SOON.

Yeah, yeah, I’m here to apologize about the ever-growing schedule slip again – not just with the TRON Tuesdays this time, but with my whole blog. I won’t waste your time with an intro. Here are my reasons, maybe not all of them acceptable:

1. Other work

So in addition to getting more/longer shifts at my day job, my freelancing workload has doubled (two articles every two weeks now, not just one). Don’t get me wrong, both are amazing and mean more money, but they also have to take priority over my blog and eat up my time like nobody’s business.

2. Computer woes

My faithful laptop Tronzler (don’t judge me) has taken to freezing up completely at random lately. On top of this the battery hasn’t been charging for some time now and, in spite of being plugged in all the time, has drained down to 0%; so, one wrong move and my power cord comes out and I lose everything I’ve been doing. The increased writing workload has made it nigh-impossible to send Tronzler out for repairs, so basically I’m just not getting as much done overall as I’d like.

3. Job search

Most recently, on top of both of these things, I’ve been looking for a new job as aggressively as possible. While I like my current (part-time) job, I need something full-time with benefits, especially since I go off my parents’ insurance at the end of the year. That seemed pretty far away when I started this part-time job in March, but now… yeah. Time to get serious. By which I mean “full-time with benefits.”

So when are we gonna see the next TRON Tuesday?

Short answer: I don’t know. Long answer: given all of the above, making promises won’t be enough to get my third post on TRON: Uprising finished. But it will get done sometime soon, and as soon as it’s up I’ll get the word out on my other social media channels.

Zanne out.

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Just try.

The other night, as I lay in bed at three in the morning between nightmares (not being poetic there, actual nightmares – sleeping under a thick comforter during a heat wave in July gives you very strange dreams), I started thinking about the weird writing problems I’ve been having lately. I already went into a lot of this last week, but since then I’ve also reached a point where I’ve begun hating everything I’ve written and every new idea I have.

“What the hell is wrong with me?” I thought, kicking off the sweaty comforter. “Has my writing not gotten better? Oh shit, has my writing gotten worse?” I tried to think back to a time when I liked my writing. Ironically, the time I was probably happiest with my writing was the same time I was unhappiest in every other way: the summer when I was fifteen and struggling with a pitch-black depression that I nearly didn’t survive.

My writing definitely wasn’t better back then; it was total shit. Funny shit at times, but still shit. But my closest friend at the time, the man I eventually fell in love with, liked it. It made him laugh at a time when he, too, was struggling with severe depression. What once had been writing for myself became writing for him, trying to make him feel better. I don’t know whether it actually worked or not, but it gave me the reason for writing that I still have today: to (hopefully) make people feel better about this whole “being alive” thing.

Maybe my writing will never be good enough to do that; after all, the man I used to write those stories for eventually drank himself to death anyway. But maybe whether you succeed or fail isn’t the point. Maybe the point is just to try.

I’m starting to think that that’s the problem – that in this whole mess of editing and rewriting I’d forgotten that I do have an audience somewhere out there, even if they haven’t seen any of my writing yet. And I don’t know, maybe one of them really actually does need something I’ve written or will write, no matter how stupid it is. The only thing I’m certain of is that they’ll never get it if I don’t write it.

More like “Zanne Nilsson Doesn’t Write,” am I right?

This feeling of guilt is too familiar. I used to feel it every time I realized I wouldn’t be able to turn in an assignment when it was due. I feel it every time I go days or weeks without doing any offerings, then slink back to the shrine with a bowl of dates or something saying “Sorry guys, it won’t happen again.” (Then it happens again. It always happens again.)

Lately I’ve been feeling it with this blog. I don’t know what the hell’s been going on lately – maybe some kind of burnout – but I’ve felt exhausted and haven’t had the motivation to do anything. I don’t mean a “I don’t feel like doing this” lack of motivation, I mean a “What’s the point?” lack of motivation. For everything. I don’t even have the energy to read, watch movies, or play video games anymore.

Not sure if it’s simply a meds imbalance or something deeper, but either way I need to figure out a way to fix it so I can get back in gear. Not doing anything has made me feel like a useless piece of shit, which only worsens the lack of motivation. I don’t know if I’m actually letting anyone down, but on the off-chance that I am, I owe it to them to produce content.

