Undertale and Minecraft are two of the biggest "indie games" to make it big, both financially and culturally. People encourage their friends to get into both, not just because they're amazing (for certain values of "amazing") but also because they want to discuss these things with you, and they need you to understand their shared vocabulary in order to do so.
This shared vocabulary enables people to create art that can be widely understood and appreciated. Hence, the piles of Undertale fanwork, up to and including professionally-made musical productions; and the intricate Minecraft creations, up to and including Turing-complete redstone computers.
There are problems with this kind of cultural ubiquity, though. For starters, the amount of attention given to "hit games" literally starves others.
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tl;dr I'm bitter about my fanfiction not being noticed, and should probably just learn to write stuff others like. Damned if I'm not saving *Mute first, though, and damned if I'm giving up on writing meaningful things for underserved minority groups.
I haven't been updating this enough. But the stuff I've been reading online lately is extremely depressing, so I figured I ought to spend more time on things like Dreamwidth and AO3 maybe. >_>
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That's about all, I guess. Except that if anyone has any SU fanfic recs, or just things that they'd like to share with us, we'd be more than happy to hear them.
So. I watched most of Steven Universe, up to and including the episodes with the Cluster.
Now I want to write a fanfiction crossover. Of Steven Universe ... and Dead Space. And I'm not the first person to see the resemblance, either.
( make us whole )
Despite our disenchantment with Microsoft, we still use and rely on OneNote. It's a free cross-platform app, with free online syncing and no ads, and it takes pictures and formatted text and automatically cites stuff that we copy and paste from online.
Anyway, we've collected a lot of quotes about how it's not surprising to find ourself as a hikikomori / part of the underclass, all things considered. And how we still contribute to society despite being devalued economically. And how society's requirements are unreasonable to begin with, especially when it plays favourites so blatantly.
It's actually kind of a source of hope and encouragement to read them. Sort of like 15 years ago, when we were first starting to come to terms with the idea that we're fundamentally "a writer" and couldn't be happy doing the jobs that the people around us were pressuring us to do. Which led to our taking it seriously and getting a lot of practice, and eventually led to us supporting ourself and another person through writing things that were important to us.
They also note that Apple stuff's been getting cheaper, while housing, education, and health care are all priced for the upper class. Which kind of puts things in perspective, and makes us feel better about owning an iPod and wanting a Mac.
I mean. There are billboards here in the States that advertise schools and hospitals. Srsly. Like, a lot of them.
In the past few weeks, a lot of the hurdles to obtaining health care and such here have been worked out. More than that, burning_ground has proven to be a very good friend and supportive Internet Family Member, and aliaspseudonym / spinecrawlerrush is now talking about planning a future with us and visiting late next month.
We've gotten out of the habit of checking on Dreamwidth, and have set our fanfiction aside temporarily. But in other spheres of our life -- Final Fantasy XI, miniatures, and earning spending money on Mechanical Turk -- we've actually been Getting Stuff Done. Like, a lot more than usual, and a lot more regularly than usual. A day where we could do anything but read depressing stuff used to be rare, but now we can count on at least a couple hours of work every day. And save up for things, and have dreams and ambitions, even if they don't resemble most people's.
I feel like accepting our place in the underclass, as someone who's not valued enough by society to even be exploited as a labourer, is actually part of that. Because we've gone from seeing ourself as a failed member of the working class, whose struggles are all her fault, to seeing ourself as someone who's lost a lot of life's lotteries but has people who love and support her.
Knowing that, and having that support, has given us a lot of strength lately. It's not something that we're used to.
We can share some of the quotes that we've found if anyone's interested. Today we just wanted to talk about how we're feeling, lately.
We're still feeling kind of icky and stuff, partly because our hormones have decided to change up our temperature tolerances >_o
Aaand we flip-flopped between Linux and Windows 8.1 a few times before settling on the latter, and finding ways to block a lot of the annoying commercialism, like Skype ads and "Upgrade to Windows 10!" banners.
But we're feeling better and less stressed now, and while we still have things to sort out we should be able to have a DW site up for the RP (along with the players' finalized character sheets) within a week or so.
We wanted to let everyone know, and also to know that we haven't forgotten to work on our fanfic or anything. Also, we somehow got three Malifaux models assembled, and are eagerly (and somewhat anxiously) awaiting next month's long-rumoured Tau releases.
