press rewind

press rewind

No, I’m not dead. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m alive, either. I’ll leave that for you to interpret as you wish.

I haven’t been able to write anything in a week. Writer’s block is hitting me like a sledgehammer, and it doesn’t really help that finals are coming up next week far faster than I can possibly run the mile that I’ll be forced to tomorrow. This is the fourth time this trimester. At which point does it go from “necessary” testing to cruel and unusual punishment?

The stars are falling out of my hands faster than I can catch them. The sand is shooting through the cracks between my fingers. And I certainly don’t have an inkling of what my future is going to look like.

But I’m trudging along. I’m still somewhere in between alive and dead. And that’s what’s supposed to matter in the end, right?

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dispatches from nowhere

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The last few weeks have been an absolute mess, and I suppose I owe an explanation.

My basement flooded a week and a half ago. The sky cried itself to sleep and made the sump pump in the lowest level of my house fail, causing unknown structural damage and destroying a great deal of personal possessions. Lots of mementos of my childhood are just gone. All the video game systems in my house either have their power cords destroyed, their controllers either outright broken or out of whack, or don’t have the correct output cords to be compatible with the TV in the first basement, which is where my room is. I’ve essentially become a refugee to whatever emulators I can get running on my computer, which, seeing as Windows has apparently decided to actively work against me whenever I boot into it to play games, really isn’t that fun of an experience.

Except for last Saturday, a birthday party for several members of my family. Getting my rear end handed to me while playing several bootlegs of Wii games that took half of the day to download was pretty… interesting.

The Duality of Mankind, my next book, is now a third of the way done through the first draft. I’ve had to restart writing on it four times- first, two teenagers trawling their way through high school and the death of one of the main character’s family members; second, some sort of pseudo-anarchist utopia with a kid who fell form the sky; a third rewrite I won’t mention that only got half a paragraph before I gave up; and now the fourth attempt, which I’ve almost completely plotted.

And what has become of me?

I’m not quite sure. Halloween has become a balance of trying not to embarrass myself by dressing up as someone I’m not physically fit enough to be and not sucking up to anyone else by being so generic as to be unmockable and unremarkable. I remember almost half a decade ago wandering in my neighborhood with only a glowstick to illuminate my way, trampling among high hills and valleys with my cousins and brothers, a plastic pumpkin bucket swinging from my arm. The neighborhood was friendlier back then. Adults were a lot less terrifying, and checking over every piece of candy was just a stupid rule that could just be circumvented by stuffing your face full of chocolate while in the back of your van on the way home.

But then the family scattered across the state, and we stopped waiting for the sun to leave, and we started waiting for parents to chaperone us instead. And eventually I stopped going out at all, waiting for a friend’s invite that never came.

I’m not so sure that I want to be here anymore, but wanderlust isn’t so useful when you’re not even sure where “here” is.

There are so many responsibilities that I’ve been neglecting, and I know that this is one of them. I’m coming back. I promise.

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I am still so afraid of life.

The college spam is beginning to pile up. Gym class makes every day a living hell, days strung out one after the other. I keep finding myself clinging onto each day as they come if only to spread out the time between each torture session, stuck in a stark contrast from summer, wanting each day to lengthen as the sun wanes instead of speeding through every week with not much to do.

It’s my own damn fault, and I’m very aware of it, and yet I find it hard to believe that anything is supposed to get better in adulthood- especially considering the future I see myself inevitably speeding straight to.

I’ve said it before. I don’t want to be famous. I want to be well-respected– and yet, in this current climate, a hand slicing and dicing a fellow human to shreds is more profitable to the general public than a hand outstretched in aid. The former generates outrage, which drives news ratings, which creates spaces for advertisers to sell their products. It creates opportunities for celebrities and other public figures to wank about their self-declared intellect and eject worn-out platitudes for the sole purpose of racking up upvotes. A genuine act of philanthropy may help the downtrodden of humanity, but it doesn’t boil the collective blood like a good dose of outrage can and does.

The road to fame is paved with inconsequential spats on social media and a constant cycle of creating drama with other people and then claiming innocence. Spreading the seeds of inaudible discord, normalizing borderline slander- and for what? To feed superiority complexes? To set oneself on an imagined throne at the top of the world, every single fame who propelled you to fame and success just another serf on your land, farming money and worthless retweets?

This isn’t a system I don’t think I could ever be compatible with. This isn’t a system I don’t want to be compatible with. I don’t want to spend all my time wasting away on social media, having meaningless spats with other competitors for people’s time when I could be writing books, when I could be taking care of myself, when I could be caring for the people I love the most. I don’t want to lust after the cool musician of the day, pretending to be someone I’m not just to bait their fans for cheap follows.

