Rye Meetings


So one of my new year's resolutions was to read at least 30 books by the end of 2020. While I could totally say I've “read” 30 books, I really mean read 30 books start to finish. And in that case, I haven't finished one. I have a terrible habit of picking up a book, starting it, and then setting it aside. It's not that I get bored or disinterested — I think it's more I give myself excuses to not finish that book. Why? I'm not sure, really. Every time I try to pinpoint why and try to do something about it, but I end right back at starting but never finishing books. I love short stories, articles, essays, but something about books prompts me to be noncommittal.

I love writing, but I honestly haven't read books voraciously since my middle school days. I don't know if that's a me-thing, an adult-thing, or what.

I do know, regardless, it's important as a writer to be listening and experiencing stories outside of yourself along with your writing. I've been able to write or world build somewhat consistently, but what I've been writing down feels stagnant in a way these past few months. When I don't make an effort to experience stories and worlds outside of my own I get creatively congested. I had this fantasy of establishing a story and universe that's completely self-reliant. Creating a story and universe that doesn't significantly lean on another work as a precursor or inspiration, but that's pretty much impossible. Because even if I'm not outright referencing something else in that story and universe, all those little references add up. So ultimately, I'm just screwing myself over if I take that route in writing.

So I'm revising my new year's resolution. I plan to experience 30 stories that can be books or video games by the end of 2020. Those are works of art that I have to actively step outside of myself and experience.

And I'm going to list what I've experienced so far, in no particular order, just to keep myself somewhat accountable.

Here goes.

Games completed: 1. Hotline Miami 2. Hotline Miami 2 3. Final Fantasy VI 4. Final Fantasy VII 5. Portal 6. Undertale 7. Pokemon Shield 8. Katamari Damacy

Books read: 9. Warriors: Into The Wild 10. The Golden Compass

So, so far I've experienced ten stories in 2020.

I'm listing video games and books because, when I'm playing or reading these I find myself attentively subject to another creator's pacing and every choice they make in presenting the story. Music, film, and television do the same but it's less of an outright commitment. I like listening to and experiencing music all the time, it's honestly like air for me. I create my own stories by listening to music. And TV drones on in the background while I eat or clean. You can't really do much else besides read when you're reading. The same goes for video games.

I'm not going to list what I've been meaning to read or play and what I'm currently working on, because I think that'll just make me anxious about reading and finishing those stories as fast as possible. And then I'll be less motivated to actually read and play those things because of the anxiety I get from them.

Most of the titles listed so far I've played and read when I was a lot younger. However, I still count them because my experience and understanding of them now are wholly different than when I was a child.

Here's to experiencing at least 30 stories by the end of 2020.

#Personal #Writing #Goals

I'm currently developing a system of gods and goddesses to flesh out my tarot-inspired universe. I'm working out their creation story and how humans became part of the mix. I just realized all of these gods and goddesses are pretty nice or rational, except for one.

I'm going to work on nixing that to make a more... realistic universe? This is all in the third person, so being semi-objective about it won't be that difficult. And while I don't want this universe to read like propaganda, I also don't want it to be “God's an assface” every second.

Even though my mom sprinkled in bits of Satan-fearing in me through periods of devout Catholicism and Illuminati documentaries, I was raised to understand God as an ultimately benevolent being. By the time I was almost done with middle school, though, it was cool to be an Atheist™. But the polarizing, “If you go to church, you're an idiot,” was not my jam. So I floated for a while between a spectrum of Christianity and Agnosticism until recently.

For a few months I felt, I hate to say born-again because of the connotations, but I felt like a Christian. I went to church with one of my co-workers. It was actually really fucking chill and not stuffy. People were our age mainly, but there were older people there too. There was music, and while it was a little cheesy, it wasn't something I couldn't bob my head to. I really enjoyed it. I've honestly debated on going back, even now. I marked myself as an attendee to a virtual gathering at one point amidst all this shit. But I really don't think I'm Christian. So I'd feel guilty just being among these people that for all I know sincerely believe. So I chickened out.

I know that I do believe in a god. But I don't believe Jesus was a real dude that could walk on water. I believed that when I was a kid. I don't expect Jesus to come back, do the things, and take all the “good” Christians to heaven. For me, religion isn't any of that. And maybe that's 'cause I've had to live with mental illness. I'm fucked in this world, already stressing over hypotheticals when I don't watch myself. Why worry about this new set of hypotheticals that I have to be taught?

I like the idea of church. Getting together with people, surrendering yourself to a higher being that may or may not exist. Discussing the literature that got you there and your understanding of said literature. But when you bring power and control into it, with humans amongst themselves not with God, then it gets messy. Everything between humans gets chaotic, and I think if there is a god, they made religion particularly sticky because humans will never understand the nature of a god. Therefore humans feel the need to emulate God to understand anything. It's a curse of sorts.

And spirituality + religion gets really twisted and disturbing when it comes to that idea – that idea of control and power being centered on focal points, focal people. Fuck that.

Spirituality might just be something I have to practice on my own, which is alright. I guess.

As I'm writing this, I realize how cynical I've become. It burns a bit. I often see myself as an idealist. But there are some things that I've decided to not waste my energy and hope on. Part of growing up, I guess. I also realize I'm not entirely sure how I want to go forth with my gods and goddesses and their morality. Ergo, this entry.

I don't want my understanding of the world to spoil my intent in creating this universe. I want to create something that's separate from me, even though it will still have bits of me in it. To be able to sift through the shitwater in my head, and shape that filtered crap into a universe, a story, that's more distinguished than its shitty origins — That's a gorgeous concept.

#Monologue #Writing #Worldbuilding