I'm Seirea, the creator of Diminish.
Diminish is an immersive narrative drama with horror elements, mainly told through a YouTube webseries. Said webseries can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/c/DiminishGame
This entry is written using Alex Hera’s Walker Creek submission as an example, via glowing recommendation by Nick Nocturne. This will hopefully help my own entry obtain some direction and succinctness I’d have missed in my own vacuum.
However, Diminish is not an ARG, and this has always made its proper place in our world feel a bit more nebulous in an odd, unintuitive way. From the very beginning, I’ve been consciously and deliberately crossing back and forth between immersion
and transparency with this project. I’ll delve deeper into that later, but suffice it to say for now: there are several issues surrounding Diminish’s exact physiology that I feel compelled to share extensive insights about. I will not only explore the technical and logistical aspects of the creation of this project, but the mental and emotional.
Wherever this entry finds you — a Diminish watcher who believes it is documenting real events; a Diminish watcher who is versed about unfiction; a non-Diminish-watcher who wants to learn more about the craft; or whatever position you may be
in—I hope this may give you something positive.
Now, a timeline that led to me being here, speaking to you as the creator of a weird thing called Diminish.
Note: Though none of this document will even hint at Diminish story events past what is already uploaded, there will be spoilers for people who haven’t seen it yet.
TIMELINE OF RELEVANT THINGIES
Beginning in the late 2000s, I fell victim to the strange, nostalgic appeal of gaming creepypastas...
~2009: At some point in my high school years, YouTube recommendations silently led me toward videos detailing the stories of Pokemon Creepy Black and Pokemon Lost Silver. This resoundingly struck a unique chord I’d never felt before—yet, it felt so natural. A very specific innocent nostalgia, juxtaposed with wallowing id.
~2010: I discovered the NES Godzilla unfiction story, and my love for the format was solidified. Something about that presentation— using imaginative and skillful art to tell a visceral, unsettling story surrounding a video game which embodies familiarity—stuck with me quite powerfully. Starting here, I began a few-years tradition of diving into any gaming-related creepypasta I could sink my teeth into each autumn (Halloween season).
2013: My annual dives had led me to droves of Internet horror stories. This included Ben Drowned, which specifically delighted me with its enticing Majora’s Mask modding videos. By now, due to Slender, the indie horror game market was exploding, and so was the YouTube gaming atmosphere surrounding it. Somehow, this never directed me toward related unfiction stories like Marble Hornets. Still, I continued to explore this specific niche of nostalgic horror whenever I felt like it—not just seasonally. Horror had never appealed to me throughout my life, but I’d found a cranny that I loved.
2016: After a critical crossroads in my professional life as an advanced undergrad in theatre and music, and a dangerous climax of my major depressive disorder, I took advantage of my fortunate support situation, dropping everything in my life to begin pursuing my dreams as a “big shot” solo game developer. Around 14 hours daily, for a full year, I trained rigorously and relentlessly in visual art, 2D animation, music composition, and writing. It felt like ceaseless blissful catharsis each day.
I pumped out endless oceans of assets for ridiculously ambitious video game projects, and I was dead set on releasing them in their current state once they were complete. Unbeknownst to me, I was dealing untold damage to my health. I told myself the entire time that if I was truly so passionate—so in love with the craft—then I would never burn out, nor experience a single negative moment. The main holy grail that kept me going: a burning yearning for a fandom, that I could celebrate my worlds and characters with.
Early 2017: One nagging concern was finally interrupting the nonstop euphoria of creating. Due to my lifelong interest in IPs like Sonic The Hedgehog and Star Fox, my own IPs frequently involve the colorful presence of anthropomorphic animal characters. Culture had, of course, always sneered at “furries”, but it seemed that this was now spiraling out of control. “Furry” seemed to be becoming synonymous with the Salem “witch”, being one of the prime scapegoats of perceived wrongs in society, and one of the easiest targets for finger-pointing and superiority complex. Even acknowledging the existence of an animal character would invite attack; assumption of the “most severe” involvement in “depravity.”
And I realized: if I DO achieve my dreams and share my worlds with countless people, this will forever invade my experiences — simply for having an innate, inconsequential interest. I spent countless daily hours fretting about this.
Keep in mind that no such things had happened often to me yet. This is just how invasively paranoid I am about everything. (If it helps shed any light: I’m also diagnosed with anxiety disorder and bipolarism.)
Late 2017: I began making prototypes in the Godot Engine, despite having little to no knowledge about putting full games together. By now I was participating in more and more art and game dev communities, receiving invaluable insight and compassion from all (shoutouts to Alonso Martin and the Heart Forth Alicia community, Azure Lazuline and Raibys, Jetrel, and many others). All of them imparted heartfelt personal experiences and wisdoms that spelled dark omens for every single thing I believed about my process and my future. Through desperate mental gymnastics, I told myself I could still do things my way because I was unnaturally special; an imperceptible genius.
End of 2017: Petscop 11 was released. This prompted a dear friend—an existing Petscop fan, who I will refer to as “H”—to share it, thus causing me to see Petscop for the first time. Petscop became immediately both a comforting pastime and a formative experience. Not only were my past predilections with multimedia gaming creepypasta revived in earnest, but Petscop was something entirely different to me—a culmination beyond comprehension.
Each time a new episode aired, I would drop everything to watch. And I would eagerly await the next Nightmare Masterclass video on the series.
2018: 18 months of constant, unbroken work finally caused a catastrophic burnout. I was worried that I’d forever killed my hunger for creating art. And even then, I felt I barely had anything to show for it—I had no tangible products to offer, and the quality of everything I’d created had become grotesquely obsolete due to my gradually improving skills. Still, I continued to prototype stories and train in each art field whenever I had the stamina.
2018-2020: Thanks to H, I accessed and consumed more original-game-related unfiction works (“TGIF”s/“This Game I Found”s): AI Builds, Illusion Lock, House Of Aberdeen, and—non-TGIF—Local 58.
Through this period in my overall life, I became progressively (at times, sharply) more disillusioned with humanity, which completely metamorphosed my storytelling voice. As a result, most of my initial stories lost their core hold with me, and even new stories were feeling incredibly difficult to pin down, due to my constantly-moving internal targets. Not to mention... I was suffering more and more intensely from TooManyStoriesIWantToMakeSomeday-itis.
