The good with the bad

 

So this evening I have taken the seed of inspiration I discover under the fertile dirt of my re-read of The Magicians by Lev Grossman, re-located it to the mound of soil that is my boredom-starved imagination-sponge (brain), and sprouted a tree of planning.

Not over-planning. Just planning.

I am cautiously optimistic about this.

I have an arc for this Nanowrimo project now; it’s the first episode of an intended series, though I only intend it to be a series because of Reasons, i.e. the fact that I was weaned on High Fantasy novels and if you aren’t writing High Fantasy in trilogies or sagas then you may as well write sci-fi, you fucking hack, why don’t you go back to sucking Philip K.’s yes well anyway MY plan is, um, it works. It works in terms of taking my first car of frustration with Quentin’s male ego being constantly reinforced throughout the The Magicians trilogy – though nowhere as offensively as in the third and final installment, which I honestly would not be surprised to hear announced as a first draft that got submitted and published by accident because it is not only offensively patriarchal but so fucking uninteresting – and taking it for a joyride, careening through the streets of my thoughts and experiences, not going fast because there’s some specific place I’m trying to get to but because I have a car and I can make it go fast.

I likened my engagement with the problem of Quentin’s ego to a story’s progression: there’s a narrative to the solving of a problem, and so far this narrative is also serving as a pretty decent, well, narrative. There’s a story I can tell here. It’s solid, it makes sense, and it’s even something that makes me angry. During my undergrad years I was given the advice that if you’re stuck for something to write about, find something that fucks you off, because you’ll have a lot to say. Having also lived on the internet for 13 years, I can attest to the truth of this.

The only problem is that this is still not quite a story; it’s just like a story. Very like a story, to be sure, but if I’m honest this entity does not scream “TELL ME” as I’m used to Real Stories doing. Which doesn’t mean this can’t become a Real Story. It’s just that, right now, it’s not, and the main reason I’m wary is because I have a track record of ruining these almost-stories by trying to over-think them into being, instead of, like, writing them down as stories. My excuse for this is that if they were stories that I wanted to tell, I would have written them down, and because I didn’t, they weren’t.

I’m not sure if I want to be comfortable operating under this kind of logic anymore.

It’s a kind of logic that I apply to many things: if it’s meant to be, it’ll just, like, be. And if not, it won’t. This is a coping mechanism, because living with depression and anxiety demands compromise from me, and this is it: don’t get hung up on shit, because it’ll fucking rupture you. Let it go. Don’t care.

To be fair, this actually works really well. It’s just that, sometimes, it’s not the best strategy. It’s not necessary. It can very easily get applied to situations where it becomes smothering rather than supportive. There are times when I can actually afford to get hung up on shit, power through and find that I can actually make it work just by trying.

I’m thinking that this Nanowrimo project may be one of those, and I don’t want to miss out on it.

And thankfully Nano is almost here; at worst I’ve got another 10 days to over-plan, but due to how minimal my conception of this story is at present that’ll probably barely be enough to plan to regulation, let alone go over the limit. So, yeah, cautious but certainly optimistic.

The other issue is that this story-like thing I’ve got taking shape just isn’t very pleasant.

Like, I have a little ball of sick in my stomach just from having thought this shit up an hour or so ago. I’ve driven myself to a dark place in this I-hate-Quentin-and-the-patriarchy car of mine. Some of it is from what I’ve thought up, but most of it is from what I haven’t, the gaps in my knowledge that have big placeholder placards covering them like band-aids, but because imagination-logic is kind of like dream-logic I know that what’s under there is god-awful.

But getting specific is hard, because I’ve cornered myself into going for a very specific outcome. Which, actually, I think is very good. I want to do something specific. It may be something that I don’t know I’m actually capable of doing well, but it’s what I want to do. Still hard though. Hard less because I don’t know what I’m doing than because I know too well, and it just kinda hurts to do it. And despite being quite drawn to the idea of going down this darker route, I don’t know that it’s actually the best option. Also it clashes with most of the world-building I’ve done up to this point, but then that world-building was done for something that wasn’t a story so maybe it deserves to be thrown out the window.

Don’t get hung up on things. Don’t care.

Well, I kinda do.

