice cries back, and they are two—you and me, this realm we share in a mind maybe tied to the body I believe is mine; maybe not.
Oh, I hope not. I love you.
Who’s body is this?
But what of the other body?
I don’t understand!
WHO ARE WE?!
I am warm in your embrace. Spring. The summer is here, yet only in your arms can I say it’s “warm.” I kiss your sleeping lips. Hard. With perversion. My pants throb as I lick between your lips obsessively. I only fear your awakening as I fear that you will make me stop. You don’t. You wake up. You grab my ass. Spring grows hot.
Eighteen years I’ve lived in this other world. Is it an other world? There may be a threshold for the length of time that one can be in a place before it becomes reality. Had, after a year of two, I returned to my world of origin, this surely would have been an “other world.” Now I have been here longer than I was ever in another place, and it feels more real to me than there.
It doesn’t hurt because I still have you.
"You are so easygoing," you taunt. I know. How long have we stayed in this void of togetherness? Have we sustained ourselves? I’d forget to eat if my meals with you weren’t as beautiful as you make every moment. I take a picture of you eating with my cell phone and save it as my wallpaper.
There is an unread text from M.O.T.H.E.R.
"When will you be coming home?"
I throw my phone in the lake, only to later lament the loss of your picture. Now I must always have you in my sight. So that I’ll never feel pain.
"The Cufkoahw are attacking!"
Arrows rain like hellfire and catch our women aflame. This won’t do. I lead the battle charge. You have to stay at home. There is no better way. If I die in battle or of grief of your death, it would be the same. I tell myself it won’t be the same for you. I can’t want a possibility of your pain.
We drive them back. They kill my horse.
M.O.T.H.E.R. came. She decapitated you with her scythe. I thought I would die. She wouldn’t let me.
I must kill her. I must die.
The Cufkaohw sen their suicide squads. We’re no match for their superior technology. They slaughter all of the women. They burn the children. They rape you in the ass and skin you alive.
M.O.T.H.E.R. descends from her Zenith on Everest, her one-woman Olympus, and the battle rages.
(Eiden why don’t you save them? They were your friends.)
[They cannot be saved. Only joined.]
They put me on a pike.
I am sure the soul isn’t real. Yet here we are. And only love remains.
(This is for another @2dteleidoscope prompt)
Marcus left not one, but two fucking guitars in my room on a permanent basis. This meant that if he left his third guitar, and then Brandon left his, and, for the coup de grace, Victor also left ours (i.e. his), then my room could contain as many as a whopping five god damn fucking guitars at one time.
All of my hate.
The first guitar was Marcus’ old shitty one that he didn’t want, because he had two others. The second was a blue guitar which had old, warn-out strings that needed to be replaced. Marcus argued that if he replaced the strings, it would be fine, but he didn’t replace the strings, and he certainly didn’t care enough to get the fucking thing off of my floor in the many times he came to visit.
So. All these guitars. Of course, most of the time my room was a huge mess and the guitars would end up on my floor, and I’d step on them, and I’d have no remorse for doing so because I didn’t give a shit about those guitars, and apparently, nobody did.
My resentment went beyond the mess, though; because having guitars in my room, it was natural that if I got bored, then I was going to pick one up every once and a while and tinker with it.
That’s why the bass guitar is wrapped up in a bag, and my old electric guitar, in my closet, has no strings on it. I didn’t toss them, because they didn’t bother me, because I didn’t have to pick them up.
I can handle picking up an electric guitar if there’s an amp nearby. An electric guitar sounds good just by frantically running a quarter across the strings, or tormenting it with a screwdriver while dribbling on it with my fingers. I love that sound of utter chaos.
But acoustic guitars let me know when I’m failing my ass off. They leave me to explore in silent rhythm the curse of having zero patience and negative-zero passion. My average play time on an acoustic is under a minute.
