finding my vnheart
vncup retrospective, future thoughts
good morning is a social construct was the first time i ever finished something that i started. something more than just drawing, or a stray bit of writing — it is a complete, whole experience. i’m a terminal procrastinator, but somehow i finished a big project in two weeks. that -really- matters. ive been trying to find the distilled core of what it was about vncup that made me work, but it still feels some time away
during the comptition, i was certain it was coming together to be something i liked, but i wasn't sure if could produce that same feeling in someone else. the development felt a mess and at most points i wasnt even sure if it was even coming together to anything. i feel i operate on too much a strange internal logic, having distanced myself so far from the mainstream.
the final day of vn cup was a caffeine induced mania, having only finished just in time for our 4th of july celebrations, which would run well into the submission deadline at midnight. i was not just celebrating another year of the american empire, but also getting my vn done in time. but yet, among the buzz of alcohol, friends, and a cigarette on the roof, there was an internal frown hiding. i still don't know if it was the stress, or shit blowing up socially — it's all just a blur at this point — but i really hated what i had made at the time. it just felt fake. fake feelings that add up to no more than the sum of its parts. it’s some sort of response to bad things happening to you, maybe. your excursions feel less like a real thing than what someone else makes. i think no matter who you are, it’s hard to see your own creation for what it is
some background; i’m not as read on visual novels as some other ppl might be. somehow i finished the famous higurashi no naku koro ni. rika just speaks to me in a way, i guess. her journey is one that everyone can take a little from. japanese media can sometimes feel like it is from a different world. it’s an other i can connect to. there is an inherent mysticism of indulging in a different culture. but it is still definitely an “other”, in that it felt distant to me. that’s why when i first read archangel:nemesis, it was like a wall being torn down. it is just as magical as the feeling i get reading anything else. i realize this sounds silly: a:n was proof to me that GOOD visual novels could be made by westerners. it’s not just doki doki literature club and hatoful boyfriend. this is a real medium.
it wasnt an immediate thing, but as i consumed more vn content, i started to think that maybe i could do it too? in the brief existence of the a:n love corp server, i learned of many ppl making vn, also probably inspired by team cpu. but the activation energy was still hard to find, and i found myself once again lost. it wasnt until vn cup that i felt i had a good reason to shoot for the moon.
let’s just front load the embarrassing confession: i feel like i had somewhat ulterior motives for joining. i wanted the judges—most of which are my idols—to see me. the authors of cool stuff are going to fix their eyes on me for a bit. yes. hell yes! i'll impress them. i’ll make the best shit ever. it stoked a fire in my heart. if i could turn around that appreciation into myself, surely i’ll become something great. with stars in my eyes, i grasped for the reflection. senpai notice me!
of course, i didn't win. but that never felt like a very crushing thing. im an amateur artist at best. i knew that a lot of ppl would be interested in participating in the vn cup, and these ppl are so far above my level. while i had personal wishes of what i personally saw the most deserving of winning, some of VNs barely being yuri by definition. still, the things that won earned it. that’s ok. i did everything i wanted to do.i just wanted to feel ‘great’ for a moment. i did get that. it did push me forward. that was a completely correct assessment. the fact that i made something for once in my fucking life. that’s amazing. i owe vn cup everything for that
every day when working on good morning i woke up i only wanted to realize my idea. complete tunnel vision. i threw out showers and self care, replacing them with sara and yuri kisses. it was like being on stimulants for free for two weeks. i became miya nakamina.
now, looking back, it's hard for me to comprehend how i accomplished all that. i look at the art, the backgrounds and writing i made for it and sort of can't believe that was all made by me. recently, even drawing feels like i got worse at. most of my efforts to work on something new have felt half-hearted. i really do work better at gunpoint.
ive been struggling to find that ever since. obviously i can't simulate another vn cup. it doesn't work like that. but i can analyze the parts of it that made me work and see if i can reproduce them. there has to be something. i have to keep looking.
maybe i need to drink the chuchu tea. meditate, reflect, that sort of thing. find my “mii”. im around talented ppl all the time. something will come my way, i believe in that
i want follow up with something that's even more amazing. i want to blow you all away.
good morning is just the beginning
Thanks for reading merilynn's notes! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
I really like the song ~w~