More work is needed, basically. I haven’t found the point at which this story-like problem turns into an actual story, or yields me an actual story, or whatever it’s going to do – if it’s going to do such a thing at all. I may just keep poking and prodding and find that nothing’s ever going to come out. I’m definitely not being specific enough, and I’m afraid of chickening out and getting specific in a really tame, watered-down way when I have the desire – for better or worse – to go hella dark. Not to end there, but to go there, definitely. I have Something To Say by trying to solve this story-like problem, and it requires venturing into the darkness to retrieve this Something and expose it to witnesses.

I think that perhaps the reason this remains a story-like problem rather than a story is because I haven’t found what I’m looking for in the darkness yet, and I don’t like spending too much time there. I hope I’m looking in the right place. I’m wary that all of this darkness is actually just straight-up unpleasant, and has nothing else to offer. In which case I should get out. But how do I tell unless I stick around for long enough to …

Ah. One of those things.

At some point, you just have to call it a day. After a point, some causes become lost. And it’s up to you to call it, sadly, because you could just go on pursuing them forever. Some people do. And it’s very sad.

Well I’ve only got 10 days to find out of this is a lost cause or not, and I think that’s enough time to find it instead.

Look at me and all these disjointed metaphors. I’m on a roll tonight.

Tomorrow, gonna do a lot of writing, and a lot of film-watching and academic-stuff-reading, because it will be fulfilling. And fulfilling is what this story-like problem is fast becoming, on top of everything else.

Cautiously optimistic.

 

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Effortlessless

… guh … that title … I mean I could literally change it right now but … I won’t … ugh …

Today I remembered why notebooks – not just notes, notebooks – are so vital for writers: they don’t require you to log on before you start writing shit down. Yes they have a lot less “memory” than a USB stick or your hard drive or The Cloud, but they’re immediately available so long as you have a pen and a light-source. So I’m going to be re-discovering notepads in the coming weeks.

Because I have just started to crack the shell of the troublesome critter that is my intended Nanowrimo project.

I started off by beginning a re-read of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. I still intend to one day review and critique the entire trilogy, but I will take a moment to sum up my major, overarching issue with the ideological vein that runs throughout the three books: it is a Hero’s Journey where the hero doesn’t actually complete the journey. In fact they blatantly fail the journey; they basically end up with the exact inverse conclusion to how the journey should end.

I mean that’s my argument. There’s a few ways to look at it, as with anything, and I have one alternative reading of this being a successful Hero’s Journey. I just don’t think it stands up to the argument that it fails.

To be more specific (and spoilery, so be warned)The Magicians is the story of Quentin Coldwater, who is a self-loathing, bitter, reserved, naive, daydreamy young adult who has a hopeless crush on his best friend’s girlfriend, and spends much of his time wishing that the world of Fillory, the series’ Narnia allegory/critique, was real, so that he could escape into it. Quentin is defined by what he wants, which is what he can’t have – can’t beat the classics. But it’s not just that he wants what he can’t have; he wants it in a particularly heteromasculine way. He wants his best friend’s girl. He wants a magical land of adventure and innocence. He wants to want, because on top of everything else he’s neurotic and depressed. It’s very abstract, existential stuff lumped in with painfully predictable male-entitled material, and it works really well to that end. There’s a reason I wanted to analyse these books as an example of an “authentic” male lead – though probably not anymore, as that word is kind of useless.

What’s also useless is Quentin’s Journey. Because all throughout it he seems to transcend his selfish, hopeless desires that make him miserable because, as this is a Hero’s Journey, they’re not what he needs. They are the objects of desire for his ego, and as Joseph Campbell will tell you post-mortem, any hero is required to relinquish their ego in order to transcend and attain enlightenment, which is the general goal of any Hero’s Journey. He gets to Fillory, and it’s a pile of garbage. He gets the opportunity to sleep with his best friend’s girl, but it’s not in the way he’s always fantasised about it happening so he passes it up. He learns magic, but it’s basically just the same super-elitist academic test-oriented meaninglessness that he’s always been good at, so it’s not really anything new. He and his college buddies graduate and get a pile of money to live off for the rest of their lives, plus a loft apartment in NYC, and it destroys his relationship with his girlfriend (well, he does, but because he’s aimless and unsatisfied). It’s all classic ego stuff, and it’s shown to be vapid and unsatisfying. That part works. And by the end of the second book, he’s lost all of these ego-attachments and is reduced to zero, leaving the third book for him to build himself up again.

