Editorial: Inspiration

I have a nice office and a stock photographer on retainer.
This picture was taken of me while I wrote last week’s Editorial Miscellany.

Dear LusiCats, I have written for this website for a very long time or, on the cosmic scale, a very short time and if anybody was an eighth as interested in me as I am – and I hope for humanity’s sake that nobody is – they would notice that it was a different Ethos who wrote my earliest articles compared to the ones I wrote when I returned from the wreckage of Riddlethos compared again to the dawn of Editorial Miscellany compared finally to the Editorial Miscellanys of today.

When Lusipurr.com first launched, I thought that simply because I was passionate and opinionated that I knew all there was to say about video games. I was finally being recognized by others enough to have a corner of the internet from which to shout my disorganized thoughts, and this fact was all the confirmation I needed to begin what I felt would be a quick launch into a celebrated life as a video game critic. While my writing was shaky at best, the confidence and ambition I had that annoyed so many was also my greatest strength. There was no self-doubt blocking the path between my voice and the virtual page. If I had had a more clear view of myself, it is possible that I would not have been able to make the mistakes necessary to grow as a writer and as a person.

When I was that age – whatever age it was (and let us admit that is was more recent than I am implying, that is to say just under six years ago) – the internet and video games were less complicated to me. There was what I considered to be the truth (my feelings) and there were other people to love and share this truth with. It was naive but, if I may be permitted to say this about myself, also very sweet. I soon realized however, that people tend to be skeptical of somebody so willing to love and I also – more slowly – realized that my feelings were not the truth but rather a disorganized reflection of a very small sliver of the truth, and that arranging my feelings in such a way to make me feel most comfortable was only working as a shelter that would keep me safe but would also keep me stupid.

Although it didn't come to my birthday parties.
Super Mario Land and I were good friends when I was a child.

A very dear friend of mine texted me with a realization of his a few days ago. I am paraphrasing, but he told me that creations about the creator’s inability to create are hopelessly boring and that such reflections are not even helpful as an exercise. I agree with him. Inspiration always turns grey and things that were so easy to love are not always that way, but focusing on this fact only perpetuates the grey. It romanticizes and fortifies fear.

When I was a child, video games were a pure love. I discussed them with friends and read about them on the internet when that started to be possible for me, but it was ultimately something warm and safe and whether I knew about it or not, it was something only I understood because it was so closely tied to the way I was starting to understand the world. It was that way for so many like me. Each little gamer was the only one who truly understood video games deep down. Growing up with video games means that we understand them in a way that many others never had the opportunity to. We were children and teenagers, locked away in our rooms, learning about the freedom of other worlds and new ways of approaching other worlds.

Video games as a form have endured, but have grown so rapidly and in so many directions that it can feel like they have escaped out from under us. They are no longer ours when it sometimes felt that they were all we had. And for some of us, maybe that was – or is – true.

I started Editorial Miscellany ostensibly because I was busy, but really I think I wanted to feel inspired again when I wrote about video games. The time is not what is difficult about writing a weekly article, it is finding something to say. This can be a difficult fact to face. Why would I not have something to say about video games?

Because of course I do, but organizing these thoughts and communicating these thoughts take effort and vulnerability that do not always come as easily as they once did. There have been low-grade wars about video games for as long as I can remember and therefore politics can insidiously enter a writer’s consciousness. What if my opinion appears to represent a side of a debate that I do not even feel makes sense as a side of a debate? How do I present my opinion in the face of a tidal wave of others?

Playing games can feel like a chore for months at a time, even when we are playing our very favourite ones. But this is true for everything. Our favourite people get on our nerves more than anybody else, and there are days when even our favourite songs feel like dust in our ears.

There is no reason to try and find meaning in this staleness. This is not a matter of growing up any more than every day is a matter of growing up.

Nomura loves easy mystery too much to let him know.
Roxas may or may not be inspired.

I cannot stop playing Kingdom Hearts 2. More than any other game in recent memory, it is convincing me that words like “good” and “bad” cannot reflect a video game. A score is not even a starting point. It is an attempt to tell us if a game is worth the money, but every game is and is not worth our money. I do not know what money is to anybody else, but I do know what Kingdom Hearts 2 is to me. It is terrible and wonderful and confused and ambitious and misled and trail-blazing and cringe-worthy and inspired and uninspired. It is more than any of those things and it is less.

Trying to fit my understanding of games into the structures we have used up to this point seems silly to me. We should be constantly learning from our mistakes and constantly learning about new mistakes we never knew we made. How arrogant is it of us to believe that we have arrived at a completed vernacular only a few decades into the very existence of such a complex medium?

How arrogant of me is it to believe I could possibly understand what needs to be done?

Inspiration, to me, is seeing a challenge and having the madness to believe that it can be overcome. It is seeing a twisted path over the mountain and saying “well that looks tough, let’s do it.” Inspiration is the vision of what hard work and imagination can accomplish combined with the confidence and ambition needed to actually make it happen.

But that is also why inspiration can come so easily sometimes, it is the spark, but one that comes just before fuel needs to be burned. Inspiration alone gets nobody anywhere.

Editorial Miscellany was inspired for a short while, but soon turned into a platform that made it easy for me to half-ass my articles. This website deserves more than that and so do I.

I am not sure how to talk about Kingdom Hearts 2 yet. I am not confident that it is even worth the effort, but I do know that effort is worth it.

I love video games and I want to explore my thoughts and feelings by talking about them and writing about them. I am an adult now, but that does not mean that I have arrived at an understanding. It just means that I know more than I did, but that will continue to be true until the day I die.

He doesn't like me very much, but there's not really anything he can do about it.
Here is where Glenn Gould and I hang out.