Thankfully though: I also found flexible employment, and my support system remained immovably and emphatically incredible, and thus I still had practically a lifetime to feel this out. However: mounting and accelerating mortal dread, along with the knowing stare of realism, caused me to truly face the realization that—as is often the case with so many—I may never achieve my dreams in this lifetime. I was (and am) not unnaturally special; not an imperceptible genius. I am one in anyone. This “realization” was many things, but most of all, eventually freeing. As lingering and painful as it was, this was a very very good thing.
October 16, 2020: H shared AdamButcher’s explosively popular and very-well-made Catastrophe Crow “video essay” with me. This whole “TGIF” thing was really blossoming into something undeniable. With each new entry in this incredibly peculiar phenomenon of a subgenre, conversations between me and H became more and more thoughtful about its landscape, scope, and future. This night’s conversation meandered into me finally musing — for the first serious instance — on what my own TGIF might be like, if I ever tried making one myself. As I spewed to H via stream of consciousness, it came to life:
A person named Will plays a video game, presented in the form of a loose Let’s Play. The game was made specifically for him. Pretty standard TGIF brickwork so far. But this time, it’s a precision platformer — a “rage game” — and Will is clearly trying to be an entertainer for a potential wider audience.
I wanted to make a TGIF that could capture the appeal that allures so many millions of people (and me) to Let’s Play channels, watching the likes of The Game Grumps and Markiplier fail over and over and over and over and over and over at progressing.
The gooey center: the game was made by the player’s sister, Teddy. She made the game while terminally ill, to leave behind for her brother. Every moment he spends playing the game is another moment spent with her beyond death.
After one hour, I’d suddenly stumbled upon an actual project conceit — not only that, but it would only land correctly if it involved the bare minimum of work. For once in my life, I had an idea that wasn’t far too ambitious for me to tackle.
Thus, in that uncanny lightning strike born of the friction between whimsy and timeliness, Diminish was born.
Note, at this point, that I had never even come into contact with a bona-fide ARG. By the time Diminish aired and long after, I had still never even heard the term “unfiction” before.
That is the unfathomable degree to which I had no f**king clue what I was getting myself into.
Project Building Begins
October 26, 2020: This was the day I created the @DiminishGame Twitter account. This was the moment I committed. I told myself I wasn’t going to turn back once I began publishing. I was going to start a project, and I was going to finish it. Even if H and I were the only ones to ever lay eyes on it, I wanted to prove to myself that I could see something through.
By now, in-game player character Apollo’s design had been finalized, and their animations had been swiftly doodled. The in-game protagonist for Diminish originally was going to be an elf-like humanoid figure, but it didn’t quite click when I started doodling drafts. Once I shifted gears toward a monster-like anthropomorphic character, things felt more cartoonishly intuitive in a way that immediately resonated. Even more importantly, I was able to justify getting rid of clothing design, thus COLOSSALLY simplifying every single aspect of work on Apollo that followed. It is impossible to describe just how crucial that decision was for making the workload feasible.
Apollo’s final design then happened almost instantly, because I decided to base it on the main protagonist from my first original project after shifting priorities in 2016. Another point of inspiration was Ori (from Ori And The Blind Forest and its sequel), though Apollo’s features quickly became less cutesy, and more jarring.
There was only a general sense of the greater story arc, and a plan for the events of the early episodes. But due to Diminish’s minimalism, this was enough for me to be doing serious work on the series. Hilariously, Diminish was being created instantly with
first-draft assets; the foundation of my emphatically doomed early projects.
Note: I included my @SeireaSong Twitter link in the @DiminishGame bio right from the very beginning. I’d hoped that this conspicuous, yet never-explained, door to the real world would help make the reality of my creator status blend more naturally with the unfiction status of the work. I knew that this sort of project would cause an overt reveal of myself as the creator to go over... poorly. Even though this method was overt in a sense, it was less so, in a way that felt slightly more correct. My struggle with this issue will be explored more later (DON’T YOU WORRY).
Before we go on, allow me to detail my creation tools, and some other technical/personal information that may be relevant.
-Programs I used-
All of Diminish is created entirely by me.
SPRITE ART/ANIMATION: Aseprite
My longtime experience as an acrobat (a sport called tricking — John Franks (Seriea) TRICKING // Low Tide) has been absolutely critical in my animation skills. It has given me an understanding of the body I never would’ve gained quite the same way. The animation in Diminish, so far, has been an exercise in covering up all of my countless deficiencies as a fledgling animator by relying on my better points.
RASTER ART: Clip Studio Paint
Visual art has possibly been my most diligent grind since 2016. If you haven’t heard it from other artists, let me tell you: the journey of improving at visual art is like climbing a mountain made of jagged diamonds while violent earthquakes suddenly break out at intervals. Meanwhile, people either gently tell you that you don’t look bloody at all (as your innards splash messily across the diamond terrain), or they have some seething problem with your work which may or may not be relevant to your progress. You better be ready to be introspective...but also, the right support system means absolutely everything.
VIDEO EDITING: Sony Vegas (a friend’s, for very certain micro-renders), Sony Movie Studio 17.0 Platinum (mine)
Again, my longtime experience with making tricking videos was the pivotal key in developing editing skills (which, so far in Diminish, have usually been only lightly needed).
MUSIC PRODUCTION: FL Studio 12 (Producer Edition)
Through the years, I’ve scoured the Internet and nabbed every and any free/open source soundfonts and VSTs I could find. I also often use FL’s built-in sound generators, like MiniSynth.
Music composition is what I’d consider to be one of my two deepest strengths as a creator. Music is the thing I’ve been involved in for the longest, and therefore my longest-cultivated study and skill (though this does NOT automatically denote quality and/or expertise). Like my other self-perceived strength detailed below, I have always felt a strong connection to music and its creation, making it a much more natural thing to pursue in regimented fashion. (Music, above all else, is something I am OVERWHELMINGLY affected and molded by.)
So far, music in Diminish is mainly ambient in nature, and much of it was produced in short single sessions. A major exception is To Be The Sun, which was created from start to finish in...two weeks? Can’t remember exactly. Sometimes, original tunes will take me months to nail down, and I’ve been gestating on certain ones (non-Diminish related) for three or more years.
GAME DEVELOPMENT: Godot Engine (3.2.3)
Programming is by far my weakest skill in this realm of work. Godot provides a wealth of built-in tools that immensely assist in manifesting so many of my specific desires. Its programming language, GDScript, is very Python-like, which gels best with my very unintuitive coding brain.
My code is about as efficient as a car’s fuel tank, if it were running on liquidized museum artifacts mixed with caviar.