I’m not going to make any promises this time, lest I have to come back with a bunch of apologies and a pathetic little bowl of metaphorical dates in my hand to placate my (likely imaginary) readers. All I’ll say is that I’m trying to fix it. Hopefully I’ll see y’all on Tuesday.

About the past couple weeks

So I have good news and bad news.

The bad news is that I haven’t made any posts here for a week and a half, and even before that I missed a TRON Tuesday post. The bad news is also that I won’t be making a TRON Tuesday post this week. I swear there are reasons for all of this.

I already explained why I didn’t post part 3 of my TRON: Uprising post series a couple weeks ago, but the reason why I didn’t post it last week either is that I was too busy getting ready for a convention that the store I work for went to this past weekend. Then – fun story – I got the stomach flu at the very tail end of the convention and won’t be able to finish the post today either. I’m really sorry about this whole mess but I will do my absolute best to get the TRON Tuesday series back on track in time for next week.

The good news is, over the weekend I got a chance to take a break from the booth and run around the convention. Before leaving I said that I didn’t have any specific video games or merch to look for and would probably be back quickly. Then at the first booth I visited I remembered that in TRON Tuesday #6 I’d be covering the first wave of TRON video games and thought it would be cool if I could get a couple to play through myself, rather than just taking the Internet’s word for it.

Right away I found a copy of TRON Deadly Discs for the Intellivision, which is a system I don’t yet have but the game was only two dollars so what the hell, right? I spent the rest of the time searching high and low for Adventures of TRON for the Atari 2600, which is a system I actually have. (Apparently they made TRON Deadly Discs for the 2600 as well, but I didn’t realize that until I came back home.)

By the time I started the last row of booths I’d basically given up hope on finding Adventures of TRON, especially since most booths didn’t have any games for systems older than the NES. As I entered one booth and began searching a jumbled box filled with five layers of Atari 2600 games I thought, “This is a total mess, there’s no way I’ll find- OH SHIT HERE ARE TWO COPIES OF IT.” So hey, I might have gotten very sick, but at least I found the games I was looking for. Also somewhere in that whole search I impulsively bought a box half-full of unopened TRON trading card packs, which was a fun find.

Probably down the line none of this silly stuff like trading cards or games or even that TRON joystick for the Atari 2600 I got a couple MAGFests ago will be worth much money, but I’ve often heard it said that you should collect the stuff you like, not the stuff that you think might be worth something someday.

TL;DR – Sorry, but there’ll be no TRON Tuesday post this week either. Please do tune in next week and I’ll have something for you. Also, if this post seems half-delirious it’s because I am half-delirious from fever or something.

What am I willing to put up with today?

What am I willing to put up with today?

I want to say “I don’t know what to write about this week,” but as usual that isn’t true. I know exactly what I want to write about this week, but I’m not sure how to relate it to writing, which is the subject I picked for all my Friday posts. I’ll try anyway.

See, up until this week I was rather coy about my gender and sexuality. Not secretive exactly – while there are a lot of people in my life I’m not “out” to yet, I wasn’t really ashamed or frightened either – but also not open about it, just sort of dropping hints here and there or flirting. I thought that as long as I wasn’t in a relationship with someone other than a man, I didn’t really have to talk about it.

Then the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando happened.

Afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’d been doing that weekend. The very night that happened, I was with my friends at a punk show. We had all come to see a particular band, and while the band’s lyrics don’t usually address LGBTQIA+ issues, the scene surrounding the band had become rather queer-friendly. Their shows have always felt like a space where I could safely express my gender and sexuality.

While I most frequently wear dresses to shows I have also comfortably worn suits or similarly “masculine” clothing and even gotten compliments. I have waltzed with and kissed both men and women there without any fear of anyone causing trouble about it – or at least known that if some asshole tried to cause trouble, I’d have a number of friends there who would protect me and back me up. I waltzed with a woman I’ve known since my very first show and my only worry was that the bouncers would throw out my friends who were crowdsurfing or swinging from the rafters.

The next day, after the initial shock and sadness upon hearing the news, I was sick with fear. I kept going over the night in my mind, going over memories of all the shows I’ve gone to. The dancing, the flirting, the impromptu drag ball protest (of an opener who’d previously made homophobic comments) at another show, and all my friends in the scene who are on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.

