Proudly presents…

Eight Months with Kratzen

with ♥ from Froge


Already we’re off to a bad start for 2018 due to my writing this article on January 07. Which is, let’s be honest folks, a bit of a pisser and honestly I am ashamed to have pissed like that. There was some shrinkage. There was some spillage. But at the end of it all, I’m just glad that I didn’t do some things that we can’t all forget about.

But yes, I am counting this as the last article of 2017, topping off with a nice, round, 100. I can do that because it’s my blog and it’s my arbitrary bullshit time – traveling powers, so hush up! In actuality it’s 101, though such petty and somewhat pitiful appropriation of the numeral “zero” is used mostly to feel smug when you point out that, although a dedicated fan has counted up exactly how much you’ve written over the past year, they are not so dedicated that they could not catch their off – by – one error, which will make them very mad and firebomb your house. You monster.

And this whole post title is a lie as well. Really, it’s been much more than eight months since I’ve started Kratzen. It’s been — oh, Christ, how long? — ten months since I started up this darling website, and as much as I have posited, as much as I have written and been read and gave some very choice words to some very choice developers who could not handle some random twat’s Internet Opinion on a website that barely racks three hundred views a day (thank you, by the way), it is clear that I am still nobody on the online sphere, and my influence is only influential to that select minority of people who rightfully trust what I have to say, and are right to believe in the power of what yours truly writes every day.

Well, used to be every day. It seems that every other month I fall into a pattern. I write an article every day and publish right on time, and it’s all gucci. But then after two weeks I skip out on a day and am then on a permanent backlog of a one – day delay. Then I skip another day and the backlog is now two days, and then I spill into the next month and end up getting sloppy with the schedule, then I end up disappearing, then I take a month off to do some other arbitrary project, and then the cycle repeats itself all over again.

I have written that I live my life by the months, seeing them as they come and what they’ve done for me. I am not one of those select superhumans who can manipulate every protein in their body to fit a consistent schedule every single day, tearing apart all their leisure and having all their limbs protest against the unexciting, and ultimately poor – quality schlock as they are made to create for the sake of some notion of “consistency”. As I have also written, I am one of those people who, despite all that I’ve tried, has never, ever been able to fit to a schedule. The wills of time is my master, and I follow it. But that is also frustrating, and though the benefits of a schedule is clear, I feel I am not incentivised enough on this hobby project to hate myself every day for the sake of following one.

Maybe it’s true that all of this is really only important to me. To whine about the issues that I’ve have with my website that nobody else can fix but me, and have many of these personal issues that ultimately are germane to me and no – one else. But I feel that, given this is my personal blog and the affairs of myself are the affairs of itself, I must inspect what I see before me and publish the results in public so that I may pinpoint the problems regarding it, and so that you can understand why the heck I immaturely disappear like a rolling stone, to the detriment of everyone — myself included.

What to Heck hath Froge Wrote?

What I’m asking in this butchered faux – Æglisc header is about the process of how I write and what I feel and do when I write. In sum, the way that I write is that I take a topic that I know about, such as the game I’m reviewing or an article that I’ve been planning for a while, such as the Winter Solstice Celebration, and keep writing until I have developed something worth publishing. There’s hardly any editing involved, I don’t reconstruct huge swaths of my work when I’m creating it, and I always treat the first draft of any of my work as the best draft. Because a lot of the time, without the second – guessing involved in making your work theoretically “perfect”, what you write the first time is the most visceral version of whatever it is you’re making.

I think the quality of my writing depends entirely on how I feel during the writing of the thing. If it feels really mechanical and forced, then I clearly was not feeling like I wanted to write, like if there’s a lot of strange sentence constructions and overuse of adjectives. Just writing this article right now feels like a mechanical process, because I don’t have a template for its creation and all I’m doing is writing until I feel it’s finished, which is a scrubby and frustrating thing to thing to do. The obvious answer to solve this would be to have a template that I fill in, which has always been a successful strategy in Froghand and my reviews. But some dumb part of me pines for those days where I could write damn near anything on a page and have it come out as fun and exciting as anything else. Judging by the quality of some of my past work, I think I’d be silly to think that.

