Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Looking Back: 2006

The Seven Lucky Gods of London, Ontario

The Seven Lucky Gods of London, Ontario was a sequel of sorts to 12 November 1993, detailing a party the November protagonists took part in thirteen years later. With this story I wanted to attempt a straight narrative that jumped between the viewpoints of seven different people, as the most people I tended to write at a time was around three. This later gave me the confidence to tackle numerous characters simultaneously in works such as Hana.

Everything Shakes

This short was written for a school project that John Wilkins was saddled with. He had to put together a piece comprised of text and art and settled on a zine. This short is where the idea for Scorlax in Hana came from. Scorlak/Scorlax also appeared in a short story that was never published online.

Still in Movement

Still in Movement is more of a novella than a short story, exceeding twenty pages in length and broken up into chapters. The earliest germ of the Nerd Wave movement can be found in this short, as it was my first attempt to introduce nerdy aspects such as characters playing Street Fighter in an arcade, and a vain attempt to give such nerdy aspects literary merit. More interesting than the story is the title, which was taken from a ghost story novella written in collaboration with Bobby Myers. Both Bobby and I constantly reference this ghost story in our personal writings. I'm still in love with the ideas and characters in that collaboration, and always think about rewriting it. Perhaps Bobby would be interested.

A Brief Case of Theft

A Brief Case of Theft was the first chapter in a novella called Memento Mori that was fully written but never published online in its entirety. Starting with this I really wanted to force myself to do longer works, to help better my narrative abilities and to help remove length as a restrictive element in my work. The problem with this novella was that it was one idea stretched out over sixty pages, with the second half copying largely from the first.

Melodrama/A Play

This, the second chapter of Memento Mori, was my first attempt at writing something resembling a play, and it is the first thing I've written about so far that I'm still proud of. It was inspired -- well, of course! -- by the fact that I was reading a whole lotta plays at the time I wrote it, particularly experimental ones, and was also inspired by the subject matter and experimentation of Hideaki Anno works such as the more desperate parts of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Kare Kano. This was also my first collaboration with Mel Stringer. Whenever I put together a short story collection in physical form, there is no doubt in my mind that this story is going in it.

Aimless Wandering in the Fields of Nowhere

And here is the third chapter of that novella, the last chapter to be published online. The best thing about it is the Winston Chmielinski painting. The chapter after this was essentially a reiteration of everything that had already been written about, and the novella went downhill from there.

The Strangest Result

This story is the second, or third, or maybe fourth in a series of collaborations with Joel Hentges, in which I write out his dreams in my personal styles. It is an ongoing series of collaborations that will most likely never end as long as we know each other, or at least as long as Joel has the most interesting, intense and terrifying dreams. This whole unique website created for the story, featuring gorgeous and elegant illustrations and their original sketches, was put together by Joel for my birthday. It is still one of the most well-presented projects on the site.

Some Awkward Stranger

I'm not sure how well it actually comes across in the story, but Some Awkward Stranger was inspired and influenced by bullying -- bullying that is present in every stage of one's life. The title is from a misheard lyric in a Lambchop song. It was my first collaboration with Alice Zheng and Alison Berry. Alison Berry went on to illustrate Volume 1 of Hana.


  1. 2004-2006 seems like a very long time ago. How are you doing?

    When I read your works, I think that there's an inherent quality about your stories that has stayed the same despite your many experimentations with style. It's hard to say what it is exactly, but I think the best approximation would have to be a certain intimacy, and an appreciation for the vulnerability of being human.

    Lately your writing has become a lot more direct. I miss your more dreamlike, whimsical stuff, but I'm also interested in seeing where you go with Radar.

    (I thought the post would be anonymous, hence the misfire.)

  2. Alicenonymous,

    Sometimes I'm doing well, sometimes I'm doing awful. But I don't think I'd want it any other way. And you ?

    Your comment actually reminds me of one I received a long time ago, from someone who followed JT.com from its first story to Imaginary Girl. This person didn't like the direction I was going in -- warmer stories with more prevalent plots -- instead missing and preferring my colder, almost foreboding early stories.

    This time I can say that I will never veer away from being whimsical and dreamlike. Read the latest chapter of Radar, which I actually put up today (Track 3), and let me know what you think. The story may be going in a direction you never could have expected.

    Very much in appreciation of your thoughts,
    - Josh