Working on Self-Publishing!

Hello!

I thought today I ought to mention the other project I’m currently working on: self-publishing!

I have loved writing all my life, my parents tell me that before I could even read I’d flip through a book and tell them a whole “story” in baby talk. Didn’t matter the book was often upside down, I was going for it anyway. Once I could write there was no stopping me.

Since then, its been a question of what’s actually making it onto the page. Overall, I have struggled, not writing things, but writing something complete. There are notebooks upon notebooks filled with bits and pieces of unfinished stories and a whole lot of self-insert fanfiction that will never see the light of day.

Over the last few years I’ve really started to try and get something done fully. This started with a novella in a high-school creative writing class. Looking back on it there are definitely some problems: the story-line operates out of that self-insert style, and the pacing is horrendous just to name a few. But I finished it!

University has helped and hindered me in different ways. There were a lot of points where writing didn’t happen because I was busy writing papers or getting reading done for class. I had a professor ask me if my writing could really be that important to me if I left it alone so log. Yes. Because even if I wasn’t writing my stories were still with me: characters and plots begging me to put them on paper. I just wasn’t disciplining myself the way I should have been.

I’ve been working on that. Creative writing classes have helped but I’ve also been working on the stuff that I want to write because its stuff I want to read. I fully admit, much of the first novel of my trilogy was written when I was TAing classes; listening to the class with one ear and frantically writing.

The next step is getting it out there, letting other people who might be interested in reading it get to. So, I’ve started using Kindle’s Direct Publishing. It’s a platform that let’s you self-publish your writing and get paid for it when people buy the e-book. In some countries it even lets you print paperbacks (but, of course, not in mine).

So, I thought I would let you know about the project. In working on getting my trilogy of novels up – the first one hopefully will be posted very soon – I’ve set up my first piece for people to enjoy! It’s an experimental drama using philosophy, poetry, and fiction to discuss bullying and being a by-standard. If that sounds at all interesting check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Walking-into-Sun-Deal-Cracks-ebook/dp/B07GD6H9G9/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1535367550&sr=1-1&keywords=Walking+into+the+Sun

It’s called Walking Into the Sun: How We Deal with the Cracks in Us All.Walking Cover Hi-Def

I’ll let you know every time I get something new posted: things are always at work in my head, it just might take some time!

Loving and Leaving Animal Crossing

Hello!

I thought today I might wax poetical on my love-and-leave relationship with the Animal Crossing Games. Why? Because, if I’m honest, its been bothering me lately.

I realized, more recently than not, that throughout my gaming career I have enjoyed and then eventually suffered through random bouts of loving to play one of the various Animal Crossing games. My preferred one has always been the original Game Cube edition as it was the one I grew up with and once shared a semi-thriving village with my older brother, my mother, and my father as neighbours. When the need to play hit me at the less convenient times to have my Wii up and running (in dorms where my space was already limited and perching my one and only – at the time – console precariously on a stack of boxes was less of an inconvenience and more of a hazard) I turned to Animal Crossing: New Leaf for my 3DS. I can remember even playing New Leaf this past year, having grabbed my dorm keys, a pair of pants, shoes, and my 3DS when the dorms fire alarm went off at 6:30 on a Saturday morning during reading week. It was rather nice to wander my village in the earlier hours of the morning, watering my flowers and catching a fish or two while I actually waited for permission to re-enter the building and go back to bed. It was less nice overhearing the group of first years (completing my MA means I may be first year in my program but I am decidedly not a first year) speculating whether or not they had set the fire alarm off while having a smoke in their dorm bathroom.

Quirky memories aside Animal Crossing has remained so much part of my life that I am not above admitting that it was something of a safety blanket on lonely summers away from my first university and the few friends I had that got me. Curling up on the couch in my parents’ house while they went to work and I whittled away the day catching bugs in a village far sunnier and friendlier than my own was how I told myself I wasn’t lonely. I’d keep friends in this village for a while and then the system would be packed up for another year while I returned east to actually have friends for the school year. It was a normal thing, even when I worked touring strangers through old houses and enthusing about famers and millionaires who once roamed my now dying home town. Who wouldn’t want to fill the Animal Crossing museum with works of art you’re never likely to see in real life and bugs and fish all proudly tagged with your name as the grand donator?