Here’s where shit goes downhill. While he loses all the Things that he “wants”, from his best friend’s girl to a life of luxury to being the King of Fillory, he also loses something that, while he was fond of it, he didn’t actually want: his relationship with Alice. Alice is perhaps the most blatant plot-prop I’ve ever come across in any story, and at the end of the first book she sacrifices herself to defeat the Big Bad, and thus Quentin loses her. This being after he cheated on her after a night of drunken debauchery at the loft apartment in NYC (where she also lived) and they were already broken up, but starting to reconcile. She is there to have a heartbreaking story that teaches Quentin a lesson about karma or some shit; she is a Woman in a Refrigerator.

In the third book, she comes back to life. Her sacrifice was not death; she summoned so much magical power that she became a Niffin, a being of pure magical energy and essentially a demon. She was basically all-powerful and found everything hilarious because she was all-powerful, immortal, uncontested in terms of sheer raw magical potency, and could do whatever the fuck she wanted. It’s suggested that Niffins are evil, but really they’re just both autonomous and beholden to no-one. In a lot of ways, it’s kind of like being a witch: a woman who answers to no man and has the power to back it up (anybody can become a niffin, but Alice is the only one who features in any real capacity in the series).

In the third book, Quentin encounters Alice as a Niffin and decides that he’s going to find a way to turn her back into a human.

Because of fucking course he does.

In a way, this makes sense: he’s lost everything, including the one thing he didn’t want and didn’t appreciate at the time – Alice. This is his chance to realise that even if it wasn’t what he fantasised about, it was something real, something that requires him to let go of his selfish egotistical whims and to commit to something unpredictable and distinctly non-fantasy in nature, something he can’t control or romanticise. When he does eventually restore Alice’s humanity, by this logic, you can say that he does actually complete his Hero’s Journey, and in that by restoring Alice’s humanity he returns the Elixir to mankind and allows others to benefit from his enlightenment.

But this is a story that is characterised by its sad puppy protagonist, whose anxieties and bitternesses are decidedly (white, upperclass, educated, heterosexual, cisgender, able) male, in the same vein as Garden State500 Days of Summer and Ruby Sparks, only at least with those examples the second and third examples wanted to do some deconstruction (and one of them succeeded) (hint hint it wasn’t 500 Days of Summer). And the thing that makes me feel like The Magicians fails in its promise of a Hero’s Journey where the ego is transcended/abandoned and enlightenment is achieved is that Quentin’s ego is, specifically, a male ego. And that male ego is, throughout the trilogy, repeatedly rewarded either with straight-up perks – rebound girl Poppy in The Magician King is perhaps the most blatant example – or character-development, vis-a-vis Alice’s heroic sacrifice serving mainly to punish Quentin for being a myopic douche.

Quentin fails in his Journey because he never actually transcends his male ego, and for me at least, the entire first and second books revolved around how much that male ego was hurting him. It was the biggest obstacle to his personal growth; it just seemed obvious that it would be the thing he’d have to overcome in order to complete his Journey. But apparently that was never the point, and it’s disappointing, because I think we could really do with a story like that. In the end, his ultimate “heroic” act is to force Alice into a form more pleasing to and manageable by him – her first human-again experience is sleeping with him while furious that he has restored her to human form, hello more rewards for male entitlement – and then they’re just together, like they were always meant to be or some shit. In a way it’s like a very extreme manifestation of why I hate Harry/Ginny as a couple; Harry does not respect what Ginny’s been through, at all, and just seems to want her because he’s a straight teenage boy and she’s physically present and has had a crush on him from the moment they met (which he’s known from the moment they met). It’s the utter lack of respect, of equality, that Quentin retains. He wants a thing; he gets the thing. That’s not a story. That’s sure as fuck not a Hero’s Journey. That’s a masturbatory power-trip.

Which is really upsetting, because I really like the first book and appreciated a lot about the second book, because it seemed like Quentin was going to lose his ego, be knocked down to the lowest peg, and then have to find a way to become a decent, non-selfish human being – and, given the nature of his ego, it would also have to be that he found a way to confront his male entitlement and, like, get over it. Apparently not. And honestly, I’m not surprised. Just disappointed.

