And though I had slain a thousand foes less one,
The thousandth knife found my liver;
The thousandth enemy said to me,
'Now you shall die,
Now none shall know.'
And the fool, looking down, believed this,
Not seeing, above his shoulders, the naked stars,
Each one remembering.
--John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

The Asylum Director

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"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." - Russel Baker

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Gripe # 9: Invictus

I have just recently come to understand something.

I hate my current project I work at, thus I constantly find ways to keep my mind off it, even when I should be working on it. However, the more I "distract" myself from it, the more my project makes me loathe it.

I mean, I've had projects I didn't like before. That's a given when you work, even if you're not in my line of work. However, I've never had any problems with "distracting" myself from my work and then just coming back to it. I look up random things on Wikipedia or write something other than what I'm supposed to be writing, but when I go back, I don't hold even more disdain for what I need to work on. However, this "Elite Writer" bullshit is an entirely different case.

I'm tired.

No question about that. Nothing unusual about that either. I tend to be tired after a long day of having to content with every fiber of my being and write something I don't like or believe in. This is an internal struggle that I loathe with every last bone in my body. But it pays the bills and puts cash in my pocket, so I just suck it up and deal with it. Yes, I barely have any mental energy to put into Cecilia & Mint anymore, let alone my other still-evolving-into-something-workable fiction project, but I deal. Oh yes, I deal with a lot of things at work.

I deal with the incompetence of upper management.

I deal with the inability of anyone in the office to do anything but whine about it.

I deal with the innate stupidity of the projects I have to do while the ones I can do well end up in the hands of people who can't appreciate their subtle charms.

I deal with the nigh-unreasonable "meet the quota" demand that the boss pushes on us, despite every last bit of shit he throws our way that doesn't fall into aforementioned quota.

I deal with vague instructions, impossible demands, and useless sources.

I deal with frustration, choking sensations, and the urge to just get up and leave.

I deal with the pennies, nickels, and dimes that I get as payment for things I should be getting twice (if not thrice!) my salary for.

Over time, you come to accept them and complain about them and the fact that you can't do anything about it. However, I think I've gone past that point.

I am not angry.

Very, very angry.

Recently, I've stopped asking myself "Where do we go from here?" and, instead, I beg "Let me rest in peace!" instead. I don't feel the spark in writing this garbage anymore. I just want to get up and quit, find a better-but-similar job elsewhere. Don't think I won't, given the proper motivation and a place to shift attentions to. I have no loyalties, save to myself and to the things and people that matter to me. Sure, there are people at Intelligraph I'd rather not have to never see again, but I'll accept that fact when it comes. I've lost work-friends before, I'll lose them again. Besides, it isn't like there was anyone in this office that I was particularly close to. No, this office didn't have anyone like Grace or Nina or...okay, there's really very few others in that list.

I'm starting to see the logic behind the "burn-out" parties that call centers tend to have.

Of course, the boss I work for now is too much of a cheap-ass to pay for one. Not that he has trouble stuffing cash down his pockets for his own personal use. Nope, employee morale and motivation is just a luxury he can't afford to afford. Yes, I just made sense. Don't question me.

But I keep as calm as possible about this whole thing. Oh yes, I do. I don't have much of a choice, really. So I sit. And I write. And I smile when I see the bitch and bastard that run this place. Because I really don't have much of a choice. Can't lost face to them. Not now. Not yet. No. Must keep slaving away. Must continue enduring the torture. Must not show them even a sliver of weakness. Must not give them the satisfaction of breaking me.

Because, really, I think that's what they're trying to do. They're trying to break me. They're putting more and more straws on this camel's back, just waiting to see how much pressure it'd take for the back to break. I'm near my limit, but I have no intention of giving them that satisfaction on their terms. I'll leave on my terms, look back only when I need to, and try not to speak of what I am going through again. One might say that I just stepped out of the "honeymoon stage," but I disagree. That ended a long time ago. Now I'm in a position to want a full-scale divorce, complete with the ugly legal battles for more than just half of everything.

Not that I think I'll ever get back the time and energy I spent working for them that I could have spent on more...worthwhile pursuits.

Of course, there's more to this than just that!

On a truly, truly personal level, I think I'm regressing. Well, my writing anyway. Sure, on the technical aspects I'm better than before, but that's not what I'm worried about. My grammar and technical skills improve as I write, so that's nothing that I can attribute to But my actual skills? My ability to weave and create and bind with words concepts, characters, and ideas? No, my friend, I fear those things I've worked so hard (and am still working hard on) to grasp are fading faster than my seemingly non-existent dreams.

The only reason Cecilia & Mint is going strong is because the story is so very dear to me. That, and the ending just demands to be written and shown to the world. Of course, one can't have an ending without events leading up to said ending, so I go on. I toil on this story as I toil on pointless articles about acne treatments that never work and the psychological aftermath that makes people act whiny and emo. But in Cecilia & Mint, I feel alive and unconstrained.

When I write any of my fiction, or even this blog, I feel like my writing can finally be itself. I'm infinitely thankful for that.

But I'm worried that the more I write for Intelligraph, the more I'll lose my innate writing style. Sure, the technical aspects are there, but that's like following the letter of the law, not the spirit of it. That's what I'm terrified of losing and that's what I feel like I'm starting to lose my grip on. The spirit of my writing.

The same spirit that sparked a revolution in's Love Hina fanfics section, introducing those people to the large-scale wonders of shoujo-ai.

The same spirit that resulted in the creation of Yuki's Diary, easily one of the most disturbed pieces ever to grace's servers.

The same spirit that infected my brother and got him started in writing his own fiction.

The same spirit that will finish Cecilia & Mint, even if it kills me.

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

On a note unrelated to my latest Gripe, congratulations to Ms. Riyo Mori, of Japan. All hail the new Miss Universe!

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I like her. Very pretty, with that "come-on-you-know-you-want-me" look and winning smile.

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