HarmCon! And not quite a year late!

So, thanks to a friend with strong Google-fu, and some free software, I was actually able to get our video from HarmCon in 2017 into shape for YouTube! Truly, better late than never. Right?

Right?

We were joined on many of the songs by our friend and fellow nerd Dave Stagner, who always finds a way to make our music a hundred times better. The set list for this particular show turned out to be a mix of 3 covers, 2 of our original songs, and 8 parodies. We got a lot of laughs and commentary on the parodies, though you have to listen closely to get it all. I’m listing the songs for you here, in case you want to know:

Warrior (by the Wyrd Sisters, joined by Marina Krinsky)
Secure Yourself (by the Indigo Girls)
Phoenix Rise
Fearless (by Kat Perkins)
Sunfire/Breathless
Parody of Babylon 5 based on “Angles from Montgomery” = Aliens from Babylon
Parody of Stargate: SG1 based on: “Brown-Eyed Girl” = Brown-Eyed Goa’uld
Parody of ET based on “All By Myself” = All By My Kite
Parody of The Fifth Element based on “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” = Hit it With My Four Stones
Parody of Transformers based on “Hand in My Pocket” = Hand In Its Socket
Parody of Signs based on “The Water Is Wide” = Water, Water Everywhere and OMG It Burns
Parody of Star Trek based on “Take Me Home, Country Roads” = Insert Noun Here
Parody of Toy Story based on “Man of Constant Sorrow” = Toy of Constant Sorrow

We’re finalizing this year’s set now, to be performed a week from Friday. And now that I have new and exciting technology, I’m hoping it’s easier to get the video up sooner.

I was chatting back and forth with some of the CVG folks on Slack and a point came up about how hard it is to be creative with all the awful that’s going on in the world. What I said was this —

The shit part just leaks into everything though, doesn’t it? I’m working on my set for HarmCon and I keep looking at our songs and thinking “can we really laugh about gaming and Star Wars when insert-horrific-reality-here is going on?” And I have to keep telling myself that yes, we can and we must laugh. We can’t keep fighting for humanity, for dignity, for equality, for justice, for compassion, if we lose track of ourselves. You can’t beat back the dark without a light, and sometimes that light isn’t righteous anger, but the relief of taking one day off.

It was true last year in the summer of 2017 and it’s certainly true now. CONvergence in general has been something for me to look forward to, something for me to give time and energy and positivity when even the brightest day seemed dark. And it is silly to sing about gaming stories (we have some outrageous ones in the set and nerd jokes), but it’s also necessary. Just as it’s necessary to stop and breathe and rest between the waves of a struggle.

Not by accident, I think, this year’s set is more heavily weighted towards “our” stuff, and fewer parodies. At least for now. In a week, it might have grown a few more parodies. They’re sneaky like that.

Anyway.

Sarah and I named Candles Enough for the idea that between us, we have enough light to get us through dark times. Sometimes, that light is giggling. Sometimes it’s steady courage. Sometimes it’s just pure silliness. Sometimes it’s tried and tested in fire. But that’s who we are. That’s what we do. And this year, as much as we all need to laugh, we also need to be that boost of hope and truth. So “Jagged” is back this year, and so is “Trial by Fire” — along with new stuff written more recently.

If we can be that one candle in the dark for someone who needs it, then it’s all been worth it.

I think there’s only 4 or 5 people who ever consistently read this blog, and half of you will be at CVG this year. We can’t wait to show you what happens when you put out an open call for people’s ridiculous, silly stories. But for those of you who aren’t (yet) part of the CVG family, here’s a sample of what you’re missing.

It’s a MILLIONTH of what is good about CVG, of course. This is just our tiny, musical corner of it.

(P.S. You will NOT hear from me for at least 2 weeks. Next week and the week after will be my time to dive completely and totally, heart and soul and body and lack-of-sleep, into CONvergence. I’ll try to emerge with stories. Join us vicariously on Twitter, though. #CVG2018 is a good way to experience the fun from afar!)