(end spoilers)

This was an important step in me gaining traction with my intended Nanowrimo project because it deals with similar themes – in fact it’s sort of like a cross between The Magicians and Harry Potter, because I’m a hack and I embrace it like a real man. By identifying the specifics regarding my intense dislike for the resolution of the Magicians trilogy, I was able to get a handle on what I was missing from my project: a clear conflict, and a way to resolve it.

This step was completed via notepad, and thus I also learnt that notepads are awesome.

And now I have a story beginning to germinate, and it’s because I put some effort into it. I’ve been thinking about how and why I feel compelled to tell the stories I do try to tell, and for a while I’ve been operating under the assumption that the least effort possible is always the best decision, that trying to force things to work if they don’t work immediately is never worth the effort. It certainly didn’t work for Tallulah, or the 13-year project I gave up on when I was 25, while the stories I have gotten some traction with lately have been the ones I’ve put the least effort into shaping, the ones that were concepts that were strong right from the start. My rule has been, for the past little while (and one of the main reasons why I quit Tallulah), that I will not try to force ideas to become stories, because by and large it’s just not worth it.

Tonight I broke that rule by actually putting some time and effort into developing my thoughts about The Magicians and, by extension, my intended Nanowrimo project. It wasn’t a clear and obvious story; but it was a clear and obvious problem. It was a problem that I felt had to be worked through, and solving a problem is a kind of story all of its own. You start with an obstacle, you try to get past it, and only with time, effort and learning what it is that you’re really dealing with that you eventually gain enlightenment.

And I think, for one month, I can see if that’s enough to make a story out of. Because this is a story I would really like to work, even if it doesn’t fit my current criteria for Worth Putting Effort Into. But there’s a problem with that anyway, in that this rule of mine also presumes that the moment effort is put into it beyond just writing, it becomes sullied and unsuitable, spoiled, ruined, and not worth persisting with. It becomes a lost cause, and I don’t like that idea at all. I need more of a balance, and this story, one that I have had to kind of goad and nudge into the shape of a story, might just teach me that balance.

I guess I’ll find out by the end of November.

Elastic and Eulogies

I just took down my review of Bleeding Violet, because I think it was something I shouldn’t have published to begin with. It was messy, it was probably offensive, and given the specific issues with that book – much as I really do adore it in many ways – offense is the last thing I want to cause. I’m in the process of re-writing it, and it might be a while until I release it, if ever. In the meantime, if anybody was hurt or offended by it: I am truly sorry, I should have thought more about I was writing before I wrote it, and I promise to draft anything and everything I write about such sensitive and important issues again.

So instead let me regale you with yet another post about how I was Doing So Well but yet again Everything Sucks because insert easily-avoidable self-inflicted obstacle here.

I mean that’s what you’re here for anyway, right? Seeing as it’s literally all I do on this blog?

In all seriousness though, I’m quite pleased with myself, because while it is true that I have not started writing my current passion project – partly because, like Tallulah, it’s just a bunch of ideas that I like entertaining rather than an actual story – I am actually fine with that. And that’s a big step for me. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you can probably recall me lamenting my lack of self-discipline or conviction or passion or what-the-fuck-ever excuse I had for why I needed to care about whether or not I was writing. It seems that, at long last, I’m learning to stop doing that, and it’s fucking great.

And it’ll probably get me to write more.

I mean the less shit you have to feel guilty about, the more you can focus on things you want to do. It’s something everybody living with anxiety or depression knows on at least some level; it’s just a matter of making it work for you that’s the kicker. I feel like this is working for me, like instead of shameful dishonourable procrastination my lack of writing is just a case of me pulling back an elastic band hooked on my thumb. Eventually, either it’ll snap on its own or I’ll decide it’s time to let go. Either way, something’s gonna go flying.

So I’m pretty optimistic right now.

And having said that: I said last time that Tallulah was officially a dead project. I think I need to make that a bit more official.