Then I went to get my MA. And summer didn’t end with a goodbye to the village and a welcoming of real friends. Summer ended with a terrifying city that wanted me less than I wanted it. A five person program with one girl who felt Aristotle’s slave system had “some merit”, two men who felt the need to mansplain everything to me, and the nicest old lawyer who was there because he finally had the time to complete the MA he started some 40 years back. I hated it. I couldn’t say two words without being told I was being completely subjective and that there was only one objective truth that I would never find but those two boys, they knew the truth and these classes bored them and they didn’t want to talk about them. Why wouldn’t I keep coming back to a little digital village filled with animal neighbours actually glad when I come to visit? What the hell is wrong with that choice?!

Sorry, sorry. It’s been a hard year and a half where my closest friends were a single one on the other end of the country and a village full of fake animals. That realization does things to you – a variety of things. Sometimes it was nice: a reassurance that eventually it wouldn’t just be animals on a screen but my real friends. But then it became the realization that that was never going to happen again. My summers of working and playing Animal Crossing to pass the lonely moments until September rolled around and there were really fucking people waiting were over. Even if I went east now, packed up everything and moved back to my little university town, none of my friends are there.

My best friend is closest but she’s moved to the nearby base town to live with her boyfriend. She loves him and that makes me happy, but I’ll never be able to walk to her apartment again. We’d have to arrange times to meet up like adults, maybe sit and talk at the little coffee shop downtown we sometimes frequented. But we’ll never spend hours walking the city and talking about everything and nothing. We won’t get the chance to spy cool graffiti someone wrote across the fence backing onto that one bike trial or walk so far out of town we get a bus back in because we’re exhausted and I’ve walked holes in my shoes.

My second closest friend is the one physically closest to me know. We met up for dinner some months ago because she had taken the four hour drive out to do a test at the one of the colleges in my town. We had supper but we didn’t linger, she had the drive back still. We talked about her dog mostly. About how she was applying for vet training. About how my PhD plans were falling apart. She doesn’t text me first. She never replies to my Snapchats or watch the vlogs I upload on Youtube (only my best friend does that, despite several people promising they would). I send little holiday presents, she only mentioned the fact that she received her Christmas present because we met up for dinner. I don’t know how to keep her in my life.

Two on opposites ends of the country. Hung out more often in groups than one on one.

There are two more. Married, or common law. They’re further east than I’ve ever been and we follow each other on Instagram which, if I’m honest, is the closest we’ve ever really been. We had a falling out some years back and a mutual friend apologized to each of us for the other. Then that friend fell out too and nothing really recovered from that point. I spend a summer playing Animal Crossing in the city I thought I loved, thinking maybe I was right to move on. Maybe I could stop playing Animal Crossing if I just had something else to work on.

I was wrong. I might have switched to my handheld but I kept playing that goddamned game. Kept trying to convince myself that the world was going to get better if I just focused on my studies and filled every other hour not hitting the books doing busy work in a video game. Maybe I’d actually finish my museum collections. Maybe I’d prove a better mayor in an animal village than a person trying and failing to socialize in the real world. And maybe I did.

I moved back to my home province this past summer; moved in with my parents who rented a two bedroom apartment in another university town so that I had a place to live. I still live here now. I worked full time and wrote my MA thesis, planned to head into a PhD program, maybe in England, maybe in my old university town. Then England said no and so did the town I can still picture myself getting my life in order in. That’s fine of course, the external advisor on my thesis pulled a hard no against me defending my thesis without serious revisions. Any hopes I had to graduate this academic year went down the drain with one email. My parents and my best friend know. They’d fix it all if they could. I’ll try and fix it too, eventually, but right now I’m just trying to squash the temptation to pick up Animal Crossing again because it isn’t going to help. But I want to play it anyway. I want the easy validation that comes from fishing and hunting bugs and building a new public works. Keeping flowers alive makes me feel good, even if its only digital (my friends use to call my Animal Crossing habit “gardening”). But playing Animal Crossing isn’t going to get the novel I want to write written. It’s not going to fix my thesis or find me a job. I’m not good enough at any video games to make my living off of them – yet I don’t feel nearly so scared of picking up a Legend of Zelda or Mario game as I do facing down the temptation of playing Animal Crossing again.

