Saturday, July 21, 2001

Jul 21 2001

Got an e-mail the other day from the Otakon folks, and it looks like my music video “Deathdance” won’t be in the contest. They got 150 videos and only had room for 38. Of course, they’ll try to show all of the others in the overflow rooms, but…:sigh: that’s disappointing, especially since I got my video in very early.

I went over to McLean Bible Church this morning to talk about the Redemption game. Only two people showed up this time, but at least they were different people. I played an example game with them to show them how it works, and then bought five booster packs of cards for myself, plus a book on Christian theologians.

I also explained to the woman organizing this that I may not be able to make it next week, since I’d arranged with some online friends to meet at Anthrocon next weekend. However, we haven’t worked out exact meeting plans, so I’ll have to talk with them before I’ll know if I even want to go.

(This is a bit more of a challenge than it might first appear to be, due to the fact that I can’t remember which of my online friends were goint to meet me at Anthrocon.)

I then put this week’s backup tape in my safe deposit box, bought some extra bird food, and had lunch at a hole-in-the-wall sub shop.

I ended up puttering around in the garden for a couple of hours in the afternoon, performing general maintenance. After my parents left the house for a dinner date, I watched the third DVD of Dual! (great stuff) and cleaned the house.

And that was about everything that happened to me today. I’ll try to remember to post a Points of View review of the Dual disc at some point; I enjoyed it thoroughly, despite the rather awful background music.

I see that Brennen’s successfully moved to p1k3.com, where he seems to be assembling his website nicely. We had a nice chat today about writing, where he suggested I try my hand at some technical articles. I’m thinking about it; I’d sure like to get published again at some point.

Writing Thoughts

Sat

12:41 a.m.

It’s odd. I haven’t used this writing diary in quite awhile, and it feels dusty and unused, like a gardening shed that’s been rusted shut for years. I half expect spiders to scurry across my screen as I disturb the grave-like peace with my typing, and then I remind myself that this is just a set of bits on a server somewhere. I don’t even know where the server is; it could be anywhere in the world for all I know.

I’m writing this entry because I’ve just watched a lot of TV. I don’t watch TV much, so in this case, “a lot of TV” translates to a few hours’ worth of staring at a big grey box with flashy pictures.

In watching that TV, I saw a number of things that inspired me. The middle half of Princess Mononoke was one, which should be enough to inspire anyone. I also caught advertisements for the upcoming Toonami programs Samurai Jack and Gundam 08th MS Team. I felt filled with the divine fire of creativity, that sense of ability. That sense that I can make great things.

The problem is, I can’t.

I’ve been trying to think of great things to create (other than Wine). I’ve been reading American Gods, which I hoped would remind me of how novels work. I’ve been thinking about that promo for Gundam 08th MS Team, and the plot that it described, and wondering how I could create something like that.

And nothing comes. My mind refuses to generate any stories. I’ve been this way for…well, years now.

I wasn’t always like this. I used to be able to write up stories off the top of my head, practically any time. Plot wasn’t difficult for me. Why do I now struggle to conceive so much as the germ of a story?

And as I type this, I’m realizing that maybe I’ve got the wrong perspective on writing. I’m assuming that I should be able to create interesting plots ex nihilo; is that what I did? Or did I start with an idea and build familiar plot elements around that?

Come to think of it, is that how I should be approaching stories, from a plot perspective? What about the characters? Why am I trying so hard to come up with a story when I’m not thinking about the characters?

My gosh. Is that what’s been holding me back all this time? Have I spent the past sevearl years drawing blood out of a stone of rare creativity, when I was simply approaching my stories from an immature angle? Sure, starting with a plot is one way of coming up with a story, but is it my way? Is it the best way for me? Maybe I could start looking for interesting characters and situations instead of plots.

Or maybe I need to watch less TV.

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