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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Closure nsfw bloggage

Closure

A Bloggage
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans


So, I went to wrote a short story and it became a novel and then a series. It took five months and more than half a million words. It groaned and it creaked, stretching out before me like some eldritch traumatic transformation as joint seemed to stretch farther and farther away into the distance. It is however over.

Life is still tough and the anxiety over the offense I have caused has not gone away, merely broadened. It wasn’t just the fanfic and it never was. I grew up in a toxic environment and I learned it as though it were normal. I don’t know how much of this is autism and how much is stupidity but as I look back over the stances I have taken I realise how dodgy and gross some of them were. It’s easy to bicker about the issues with feminism for example when you have never needed it.

I’m not a monster but I am a privileged idiot who has been parroting toxic ideas from a position of ignorance.

In some ways I am tempted to never actually release the document that is still called BDSM And The Art Of War. Schrodinger’s Amy, the story that ties into the collection I am writing, tells the essential story and the consequences they set up anyway. I still keep Green Eyed Nothing in the canon and that has never been released.

I have laid the ghost over my guilt of that fanfic to rest and instead I have to face the reality that I have been an arsehole and I need to radically improve my writing and the way I speak when I am around people. My lack of a filter means I have been incredibly creepy. I think the thing that I can mention because it isn’t too terrifying but does neatly sum up this stupid lack of self awareness happened one time at a convention recently. After a panel on writing in wrestling I went up to one of the panelists, a woman wrestler who could have snapped me like a twig, and proceeded to lament my inability to not write submissive women in my fiction.

I am clueless and I wake up terrified over how creepy I must have seemed to people at different points. I guess this is why I talk about Doctor Who so much. It’s a safe mental store of bullshit to churn out when I can’t think. Did I really tell the host of a panel on environmentalism in genre fiction that I was using cannibalism in fiction to put people off their meat? I mean that is why I write such horrifying stuff but how creeped out would you be if a six foot nervous guy started telling you about his cannibal fiction?

I swear I am too fucking awkward to live. I am a writer - Well, I am a person who writes a lot - but my ability to think through how my words will be received and interpreted is shit. It’s not just transphobia or misogyny, it’s a general blindness to how I am coming across. How much of that is autism? How much of that is me?

Maybe I should take up nice safe hobbies that I can’t be accidentally creepy or offensive about? I mean when your whole life is writing stories about horror and bdsm and you quite literally don’t have anything else to say beyond repeating jokes you heard on a letsplay or podcast or talk about politics. Mind you even there I find myself hoping people don’t ever hear out of context moments from the podcasts I have been writing.

Everything was so much simpler when I was just the guy who talked about sharks all the time.

Anyway, that’s me. Stupid as fuck.

I wrote half a million words on the subject of abuse, ptsd and monsters trying to seek redemption. I come away happy that it was written, glad of the insights I have gained, exorcised of toxic narcissistic guilt, happy with the progress made for my story collection and aware that I am still healing from the harm I have suffered from others and the dread of how I come across to others.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The Journey Inwards bloggage nsfw

The Journey Inwards

This Story May Be Ending But the Writing Never Ends
A Bloggage
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans


They say that before you can heal first you have to admit you have a problem. Well, sometimes it’s not about admitting you have a problem but that you have so many you have to triage and let some wait.

My world imploded. It imploded slowly and it affected my friends and family on a semi public stage.

People wonder where the videos went, the answer is that I got better realised they were problematic trash and a gaping wound that toxic parasites were feeding on.

The trolls truly do not fucking matter.

I am ill physically in enough ways that I genuinely struggle to remember them all off the top of my head. All of them each are relatively manageable with the right medication and I’m not dying or anything but combined I am tired, in pain and generally a wreck.

On top of this I am dealing with the fact that I grew up with abusive people who are still trying to get to me and who I still have those closest to me defending them. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t sexual, that the physical abuse was comparatively minor and rare. That is something huge that I am still trying to unpack and process amidst all this other stuff, while this toxic individual keeps forcing their way into my life.

Then there is the fact that I have a whole host of problems caused by my unhealthy coping mechanisms and the realization that I was myself a relatively toxic individual. I wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, terrified at how creepy things I thought were innocent at the time now are in hindsight. How many times have I awkwardly about something inappropriate because it was on the top of my brain and I had no filter? How many times have I not considered or been aware of how the things I say might be interpreted?

Part of this is autism. Part of this is realizing that I have toxic masculinity ingrained into me by culture. Part of this is struggling with the fact that I am a kinky individual who avoided looking at porn and educating himself and that due to my undiagnosed Kallman’s Syndrome I had this very fetishistic pansexual polyamorous sexuality that was watered down to the point of almost feeling asexual because I had so little testosterone.

Then there is late capitalism. The knowledge that there are people with decades of experience and people who are fresh out of university and the right degrees and both kinds of people are struggling to get by on minimum wage jobs because the economy is so shit. Meanwhile I am this broken half mad thing wondering if I even deserve to exist and there is no way I can work never mind get a job.