Had we been in danger this entire time? Would we be in danger if anyone found out about the accepting atmosphere we’d tried to create in this scene? Would that acceptance be revoked by others trying to save themselves? Was I putting my friends in danger by dancing and flirting with them? Would I be putting them in danger if I wrote about them?

You see, the same punk scene I’ve been talking about here is the focal point of the fiction book I’m writing. I mention people at the shows wearing suits and dresses regardless of what gender they appear to be, and one of the secondary characters – Em – is genderqueer and referred to with they/their pronouns. While that character isn’t based on any specific real person, they are partially a reflection of some of the genderqueer people I’ve known in the scene.

While I won’t delude myself into thinking many people are going to read this book, what if one of them disagrees with this accepting atmosphere – maybe even violently? I know it’s a small chance, but the thought that I could even potentially put my friends at risk makes me wonder if I should stop entirely or change what I’ve written.

But at the same time, wouldn’t trying to hide all this to keep us safe – such as changing Em to a cis person and using just he or she pronouns for them – be bad too? I can’t pretend that any of what I’m working on is revolutionary or anything, but trying to erase one of the things I love most about this band’s scene – erasing the existence of my friends – would be unforgivable. Maybe I can stop entirely, but I can’t change things just to make this story more palatable or “safe.”

And that brings me back to being coy about my gender and sexuality. As far as that goes: I’m fucking done. I can’t keep coasting by on other people’s assumptions that I’m a straight ciswoman. I want to be more open about it if I can – both to others and to myself. I know not everyone is able to do that, and that’s okay; I’m not saying anyone else has to. We all need to do what’s best for ourselves, whatever that might be. But as far as I’m concerned, enough is enough. I might be putting myself at risk but I’d rather die as myself than live as someone else. I’ve finally looked inside myself and said: “What am I willing to put up with today?”

Not fucking this.

 

Header photo by Doug Kavendek

No TRON Tuesday this week

I don’t have many readers/followers so this likely isn’t necessary, but I’m taking a break from TRON Tuesdays this week. Initially I intended to finish the post up tonight but I just don’t have the energy anymore. The events of this past weekend didn’t affect me personally but as someone who identifies as bi and genderfluid and has many LGBTQIA+ friends it hit a little close to home. I hope you understand.

Much love to anyone who read this, and I promise I’ll post part three of the TRON: Uprising post series next week. Please stay safe and take care of yourself. ❤

Announcing “TRON Tuesdays” (or whatever)

Over the past several years I’ve gotten sucked into the TRONiverse like Flynn getting sucked inside a computer. I’ve watched the films, seen the sadly short-lived TV show, played some of the video games (and watched Let’s Plays of the others), and – gods help me – even read the fanfiction. And, like the rest of the fandom, I watched as Disney shut down branches of the franchise one by one, helplessly screaming “NO NO NO NO NO NO” like a Bit trapped in an out-of-control Recognizer.

I’m sure Disney has their reasons. Maybe not good reasons, but reasons. And between the cancellation of TRON 3 last year and Bruce Boxleitner ragequitting the franchise soon after, the series looked finished for good. Then out of nowhere comes a new video game, TRON RUN/r – maybe not a story-based game, but I’ll take what I can get – and a sweet new lightcycle ride at Shanghai Disneyland. And with all the mysterious “MISSION DAY MAY 14” messages hidden throughout the TRON RUN/r levels, I’d hoped that maybe we’d be getting more good news.

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But alas, May 14 came and went and no announcement of any kind was made. I’ll still hold out hope that something good will happen, because I’m a TRON fan and we TRON fans never learn. In the meantime, I’m going to write a series of semi-regular posts covering as many entries in the extended TRONiverse as I can get my hands on.

Why? Well, I say: why not? It’s my blog, and I have to write about something. It might as well be something I love, right?

And don’t worry, I’ll post about other stuff too. This will just be a nice little series to work on, and nobody’s gonna hold an identity disc to your neck and force you to read any of it if you don’t want to.

Week 1: TRON (1982)
Week 2: TRON: Legacy (2010)
Week 3: TRON: Uprising (2012-2013) – Part 1
Week 4: TRON: Uprising (2012-2013) – Part 2
Week 5: TRON: Uprising (2012-2013) – Part 3
Week 6: TRON Video Games – Wave 1 (1980s)

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