So, it’s a bit over two years since I started working on my story, and well over five years since I went from “maybe one day” to “seriously thinking about it”. I still don’t feel ready to talk about it much, and I do here because of the partial internet anonymity. Even that took time.
Truth is, I am still afraid what people around me might think when they learn the truth, which is the reason that I am still quite picky about those who truly know what I am up to (including that it is me, and by that I mean knowing me at least somewhat). Being gamer and generally shy person who sticks to himself most of the time, I was often considered a bit strange. How worse could that be if those around me knew the truth?
It was in summer 2012, during my hikes, when I started to think about the story more, but the reason was different. I was still not even considering writing it. It was easily reached solution to occupy my mind and force out something different. Sorry, someone. Girl I last saw in may 2010 and I still could not forget her. If I knew what turn this decision might take, I am not sure I would go this way…
Anyway, fast forward to 7/2015. During one of many times I was playing World of Warcraft, I talked with one of my fellow players, who mentioned that he did some fan fiction. I told him that I had an idea for a story of my own, and his answer changed everything because without it, I would not be writing this today. He told me to try writing it down. He told me that there’s no harm in trying. I am not so sure now. Here goes a quote from a film, that I think fits very well.
What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere. – Inception (2010)
Damn right an idea is impossible to eradicate. Took me 10 years of trying and I eventually gave in. Then came one nudge and I turned from “maybe one day” to someone who was willing to give it much of his spare time. Being alone again, I started writing the “demo” the next day, aiming for a single chapter from the story’s middle to see if I can even do it. How it got out of hand is story for different day, though.
I became quite hyped for it. It was challenge for my mind like no other and I had fun doing it. Yet, I thought I am falling deeper into myself, even closer to becoming a total weirdo who does not leave his computer because of a foolish dream. I expected people will now fully believe I’ve gone insane, especially for writing in language that is my second.
I knew I could tell about it to the gamer that nudged me into it, but to who else I might? Who would not judge me too harshly for trying something like that? For doing something I barely understand (I still know very little about writing) and learning on the go? Even worse, I struggled to name my seventh World of Warcraft character, now I was about to write a story for which I would need to name some 70 characters. I felt like dooming myself.
There were a few people among my fellow Warcrafters that I could trust with this little (but growing) secret. To my surprise, their reactions were pleasant, often a combination of respect and encouragement. No judging, nothing like “what the hell?” or “you are really weird”. That surprised me greatly.
I realized that fellow gamers might have similar approach and that between them, harsh reactions were unlikely. But how would different people react? Eventually I shared this with a few fellow students and their reactions were not very different. Well, there was one difference: my communication with other gamers is limited to English, while I use my native language with people where I live, of course.
Me: (mentions writing)
Fellow student: “Can I have a look?”
Me: “How’s your English?”
Fellow student: “You’re writing in English?”
And that’s the level of reactions I was getting. If it shows something, it’s the bad state of language education in my country. Maybe I look like someone who would have no problem closing himself away from the world and retreat to his own, and maybe it makes a bit less shocking revelation. Maybe the fact that I can walk 36 km across the mountains in a day makes anything else much less weird.
So, there is one group I did not mention: my relatives. Of them, the only one I was able to tell is my sister, and her reaction was pretty much the same as the others: encouragement and respect. And a bit of pity she won’t be able to read it, because she can’t speak/read English. I am still far too afraid to tell anyone else in my family, at lest not before I am done with the first book. I am still too afraid of “you should focus on finishing the university instead of wasting time on nonsense” reaction. It would probably change little, but it would be one more to my pile of regrets.
Eventually, I told my sister’s boyfriend, because he’s a hobbyist metalworker and should he have a time, I would ask him to forge me a miniature replica of the main character’s weapon, but that’s something a few years away. And it is also the real countdown for the actual “coming out”. I still think that it would be easier to proclaim myself an asexual than admitting to my family I became a clueless self-taught writer.
Truth is, the world seems to be much more tolerant these days. Maybe I got too used to the fact that during my school years I was the weird boy in the class and it changed my perception far too much. I expected prejudice and harsh judgement for doing something that might make me even bigger loner than I already am, but maybe the only prejudice is within me. I tend to be quite harsh to myself.