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Rolling blackouts ahead, and wisdom from a Minnesotan native

So…yeah, things are really busy.  I have something like 5 evenings of meetings in a row this week, and more next week.  And then it will be CONvergence!

The blog might go a little fallow in the meantime.  Not that, you know, it makes a HUGE difference given my, uh, small but mighty readership.  I’m better about Twitter these days because I can put stuff on it from my phone.

But I’m here.  And I’ll be here afterwards, too.  Possibly with the whole story of why this year is trying so hard to break our community and how, exactly, we’re keeping that from happening.

If you do happen to be in the MN area the weekend after the 4th of July, come come hang out with us at HarmCon on Friday, 11am at CONvergence.  Hopefully we’ll record it this year, too, but no promises on when I put the stuff on YouTube. We do have several new songs, though. Including one crowd-sourced parody.

Not even kidding.

Also, crowd-sourcing is a FANTASTIC way to get hilarious gaming stories.  Just sayin’.

So if I drop off the map again, I’m sorry in advance.  I’ll be back, though. In my own time and my own way, probably, but without fail.

In the meantime, I hope your summer is treating you as well as can be expected.  The world is tough for a lot of us right now. For a lot of different reasons.

So take your lesson from this week’s viral adventure.

Make like the MPR Raccoon.

Keep climbing and never give up.  Rest when you have to, and know that it’s okay to be scared.  We’re all afraid of the fall.

But we were born for this climb.  Every one of us.

No matter what specifically your climb is, you can do this.

Climb on, my friends.  Climb on.

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Imani

I really, really, really should get the 2017 performance Sarah and I did at HarmCon at CONvergence onto YouTube before the 2018 HarmCon.  I SHOULD. But I might not.

Video editing is HARD, folks.

Anyway.

The closer we get to CONvergence, the more the FUCKERY going on this year makes it tough to keep my head up.  People all over are struggling, are stressed, are not at their best. And there’s really not a hell of a lot I can do for most of them.

But I can be myself.  I can be a fixed point, unwaveringly pushing forward.  I can believe in who we are, in what we do, in why it matters.  It’s not just a convention, not just a fun, meaningless exercise.  It’s a community, a place of safety. Maybe the only welcome some of our members receive in their lives from year to year.

And for that, I’ll never give up.

For every one of our members who comes looking to be themselves, to be respected, to be welcome, to be safe — for them I will never yield or bend or falter.

I’ve been recently accused of having a Pollyanna-ish sort of optimism.  I’m not going to go into that today, but I’ve been thinking about it. I think the sense in which it is said isn’t quite right, but there’s something which is.

The theme of Babylon 5 was, famously, “faith manages.”  They weren’t talking about a religious sort of faith, though.  Rather, it was the faith and trust in something worth doing. Not only within the plotlines of the show itself, but in the production to get the show made, and to keep it going, telling the stories it needed to tell.  But faith isn’t just something you have, something you blithely believe and nothing comes of it.

Faith is action.  Faith is planting yourself on a path and never giving way.  Faith is taking two steps and knowing that the next two will come.

Right now, that sort of faith is the gravity holding me together when it gets bad.  The forces in action threaten to pull us all apart, threaten to shatter us like asteroids smashing into one another.  Faith is my gravity which holds me steady.

Faith that what I am doing is right, that it is necessary, is for the benefit of the people who put their own trust in me.  Faith that I would rather die on this hill doing my best than crawl away never giving it my all.

If you know the CVG community, be kind.  We’re all walking through hell.

But we’re not alone in it.  We’ve all got each other.

And I have faith, I truly do, that nobody’s going to die on this hill at all.  Together, we’ll get through this storm and the next. That’s my faith. And I’m holding it in my heart with all my strength, just in case those around me lose their own.

I know which side of the river I’m on.  It’s the side of my people, my community, my team.  It’s not the easiest path, but it’s the right one.

Cross the bridge and join us.  Have faith.