VOICE AUDIO EDITING: Audacity, video editing programs
I mainly just use Audacity’s Limiter function to balance the voice audio so everything is equally discernible. When that doesn’t quite do the trick, I meticulously and manually adjust very small segments of the audio in video editing. This is where obsessive compulsion can take over a bit too much.
WRITING: Usually happens on-the-fly in Godot, but otherwise, Google Docs
Writing is, I think, the second of my previously mentioned main strengths. Though (god I swear this is just for context and not a weird flex) Language Arts was my best subject in school and I was an award winner in writing competitions, I was NOT a naturally gifted creative writer as an adult. Despite my initial thoughts to the contrary, my early attempts at scripts in 2016 and 2017 were……………...lacking. Though I had many good teachers, H was — and is — my greatest mentor in maximizing my voice. H is a powerfully skilled writer, emotionally brilliant person, and hopeless weirdo. All in all, a good influence.
Diminish, with its holistic nature of being an off-the-cuff creation, embodies that nature hardly moreso than in the writing process. Very very often, my long-planned stories become caught in the flytrap of my sensibilities forever oscillating and globulating, and Diminish is the antithesis to that. The writing in Diminish is built from various stages of planning, ranging from a few weeks of thought to absolute spontaneity. It is raw, indulgent, and very very VERY personal. It is me, as I hope my works always will be — not just this one. But more than that, it is them — it is Teddy. It is Apollo. It is Justin. It is what they want to say.
Will’s speech is almost never scripted. Will is almost always just...me talking. In the moment; on the spot. As Will, I’ve only ever spoken premeditated words twice so far: the series’ opening monologue before Will presses Start, and the revelation in [Diminish - A1, E10] of Teddy and her fate. Often, how I describe Will’s self in relation to mine is: our personalities and musings are almost exactly the same in many regards, but our life events converge and diverge in something of a sine wave.
-Equipment I used-
MICROPHONE: Audio-Technica - AT2020 USB
DRAWING TABLET: UGEE UG-1910B
I use the drawing tablet for raster art in Clip Studio Paint. For sprite work in Aseprite, I use my mouse. If I’m REALLY itching to do sprite work on the road, I use the laptop touchpad...not recommended.
H is the first person to see anything that I create that is Diminish-related (and, usually, my creations in general). Very occasionally, their feedback will cause me to actually adjust the contents of an episode (twice so far). So, you might say that H is my Editor!
Launching the Project
October 31, 2020: This was the day I’d wanted the first episode to air. Things weren’t ready yet, but I compromised by slapping together a pilot video, creating the Diminish YouTube channel, and uploading the pilot Unlisted. It served to benchmark a very expedited version of what ended up being episodes 1-4, and allowed me and H to sit with the tone and feel of what I’d created. We decided I was on the right path.
As a result, I didn’t really create any new assets (for this initial part), but merely expanded on the level design... which ended up MASSIVELY changing the original plan for everything, as I inevitably struggled to make any progress at all when playing the game.
I allowed this. I allowed Diminish to be everything it wanted to be. I relished in the resulting process of adapting to its needs.
November 7, 2020: Diminish Act 1, Episode 1 was released publicly on YouTube. I created a Reddit account (PlayingDiminish) so I could share it on the r/creepygaming board. I decided that venue, for the time being, to be my only main method of promoting the work. Aside from a Discord alias account made to silently admire the Discord fan server, I have not created any alt accounts in relation to this work
at all—the only Diminish accounts are the official ones on YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit. So, aside from the early Reddit posts, I left the promotion and spread of Diminish entirely to the winds of fate (with other very occasional exceptions; more on that later). Every single Diminish sentiment you see posted from a non-Diminish account (except Seirea accounts), good or bad, is from an actual separate party.
November 8, 2020: Diminish’s first episode gained modest, but surprising, viewership from the subreddit. I checked in on the post every half-hour-ish at work. Couldn’t help myself at all. I felt like I was dancing in the corner of the stage as my favorite act was performing, and any eyes I saw in my direction afforded me a unique validation. 90+ upvotes was a stunning reception to me. The visibility had already far exceeded my expectations.
November 14, 2020: The YouTube channel Unus Annus ended its year-long experiment, vividly exploring the human relationship with life and death. With Mark Fischbach’s parting sentiments passionately reiterating his plea to commit to goals while one still can, I felt decidedly reassured in my first steps, and more motivated than ever to keep going.
November 23, 2020: Diminish 2 through 4 had been released. I’d continued my habit of sharing them immediately via PlayingDiminish on r/creepygaming, then on the DiminishGame Twitter. My first subscribers were rolling in, and occasional comments and conversations were popping up. They were doing it! They were addressing Diminish!
Response seemed mostly positive, though my pathological worry about silent hatred seeped into my mind as usual. Mostly though, I was deeply enjoying the novelty of making the project, and the thrill of it actually being public.
~December 2-5, 2020: A thread about Diminish had started on another small subreddit, r/thegameifound. A user commented on the thread, expressing the desire to make a Discord server for discussion and fandom. Soon after, sure enough, they posted an invite link (thank you, MagicAce). I immediately created an alias account and joined. This was one of the first truly surreal and sublime streaks of blinding sunlight—a total stranger had just created a fan server. There was no telling if a single other person would ever join, but a key part of my dreams suddenly felt very corporeal.
I then, after receiving the okay from MagicAce, posted the open invite in Diminish video descriptions. I had no intention of being modest about how badly I wanted to see a fandom form around the fruits of my imagination and labor.
Under my alias account, I have endeavored to very rarely discuss Diminish itself, and leave such things entirely to the untarnished genesis of free thought in others.
December 16, 2020: Episodes 5 through 7 had been released. Incredibly, people were already trickling into the Discord server, very excited about and invested in the series. On a whim, I made one of the first “extra content” Twitter posts, briefly showing some extra sound effects. I delighted in the immediate ensuing response from the fans. It was hitting me — these were fans, and my dream of having a fandom had come true.
But also, a nagging thought sobered such a concept. With Diminish being presented as an unfiction, I faced the cold fact that no matter what happened with this project, it may never translate into the dreams I had for ME, Seirea. Even though I still had no idea what unfiction was yet, I did have Petscop as my main example. And Petscop never directly tied itself to Tony, its mostly silent creator. Despite things like my own Twitter linked in the DiminishGame Twitter bio, I was beginning to wrangle with the biting discomfort of desperately wishing I could enjoy my creation with my fans. The thing that drove me to commit to the path of a creator in the first place.
But with Diminish, I didn’t know if I ever should.