One of the fundamental parts of writing is to only write what your fans would enjoy reading, and to avoid writing the parts that people skip over. I think a boring bitch track such as this would be something that a lot of blokes skip, because it’s not really relevant to you and reading it, in comparison to much more fun articles, is not something you’d like to spend your time on. This is a topic of fascination for only those fans who are interested in me personally. And who are you? To the point, where are you? If you exist, I know not!

So much of the writing process for yours truly is getting into the right mood, the right mindset, where I feel as energetic and emotionally clear enough to make my writing just as energetic and clear. Professional writers will think I’m a rank amateur for believing in the power of mood in comparison to what you create as an artist and a writer, but these professionals, who force themselves to write no matter how shitty they feel about it, end up creating shit that they later regret, wondering how they thought it was okay to publish because of how lifeless it is. The answer is that their heart just wasn’t in it.

And though I have a great appreciation for all that writing can do, I’m far beyond the listless “passion” of actually creating the articles. Passion is a term for those who know not why they write and have yet to discover the philosophy of writing. It is something we crutch on when we are beginners and consider it something we’ll have for the rest of our lives. I have been writing for barely six years, and though I do it, it is not because of passion. I do it because, so much of the time, I enjoy it, I have a lot of shit to say, and I know that there’s some poor bastards out there who also like what I have to say, and I’ve been abusing them by my sloth. And no matter how much I apologise I know I’m going to keep on being a lazy piece of shit and fail to update something even as paltry as two thousand words once every two days.

If I rely on passion, which is something you feel when you haven’t yet experienced the entire gamut of just what in the world you can do with your chosen art form, then I’m going to run out of gas and end up creating methodical and mechanical work that I’m only doing because it’s something I’ve always done. Great writers don’t write because they feel they need to, that they have a burning flare inside them that will explode if they don’t have something to say. No, they instead have a dull, gnawing pain, which rots their insides and makes them husks of who they once were if they fail to write.

They choose to write to stave off the pain; they are not obliged to write because they have a burning fire in their hearts. They have a professional disconnect between what they write and the underlying feelings of why they write. And though mood decides much of the quality of the end result of a work, it does not decide when we end up starting a work. Because we start whenever we want to start, whenever we decide to start, and not because we have passion that demands we start. It’s the opposite: if we don’t start, then we find it harder and harder to start, and we just feel rotten — actually rotting on the inside — because we have a false belief in this “passion” that guides us.

If I’m asking how I’m supposed to induce positive moods that make our writing feel right as rain and as ripe as a bounty of bananas, much of it just involves waiting. Waiting and enjoying other art until you feel you can understand the whole world, where there is no inhibition, psychological or chemical, that stops you from saying what you want to say and saying it in a damn good way. It’s about doing things you enjoy so that you feel, for but an instant, some sort of joy, and then abusing that joy to run with it for the hour or two you sit down to create the damn article, and by the end of it all you feel like you’ve done something really good because it reflects how you felt at the time of its creation.

And if we decide instead to create an article when we are really not feeling like it, as I’ve done with this Eight Months with Kratzen, then it’s possible it’ll still be of some quality in that didactic, disconnected way where you write quite unlike yourself and end up appropriating the voice of someone else entirely, perhaps a professor or an industrial manual writer, then it’s possible you may be able to teach well and imbibe some opinions into your audience, but it is likely to just not be a very fun read. And if it’s not fun, why bother? If it’s not of some interest, why bother? You see, although passion may be a crutch for amateurs in the emotional state of things, it also describes that sort of stupid glee we get when we think about all that we can do and create, and sometimes you have to be stupidly gleeful in order to write well, even as someone who’s been doing it for a hell of a long time.

What about Kratzen?

This all ties into what the heck I feel about Kratzen as of late. Has the passion been squeezed out, like the juice of an orange between your callous hands? Do I feel like I’m writing just for the sake of writing, and not because I feel that what I have to say is worthwhile, not because I’m having fun with it, and not because I’m being the best creator I possibly can be? I think the answer to these questions is, after having reflected on it with the construction of this small article, is a relieving “no”.

