Prompt: What is one thing you would change about yourself?

What is one thing you would change about yourself?

I’ve never noticed these WordPress prompts before. I’ll accept a writing prompt, if it actually helps me write.

There are lots of things I’d like to change about myself. One would be to become more self-sufficient, less needing of external approval. I hate the concept of performing for the approval of some faceless, ill-defined hypothetical audience out there. It’s bad enough to hand control of your actions and self-esteem over to someone who does not have your best intentions in mind; so much worse to make up a judgey, spiteful audience that disregards you unless you’re producing something “useful” or “important.”

I’d like to return to writing because it was fun to me, for me, by myself. The best moment of writing was the first time I created a shrink fetish short story, about some heavy metal girl in town. She was short and shy and sexy in overt, unsubtle ways, and I was new and unknowing and exploring everything. When I bothered to write down some notes, then actually sit at a word processor and write out a full story about us…

In the story, she rebuked her boyfriend and confessed a crush on me, which I immediately explored. She began to shrink me, so I watched her growing relatively taller, and then my task was to climb her boots, her leather leggings, and her clothing. Every inch of her body was a sexual thrill, from the long stretch of featureless thigh to the dynamic terrain of her chest, until finally I reached her face and she rewarded me with messy, greedy kisses.

Seeing those words outside of myself, this graceless confession of unformed, molten passions that in no way fit my upbringing or plans for the future, was earth-shattering. The simple act of writing these things out blew my skull open, and I hunched guiltily over my keyboard, in the silence and isolation of my locked dorm room, needing to see what the words would look like as badly as I needed to voice this urge locked up in me for two decades.

Like an idiot, I mentioned it to her in idle talk, and her boyfriend demanded to see it. My next story became that I’d lost this fantasy in a terrible computer crash that I was very upset about, but if I ever was able to recreate it, I’d go straight to them with it. After that I avoided the usual haunts and never saw them again. And though my computer was completely intact, I don’t think I stored or backed it up anywhere, so I don’t have the very first piece of Size writing I’ve done, but I have many early records after that. I started to teach myself HTML, and I created site after site of repositories to share my shrunken-man fantasies.

That’s what I want, again. I want that passion, that excitement to see the private, shameful ideas flow out of my head and stain the page. Of course, I’m no longer ashamed of these ideas. My friends all know about my kink, I asked some of them to help me perform and record a Size-themed song. I’ve spoken frankly at parties about going all-in on the underground, self-pub fetish subculture, and then stopped when I realized no one was asking me about any of this. The thrill of its forbidden quality is entirely drained, the potency of its secrecy is absolutely negated. I’m not getting away with anything, I have no dirty little secrets. I’ve shown up in person to a couple SizeCons, without occluding my face or anything, even revealed my actual name in conversation, intentionally.

Now it’s just me, writing for… an imaginary audience. If I post a story here, there are around four people who will either speak up or like it. If I post it on Giantess World, maybe a few more will rate it and beg for another chapter. I don’t think the answer to the creative question is to write with an audience in mind, trying to compose a crowd-pleaser. That never happens. So many authors have said the same thing: write with one person in mind, someone you love and who loves you. Write to make them laugh, make them cry, frighten them, and turn them on. Just one person, someone who sees you and wants the same things you do. That’s a good trick, finding someone like that.

So, I don’t know what comes next. I’ve researched creativity and inspiration, I’ve thought about starting again under a different handle (as if I could masquerade my writing style for very long). I’ve attempted other creative straits: music, ink drawings, photo collage, 3D modeling. I’ve recorded an audiobook and toyed with the idea of a limited-run podcast. I’ve also toyed with the idea of packing it all up and walking away, leaving all those stories unfinished, all those hypothetical readers heartbroken. And I’ve agonized over this for a couple years, with no progress or resolution. I’m very aware what a broken record I’ve become, in this regard. I’ve given it time, set it completely aside and not thought about it, as I served as caregiver for my mom after her stroke and her surgery, way out in the alien context of the exurbs. I’ve visited museums, wandered through nature sanctuaries, binged Asian TV series and snacked my way through awful movies, or just walked interminably in one direction, listening to this or that writing podcast.

I don’t like the thought that the urge to be the diminutive sex toy for some libidinous possessor is something you grow out of. It was discouraging when Blogger tried to censor my blog, it was hurtful when I ended my Tumblr account to show solidarity for a group of people who would soon turn on me, and it was devastating when Stripe terminated the dozen subscribers I’d lured to my meandering and inconsistent blog. But to lose the Size interest simply because enough years had passed… that would really take a large chunk out of me. At that point, I might as well buy some land and live out in the woods, to redefine myself after becoming unrecognizable.

