And so it has come to this. I missed my first month of blogging here. July of 2013 shall never grace this site and my OCD is screaming at me for this. It’s far from the end of the world, of course, but I really dislike going against my own policy. Plus gaps where things should be in lists bother me. The OCD thing, yeah. It also bothers me when I can’t get any words out and I really want to. I was working on something for this month in place of all the other stuff I couldn’t finish in time, but… I couldn’t finish it in time. I’m also painfully aware of all the stuff I said I was going to write, then either didn’t write it or I posted something else entirely.
There are several reasons why I went dark here in July: good, bad, and personal (June was pretty dead too, though I did at least get a half-baked thing out–but anyway). The big development (and one I don’t think I shared here before) was that I finally landed myself a job for the summer, which also looks like it will continue to at least the end of the year! I’m ecstatic. Job hunting has never been easy for me, and this is my second time ever being officially employed. I’m not doing anything glorious where I am now, but I’m content and I’m surrounded by good people. So I’m happy to be where I am, working and actually earning some money, but downside is my mind is usually too tired by the end of the day to focus on writing. On top of all of this, I’ve been trying to help my mother at least a little bit every day when I get home because, for over twelve weeks now, she’s had a torn disk in her back which she’s trying to let heal. She can’t go to work and she can’t do much of anything around the house, which drives her insane. So I try to do what I can, and to discourage her from trying stuff which might make it worse than it already is. Like I said, it’s been over twelve weeks; that’s the number the doc gave us and we’re still waiting. There’s always a give-or-take with these numbers–it’s a matter of being patient. But stuff like this slows writing down as well, as you can probably imagine. There’s just been a lot of stress in the home.
The other issue is a more recent development, but there’s a complex story behind it which I’m keeping on a need-to-know basis. The short version is that for the past year my academic situation has been in a state of flux. During this time (and before it) I have been planning a trip to New Zealand. The plan was to take a two week tour to see Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film locations across both islands. The first time it was postponed simply because, in our group, no one’s schedule lined up to make the 2012 trip possible. It was moved to December of this year and I planned to take a semester off of school to think about what step I wanted to take next with my life (and go on this trip in the process). Well, about three weeks ago now, I abruptly found out that was not going to happen, for a series of complicated reasons I won’t delve in to. I don’t want to start casting blame, but the fact of the matter is had the person organizing our trip been upfront with what was going on two months ago, this would not have been an issue. That’s not how things turned out. It was late in the summer and I realized the sudden, new void in my schedule created more complications that did not occur to me before. I had a little less than a week to make a decision I wanted to take a few months on: a school and a major. This was the consequence of putting all my eggs in one basket then having events outside my control spiral in another direction. The week following the sudden notice was a stressful one.
The best laid plans of mice and men…
I’m back in junior college, which will be starting up in a few days, and I’m not sure I’m going to like the certification I’ve picked. But I’m going to roll with it and trust that everything will be okay. A week ago I would’ve told you I had no idea how I was going to deal this, but now I feel God has given me the strength to push onward. All of this is a hiccup in the grand scheme of things, and I know it will be all right. I’ll let you know how this goes later down the line.
Now, in my spare time I have tried writing (as I alluded to at the start of the post), and even managed to crank out a few hundred words on two drafts each; the bad news is at least one of them needs to be completely rewritten. That’s always a sure-fire way to delay my work here. Whenever I get an idea in my head I want to share, it helps if I take to paper as soon as I can, if not immediately, while there is still a fire, so to speak. Planning out a post (while beneficial to the structure and execution of my writing in theory) tends to use up all my steam for the subject. But when I dive right into my subject, there’s a decent chance I’ll get anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand words in before realizing I goofed up the execution in some way and the whole thing needs to be scrapped and rewritten. It’s not long after that I become disheartened, which makes it very difficult to pick the draft back up.
The other side of this is that, as much as I might want to, I just can’t sit down and write whenever I want. In my down time I’ve been playing a lot of games; in an ideal world I’d sit down and share my thoughts on each as I go along. But in addition to not being able to just sit down and crank words out whenever I want, I need time to mull over the media which I consume. This process involves a variety of things, including reading others’ thoughts on a game, or talking with others about that game. Many times I don’t have much to say or can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said by others. I don’t want to come off as a plagiarist, and I don’t feel comfortable sharing my own thoughts if they’re only going to be only a few hundred words at most. But I want to talk games here. I also need to find a way to keep on top of deadlines.
In my spare time, I’ve played more games than I can remember. Many of them I’ve brought up on Twitter, but I’ve thought about going more in-depth here. It’s just… y’know… difficult. I’ve played stuff like Dishonored, Guns of Icarus Online, Dust: An Elysian Tail, Bioshock Infinite, the new Tomb Raider (finally got around to that one), Kinetic Void, LEGO Lord of the Rings, Saints Row 2 and 3, Sleeping Dogs, Metro 2033, STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, Shadowrun Returns, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Super Meat Boy, and a handful of others–several of these I haven’t played all the way to the end. My attention is spread too thin, and hopping from one to the other at the speed I’m going at doesn’t do the sickly writer in me any favors.
I want to get the Halo and 40K stuff I’ve been talking about out the door, but I’m also contemplating, bunching several smaller game reviews together. So one post might be about tow or three games, depending on how much I have to say about each. I’ve definitely decided I’ll be doing reviews differently, however. I felt like I didn’t know what to do with the first two I ever wrote (Reckoning and Jade Empire), but what I will be doing will be nothing like a consumer review. Those just don’t make for good discussions. I want to go more in-depth and “spoilery”, and talk about merits, etc. I actually look back at my Reckoning review and think it is genuinely awful. I didn’t even answer the question I set up at the beginning: Did 38 Studios/Big Huge Games succeed in creating a world you could care about? (The answer is “no”, I’m sad to say.) The Jade Empire review was, “This game is awesome for reasons I don’t want to spoil.” I don’t want to do that again, either.
Yeah, this has gone on long enough. So concludes another post on the Talking-About-Why-I-Don’t-Talk-About-X-Topics-The-Blog-Is-For Blog.