It is not interesting that I have been uninspired for a while now. What is interesting is seeing what will come out of me now that I am willing to work for and beyond inspiration again.

It is so easy to get discouraged by greedy publishers or bitter gamers or self-righteous gamers or lazy games or lazy gamers or ourselves in all of these states, but circling around these things is as boring as writing about how we have nothing to write about. I have plenty to write about and always have. It is just a matter of discovering the strength to find a way to actually write what I need to.

I started this article last night and I popped in Glenn Gould’s performance of the Well-Tempered Clavier. When I made the decision to not write another lazy Editorial Miscellany, the notes had a spark in my ear that they had not had in months. I was moved by Bach again. I wrote a short story instead of my article. It is not very good, but it allowed me to write this article today.

My life is not a linear progression nor do I believe anybody else’s to be. I have articles that I wrote three years ago that are better than something I wrote a few weeks ago. The present is not just us after our accomplishments, but it is us after our failures and – more importantly – our apathy and what and who we have abandoned.

There is no time to coast although many of us have the luxury of doing so if we would like. I am absolutely sure that I will again. But I hope I do not forget that the moment I feel like writing an article about how I have nothing to write about is the moment I need to get off my ass. There is a time to be lazy, but there is never a time for our work to be lazy. Video games and art are a passion of mine and that will never be an easy thing to maintain nor should it be.

What do you think, LusiAriels? Have you sensed greyness in my articles recently, or did you have a lot of finny fun? How do you feel about video games? How do you feel about anything? We should have a conversation in the comments.

7 comments

  1. My biggest regrets stem from me not even trying. Actually trying.

    Brilliant article.

  2. Don’t change the format, but maybe write about yourself a little less. I would rather read that short story than more about how you liked video games since you were a child (’cause we all did). BUT, I reorganized your article into verse, and maybe that will help give some perspective?

    “A Linear Progression”

    For a very long time, or on
    The cosmic scale, a very short time,
    I thought there was no self-doubt
    Blocking the path between my voice and
    What I considered to be the truth.
    It was naive, but I realized that
    My feelings were not the truth, but
    Rather a disorganized reflection of
    A very small sliver of the truth

    And that simply because I was
    Passionate and opinionated
    Arranging my feelings in such a way
    To make me feel most comfortable
    Would keep me safe, but working
    As a shelter from which to shout my
    Disorganized thoughts would also
    Keep me stupid. Have you sensed greyness?

    Creations about the inability to create
    Are hopelessly boring as an exercise.
    Inspiration always turns grey
    And things that were so easy to love
    Are not always that way
    But focusing on this fact only
    Perpetuates the grey.
    It romanticizes and fortifies fear.

    How arrogant of me is it to believe
    I could understand what needs to be done?
    There is no reason to try and find
    Meaning in this staleness:
    I am not confident that it is even
    Worth the effort; that effort is worth it.
    This is not a matter of growing up,
    And I hope for humanity’s sake
    That nobody is . . .

  3. I can’t properly speak from the position of a writer (though, I have mistaken myself for one on occasion), but I don’t think any of them nail it 100% of the time. I have to imagine you know this, but if you’re anything like me, there’s a bit of overly self-critical mold creeping in your pantry from time to time, and that can sometimes make the meal taste sour even though the ingredients were fine.

    It happens, and I’m happy that it does because it means I’m paying attention to myself, and I would say the same in your case. People who don’t might let a slump drag them over a cliff before they attempt to rectify the situation, and that is decidedly not a healthy way to go.

    As for your writing, to be honest, I’ve found it to be good, and well examined. However, the rub here is that you’re dissatisfied, and in the end, I think that is what matters as opposed to my sophomoric opinions. I suppose my question would be where do you want to take it?

    Of course, I’m very new at this kind of writing, but something that seems to help me is focusing on the fringes of gaming, because *that* is where I tend to get really excited again. I say that without accounting for my sometimes meandering thoughts, which is something I am working on steadily, but at the same time, when I look to those edges of the whirling gaming hurricane, I tend to see a lot of interesting things happening, and these interesting things are coming from people just like you and I. Average folks who just want to have fun with games, fiddling around and seeing what makes them tick, or maybe just want to try something new that would probably never work on a massive scale. Those people serve as my inspiration.

  4. I’ll say this about growing as a person as it pertains to writing and videogames: The moment I was willing to work WITH my moods and my feelings, as they wander about positive or negative, was when I began feeling much more comfortable with myself. I’ll suddenly not want to do what I used to enjoy doing ALL the time, and I may one day want to do it again, and I can’t try to ignore that. If I do not want to write, for instance, I can actually work with that to still be productive.

    But people who put themselves in positions like ours, people who are obligated to write frequently, are (hopefully) also people with a great capacity to keep writing. I love the act of it, by hand or on a keyboard, it’s just satisfying to me. When I worked a data entry job sometimes I just enjoyed typing (sometimes I really didn’t).

    For me, inspiration comes from momentum, often during the writing process regardless of how it was begun. Sometimes the winds just pick up and I finish what I started in a flurry of typos and long paragraphs, and I think it’s just from the act of writing. The physical act does its share to inspire me.

  5. Who actually writes? I mean, really? I use recorded audio, which is superior in every single way.

  6. @Java/Mel – I loved reading your responses, guys! Mel seems to be most picking up what I was attempting to lay down. The momentum is a great point, and I ride it as well. I just have to not get discouraged when the momentum takes (sometimes much) longer to get going. This was trying to reassess the sort of things that must be navigated to be both honest and productive in my thought and writing surrounding video games. The fact that we all grew up with them is what makes that so complicated in my eyes.

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