I write because I just have to. I need to tell stories. To be heard or else I’ll go crazy. I have many thoughts in my head.
I tell stories because I want to leave the world just a little better for the kids that come after me, whether I eventually have my own or not.
On a deeper, more selfish level, I’m intimately aware of my mortality. But that understanding doesn’t bring me peace. I don’t want to be completely forgotten when I die. I want some piece of me and my thoughts to stick around a little longer. I don’t want to say I’m afraid of being forgotten when I die, because if it happens it happens and I’m already struggling against that pointless anxiety.
The vast majority of people aren’t remembered. But I want to leave behind something that I hope makes things just a little better for someone else. And if I do nothing and succumb to that toxic thought of, “Oh I’m not going to be remembered anyway so why bother,” then I definitely won’t be. Thus there’s an obsessive drive to bare my soul to the world. So I write. So I draw. I’m a little scared of being scrutinized. Being famous sucks in this day and age, but I want to be remembered and hopefully remembered well. Maybe I want to be liked, or my work to get well known, but that’s only because there’s a better chance of being remembered, even by a couple few that it would matter the most to.
Maybe I don’t necessarily want everyone to like me or my work, but I feel like if I’m honest about writing what I want to read, then the people with the taste that connect with my writing will eventually come along. It’s a strange anxiety that looms over me and drives me to write whispering, “What if I randomly die today and I don’t have the stories I want out there for people to see.”
On a more academic note, a lot of this “baring my soul” has to do with how I approach research with my art too. Storytelling is the foundation of my long-term career plan. My current studies include technical art in the animation industry and concept art. I plan on working as a concept and story artist, someday directing my own animated film.
I strongly believe that creative research is a viable path for anyone looking to be an artist. There is an advantage to encouraging creative research, specifically with representation in media. There’s a hugely positive psychological benefit to seeing someone’s social group being represented in mainstream media. When Disney’s new movie Raya and the Last Dragon first released its trailer months ago, I remember being excited there was a powerful Disney Princess that actually looked like me or my sister or my mom or any of my cousins on my mother’s side.
Representation and the normalizing of diverse people in media like fictional movies matter because it humanizes those who are disenfranchised in the eyes of those who otherwise don’t notice anyone who doesn’t look similar to them. I remain optimistic, but with the recent violence against Asian-Americans in the United States, I think it’s very important I do my part to help build the visibility of that culturally distant half of my heritage.
I plan to work in the concept and story process of the animation industry, and I believe it’s crucial I take creative research seriously, practicing responsible cultural education for the sake of telling powerful stories rooted in the reality of being human. The experience I gain thinking critically as an artist with a drive to be remembered will have lasting effects on how I approach my creative research as an entertainment industry professional and writer.