But writing is a struggle. I sit down with a clear outline or a simmering fever-dream, and I hate the story even before I begin to type, and I hate myself for even thinking about spending any precious time on something so stupid and worthless. In that pique I can’t imagine anyone, anyone in the world could be thirsty enough to want to read a word of it, and even outside of the disapproving imaginary audience, there’s so much loathing of myself by myself. If I walk away from the keyboard and turn on a movie, I’ll be disappointed in myself for not being creative and trying to write, but if I write, I have searing, blistering antipathy of myself and my “ideas” and my “talent.” I absolutely don’t know how to get past this.

15 thoughts on “Prompt: What is one thing you would change about yourself?

  1. Oh hey, what you describe about the first writing attempts and how it felt to see it written before you just to see outlandish thoughts and fantasies realized, at least in words – that all rings very familiar. I remember well when I typed down my own fragments just to see them on a screen before me – I think I actually rewrote some texts in game files for giggles and teenage arousals. Sid Meier’s Pirates! Gold was it…?
    Anyway, it was quite a few years before the internet became popular enough for me to realize there were others like me, and stories like ‘Office Vignette’ told me there are even people with this fantasy who are with at least one foot firmly rooted in what adults would consider ‘real life’ (I felt that I was certainly not), therefore very likely write about what they know, and come up with fun ways of infusing the very mundane with the very fantastic without taking the whole thing too seriously (a little later there were some not-too-mean-spirited ‘Deconstructions’ I could snicker along with).

    I also very well know the feeling of only being able to create when there’s one loved person or other compelling impulse to try it. I don’t write much (probably posted about two and a half ‘GTS’ stories ever), but I do create music, and for me it’s pretty much the same: I don’t have that “inner fire” to express myself to the word that ‘actual artists’ seem to have. So what I do when I do it is usually done with purpose, either for me to see how to do it, or to fulfill someone’s request, or a mix of both. It’s almost always mostly explorative, never ‘artistic’ in the sense of accomplishment. I want to find out how things work, and whether I can find the right sounds / words / harmonies that would be required. More often than not, the work stops once I’ve captured the essence of what I wanted to see or hear – the rest would be an exercise in execution, requiring discipline, polish, presentation and I very, very rarely ‘finish’ things, and even when I do I still know exactly all the ways in which it’s still not the way it should be, but I’m simply too lazy (and possibly also not skilled enough) to fix everything – and why should I? The idea itself is realized enough that it can be conveyed. Good enough. That is who I am, and I don’t think less of me for that, and neither should anyone who feel they can’t do stuff that does not interest them personally just because it would please an unknown crowd.

    I don’t believe I’ll ever ‘grow out of’ this fantasy and my indulgence, nor do I think you should torture yourself with the idea of doing that, or somehow “having to do” that. If ‘actual writing’ sounds too tedious and too ‘not going anywhere’, maybe write fragments when you feel compelled to (and only then), when words come to you, not with the thought of having to create + publish something complete + cohesive, but for the bare experience again to see it written before you. I sure did, at times, still today, and ever amounted to anything more than fragments I keep (I even got one that you might like).

    To maybe sum it all up. I believe that without connection, works of art cannot have meaning. And with connection, works of art (emphasis on work) are maybe not always necessary, when sharing one’s mind with is possibly the primary motivator.

    Glad to exchange more if you like, I’ll reach out on some other channel. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See, that kind of playful writing sounds delightful. I did the same thing with that one episode of Twilight Zone, when I wrote “A Nice Place to Visit, Redux.” That petty thief was locked in a private hell where he got everything he wanted, and it drove him mad. But I felt he just lacked imagination, so I wrote up a story where he figured out to get everything else he craved. I want to do that with ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ and ‘Bewitched,’ write out the episodes they were missing with all that wasted potential. That’s just fun to do.

      It’s cool that you have the capacity to create a song when you think of it. My mind doesn’t work in that way, coming up with interesting melodies. But to get that idea and have the equipment on hand to see it through, even if you don’t spend the next week refining it, that’s still something incredible. I kinda do that in Daz, though: I’ll see a scene I want to try to recreate, or I’ll picture a situation I want to manifest, and I’ll do what I can with my resources to build it pretty close. It used to be that I would keep rendering and create a respectable series of images (some of which are on Pixiv; some will never be seen by anyone), but losing all those files was a more crushing defeat than I admitted to myself. Trying to start it up again, but… just not feeling it.

      The advice you gave me about writing fragments is exactly what I advised someone else who was struggling with ideas he found playful and interesting but didn’t tie into his “serious” work. It’s the right answer, I just have to trick myself into acting on it. Even as we talk about this right now, my leg’s twitching and I have the urge to pull on my boots and take out the trash/recycling/compost, start the household laundry, and I haven’t even put my own clean laundry away…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh, if I knew I had to do chores, I couldn’t really do ‘playful writing’ either. Except when it demands to be written. Depends on the situation. Other times while I’m doing chores, I sometimes refine ideas but that’s often to the detriment of the chores-doing quality if I’m too occupied internally…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Forget readers for now. If you cannot enjoy for yourself any aspect of the writing process—the wool-gathering, the plotting, the excreting, the whittling, the polishing—don’t force it. Life’s too damn short.

