I have been a writer all my life. I started writing (very bad) poetry when I was six or seven and wrote my first short story (along with really bad crayon illustrations) for elementary school. It was a murder mystery set in a school in which the unpopular girl is murdered. I don’t remember by whom, by probably the popular girl. Or maybe it was the other way around. It was probably the other way around, actually, knowing me.
I spent most of my free time reading and writing. It was in part because that’s what I enjoy doing and in part because I had no friends. I was a weirdo with many home issues–and I was (and am) Asian before it was trendy. There were people who were friendly enough to me, but no real friends. I think it’s also because I was so downtrodden by the time I was seven (when I first thought about killing myself) that I wouldn’t have accepted any overtures of friendship even if they were offered.
So I retreated into the fantasy worlds of the books I read and the ones I created. I always had a storyline going in my mind–at least one, but usually several. I found the real world lacking so I was grateful to escape into my mind. And the books I read when I was younger ranged from Trixie Belden to The Scarlet Letter. I read the latter when I was in fifth or sixth grade just because it was in the library, I’m betting. I hated it. Even at that age, I thought Hester got a raw deal. Also, why was she shielding the priest? It turned me off Hawthorne. I also tried to read War and Peace around the same time because it was the biggest book I knew of. I gave up on it halfway through because the names were confusing me. I didn’t realize connect that everyone had a half dozen nicknames so I thought they were all new characters. I never bothered to pick it up again, which has not bothered me one whit.
In college, I made the conscious decision not to read dead white men any more than I had to. I had one white dude tell me it was just as discriminatory for me not to read white men as it was for the entire educational system to only have people read dead white men. Putting aside the fact that I am just one person and it’s a false equation, I retorted that I bet I had still read more dead white men than he had writers of color. He had nothing to say to that. I would still say the same to anyone who questioned me about it now. I’m also not saying I wouldn’t read white men–just that I would need an awfully good reason to do so.
I started writing fiction because there was no one like me in the books I read. Back in the aughts, Asian women became hot. But, it had to be first generation Asian women who were SUFFERING. They had to be married to asshole men and be downtrodden in their lives. They had to have abusive mothers as well and they were absolutely not allowed to have any joy in their lives. Basically, The Joy Luck Club writ large. I remembered I was in Modern Times bookstore (RIP) is San Francisco with a friend, leafing through the new Asian books, when I was pushed to exclaim, “If I never see another book about three generations of miserable Asian women, it’ll be too soon!” My friend was embarrassed, but I was pushed to my limits with the notion that Asian women could only star in books if they were miserable the whole time.
In addition, they were all set in Chinese laundries or restaurants or other tropes like that. There were no books about second-generation Asian women who were strong, fierce, and kicking all sorts of ass. “You are allowed to exist, but only if you scrape and bow to us the whole time.” I got bored of it (and offended) really quickly.
I read mostly mysteries and it’s difficult to find non-white mystery writers. Or, more specifically, Asian women who write mysteries. Those that I did find with Asian women protagonists were very stereotypical for the most part. And there were none that had a bisexual Asian woman, of course. That would have been way too much for me to ask for. That’s when I decided to write my own.
Side Note: I don’t pay much attention to pop culture in general because there is just no me there. None at all. It’s not just the race/gender (questioning)/religion (agnostic)/sexual identity thing. Things. It’s also things like me not being married nor interested in a monogamous relationship–and it’s certainly about me not having nor liking children. I used to say I didn’t want children, but I still loved them. I lied. I don’t love them or like them in general. I like and love specific children, of course, but it’s the same with people. I am a misanthrope in general and would rather not have much to do with the human race.
I took a break from writing when I got out of the hospital for a few reasons. One, I could not read fonts very well. That was one of the aftereffects of the trauma. In addition, I was so tired most of the time. I could not sustain any activity for more than five or ten minutes at a time. It was very strange not to be writing because I had done it every day for decades before I ended up in the hospital. Once I started writing again, however, it felt natural. At least the blogging part of it, if not the mystery-writing.
The problem is that I’ve known for awhile that blogging is dead. People are reading much less in general these days and especially not reading any thinkpieces in long form. The way of the current (as opposed to the past or the future) is vlogging. Everything is video these days, which I hate. I hate the way I look and I hate the way I sound. I hate how it has to be snappy with bite-sized soundbites.
Here are some of my issues with vlogging. Even more so than blogging, you have to be focused on one thing. There are lifestyle vloggers, but that’s not in my wheelhouse. There are a few YouTubers like ProZD who do a variety of subjects (lumped together in a general way), but for the most part. a channel is dedicated to one subject. Like cooking or makeup or video games (broad topic, but one topic). My way of blogging is to write about whatever is on my mind. I would love to be able to do that in video form, but I don’t know how much purchase there is in that. There are a few people who have done it successfully, but it’s not that successful in general.
If I had my druthers, I would like to be able to do whatever videos I want whenever I want without any thought to niches, audiences, or numbers of views. That’s not how the real world works, though. You have to target a demo and pump out the content on a regular basis. One thing that has floated in my brain for some time is streaming me playing so-called scary games.
I don’t care for horror games because I don’t find them scary. Same with horror movies. Jump-scares bore me and I’m much more likely to get freaked out by psychological horror than actual horror. I enjoy watching other people play them and freak out at them, however. The video I included above had me howling in laughter as Zoe steadily cursed out Ian while being terrified of the cuddly plushies. But it didn’t scare at me at all, nor has any other game notorious for freaking people out.
I don’t play horror games and I wonder if that would make a difference to how I react to them. Somehow, I doubt it, but I’m willing to give it a try.