So I gave both of the guitars to Mike, since for all his amazing skill and wealth of instruments, he hadn’t ever owned a “grandpa’s guitar.” The blue one wasn’t really mine to give, but I don’t care. They’re his now. Good riddance.
I don’t know many people and haven’t talked to a great variety of them at much length. As such, I think my frame of reference for how people are, in a way deeper than observing them, is very limited. I know things people say and do, but not the way they think like I would my friends.
When I’m creating a character, which I’ve done some 1,000 times, I’m creating their psyche, not just their outward personality, and for me to do that, I’m limited to portraying a psyche which I can actually understand, unless the character is someone my character observes with their own slant and doesn’t really understand.
I don’t take that into consideration when I’m creating a character, but it’s my reasoning behind how it is that I’ve never written any characters who practiced any religion, real or fictional.
I know jack shit about what it’s like to be religious. I don’t know any religious people. I’ve obviously met a bunch over the course of my life, at times (in my youth) having put myself at ends with them, and later just avoiding the topic altogether in conversation. But I’ve never been close friends with one.
Does it matter that my characters aren’t religious? Not really. It’s always up to me what things are important to my characters and how much of that I even expose to the audience. It’s not like people expect to always learn the religion of a character anyways. Just I find it interesting that religion is something so totally alien to me that it never even occurred to me to give a character one.
Haikasoru’s release of Mardock Scramble is one big-ass compilation of the three (light?) novels, and so far I’ve gotten through the first half (2 chapters) of book 1. I’m loving it, but it’s really weird.
The book is awkwardly paced, having featured two small bouts of action in over 100 pages and otherwise been mostly dialog, introspection, and a hell of a lot of exposition. I don’t consider this a bad thing. The world and the characters are all highly interesting and honestly, I’d rather be inside the character’s heads than worried about other things anyway. It’s a novel I couldn’t easily expect others to like, but for me, it’s perfect.
Almost too perfect, which is the trippy part. It totally feels like something I’d write/have written in every sense. Throughout the first chapter I kept thinking that the novel was exactly the kind of thing I’ve been trying to write myself, but done much better, and I was getting very jealous. However, the second chapter was a lot more clumsy as I started to recognize the author running into the same problem I have, which is that he knows so much about his characters and wants to say so much about them that it becomes hard to write about them.
Sometimes aspects of the characters come out that seem odd, like I didn’t expect it, but the author totally did. And then there is a LOT of monologuing and backstory given.
Perhaps the biggest similarity though is that the author made one of the main characters capable of reading peoples’ emotions and understanding their mental state through smell, and the main character also able to communicate with them on a mental level. This is almost exactly like the way I made a lot of my main characters either geniuses or communications experts so that they can understand each-other exceptionally well. Really chapter 2 was like total deja vu of my informant duo from my own novel.
I get the sense that these characters exist for themselves and not for the story, and thusly the story takes a back seat a lot of the time. Which is totally okay with me. I’m glad I’m not the only one writing this way and it’s very inspirational.
Today in my unfathomably lax literature class, we were assigned to “write a poem.” Not one to be turned in or anything. Just whatever. And that was the class.
I’m not a fan of poetry for the most part because I’m too addicted to directness. I’ve actually started lying a lot more in my writing and finding it quite refreshing, but for the most part, I’m bad at metaphors and ambiguity because I like to get my point across.
Nonetheless, I don’t mind the way this poem came out. It does fall into the reason that I only write a poem once every six months or so—I usually just write about my current status in life. This is the kind of poem that is.
What I Am
I know a guy
and know him best—
the only guy I know.
The words he says
belong to me—
the only words I own.
A lot of what
I’ve learned from him
I do not understand;
and yet all that
I know of life
are thoughts he taught firsthand.
I love my life
and love my mind—
I love the world I see;
but want what I
can never have—
a chance not to be me.
Yet in the end,
I don’t regret
the person that I am;
it’s just a thought
in bed at 5 AM.
