I watched a recent video about the topic of projects being "done", and I want to talk about what it means to complete a project.
I have a long history of working on "projects", and in many ways they have significantly defined my life. There's been so many, of many different types. They all have the common thread of "something I want to exist in this world does not currently exist as I need it to", and they all are things that happen over a long time span.
The project that takes most of my time right now is the eremeka project .
That project began during COVID, but also out of the circumstances of going blind due to cataracts. I had given up on my life of event promotion / activism when I became a parent. I made a choice to pick up pinball as a hobby, with all the conscious nostalgia of someone settling down in the small town they grew up in. I loved learning to repair machines and was pretty ok at solving electromechanical problems, but my eyes going bad means that era has ended.A decade+ knee deep in the pinball world, I have built up an impressive gameroom that covers all of the aesthetics I craved; from across the past 100+ years and from 3 different continents. There are a few things I have my eyes on, but it's mostly all there. The next step is getting help from friends to chase down the remaining issues any machines might have. There are 3 pins in the lineup, and 2 will some day be replaced with modern machines, but I am excited to get to the point where all I'm doing is occasionally rotating pinball machines.
The constant hunt? The planning and assembly? Done. We're now at the long tail of that project, the maintenance phase. A few more rare things on the horizon, but they will take much patience.
My goal for 2024 is to finish everything I can for the eremeka project. By 2025 I want to have processed all of the materials I've gathered and have that project to be in Maintenance Mode.
I keep discovering new stores of data, but I feel as though I am finally nearing an end of it. Eventually, some new catalogues and flyers will be uncovered and passed my way and when that happens I will be overjoyed and process the data dutifully. There are UK arcade industry magazines from the 50s+60s, and pachinko industry magazines from the 50s-80s, and if and when I get my hands on them I will tear through them and extract all of the relevant data. But the stores of data I currently have full access to is finite.
I try and approach my research with the idea that I might die tomorrow and anything I haven't shared will be lost. I am not working towards a book or a job or any kind of monetary goal here. I want to document the Japanese arcade industry to the best of my ability as a monolingual foreigner in Canada. I want to build a small arcade that celebrates the abstract sense of nostalgia I cultivate towards ball games of all types. I want to scrapbook my emotional world with mixtapes. I want to build community supports for vulnerable queer youth. I want to build a library of art that fills me with wonder. I want to build community in all of these places that feels safe, nurturing, and benevolently challenging.
I want to change my immediate world to reflect that which I could previously never find. I want to build a home for my family and friends that can withstand the bastards, if only for a while. None of this is in isolation.
The game tells you when you're done. I have faith that if I pay attention, I will know.