Okay, you already knew this, didn't you, but I'm going to say it anyway.
I BETA-READ IT. I BETA'D THAT FIC. YOU KNOW THE ONE.
I BETA'D "RESOLUTION OF TERRITORY." ME. ME ME ME ME.
I AM THE LUCKIEST PERSON ON THE PLANET. NO, THE GALAXY. NO, THE UNIVERSE.
Granted, I look back and like, the only thing I think I actively did as a beta was make Eddy cut the best line in the entire fic. I'm completely serious. Oh, and tell her that, oh, no! it was perfectly fine to use the go stones as dividers, NO ONE WOULD EVER NOTICE.
There have been a number of times when I've been privileged to watch a fic from behind the scenes, to walk it with it through from start to finish, from inception to final draft. It's almost more intense than just beta-ing because you're so intensely involved in the process, and you see everything from up close. You get so close to the fic, and it comes to mean that much more to you as a result.
That was the way "Playing Grownups" was for me. I wasn't even a beta for that fic, but being close to it and to Starla during the writing of it meant so much to me, and still does.
With "Resolution of Territory," though, it was that and more. I watched Eddy write draft after draft of this amazing, superb fic, and then, somewhere around draft 8, she said the magic words, "Do you think it needs more Go?" and then I had the privilege of watching this amazing, superb fic subsequently transform into something better than just superb: I got to watch her craft my dream Hikago fic out of something that pretty much started with the idea that Touya is completely Go-obsessed, and our ongoing argument about whether or not she even ships them, please. :D
For days after I read the final draft of this fic, before it was posted, I kept trying to think of what Hikago stories I wanted to read and write now.
And I.... pretty much had nothing. I couldn't think of anything I wanted from Hikago fanfic now that I didn't already have in this fic.
I just saw tonight where the lovely and always-beautifully-articulate lapin_agile called this fic "her all in all," and oh my god you guys. So happy. that makes me so happy. Oh god i'm just going to actually link to her review because yes, yes, yes. Happy. Happier than if she'd said that about one of my fics, because whatever, like I could ever write anything this amazing.
I'm just so pleased and privileged to be a part of the process and to be able to get to share something I love as much as Hikago, and two characters I love as much as Hikaru and Akira, with someone as wonderfully full of love as arboretum. She is one of my favorite people in life ever. :( This is my favorite Hikago fic ever.
Even though you've already read the fic, (if you haven't read it, oh my god don't talk to me, shut up and go read), you should go check out Eddy's official link here, because there are notes and hilarious behind-the-scenes chat (there were days of this, days and days, god, it was glorious) that you should not miss.
And then? After you've read it? You should go check out the sequel. Yes, the sequel -this from Touya's point of view.
Again, favorite Hikago fic ever. I love you, Eddy - I seriously cannot even tell you what a joyous experience this was to be a part of. And how grateful I am, and how happy I am that you wrote this.
(Okay, the rest of this post is really long, like. really long and self-obsessed and emo, i warned you.)
- I just spent my Memorial Day weekend in Atlanta singing for my cousin's wedding. Swankiest wedding I've ever been to. And so much fun. God, swanky weddings are so much fun. We all stayed in the Georgian Terrace hotel in mid-town, which is one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever had the pleasure of staying in. And I got to sing in an equally beautiful cathedral complete with an entire stained glass narrative of the life of Christ, and a humongous pipe organ. I've never actually sung solo with a pipe organ before - I was worried I'd be drowned out but the acoustics were so live in that beautiful sanctuary that everything just rang and rang from the rafters. It was a really nice time. I love my cousin, too, and I'm glad he's happy. This is one of only two marriages I've ever been to that I think is going to last.
