About a year ago, I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe with some friends, and one of them made a quip about how I’m writing a semi-autobiographical comic. He was referring to DinerDate. Up to that point I had never even considered it as autobiographical, but when I thought about it I realized just how right he was, how much of myself had seeped into DD over the years.
Two years earlier, right after the original DinerDate ended, I started writing the sequel. I chose to write something closer to my heart this time, so I moved the setting to Amsterdam and changed the tone of the narrative. I wrote about 50 strips over the next few months following the lives of a group of friends, but it felt like something was missing so I left it to gestate and decided that I could probably only ever finish it if I moved to Amsterdam myself. Back then I was still living with my parents and had no plans of moving until I finished college.
Cut to today, my senior year, I have now lived in Amsterdam 8 months running. I hadn’t planned on it but the opportunity just sort of presented itself. And what’s more, I find what I had written all those years ago to be frighteningly accurate to what I have experienced here so far.
For one, I wrote about a foreign exchange student moving in at the start of the story; next thing I end up with roommates that regularly host foreign travellers. I actually met two travellers who are not even that dissimilar from the character I wrote. There have even been times where I found myself uttering lines from a few strips verbatim in real life. Those were surreal moments, where it felt like I was living what I wrote.
It’s been an amazing experience so far, but it also worries me; I don’t want DD turning into some sort of twilight version of my life. Luckily there are still plenty of differences. But right now I gotta focus on graduating first (one month to go!), after that I’m jonesin’ to get back into the webcomics game.