For some reason I didn’t think about the passworded post showing up on people’s feeds. Anyway – it’s my contest entry for a writing contest. Thus why I can’t post it in public. If you want to read it, let me know and I’ll give you the password.
And now that it’s done, I plan to – play Sims just for fun until I get sick of it, and then maybe update Christmas and/or Howling, and then get to work on preparing another story for publication. Possibly the long form version of Ol’ Knocky. Especially if I can find my original notes for the plot there, lol.
It’s been an experience. As I was writing it I was reposting Valley on Tumblr, and man – I have grown so much since Valley. Also I do not like Valley’s ending at all. I really did get way way too abstract. My only explanation is that by that point the hate secrets and the emotionally abusive friendship had driven me to a very dark place.
I won’t know how I did in the contest for quite some time, but I promise that if I win I’ll let you guys know!
Here are some thoughts I had on the experience of writing the story and having a real beta reader and having people give me criticism and everything. I wrote it yesterday as I was preparing to do the last few edits.
I’m really just now learning how to take criticism, because, umm – all the hate secrets that I got during Valley’s run and for a while after messed me up, and plus I had the emotionally abusive “friend” then, and then all the issues with my childhood, and basically my brain is wired to completely freak out whenever someone shows the slightest hint of displeasure with me. My instincts are either to run away (which online means never reading replies and comments and things that I am afraid could be critical) or to be fawning and agree with everything the criticizer says and promise to do better, because that was how I would try to get my mother to stop screaming and slapping and choking me when I was little. I have some baby beginner boundaries now, but for most of my life I haven’t had boundaries or any way to know what to let in and what to keep out.
I am slowly beginning to heal from everything and to form boundaries and to gain some ability to trust in myself, and it’s neat seeing the beginnings of this. Like on an abstract level, I have a few tabs open with stuff about Jung and individuation and alchemy, all things that are important and useful for Seth’s story. But still – I’m reading about the anima/animus right now, and I find myself able to look at it and consider it critically and not automatically accept it, to see that Jung had some unconscious sexism going on.
On a more personal level, I’ve started not automatically accepting everything that my friends tell me. That was definitely a problem with the emotionally abusive friend – he’d criticize me and insult me and tell me that everything I thought and felt and did and said was wrong, and I’d believe him and hate myself and promise to try and do better and be a better human, because according to him I was doing the whole being human thing completely wrong.
I’ve noticed that now I am able to step back and see where what my friends are telling me comes from their own experiences and lives and thoughts, and if it doesn’t mesh with mine then that’s okay, I don’t have to do what they say or change to fit with what they’ve found works for them if something different works for me.
I’ve been upset and crying and unable to look at my draft for a while now. This is bad, because I want to submit it tonight. I just took a shower and after I write and post this I’m going to change, get some grape-flavored water, and get to work.
Because really – this is just another exercise in learning about boundaries, in learning how to be healthy, in overcoming all the abuse and trauma I’ve been through. Other people’s comments on my work come from their own lives and views and tastes and experiences, and I don’t have to accept them. I can consider them and see if I agree, if they have any worth to me, but I also have the right to be true to my own vision of my story and my Seth, and to keep what seems good and right and true to me even if it does not appear to be good and right and true to other people. After all, no one can know Seth as well as I do. No one has lived Seth the way that I have. Seth is mine and no one else’s, and while other people’s opinions can help me get him across better to other people, I can’t let them blot out my self and my feelings and my vision and my knowledge of Seth.
Because it took me 32 years to realize this, but I am okay and I have worth and my thoughts and feelings have value, and I can be right and I can know what’s good for me and my work better than other people do sometimes.