Reminder: The application period for the sci-fi Fate RPG is still going. Please check out the application thread to find out how to apply to be in it.
Now, then. Here's a question and answer from an AMA, or "Ask Me Anything," thread on an internet forum:
Q. Does [your girlfriend who used to be a miko, or Shinto shrine maiden] have any opinion on all of the cosplayers wearing her sacred vestments to look cute?
A. She doesn't care at all. Also they weren't really "sacred vestments" to her so much as a uniform...like a person at a fill-up station or a convenience store. She kinda likes Touhou, or at least she thinks the characters are cute. [...] She thinks Reimu's outfit is cute, and definitely better than what she had to wear.
-- [WARNING: NSFW / sexist / Reddit link] IAmA guy whose girlfriend was a miko (Shinto "shrine maiden") AMA
Sometimes, I get the feeling that it's the people who shame others for finding meaning in Japanese stories, symbols, and mythology, who are the ones that are actually racist. And possibly ageist, since a lot of the media that portrays these things came to North America in the form of "cartoons," "comic books," and video games, which aren't okay to like because they are "for kids."
Meanwhile, real-world Shinto shrines are actually using their connections to manga and anime to attract visitors. Via Green Shinto, an English-language article in a Japanese newspaper explains:
Some may see it as a trivialisation of sacred space, but priests and anthropologists counter this with such statements as, “Since ancient times, Shinto shrines have not been exclusive. It’s good if they are talked about and become attractive destinations.”
The ema with anime characters on them may strike some readers as weird and merchandise-y. But whatever your feelings about mass media and commercialism, I don't feel like it's a good thing to shame people for liking them. And I feel like when English-speaking people police each other for liking Japanese media, folklore, and/or religion, it doesn't come from a place of respect for those things. It comes from a desire to control, and to punish, and to keep racial boundary lines from being crossed.
Cosplay and other forms of self-expression can be used to give offense and to caricature. But I'm pretty sure that Square-Enix execs aren't offended when people in North America write Final Fantasy fanfic, and the priests at the Fushimi Inari shrine aren't upset about foreign tourists buying ofuda. If they are, they'll just have to console themselves with our money.
Because I'm starting to get into interests besides "figuring out who I am," like writing a ridiculous number of words about gamefeels and painting a dozen identical miniatures at the same time. It's just that pretty much everyone I know here subscribed to me because of the essays about identity, religion, and the like, whereas people who are (or would be, hypothetically) interested in fanfics and minis would more than likely be turned off at worst or confused at best by getting to know me / us as a person.
... is how I see it.
We're also facing some unpleasant trends, while we'll discuss in more detail below the cut.
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What do? Any thoughts? Does this place, do these writings, does any of it mean anything to anyone? And if they do ... how many of the people they matter to will still be here next year?
The one pleasant trend I've noticed is Patreon becoming A Thing, but at this point I can count on one hand the number of regular commenters here. So I don't think we're anywhere near the point where we should be talking about it.
I am playing Hate Plus again, with the Level 4 Revive Materia mod installed. After what I went through the first time, this is scary and difficult emotional labour.
Hate Plus is the game that really made me care about *Mute as a character. She looked more attractive, and was much more conflicted and sympathetic.
I'm trying to figure out how to structure everything leading up to the Hate Plus adapt so as to capture the feelings I had playing it, so that I can finally confront and avert the emotional crisis I had.
I need to change some of the Analogue adapt to facilitate this. Its ending particularly rings hollow to me. It was faithful to the game, but ... it didn't feel right, on so many levels.
I've pulled the chapter 16 that I already posted. I'll update when there is more.
... is not cool when you're a narcissist. But it is all kinds of necessary when you're a writer.
See, in chapter fifteen of the Analogue adapt, *Mute calls the Investigator by name. The problem is, even though I had clearly imagined what it was like when she introduced herself, I completely forgot to write it.
So. Here's the part that I forgot to write, way back in chapter nine (AKA the Grilled Cheese Sandwich scene):
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Problem solved. \ o /
Now I just need to write the Analogue epilogue. Say that twenty times fast.
There are two ways to get someone to contribute to society, for varying definitions of "contribute" and "society."
One is to require it of them, and to deprive them of their wants or even needs if they don't perform as demanded. The other is to give them such abundance that they cannot help but share.
Everything that I've seen suggests that the latter is much more effective, and that nearly everyone uses it whenever possible. They reserve the former method for people they don't like, or that they feel entitled to exploit because they do not see them as people.