- I was thinking to myself that most everybody I know is now married off - and who would be a prospective candidate? - when it hit me out of the blue that since California has now legalized gay marriage, my best friend may actually be getting married sometime in the near future to his longterm partner. OH MY GOD THIS MAKES ME SO ABSOLUTELY UNALTERABLY HAPPY. Like it hit me out of the blue Saturday and I literally just stopped what I was doing and sort of squeaked. And then had to explain why to my mom. Who was like, well, you know. She was like, "I see." Whatever, mom, I'm going to enjoy my best friend's gay wedding and then I may actually come out to you myself at some point, so if ever there was a time to get over this, it is now.
- I am so gay. Gosh. So gay. I spent the entire weekend mentally unpeeling bridesmaids' dresses like I was an 18-year-old frat boy. By the end of the weekend my heterosexual side was pretty much dead in the water and I was pretty much pinning all my hopes at retrieving it on watching Iron Man again. This is so pathetic, and yet true.
- Before the wedding the organist and I ran through all the music. He is classically trained like me and actually did his grad work where my other best friend went for choral conducting.
He was testing the music and playing around with the organ register, so I was like, standing there stupidly watching him.
And he abruptly stops and says, like giving an order: "You should be singing."
I got this jolt of panic and went AHH OMG WAS I SUPPOSED TO COME IN THERE?? and I said, "Oh. Okay." and started frantically looking at the music to figure out what I missed.
Then he gave me this blank look and said: "professionally."
And I like. asdfkljsadlf;. I gave him this like, mortified look and started babbling: "oh my god i'm sorry, i know i have poor breath control right now but see you have to understand i haven't actually performed regularly since 2002, the last time i actually sung was three years ago, really i'm just out of practice and can we go over the cue again please - "
and he gave me the STRANGEST look like. like it was an "are you for real" look lasdfjlads;ds ahhh and then like, cut me off and said, very slowly, in the explaining-things-to-the-small-child voice:
"No. You should be singing professionally."
I said, "Oh." And then just shut up and stared helplessly, because. Well. it's been a long time since I've heard things like that coming from someone who actually knew what they were talking about. And like. when I say "a long time" I mean since 1999.
And also when he said that, I was struck with the absolute conviction that he was right.
Yes, yes I should.
Then he tried to hire me. And told me if I was ever in Atlanta and wanted a singing gig, to give him a call.
And then I sang in that amazing live hall, and it was beautiful. And I came back kind of more excited about the move to Norfolk than ever, because Norfolk has so many professional singing opportunities, even aside from the acting opportunities - and I'm going to go after every single one of them. Because that is what I am meant to do.
Here's how I've spent the last 9 years of my life:
* 2000-2004, I wasted trying to deal with the grief of an extremely traumatic experience with my university voice department, and honestly not believing I was good enough to do what I loved, and basically living in a state of extreme depression (which is pretty evident on my journal back then, not even mentioning fandom_wank);
* 2004-2007, I wasted trying to convince myself that it was okay, I could do other things, the world is full of millions of people who don't become artists, or don't wind up doing what they love, i should just suck it up and face it, i was one of them; and slowly - very, very slowly - crawling out of that state of horrible depression
*Sometime around Columbus Day, October 2007, it was like something literally just snapped inside of me, and I realized that I'd spent the last 8 years just wanting nothing for myself because I didn't believe I deserved to have anything I wanted. I realized that i had to start wanting something for myself again, because, as much as I have always preached (to everyone around me) that you are all you need, and you have the power to create your own world, I was living as though I was powerless. And I'm used to being someone with a lot of inner power. I'm used to being strong. I'm used to knowing who I am and what I want. I'm used to really knowing how to enjoy my life. Except nothing in my life was reflecting that. I wanted that sense of confidence in myself back.
So over the long Columbus Day weekend last year, while I was home in Tennessee, I wrote a list of the absolute minimum things that I thought I needed to be happy. I started with a list of what I absolutely needed - by way of being able to support myself financially, emotionally, etc etc.
