Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: frustration

The Frustration of Art

I remember fondly my twenties for one reason: I wrote as if the world wasn’t watching, and I was damn good. I reread some of the things I wrote back then with amazement. My writing was fresh and alive, and the words just popped on the page. I’m talking specifically about my fiction because I didn’t start blogging until later, but it remains true for the first few years I blogged. I was good, damn it, and it actually saddens me to read my old works because I feel as if I’ve lost a step or seven in the passing years. Why? I have a few reasons. Let’s tackle fiction first.

One reason I started writing fiction was because of my frustration at not seeing stories that resonated with me as a Taiwanese American bisexual woman. Even now with literature being more diverse than it was twenty years ago, finding those specific parameters aren’t easy. Taiwanese is a subset of Asian, and we’re not talked about very much. Hell, most people only know that we’re great at producing electronic goods. We used to be known for manufacturing cheap goods as well, but that’s slowly gone away.

Most Americans don’t know or care about the fraught history of Taiwan concerning its relationship with China, which is frustrating, but understandable. It has no affect on Americans, so why should they care? It’s not something I write about much, but it definitely influences my writing. In fact, I think I may inject more of it into my writing, come to think of it. Anyway, I don’t have a problem with making my protagonists Asian, specifically Taiwanese. Or women. Or bisexual. The problem is that I’ve been writing the same variance of a story for many years, and it’s becoming stale to me. I’ve reread some of the more recent fiction works I’ve written, and while they’re still good, they’re not singing to me.

To clarify, I can read something I’ve written and recognize that it’s a solid piece of work that might interest a reader who’s never read anything of mine. To me, however, it’s old hat. In addition, I like to put in black cats because I’m a huge black cat lover, and I want to mention my passion for taiji as well. Again, these aren’t problems in and of themselves, but I feel as if I’m in a rut. In addition, my fiction writing has gotten more prosaic, and I’m not entirely pleased with it. I recently wrote a sequel to a mystery I wrote sixteen years ago, trying to recapture the feeling of the original, and I just didn’t feel I did it justice. The protagonist is one of my favorites in a large part because she has no fucks to give, and she’s mostly amoral. That’s not fair to her, really. She has a moral code; it’s just different than most people’s. God, I love her so much. I really wanted to bring her back, but I’m a different person than I was when I first wrote her, and she’s different now, too.

I feel as if I’m restricting myself too much in my fiction by making my protagonists like me every time. I’m trying to mix it up, but I really want to see someone like me in fiction. I think the problem is that I need to get that novel published before I can move on. I’m not good at the business end of art, which is something I’m realizing in my blogging as well. I have this vague idea that I can self-publish, but if I want to go that route, I’ll have to do more of the business shit myself. That’s not something I’m interested in at all, but I could learn if I choose to.


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Kathy Rain: A Girl After My Own Heart

badass katmobile!
Hurtling towards oblivion.

In my desperation to find a game that I can play an a post-Dark Souls III world, I started rummaging through my pile of shame. Any gamer who uses Steam knows exactly what I’m talking about–all the games you bought during Steam sales that you promised yourself you would play at one time or another. Games you normally wouldn’t look twice at or games you’ve always wanted but are too cheap to buy full price*.

I’ve tried a few, and none have really kept my interest until I stumbled on Kathy Rain, a point-and-click adventure game. It’s a game I wanted because I like mystery novels and have been trying to find a good detective game. They’re hard to find for many reasons that I’m not going to go into in this post, but this one looked promising. The tagline is even: A Detective is Born. The protagonist is the eponymous Kathy Rain, a journalism major in college. She’s mouthy, smokes like a fiend, and drives a motorcycle–a girl after my own heart.

It’s set in the ’90s and has the crunchy pixel graphics that I normally don’t like, but it suits the game. I don’t find it intrusive at all, and the closeups of the faces are surprisingly good. The basic story is that Kathy’s college roommate, Eileen, tells Kathy that her grandfather has died. She goes to the funeral, and then she finds out that something weird happened to her grandfather many years ago. She didn’t know about it because her mother took her away from her (paternal) grandparents when she was young, and she ┬áhasn’t been back.

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