What I Talk About When I Talk About Writing (About Anime)
You do something often or long enough and eventually you have to succumb to insanity or ask the question as to why you do it. It has taken me a while but, for now, I have a grasp on why I write about anime. That reason however is tied to why I started writing about it.
“You, with your opinions, your desires, passions and language”
The first canonical post I wrote on anime was in September 2007 and was on the Lucky Star TV series which had finished airing just over a week before. I say canonical because I have written about anime before, however those are locked away as protected posts under the category fearfully titled: “Deadjournal“. At the time I had decided to set out my stall as someone who wrote eruditely about anime, something which at the time I believed was lacking in anime blogging. “This aniblogosphere deserves a better class of blogger!” How arrogant.
That was the ostensible reason for starting to blog about anime, and is the one I offered to Aroduc in IRC when questioned about it later, but in reality I had just finished up a narrated playthrough of the Hitman franchise of video games and was itching for a new project to absorb the upcoming winter months. After polishing off reviews of several Summer 2007 series, I birthed the first 3 Episode Taste Test from a common cry of a forum I frequented: “give it at least three episodes!”
My posting rate was as regular as my life at the time; I could arrive home from work, consume the required three episodes and pump out a relevant post in an evening. That regularity however gave rise to a demon I battle even now: rigidity. It was a crutch in my writing that supported the wordy, unimaginative drivel I was producing – flowery and pointed but every post had to be a certain word count. Every paragraph about a certain topic. I was not, at the end of the day, contributing anything but a surplus of adjectives.
No more is this apparent than with my three episode taste test of Amagami SS. I was no stranger to writing with vitriol, however the response to it was wholly unexpected. Within hours of a solitary link on Kurogane’s blog I was being pilloried on 4chan and my comments section was host to some vicious and immature personal attacks. In retrospect I could have handled the response better. In retrospect it’s all just immensely silly. At the time it didn’t feel it though; it wasn’t so much an attack on me but of a hobby, a passion, that I held dear.
When I went on hiatus, I still maintain it was not because of the backlash but that it highlighted I was only going through the motions. My interest in anime and subsequently post count routinely waned with the seasons and I could no longer identify with the fiercely vocal fanbase – I was an adult now after all with all its mundanity and trappings like purchasing property and career progression.
It took time and a tremulous start before I got back into the swing of things. I always tell people that I dream more when I write and I had missed dreaming. Anime is after all my hiding place – it’s where I go when events transpire against me, it’s my escape, my solitary pursuit. For I have never had a group or a close friend who shared my interest in anime, even in my university anime society there wasn’t anyone who remotely shared my tastes (except for a girl who I had a relationship with for four years but that is another story).
So when I write about anime you can understand I’m not writing for friends, for colleagues or for an audience. I’m not even writing it for you. I’m writing it for the mythical, impossible person who is furiously happy at the news of more Moyashimon, who can name every episode of Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex and still watch Queen’s Blade without reservation. You, with your opinions, your desires, passions and language are not this person. You are better than this person because you are reading what I write and sometimes you and I might agree on things, sometimes not. Sometimes it might promote discussion and sometimes my nonsense is rightly relegated to obscurity.
Why I write though? As a punctuation mark. Taking all my thoughts and ideas, putting them down in words, putting those words one after another, and moving on. As soon as I hit publish, all of the discussion has already occurred either in my head or in the scrawls of notebooks. Sometimes I’m pattern matching, other times just trying to make sense or organise my thoughts.
I don’t write for comments, whether “me too!” or reasoned discourse; I don’t write for popularity or hits, I write because I can look back at any post and it is a save-state of what I felt on that topic at that time. I write because I want to be able to describe what it’s like to watch ten minutes of a show and know, without prior knowledge, who wrote it. I write because one day I want to explore the malignment of gay characters in anime, and if I keep going, in the future I’ll have enough to make it worthwhile. I write because sometimes, every now and then, the words all line up really nicely.
So to you who reads even a few words of what I write, I thank you. I may not write for you but I wouldn’t be where I am now without you.