The most mindblowing aspect of Hourou Musuko for me is its dense interpersonal drama. The individual personal dramas all feel relatable to me, but the huge web of people and their effects on one-another was something I never experienced. I know that most or at least a lot of people went through it, though.
I have younger friends who throughout middle and high school formed a web of drama around themselves so thick that the status of all relationships practically changed by the day. Everything everyone did effected everything everyone else did. I’ve never experienced enough involvement in anyone’s life that what I do effects them beyond how they decide to spend their weekend.
Obviously I never had enough friends nor was a part of enough social groups to create drama, for the reason that my family moved constantly. Most of the friends I’ve had were individual “best friends” that I had for the year I lived in whatever particular house, whom I never spoke to again after moving away. I’ve never had an “old friend” that I met on more than three or four occasions post-living near them. That remains true even though I now live in the city that I lived in for the biggest chunk of my childhood and have the means to easily re-establish contact with old friends. I just don’t care to.
Most of my old friends have nothing in common with the current me, and had little in common with me to begin with. I just befriended whatever person around me had the closest interests to my own or was a nerdy kid like me. Those people have all gone on to make real friends and probably realize as well as I do that we wouldn’t get along as well anymore.
Because I never had any lasting friendships or got involved with any groups, I never had the time to get into drama. I never cared about anyone enough that their problems became mine, and vice-versa. When I reached high school, I was associated with the overall goth/nerd populace, which was comprised of interconnected sub-groups of friends that each had their own dramas.
I never fell in with any of them. My group was made up of all the total outcasts who lacked the ability to communicate with other human beings. All they knew how to do with others was joke around and never get serious about anything. I had a lot of opportunities over my high school years to get involved in a group, and I knew that there were people who really wanted to be my friend, but I ignored them and stuck with being an eternal acquaintance and keeping to my small number of true, ultra-close friends and the mass of idiots that followed me around. By virtue of being the smartest and funniest of the group, I was its leader in my senior year, and I made it very clear to everyone that I wouldn’t talk to any of them again after high school. Except for the ones who are still friends with my little brother, I haven’t.
Everything I’ve said above is a cause and effect. I made it look like a cohesive story of my non-involvement, but it was really the first part—my being unable to get involved—and the second part—my refusing to get involved. One caused the other.
I just don’t know how to deal with social situations. I don’t understand groups of friends because I’ve never been in one. The closest thing I have is the combination of my two brothers, my cousin, my one true best friend, another close friend who has since moved away, and my brother’s close friend who hasn’t been around as often because he and my brother both found new friends that live closer by.
But what we are is more a family than a group of friends (well, it sounds more obvious when I just cut off two of the three actual non-family members). Each of my brothers has their own friends that I have no part in. My cousin has other people he spends most of his time with. My best friend, No Name, only has me, to the same degree that I only have him. We alone don’t comprise a group of friends, and our relationship is far more like a married couple (lol).
All in all, with my brothers and No Name being the only ones I spend time with anymore, you could say that at this point in time, I have no friends. None that I interact with “in the meat” anyway—most of my online friends are referred to as such, but none of them fits a conventional definition of a “friend.”
None of this is whining—I’m perfectly happy with this setup. This is an analysis and explanation of why I don’t want friends.
That reason being that I don’t have the means to deal with drama. I never had drama in my life. I never had people to create it with. Drama is this strange, alien-like concept to me that my mind can’t process well.
When I see someone that clearly doesn’t like someone else, I wonder, why would they associate with them? Why talk to them? Why get anywhere near them? Why allow drama to happen? If there are people you aren’t really close to, why spend time with them? What’s it all worth?
Clearly I think too analytically and don’t have very much skill when it comes to enjoying things for what they are, but I make up for it by doing what I want to do in life, so even if someone tells me I should be bothered by it, I won’t be once I think it through. If I’m always happy in life, then the fact that I can’t interact socially will never matter.