This site is hosted on Dreamwidth, fandom enclave extraordinaire, so let's talk about fandom to start with. "Pirated" shows, lovingly subtitled by their fans, helped turn anime from an art style into a major Japanese export. Fandom could not get enough, and paid generously both through buying official and licensed products (once they became available) and by creating fanwork such as cosplay.
I used to be a professional writer, before things went south for me in that department. My best work, both in "pageviews" and in self-perceived quality, was what I was most passionate about, because I wanted so much to share with people what I'd learned. Whether because I was excited about it, or because I was incensed and wanted to share my moral outrage, or raise awareness of an issue.
Sometimes I needed a deadline to get me to write. But when my work became all about deadlines, and the supervisors who had stood up for me mysteriously went absent, and new rules kept me from writing essays like the ones that had won me awards and made lots of money ... I actually shut down from stress. I couldn't do it anymore, not and deal with my sudden personal / family crises at the same time. It wasn't until I felt secure with my partner's financial support that I could coax myself into writing again, to help my partner with expenses and to reward myself with a few games and toys.
I contributed the most to free and open-source software when I felt the most valued by its community, especially when they paid my living expenses as part of the Outreach Program for Women. I was so grateful to my sponsors and mentor, and even though I was living with untreated major depression I pushed myself to work on GNOME. Not just to give back to my benefactors, but because I believed in GNOME's mission and I wanted underprivileged girls to have a free OS of their own.
When the cheques stopped, the program ended, and community interactions showed me how little the free software world valued both women and "women's work" outside of anomalies like the program, I was surprised to find out there was nothing to keep me devoted to them. And that I liked Windows 8 a lot more than free software OSes, and that Microsoft, even as a for-profit company, was sharing a lot more with people like me than the free software "community" was.
Share the wealth
Now I'm surrounded by toys and games in abundance, and the one thing I most want to do is make something worthy of them, and of the people who gave them to me. I want to use the talents that I seem to have, to make artwork like fanfic and models and RPG books, and share them with those who appreciate them.
I play single-player video games, and trim plastic models, and read books curled up in my den, and it makes me want to give back. Not because of duty or forced gratitude, but because it's a natural expression of how I feel. I have to write things that continue the story. I have to share screenshots and work-in-progress photos, and enthuse about things that excite me, and find people to be excited with.
I feel so inspired, I have to share and create.
I think that's how it is for most people.
I think people who don't, or won't, or can't, at least not in socially acceptable ways, don't deserve to starve or be homeless.
Content note: Sexism, descriptions of physical and emotional abuse, some brief strong language towards the end, and descriptions of interpersonal conflict within a family.
There's a good story somewhere in Ender's Game. A child gets taken away to a magical school In Space, and is forced to survive when both teachers and students are literally trying to kill him. In the end, he faces a moral dilemma, and how he responds after everything that he's been through defines who he is as a character.
It resonates with me, because it basically describes a Mormon upbringing.
On the one hand, you're mass produced and depersonalized, especially if you come from one of those Utah families with nine kids. On the other hand, you're told repeatedly that you are a Chosen One, part of a chosen generation of Mormon kids, and your actions and faithfulness will help bring about the second coming of Christ. (Mormons are averse to calling him "Jesus" for some reason.)
Ender spends his whole childhood training to be a soldier. Mormon kids spend their whole childhoods training to be either a mom or a missionary. I can't overstate how much these two roles are glorified, or how much the bike-riding, nametag-wearing missionaries are held up as role models to Mormon kids who are assigned the male gender. And all the while, your belief that you're one of the few people that God approves of -- and that everyone else needs to be like you -- is creating this wedge between you and the people around you, which you are encouraged to see as "they hate me because of my righteousness."
Seriously, this is the major theme in the first couple parts of the Book of Mormon. The POV character is a Mary Sue, whose brothers hate him and repeatedly try to kill him because he's so awesome and always does what God wants him to.
The problem with Ender's Game is not that Ender goes through all this. It's that Orson Scott Card did, and is apparently blind to it.
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Awhile back, I posted about how I thought maybe I was a "tank" in a "past life," because I had memories and experiences that were incongruous with either Taryn's or Claire's identities. It turns out that this was not the case, and that they are part of a very unassertive third personality which just discovered she's a fictive.
(Content note: Veiled descriptions of religious abuse; vague spoilers for the Evangelion continuity/ies.)
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