But if I continue to put myself out on the public sphere, to contribute to public dialogue instead of hiding from criticism and writing everything down in my journal, never to see the light of day again- then eventually I’m going to attract the scum of humanity. The fangirls* mindlessly retweeting every little piece of drivel their “idols” shit out of their mouths. The fangirls who create countless roleplay accounts as their favorite celebrities with often only appearance and name in common- jacked-up ultra-gay caricatures of their former selves with all the parts of them that can’t be rabidly fetishized taken out, neatly packaged and fine-tuned to generate the maximum amount of “feels”. The fangirls who hound their “favorite” content creators to insanity if the works they produce so much as stray a hair from the path of ultra-political correctness.

The day I see some teenage girl jacking off to a Twitter roleplay account of one of my characters bent beyond recognition into one of her hormonal fantasies is the day the last piece of my soul will die.

Those are not the kind of people I want associated with me. Those are not the kind of people I want to be spamming me 24/7 with requests to follow them or random scraps of thought or accusations of not following public opinion. Hopefully not having a Twitter or Instagram or Tumblr will stave most of them off- but at what cost? Am I purposely crippling my own chances of being discovered by potential readers or a publisher or some other kind of literary agent that’ll get me out to the masses because I don’t consent to the privacy invasion nightmare that is modern social media? Am I cutting myself off from people who might otherwise be my friend, who otherwise might be potential fans because I’m not Snapchatting every moment of my life? Am I pushing away people I used to be close to because I’d rather use a platform that I can trust not to harvest my data** for advertisers?

There have been moments where I’ve considered throwing in the towel. Reinstalling all the Google apps I uninstalled on the devices I was able to root*** and disabling them on the devices I couldn’t root. Reactivating my Instagram account and creating a new Twitter. Ceasing to resist every time a member of my family posts a picture of me on Facebook without my consent.

But I wouldn’t be here right now, speaking to you over the internet across the restrictions of time and space, if I ever gave up that easily.

Even though I might not be able to win against a system that requires me to sacrifice my soul to reach my goals, that doesn’t mean I should stop fighting for things to change for the better. For the opening of publishing systems that cut out the middleman and let content creators reap the full benefits of their fruits. For decentralized and distributed systems that allow me to communicate with other people no matter what servers we’re using or what our individual perspectives on privacy or digital freedom are.

For a system I could be compatible with without having to compromise any part of myself- a life less frightening where trust wouldn’t carry such a high burden.

For a change in heart, if such a thing will ever be possible.


*Guys, gals, and nonbinary pals. You know what the hell I meant. Surely you’ve encountered one of these people before.

**At the time of writing this, I still have a Facebook account, which I know is massive hypocrisy on my part. I will send in the deletion request before this year is over- I’ve been meaning to do so for quite a while. The only thing that held me back for this long was the constant guilt-tripping of… certain family members.

***My current phone and my old tablet. (Which have been pretty much replaced with my computer, although current obligations force me to use my phone, and I still use the tablet from time to time.) My old phone consistently unroots itself within half an hour of running Kingroot on it, which is the only method that works on the software version it’s currently on.

a desolate sunday spent with nothing to do

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I am at Girl Scout Camp right now as I type this, enjoying the air conditioning and abundant watermelon while the air outside grows more and more humid and the sky is colorless and drained as a loop of time at the edge of the world should be.
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Every day I come home completely exhausted, drained both physically. It takes everything I have to continue writing Living Wasteland after a shower and recount everything that’s happened to me in a fictional form. There is no energy left to spin the tale twice.
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Sometimes I find myself in the minds of other characters, of fragments of other people’s imaginations. Longing to slip on their skin for at least a little while and experience life through their eyes. It’s not healthy, I know, but escapism is so attractive…
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And I should never have made that Facebook account. Getting a few accolades for work on hacking Fire Emblem Fates and fulfilling a fantasy of running a meme page was never worth the angst and pain that came from conflicts with other meme pages and self-proclaimed morally superior people. Nothing that could have possibly come out of that hellsite was worth the breach in privacy that came as its price.
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I want to start using alternative services and messengers, but my family members are too imept with technology to bother, and the damn network effect keeps biting me in the ass over and over and over.
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You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force him to comprehend that the water is poisoned and he should drink from somewhere else.
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Living Wasteland did nothing wrong. Liv followed her heart, and it ended up in her becoming corrupted by sheer power she could never hope of being able to comprehend, much less wield.
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And Eponine Westal did nothing wrong. He tried to fight to keep the hidden life he was comfortable with while making sure that his friends didn’t suffer, but his enemies still found a way to make him destroy himself.
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And Boney just wanted to help his friend, but he ended up being killed in the end.
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But life’s going to get better, I think. Just one more year and then I’ll have all the space in the sky to fill.
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At least, I sure hope so.

i don’t mind if you’re overrated

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or if you’re at the edge of the world

It’s been a really long time since I did a personal update. Maybe that’s for the best, considering the current political mess that’s raging around right now. My summer vacation days have so far been filled with making perler bead art (which I’ll feature eventually), visiting colleges that I’ll have to apply for this fall, and preparing for the biggest event this summer, and you already know what it is…

Girl Scout Camp.

