Let’s Play

It has been far too long. I promise that will be the last time I write that on here. Fortunately, I do have things to say.

Mostly, I’ve been writing for myself. When are you not, you might ask. Well, let’s be more specific: I have been writing in my notebook and none of it has been fiction or poetry. It has been purely for cathartic purposes. Not a shooting up, but a shooting out. If I don’t get a euphoric sparkle or some kind of cleansing, I don’t bother with my scribbling. I throw my pen like a dart at the window.

Book food has been taking up most of my time. Look here for a sample. There is music and movies too. My body wants to consume rather than create. The hunger will pass, and I’ll be back to throwing things up instead. Eat desperately, regurgitate. Repeat.

I got my contributor’s copy of the newest issue of Pear Noir!:

Pear Noir!, Issue 9

Pear Noir!, Issue 9 Contributors

I had a poem in it that I’m still fond of. I always wonder how long that feeling will last. It’s also a poem that my family appreciated. This is a momentous occasion. I’m no longer a teenager, but I always feel like an enigma to them. My mom reminded me of how I’ve taken to using more personal writing as fiction. It’s not real, but she knows where it comes from.

I also received these postcards from some of the writers:

Pear Noir!, Issue 9 Postcards

Over at ReadLearnWrite, I wrote about newer ways we are telling stories. It got me thinking again about how publishing is changing, how our storytelling media are changing, how we are all responding. It can be both exciting and confusing; perhaps the best time to get messy and experiment. Want to make a video game? Go for it! The tools are right there. Want to create a fictional diary through Youtube videos? What’s keeping you?

More experimentation: In just a week, I’ll be flying out of Florida to see my significant other. I’ll be vanishing off the map even more cleanly than usual. Perhaps you don’t know this already, perhaps you do, but I am somewhat of a recluse. I feel like a baby who doesn’t know anything outside the nest. This is new and exciting, but I’m not nervous. I don’t plan on turning my relationship into a character for you to read. This is not my notebook, and I don’t want it to be. My wings are still wet and lack the muscle.

Swimming Through the Cesspool

I was having a conversation with a game developer friend of mine recently (aspiring – still learning the ropes, and there are many of them) about the problem with stagnation in the video game industry. It’s sort of funny how often you see a lot of people talking about these enormously successful game franchises with such blatant contempt – even gamers themselves who actively play them. A lot of what is being churned out again and again by these immense companies is the equivalent of completely forgettable action movies, he says to me. Where are the other genres? Where are the games that are trying to push the medium forward? How will games ever be taken seriously if they keep resorting to formulas and tired tropes that seem to cater mostly to twelve-year-old boys (or men who think like them)?

Although the games industry has its own set of problems to confront, I don’t think this one is particularly unique. Because, just like all other forms of media, there’s always going to be copious amounts of entirely forgettable, expendable trash. Most of it will be mindless escapism because that’s usually what people want when they sit down with a piece of entertainment – an enjoyable respite from reality. A lot of it will also be safe and rely on formulas because people who sink so much of their time, money, and energy in creating it obviously want to see it get something back. Familiarity is often the ideal because there’s less chance to offend and challenge the audience. There’s less risk-taking because creators are just too afraid (especially if they’re aspiring) or too comfortable (if it works, why not keep milking it?). Movies and television suffer from this issue too.

But I get it. It’s easy to get lost in the cesspool sometimes and forget that there is also incredible art out there too. I think it’s extremely important to point out what things need to change in all media in order to make any progress (in the case of my friend’s problem: why aren’t there more black protagonists in games?). These challenges need to be acknowledged. But it’s not enough to just talk about it – we also need to make our own books, movies, games, and share them with others as much as possible. I think it’s much more important to focus specifically on what you enjoy most (and what you’re good at) and to never apologize for these passions. If there’s a relatively unknown book or movie or game that you’ve fallen in love with, tell your friends about it! Spread the love. Help make it seem worthwhile and get it the recognition that it’s due. Don’t just criticize – create as much as you can yourself. If you have a friend like I do that needs some help getting the word out, share it with anyone who you think might give a damn.