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Sense8

CVG season is heating up, and most of the time I’m not running around getting a million things done and sometimes wanting to throw a cupboard-worth of plates at walls is being spent aggressively taking time for myself to balance the chaos.  This has led me to binge-watching a few new shows to keep my mind and heart occupied and chill when the world around me is descending into near madness.

When it’s all over, maybe I’ll do a post about what the actual FUCK has been going on this year.

Anyway, in the meantime, Sarah and I have chewed through the TV series Sense8.

WHICH IS AMAZING.

NO, SERIOUSLY.

Sense8 was created by Lana and Lilly Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski.  So, first of all, GODSDAMN THAT IS A PEDIGREE. Storytelling and representation, HERE WE GO.  It’s about a group of 8 total strangers from all over the world who find out they are linked in a “cluster” — a sharing of minds beyond telepathy and going right down to being able to step into one another when needed.  So, if one is being beat up by some bullies, the combat master can take his place in his body and defend herself. It also leads to amazing and hilarious interludes of others in the cluster popping up and having opinions where, really, they might not have been needed.

The cinematography is fucking magical, and the storytelling is superb.

Oh, and representation?  YES.

Eight very different people, four men and four women which include people of color, LGBT people, people from 7 different nations, different economic backgrounds, educational experiences, etc.  And there is intersectionality represented as well. The fluidity of the representation of identity politics really drives the central idea that we, as a people, are more alike than we are different.  That humanity is humanity.

During some truly hectic days, when sometimes my life felt too big and too hard, it was a wonderful escape to settle in and see how it would be to be living  my life and seven other lives at the same time.

I had to hide a lot because I can’t watch needles even on TV without fainting and there’s a good amount of needle-sticking that goes on.  And because of a particular interest in sex across the cluster, there wasn’t really a good representation of aexuality or gray-A characteristics, which I would have liked to see.

But overall?  Absolutely, positively worth your time.  This series made SARAH cry. REPEATEDLY. And NOTHING does that.

Also?  I loved J. Michael Straczynski from Babylon 5.  That love was very much returned with Sense8. The man is just outstanding.

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Femininity and Beauty

This weekend was one of the weddings I’ll be attending this summer, as well as the opening event in the very, very busy lead-up to CONvergence.  Which means that this weekend was the first time in a couple of years I’ve worn a nice dress for any occasion.

I’ve never been a girly girl.  Never ever. And my stance on makeup is unchanged from what it was when I last blogged about it.  But I have finally come to peace with why sometimes I like wearing skirts — when the rest of the time I can’t figure out why on earth I own more than one.

I’ve finally come to terms with the divide between that which is feminine and that which is beautiful.

And what I learned about myself is that I don’t give two ratshits for femininity, but I am okay with beauty.

I feel that I need to clarify that my interpretation of femininity is not one I often conflate with my perception of my own gender.  I am a cisfemale. For me, “femininity” is not a marker of gender at all, but of society. I can say that because I am cisfemale, because I live in a body and in a world that identifies me as female even in the ruggedest and manliest of attires.  This is a privilege I have because of how I was born and the world in which I live. So please do not think that I am speaking in general terms about this or that my interpretation of “femininity” is in any way meant as an insult to those who are not cisfemale.  I am truly speaking only for myself here.

To me, it is very hard for me to separate the idea of “femininity” from the societal role of women in a very traditional sense.  Femininity which is about sex appeal holds NOOOOOOO interest for me. Femininity which highlights being demure, or generally which is pitched to suggest a lesser-ness compared with someone male-presenting, is not my thing.  It’s hard for me to look at something which is inherently “feminine” and not see the ways that such “femininity” is at the cost of equality when compared to “masculinity.”

But I don’t purposefully go in for “masculinity,” either.  I just want to be me, dammit. I just want to be the way I am, and to be received on my own merits.

It’s hard.

So a lot of how I dress or how I carry myself is kind of…neutral?  I don’t show off curves, typically, or cleavage. In casual settings, I wear shorts or jeans and t-shirts, or sweatshirts.  For business casual, I rely a lot on polo shirts or on layers which somewhat obscure my shape. I don’t try for “pretty.” I try for looking like myself.