You see, I still do have fun with Kratzen. I still do enjoy writing these sorts of shitposts and Very Serious Articles. I love seeing all that I create and re – reading all that I’ve written back then. I don’t see The Degenerates just as a personal brand to self – promote and impress strangers with. I see it as a permanent record of everything that I’ve done and said over the past twenty or so months, all the good shit and brilliant ideas that I’ve promoted, a discussion of all the brilliant artwork and artists that I’ve had the privilege to see and grow along with just because I had the means, the drive, the discipline, and the ability to just get past all my inhibitions and write some hecking words.

The front page is still full of stupid jokes that I make, not because I have a contractual obligation to make them, but because I actually do find them funny in some small way. I know that sometimes what I write ends up feeling like I’m some asshole from the 1930s preaching to you about all your sins and why your life is shit compared to mine, but everything that I create is 100% the work of yours truly, and nobody else could create and curate that particular work that you see before you today.

There is some small beauty in what I make, in what I create, and I think that so long as my work maintains that beauty, then I will have earned my right to be self – published on these online platforms as exist today. They may be gone tomorrow, and I may be just a little frog in a big, big pond, but I am still happy to have the immense privilege to be here and be able to write to you today, and despite how much I piss and moan sometimes, I still wouldn’t give it up for anything. Not the money, and not the fame. The more you have of either, the harder your life becomes. And the more art I create, the more satisfaction I get for having made it, so that I will look back on my life and know that I did not waste it in petty drama and zeitgeists that passed me by.

So I am continuing with Kratzen for another month. As much as I have felt that is home more to trendsetters and pretentious art – game garbage more than it is anything of serious artistic value that I can look back on and feel glad, really glad, to have played them (with some exceptions, of course), I still have faith in the platform to produce those serious artistic works, whatever “art” ends up meaning to me when I play them, and to inspire new gameplay ideas, new cultural artifacts, and new ways of appreciating the world that I may not have considered before their consumption. Even if the quality of the people vary from frustratingly normie to batshit insane. Why can’t you all be like me? Look at me! I’m a cool kid! Be cool like me!

Even though it’s gotten harder and harder as the months come to find games worth playing and visual novels worth reading, I still feel that I have a lot of work to cover that is worth talking about, and even then, I still have the entirety of all the other ideas in my head to make what I write worth appreciating and to make Kratzen as good of a magazine as it’s ever going to be. It’s been ten months with Kratzen, about eight if you count the months where I actually wrote anything, and I think that Kratzen has earned its right to occupy those months.

And if Kratzen goes completely tits – up, I still have several backup plans. The first one is to go back to the 10kB Gallery and keep making beautiful art. Because, really, I found some good shit made by some good artists way back when, and I’ve found hella artists since then, so I want to shove them all, in your face, right now! Actually in the future, because even though it’s been ten months, the flashbacks to all that time I spent in GIMP still haunts me. Shudder!

The second plan is a super seeeeecrit surprise project that I can launch at a moment’s notice and run with that for several months. I have too many damn ideas in my head, but this one I’m talking about has a nice gimmick that can piss a lot of people off, covering a whole lot of different media, and allowing me to expand my artistic sensibilities. It will also seriously test my mettle as a critic and cause a lot of dumbass opinions from people who continue to assume I’ve misinterpreted my own opinion. So no change there! Arf arf!

And the third plan is just keeping on with Kratzen despite all the tits and the upward motion thereof, because it’s pretty much as perfect as it ever will be, and though I don’t really give a heck about advertising it and being one of those capitalist shills I hate so much, I still think it’s something that’s worthy of advertising, even if it’s more of a hobby than a business. Of course I could do Plan Four and become a games developer. Or a traditional artist. Or a rapper, pianist, and classical music producer. Look, I have a lot of interests.

Alright, article’s over, talk is cheap, and action says some shit that talk don’t. So heck off out of here. Enjoy the archives or something, I don’t know. Stop looking at me!