But it does effect things that I care about. It effects my ability to reason with a show like Hourou Musuko where I look at someone like Chiba and think “how do you throw yourself so deliberately at misery? why don’t you find happiness somewhere?” but then I remember that most people don’t find misery as devastating as I do and know how to deal with it as a part of life. Drama is natural to them, and I’m actually the abnormal one for putting such an effort into avoiding it altogether.
I only wish I understood things more for the sake of myself as a writer. I’ve noticed my tendency to put my characters on islands. Most of the characters I write are either complete lone wolves or have one or two close personal friends that they’re relatively inseparable from. I hope that in the future I can learn to incorporate more normal human drama into my stories the way it’s done in Hourou Musuko, because for the most part, the feeling of high psychological realism from that story is exactly what I go for in my writing.
I’m working on my novel, Tales From the End of the World, and I’ve decided that the best way for everything to click into place is to ramp the sex and violence up to twelve. This story is meant to be splattery pulp, and splattery pulp by today’s standards gets pretty extreme. I’m quite a desensitized guy, so before I really get into pulp, it needs to reach Mnemosyne levels of psychotic immortal lesbians killing one-another through insanely gruesome torture and punching zombies in the face with shotgun gloves.
I love this kind of story, and when I created this project, it was supposed to be the next rung in the logical ladder above Mnemosyne, Baccano, and others of their ilk, pushing things ever-closer to outright guro-porn because I just can’t be fucking satiated anymore. My interests are far-flung on the end of “disturbing,” and I’m cool with that. I’m obviously not alone, because people like Eli Roth are still making shit-tons of money, and pulp is still a selling genre.
But why is it that I always pussy out when it comes time to actually cash in on my ultra-violent ideas? I’ve noticed that the most truly gore-tacular scenes in my book all happen to nameless passerbys, and when I had the opportunity to off some characters with supreme brutality, I relented just a bit more in my depictions of them. And the sexual aspect embarrasses me so much that half of my revisions result in removing them, but this is total fucking dishonesty because obviously I want them in there.
I think this issue is tied to my past. At first, I would’ve just called it embarrassment at the thought of people, especially friends and family, reading my story, and of course that still gives me the absolute willies, but it’s not the whole issue here, or else I could at least have the balls to do it when the book isn’t even close to any kind of “show-other-people” phase.
The truth is that I’ve been a pussy my entire life and I’m still too much of a pussy to forget about it. I grew up terrified of “dark” ideas. I wouldn’t watch violent movies until I was in my teen years, and even then, not particularly dark films until I was sixteen. I wouldn’t play dark video games at first. I wouldn’t watch dark anime, and I always tried to talk Funeral out of buying anything that had nudity in it, because I was scared to see it.
All of that fear crumbled away over the years, and it was in fact at the exact point where I realized that I *loved* dark stories that this project was concocted. So why am I still such a coward about it?
I can’t shake this one feeling, that some part of me strongly resists the idea of writing something dark. There’s a reason that all of my stories have happy endings (well, bittersweet endings, because usually only one person is left alive, though everyone dies heroically), and in fact, my lead characters usually prove to be immortal at some point in time.
This part isn’t that bad. I love my characters, so I want to keep them alive, that makes sense. But where it becomes a problem is that I don’t want them to become “bad” in my eyes. I don’t want them to be what makes the story dark. I want the world to be a dark and scary place, but I keep my characters within my personal moral compass. (Of course, my compass is way out of whack, so it means my characters just have a little bit less illicit sex and kill people in slightly less cruel ways with slightly more justification, but I think that it still shows heavily in my writing.)
I’m instilling my own self-righteousness on my characters. I’m only letting them do things that I feel I can justify with myself. I’m not letting them cross the boundary into being themselves, as opposed to being my little babies.
