The Limitations of Words

Everywhere I turn I am faced with my own inadequacy. I don’t particularly let this get me down, as I take joy from the mere act of creation, insomuch as a human can: I enjoy writing, putting my words down on paper, dreaming my dreams and communicating them. But I live immersed in webcomics and anime, mediums that communicate far better than I can hope to do, and I know that those mediums are unattainable for me.

Scene description continues to elude me. Either I feel like I am writing too little, and so the picture in my head completely fails to translate itself to the page and hence to others, or I write too much and it comes across as pompous, overdone, and/or convoluted. The slight cant of a smiling eye, a quizzical squint, or a frowning mouth seems so easy for artists to accomplish, communicating in a second a range of emotions that are somewhat beyond me. Especially in anime, where tone of voice comes in as well… I cannot appeal to either visual or auditory senses, merely to imagination.

I recognize that there are methods to do this, and I am studying and employing those methods. I have not lost hope. But when I am watching anime, I am studying their writing, their dialogue, their character development and interaction, their heroes and villains… I want to know what makes it successful, and how I can translate that into pure written words. I have read a great deal, several thousands of books, looking for these same things.

Now what I really need is practice. To write and write and write, to hone my skills, to train and develop those muscles. It’s just hard to get going.

But similar to any exercise, the more I do it, the easier it will become. I need to persevere, to keep at it every day. I need to write.

The limitations will never disappear, but they can be overcome. Compensation will come by other methods. I may be unable to approach the genius of Nabokov or the levity of Pratchett, but someday I will become good enough to be myself. All it takes is practice.

Can I live the dream?

I’ve started getting even more ingrained in the webcomics scene, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that I am simply not realizing my goals. I’ve moved beyond mainstream and am beginning to browse indie webcomics (if such a title even makes sense, as all webcomics are technically independent), and it has reminded me why I started a site in the first place. I had hoped to do with writing what webcomic artists do with their art. They produce, post, and give it away all for free. Someday, they compile it in a book and hope that their loyal following will purchase that book, allowing them to make more webcomics. For the gents at Penny-Arcade and Scary Go Round (to name very few of the bigwigs), they’ve done it and make a living off their work. That wasn’t (and still isn’t, in my opinion) their motivation, but it happened. For them, it was the work. The independence.

I wanted to write and post it for free. To gain a following and someday publish. I wanted to do with words what asofterworld does with photography or what xkcd does with drawing. But I haven’t.

Part of this is my own lack of focus. I wrote theological stuff for a while, but my passion burnt out on that. I wanted to produce poetry, but then I got happy and stopped producing. I could probably return to that now, or I could focus on fiction… but fiction seems unlikely. At any rate, I had a goal, and I’m not reaching it. I’m not doing what I set out to do.

The second issue is that I’m not sure there’s a market for it. Not that the goal was necessarily to hit a market and become an independent writer that makes lots of money… not really. But part of me wondered if it was possible; that’s what I wanted to find out. Would there be as much of a following for a blog writer, especially a poet, as there is for art and webcomics? I guarantee I could do it if I just blogged. Picked a topic and ran with it; technology, or religion, or something. People will read it if it’s good, and I could do better work than I do. But would it work? Would people come here for poetry if a new one was posted three times a week or every day?

Is the “second issue” just a way for me to make an excuse and avoid trying for fear of failure? …yeah, probably.

Does anyone even care about poetry anymore? I don’t know man… I don’t know… Should it matter? No, not really.

When I think about what my goal was, and what I’m doing instead… I feel the same as I did my sophomore year, sitting in symphony rehearsal. “What am I doing? I could be writing right now.”

But the only thing I can come up with right now is, “Once this semester is over… once the summer comes, I can start writing again.” I’m going to sign up as a reviewer with LibraryThing. I’m going to start reading and writing more. I’d like to take guitar lessons once a week and exercise more regularly. Just as soon as this semester’s over… just as soon as college ministry and class are done (freeing up about 20 hours a week, total).

Still a total cop out.

You don’t think I’d run around creedless, do you?

I have a purchase to pick up at the Gamestop on south Glenstone (near Barnes & Noble) tomorrow. I’m kind of anxious for its arrival but don’t have a way to get there right after work (4:30ish or 5 p.m.), so if anyone is interested in roadtripping with me down to the Battlefield Mall area, let me know.

It is becoming apparent by the junk mail I’m receiving that Christmas is approaching. I haven’t given much credence to the holiday in recent years (like the last 8-9), but I’m honestly excited about this one. It should be relaxing, April will be here, we’re getting married ELEVEN DAYS LATER, and there are actually things I can honestly say I would like to receive as gifts. In previous yearen, when prompted by my parents, I would throw some stuff on an Amazon Wishlist to make them happy (read to get them to stop bugging me about gift ideas), but there wasn’t much I really wanted. I suppose this year I am returning to my youth, as my wishlist is comprised exclusively of games. It’s kind of cool, in a gamer-geek pseudo-ten-year-old sort of way.

For the wealthy or parental figures reading

  1. Mass Effect
  2. Guitar Hero II
  3. World Peace? (for XBox 360)

Part of me wishes there was something else on this list, but I feel like all the other stuff I want is already listed in our wedding registries.

If you don’t read webcomics, you should totally start right now, today.

I must share this with you all

White Ninja and the Steaming Hot Beverage

White Ninja Comics
(click to make it larger!)

In addition to this, I must apologize to you dear readers. Someday, rainbows and kittens will burst forth from my calendar and free me from this demented schedule. Until that time, my updates will be less than regular. I haven’t even updated the FnC blog in two weeks 😦

However, on the short-update front, work is going well, we had an amazing dinner at Nonna’s last night with April’s bridesmaids (ZOMG 78 DAYS LEFT), and I just discovered that John Allison has cut his prints to half price. I will not deny that I made an impulse purchase upon this discovery, but it is a purchase I have been planning to make for quite some time. I just think this poster is beautiful.

Tonight is our first session of pre-marital counseling, and tomorrow we’re going to Rolla to hang with April’s brother, Eric. Satuday night we go to Willow Springs and will return on Sunday for Brenda‘s baptism. Another action-packed weekend with little time for resting… but oh well. Sunday should be nice, and the driving will not be overly onerous.

I hope you all have a fantastic day. I’m going to try and do some writing this weekend, so there might be something new come next week. I’ll be sure to blog about it when the time comes.