Animal Crossing has somehow morphed from a time-waster to get me through until my life effectively starts back up again to an admission that my life has stopped. And I don’t know how to fix that.

A Proper Introduction

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Hello!

Welcome back to my second every blog post. I figure, after the first post of nerdy ranting, I ought to give my readers a slightly better account of myself (or myself at the time of the writing of this post).

So let’s start with some of the basics.

My name is Angela and I also go by MsDuckiebee across the internet. I finished my BA back in 2011 and am currently working on my MA thesis, though its taking a little longer than expected. But that’s okay and its rather normal to stumble a bit before you get running. You also have to be willing to try new things when the alternative is sitting inactive.

So, ta-da! Here is my trying something new experiment: Nerdy Complexity!

What can be expected here in the blog?

A lot of freaking things. Like I said in my last (first) post – I’m doing this so that I have a space to celebrate and nerd out about all the different things I enjoy all in the same spot. But, sure I recognize I don’t like everything so I’ll try and give a few more specifics.

I’m a huge book nerd. From classics, to contemporary, to history, and beyond. After my BA university experience, I’ve found that I have difficulty reading only one book at a time. In my BA I double honoured in English Literature and a specialty program called Great Books which combined English Literature, Political Science, and Philosophy. That reading regiment has forever affected my reading habits. I love reading fiction books but I also need to balance that out with some sort of non-fiction, whether that’s a book on Hannibal or one of Plato’s dialogues.

To pick out a few of my favorite series and subjects in the great wide world of books I’d be remis not to mention my love for Harry Potter. The Percy Jackson series (actually a lot of Rick Riordan’s series altogether) have become a more recent enjoyment of mine – so I owe a prior co-worker Paul an apology for my arguments against the series that I wrongly judged by its early covers alone. I was wrong. I’m also something of an Arthurian academic with a love of reading fiction stories, academic articles, and historical speculations. J.R.R. Tolkien’s works might be a extra-description heavy but he (and a smatter of other Inklings) have kept my attention for years as has Bernard Cornwall. Also, Homer. Homer, Homer. Not Homer Simpson. The Iliad and the Odyssey Homer. The fluid nature of those two tales makes my heart sing.

So let’s step away from the books and take a look at some games that I’m in love with. For sure, I’m an Nintendo-phile and have only ever had Nintendo consoles. When I was young my family had an N-64 and then a Game Cube. I eventually purchased myself a Wii and just this past year I treated myself to the Switch. Handheld wise I’ve grown from a GameBoy Colour to my current 3DS. So you know immediately some of my favourite game series: the Legend of Zelda is the most obvious. The Switch purchase was, for sure, based on my need to play Breath of the Wild! I’m also a big Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing player when I need to relax and let the real-world float away. Mario and all of his various spinoffs including Smash Bros are on my radar. More recently I’ve managed to start playing Skyrim thanks to its adaption to the Switch (that many players have complained about but I almost cried in hearing about) and I’ve heard that Dark Souls might be coming as well which means that I’m about to die. A lot.

Anime! Oh, jeeze this one is a little mix-and-matched. One Piece is love. I grew up with Inuyasha, Naruto, Card Captors, and Yu-Gi-Oh and nostalgia is a powerful thing. I really need to get a Crunchy Roll subscription so that I can get into the more modern selection including more Card Captors but I’ve got some series off of Netflix including the 7 Deadly Sins and One Punch Man! Like I said, I’m hoping to expend my selection in the future so don’t be surprised if you start hearing about things I’ve found that people have probably known for years.

I’m a writer who’s trying real hard to enter the traditional publishing realm but I’m not quite there yet. I also like dabbling in painting, sewing, cooking and baking. So those are likely to pop up periodically in the blog as well.

Blog posts will be coming every Monday, usually earlier in the morning (before I head off to work). If you’re interested in more from me my YouTube channel is linked above. Every Friday gets a new video: it alternates between update vlogs and more scripted video (book reviews, art projects, soothing scenes, there’s a variety of things that might pop up). Wednesday and Sunday each have uploads based around my book study series “Book and Page”. The first season is due to finish up mid-September 2018. Season 2 will be back on the 4th of November 2018! So, over both the blog and my YouTube channel, you can get plenty of content throughout the week!

