I have often written of my addiction to Anime, and how it has shaped my life. I have told the story of finding Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni through Excel Saga here, and how it led me to getting involved in Katawa Shoujo.
Leaving 4LS was a massive, and I mean MASSIVE, personal decision. Not only because my life had taken a turn, but because it was a clear-cut decision to follow a certain path in my life – one of professional servitude. And don’t get me wrong – that decision has sent me to four of our seven continents. I drive a swanky car to work, and I write my blogs on a stylish all-in-one PC.
But there is something within me that drives me on a different path – the path of making people feel.
I have chronicled my experience with Les Mis. I will admit that it is the spaghetti western of both musicals and of operas, but it was my first “show,” and will always hold a place in my heart because of that.
From an early age I have been obsessed with fiction. When I joined high school, we had a homework assignment to count every book in our house. Most kids came back with a few hundred, and lauded themselves over the disadvantaged kids who only held a few books (but also held a library card).
My house had over 3000 books, mostly fiction.
When I was nine I started reading the Dragon Riders of Pern, and had marathoned the entire saga by the time I was eleven. I was devastated when my English teacher informed me that this was “Hamburger Fiction”. In an act of compliant “defiance” I read the entire works of Shakespeare and the Tales of the Arabian Nights within the year. For my final English assessment in Year 12 I took the whole class outside with a friend, and we fought out the final battle scene from Macbeth. My sword (which was actually a sword, sharp enough to cut flesh) span twenty meters through the air and crashed into a bike shelter.
We got B’s.
Once I entered University, it was hard to read anything. I could pass any exam with only the most passive of study, so I found more pleasure in drinking than reading. There are many times that I have kicked myself for not buying my textbooks form that era, if for nothing else than to re-visit those days when I was actually an intellectual.
I started studying for my MBA about three years ago. It was a difficult decision at a difficult time. I had taken up a new position, and I had a new wife with a new life growing inside of her. But this study returned me to my reading, albeit focused on the academic and not the fictional. Sure, I now consider myself an expert on capital spending in the Arts, but it did little for my social or fictional life. In part, this was an extension of the choice that led me to shun 4LS and to part with its esteemed company.
My studies have been over for the best part of a year now, but I still read mostly non-fiction. I subscribe to a number of managament magazines, but my own personal achievement was reading Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom” memoir. I was born in 1982, which was towards the end of apartheid, but I knew so little of the struggle in South Africa. It troubles me that such racism existed in a time in which I was alive. Then again, I was also known to be against Asian Migration, but yet I am happily married to a Japanese woman, and we have a beautiful daughter between us.
Tonight, my wife and baby are away. It pains me to be away from them in my own apartment – even moreso then when I am away from them on business. But it does allow me one freedom that I rarely get to experience – the ability to watch whatever I want, whenever I want.
I have just marathoned the third season of Sherlock (although those of you unfortunate enough to follow me on Twitter already know this). As much as I love non-Fiction, and as much as it has changed my life (and the life of my wife and daughter) for the better, I love Fiction. I love that feeling whereby you jump up and pump your fist, or by which you weep uncontrollably.
It is this feeling that I try to capture in my writing.
I won’t lie – I think upon the most important points in my life when I write. Hanako’s Path is littered with references to my love life in my 20’s, up to the “Bad End” which came out of a reflection of one of the most painful (and unexpected) rejections of my life. But I also try and make my life explore the “fairy tale” that I tell in my stories. My wedding, for example, and without bias, is one of the better weddings that I have been to. We made sure that guests were entertained, and my Father-in-law unexpectedly moved the entire crowd by giving a speech in Japanese only whilst fighting back tears.
So, what is my point? What is the value that you, my dear, dear reader, had gleaned from this post? Well, firstly, I am inspired to write more fiction. I want to have Arctic Gale finished this year. I want to see Kate’s Journey take the next step, no matter if it gets one hit or a million. If I can make one person weep like a babe, then I have achieved my mission. If a single person takes up arms against injustice (which is, essentially, the core message of AG), then I have reached my life goal, and can die happy.
But, more importantly, I have learned the meaning of non-meaning. Fiction is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal as humans. I stand before a significant professional change, one that I will detail once I have actually made it (there are some secrets left in this world). This, as well as the recent stories that I have read, will impact upon my writing. I hope that I can at least inspire you to stand up and shout “Fuck Yeah!” at Kate’s Story.
My secret wish is that one day someone will create their own work, be it fan fiction, a song, or artwork, based on Arctic Gale. That, and that one day someone will donate a high-brand set of headphones to me. If I can achieve those goals, and raise a great daughter, then I will die a happy man.