For instance, it’s incredibly difficult for me to write about my characters using drugs, even though I have nothing against drugs and have plenty of friends who use them. All it comes down to is that I, myself, am not comfortable using them. I’m comfortable with *watching* sex and violence because I’m used to them, but drugs are still this “darkness” that I’ve yet to become unafraid of.
But that makes no sense and is utterly unrealistic to this story. My characters run the gambit from gangsters (most of the cast), killers, and sluts to general city slickers, considering the whole thing takes place in a city so sinful that it had to be named “THE END OF THE [FUCKING] WORLD.”
In my first draft of the novel, the only drug use in the entire book was a scene where two characters smoke some pot, and one of them has to explain that he’s “not a straight-edge,” and that he only seems like one because few of his interests lie outside the law. But that’s all just a convoluted way for him to justify his actions to me! I’m too scared to make him do something I’m scared of!
This is ludicrous. I’m not saying that all of my characters have to be drug-heads, but you cannot have a fucking gangster story with no drugs at all. And even when I can see it from my more level-headed characters, it makes no sense that I keep it from the less level-headed ones.
I have a hard time letting my characters make bad decisions. The fakest, most bothersome aspect of my story is how easily everyone understands one-another. I try to justify this by most of them being geniuses as well as people who have to work with people on a psychological level, but let’s be honest, no one understands everyone that well. No one respects everyone that well. No one is always in their top form of analysis. I like to believe that I, like my characters, am really good at reading people and understanding their situation, but does that mean I turn this power on at all times? Maybe when I’m giving life advice in a concentrated setting, but not when I’m shooting the shit while we sit around.
Sometimes, it makes sense for my characters to not know what to do. To be afraid. To sleep with someone that they probably shouldn’t have. To kill someone out of anger instead of indifference, and maybe to not regret it afterwards, either. To go on a huge coke bender and drive through town on a motorcycle shooting random people (this will probably happen).
I have to stop being a pussy in every sense. I need to man up over people knowing the dark trappings of my mind, especially if I supposedly pride myself on honesty so much. Showing inauthentic art is probably the worst kind of lying imaginable. I need to kick the sniveling kid who thinks he can’t respect a character who’s not the paragon of logic in the teeth. I need to have the balls to let this story come to life on its own and take whatever it dishes out, no matter how hard it is for me to write and how scary it is to show it to people. Because that’s what it fucking means to write an organic story with real characters and not a pile of preachy bullshit.
So that lolikit doesn’t have to shoulder the full burden of listening to me ramble about it lol.
I’ve gotten back to working on the novel that I wrote for NaNoWriMo back in November. I’d left it with a little over exactly 50k words and neglected to write the resolution just because I was so glad to be done with the required word count.
I ended up not touching the novel at all throughout December because I went on the most hardcore anime binge that I’ll likely ever accomplish (unless I one day set out with the express purpose of conquering it). Then in January, I was going back to school and all that, so I figured it was time to start writing again, but I didn’t want to work on my novel.
Partly, it was because I love the series too much. I look at it with a perfectionist eye because it’s so important to me and I don’t want to fuck it up (even though to write it in the first place, I’d managed to convince myself there was no reason I couldn’t go back and re-release it later in life). I basically concluded that I had to write some other stories first so that I could become a better writer before working any more on my important series.
So I started by taking an idea I came up with last year called Kanya the Blue Flame, which is a story I made up after coming to terms with why I couldn’t stand Shakugan no Shana even though I loved Shana as a character. I decided to make a story that was basically “Shana if she’d never met Yuuji,” but mix in elements of Kino no Tabi and Shinigami no Ballad (both of which were also series I wanted to love but was disappointed by) and try to make all of them good.
For this story, I decided to use a noir style with minimal dialog and lots of tone-setting because I have a major problem when it comes to “showing” instead of “telling.” So I thought I’d train myself to “show” more.
This didn’t work. The thing is, I’m a character writer. I make my stories for the purpose of servicing my characters, so the plots themselves are usually on the weak side.
