Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tentative Plans

Ok, it looks like I've talked about doing Let's Play's for over nine months at the very least.  I've never actually done any.

Let's start with the background on that.

My depression is really, really bad.  Anyone who's been reading along knows this.  For a bit over three years my depression has done two things: not get better and get worse.

Early 2017 to mid 2018: bad.
Mid 2018 to mid 2019: worse.
Mid 2019 onward: worst it's ever been.

[the above was written on or before April 5th, for whatever it's worth]

Long ago, my depression took something precious from me.  I can't really read books anymore.  I can try, but I don't engage, and before long I'm not able to continue.  I don't remember when it happened, but I remember the "Well . . . fuck" realization that bookstores had lost their appeal.

Once upon a time, being in a bookstore was a whole lot of "I want ALL THE BOOKS" with a large side of, "I could stay here forever!"  It transformed into "Meh" and "I'm bored."  I actually think that things have gotten less bad on that front, though I also think it's in large part because bookstores seem to have a lot more in the way of books with pictures than they used to.

It also could be tied up in the fact that, while I say "books" it actually seems to be somewhat more narrow.  I can't read book-form fiction.

It's also more broad, just in another way.  I can't really read original fiction.  Ditto for non-fiction in narrative form (unless it's short enough to be, say, an article in some internet publication.)

What does this have to do with Let's Plays?  Well, I'll tell you.

At this point my horizons have contracted even further, and there's only one type of original fiction that I can truly engage with.  I think it's because of the interactivity, but regardless of the reason, it's video games.  Video games are the only original stories I can engage with.

As such, I've been playing them fairly frequently, though I've kind of dropped off on that front over the past month or two.  Drop off aside, that means that Let's Plays are one of the few things I'm in a decent position to attempt making.

So I've been thinking about doing them for the better part of a year now. It's not just so that I can have content here and at Patreon, it's also then when I'm not creating anything I feel fairly useless, which very much does not help with depression.

So . . . that's a thing I've been thinking about doing.  As you might have noticed, I haven't actually done it.  The plan, back when I started this post on or before April 5th, was to announce something like . . . wait, I actually wrote this up on Patreon, I wonder . . .

I still don't have an exact date, but it looks like I can revise "on or before April 5th" to "between March 31st and April 2nd" inclusive.  That probably doesn't interest anyone, but it's what I was wondering in italic at the end of the previous paragraph.

Ok, so, wrote this up on Patreon.
Anyway, doing Let's Plays is still an idea that makes sense because Video Games are one of the few things that can make me feel like a fully functional human being, emotionally speaking, I have a ton of them, and (critically) primary computer is working again.

Basically the only things holding me back are:
  1. Depression makes it incredibly difficult to begin any project whatsoever.  Even things that aren't projects, like getting ready for bed or taking my medication in the morning, are incredibly difficult to start.
  2. Even though none of it is difficult, I do have to set up stuff.  It's not something I can just jump into with no prep.  (I need to be able to capture video and audio, after all.)
  3. My voice.  Everyone who hears my voice thinks I'm a dude, and for good reason.  I didn't transition until way after puberty.  My voice is testosteroned the fuck up.  That's not something that goes away.*  I am massively insecure about the sound of my own voice.
  4. My ideal set up for getting work done (regardless of what the work in question is) is when I'm alone in the house with no one else around.  Other people live here now, and with a pandemic going on they're in the house even more than they'd otherwise be.

I'm going to make it a goal to start recording Let's Plays in April.  Hopefully I succeed in this.  Hopefully they don't suck.  Hopefully you enjoy them.
Given that today and tomorrow are the only days left of April and I'm no closer to starting than I was when I wrote the above on March 31st, the goal of starting in April will probably not be met, but I'll still try for it.

Regardless, it's a goal and, therefore, one of the things tentatively planned.

It's entirely possible that one reading the above might note that I used the term "original" a few times.  There is a reason for that.

The one type of fiction I can consistently read is derivative work.  I can't read as much of it as I used to, but I can read fanfic.  Right now there are only two types of fanfic I can engage with: My Little Pony stuff, especially Equestria Girls stuff, and Raven/Terra Teen Titans stuff.

Raven/Terra is very rare.  It's gotten less rare of late, the number of stories on Archive of Our Own just about doubled in the past year and a half, but it's still lodged firmly in "very rare".  After all, the reason it could almost double in so short a time is that barely any existed to begin with.  (40% of the total Archive of Our Own stories were produced by three people who currently hang out in a Discord Server together.)

My Little Pony, including Equestria Girls in particular, is rather less rare.  FIMfiction, the primary English language MLP fanfic site, has 132,848 stories right now, 8,101 of which are Equestria Girls.  As far as I know, there isn't any Teen Titans equivalent to FIMfiction, so a direct comparison isn't really possible, but however you figure it, there's a reason that my reading has been skewed so far away from Raven/Terra Teen Titans fic.

So, with all of that said, let's talk about how this figures into tentative plans.

It's highly likely that anything I write will reflect the things I'm reading.  So there's some possibility of Raven/Terra Teen Titans fic, and it'll definitely be the case that any creative output vis-à-vis fiction will be dominated by MLP in general and Equestria Girls in particular.

Given that it's been about ten months since I posted anything fiction related that wasn't MLP stuff, you probably could have guessed the non-Raven/Terra side of that.

Something that I've been thinking about doing for a while is a decon of the Equestria Girls Holiday Special comic.  It's the bad (semi)canonical thing that most of my Equestria Girls stuff is based off of and unlike, say, Twilight, no one has really done an in depth look at it.

Something else that I might do, if I find the restraint not to quote and respond to every line, is reactions to some bad fanfics on FIMfiction.  That's not a plan so much as me thinking, "I've already done this on a private discord, so maybe I can do it in public."

There are two reasons why I might decide not to post reactions here.  One is that, as noted, I have a tendency to quote every damned line, which means that I end up copying the whole story into the result.  I'm pretty sure it's not kosher to copy entire stories, even if you're embedding it into a line-by-line commentary.  The other is that it's one thing to take apart professionally published fiction, but it feels a good deal more mean spirited to a public takedown of a fanfic.

Another thing that I've thought about, but am less than sure on, is re-watching Friendship is Magic and/or Equestria Grils and doing something decon-esque with that.  The reasons that I'm not really confident enough in this idea to call it a plan are myriad.

It's not the kind of fiction I'm really able to engage with in itself, so it might not work regardless.  I'd basically be counting on the combination of familiarity and analysis to change that, when there's no evidence it would work.  I have pretty much zero confidence I could do it well, and four seasons of MLP analysis have already been done better than I could ever hope to by Jen A. Blue.

The possibility of doing a close reading of MLP brings us to another thing I'd like to do, but I've wanted to do it for ages (literally years at this point) and haven't made any progress.  I want to return to Kim Possible and .hack//Sign.  In late 2013, I tried to return to .hack//Sign.  I made it one post.  In early 2018, I tried to restart my trek through Kim Possible.  I made it one post into that as well.

I'd like to do some things that involve physical construction.  Whether or not I acutally will remains to be seen.

Also, I take pictures nigh constantly, I might return to sharing them here.

That's everything I can think of for tentative plans at the moment.