There were 5 things on the list:
1. I needed out of my current job and I needed to be doing something related to music, writing, and/or the internet.
2. I needed to be making X amount yearly to be able to pay off debts and fully support myself on my estimated budget.
3. I needed to completely pay off my debt to IU, bursar bill and all.
4. I needed a new group of real-life friends.
5. I needed to be singing more.
So I went back to Indiana armed with my list. I spent the next week scouring all the job listings, updating my resume, and applying - but only to jobs I actually really wanted, regardless of whether or not I was qualified. And somewhere during that week, I knew - I absolutely just knew in my heart - that I was going to get what I wanted.
Exactly a week later I got a job that offered me a way to use my writing experience in a (very stable) web-related field, that offered me exactly the amount I had listed as the minimum i needed to make. I quit my tutoring job and never looked back, and within three months, I had a completely new group of real-life friends, because my job was like my family - and I had completely paid off my IU debt and all of my outstanding loan balance.
We had the most amazing fall this last year, followed by the most amazing winter, of all the years I've lived in Bloomington. Every day since October I would step outside and it would feel like this fairytale wonderland just for me. The fall was incredible. The colors were spectacular. And then the snow came and it lasted forever. It lasted through March. It was the most beautiful winter I've ever seen.
I kept thinking, all through this past winter: what if this is the last?
I think I knew that it would be. I think I knew that it was time.
Somewhere during that weekend in October, I got myself back. I lost the person who spent years cowering in fear and crying her heart out whenever her boss would insult her and make her feel weak and worthless for trying to do her job; I lost the person who broke down in the middle of a grocery store and literally sobbed for 15 minutes on New Year's Eve because she was so terrified that the next year would be as horrible as the one before it; I lost the person who let her voice teacher convince her she would never make it as a real musician.
I got me back. I got the girl back who once looked the right-wing governor of Tennessee in the eye and asked him why his health care plan for state employees didn't extend to partners of gays and lesbians. I got the girl back who landed a professional agent at age 16 and auditioned for musicals in New York at age 17. I got back the girl who invited Kevin Spacey to sing a duet with her. :D I got the girl who wrote her first novel and had two requests for the full at age 19. I got back the girl who can hit high E, goddammit.
When I called Dorrie after my office closed 6 weeks ago, after I felt like I'd signed away my soul to an evil corporation - it was that girl who was crying out. It was that girl who was speaking up. A year ago, I don't think I would have had the courage even to fight. I would have been grateful for the opportunity.
But you know what? The act of fighting was exactly what I needed. I was put in a position where I had to say, finally, out loud, for the first time in 9 years: "No; that's not who I am; that's not the person I want to become; that was never the person I wanted to become. The person I am is vibrant and powerful and unstoppable, and all you need to do is let her loose and watch her fly. That's who I am. That's who I always was."
Ever since that conversation - well, specifically, ever since I called Dorrie back (not forgetting what was on my original top 5 list all those months ago) and said, "Okay, tell me there's a way to have both," and she said "OF COURSE THERE IS" and then started feeding me information about regional non-Equity auditions -
ever since then, I have been absolutely certain about what I want and how I'm going to get it. I'm going to move to Norfolk. I'm going to work my shitty corporate day job with my WHOLE FAKE HEART. I'm going to sing. I'm going to dance. I'm going to take acting lessons. I'm going to audition for everything I see, everything, even if it's for local singing bartenders. I'm going to sing my fucking heart out. I'm going to sing like fucking Kristen Chenowith, like Idina Menzel, like Lea Salonga, like Berrnadette. I'm going to sing Schubert and Mozart and Verdi. I'm going to sing Bernstein. I'm going to sing Sondheim. I'm going to sing lol Jerry Herman and Jule Styne. I'm going to sing KAT-TUN and Rie Fu and, like. Snow fucking Patrol. I'm going to sing. And I'm going to audition and audition and audition.
Because he's right. I should be singing professionally.
And it's taken me 9 years to know that without a doubt, that's what I'm going to do. It's taken me nine years to find that person again. And now that she's out, now that I'm out -
I'm so, so, so happy about my future.