Once upon a time, I enjoyed writing things on the internet. At various times, I’ve written personal blogs, thousands upon thousands of words about the 80’s animated TV series ROBOTECH and its various tie-in media and spin-offs, comic book reviews, manga reviews, and I’ve written and drawn over fifty pages of comics, all of which can be found at various spots on the internet.
Over the years, though, one of my numerous personality bugs and quirks put the kibosh on each and every one of those outlets — sometimes temporarily, sometimes forever, and sometimes I’d fool myself into thinking it was only temporary when in reality I would never, ever go back. The comics review thing ended when I was in college; I was never really “in” with the crowd I was working for, seeing how I’ve loathed every experience on a message board or forum since my days with at the old Robotech Message Board in the late 1990s, and I grew disinterested with the material I was writing about. Deadlines slipped, I grew uncommunicative with my editor, and I just never got back to the guy. This is kind of a frequent problem I have, not getting back to people when I feel like I’ve failed them. However, like I said, I didn’t really know any of the folks I was working for or with, so the fact that I disappeared into the night with that crowd never really nagged at me — not the way other things have nagged at me, like my more recent stint as a manga reviewer for my pal Jim. I say “stint,” but really, I think I did something like five reviews for him, one of which was about Simon Furman’s TRANSFORMERS comics and not manga. Here is the link to the archive of my writings there; three in the summer of 2009, two at the beginning of this year.
Sadly, the reason I keep dropping that ball is that every time I so much as look at the cover of a volume of manga now, I think of it as “work,” much in the same way that I couldn’t watch anime for something like six months after quitting my job at the anime store, and consequently, I find myself walking away from the manga and, I don’t know, playing some STREET FIGHTER or SUPER GHOULS ‘N GHOSTS instead. Or, more likely, I just noodle around on the internet for five hours, aimlessly clicking links and visiting the same dozen or so websites in a sort of hideous mobius loop that ends when my eyes get heavy and I go to bed. Offering to review manga has killed my interest in reading manga, because reviewing the books actually requires me to do things I find terribly difficult these days, like remembering names, events, character relationships — I can’t just write out, “And then that one guy did this thing, and this one chick did something, and I forget who she works for because it wasn’t terribly clear.” That would look stupid.
I’ve tried to stop writing about ROBOTECH several times. I tried to stop sometime in the summer of 2007, when I started SCWONKEY DOG. That was a half-hearted effort; I’d come back from AnimeExpo 2007 sick and tired of the fractured, foul state of the fandom, especially after seeing several examples of it firsthand, in person. But opportunities for me to get stuff in print again arose, and I played ball, and I kept on doing stuff on my ROBOTECH blog, and I just sort of coasted for a couple more years before calling it quits over some more bad blood in the fandom in 2009. Then during this past summer I remembered it was the 25th anniversary, and I thumbed through the PRELUDE TO THE SHADOW CHRONICLES trade paperback collection and found it to be a pretty nicely packaged edition of some unfortunately undercooked material, and it got me in the mood to write about ROBOTECH again. I started to write about ROBOTECH on a daily basis again … and bit off more than I could chew and wore myself out within a month and ultimately let that effort fizzle out. The final nail in that coffin came I suddenly received an unwanted temporary promotion at work that forces me to, as of this writing, work between fifty-five and sixty hours every week. So the ROBOTECH writing goes on hold indefinitely.
The worst thing for me, though, is how I’ve had to put SCWONKEY DOG on hiatus. I started building that world before I even started grade school, and it’s grown up with me, twisting and turning, becoming stranger and more complicated as I myself grew older and stranger. I finally started putting pen to paper and mouse to Photoshop in 2007, deciding at that time that it was either now or never. Since that moment, I’ve drawn fifty-seven published pages, but unfortunately I’ve grown extremely disinterested in the direction of the story, and I’m looking back at those first two chapters of material and all the weakness of the writing are becoming like itches I can’t scratch. The rapid, relentless “let’s get on with it” pace that allows no time for character moments or development bothers me. The fact that Danielle becomes a prop for the entirety of chapter two bothers me. A lot of the plot hand-waving I did bothers me. Do I start over? Would it matter? Do I have the ability to make it better now? Or would it just be all wrong in so many other, different ways? I’m afraid of the answers to those questions. It’s something I’m going to have to think long and hard about in the months ahead, once I find some free time again.
This blog is none of those things above. It’s not a structured review column. It’s not an epic story I’m trying to squeeze out of my head. It’s not about pressure, it’s about routine. I’m in a rough spot right now, and I think the routine of posting something every single day, thinking about something every single day that isn’t work, finding something to focus on that I can get excited enough about to write about is going to do some good for me. And maybe, just maybe, I can move up from this back to a place in my own head where proper writings and drawings and all that can emerge.
Or maybe this will just be another abandoned project, another piece of internet flotsam left behind, or worse, boarded up on a whim when I get especially paranoid again. I suppose we’ll see.