The things a person wears can say a lot about who they are or what they’re trying to go.  Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I know how to do it fairly well. What you wear, how you are perceived, these can be disguises or they can be armor.  They can be strategic or they can be overt. It’s a game, and one I can play when I have to — like in a job interview — but not one I play except when there is a need.  Being myself is both disguise and armor enough.

Also?  I hate hate hate wearing anything that would be a problem in any kind of emergency.  All the way back to high school, I chose my formal dresses and shoes based on “could I run after a purse snatcher or crawl over a car in this?”  That practicality has only gotten more ardent as I get older. Now it takes a really, really good reason for me to wear anything in which I couldn’t crawl into or out of a burning car.

Some of that is the CVG Operations in me — I’m always ready to be ‘on duty’ even in the off season.

But it also feeds my sense of self, my sense of strength.  There are women, cis and trans, who draw strength from their femininity.  I am somewhat in awe of them, because I don’t understand it for myself. I’m too aggressively neutral in my presentation.  There are so many women who feel better about themselves when they know they look sexy, that they find power and confidence in it.  I think that is awesome.

But it’s not for me.

So I just typically don’t ‘do’ femininity except under special circumstances.

However, I have learned I am okay with beauty.

The dress I wore to the wedding isn’t what I would call strictly “feminine.”  It’s not fluffy or delicate or particularly genteel. It’s also not terribly sexy, I don’t think.

I could be wrong on that, I suppose.  Sexiness is in the eye of the beholder.  It IS form-fitting, but it’s not dramatically low-cut, and it doesn’t exactly hug my curves even if you can see them.  It’s a nice dress, but I don’t think there’s anything about it that makes it bombastic or alluring in any particular way.

What I like about it particularly well is that it shows off my unusually broad shoulders and strong arms.  I like that it’s easy dance in, easy to sit in (not a given in womens’ clothing!), easy to eat food in (even less a given!).  I like that it’s made of something sturdy enough that I can crawl under a church pew or swing a godkid around in my arms and not worry.  I like that it is a strong, slightly-dramatic color that tends to be eye-catching.

It doesn’t particularly make me feel beautiful, but it’s a beautiful dress and it makes me feel like a very grown up, differently badass version of myself.  And it does NOT make me feel feminine.

The things in life that I find truly beautiful rarely have anything to do with gender.  Sunsets and sunrises, deep forests and waterfalls, starry skies and candle lights. They’re beautiful without being feminine or masculine.  Their beauty is innate, is their own, because it is inherent and it is not artifice. It is their beauty because it is their truth.

I’m never going to like the artifice of femininity for myself, I don’t think.  But I am okay with beauty — as long as it is ME. And frankly? I’d rather be ugly and be myself anyway.

My best self lives inside my heart and my brain.  What I wear on the outside can sometimes make me feel more comfortable (or less comfortable, as the case may be) in my own skin, but it cannot redefine me.  Only I can do that.

And I do not define myself by my femininity.

Frankly, I don’t define myself by my beauty, either.  ‘Cause I’m not. And I don’t care.

But, for special occasions, I don’t mind the effort to be myself in a slightly different package.

As long as I can still get shit done when shit needs doing.

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Bike Dancing

So, exercise is a thing.  And people should do it.

I have trouble with this.

Part of this is the physical limitations I have, from a knee injury to asthma to generally weak joints (but very strong muscles).  Part of this is also that I get FUCKING BORED, Y’ALL. No, seriously. I’ve done the watch-a-movie-on-a-treadmill thing. It doesn’t work.  If left to that, I’ll do it once every 4 years and never again.

I also don’t enjoy doing sports clubs — besides the fact that I can’t play most team sports well enough to do it, I simply don’t have the time.