  • Eulogy for Tallulah

I’ve told this story before, about how in 2010 – holy crap that was 5 years ago – I came up with an idea for a story that I never thought I would have, an idea that was So Not Me that I had to try and tell it. A story about the child of a selkie, left behind when her mother found her seal skin and returned to the sea, only to be reunited years later. What would that feel like? How would it turn out? I was intrigued.

I was afraid of not being able to write credible female characters; I think the fact that the selkie myth is so highly gendered only exacerbated this anxiety of mine, but through attempting to write Tallulah I learnt that, actually, it’s an anxiety I can get over. I’m not saying I’m actually any better at writing credible female characters than I was when I started (although, once again, thanks to my beta readers for your largely affirmative and always insightful criticism), but the process taught me so much. It taught me what it feels like to stick with a story beyond the honeymoon phase, going through to revision and discovering that by simply intending to go beyond that first landmark, there is a whole other experience of storytelling waiting. It taught me that I’m not a bad editor, and that I have something of the knack for decent narrative cohesion that I’ve always thought I did.

It also taught me that no matter how well you can remix and rematch the events of a first draft, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a good story. It forced me to confront my propensity to put off big problems for far too long, something that I do in my non-writing life as well. It eventually taught me that the only way to deal with that in a productive way is to bite the bullet and admit that shit’s not working, and it’s not going to. It taught me that writing is fucking hard, because time spent does not equal progress made, and it could well be that all of that time spent is for almost nothing when you realise that starting over from scratch is the only way to tell the story the way it needs to be told. I say “almost” nothing because I did learn something: that I need to get more honest about what I’m ignoring or putting off so that I don’t have to drag it around with me, because it’ll weigh down not just me but everything I try to do.

It taught me that the most important things do remember while writing are to always take notes, to stick to your plan, to have an effective way to hold yourself accountable to your goals, to commit totally to those goals – and to be able to, at any time, completely change your mind. It taught me the absolute, non-negotiable importance of this contradictory dual principle of absolute commitment and absolute veto power. Because I am the only one writing this fucking thing, and it has to work for me.

The fact that I’m giving up on writing this specific fucking thing is due to one of the most important lessons I learnt from trying to write it for so long: that I am not a Writer. I am so grateful for this lesson, because it did two things: freed me from my obligation to narrow my entire life into a single pursuit, and opening me up to explore ideas for stories that I actually want to tell.

And now, the lesson I’m learning is that some of the reasons I have for telling stories are just unhelpful. A collage of cool ideas, a scene where interesting characters have interesting interactions, is not a story. A story is a story, and like being in love, you’ll just know when you’ve got a story. Stories have a feeling to them, and the reason I learnt this is because Tallulah never gave me that feeling, not in the 3 years I’ve been trying to tell it, not even once. It was only ever an awesome bunch of ideas. It was never a story. And that’s why I can’t tell it.

So I’m not going to.

Tallulah, you’re not a story. It was ambitious and hotheaded of me to try and force you into the form of a story. I can’t regret it, simply for everything I learnt as a result, but at the same time I do wish I’d known that there’s a very real difference between stories and ideas, and it’s a really simple one: ideas are ideas, and stories are stories. I wish I had not believed that any idea I had had to become a story, because otherwise there was no “point” to that idea. And I will always be grateful to you for teaching me that I do not have to live such a fucking sad life as that.

I am grateful for you, Tallulah.

I give up on you.

  • For fun’s sake

These are all lessons I wish took a little more than they did, were a little more deep-rooted than they currently are within the soil of what I believe about myself. I don’t really believe I’ve given up on Tallulah, and I wish I could make myself. Though, if I’m gonna be honest about shit, I may as well just accept it. If it doesn’t feel like it, who cares? That’s just how it is.

And regardless of that, I am starting to feel a bit more “I write for fun motherfucker” about things. Which can only be a good thing. I’m feeling my ripping-shit-off blood rising, my fanfiction instincts revving up. And, happily, I’m at a point where they don’t have to. I could not write anything but my thesis in the next ten years and actually be totally happy. I think maybe I’ve learnt some of these lessons better than I’m giving myself credit for.

It’s sad to give up on Tallulah, even if I don’t fully believe that I have. Because it’s true that it was never really a story, and that I tried to tell it at a time in my life when I thought very differently about what stories were, or should be, or could be. When it was more about who I was as a person and what defined my worth, when it really wasn’t actually about stories at all.