And oh yeah I am actually a fan of how capitalism is supposed to work so I have pride and anger at the idea of volunteering or working for free.

Into all of this comes the Farsh-nuke, the Shattered, my writing and half a million words.

I wrote a fanfic and it was a perfect example of everything we’ve discussed. Arrogance and misogyny born of toxic masculinity. The creepyness of someone who doesn’t understand fetishes and can’t see how fucking weird it comes across. Even the anxiety and self disgust born of Kallman’s Syndrome come into it. The one scene that everyone screencaps to highlight what an evil transphobe I am was written quite sincerely as something nice because there is nothing I would like more than for someone to give me a magic potion and make me physically normal and healthy so I assumed a trans woman would love for their body to reflect their self image.

It was transphobic and sexist and creepy and wrong I have been destroying myself over it for so long because it made so much sense at the time.

I understand now why there were no explanations I am seeing more and more just how and why it was a problem that I handled poorly.

This has been the issue I have focused on. The problem at the top of my triage list, if that’s how triage works. The reason is simple. At the core of who I am is someone who does not want to hurt others. I feel anger and rage. I hate and I want revenge. I am human but I despised hurting others.

Then I made this thing. I poured my hear and soul into it. It was made with love and devotion. It was supposed to kick start my writing in a new feminist and progressive direction. It was supposed to be a tribute to people I love and respect. It was meant so very fucking well.

It was so toxic that it hurt people I saw as friends and ended up sending nazis to attack the very people I was trying to honour. It would be like crafting something for a year, only to have it explode and injure the person you gave it to.

The problem I have had is that the Farsh-nuke matters to me. These stories I have written, these characters matter to me. I have fucked up but the stories still matter. They represent years of my life, the things I loved and cared about.

More than that though I am a writer. It is what I do. It is what I am best/least terrible at. It is something I can do despite my physical conditions, despite my autism. I tried to write politically. The Farsh-nuuke verses neoliberalism or trump or nazis. Then my brain imploded from the guilt and other things so I wrote selfishly and in secret. I wrote for me and wrote myself into the narrative because damn it I was low and I wanted salvation even if it was only imaginary.

That collapsed under my self loathing but from it a new idea was born. To write a story collection that would do all the things I had wanted to. A way to at least get things written. It was going to be the first brush of a long running story line playing on the villains of Richard Raspberry and Adam Godwinson. (Trolls don’t matter but strong villains don’t grow on trees.)

It was a nice idea and I will reuse a lot of the story ideas but a problem reared its ugly head.

You see I had another terrible idea but one that I found, and still find I confess, interesting in the horrific mechanics of it. A character exploration of an individual in an academy that allows anyone in but spits out submissive women. The idea being that you have this evil corporation somehow creating a course that plays lipservice to all the right things and then sells off the women who graduate out the other end. It’s a horror story that would have been fascinating to write in terms of how the characters become convinced this is a good idea. There would have been something oddly satisfying about seeing a toxically masculine guy become this dainty submissive flower.

I mean problematic as fuck since as I recall the pronoun shift was actually part of the character development. A sick commentary on how patriarchy and capitalism forces people into these unnatural moulds.

Guess how this how kind of clearly transphobic or at least highly problematic and triggering story got so much worse.

That’s right the Farsh-nuke ended up in this story.

And he had PTSD.

About what, you may I ask?

About the events of that fanfic.

It was 200,000 words when I scrapped that collection.



I decided after that collossal clusterfuck of a trashfire story that I would start again in a fantasy universe with new characters and a new Farsh-nuke.

It made sense. It still makes sense.

Part of the reason I didn’t want to lose these characters was that a lot of lore had built up that I still loved. So start fresh with the lore already in place and introduce it slowly. Don’t have the Farsh-nuke turn up right away. Introduce him slowly and show why he will come to dominate the series by establishing early on big characters who will play second fiddle to him. This was, this is my Avengers collection. A series of different stories focusing on different characters but advancing the narrative until the big epic fight back.

Except here’s a problem. The elephant in the room. I am still having nightmares about the fanfic. I am still tearing myself apart over what if and what if. I am praying that by having the Farsh-nuke come back ion the final story which is so far away that I will have time to process and heal before he turns up because I do not want to lose another two hundred thousand words and Love Hurst was good damnit!

So we come to the story I’m working on now. - Currently titled BDSM And The Art Of War.

The plot was a very simple idea. A young submissive woman feminist who grew up watching a popular family scifi show ends up abducted by sexy lizard alien warlords (they look basically human). While not keen on being abducted and kept as property she decides the sex is great and enjoys her new strange family until sometime later the leader of a group of revolutionaries gets captured and offers her proof that convinces her to lead an escape an attempt and then a revolution.