In order to tell my character’s story while doing a lot of “showing,” I figured I’d need to come up with a really strong central plot that could keep things interesting while I went through the long, slow process of showing each side of the character in that minimalist way.
A couple of things became apparent: 1. I can’t think of a plot. I hate all stories when they come from me. Even though when it comes to consuming stories, I love tropes and cliches, I can’t bring myself to use them in my own stories. I favor making my characters feel as much to me like real people, which doesn’t really work when I’m writing characters that purposefully don’t think like real people. (This was something lolikit also noted about the first chapter of my novel, which is that my character feels like a 13 year-old girl because I wrote her like a 13 year-old girl, but she’s supposed to be all distanced from realism and stuff, so writing her realistically doesn’t work with the actions she takes.)
And 2. I have no interest in sensory details to an extent. I always hear that you should try to put your reader “in” the scene, and I know that if I want to write something noir and tonal, doing so is an absolute necessity. The trouble is, I don’t care that much about the scenes myself. I’m not all that interested in what the character saw and heard and smelled etc., but in what they were thinking at the time. After all, it’s not as though I pay attention to the sensory details of every event in my life (maybe it doesn’t help that I have a really shit sense of smell and taste, so those details almost don’t occur to me at all). If I was recounting something that happened, I won’t go recreating an entire scene, I’ll just tell you the important parts and how I reacted to them.
So I said, hey, I’m just not that kind of writer. That should’ve really been obvious since my style is so heavily influenced by light novels, which are pointedly known for not indulging much in sensory details. But I wasn’t quite convinced that I couldn’t do plot at all.
After giving up on Kanya (in a rather big huff, I might add), I soon saw the famous third episode of Madoka Magica and became inspired to write a dark story. The idea was to have a story with 50 major characters and systematically kill all of them. It would be dark, hopeless, brutal, and a lot of fun, and the title of this project was World of Lines.
World of Lines was to be a web serial novel (and in my usual style of getting ahead of me, I had a whole wordpress site extensively set up for it before I finished the first chapter), and I was going to write it one chapter every two weeks for fifty chapters.
I had my fifty characters and did enough planning for the series that I’m not even ready to fully pronounce it dead, since I could do something with it one day, but the whole thing experienced a slow hard death over my inability to come up with a plot.
For this story, it was an absolute necessity. I had this massive cast, and I intended to extensively develop most of them over the course of many chapters in a fractured timeline. The trouble with this was that it meant, for instance, the first chapter would be entirely spent developing characters who wouldn’t show up again until the eighth chapter. There was no reason to believe that in the span of one chapter, anyone would care enough about those characters to still be thinking of them two months later when they came back.
This was the same problem as Kanya on a much bigger scale—with the amount of time it would take to really develop the major characters, there would have to be an engrossing story to give a reason to keep reading over all that time. I racked my brain for days and days. My brother had watched Code Geass around that time, and it made me think of how Code Geass implemented so many genius plot twists, but I could come up with none myself. Then I watched Umineko and loved how it could create such an enormously complex plot, but I had no ideas that weren’t just ripping off Ryukishi’s style.
(Aside: I got the best reaction-face ever when I told one of my friends, while asking him to help me dream up a plot, that I wanted to make something which was “like a cross between Code Geass and Umineko.”)
When I came down with the flu, I lost all tolerance for my lack of ideas and dumped World of Lines altogether. When it came to thinking of ideas again, I thought “I just need to write something I really love and do it in my own style,” and of course, that lead me right back to my novel.
And let em tell you, when I looked back on the novel, I realized just how much I loved it, and I got excited for it all over again. I’d been afraid of it because I knew that it was such an unorganized mess in its current state, and some big things still need to be changed, but I realized that those changes would be worth making, because this story was worth writing. And once again, if I didn’t like it, I could just pull a Ridley Scott and re-edit it every ten years until I’m satisfied.
