Peering Back In and an Update

I think it would be an understatement to say that I haven’t written here in a while.

There’s a pretty good chance, in fact, that I’ve even said this before. I remember when I used to write on Mythic Bios a lot. And when I mean a lot, I mean every single day. Then it became every other day. Then every two days, and after that, well …

Life happens, I guess is the best what to sum it all up.

How do I even catch up at this point? What highlights can I share with you?

Well, I can tell you that I’d been working on two very long pieces of fanfiction on A03. Both of them are set in the Fate/Stay Night universe. One of them, Fate/Stay Unlimited Bullets is finished — despite the errors I keep reading over and correcting — but the other, the longer one, Fate/Stay Life has gone into something of a hiatus. I know how I want to continue it. I know what parts need to be elaborated on. And I also know that if I sit down with it again, I will be able to continue more or less from where I started. But Unlimited Bullets really took a lot out of me: more than I thought. And given the content in FSL, I suppose it makes sense that because of a transitional period in my life it does make sense that I’m taking some time away from it. I do plan to come back to it, this 96 chapter monstrosity and ongoing thing mind you, but not right now.

But I know there are a few of you, who still read this Blog, that aren’t here to hear about my fanfiction, though you can definitely feel free to read it if you want as I am Ma_Kir on A03.

I’ve thought about writing more Alternative Facts short stories. I even have ideas and words and turns of phrase typed out in a draft somewhere. But … I don’t know. I just haven’t felt the impetus to continue for a time. Between having to find the right epigraphs, really focus on the language I’m creating, and think about what’s … going on, or could have gone on in Amarak, and just how derivative it all is, it is a lot of work to go through. I find that the stories don’t really work on their own, but you need to read through all of them in a certain order for them to get … some idea as to what is going on. I find it’s not as accessible, and I wonder just how good they really are when it comes down to it. If I have a story that is really pressing, rest assured I will share it with you. If not, they have been an interesting experiment in speculative political fiction.

I am, however, working a lot more on another universe. Actually, I have been working on two: creating one, and participating in the continued development of another. My original universe is derivative as well, with a Frankensteinian mix and mash going on, as these things go, and I hope to write two more stories in the series before attempting to get more readers to look at it. I play with horror archetypes and subvert a lot for human stories in that world. I hope them to be more accessible and while world-building is happening as a result or consequence, it is really the character interactions and more relatable characters that are forming that I hope to have stick. I look forward to sharing them, one day.

As for my other endeavour … I’ve written about 20th Century Boys before on this Blog, a long time ago now. In that manga, a group of children created a game — a game of make-belief — where they are a group of heroes fighting against the forces of evil. They made a whole mythology that someone, years later, adopts into an evil plan to take over Japan. I’m not really involved in something like that, but I can relate very much to a project or a world built between friends from childhood, and watching it grow with us.

My friends and I have been playing a homebrew world our DM created long ago for years now. I started playing it, with them, in 2001. I played one character from 2001 to 2004: developing him from a slave to essentially a demigod at the time. It was this process of collaborations and player verses player sessions, as well as solo sessions, that helped develop the game from a science fiction derivative to a more unique and quirky epic fantasy world. It isn’t entirely accurate, of course, but the the gist of it. I played again in 2005, as another character in the same world. Then I was gone for … about eleven years until 2011 when we continued the game where our old characters more or less became gods, and we played new characters in that world. And then, our DM made a multiverse in the form of various campaigns with these characters and elements which figured into it in 2012-2013 or so. They were fun in themselves.

I’ve roleplayed as wizards, mages, necromancers, sorcerers, alchemists, artificers, and the like. I have even been an assassin and a cleric at times. But the funniest thing is that the most enjoyment I’ve been having as both a player — and as a creator — is my current bard. I attempted to play a haunted bard in a Ravenloft campaign, and wanted to really add poetry — as an imitation of singing, or playing an instrument — to bring the bard to life. I had a choice, this current campaign and going back to our mainline homebrew world to either be a bard again, or a monk: which was another class I’d been thinking of trying out.

But I decided to be a bard. There was another game we were going to play where one of my characters in a faction setting was going to be one, and I just liked the idea. And she developed slowly from there, from a concept to more of a person. It’s funny. These days I tend to play female characters for some reason. Maybe I attempted to do so in 2012, to differentiate one alchemist character from another I was playing in a D&D campaign with my same friends. It … didn’t go well, for that character, and it impacted my experience.

But then in about 2016 or 2017, I tried it again, and I find I really like these characters. And my bard is one of the best. I have been writing whole epic “Ballads” of our adventures and certain world lore, in an attempt to spread information and misinformation on the world: to unify factions to deal with a greater evil. But I find I really get a lot out of this game writing these Ballads and actually reading them aloud in session. I haven’t really read anything I’ve written aloud in a while, never mind write something out by hand. I find it does affect the game, and not just because the DM gives us Inspiration or sometimes some bonuses, or even in my case EXP.

