Blaugust 2015, Day 18 – Demons

I vowed this year to be a trooper during Blaugust. I wasn’t going to talk about my massive self-doubt or why I was having trouble coming up with a topic on a particular day. I didn’t talk about the “meta” because I wanted to maintain the purity of a blog which talks about games and the person who plays them.

Writing short amounts of fiction daily is a great way to create a lengthy piece. It’s a practice I intend to continue at my leisure for as long it continues to be pleasurable.

Writing about gaming topics on a daily basis is a royal pain in the ass. I am not the type of person who sits down in front of a keyboard every day and cranks out a game related post. I write when I am inspired to do so. You can tell me that writing only when inspired is bad for me. I am stubborn and will not listen. I strongly prefer to write gaming posts when I feel like it, not on a schedule.

Blaugust is a marathon that everyone begins with great enthusiasm and high hopes. By the end, many will be exhausted. Some will be unfazed as it does not differ from what they are already doing. Some will have dropped out one, two, or three weeks in.

The demands on one’s free time are not insignificant. I have three children. Some bloggers have more than that and manage to output greater amounts of higher-quality content than I do on a regular basis. These people are superheroes whom I admire from afar as they soar over the ground-level inhabitants of the blogging community.

Some people simply have more free time. Those people produce staggering amounts of material. I feel ineffective and weak in their shadow.

To now, I have not talked about self-doubt, anxiety, or depression. There are certain things that some of us do not talk about in our blogs: this person does not talk about personal things, this person does not talk about their family, that person does not talk about their spouse, and so forth. Self-doubt, anxiety, and depression are among the things I do not talk about.

During Blaugust I have become resentful of the free-time demands the posting requirements placed on me. I am well aware that I had volunteered to participate. It feeds into the illness of my completionism, however. I must henceforth ignore completionism altogether. It is not a valid game mode for me.

I know only binary solutions to problems. Drinking to excess is solved by never doing it again. I am considering similar solutions for game blogging and gaming. Game blogging, because in a rare instance of agreement with Tobold, who at times appears to intentionally play the role of philosophical Neanderthal, I believe it should be about games from the perspective of those who love them, play a variety of them, can talk about them knowledgably and intelligently, and who perhaps even refer to themselves as gamers. A self-styled gaming blog should not be a platform for livejournaling one’s innermost thoughts and asserting the reality of what may turn out to be nothing more than carefully groomed mental constructs.

I have a mild form of Asperger’s and I believe this is reflected in my enjoyment of a very narrow subset of games, specifically progression-heavy MMOs. I do not call myself a “gamer.” I have not achieved a high level of mastery in any of the games that I have played. I cannot talk about them insightfully or at length on a podcast. I give impressions, thoughts, and feelings. There is an undercurrent of puerility to all of this that has been picked up on and alluded to by some.

In short, I do not see the point of contributing time-intensive word art to a discussion which did not ask for it. I would rather hang such pieces up in a museum for interested passersby to peruse at their leisure. When some talk of “the death of blogging,” I believe what is being referred to is the emergence of new forms of media which allow us to better express ourselves in more appropriate ways. Just as the peer-to-peer split-screen BBS chats of twenty years ago have been quite convincingly obsoleted by the asynchronous multi-messaging capabilities of Twitter, so too is blogging slowly ceding its primacy to other media platforms.

I am considering posting everything on Anook for the time being while searching for something else. Anook does not have rich text editing capabilities, but it will suffice as a central location. I do not like being scattered among different platforms.

I also do not see the point of talking about a game which I enjoy, Guild Wars 2, but do not grok to the extent that others in the known community do. There is no point. The fiction that I write, again, can be put in a repository for interested individuals to review at their leisure. Otherwise, my musings are superfluous and ill-informed. They are cruft.

With regard to Twitter, I value its use for direct, more personable communication. Ideally, I would use it primarily for directed Tweets (using @name) and Direct Messages. I simply do not want to spend time reading various micro-updates from others, even from people I consider to be friends. It’s too much information to sift through on too regular a basis. I am considering taking the path of DJ Pimp Daddy who disappeared from Twitter altogether permanently based on the premise that the amount of time he spent sharing cat pictures and funny media snowballed until one day he examined what he was doing and asked himself, “WTF?” The main question is that of whether the time being spent on the activity is worth it. In my case, it is usually not.

When it comes to gaming, I am well aware of my addictions and triggers. I am still playing classic World of Warcraft. I am fighting not to subscribe to retail again to play my Discipline Priest. WildStar free-to-play is coming and my embrace of the Spellslinger could very well see me disappear again for weeks to months. Guild Wars 2 is a backdrop, the unplayed undercurrent to my futile, time-devouring attempts to recreate the initial heroin high of classic-era games.

The erasure of gaming would provide me with the free time to relax my internal tendencies, attend to my children, spend quality time on needed domestic maintenance activities, and take up pleasurable, unattached pastimes which bring me joy without requiring the forfeiture of my physical, mental, and spiritual presence. In short, there would be many benefits with few negative effects. I might miss it and crave it. Eventually, I would get over it as I did alcohol.

The entirety of the above is written from the perspective of the demons of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression because I wanted you to know what they sound like. Those of us who suffer from forms of mental torment know that our brains are assholes who lie to us. The problem is that I believe my demons. There appear to be some powerful truths hidden in there. “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out,” doesn’t sound abusive, really – it sounds more like a heretofore unacknowledged truth.

I’ve read of many of your struggles and do not want to trivialize them. I have disabled comments. Simply read and reflect on your own situation. Do you believe your demons?

Blaugust 2015 Initiative Page