(Warning: Mild season 3 spoilers of My Hero Academia below, especially in the videos.)
I am not the writers I idolize.
There is a scene in my current favorite show, My Hero Academia, where the hero, a boy named Midoriya, comes to a sudden and powerful revelation: that he is not his idol/mentor and never will be.
Rather than exploring his own strengths, he’s tried to fashion himself into a copy of the hero he has grown up watching and inherited his talents from. And in fact, the way he tries to emulate All Might is not only stunting his progress, it is literally destroying him. There were a lot of moments that led up to this epiphany, but once it finally clicks–that he use the talent he has been given differently–he charges feet-first into his own path.
For me, I hope, it has finally clicked.
A few years ago now, I created this blog as an effort to reflect on my writing process/progress and establish something I referred to secretly in my head as “real” authorship–the kind the writers I admired and learned from seemed to have. I wanted to write about the life of writing, unpack the struggle of it, and prove to people I am writing. (See? I’m writing.)
The truth is I am writing all the time, everyday. In many cases–not all–it’s not writing I can or want to sell. It’s not writing that I will send off to a magazine or a journal. It’s not writing that I will put on a shelf. But in these spaces, I am happy. In the spirit of Saitama from One Punch Man, I’m a writer for fun. Writing for work has always felt like a secret affair. I have a whole separate branch of language wrapped around talking about the work that I will one day, maybe, publish. I struggle in secret, and exclude my work from feedback–you know, until it’s ready to be seen, even though I am fully aware that’s not how writing works (and I teach my students that’s not how it works, too).
This morning a new friend of mine posted their new Artstation page for all to see. They spent all night working on their new banner. They are a prolific, and talented artist, and I was in awe not just of their talent, but their fearlessness in sharing their progress through fan-driven work.
The writers I idolize and the scholars I have learned under write fearlessly and passionately (even if they feel doubtful and unmotivated within the process). And in trying to write like they do–or rather, writing the way I think that they do–I feel I have lost some of my own fearlessness. I try to keep everything separate and compartmentalized when it isn’t.
This blog will be an iterative exercise in fearlessness–to use what I’ve learned and continue to learn everyday to continue shaping my own identity as a writer, and embrace the convergence of my personal and professional goals rather than resisting it.
Here’s to an odd future!