I just feel more immersed in that world. I feel like, when I write stuff like that, I am accomplishing something. Between that, and my own original creations … I could seriously live my entire life doing something like this. I wish I really could. If we ever made a studio, and I was asked to be a writer for it, I would do it in a goddamn heartbeat.

I find that the issue with my life right now isn’t that I don’t know what to do, or what I am doing. I do know what I want to do. Often, it’s just the world that won’t cooperate, or do what it’s told. Lol.

More realistically speaking, I just need material to work with, and collaborators, and people and resources that can help me make something tangible that will … support us. And the focus to do so, along with the determination in a hard, ridiculous world to keep going.

I’ve accomplished some other things too. I wrote some letters that got published in comics series. I’ve helped edit, and even make some character concepts for my friends’ — my role-playing group’s own game — Ankle-Biters: Pixies Vs. Gremlins game. And I wrote a Sequart article about the film adaptation of How to Talk to Girls at Parties that got retweeted by Neil Gaiman himself: which made my day for a really long time.

So I have not been completely idle or brooding in this time I’ve been away. Sometimes I think I should take my friend up on his old offer and see if I can redesign this Blog and make it look less … choppy, and plain with its ads. And maybe with something more substantial to offer besides my nerdy speculations and fanfiction, and the occasional story, I can build something more noticeable. Perhaps there is a way to get my works to interrelate. That would be sweet.

It’s been a stressful time, in an uncertain age. But I just wanted to write here to let you know that I am still alive, and I have not forgotten this Blog: or you. Hopefully, we will be seeing a little more of each other, if not here then elsewhere. Once again, thank you all for reading.

I Am Made of Words

About five or six years ago in Niagara Falls, I received a Tarot reading from a lover of mine: the first person I ever went to visit on my own. There aren’t many details I remember from the time except for one thing: the majority of the cards that she drew from her deck–a deck that she ultimately gave to me–had a Sword aspect.

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We were sitting on my bed and here I was staring at a hand of Swords in front of me. I know we had theories as to what it might mean in the purely open-ended mode of interpretation that you have to use when examining any kind of symbol. And while we agreed on a few things, in the end it was left to me to link things together and make patterns that were–or were not–there.

During or after the time we met, I began watching this anime at the York Anime and Manga Association (or YAMA) called Fate/Stay Night. In this anime was a character named Archer: a heroic spirit who could project and create bladed weapons. He gained these from a Reality Marble: a small pocket-universe that developed inside of him due to his dedication and sheer strength of will. When he fully summoned this place, a sphere of flame, turning cogs, and blades consumed the area that he and his opponent were fighting in. In other words, Archer took his inner world and imposed it on the external for a brief period of time.

In this world I describe, he has access to every mortal bladed weapon–every sword–that he has examined and ever replicated with his magic. He stores them all in there and either uses them one at a time–knowing what its history is, the thoughts of its owners, and even their secret abilities–or he can summon and throw them at his opponent all at once. I really admired this anime character and when I did further research on him … I realized that I related to him a lot more than I thought.

I still think that Archer could have done a lot more than simply imitate weapons and memorize their patterns. I think that, even modifying some of them into arrows, he could have used his knowledge of them to create new weapons entirely: new tools and devices to accomplish his goals. He even admitted that his weapon was his own imagination and we all know that the imagination is limitless.

You see, I make weapons too. I make weapons and tools. And they are my words. I’ve spent years honing them: making prototypes, re-making others, imitating more, and learning from my mistakes. I seek to bury my demons in a torrent of words. I desire to make an Empire out of them: to expand my own little world into this one in the best way that I know how.

For a really long time, I have been a very passive individual on the surface. But after Niagara Falls I decided to stop ignoring my natural aggression, my dominant side, my ambition, and the fierce defiance that I realized I’ve always had inside of me. I think that sometimes the manner in which I honed and sharpened my words and that ferocity I view the world at times–as though to defend my own childhood awkwardness and lack of social skill years ago–has ingrained itself in me so much that I seem aloof to people and perhaps a little intimidating. Perhaps that is why I might seem so combative towards life at times.

I grew into my own. I began to see that I was physically attractive, intelligent, creative, and I build a whole world that I can sometimes share with other people. I was told by a friend that in some ways it made me dangerous, but in other ways she greatly admired what I was becoming: whatever that is. When I look back, “aggression” might be too strong word. Perhaps what I was really looking for, and what I still have to fight for– is “confidence.”

Not too long ago, Cristian Mihai wrote a post called Art and Life: where he talks the fact that while he may have done many things in his life he might have regretted, he never regretted any of his stories. It’s very close to those moments where I think the best thing I have ever done with this life of mine so far is write.

So I keep building my world, every day, one blade at a time: because underneath this inconstant fleshy matter of mine and to quote a fictional character, “I am made of swords.” And even though I know I’m not made of weapons, even though I’ve suffered defeat and pain, I’m going to keep fighting because–in the end–I know I am going to win.

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So when you take the “S” away from Swords, that is what I am made of.