December 20, 2020: Diminish 8 was released. This episode was created—thus steering the story—based on a viewer’s suggestion on an action to take within the game. I wanted to maintain that loose connection to the “real world” when I saw suggestions that presented perfect opportunities to augment the core of the story. This happened to be such a case, and it was the right time to implement it.
I quickly, though too late, began to have major misgivings with the voice work in the ending sequence. Then I realized—this format presented a unique opportunity to solve that problem, and it would even play as part of the story.
So, I took down Diminish 8 and replaced it with a version without the voice work I hated. I spun the reasoning totally in-world, using it to further characterize Will (the protagonist) and build more tension toward the eventual mid-Act reveal. This was one of MANY instances where totally unplanned things accidentally supplemented the story.
Of course, at that time, the Diminish community was chiefly made up of experienced unfiction fans. They wasted not even one second, managing to preserve the original upload and archive it for posterity. Unfiction fandom is terrifyingly powerful. Contrary to the fears of the fans in the server, I was absolutely thrilled that they achieved this. My reaction in the server (under my alias) was one of very genuine admiration.
December 25, 2020: Diminish 9 was released. Because I’d never planned the events of Diminish 8 which led to this episode, it continues to delight me that my current favorite episode in the series was completely off-the-cuff.
Beginning the series, I wasn’t truly sure when the major revelation behind Will and Teddy would be finally explored. Diminish 9 happened to be the moment.
I believe the impromptu groundwork-laying of Diminish’s eventual arc was one of the best ways to proceed. Looking back, I’d never do it any other way. It was so unabashedly me—so unabashedly Diminish—and nothing stopped that from happening.
And Diminish 9 showed that people actually were okay with that. It was a turning point in the series for many. It will never become less impactful for me to see people experience Diminish 9 for the first time.
And I was finally almost ready to share the next platforming gameplay section. At least... I thought I was. Because there was absolutely nothing that could’ve prepared me for the psychological war that hellish stage would wage on me.
December 27, 2020: I finished a Naulsheet for Apollo, and shared the results in the form of Giftscop gameplay (Giftscop is a fan recreation of the fictional video game seen in Petscop, and a Naulsheet allows players to use custom graphics for the player character). Following this, I saw far less than favorable opinions of Diminish in the Giftscop Discord server. Here I learned that the presentation of Diminish as a TGIF didn’t gel with many fans of the most popular TGIF — the one which the term “TGIF” was lovingly coined for. I struggled with this emotionally.
I also learned that seeing people reject Diminish had more of an inherent effect on me, compared to rejections of other things I’ve done.
Because Diminish isn’t just a product to me.
Diminish IS me.
Will’s personality is almost exactly mine. Teddy’s dripping feelings about the world are exactly how I feel.
(Short aside: I’m obviously deeply biased, but if you feel compelled to make your work SO personal that it’s basically a self-study, don’t let the feverish Internet fad of denouncing “self-inserts” hold you back from your catharsis.)
When people reject Diminish, they are seeing me in my most detailed, soulful form, and dismissing me. Most of the time, their reasoning is absolutely confounding and baseless. Other times, it isn’t.
I know that people, creators especially, are supposed to just let that sort of thing roll off the shoulders. As a creator, one of the most important things about the art created is that it means something different to everyone. Everyone. Not only is that unavoidable, but it can be the ultimate thing that makes art what it is.
But despite spending a lifetime trying to get better at this, I still completely shut down when faced with bad faith actors, whether they are targeting me or not. It crushes me. It ruins my emotional state for hours; even days or more. Very few of the coping tools I’ve been taught to use for decades seem to actually do the trick.
Seeing the disgust from Giftscop users was the first event in the now-eternal project of dealing with negative reactions to Diminish, and to me. It was a miracle that it took this long before I had to face it in this context.
There will be more on this topic to come.
January 1, 2021: The fandom for Diminish had reached a size that prompted me to try the YouTube premiering system for new episodes. So, Diminish 10 premiered for around 12 viewers. I enjoyed this very very much.
I resolved to keep premiering videos, setting up a day’s waiting period before each premiere so that the fandom could be properly informed, and to foster some interest.
January 2, 2021: Diminish 11 premiered. This was another turning point for viewers. Teddy’s Soup Of The Day writing passages had already been ways for me to air out very intimate things. With Diminish 9 and 10 finally leaving no question as to Teddy’s fate, the entry in Diminish 11 let her anger boil hotter. I allowed her to say things I didn’t feel I could.
Viewers continue to cite the Soup Of The Day in Diminish 11 as a pivotal point in the series for them. The moment they truly felt heard.
Not everyone agrees.
Many people despise Teddy. They see her as disgustingly, irredeemably pretentious.
My rage at this takeaway informed a character moment for Will at the very end of Diminish’s first act.
I decided that I would continue to do this with Diminish.
Diminish was intended, from the very beginning, NOT to be some literary masterpiece; some well-behaved, mild-mannered safe shot that ticks all the boxes of “correct” storytelling.
Diminish was intended, from the very beginning, to be a practice project, and to be a therapeutic coping tool for myself.
Every decision I make with the series is staying true to this. And I will endeavor to stay that course, no matter how decisively it will not resonate with all people.
This resolve was about to be tested.
January 6, 2021: The attack on the U.S. Capitol. Another reminder about everything the human race embodies which makes me feel unsure that we can survive amongst ourselves. The Weltschmerz was suffocating me.
January 7, 2021: I made Diminish 14 to survive.
It is not really a “political piece”, but it is unrelenting and crude commentary about my feelings regarding the human race. It caused mixed reactions from the outset.
January 12, 2021: I recorded Diminish 15, 16, and 17 all in one session. At the time, I had no idea how many videos the recording session would actually produce. All I knew was that I had just spent 6 hours of my life playing my stupid rage game, and I didn’t even know if I’d ever be able to publicly take credit for it myself.
That recording session brought things out in me that I hadn’t planned as a part of this experience. To that point, the act of me recording Diminish gameplay had been a fairly straightforward and fun process. Even when I started failing relentlessly at the game, becoming inevitably frustrated, things never got out of hand.
Until that six hour session.
Recently in my life, many moments have made me painfully, horrifyingly aware of my deep-seated anger issues. I was not planning for them to flare while I recorded Diminish episodes.
Throughout the recording segment that ended up being the first half of Diminish 17, I was experiencing profound discomfort as I battled a part of myself I’d prefer to not exist.
This is partially why Diminish has become such a miracle for me.