In this story we have a timeloop with time travellers going back in time to subtly influence people and see if her captor can be redeemed despite his obvious and numerous flaws and crimes.

Then into this comes a criticism/deconstruction of utilitarian morality that also allows for the idea of abuse within a relationship to be tackled from a side on angle. The conceit being that the alien warlord has hindsight in advance that allows him to make decisions which save lives if he lashes out in anger and destroys something beautiful first. Our heroine is the girl who lives and she chooses to continue being the sacrificial lamb each time to stop other women suffering the same fate and because she sees the apparent good it does.

Obviously I’ve mentioned that I am coming to terms with my own history having been physically and psychologically abused and how I did things that were (to a lesser extent) well meant and wrong that I am now coming to terms with and how I hope to seek redemption. So you can see how exploring these things are helpful.

Then the Farsh-nuke turned up again and here it makes sense.

This is a story about abuse, PTSD and redemption.

This is a story with a non-binary double agent working for the good guys and a trans woman revolutionary general, plus a couple of others in prominent positions.

This is a story that ties in the old continuity and brings back Lisa Watkins from the Toy Maker and the AGI Omega from Fuzzy Logic.

It makes sense for the Farsh-nuke to turn up here and seek closure for having fucked up and offended transgender people.

Here’s the best bit though. This story is more than half a million words. It isn’t a book. It is a scifi series. A scifi series that ties into the main fantasy series continuity but allows me to only include the crossover episode/epilogue by necessity.

There is going to have to be drafting and maybe I might utterly remove all references to the trauma which caused it but the Farsh-nuke is back. The Farsh-nuke has healed. My story continues and never mind that actually I still have the ending of BDSM And The Art Of War, I know what story I am writing after this and I am looking forward to it.

I still have problems. I still have a lot of problems but the Farsh-nuke is back and well again and I feel as though I have exorcised a demon from my body.

My writing can now continue without fear that the guilt of that fanfic will destroy it.

And oh yeah, the next part of the story I am writing might as well be called Adam’s Very Bad And No Good Day because the Gamer Empire will fall and won’t that be fun. 

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Grieving

Grieving

Bloggage
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans


So I’m fast coming on half a million words on this story called BDSM And The Art Of War. It feels important to me. Five months of my life. Nearly 500,000 words.  And it’s ending.

In many ways the reason it’s so long is that this is the one sci story I’m allowing myself and it has lot in it. Note that it doesn’t have a character or even theme focused title. I have tried to give everyone their their own arcs and relevance and motivation. And yes there is a lot of badly written references to sex to the point where I’m almost bored with the acts being committed to the page.

Really though this story symbolically speaking is about acknowledging the pain one has caused, letting go and trying to find a path towards redemption. This is a story about monsters and fighting evil and a story about galactic revolution. There has to be a cost. There has to be sacrifices. It can’t be that everybody lives. There is going to be fridging and loss.

In this story I have so many different kinds of monsters seeking redemption and love and new ways to be and one of arguably the most despicable villains I have ever written but someone people try to redeem anyway.

I am reminded of the fact that for the last week or so I have been stubbornly trying to clean an old baking try that was blackened with grease. New baking trays have been bought at my apparent need for a new baking tray but it’s not about utility, it’s about whether it can be done. It’s whether something so corroded and blackened can be redeemed.

My being a fan pulled me into writing, into college and university. It gave me friends and helped me figure out my sexual identity. It also caused me to lose friends, alienate people and nearly destroy myself out of guilt and shame.

I don’t know whether I have the right to dust myself off and try to be a good person after the offense I have caused with my words. I don’t know whether I can be as socially progressive as I like. I damned well know I can’t stop writing submissive women and I will stop writing cannibalism to squick people out the day we either all go vegan or cultured meat renders the discussion redundant.

I am not stopping writing. It matters too much to me. I have seen that I have two choices. Stop trying to write things I don’t understand and might offend people or try to write them better. I have gone with the latter route.

I will never stop feeling sorry for the offense I have caused to trans people, to people I regarded as friends. I don’t understand. I very clearly do not understand.

I can’t just crawl into a hole and die though. I have people who need me and if late capitalism would let me I would like to live and continue writing. I have a lot of pride for a man with so little and I am still dealing with the fact that I am a snotty nosed fat kid in the body of a six foot tall man and that my cries of despair and frustration take on more ominous and threatening notes with the body I have now.

I am not perfect. I am happiest on my own without having to deal with people. My body and my circumstances prevent that however. I need to interact with people regularly to get my pills, my injections, my diet coke and the money I need to live. Just doing these things I need to live is stressful and tiring and painful and frustrating and maddenning and all these things make me much more likely to put my foot in my mouth and cause more stress.

At some point I need to forgive myself for my past mistakes and try allow myself to live. With the finishing of this story I feel like I am exorcising some huge demon inside myself and from here I can continue living and writing more peacefully. At least until the next rain of bullshit.