I want it to be about stories. And I’m feeling like it’s starting to be that way again.

It’s also been feeling like I’m sitting really high up while I type all this, like there’s far more distance between my face and my arms than there actually is, so I suspect I’m very tired. It’s probably time to go to bed.

 

Plans for the foreseeable future

So for the past 3 days – including today – I have been adding to the world-count of an Actual Thing, in this case my MA, and it feels really, ridiculously good.

In fact it feels so good that I’m starting to suspect that the easiest way to get something written is to, like, just write it.

I know, right?

Kidding aside, I need to put this newfound empowerment to use in writing one of My Things, and while Just Do It is very fair and valid advice, you’ve gotta actually want to do it in the first place. Therefore, I know that if I’m going to transfer this skill to one of my novel projects – and I really want to, because if writing one thing every day is awesome, writing two things everyday should be twice as awesome – it’s gotta be one that I actually want to write.

I’m thinking it’s not gonna be Tallulah.

And that’s simply because, honestly, I don’t want to write it. I want it to exist, but I don’t want to write it. I will, one day, if I feel I can do it justice, but I think that actually I need to put it down again, even if it is just as I was finally starting to get somewhere with it. The thing is, I’ve been “finally starting to get somewhere” with Tallulah for the past 3 years, yet I’m still not there. So I’m thinking it’s time to learn a lesson and just stop trying to write it, in my half-assed, totally unenthusiastic way that I have when I’m trying to force myself to make something work when I don’t care whether it works or not.

At the same time, writing something else might actually turn out to help get Tallulah written. For one thing, when I’m “writing Tallulah” that’s not just counting time spent actually creating a word count; that’s including time spent agonizing over how I’m not adding to a word count, wishing I was done already so I could move on to the next thing without feeling flaky and guilty, wishing I could stop myself from over-planning and destroying my own momentum, and doing everything else that I do when I’m not literally writing. For me, “writing something” is a mode, not an activity. I really do want that to change. And a huge part of that is because “writing Tallulah” includes NOT writing Tallulah, in the literal sense of the word “writing”. And that is a habit I really badly need to break.

The other thing is that I need to remind myself that I can, in fact, just drop Tallulah and move on if that’s what I want to do, because I learnt the very fucking hard and long way that sometimes that is exactly what you need to do with a story that you just can’t seem to tell. I spent almost a decade and a half trying to get one story to work, and only after completely, officially resigning it to the scrapheap did I start to find a way to make it work. And if I hadn’t committed to that decision, if I hadn’t embraced not just the possibility of never writing it again, but insisted that there was no possibility of ever writing it again, I never would have worked that out, and I’d still be agonising over how I couldn’t get it to work. I had to let it go with no intention of ever seeing it again in order to see, when it did end up coming back to me, that there was actually something there worth persisting with. But the important, vital first step there was letting it go, ditching it, giving up completely, and COUNTING on that being the only step in the process. I have to be willing to give up on shit that doesn’t work, to quit projects that require me to corral and ply and plead with just to make any kind of progress, because I do have other stories that I want to tell, and they’re stories that won’t wait.

Which brings me to the new problem: identifying what – if anything – I want to write. I have a story in mind, and it’s a little over-planned but that’s nothing that can’t be solved fairly easily – if I find some things that I desperately want to rip off. And happily, I have found one such thing: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

I’ve only seen the film, and I enjoyed it, but I must admit that it pissed me off in the same way that every “sad white boy learns an important life lesson because of a manic pixie dream girl” story pisses me off. Only in addition to the low-level misogyny of the basic premise (though at least she wasn’t *really* a manic pixie dream girl, Hollywood is very slowly learning something it seems), there was also the fact that Earl was in it. The reason this made me angry is because Earl is the best character in the fucking film, and he’s in it for like 5 minutes. It’s probably more than that, but given what he actually contributes to the film, it may as well be 3 minutes. I wonder if he would have gotten more screen-time if he’d been white. But regardless, he wasn’t in it as much as he should have been.

And that is something I can make a story out of.

