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03 | Maybe I CAN play this thing?

Today's topic: Is writing some sort of sorcery?

For the past few months, I’ve been writing basically every day. I’m saying this not to brag, but because it’s fucking shocking.

A little backstory with my current fantasy WIP: Technically, I began writing it in 2018. I’d had a basic idea of a generation ship in space, where nobody remembers why magic has been forbidden. It was a fun idea, but it was also full of so many technicalities I had to keep track of. It had the effect of halting my actual writing while I made sure that what I was writing made sense. Maybe fine for another writer, but for me the result was I simply stopped writing, overwhelmed. I tried moving it to a different setting, a tidally-locked planet, but the effect was the same. I never got past the tenth chapter in all that time.

Then, during a conversation with an artist friend who I often have inspiring creativity chats with, the answer came to me. I’ve always wanted to write something historical, set in medieval Finland - so why not do it now, with this project?

I should clarify, this novel-in-progress is not historical fiction, and it’s not actually set in medieval Finland. But it is inspired by it, as well as the Philippines, because it’s me and how could I not? In any case, this decision unlocked everything. Outlining made sense. The characters, who had been endlessly patient with me over the years, acted like they had finally come alive. And, most importantly, writing was fun. It felt natural, pleasant. It reminds me so much of how I felt writing The Quiet is Loud. The story just comes out of me. In the background there’s an eerie feeling that I may not be creating the story so much as receiving it from some other plane. As of writing this, the novel is now at about 62,000 words. I am definitely making up for lost time!

(I may revisit my original two settings for other projects. They were certainly interesting and fun to research, but perhaps would work better in a short story.)

PS, what I’ve been listening to:

When I was 15, my family and I visited family in northern California. We all ended up getting bad colds, and spent a few days recuperating in their home. For some reason, I’d only brought one tape with me – Elastica’s first album. I listened to it over and over until I grew to hate it. After that, I listened to talk radio at night. It was so quiet outside, a deep, unsettling quiet. I can still remember the low monotone radio voices. I listened through headphones, so they were right there in my head, sounding so eerie in the dark.

I don’t hate that Elastica album anymore, by the way. In fact, I find it comforting. It reminds me of those closed-in few days where there was no outside world at all.

Incidentally, it was only in writing this post that it finally sank in how much Justine Frischmann influenced my own presentation of myself. I’ve never felt comfortable looking traditionally feminine, and Frischmann showed me that I didn’t have to, that desiring to look “cool” instead was a valid way for a woman to be. Or a girl, actually, since this was all absorbed by teenage me, one who wasn’t super conscious of what she was absorbing. Still, to this day, I actually feel the most attractive and the most confident (which are of course interlinked) when I look something like this:

Thanks for reading,
- Sg.

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