Few things push plot lines as well as vengeance in drama and leveling up in RPGs, which is why Dishonored 2, despite its many flaws, integrates plot, adventure, and history effortlessly into a unified field, centering its narrative on the propulsive quest of assassination and personal redemption. Much like Victorian morality in the nineteenth century, this game is a Manichean fantasy world of good and evil.Read More
Only in a Japanese RPG can a boy band save the world from the nefarious empire and its demonic biotechnological army. In Final Fantasy XV, four male friends led by its visual kei leader, Noctis (whose name means “night” in Latin), use the empire’s language of violence to decolonize the kingdom of darkness. Somewhere, Fanon’s ghost is drinking sake and smoking Peace cigarettes in celebration.Read More
This post is written from a place of privilege to a certain degree. While my lecturer position isn't as good as a tenure track job, my workload, bennies, and pay at UC Irvine, are a hundred times better than that of my friends adjuncting their hearts out, hoping and praying (just as I am) that one day they'll get the ideal academic gig. So, I write this post with a tiny amount of guilt, understanding that things could be so much worse. That said, I was lucky enough to have my first paid summer off as an academic and It's honestly shocking how busy I was in like a good way. Yes, I wrote the fuck out of this summer, completely restructuring and rewriting my first and second novels multiple times. Yes, I sent out query letters for AMNESIA to a few agents that I thought might be good matches. Yes, I sent out several different manuscripts to several stellar indie presses, including my experimental memoir. Yes, I read more than a few novels and several graphic novels too. Yes, LB and I traveled to Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, and Tallinn, which was honestly, one of the most amazing vacations I've ever had (I'm completely broke right now and I don't give a shit because it was completely worth it!). Yes, I got to see both our families, which was amazing (not to mention insanely draining). And yes, I played the shit out of my PS4 because I finally could after teaching for 9 months straight. For the record, I was especially captivated by The Last of Us, Final Fantasy X, Infamous Second Son, and The Walking Dead. In so many ways, I had one of the best summers of my life and I don't say that lightly.
But that said, this summer was also completely exhausting. Time flew by in a way I haven't seen since high school and often I felt like I was barely in control of my life. I wouldn't have done it differently and I have only gratitude for this summer, but next summer, I think I'm gonna make as little plans as possible. At the very least, I plan on living like a minimalist. I hope to do nothing except eat nori senbē crackers, drink ocha, and watch romance anime. Maybe I'll cry a little, nibble on chocolate, and then go back to revising NINJAS. That sounds like a perfect summer (for at least one week). Of course, part of being an emerging novelist and professor means conceding much of your power to other people who control your destiny (e.g., the department chair, the dean of your school, the program coordinator, the literary agent, the acquisitions editor, the fiction reader), and that's probably the hardest part of this gig: working your ass off for something that ultimately isn't in your hands after a certain stage. So, thank you universe for this exhilarating summer. But next summer, please be much more chill in the GenX sense of the word.
Kartika Review about the last days of my Japanese obāsan's life + her battle with dementia.
I finished my dissertation + became a doctor!
I finished playing Bioshock Infinite on both medium + hard levels (not 1999-I kept running out of $$$). And maybe, just maybe, I had a small crush on Elizabeth. I also fucking loved the quantum mechanics narrative at the end, which was brilliant.
So yes, by all means, I've had a few seminal moments in my life since the beginning of 2013, some of them huge, others simply fun + self-defining. But the problem with getting your PhD (if getting a PhD can be a problem) is that you go from have a clear-cut path for 4-6 years (4 in my case) with guaranteed funding, amazing conversations in + outside seminar + a sense of purpose, you get to vaporize a shitload of life-changing novels (which you can't really appreciate because you're reading them too fast), evolve intellectually, work with some of the best fiction writers + scholars in the whole damn world, live in a cool (+ totally unsustainable) city like LA + exist in a perfectly linear trajectory for all of grad school.
But now what? I just went from one of the most pivotal moments in life ("I'm so awesome!") to being unemployed ("I'm so sad!). I went from knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life to having no idea what I'm doing, from having enough cash to buy so many books + posthipster clothes my heart could almost burst, to being gradually poorer, from hoping for the best situation with academic jobs to considering the crappiest comp jobs you could imagine at the lowliest community colleges, just to get by. It's something you don't wanna think about while you're pounding away on your dissertation because you can't even think straight when you have a soft deadline for your thesis defense + a hard deadline for submitting your dissertation to the Graduate School for formatting. But once you're done with all that, you look around + you go: fuck, now what do I do?
Don't get me wrong. I'm an eternal optimist. I believe in people. I believe in myself. I believe that good things will happen. I could get a literary agent next week. My second novel could be accepted for publication by an indie publisher next month. My collection of short stories could be accepted for publication sometime in Autumn. I could get an email for an interview for one of the many academic jobs I applied to, like tomorrow. But the thing is, my life as an aspiring literary fiction writer + professor-to-be is one big contingency plan, a perpetual lesson in professional + existential uncertainty. Things can work out. I believe things will work out. But right now, I have to say it kinda blows.