Because whether or not I want that part of me to exist, it does. And it is a significant part of me.
Through Will, that dreaded part of me has now taken center stage in a widely-viewed narrative piece. And it meant something more than just “I threw another tantrum and everything sucks.” It was highly effective for the story.
And so, I accidentally ended up with a tangible piece of evidence that my anger can be contextualized in ways which are not only healthy, but oddly beautiful.
If you want to make art, please try it. There’s no telling how much good it can do — not just for others, but for you. And not in ways that you can predict.
January 16, 2021: Diminish 15 and 16 had premiered. At this point, I decided to stop posting them to r/creepygaming. It simply felt as though that time had passed. A self-sustaining Diminish community had materialized, and I didn’t know if the moderators in r/creepygaming were ever thrilled with content like Diminish being shared there.
Full responses to Diminish 14 had properly materialized. Almost everyone was unsettled. Plenty of people adored it. Many were okay with it, to a degree.
Some people were outraged, believing the references to real tragedies (or, simply, the inclusion of the imagery in general) to be insensitive, or that not enough warning was given. That the execution lacked tact or thoughtfulness. I am reverent of this.
Many people believed that the episode was a “cheap” attempt at “shock factor”.
I made the episode to survive.
People don’t have to care about that. I don’t have to care about them.
Though I wish that were possible for me.
Or maybe I shouldn’t wish so. It seems futile, at this point, to fight the core of what I have always been—a hopeless people-pleaser.
I am allowing the cognitive dissonance between that and my misanthropy to paint the odd, nonsensical colors of this series. Diminish is my amateur painting depicting the odd, nonsensical world we inhabit... the way I see it.
I encourage you to allow your creations to do the same.
January 18, 2021: David Stockdale, creator of the YouTube channel Nightmare Masterclass, watched the first several episodes of Diminish on a livestream.
All of the miracles I’d been fantasizing about since 2016 (and well before) were materializing.
I’d been amplified by a prominent platform that I’d already gained emotional attachment with. I was able to see his own live reactions and takeaways.
Diminish was experiencing immediate exponential growth.
Thus began five of the most unbelievable months of my life.
January 20, 2021: Another Nightmare Masterclass livestream. It was mostly bliss once again. Mostly.
Some bad faith actors were being loud as ever, but one moment stood out. A user cited a DiminishGame Tweet, where I had screenshotted a jovial moment in the Discord server, blurring out some of the text to protect the server members’ privacy. The user claimed in the Nightmare Masterclass chat that the blurred-out text was the Discord members referencing NSFW fan content, and that I was thus promoting NSFW. When others asked if this was true, the person doubled down, parading it as confirmed fact. Another chatter chimed in saying “I f***king knew it. Typical furry trash.”
The blurred text was not referring to NSFW. NSFW is not allowed in the Diminish server in any capacity, and it never was.
The human mind is a humorless circus.
January 22, 2021: I had rendered three drafts of Diminish 17. A deliriously long episode, with every single second of the video constantly double-checked to make sure nothing was wrong.
It was absolutely exhausting. But this one had to be right.
I had legitimately no idea just how much this would pay off. That was true before, of course. But this was different.
January 23, 2021: Diminish 17 premiered to more than 200 live viewers.
I watched the entire thing with them, living and dying with every single message in the chat.
Afterward, Tony—the creator of Petscop—promoted Diminish on his Twitter.
Upon the release of the “season climax” of Diminish, the series’ main inspiration let us know that he saw it and liked it.
I almost don’t remember the rest of the night, because I was barely conscious amidst the fumes of validation.
January 24, 2021: I woke up to the first publicly released fan art of Apollo.
Later that day, popular artist Pseudonym Jones released her own.
Diminish was exploding, and people were gushing with what it meant to them, unfiltered and unrestricted.
It was too much.
I’d spent years working almost entirely out of the hope that one day, I’d be able to celebrate my creations with their appreciators. Having finally made something where fans emerged in droves, it felt a cruel twist that Diminish itself seemed incompatible with that wish. Unfiction, at least thus far, seemed a venue where consumers preferred total separation between the world of the work and the world outside the work. It seemed more prudent for creators to remain in the shadows.
That night, at least to a certain degree, I decided I was incompatible with the shadows.
I livestreamed as the creator of Diminish, on my SeireaSong YouTube account. I made no indication of this at all via Diminish’s platforms. But people who had followed the SeireaSong link in the bio now had no more reason to wonder. It was no longer a potential key to a puzzle. SeireaSong was the account for Diminish’s actual creator, and he was peeling the curtain back.
They poured in when the stream started.
It was perfect.
Of all of the decisions I’ve made regarding Diminish, that one might be the best.
January 27, 2021: On a whim, I made a post on my Facebook account. I decided to—on this regular account with my real name—talk about Diminish, and offer it to people around me. It had a mild response.
This is one of the only times I actually promoted Diminish as myself, unprompted.
Very rarely in random conversation, a natural situation will arise where the only logical thing to do is to explain that I’m making a webseries. Speaking from the present: a few days ago, a conversation in a small Twitch chat led me into referencing the Diminish community indirectly. This invited curiosity from the others about what this community was for. I explained Diminish, which caused one of the chatters to immediately check it out, and become a powerful fan.
When it comes to promoting your series... I think it’s going to be something you really have to feel out. What type of project are you making? ARG? Petscop-like TGIF? A more traditional story? What platforms are it hosted on? What type of media is it? What is the feel and intent of your work?
Ask yourself questions from every angle, and come up with honest answers. The work itself should inform you whether or not certain methods of promotion will be intuitive for it.
But it’s not easy. And, as with any endeavor ever...luck is absolutely paramount. As—going back to the timeline—I was finding out.
January 29, 2021: I premiered the Diminish Act 1 soundtrack. Again, more than 200 people were around before all was said and done.
I released it on Bandcamp, again on a SeireaSong account. Another quiet avenue in which I revealed myself without really making it known. Most people did not peek behind the drapes. But they enjoyed the music, and I enjoyed the realization of another longtime dream: watching people gush in the comments section of one of my soundtracks.
February 9, 2021: I premiered the actual finale to Diminish’s first Act, where Will explored more suggestions on actions he should take in the game. The episode culminated in the hardest-hitting Soup Of The Day yet, and a huge emotional soliloquy from Will—again, unscripted.
It was a release of months of pent-up fury after seeing the condemnations of Teddy’s personality and morality. But not just as her creator. It was a personal payoff I never anticipated before the series began.
