It starts like this: I follow Kim Kardashian on Instagram. No real reason, besides she’s great? I also follow Kerry Washington and Barbara Eden. No complaints.
One day last spring Kim posted a pic from a voice-over session. She was making a video game, she announced. It would be out soon. I set down my phone and stared off into the distance. If Kim is making a game, I thought, I am going to play that game.
Kim Kardashian Hollywood ("KKH" hereafter) came out a few days later. It was fun, I loved it. I figured that would be that and life would go on quietly, but then there was an article in Jezebel about how addictive KKH was. Suddenly everyone was playing or at least talking about this game.
What I liked about KKH, besides picking out outfits for my character, Kloaca, was the social aspect--seeing your friends' avatars in the restaurants and being able to buy them gifts or invite them on photo shoots or exchange romantic glances with them on dates. And I know how this sounds but in-game stuff did deepen and strengthen real-world relationships, on some level. People I only kinda knew online were having conversations with me we might not otherwise have had. I mentioned at one point I felt like KKH was on par with lj or diaryland, in terms of fostering online relationships with people you weren’t otherwise close to, and I still feel this is true.
Every month on tumblr I interview myself using questions from pre-existing interviews, for no real reason other than my brain requires projects. In July I was looking for a KKH-themed interview I could repurpose. I didn’t find one that worked but I did find a infuriating article about KKH that I really wanted to respond to. So I wrote my response to that article and then a weird thing happened, which is that people really liked it.
I’ve been writing and putting things on the internet since 1998. I have never, ever had the reaction to something I’ve written like I had with this one post about my feelings for a game by Kim Kardashian, which took me all of 15 minutes to write.
A few days later Jess Zimmerman, a writer & reporter friend from twitter, reached out, having seen my post, looking to interview guys who play KKH. I was happy to participate. I like her writing and I love KKH and I like talking about myself. Those are my bullet points. I did the interview and answered her questions very well. I forgot to ask what site she was writing this for. It turns out it was Time, which on the internet is not a big deal but for my mom, who doesn’t understand my life and is desperate for a reason to be proud of me, it was a big deal.
THEN. Someone from Huffington Post saw the Time article and asked if I would be on HuffPo Live to talk about KKH. This was a bullshit segment that basically just ripped off Jess’s article and added nothing new to the conversation. It was a huge hassle to be on their program, hanging out in a chatroom for 20 minutes before they had time for our segment, at which point they didn’t even ask any interesting questions. I mean I'm glad I did it, I like saying Yes to things, but still.
They emailed me a few weeks later to appear on another segment about something else and I was like Yeah no.
Over the past few months I’ve been messing around with a website called Wattpad. This is a fanfic clearinghouse, a social network for authors & readers. People post stories and you can Like things and Follow authors. It’s a lot of stories about One Direction and some about Teen Wolf. It generates huge amounts of traffic. It turns out people, young people, are reading stuff online?
One of their community engagement people found me after Emily Gould linked to something I wrote. She said my writing would do well there. So I signed up and posted some stories and it went OK, nothing really blew up but it was fun to find a new community online.
Then in the midst of the KKH craziness I looked to see if anyone was posting fiction about KKH. There was almost nothing. If I wanted to read KKH fanfic, apparently I would have to make it exist. I did not need another project. I supposedly have a novel I’m working on? Stop laughing. But I had an idea for a first chapter and I figured Eh, let’s just post it and see if it does anything.
I was immediately flooded with comments like OMG and PLEASE UPDATE and I CAN'T.
I hadn’t really thought past the first chapter so I sat down and outlined a few ideas and then kept writing so I kinda know what I'm doing. As of today Kim Kardashian: Trapped In Her Own Game has 12 chapters and over 30k views, which feels like a lot? Until you see Forced To Marry Zayn Malik, which has over 100k.
Emily (almost everything fun in my life lately is due to Emily (or Kim, obviously)) linked to my KKH story, which caught the eye of an editor at The Vulture, one of my favorite pop culture/TV sites. She emailed me and asked if I wanted to write for them. Yes I wanted to write for them. Did she have any ideas?
"Well," she said. "I don’t know if you’re Kim Kardashian’d out, but S1 of Keeping Up With The Kardashians is going off Netflix after this month and it’s a good opportunity to recap the season, if you’re open to that."
Kim Kardashian’d Out is not a thing that I am aware of. Of course I’m open to that.
Besides, and here is a secret which I have never told anyone: I had never seen even one episode of KUWTK, or in fact any Kardashian-related show. I never felt the need to; it would have been like watching a recruiting video when you already belong to the cult. But yes, fun, let's do this.
I don’t know if I will have more Kim Kardashian news in the future. Maybe this is enough Kim Kardashian news for one person? Maybe it’s TOTALLY NOT though. We’ll see. It is weird and amazing how one thing leads to other things. I understand this was a lot of Kim Kardashian-related news for most people though, and if you read this far I appreciate you.
The point of this email is that I liked a game and then a bunch of interesting things happened after that.
Like the things you like and keep saying Yes.