So while I have one piece of my book-writing puzzle in place – namely the piece where I can actually write shit – other pieces are needed. I need motivation. I need something that pisses me off that I need to set right, or something awesome that I have to commandeer. I think I need to go back and read The Changeover and The Magicians, after I’m done reading Bleeding Violet which, aside from one gross transphobic scene, I am really, really, enjoying and almost forgiving every shitty YA novel I’ve read in the past 2 years based on the merits of. I may even need to go back and finish reading the last 4 Harry Potter books, to pick up where I left off in 2012.

I think it’s time for me to take that Harry Potter fanfic idea and see if I can’t turn it into something that stands on its own.

And who knows? By the time Nanowrimo rolls around, I may be ready to devote an entire month to finally getting Tallulah over the finish-line. But for now, I’m going to make the big decision.

I am done with Tallulah.

And I need to find some ideas I want to steal. Stat.

Oh god Netflix

Not even real Netflix, just NZ Netflix, which only has one season of The 100 and hasn’t updated from season 4 of Teen Wolf, what do you mean it also has Mad Men and Sense 8 and Orange is the New Black motherfucker you think I want to watch GOOD television who do you think I am begone from this place foul demon

… so I spent all of today watching that one season of The 100, and it is the most wonderfully awful thing ever. The characters, almost without exception, are petty, selfish, short-sighted fuckwits; the conflicts boil down to “I feel hurt so I’m going to do stupid things that will make everything else worse and my reward shall be momentary vindication”; there is SO MUCH YA BULLSHIT, from teenage girls being the scourge of humanity to bad boys being all nice and soft and mushy inside to the really atrociously tone-deaf and “invisible” racial politics – it’s horrendous. It’s fucking gross, actually.

I love it.

And I love that I spent a whole day just watching TV. I spent the last week reading 2 academic texts for my MA – they were actually really interested and quite easy to read, and are making me look forward to doing more research.

I also am starting to feel a little more motivated to write, because after watching The 100 I think the world needs a bit of The 100 fix-fic.

And wouldn’t you know it, next month is Nanowrimo!

No, I don’t think I could quite bring myself to devote Nanowrimo to a fanfic, but I could devote it to an original story that directly rips off all the most irritating parts of The 100 so that I can fix them. Because. Oh my god. Oh my god. They need to be fucking fixed.

And actually I have a fantastic solution: put in Earl from Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I’ve only seen the film, but from seeing the film I know that he should have been the main character. Earl would get shit done. Earl for president. I do not condone his casually sexist language and yeah he had absolutely nothing to fucking do in that film but RJ Cyler sold that shit I hope he goes on to do big things.

Anyway.

As for my own stuff – I’m starting to make myself admit that a lot of my ideas just aren’t “marketable”, but they’re the shit that I care passionately about, and I hope I am able to convince myself that that’s actually a pretty fucking decent way to go. Yes, it would be fantastic if I happened to be deeply passionate about ideas that were very commercially viable, but part of the problem is that I read and watch so much YA stuff that it’s destroying my capacity to imagine what is actually “marketable”. I mean fuck, one of the biggest shows around right now is Adventure Time. Who would have predicted that? Fuck predicting shit, man. Just do what you love.

And, like, make money so you can live and shit. They don’t have to be the same thing, however nice it would be.

So what I’m saying is that, while this month I have my first MA chapter due on the 29th, I will be using November to get something creative up and running. Might be Tallulah in its newer, shorter form; might be something else. Might even finish that werewolf thing. Who knows.

What I do know is that I have not updated this blog in about 20 days and I’m just gonna have to eat it. I have so many power-trip fantasies: I wanna be the next American Idol; I wanna win debates against certain problematic fave YouTubers I used to follow and turn them into feminist allies; I want to train with the SIS and learn how to kill people in under 3 seconds and use my powers for good and become a superhero; I want to learn how to draw really well – I want to be a Successful Blogger. But it’s not happening, it hasn’t happened, and whether or not it ever will, I don’t think it’s really what I’m aiming for. I’m not really aiming for anything. I’m trying to change that, but “mild depression” (my semi-official diagnosis) kinda takes the sting out of everything, and not necessarily in a good way. Sometimes you need a bit of a sting to get the blood pumping.

So I’m going to look for a sting, and pick a project for Nanowrimo, and get this chapter written.

And I honestly think it’s going to be pretty fun.