So now I’m working on the novel again, and in fact I’m also working on the second book simultaneously because I got so excited about writing new content. Now I’m watching the characters I love so much coming to life again and I keep learning new things about them that blow my mind. (I follow Ryogo Narita’s “let the characters do whatever they want” school of character writing, which, like it does with him, can really beat me up sometimes, but it’s still totally fun.)
It’s interesting, too, how just by coming back to the series, I’ve automatically started coming up with more ideas for it and continuing where I left off. (Before, I had the first book fully planned and 11 generally planned. Now the second is fully planned and I’m about to move forward with generally planning more of the series.) I really look forward to finally being able to reveal this story to the world—but for now, I’ll still be working closely on it with lolikit’s always-appreciated assistance.
Was one of the books my mom had to get for a class. I’d thought about picking it up a couple of times, especially since it’s only a little over 100 pages. I did so tonight and found the writing style splendid, so I sat for 2 hours and plowed through the whole thing, and here’s the results:
Leaving aside pleasantries about how the book was ‘sooo right’ about this and that, the most important section to me was when it talked about ‘canons’ of activity that one performs while creating art. The most interesting example was Earnest Hemmingway who would situate his typewrite on a counter-top and did all of his writing standing up.
The author goes on to mention that they had a personal formula of always writing at night time, and then at one point decided to switch it up and write during the day. This didn’t work; writing all but stopped, and it became a necessity to go back to formula.
I’ve always been one to play around with the formulas I use for creative work, constantly looking for whatever might trigger my inspiration.
Early on in the course of writing my novel, I realized that it was difficult for me to write it on my main computer. Something about using it was like a natural distraction, so most of my writing got done on my dad’s laptop.
The author stresses the importance that if a canon is necessary to work, then it shouldn’t be disturbed. It’s not hard to see why someone would think to change things, since these canons usually seem pretty nonsensical, but the fact is, what works, works.
There’s a very clear common factor in all the work I did on my novel—it was done in concentrated bursts of insanity while facing incredible self-imposed deadlines.
The first 5000 words were done when I swore to myself I’d have 5000 words done by the end of the first day. The next 5000 were done in two or three days while I realized that my novel wasn’t going to be anywhere close to how long I’d miscalculated it as being. The sudden lack of need to write fast took away my desire to write at all.
Somewhere around the 20th, a conversation with ghostlightning rekindled my motivation, and I resolved to lock myself in a bathroom all night and get writing done. Thus, another 5000 or so words came about.
Then, finally, when time was running out on the 28th and passion was mounting, I creamed out 20k words in one day, and capped off the remaining 5k words or so in the following day or two.
By the looks of it, I can only really work when I’ve got pressure on myself to do things with absurd speed. This is basically true for everything I do—I’ve always been an absurd procrastinator who holds things off until the end and then bursts through them in one sitting. Just now at the end of the semester, I had a project for typography which we’d been given at least 3 weeks to work on and I did it entirely on the day before it was due (and still got a B!)
I love setting big goals, because I love the feeling that comes with accomplishing big goals. Smaller goals don’t feel like enough of a stunt or ‘challenge’ to catch my interest.
The reason I haven’t resolved to set stunt goals for myself all the time is that from a rational perspective, it seems unhealthy. Most people would not advise writing 20k words in a day. Then again, most wouldn’t probably recommend doing 50k in a month, but there are nanowrimo participants who complete 500k words in that span. (A friend of mine from school that I challenged to do Nano with me wrote 85k.)
One author talked about in Art & Fear was obsessed with producing at least 7000 words every single day, to the point that if he finished a novel early into that chunk, he would immediately start on the next one to fill out the 7k.
Maybe I’m just simply like that. Maybe regardless of what seems like a good idea to others, I’m just the guy who has to write in ridiculous spurts of fury. It’s most certainly an avenue I’m going to proceed to explore, effective immediately.
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