Bound By The Work We Started

My new office chair is in place. Smoke detectors are done chirping and back to protecting our safety. Blog entry is next on my list of Things To Do, before I dive, with love and uncertainty, back into the actual writing and related tasks (of which blogging is assuredly one) and title comes from the Sting song that was playing when I opened WordPress today. Not a pop song, but a selection from probably the only-ever hit Broadway show about shipbuilding, The Last Ship. Probably only Sting could ever write a hit Broadway show about downtrodden shipbuilders reclaiming their moxie, but he’s Sting, so he can.

Yesterday, I hit a huge pit of gaming withdrawal. I don’t remember the last time I was able to boot Sims 3, and the missing it hit me, hard. Okay, a friend squealing over how great Fallout 4 looked on her new PlayStation may have had something to do with that. I tried booting Sims 3 but ye olde lapptoppe wouldn’t hold an internet connection long enough to boot, so that was out of the question. Still, I had the hunger. My work for the day was done. I needed to calm down from a couple of stress triggers, and I knew gaming would do the trick…which would be super helpful if I could actually boot my game.

Which was when the other thing hit me. I still had Sims Medieval (TSM) installed, and (thank you, organization) the CD was right at hand. Popped that puppy in, and, after a couple of false starts, boom, game. I knocked off a quest for my blacksmith in pretty short order, took some screenshots, and impressed myself with how much fun it was to get back to it, after al this time. Sims and a  historical environment should be a natural for me, and it is. Sure, there are some drawbacks, because it isn’t like real Sims. I can’t build, for one thing, and I have to do quests, rather than making my Sims live their lives (preferably in a custom neighborhood that looks like Levittown and Centralia somehow collided) but it felt good to play with some form of pixel people, and I hadn’t played since Origin installed the update, so there should be some new-to-me stuff.

There’s also the fact that it’s been so long that part of the game does feel like I’m playing it for the first time again, but I have enough experience from those long-ago quests that I’m not starting at zero, even if it feels like it. Rupert, my blacksmith, pictured above (he’s the dude; chick is Queen Sascha, who sent him on his quest) is now at level nine of his career, so he’s got some cred and swagger. Also a nifty assistant who does a bunch of his work for him, which is a big perk.

What does this all have to do with writing, one might ask? It’s okay. Go ahead. I did. Half the time I write these blogs, I don’t know where I’m going when I start, but if I do keep going, I usually figure it out, because I’m me, so I can. Aha. Kind of like Sting in that respect. All right, that may be the only thing Sting and I have in common. I am pretty sure I am never going to write a hit Broadway musical about shipbuilding (or anything else, most likely. I also got thrown out of robed choir in high school, for having a bad voice -teacher’s words- in front of the entire class, but hey, I got to read romance novels while everybody else sang, so who really won that breakup?) Then again, Sting is probably never going to write a historical romance novel. (If he did, though, I’d probably read it.) Which is all okay, because there’s room for both in this crazy world we live in, and lots of people like both. It’s not an either/or kind of thing going on here. I appreciate that.

The more we exercise any muscle, the stronger it gets. When I booted TSM last night, it wasn’t real Sims. I hadn’t played in forever. There were going to be things I forgot, skills that got rusty, and I didn’t remember who all my characters were. I wanted to game, though, needed to game, and this was the game I could play, and so it was going to happen. Little splashing around in the shallows, but then I got into it and, by the time I shut down because I had to adult, quest completed, fun had, next quest already picked out. It felt a lot like writing, which is why I like the Sims franchise. It uses a lot of the same muscles; character creation, the development of relationship, goals, motivations and conflicts, and, in the end, telling a story. Telling a story is what I love most. Plop it in an old-timey setting, and I am home, baby.

Reaching the points I’m at for the current mss is scary, because I’ve leveled up. I beat the monster of the first levels, laid my foundations, and now I need to build and fortify. Decorate, because making things look right is part of the fun. Combat the bigger, stronger monsters that come with each new level, because my big goal is defeating the boss at the end. Or, in the case of writing a book, The End. All those voices that say “you can’t do it,” or, worse, “you can’t do it anymore,” those need to be drowned out by the clicking of keys, the scratch of pen against paper, a playlist with a respectable amount of Sting on it, and one foot in front of the other until the final draft is done.

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