This will be the third year since creating MayVaneDay that I’ve covered the lalapalooza that’s Girl Scout Camp. This year, I’m going to be the newsletter maker for the camp instead of being assigned to a unit, which means more photos- and more of a mess. I won’t have any little girls to focus on, but instead, the whole camp will be my oyster- as long as I get the newsletter done in time to send it to the printers and have an adult get the printed products back to me. Given the fact that my Windows installation on my computer has recently taken to randomly refusing to load LibreOffice and Firefox and I have no idea how to use GIMP on Ubuntu, this will be… interesting. (I use paint.net for 99% of my photo editing, but sometimes I’m too lazy to reboot my computer just to use one program and then boot back. The above photo was cropped in GIMP, so that’s why it’s so poor quality.)

But hey, if it means more time in the air conditioning and more girls to meet and have fun with and less time hauling lunch supplies up and down the rocky eroded pathway down to Timbermeade’s basement, then I’m all for it. Although I won’t be able to use the go-karts until I’m 21, at which point I’ll be considered an adult volunteer instead of an older girl. And I’ll get to go swimming whenever I want!

That is, if I don’t somehow manage to mess it up. Which I’m not planning to, but considering the current administration… I’ve already got high expectations.

There are at least five new pairs of shorts in a plastic shopping bag on my bedroom floor, and a laundry basket full of freshly washed clothes in the corner, and several more chapters of Living Wasteland queued up and ready to autopost over the next few days. I’ll see you on Saturday.

3/26/2017- more books, more problems

It has been so long since I last had the urge to post something, and yet here I am, typing away on a blank page.

I have been hard at work writing a new book called A Shatter Down The Hall– a sort of yelling at myself for past mistakes, to force myself to stop the constant cycle of wanderlust between simplification and decentralization. Do I want to automate everything so that I’ll spend more time actually working on what I enjoy and less time making the connections between all the facets of my online life work with each other? Or do I want to take the extra steps of spreading out my work among several different sites so that no one entity has control of my data at the cost of more time down the gutter in maintaining the flow of work?

The main problem I have while writing this book is the main character- she’s a little… flat. Vey doesn’t have very many defining characteristics, which fits the book’s theme- she’s dazed and gets her identity from losing herself inside of Virtuality, a hybrid of an ocular implant giving one a nonintrusive HUD and a Matrix-esque virtual reality video gaming platform which puts one in a simulated sleep and then manipulates dreams. She longs to reunite with her brother Velaire, who supposedly committed suicide several years prior but turns out is actually still alive and in hiding. And she loves to write, although she hits writer’s block quite often as a result of her addiction to Virtuality. But her indecision when it comes to fighting to return to the world she’s always known or submitting to the fate forced upon her mucks up the book and makes her a quite unlikable character.

In contrast, we’ve got Vio- a quite insolent man who enjoys reminding Vey that her only viable choice is to go with him to the village. Because Vey was present during the “terrorist” attack, Vey has connections to Vio, which makes her a potential target to the police. Vio barely restrains himself from forcing himself onto Vey, as she reminds him multiple times that she resents him, especially since following him through a convoluted journey is the only way she has a chance to see Velaire again. But halfway through the book, his role becomes quite diminished as the book focuses more on Vey’s development, and he doesn’t return in a major capacity until the climax.

Normally, if I were writing, this would be perfectly normal- the story writes itself, and I can’t force a character to be more than they design themselves to be. But there’s the issue of retaining the reader’s interest, and if they decide early on that the book is boring, then… there’s no recovering from being shelved, ignored, and forgotten.

As I write this, I’ve got twenty-two chapters written and am working on the twenty-third. But, as usual, there’s a thousand other projects calling for my undivided attention as well, voluntary or foisted upon me by the high school. And there are only so many hours in a day to sleep…

3/17/2017

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My room has been darkening for some hours and I’ve only noticed it now. But nothing can quite capture the feeling of dying sunlight on somebody else’s windowsill, hitting the half-dead fish surrounded by waters just as murky as your own intentions. Not to mention those of the strangers around you- constantly fiddling with a small purse, trying to find the best place to safeguard it from pickpockets without disturbing the gracious hosts or yourself.

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It had been eight months since I had last slept in that bed, unless my memory is playing tricks upon me again. And in that eight months, the obsessions had neither ceased nor waned- just changed their subjects, looking for another cheap thrill that would not have any result on the world.

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But corrupted alphabets have to end somewhere, unfounded fears put to rest and resurrected anew in other languages- tongues doing double duty, triple, tea bubbles and hasty words dissolving, sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter. A hit or miss event; mostly miss, something always amiss.