Climbing is a thing, but climbing is tricky sometimes.  Like when I haven’t been home in 2 weeks and don’t really relish the idea of spending yet another evening out.  Like when my knee decides that this isn’t a good time for it to bear any amount of weight, let alone push me up a wall.  Like when my allergies are bad and any increase to my breathing is an instant shut-down of my breathing into sneeze-coughing.  And, frankly, like when I just have some clumsy days and shouldn’t be trusted to be able to grab the thing I’m looking at without bruising myself first.

I do like climbing, and it is good exercise.  But it’s not a good daily fit for me. Additionally, climbing is almost exclusively weight training the way I do it (since I can’t sprint up walls and expect to be breathing at the top, yay asthma again).  And weight training is good, but it’s really the aerobic exercise the body needs to stay healthy — to say nothing of helping my lungs and heart compensate for my dumb asthma.

Sarah and I have had an exercise bicycle for years.  It’s the simplest bike in the world — it doesn’t even plug in.  It doesn’t have pre-programmed workouts or difficulty settings. It doesn’t even have programming.  What it does have is a gauge to tell you how long you’ve been going, how fast, how far, and how many calories and RPM.  And instead of having computerized resistance, it’s built so that the harder you pedal, the harder it becomes to pedal. It’s the low techiest of low tech indoor exercise bikes.

In April, I started working from home full time.  It’s still sort of new, and I wouldn’t yet say I’ve got it mastered, but it did provide me with an opportunity to do a brief daily workout either before I got going in the morning or over my lunch break.  So I started taking a few minutes on the bike every day. I started at 10 minutes and, within about 10 days, was up to 20 minutes. By mid-May, I was going consistently for 30 minutes and was adding some intervals of my own — which is to say, biking at a good clip for a while and then busting out with as much speed as possible for 30, 45, or 60 seconds depending on how I was feeling.

But the only reason it works is because it isn’t just riding the stupid bike.

It’s bike dancing.

I created a playlist for myself currently at 18 songs and set it up to be randomized.  Some of the songs have associated dance moves with them (such as “Jai Ho!” from the movie Slumdog Millionaire).  Some are just get-up-and-dance songs. Some are old favorites and some are brand new. So when I’m on the bike, my legs are pedaling, but my arms and the rest of me is dancing.

It helps.  It keeps it from being boring, and it keeps it from feeling tedious.  And because the playlist is random, I never know when I’m going to suddenly start doing the Ranka dance from Macross Frontier or using Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” to do bike crunches for 3 minutes (spoiler alert — not easy).  When my breathing is good, I can even sing along.

When I started the interval training, I used to take the last 30 to 45 seconds of every 3rd or 4th song for my interval.  Now I can consistently do an interval at the end of every song for the duration of the 30 minute biking, though they aren’t all necessarily the same length.  For every song in the playlist, I’ve got a cue that tells me to start pushing as hard as I can until the next song starts.

I’m trying to develop a system I can keep to, not something I’ll start and never do again 6 months later.  I’m trying to develop a habit I can keep for life. I’m 35 years old now, and I’m increasingly aware that this is my one shot to take really good care of myself and set myself up for a healthier later life.  I want to be one of those awesome, spry ladies who is 75 but acts like 45, not the other way around. And I want to be healthy enough to do the things I love and take care of the people I love for as long as I possibly can.  To do that, I have to start it no later than now.

So, that’s what I’m trying to do.  I will say that I’ve gotten really, really good and wild gesticulations and not losing my balance on the bike.  I’m absolutely positive that I look truly ridiculous, but then, being at home, there’s no one to see it but Sarah.  And she already knows I’m ridiculous. So who cares?

Maybe another day I’ll put up my playlist.  It’s all weird, though, so we’ll see. However, if you have any suggestions, I’d take them under consideration to be added to the rotation!

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New Shows and Me

So, apparently my new MO when it comes to television is to stumble upon shows either at the end of their run or after their run has concluded.  I got into Leverage 3 years after it’s last season, for example. The problem has compounded itself with Netflix where the last 3 series I started ALL had their conclusion planned for within 10 days of when I began them.  It was not intentional, and I’m certainly not cursing any shows because apparently all those conclusions were announced long before I started but…I guess I just have weird timing.

