After several batches of suspected bot subscriptions, I’ve switched the form. Instead of signing up for the blog, there’s now an option to subscribe to my Irregular Update newsletter (the next one will be sent out in the coming week). I’ll re-enable blog follow signups next month, once I’ve settled out a few items on this end; meanwhile, there’s always the option to sign up for the RSS feed. Thanks for understanding! 🙂
I am addicted to video games.
No, I’m not joking. I’m not being facetious or arch or whatever. I’ve been bonkers about video games since I discovered Zork I. There were days (long ago! I swear! I was still a kid!) when I got myself invited over to someone’s house simply because they had a game on their computer or console I wanted to play. If left unsupervised, I would probably spend 20 hours a day playing my latest favorite.
Scratch “probably”. I’ve done just that. I remember playing Wizardry: Bane of the Cosmic Forge all night long. Literally. I looked up and it was dawn. Back then, I actually had a big comfy chair to sit in so I wouldn’t be sore from not moving for hours at a time.
Today, I have more distractions, more maturity–ah, hell, let’s face it: I have a husband to feed, editing and writing contracts to handle, and a dog that whines incessantly. I will credit maturity for increased control over my addictive tendencies. It’s hard to be obliviously rude and selfish when you’re no longer oblivious.
But man, I was a freaking mess as a teenager and young adult when it came to video games. For anyone reading this who had to deal with me in those days: I’m so, so, so sorry. I was a horrid little puke. You had every right to kick my ass and I’m grateful you restrained yourself.
So I’m an adult now. I’m still playing games as often as possible. I’ve developed some restraint and boundaries, but I still see it as an addiction, based on the simple fact that I will, if left alone with no pending obligations, do nothing else but game for days on end. In a way, my entire writing career could be considered an attempt to get myself away from video gaming.
On the good side, at least I haven’t become* an alcoholic, drug addict, gambling addict–(just barely on that last, mind you–lived in Las Vegas for a few months and damn near fell down the well. Never ever going back there, and I never go into a casino without handing someone trustworthy my wallet first.) –or any of the other variations. I don’t even smoke any longer. Kicked that one about twenty years ago, and grateful for it every day.
Also on the good side, I’ve managed to corral my addiction within mostly reasonable boundaries. I make myself get up and walk around the house to handle minor tasks at least once an hour. I make sure I drink water. I keep my snacking to a minimum and try to have it be on the healthier side instead of cookies, chocolate, chips, and pretzels. I don’t yell at the dog for interrupting me; I thank him for making me look up from the screen and remember that there is a Real Life all around me.
I’ve chosen not to get involved in the sort of gaming that requires me to be at the computer on certain hours or days, or locks me into being tied to the computer for any length of time. I normally avoid raids, group dungeon runs, and group quests. I don’t play games that bring my stress level up: timed boards that run faster and faster every level, like Tetris (which I used to ADORE), make me utterly crazy these days.
My latest innovation in handling my gaming time is to write about it. Such as with this blog post, and more to follow. I’m going to talk about the games I’ve played in the past and am playing today. In fact, I’m going to go out on that fragile and frightening limb and talk about video games from a feminist perspective. Because why the fuck not.
At least it means I’m writing actual blog posts, not playing a game and thinking about how I really ought to be writing. 😀
I have lots of material lined up already, so with luck I’ll manage to keep to a weekly or biweekly posting schedule for gaming chatter. Links should post to Twitter as posts go live, so if you’re not already following me there, allow me to direct you towards @leonawisoker as a place where you can try to keep up with me.
If Twitter doesn’t suit you, please do sign up to follow my blog. I’ll warn you up front, there’s been a weird surge of registrations in the past few days and I’m now checking to be sure all registrations are coming from Real People. So if you follow the Writing of a Wisoker on the Loose blog, please be ready to answer an email confirming you as a non-bot.
Here’s to turning our addictions into useful work product! (Said with a profound amount of self-directed snark.) Read on, game on, and keep fighting for the world to be a better place. Because again: why the fuck not, amirite? 😀
* I am NOT implying that those addictions are somehow more gross than video games. Addiction fucking sucks, whether it’s tobacco, alcohol, sex, food, or what have you. Please read that line with a “tongue in cheek, eyes rolled sardonically” tone. 🙂
*may contain some swearing**
**All right, a lot of swearing***.
***Sorry not sorry.
Fuck housework, fuck checking Twitter and Facebook, fuck returning phone calls, fuck opening the mail, just write. Once word count for the day is reached, THEN I can do all those things–and the other stuff on this list.
Boost other writers and artists.
There are way too many fucking amazing, talented folks out there who still don’t have the visibility they deserve. I’m especially going to continue and refine my focus on marginalized groups: women, POC, handicapped, neurodivergent, and basically anyone the fuckheads of the incoming administration are afraid of.
I want to learn new things. I want to develop a broader knowledge base, so that when I go to a SFF convention I can tick more boxes to speak on more panels and not have a glazed look half the time while I pretend to know what the fuck people around me are talking about. Watching movies and reading books qualifies as research in this context: not exactly be a burden. But this is going into my dayplanner as Reserved Time, not leisure activity.
And it will give me blog post material, so this ties into priorities one and two. Hooray for intersectional activities!
I lost too many people in 2016. Not just the celebrities that everyone mourned: I lost people close to home, close to my heart. More than once, I’d been thinking “I really ought to call and check in on so and so”–only to have the phone ring or FB beep a notification that so-and-so was now permanently unavailable for phone calls. Death is a part of life, but damnit, life is a part of life too, and it’s time I reached out and made a consistent effort to let people know I love them before death takes them on to the next adventure.