At first, I didn’t identify it for what it was—that feeling whenever people disparaged her. Only now, in this retrospective moment, does it seem likely why I felt that way.
I was feeling what Will felt. I was feeling his intimacy with her goodness, and his cosmic wrath at the sight of her memory being defecated on. I was feeling the agony of his love.
When I erupted into the microphone at the end of Episode 18, as much as I was standing up for myself, I was standing up for Will’s baby sister.
When your project requires acting, do not be afraid of your Given Circumstances. Especially when they’re tearing you apart. To a point, of course —take care of yourself. Always listen to your health while you’re listening to your characters.
With that, I was both full and drained. I was in a strange, vindicated peacefulness. I knew what I wanted for Act 2, and I knew it required immense (relative, for this series) periods of inactivity and breathing room.
So I rested. In repose, I sat in the aftermath. I continued to livestream, relishing in the company of people who loved what I’d created. Trying not to enjoy the adoration too much, even though that’d been my main motivator in life ever since it began.
I now had the opportunity to spend time each night with people who truly, truly wanted to be putting their attention on me for extended periods of time. I’d spent the last several years unwilling to talk about myself—about anything I cared about—for fearing that listeners didn’t truly care, and I that would be only an annoyance. In fact, for much of my life, I felt as though I never truly had a social avenue in which I could care about the things I truly cared about, as intensely as I cared about them.
Everything felt different now. Armed with my ceaseless self-deprecating self-awareness (juxtaposed with stunning obliviousness), and a drive to prevent the promotion of unhealthy parasocial connections, I did casual streams as Seirea basically every day—sometimes multiple times per day.
March 14, 2021: After learning about the existence of the Night Mind YouTube channel and the Night Mind Index, I was touched by the obvious dedication and compassion for the craft and those involved. I created a submission for Diminish to be included in the Night Mind Index, and emailed it to Nick Nocturne.
And this was when I learned what unfiction is! Hooray for Seirea!
March 22, 2021: Nick Nocturne responded with a warm email, including a screenshot of the Diminish channel, most of the videos having been watched all the way through.
March 25, 2021: Social burnout hit me like a freight train.
Something I suppose I haven’t mentioned yet—I’m hellaciously introverted. My energy capacity for social interaction, even when I enjoy it, is indescribably small. Livestreaming is one of the best ways for me to fulfill my social needs because it affords me a large amount of control, but I found—too late—that I’d severely crossed my limits.
I’d gone too hard with the livestreams. Though I powered through all my obligations, I couldn’t even hardly look at my phone for the next few weeks, let alone engage in social connections.
Through unfortunate circumstances, this deeply hurt a new friend, and the eventual end to our friendship left me shaken and scarred.
April 14, 2021: That morning, I checked the Night Mind YouTube channel. I had a strange feeling, and somehow expected to see something. Absolutely no evidence backed up my feeling. Sure enough, no new videos.
A little while later, I received a few messages of congratulations on my SeireaSong Twitter.
I checked the Night Mind channel again. A video covering Diminish had been released moments after I’d first checked.
By a stroke of even more luck, the algorithm happened to make it a popular video on the channel.
Within days, Diminish grew to among the most widely-viewed TGIFs in the world.
It was so surreal, I was more numb than elated.
I livestreamed my first watch of the video as soon as I could. Afterward, in keeping with my tendencies, I checked the entire comment section for the Night Mind video.
This began my poor psychological adaptation to the post-Night Mind era of my new project.
April 21, 2021: People were slamming into Diminish 14 in droves. It was often not going over well. This was hitting me pretty hard. Arising were the same grievances as before, but in too strong a frequency to be able to live with. Unless I addressed it.
On my SeireaSong YouTube channel, I released a video doing just that. It wasn’t perfect, but it said some of the things I absolutely needed to say. (About Diminish - Act 1, Ep 14)
Things felt a bit better surrounding Diminish 14 after that. The video served its purpose for me. My solutions don’t often work that well. I ran with it.
Because once again:
Diminish 14 was for me.
If I might offer advice here: yes, ALWAYS be introspective about your work...about EVERYTHING. Question the morality of your choices in life and in art. Keep the well-being of others in mind.
But be true.
If people hate it, that’s fine. At least you did what you needed to do. That is not up to them.
April 28, 2021: The Night Mind video was absolutely enough to shake me out of my sleepy dormancy. I pieced together the first episode of Act 2, and premiered the contemplative entry on a hopeful spring day. The cat who stars in the series slept on the chair beside me, as an absolutely unthinkable amount of people flooded the premiere chat.
April 29, 2021: The Diminish YouTube channel crossed the 10,000 subscriber mark.
It had taken two-and-a-half months to gain 100 subscribers.
After Nightmare Masterclass, Tony, and other promoters, it had taken another three months to reach 2,200 subscribers—a number I never realistically dared to imagine I would see.
It then took 15 days to gain almost 8,000 more subscribers, thanks to the Night Mind video.
At this point, there was no denying the fact that, though this popularity was still “modest” in the grandest of schemes, this was the biggest break of my life. And the world felt as though it had opened up.
But not completely. I continued to balk at the core issue inherent with that: I probably should never link the actual Diminish YouTube account to Seirea overtly. I don’t see myself making a reveal video on the Diminish channel. Can you imagine?
And so, I wonder just how much my breakthrough project will actually break me through.
But still, I have it. And that is way more than I was starting to think I’d ever have in my lifetime.
May 19, 2021: The very popular Vietnamese YouTube channel, Phê Game, posted their own video essay on Diminish. Though I have no grasp on the language whatsoever, it was immediately obvious that the video was overwhelmingly positive.
Just like the Night Mind video, this one soared in views. It obtained hundreds of thousands within weeks.
The Diminish fandom quickly gained a sizeable Vietnamese backing.
I cannot describe how special it was to see people on the other side of the planet create a glowing endorsement of my work. Every time
I see a user with a Vietnamese name express their support, a gratifying pang of humbled surprise never fails to rise in my chest.
May 26, 2021: The Diminish channel was approved as a YouTube partner, and I began to monetize Diminish videos.
Leading up to this, I had noticed that—as was increasingly becoming the case all around YouTube—videos were becoming monetized without my consent. It was vexing, but it also prodded at thoughts I was already beginning to ponder.
Do I want to make money off of Diminish? Should I? How much would people hate that?
People were already clamoring for merchandise, though. And I didn’t feel it was healthy to deprive myself of being paid for all of my rigorous work.
But again... my main example, through this entire process, was Petscop. Petscop did not monetize.
