I was SUPPOSED to post the Skin Game review today, except I haven’t really written it yet.
Rather, I have drafted the notes but I haven’t really cleaned them up because PROCRASTINATION. There is no defense this time. I have allowed the Gods of Laziness and Distractions to take over my life. Granted, my distractions included things like making progress in video games in my backlog mountain, sleep, and Doctor Who; but I really have no good excuse for havign that up.
I haven’t even caught up with my personal emails yet, because didn’t check them over the weekend. And now I’m busy with my day job. Yaaaaaaay me.
I’ll try to get the review out by tomorrow (even if it means losing sleep tonight). But right now it’s job stuff with the occasional peek into Kotaku and the apparently terrifying world of politics in the SF/F writing world. I’m not kidding; it looks like no one can enjoy writing SF/F anymore because politics kept being dragged into the fore. D:
Yeah, I didn’t post anything last Friday because my brain was distracting me so much that I forgot I was supposed to post something. Geez, so much for my triumphant return to blogging. Not that I’m wholly unjustified in said distraction–it involved a conversation that I can’t talk about yet because a lot of other stuff needs to be confirmed first, as well as a shit-ton of tasks involving both my job and my extra-curriculars–but of course I feel guilty about this. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t feel a lot of arguably pointless guilt.
Of course, even posting this makes me feel awful on account of its shittiness. This is a shitty post. Most of my posts over the last few weeks are goddamn shitty, and my mind is tormented by it. The worst part is that I handle this kind of thing by pretending it doesn’t exist. I just…move away from the keyboard and refuse to think of all the fucking typos I’ve made.
My more personal writing isn’t faring any better. I didn’t write anything for four days. FOUR DAYS. Why? Because I felt the irrational need to wallow in an emotion that isn’t very clear to me. It felt better than thinking about the thing that elicited said emotion in the first place. I don’t want to think about why something that should flatter me terrifies the hell out of me. At the same time, I know I’ll be disappointed if this whatever thing doesn’t push through because I’ve already invested so much panic into it, panic that I tried to ignore with the new episodes of “Avatar: The Legend of Korra“.
Those episodes didn’t actually help, by the way. They just made me really, REALLY angry because apparently my feelings for Mako and Korra (I find them ridiculously annoying) haven’t changed between seasons, and I felt there had been too much of them and not enough Asami or Bolin–two characters that I actually like. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if they had shown some kind of growth for Mako and Korra, the way they showed some growth between seasons for the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” cast. But they didn’t. I keep wanting to punch the new Avatar and her boyfriend in the face (sorry, Korra fans). I know that she’s supposed to be a teenager and stuff, but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s too much of an asshole to deserve the Avatar-ness in my book. Most heroes would have done something truly heroic by now, but I don’t think she has. It bothers the fricking hell out of me.
All in all, I guess my point is that I’m feeling off-kilter and upset over a lot of things, and therefore cannot guarantee regular posting until I sort this out.
Seriously, if an animated epic doesn’t get me out of my funk–and actually made my emotional state worse–then I really don’t think I can post anything really coherent in this blog. Which, as I have already said, makes me even more depressed.
Yeah, I know. Excuses. I’m not a REAL writer and shit because I don’t find time to write. I already make those fucking accusations towards myself. They don’t help; they just paralyze me. Right now, I need to re-think everything that I’ve been doing.
Except I can’t even get myself to really think despite all the stuff in my mind.
I have a confession to make: sometimes, I feel guilty about wanting to write the stuff that I want to write. Actually writing it makes me feel even guiltier. I’m not sure if it’s the Catholic upbringing, or the fact that part of me thrives on the good vibes of other people. All I know is that I occasionally feel like I shouldn’t be doing what I’m actually doing, because a lot of people will think that it is, on principle, wrong. I understand that some of those said principles are THEIRS, and not MINE; but I do admit that I agree with part of what they say – which often makes me wonder if I really am a hypocrite after all.
It probably doesn’t help that bits of my “social identity” fall under the umbrella of “minority” or “marginalized”, and that I had to study a lot of that in school. So now I’m having trouble getting the stories I want to tell onto a page.
Marginalized identities and some implied duties
When I was in college, my classmates and I were preparing to pitch our thesis topics to our professors. I, for one, was VERY excited by the entire prospect. I had a list of topics that I really wanted to tackle – and that I felt were not tackled before. One of them, my very top choice, is an analysis of the Tarot deck as a potentially universal “language” through which we could tell stories. After all, they’ve been used as narrative devices by many people before (mostly in the context of foreshadowing, if not telling the story of a character’s past) – I want to see how far people have taken it, and how much further it could be taken.
Then I was told that our topics needed to incorporate a “Filipino” angle into it. That bit gave me pause. It’s not that I’m not proud of my country and heritage; it’s just that I found it so very LIMITING, especially since the three years I’ve spent so far on that Literature degree has not given me a very solid foundation in critiquing with the use of a local context. It’s not that we didn’t have Philippine Lit classes; we just didn’t have enough classes that could make me confident in my own ability to engage in Philippine Literature/Cultural crit. Most of the classes I had and excelled at focused on the works and the criticism of the works that come from other countries. And I had a sneaking suspicion that (at least, at the time), our country didn’t have a very stable critical tradition. As such, “objectively” approaching my subject through a Filipino lens is difficult despite the fact that I was born and raised with Filipino eyes.
While I still got to do a thesis on Tarot, my verve for it was gone – and I ended up turning in a piece of work that I know I could have done better.
My point is that I am constantly expected to REPRESENT something.
As a Filipino, I am expected to write with Filipino contexts – if not in the Filipino language.
As a woman, I am expected to write stories about women and their struggles – or at least make sure that my main protagonist is a strong female.
As a geek, I am expected to write something that will melt people’s faces off from the sheer “holyshit that is so cool why didn’t I think of that?” factor.
As a Lit major, I am expected to write “serious” stuff, not trashy stuff like fantasy and romance.
As a “free faith” sort of person, I am expected to ALWAYS criticize religion in my writing.
It’s just that I can’t represent those things, because that’s not necessarily what I FEEL I should be writing.
What I really want to write can’t represent anything other than myself
Most of the characters I want to write aren’t necessarily Filipino because they don’t HAVE the Philippines in some of the worlds that I create. They’re fantasy settings, for cripes’ sake. Which, by the way, ALSO means that I can’t be as literary as some people (probably my teachers) had hoped. Some of my protagonists, I have to add, aren’t female – that superhero character I was talking about a couple of posts back is a very good example of this – and that means that I’m disappointing some feminists out there. Some of my characters are, by necessity, quite religious – and they’re not villains – because frankly, I don’t see what good bashing religion in general does when it’s really the people who fuck it up (more on that in some other post, probably). And because I can’t write certain things very well (like action scenes and ZOMG plot twists), I’m sure I’ll be disappointing the geeks too.
It’s part of my paralysis as a writer: the sheer disappointment my work is going to generate. The way I see it is that I need to PLEASE someone because I want to sell my books. Someday. Maybe when I’m 70 years old or something. It’s all well and good to write for yourself; but if you want to make money off of stuff, you have to write for other people. It’s just that sometimes, other people want things that just don’t feel right to you.
On my part, I’m just hoping against hope that there are enough people like me – who appreciate the stories I like to write – out there to make a modest success of the stories I write.
I really should stop being so chicken and see if I can find an audience in Wattpad. oTL