And so this is Christmas

Or rather it was Christmas, because I live in New Zealand and we get every day first. Time begins in New Zealand. That’s a little depressing if you actually live here, but oh well it’s nice to have something.

Whatever you’re celebrating around this time of year, I hope you have a wonderful time surrounded by loved ones and good food and all that jazz. I myself marathoned the original Star Wars trilogy with the siblings and then watched The Dark Knight for the first time in a few years – still good, but I am hella disillusioned with Christopher Nolan’s storytelling chops. Also how he writes women. Or woman, as is the case for the most part in this trilogy. I am also of the opinion that while his Batman trilogy was what we deserved after the campy ridiculousness of Joel Schumacher (which, let’s be honest, is still pretty enjoyable), it’s still not what we need. It’s so clinical and “smart” and just kind of … rigid. The symbolism is heavy-handed, the two huge plot-hinging-upon moments in The Dark Knight make ZERO sense, and while the ensemble is possibly the most impressive to be seen in a Hollywood franchise this side of Harry Potter, the original Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, when you get right down to it, they mostly don’t have an awful lot to do. It’s not bad, but it’s not brilliant. I’m not too sad losing that illusion, though. Holding out for something better gives me something to look forward to.

I mean not with Zack Snyder in DC’s cinematic universe’s cockpit, but y’know. After that.

There will be an after that, right?

It’s Christmas after all.

Batman is, in my mind, a gritty, Gothic noir thriller. It’s not Imax and explosions; it’s not about action and choreography, but about psychology and the line between sanity and insanity. That’s what the whole Batman/Joker thing hinges on; that’s what the whole Batman/Bruce Wayne thing hinges on for that matter. And it’s not like that wasn’t explored in these films, but it just wasn’t done my way.

Yadda yadda. I still like it. You can only harbour so much resentment for something with Gary Oldman in it.

As I try to force myself to work on this gender-flipped Twilight project for some reason, after all those realisations I’ve had about how fucking unproductive and generally awful it is when I try to force myself to do creative things, I decided to go read through my Christmas-themed novel first draft, completed way back in April 2008. It’s … actually way better than I was expecting. I mean it’s still a first draft, but that’s a moot point; there’s good stuff there that I’d actually want to use, and surprisingly clear and well-developed given that this was me writing seven years ago. At that point I was still surfing the waves of emotional upheaval in the wake of parting ways from Wickham, so I guess that could be where the clarity comes from – you get pretty real with yourself at times like that. This is vintage stream-of-consciousness earnestness here, albeit far more refined and, like, narratively sound than one might expect. As I did. I exceeded my own expectations seven years ago; imagine what I’ll do tomorrow.

I dunno. I can imagine quite a bit.

MAN Star Wars is good.

The storytelling, as in the clear-cut, tightly-knit structure and lack of gimmicky crap does certainly take a dive after A New Hope, but it’s not really noticeable until Jedi. I think Lucas wrote my favourite of the three screenplays (A New Hope, although he did have some uncredited help with the final draft), and it just makes the failure of the prequels all the more – bah. It’s 2014, almost 2015. There’s about to be a sequel trilogy. It looks really flashy and not anything like the Star Wars I know and love, but at least it’s something new to occupy the portion of my brain devoted to fandom business with.

This has been a busy year for me, and I barely remember most of it. I moved house. Like, holy crap, six-ish months ago I was still living in the cramped, messy house I’d been living in since I was 3. I can’t imagine being anywhere but here now. It’s got room. It’s so welcoming it makes me want to remember it. I also had, one right after the other, the absolute worst and absolute best semesters of my student career this year. In that order, happily. I discovered that I could, absolutely make plans and stick to them. I discovered that sometimes you have to scrap all of your plans because they’re absolute fucking shit and start over from scratch. I discovered that I could write the story I’d been trying and failing to complete for 13 years. I discovered that I could do no such thing and, well, it’s really not a big deal. I discovered that I still love being a writer, despite all the setback. I discovered that I am not and never have been just a writer and that I’ve been holding myself back for the sake of clutching onto a stable identity label. I discovered that it’s a bad idea to try and force creativity. I discovered that sometimes you have to force creativity, not because it’s a good idea but because otherwise you might not get any momentum from anywhere else. I learnt that momentum is a bad word to use to justify your actions, because you can apply momentum to all sorts of things, not all of which are good. Some balls should never be gotten rolling.

I discovered that I hate laptops with a burning vengeance, but that they started it. I discovered that I am terrible at university. I discovered that I am am a baller-ass bad motherfucking boss at university. I discovered that I was right when I thought I’d been treating myself unfairly all these years for my teen angst, that that angst was a lot more than just being grumpy and impatient and that I actually had severe mental issues, and that no matter how hard it was for me to treat myself well, it was what I deserved. I discovered that I know how to Go To A Counselor, and that it is a skill. I discovered that it’s a really fucking bad idea to borrow exercise routines off YouTube performed by somebody who looks like they could benchpress six of me, when I myself can hardly do 30 pushups in a row. I discovered that I remember how to ride a bike, and that yes, you can actually forget – a bit, anyway. I discovered that I really enjoy writing snarky, ad-hominem critiques of crappy YA paranormal romance novels, and that I feel really bad about it afterwards. I discovered that I could never write High Fantasy again because it’s iterative and dry and boring. I discovered that I fucking love High Fantasy and can’t wait to get that Great Story rolling, just as soon as I actually know what it is. I discovered that I’m becoming more like my parents and that it bothers me a lot. I discovered that 27 years old is fucking nothing and angsting about how old and decrepit and socially irrelevant I am since I was 17 years old is hilarious, not sad, because seriously, 27 is NOTHING.

I’m sure I learnt more than that and, much like everything I learn, I’ve misplaced it somewhere in my memory banks. Perhaps it’ll come back to me. Perhaps not. But hopefully if it doesn’t, it’s because I don’t need it yet, and it’ll come back when I do.

Mostly I’ve learnt that I don’t know who I am or who I want to be, and that the habit of insisting that I do is really hard to shake. And to make sure you remember what your automatic payments are so you’re not paying for random crap. And I have learnt that, no matter how much you discover about yourself, the important thing is that you’re doing what you can in the moment, because memory is a fickle thing. We don’t remember things that seem like priorities; we cling to unhealthy half-truths that only look convincing because we don’t see the scaffolding holding them up at the back. And yet we also remember that we were happy Then, what happens to us for the next few years, all the lines to The Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition). We remember. It’s a function. There isn’t much we can do about it either way. And, well, that’s just how it is.

So live in the moment, because it never ends. Do what’s right to do now. Be aware of the worst, hope for the best, and just be here. It is, in the end, the only thing that’s certain, whether we like it or not. May as well do it as well as we can.

May your days be merry and bright, and may you discover all, and then discover it all over again.


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