Anyway.

The TV show that I really didn’t intend to love and now really do is NCIS: Los Angeles.  Absolutely, positively NOT the original NCIS — I find one of the characters on it completely unwatchable.  But NCIS:LA works for me.

It has a Hetty.

Hetty Lange, played brilliantly by Linda Hunt, who is a PHENOMENAL actress, is a tried and true Cold Warrior, a spy who played the games of the Cold War, has stories and contacts all over the world, and basically became a legend and a terror to her enemies in the days of spy games.  Now she runs a team in LA and offers them tea, sage advice, and fierce backup.

The whole show is delightfully written, well-acted, and generally accurate in its portrayal of human intelligence tradecraft (the hacking stuff is ridiculous because of course it is).  But I pretty much watched 1 episode and fell completely in love with Operations Manager and all-around badass Hetty Lange.

Here’s 48 seconds to show you why:

I’ll probably geek out at you another day when I complete the fic story inspired by this series, but for now, I highly recommend this one.  As procedurals go, it’s better than most. As portrayals of national security and tradecraft go, it’s way better. (Also, let’s just note that this is a show where one of the main characters actively thwarting terrorism is himself a devout Muslim.  It doesn’t get all the identity politics and social justice right, but it is clearly making an effort.)

And they have a Hetty.

That’s pretty much enough for me.

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Choir Week!

This week is the week of the concert (which means no time for anything other than running, breathing, and generally not stopping to sleep or think), here’s a neat song!  I found this group first by their cover of “Aquarius” some years ago, and every now and then they put out something I really, really enjoy.

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Writing for Me

So, I’m currently in the process of having my novel read by a set of beta readers who will hopefully help me pound it into shape like a lump of dough that needs to be pummeled. It’s a difficult process, and a scary one, because it’s always tough to put something you pulled out of your soul and ran through your brain into the hands of people who might think it stinks.

On the plus side, writing and posting as much fanfiction as I do, I’ve had lots and lots of practice giving my writing to people — total strangers, even — and let them hate on it. And you know what? I don’t really, really remember the hate and the flames (except for that one person who said my story was bad because it was X-character-centric and they wanted the story to be about Y instead, which, oh well). But I do remember the good things people say.

One of the most striking recently, though, was someone telling me that they were surprised I could write so much in advance.

Now, the “normal” way of doing fanfiction is to write a chapter and post it. And then write another one and post it. And so on and so forth. That’s the common way most people do their fic, it seems. And I did that when I was starting out, mainly because I didn’t have much practice, I didn’t know how much I would even want to write, and, oh, I was in college and kinda busy.

But as my experience grew, and my interest grew, I found that the write-and-post method started to irk me — mainly because it became too easy for me to leave some works unfinished when the shine came off the writing of them. There were 2 notable fics I began which languished for YEARS, one for almost a full decade, before I could force myself to finish them. And I found that I didn’t like being that kind of author who could leave stories abandoned or on hiatus. I completely understand why others do, but, for me, it weighed on me.

So somewhere in the late 2000s, I started writing in advance, and only posting the beginnings to stories when the ends were completely done. By the early 2010s (2012 for sure but it could have been earlier), I was writing an entire year of content in one year and then posting it in the next. And I’ve never looked back from it.

But the reviewer who asked me about it made the point that they gain so much inspiration and motivation from feedback, they couldn’t really imagine being able to write in its absence.

On the one hand, I don’t know that I’m necessarily without feedback, since I do get feedback on stuff that I’m posting (hello current fic with regularly 5-8 comments on every chapter which is pretty good for me). The feedback isn’t on the story against which I’m currently banging my head, but feedback and encouragement always help, regardless of the specific subject.

But the more important point is one I decided when I first got into fic:

I’m really only doing this for myself.