Petscop set that precedent in people’s minds. If I monetized Diminish, people would not like it.
I went back and forth on this for a while.
Until the eureka struck.
Then and there, I resolved to submit my YouTube Partner application, planning to allocate more than half of the proceeds from Diminish videos toward charitable causes. Cancer research, suicide prevention, mental health resources—things very close to Diminish’s heart.
It was an immediate relief of a decision. It felt like the proper path. So, when confirmation came through that the channel was approved, I didn’t hesitate to set up all the ads.
At present, I have yet to send out my first round of charitable donations (I... still don’t know if my first payment has actually come through), but my conscience is very much eased.
When it comes to your project, whether it be a TGIF or not:
You really shouldn’t have to fret about this the way I did. You deserve to be compensated for your original creations. If you have the opportunity and desire, go for it.
I was just apprehensive about being the TGIF that monetized when others hadn’t. I didn’t want to be defined by that, knowing how people can be. And being my paranoid self.
But this led me to a solution that makes me feel very at peace, and could actually make a difference for others. So it seems to have worked out just fine.
Back to the timeline.
Mid-June, 2021: I was not doing well.
Run-of-the-mill community problems in the Diminish fan server invaded my daily life. I couldn’t let them go. It felt way more personal than if it happened anywhere else. I couldn’t shake the feeling of responsibility.
In general, my internalizing of bad faith actors was reaching a critical head. With the Night Mind wave (don’t get me wrong—the vast majority have been INCREDIBLY kind and adulating), it was the full monty.
Furry witch-hunters, people claiming it was a fake sob story for attention or money; people hating and attempting to harass Will for his voice, interests, and personality; people writing off the entire work as “melodramatic”; people believing it to be a rip-off of Petscop... an ongoing list that I see no need to lament on extensively.
One part of it, however, was very different. And I was struggling with this aspect most of all.
The people who were crushed, betrayed, and even scarred by the discovery that Diminish is not a true story like they believed.
I felt completely responsible and helpless. Worst of all, aimless. I felt like I had no examples to look to for guidance.
Diminish is very intimate with its viewers. It sells its appeal on its genuineness and emotional reality. An emotional reality that is, unfortunately, way too real for a lot of people out there. Diminish lured those people into its arms for protection.
And when they found out Diminish wasn’t based on true events, their reliance on the reality of that emotional connection left them alone in the cold.
By the time my birthday rolled around in mid June, I was finding it impossible to think about anything else. I was terrified for them. It felt like this would now be my legacy: the disappointment (at best) and permanent damage (at worst?) to countless unsuspecting people, into an unknowable forever.
(Remember my manic anxiety tendencies?)
This line of thought, of course, held no future for me, or for anyone. It was indescribably difficult to extricate myself from that hole, but one thought finally did the trick:
I did not have concrete guidance for facing this issue.
I will be that guidance for future creators of works like Diminish.
I plan on creating extensive resources to assist unfiction creators of emotional firestorms like Diminish. I will do my best to at least help them not feel so alone in those moments.
And again, I wasn’t alone. I never was. I had H, and I had my community. Not just Will’s—the SeireaSong community, too.
Nick Nocturne reached out as well. He knew what to say. Thanks, Nick.
June 24, 2021: I did a belated birthday celebration by watching Diminish all the way through, in one sitting, on the SeireaSong stream.
It was resoundingly, thoroughly wearying.
But quite an experience. “Surreal” is very often a relevant word in experiences like these as a creator. The harrowing trek of forcing myself to sit through the entirety of my creation was very much like a fever dream.
But there was something special fueling me to the end.
Once I finally limped to the ending of [Diminish - Act 2, Ep 1], I surprised everyone on stream by showing the two new episodes that were about to be unveiled on the official channel. And hark, [A2, E2] and [A2, E3] went live.
It was fun. I saved a clip of the moment when chatters realized what was happening, so that I can keep their joy close forever.
June 25, 2021: [Diminish - Act 2, Ep 4] came out.
I noticed some unrest stirring in reaction to a certain event in that episode.
I was ready.
June 26, 2021: Unrelated to the specific event just mentioned regarding [A2, E4]—I released another video on the SeireaSong channel, serving a similar purpose to the Diminish 14 address. This one approached all the people negatively affected by finding out Diminish is not a “real story”. (Is Unfiction Fake? | Diminish: A Lament, An Example)
A point I cover in that video, I will also share with you here. It may serve as a bit of creative advice.
If you are making art to its fullest potential, it is going to be real as f**k.
By that, I don’t mean it will be nonfiction. I mean, it’s going to be so alive with you and your experiences, there is no other correct way to look at it than to call it real.
Do not hesitate to be honest in your work. Do not hesitate to bleed.
It will hurt so much more when people hate it.
It will mean so much more when they don’t.
July 20, 2021: I was in another period of dormancy. Diminish was resting. It wasn’t being as quick to tell me what it wanted to do next.
I let it sleep on the surface, checking in now and then. Fan art continued to pour in. I was antsy about people’s antsiness, and still hurting deeply at all the aforementioned pains, but also...sitting under my own vine, a moment alone in the sun.
July 25, 2021: I posted a sketch of Teddy on the Diminish Twitter and YouTube Community Tab. The Olympics were abuzz with swimming heats, and Will was thinking of his sister. I decided not to hold back with Will’s creative branches. He wanted to make a drawing, so he made a drawing. Even at this stage, I was still learning things about him. This persists.
July 29, 2021: A viewer approached me in the hopes of conducting an interview. I accepted, and had a wonderful time carrying it out. Yet another dream moment. Thank you, Rewind_Reviews.
August 4, 2021: I knew I wanted to address—within Diminish itself—the negative response to the end of [Diminish - Act 2, Ep 4] from the moment that episode aired. But it would be a very delicate thing to play.
After dozens of lengthy attempts at recording Will’s ramble (Will was absolutely telling the truth about that) and several conferences with H, I finally released [Diminish - Act 2, Ep 5].
This episode really nailed down what Act 2 is looking to explore, continuing the themes of Act 1 in a different way. Without unpacking that too much, I’ll just say that Will is playing his own rage game in his head, and he has been his entire life. Just as I, and many of us, have.
Act 2 hardly feels like a departure, or an experimental direction, to me. Unlike much of Diminish, it was part of the plan from the beginning. In truth, it is an utter departure in action and feel from Act 1. And I know that it will likely be a divisive talking point among fans long past the end of the series. That’s okay.