All together, this is going to be an interesting ride all over the place. Now that you have some idea of what’s going to come flying onto my keyboard and to you, hope it doesn’t make you want to run! If you’re still here, let’s get going!

Why am I starting a Blog?

Hello!

Not quite sure where to start with all of this. This past March I attended the ELGX 2018 gaming convention in Toronto. Conventions are absolutely fascinating. They give you a place to enjoy all the different aspects of the thing the convention is about. Or at least a lot of those aspects (nothing can ever do everything). ELGX had a retro game spot, plenty of indie game developers, a handful of big name developers, a whole troop (actually technically two troops) of YouTube gamers, and a variety of panels for developers, streamers, and fans alike. And, of course, some cosplay thrown in there to keep things fresh.

I loved it.

I was there all three days of that convention and I checked out everything from the artist alley – and bought a few things too – to the Hearthstone Tournament with actual announcers and everything. And yes, I even cosplayed a bit as well. Like super lowkey not at all fancy cosplay but I got involved (and got a free t-shirt for it too).

It was a whirl-wind of a weekend and when I got home I slept for a good twelve hours straight; a sleep like the dead. Then when I woke up I got thinking. Which, if I’m honest, is not always the safest thing for me to be doing. Not that I can turn it off. But, I’m off on a tangent (again). Needless to say I thought many thoughts anyway.

Conventions are fun but they are also niche. If you go to a gaming convention you are there for the games and the culture surrounding games. You’re not there for Harry Potter. It’s not there or, if it is, it is just tangentially there. Same with things like anime, books, sci-fi, and practically anything else that isn’t video games. That’s because conventions have to be niche – in order to include a variety of interesting activities, guests, and artists you need to limit what the convention is actually about. Thus, if you want a convention about Harry Potter you go to LeakyCon. Anime has spots like Anime North. And, of course Sci-fi has got its Comic-Con. You’ll see it a lot with online communities as well, especially in the space of Youtube. If you’re a book fan you watch the Booktubers and if you like gaming you watch the Youtube gamers. Sure, you might watch a couple different groups but you’re not expecting the booktubers to talk about movies (unless they were books before) and you don’t expect the anime youtubers to suddenly start gushing about Harry Potter. They make their money off of the niche they picked from the beginning; it’s how they trust people will keep coming back for me, because they know what to expect. You’re going to have to chop up what you enjoy in order to enjoy it to its fullest.

Except people aren’t like that. Not really. It’s very rare for someone to purely like one thing so much that they completely exclude everything else from their life. No one lives like that – there’s always going to be something else. Sure, it might not going to be a traditionally ‘nerdy’ thing but maybe it’s working out, maybe its friends and family, maybe its religious practice. Any way about it, it’s a thing that’s important to a person, that they get excited about and enjoy participating in. Those can be considered nerdy things and they make people complex beings because they aren’t always connected to the other things we like. We can like Harry Potter without really liking the movies. And we can like the Marvel movies without that affecting our enjoyment of the Harry Potter books or soccer (football for those outside North America). We are complex nerdy people with complex nerdy enjoyments and it’s not always possible to chop our enjoyment of those things up.

Why am I starting off my first blog post with a discussion about the tendency to chop up our nerdy discussions and limiting ourselves to talking about all of them separately in their own places? Because it’s not going to happen. I am literally starting this blog because I want to be able to talk about the video games I like, the books I like, the philosophies I like, and more here without being labeled as a liker of one particular thing. My nerdy is more complex then that, all of our nerdy is more complex then that. So, instead, I’m pooling all of my nerdiness into this one blog with some connections to my Youtube channel, my Instagram account (which is mainly taken up by my cat) and all the other parts of me that I haven’t allowed to exist in the same place. I am a complex nerdy and I will proudly use this space to show off my Nerdy Complexity. I hope you’ll join me, get into celebrating our varied nerdy interests and stop splitting yourself up just to be able to talk about important pieces of yourself.