I have to stay healthy in order to accomplish the above goals. I have to go to the chiropractor more often, and sign up for the gym, and watch my weight, and be overall positive in my attitude. This is going to be a really fucking awful challenge for me, which is one reason it’s so low on the list. I want to focus on the uplifting stuff first, and build up a bank of happy that will carry me over the sandbar of Being Healthy. But this is officially going on the list for 2017. It’s going to have time set aside in my scheduling book and everything.
Cut back on swearing.
No, really, I fucking mean it, I need to watch my fucking mouth. I have grandkids, goddamnit, and some people who follow me don’t like all the shitty swearing I have in my books and… ya know what, fuck it, I’ll swear as much as I like. Let me try that again.
Learn to like myself for who and how I am.
Yeah. I can get on board with that version. I’m pretty fucking awesome just the way I am. Everyone has flaws and quirks to work on. That’s part of being human. But what I think are flaws, other folks think are fabulous quirks, and vice versa. So I’m just going to muddle on through and do the best I can with what I have, and celebrate myself as gorgeous inside and out.
Keep lists short.
The sun is shining. I have coffee in hand and lemon yogurt in tummy. The floor is once more covered in black dog hair, and the laundry seems endless. My office is slowly taking shape: it was pulled apart, over the last year, for many reasons, and I’ve been working–when I’m home–from the living room.
I’m contemplating curtains and painting and new shelves. I’ve refilled the bird feeders–didn’t really clean them first, which is Bad, but I only have so much energy to work with. The gross ones I set aside for a day with more functionality, and we even bought a new feeder to offset the ones out of service.
My mom is doing really well under my sister’s care. Sometimes, I think my sister is doing a better job than I ever could have managed. Other times, I think I did the best I could and that’s good enough and fuck feeling inferior to anyone for any reason.
Sometimes I play World of Warcraft for hours. Sometimes I just stare at the wall. Sometimes I drink whatever alcohol is handy. Sometimes just I take a Xanax and go to sleep.
On really good days, I write my self-assigned five hundred minimum words of fiction. I think about where to take my business–The Scribbling Lion–in 2017. I think about how to shape and steer my writing career in 2017. I drop ideas for blog posts–including saving entire web pages–into a folder on my desktop in an effort to sidestep the blank glaze that hits me when facing an empty document screen.
While writing this post, I’ve already gotten up three times to let the dog out, let the dog in, go See What The Dog Wants This Time. I wonder if I’d manage more focus if I didn’t constantly have interruptions. If I’m being honest, I doubt it. Left alone for hours, I’ll just sleep or play WoW.
I spoke to my mom on the phone the other day. She was bright and happy and clear–for about five minutes–then I heard strain in her voice and I knew it was time to let her be.
I look around my house and I see her mark everywhere: the fabulous easel she bought me (that I’ve rarely used, to my shame); blankets passed down or sideways from my siblings; the big stack of fabric in what should be a metal decorative plant pot but is serving to hold cloth at the moment. The plants in my house, many of which were transplanted from her sunny Florida garden. Hell, even the sunshine striping along the walls makes me think of my mom.
I haven’t cried lately. There’s nothing to cry about. Mom’s healthy (considering), she’s cogent (considering), she’s being taken care of with complete love and devotion by a very smart, savvy person with a great array of resources at hand.
I’m concerned, at times, what my family and friends think of me, when they read these blog posts. I suspect it sounds a lot like I’m falling apart, or maybe being a drama queen: making this entire process All About Me.
Let me be clear: I’m not writing these personal rambles for folks who have their shit completely together and sail through the day without anxiety attacks, clinical depression, random suicidal thoughts, or a sense that each day is a Sisyphean labor of sheer, stubborn fuck you I’m not going to stay down.
I’m writing this for the folks who feel like they’re not trying hard enough. I’m writing this to let those who are chipped and cracked and fragile know you’re not alone, you can do this, look, I’m doing it, grab my hand, come on, let’s hit the track together.
Doesn’t matter if we’re walking, crawling, jogging, running, staggering, whatever word you’d like to use. What matters is to keep moving forward. Always forward. And always moving. Don’t measure your worth by the folks sprinting by. They have their own challenges to face. There are folks leaving them in the dust. There will always be someone faster, smarter, more together, more everything.
It’s enough to be yourself.
This is a followup post to Home Again and part of the #HoldOnToTheLight series. Details below.
About the campaign:
#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiative, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.
Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SNAE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
To fide out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to http://www.HoldOnToTheLight.com and join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WeHoldOnToTheLight
Whether you celebrate Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Festivus, etc etc — this is my favorite poem ever, and I think it applies equally to all paths. I’m only quoting excerpts, because it’s long.
(Caps are my emphasis, not original format.)
Go placidly amid the noise & haste,
& remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
SPEAK YOUR TRUTH QUIETLY & CLEARLY,
and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant;
they too have their story.
BE YOURSELF. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity
& disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
…do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors & aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, & broken dreams,
IT IS STILL A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.
Strive to be happy.
Full poem can be found here:
I have the full poem tacked up over my desk. Every time I feel overwhelmed, I read it. Sometimes multiple times a day. I practically have it memorized by now. Next to it is a poster from the Kennedy Space Center with the Apollo XIII motto.
FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
What will you do today, with the Desiderata and the Apollo XIII motto joined in your head? Wrong question, Cameron. The question is … anyone? Anyone?
Happy holidays, all! You’ve made it through about 90% of a very long year. Celebrate that! And keep on going. 😀