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Month: April 2020

Anno Quo Est?

I, the Draugr of the forgotten crypt, am slowly starting to move after collecting dust for several centuries. What year is it? What form of life disturbs my slumber after all this time? Cultists seeking a hideout? Bandits looking to rob an ancient grave? Oh, they’re going to find that the dead sometimes do fight back. Here it comes… wait, did it just unhinge its jaw and consume nine raw rabbit legs, a dozen carrots, a casks’ worth of potato soup, and two sweet rolls? By the nine! After all these centuries, my final doom has arrived. It is the Dovahkin, and it is purging the land of threats like the undead because it needs more money to pay for sawn logs and quarried stone to build its house.

OK, so I wrote the “I’m back” post about eight months ago and then, as I tried to swear not to, disappeared again right after that. I know that most of the people reading this will have some kind of opinion on why it’s not good or fair to judge myself based on completely arbitrary standard of “productivity” when it comes to writing these posts. These people are not wrong to question that, nor do I lack appreciation for what they seek to do for me as a person. However, that doesn’t inspire me to feel like this project of mine is any more alive than the dusty skeletons in my favourite fantasy games.

I tried, and failed, to restart my regular writing schedule in August of last year. I just could not find the time. It was that any time I could find for gaming; it was that it all got sucked into the playing rather than the writing about the play. Using games to temporarily escape the nearly intolerable levels of stress and anxiety from “the real world” lent itself better to starting a new run of Skyrim than it did writing blog posts about anything.

Hey Bosmer, are you ready to make Skyrim great again?

So what now? The world has always been changing, but we now find ourselves in a whole lot more change than we did in the fall of 2019 and early 2020. Whatever standards for “productivity” I should or should not have adhered to are now relics of a bygone era. But now something stirs in my tomb of escapism which can’t be ignored: the need to find a new way of being because the old way is gone. Just as the reanimated Draugr can’t simply ignore the would-be demigod in its midst, I can’t simply embrace the reasonable advice and normal impulses to give myself a break. Not to say I shouldn’t do that, but clearly that’s not the whole of what is needed.

In this excellent and timely video, Dr. Ali Mattu encourages us (at about 19:29 in the video, but please do watch the whole thing) to start with solving our immediate problems. Sure, it sounds trite and he immediately acknowledges that, but he goes on to offer more about how to go about it and makes a good case for it. One of my immediate problems is that in the period between my last post and right now as I write this, I have thought a lot about having promised and not delivered. Some days have been better than others when it comes to how much I have dwelled on the thought and/or how much negativity I was feeling when I did think about it. But even on the best day, the fact still remained that I had declared an intention to write more posts and I was not writing more posts.

Announcing an end to the blog would, in some ways, solve the problem of being unable to stop thinking about the facts about where I left off. This does not, however, seem like a good solution because there are good reasons to have a creative outlet. Formally closing one up without redirecting energy to something else doesn’t seem any more effective at making my life better than having a creative outlet on the shelf, ready to be used when I get around to it which seems like it will be never.

To tackle the problem all at once, I’d be writing something I could be proud of. Something with insight, something engaging, something that fills a need in myself and others, something that makes everyone forget how long it has been. That’s really hard to do if I am not carried to the right head space by inspiration. And so it makes it harder to log in and bash keys if I know it’s not going to be worthwhile.

Rebuilding the Temple of the Mythic Dawn in Starbound was a project of relatively tiny scale compared to other things I could have been doing, but perhaps it was a better project than trying to outdo the more ambitious builds with something I might not have been satisfied with. And yes, it is free and open to all citizens of the Protectorate.

So, in the spirit of solving an immediate problem, I am publishing this post despite the fact that it’s another self-indulgent ramble instead of the content I wish I was making. Like my recent last-minute entry into the official Starbound subreddit’s “museum” build of the week contest, I’m not going to try to write something grand today. I’m just going to throw this out there. I will be able to say that I logged in. I will be able to say that I wrote words. I will be able to say that I hit the publish button. That might not be very much, but maybe it will be enough for today.