Everyone I know who is an artist of any kind *wants* to have their art appreciated. They want it shared, and, ideally, sold. I don’t think I could name a single person I know who does any form of art who *wouldn’t* want to make a living by what the can create and share out into the world. And I’m no different. I’m going to try to publish the current novel, and if that fails, I’ll try the next and the next. If I could support Sarah and I by writing alone, HELL YEAH I would do it.

But if I can’t, or if nothing I write ever goes to a publisher and shows up in a bookstore, that’s not going to stop me from writing. Because I’m not writing for recognition, or money, or fame, or some weird sense of entitlement. I’m not writing because I think my stuff is so good, others should totally read it.

I’m writing because if I couldn’t, I’d be screaming instead.

Writing is in my heart, my soul, my blood, and my brain. I can’t go 12 hours without thinking about a story currently in progress, one I have on my to-write-someday list, or one I might revive with a sequel or series. I can’t watch a good TV show without wanting to find new stories from it, and wanting to make my own. I can’t drive down the ever-loving street without having random set-ups for short stories or novellas pop into my head.

Singing is breath to me, and writing is thought. That’s just how it is.

And before I ever had fans on my fanfic sites, before I ever had friends who would hungrily consume anything I wrote (as long as they knew the fandom), I was still writing stories in my darkened apartment that I thought literally nobody would read, and I wrote them anyway.

If I wanted fame and a host of fans, I’d be writing exclusively Sherlock, Supernatural, and Harry Potter fic — those are the ones with ALLLLLLLL the fans. Those are the fics that get hundreds and thousands of likes and views and comments and everything. If I was writing for the sake of gaining a huge audience, that’s where I’d be.

Not so much Mighty Max and Gundam Wing and CCS and TMNT.

But it’s also not necessarily about the number of fans. Some people write just for the very small audiences, like the ones you get with Mighty Max. I think there are about 7 of us in the world these days who really care about the fandom. And those other 6 have all become my friends, because who else are we going to nerd-squee at about our favorite Cap-Bearer? With all my fandoms, no matter how small, there is always *someone* who wants to read what I wrote and has feelings about it.

But, truth be told, I don’t write for them, either.

I write for me.

(Okay, I might write a little bit for Sarah, too. Because sometimes she wants a particular story and I really can’t deny her anything and why would I want to?)

I don’t write fanfiction, or original fiction, or novels, or poems, or songs, or anything else for anybody but myself. I don’t write them to *be read.* I write them because otherwise I would choke on them. It’s kinda that simple. And I would write them with no internet to post them to or no publisher to make them into books. I would write them on cave walls if I had to.

I put this quote up more than a year ago, and it is certainly no less true now:

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be… This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.” — Abraham Maslow

There are people in the world who will never feel like “real” writers or authors unless some publishing house somewhere has paid them and printed their books. And there are people in the world who will look at ME and my library of 22 novels and 2.5+ million words written and never see a “real” writer or author.

To them, I simply say: You’re wrong.

Because if you write, you’re a writer. If you author a story, no matter the length, you’re an author.

I am a writer and author.

And if not one of my stories had ever traveled farther than the My Docs folder on my harddrive, I would STILL be a writer and author.

So the reason that I find it simple to write with no feedback, the reason I can sit on chapters for a full year before posting them to my fanfic accounts, is that I don’t need the feedback to breathe. I don’t need the reviews, the hits, the kudos. They’re nice, certainly. They make days far better when I get a happy comment or an insightful message. But the response isn’t the fuel of writing. It is the side-effect.

The fuel of writing burns inside my veins and is twisted up in my existence.

And whether I get to publish this book I have out to my betas or not, nothing changes. If not this one, then maybe the next one. Or the one after that. And there will always be fic in the meantime.

But even if that all stopped? If the internet went dark and books vanished and the world stopped telling stories?

Come find me. I’ll be in a cave somewhere, writing novels on stones and leaves, singing stories to the very stars. For as long as there’s breath in my body, there will be stories to tell. Even if no one else is around to hear them.

*I’m* around to hear them. And that is more than enough.

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