The State of mari in the Year of Our Lord 2020

So hey everyone! In one of those drought periods again. It’s not a bad feeling, moreso an accomplished one. It’s pretty much all looking like Rediscoverings and maybe some story bits this month, and I’d rather not have the album stuff get stale (especially given that the next one really isn’t looking great and I haven’t had a real ravey writeup since Enema of the State), so for a brief moment, I figured I’d pop on and ramble about me instead. Because that’s what ya come here for.

We’re rapidly approaching the end of the first phase of a little long-term personal project of mine. I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but sometime in early summer, June, July, I was starting to feel good enough to take another crack at writing. In fact, it was a bit more than that. It was more of an ugly, embarrassing itch. There were still some mental things to work out for me. I had to get comfortable with being ridiculous, and I had to kill the need to prove myself. As such–I resolved to focus.

My mentality has long been centered around results. Make things happen if you’re gonna talk about making them happen. Issue being, up until recently, I didn’t have much I was proud of as far as my stories or music to show off. I mean, In Free Fall had three year old songs on it, and the better mix didn’t make that big a difference. I still couldn’t write Pennyverse stuff as it was meant to be, doofy and cartoony. I was just stiff and floundering. I spent three months on Colton’s Adventure, and I hated it then and I hate it now. Creatively, with friends, with family, I just burned out hard.

After all the interpersonal stuff got settled (better than ever around here, lads) and I got all the techie stuff I’d wanted to accomplish (like resurrecting the Gopherhole) out of the way by May, I knew I had to go back to try again. I still wasn’t feeling too great about my prior work, but I knew I had to push through it. I knew there were things to be proud in my future. Especially with Forever Timeout continuing to push the limits of people’s exasperation, I had a lot of time to myself. I just needed a direction.

So one night, I got to talking with Caby, and she made the point that dedicating myself would lead to much bigger gains in the short term than if I floundered between projects. I resolved to take the rest of the year to focus exclusively on working out my personal issues with it, and of course, writing better stories. This would eventually add up to a better, more flattering writing page on my site, with the older stuff I don’t hate but also don’t necessarily like being moved to the Gopherhole as outtakes of sorts.

By all means, this has been a phenomenal success. I’ve learned a lot about my creative process and gotten over some pretty serious stumbling blocks. I now know my limits (more on that in a moment), I have a little setup with Caby where I can show somebody my work and get that feedback for “this needs more time in the oven” without totally being embarrassed over it, and most importantly, I’ve written some stuff I genuinely like! Among other things, I’m really happy to finally have a Pennyverse story that exudes that bizarre but friendly charm in it that I wanted after I had my epiphany.

That’s not to say it’s all perfect, of course. You don’t get over five years of bad feelings in four months, and certainly, I still have mindset issues that crop up. Like Caby says, I’m really just getting started here. I’m 21. And that brings me to the reason why I say this phase of focus is almost over. I just don’t feel that need to prove myself anymore. There isn’t an insane rush in me to get newer and better stories done like there was. Certainly not to say I’ve lost my passion for it, nor am I over needing to improve, but that really nasty, almost spiteful motivation is gone. I can write for fun now.

So as far as the story stuff goes, what’s left? Well, I made my first pass at the Pennyverse Halloween special yesterday. Still think it needs some salt, but that’s alright, the three stories I just completed all needed a rewrite or three each to come out the way they did. Also, just as my final “fuck you” to last year, I’d still like to rewrite what has to be the story I’m least happy with, “Sebastian vs. the Guardian”. Genuinely, it’s a story I have nothing good to say about. After ages of trying it the way I originally envisioned it and failing, I think I have a better idea of how to get across what I wanted to.

Outside of those two, though, I’m about ready to shift gears. I’d really like to start working at my music again. That’ll be my next phase of focus, so to speak. I’ve realized the path I need to take as far as writing better songs and have some sounds I’d like to play with again, not to mention the EP and the final aphrodisiac record I have to finish. I’d also like to start fooling around on guitar again. Blue Boy needs refretting and new strings, but it’s still damn enjoyable to strum and a good hand workout.

Mostly though? I’d like to relax. I miss playing games. I still have a whole ton of stuff I’ve never played sitting around, both in physical and on Steam, and Okami needs a second runthrough because I kinda skipped the intro (usually intros don’t matter, Caby!) and had no clue what the fuck was going on. I don’t really have a good way to end this, just a bunch of thoughts and where I wanna go in the next couple months. Don’t expect much to get moving before April, so I got tons of time really.

Uh, here, have a snippet of the Halloween special, so you get the gist…

“Alright, it’s an hour later, around there. Thought I would…explain what I’m doing a little more. [inhale] I’m taking a shortcut through the woods, by the way. I don’t normally go into the woods because it’s all…dirt and bugs and…droppings from birds. [groan] But I have the suit on, so…hopefully I’m good. But anyway…I thought I would explain the suit and the tape and everything a little more. You know, “why so prepared for a walk across town, Seb?” But…I have no clue where I’m going, do I? Oh well. There’s this bug going around. Flu, stomach virus. Something. I don’t know. And…Cat said she didn’t want to catch it, which I totally get, I don’t either. So I thought…well, I don’t want to inadvertently catch it or pass it onto her when I go check on her. Because we’re armadillos, we don’t get out much anyway and we like it like that. But this is more than that. So I’m wearing the suit, and…I’ll just leave it outside or something. I am wearing clothes under here. They’re just my pajamas, but you know, good enough. I’m in the woods, no one can judge me. But…as for the tape…I mean, I’m not worried. I’ll be back. It’s just a walk across town, you know? [long pause] I guess I should turn around now…I’m a bit lost. [inhale] Sebastian out.”

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