    If, however, there is gratification in some element of the craft, some activity or product that pleases you, that is all the reason you need. No one need read it but you. Your approval of your own work is sufficient (as well as necessary).

    Have you considered not loathing yourself?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I like lots of things about myself, but when I set up to do this fetish writing thing I’ve poured myself into for, lo, unto these last seven years, I get really tired of myself. I get upset that publishing books never went anywhere. I get embittered by environmental things. And I get existential when I think about all the story threads just lying there, unconnected. All these plans and dreams in my head, and either they were naive and deluded or I simply lacked the character to push through and forge them into being. And if I don’t have this, I don’t know how to fill my nights. I just set fire to five more journals, in fact, so I’m questioning why I have an urge to start another.

      I know forgetting readers is the right answer. I know creativity’s an important pursuit all on its own. I know the right answers but I don’t feel that’s enough to sustain my drive to see them through. And if not that, then what else? And why the need to produce anything, the guilt to feel productive? (Capitalist indoctrination, I know.) All these annoying questions no one can answer and that never change no matter how long I chew on them. I feel like something’s supposed to change but I don’t know how to bring it about.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then get up and walk away from the desk. You’ll find your way back when you’re ready.

        Why did you torch your journals? Need the shelf space?

        You’ve pulled the rug out from under enough characters to know that change often comes from without.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The journals were trash. I cribbed all the useful notes from them I could, major life events and interesting stories. But the rest of it was me complaining about work (or recording my ineptitude at work), lusting after women on the bus, one-sidedly documenting arguments with my sweet and long-suffering wife, shit like that. Nothing anyone wants to relive or remember about oneself. I’m not trying to pretend the past didn’t happen, but I don’t need documentation of what trash I was. Not that my legions of fans will descend upon my estate and scour it for any artifact of my private life.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I tried commenting from the website directly, but for some reason it never showed. Hopefully my re-attempt works from WordPress. I think it’s incredibly brave and liberating to have a circle of friends you can share that part of you with, even if it means sacrificing the excitement of secrecy. With that out of the way, I realize your post is therapeutic in and of itself, as opposed to someone seeking advice. But as a follower and fan, here’s my two cents anyway. About 15 years ago I came to the conclusion that the meaning of life is happiness. Not instant gratification, but actions that contribute to our overall enjoyment and sense of well-being. Sometimes that means doing things in the short-term that aren’t at all enjoyable, but in the end are worth it. Other times it does involve something that’s immediately satisfying. But for either of those to be possible, I have to be selfish and rid myself of anbstract external expectations. The ideal job, the ideal family, how can I make my boss at work proud, etc, or closest to your case, the ideal Small Mercies sequel. I’m currently taking a short break as writing felt like a chore once Part 5 was completed. But honestly, I’m starting to feel the urge again. In a couple weeks I’ll like start writing a sequel that openhighhat and I find the most fun. I’ll see that urge through by sectioning off time every day with a word-range goal. But I’ll do that because I find it fun, and love the feeling of making progress on a big project. I’m certainly not doing it because I feel like I owe anyone. It’s easy to know that you don’t owe anyone anything, but do you feel it? Unless someone paid you in advance, not including tip jar contributions, you don’t owe anyone anything. The more you remind yourself of that, the more likely you’ll feel the urge to write again. Once that happens, just set time aside every day and see it through. As a creator it will make you happier in the long-run.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, Vonnegut said “I promise you, we are here on Earth to fart around.” At times I’m what I call a “proactive nihilist,” because if nothing we do has any meaning, that should be liberating: making huge mistakes means nothing, so why not attempt all sorts of projects and shoot for all sorts of goals, if nothing meaningful is lost? Now these things are ideas I hold in my head, and I know they’re right, but it’s difficult for me to embody them. I slip to the dark side of nihilism, how there’s no point in doing anything, and nothing is lost by doing nothing. Then my wife tells me how sacred the creative impulse is, how important it is for anyone to create anything, not because it has an ROI or makes someone famous, but just because it’s important to let your mind play and spirit play like that. To which I ask, why is this important…

      I think I have to practice little projects that no one sees. No special blog for a side project, no scanning and posting on DA. Just me trying shit solely for the sake of trying little things. I don’t know. I really don’t know, I’m stabbing in the dark, trying to figure out how people get inspired and how they get motivated to produce anything. Or else figuring out where my urge has gone.

      Liked by 1 person

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