While I said Act 2 doesn’t feel like an experimental direction, it is, in some ways, an experiment—much like all of Diminish is. Act 2 is running many tests, and the responses it’s been receiving are incredibly illuminating.
To be honest, I’ve been utterly floored by the understanding, patience, maturity, empathy, and compassion that the overwhelming majority of viewers have demonstrated during Act 2.
Thing is, they were doing it during the entirety of Act 1 as well. I cannot even begin to describe just how many people bared their souls, and poured out every detail of their most horrendous losses—the darkest parts of their lives—in comments of Diminish videos. I don’t think I’ve ever been so consistently humbled and honored to watch as strangers lined up before me (Will, I guess), draining their hearts of all secrets and emotions, and giving them to me as gratitude for how much Diminish helped them. Hundreds upon hundreds of people, tearing their still-beating hearts out of their chest, presenting them to the world as proof they survived.
Even then, Act 2 has been a whole other level. Because Act 2 has separated Will from his platform. Act 1 saw people enjoy his gameplay personality, and the story of his life and love. Act 2 has seen them embrace him as a human being—to care about him, and him alone.
It is one of the most faith-bringing and horrifying things I’ve ever seen.
I can only pray this doesn’t intensify any possible catastrophe once people learn of Diminish’s status as unfiction.
But for now, I see it for what it is.
People in Act 1 came together to lift up a fellow person and each other, and celebrated entertainment, while others were there just for puzzles and action.
People in Act 2 are coming together to lift up a fellow person and each other, and they hardly care about anything else at all.
I am in awe—not of what I created. I am in awe of everything else.
It is actually pretty good medicine for a misanthropist.
August 9, 2021: A viewer was posting vague comments on my “Is Unfiction Fake?” SeireaSong video, clearly distressed—clearly having just been betrayed by The Discovery.
I reached out tentatively. It eventually led to a few hours where I allowed them to lament freely in a voice call as I listened in, not participating in voice myself.
This may sound strange, and in a way, it was. I don’t think I should ever recommend creators doing the same. But the situation felt important enough that I couldn’t not give them this space.
This instance happened to not contain red flags. It led to an incredibly illuminating flood of perspective.
If not for this call, I might never have reached the cathartic understanding of why this person was so justifiably hurt; why they were literally mourning what felt like the deaths of people they thought were real. Reasoning that likely weighs on the hearts of so many who were—or will be—saddened by the discovery.
The conversation ended with mutual admiration and resonant acceptance, despite our knowingness of there being no real solution to the pain on both sides. It was pretty great.
I am now better equipped to face this issue than I ever was. I am very grateful to that viewer.
September 2, 2021: Months before this date, a Diminish Discord member was banned twice for constant infractions and unacceptable behavior. This led to breathless warfare with them creating alt accounts and harassing moderators, especially one in particular.
The moderator just received a message that made them fear for their life.
The feeling of guilt and responsibility, having created the thing that created that space which led to this, seems unavoidable. No matter how illogical the feeling is, it exists.
We all have many ongoing projects.
And now, the present:
Act 2 has some twists and turns ahead.
I’ve recently had some GIGANTIC epiphanies about the characters and story, and I feel more excited than ever to play it all out. (Yes, I’m still working very much of this out as I go, and I plan for this to continue!)
Act 2 is seeing me vary my YouTube premiere decisions. I’m premiering some Diminish episodes with a waiting period, premiering others almost immediately, and not premiering others at all. Listening to Diminish’s needs.
I continue to battle fiercely with all the bad faith actors in the world, pertaining to me or otherwise. I still struggle immensely with the fear of what the consequences of Diminish will be, especially on those who are unprepared to know it’s not a true story.
I continue to feel trepidation about my desire to take Diminish past the ending of this webseries—as Seirea, the creator. But the desire will not subside. The trepidation holds steady in kind.
The Diminish YouTube channel now sits at more than 19,100 subscribers, steadily gaining more than 20 on an average day. The Diminish Twitter account nearly has 2,000 followers, and the runoff into my SeireaSong Twitter has seen it break 1K followers as well (it had a big head start before Diminish). The Diminish community has also given sizeable boosts to my SeireaSong YouTubes and Twitch.
I continue to livestream regularly—but within reason—on Twitch, still inordinately enjoying the warmth and empathy of my new community.
Funnily enough, now that I read the latter section of the Walker Creek submission, the more I realize that our advice will be at hilariously polarized odds. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and I don’t want it to be an admonishment on his standpoints. His style will click for someone, just as mine will hopefully click for someone else. After all, Walker Creek and Diminish sound like they’re setting out to achieve COMPLETELY different things.
Also, I don’t even know if the delineation of my process really counts as advice. I simply flew by the seat of my pants because I wanted to. I wanted to be led by my id. It’s just... what I did. Should you do things the same way? God, I don’t know. Often, as many of my community members well know by now, I have misgivings with presenting myself in a position of authority, saying “do this because it’s objectively right.”
More than anything, what I want to do is guide people toward actualizing their most desired selves. Cultivating their own goals, their own way.
So I hope this helps you better find all the right itches to scratch, the way you want to scratch them. And you should. You really should. The world needs it.
Because you—like me, and everyone else—are one in anyone. Which means you can do anything.
This is why I bristle when people regard me (as I once regarded myself) as a genius, or a visionary, or a meteoric talent. An early step in ostracizing yourself from achievement is by assigning it very specific qualities; very specific requirements and traits.
Achievement is not quantifiable by the image of a person, or by a person’s actions.
Achievement—greatness—is hardly definable at all.
If you have the stomach, peruse the comment sections in any social media platform where swarms of sports fanatics (that’s me!) fraternize anonymously. Much of it is wholesome and touching. But then you will always immediately see, to a ferocious degree, what happens when human beings think they know what greatness is, and how it “should” inform a “proper” worldview. It is a cartoonishly identifiable home of rampant and unapologetic—even self-heroic—cognitive dissonance. This is not unlike the unbridled empathetic failure that powers the ear-splitting mouths of many art observers... many individuals, in any situation.
You will deal with this. Understand the instances. Do not create your own. Be strong, because you can. Be weak, but mindfully.
You don’t have to listen to me. But, in the phenomena of you accessing this document and making it to these words, they exist here as undefined as any one of us—until you reach them. Their meaning to you is up to you. This applies to everything I’ve ever said, and anything I will ever say, including:
Don’t be so quick to define greatness, or goodness. Don’t be so quick to define yourselves.
Good luck, and have fun out there. Be good to yourselves, and to each other. Be a good you.