2013 in review

Wow, what a year.

I skipped last year’s review because I felt like it was simultaneously too boring/stressful and I didn’t want to do a write-up, but then THIS year happened and it was simultaneously more boring and stressful than last year, so I figure why the hell not.

I finished my graduate coursework and will now be moving into qualifying exams, preparing my reading list for the summer for my oral exams in the fall.  I have wrapped up a very difficult semester of teaching, two sections for the first time, and after my department switched out the class I was supposed to be teaching in favor of something else only a few weeks before the beginning of the semester.

I made two games with the hypertext program Twine, and they were both pretty well liked by folks!  For reference, here’s a very flattering write-up Alex Pieschel did for my game Tower of the Blood Lord.  The second game, my father’s long, long legs, very nearly crashed my webhosting here and then actually did crash my webhosting, and courtesy of Peter Damien was featured on a website for people who read books instead of internet.  Emily Short wrote a very brief but thoughtful piece on it and I recently found out all-around Cool Chap Cameron Kunzelman included it on his GOTY list.

Interactive fiction — and games in general — have become much more important to me recently, as I find myself being very interested in 400 year old plays on the one hand and very new and weird digital things on the other.  The uniting factor, to rehearse the cliche, seems to be that “play’s the thing” — gameplay, shakespeareplay.  Or something.  Anyway I am continuing to press on this and what it means for me as an academic (which is my job) but also as a person who wants to be better at being a person, generally, and to make things that help others enjoy life and be people.

So thanks to not only the people I’ve linked here, but the people who’ve played my games, talked about them, shared them — and all the people who made the games I played and wrote the things I read that suggested to me that this was something I could and should do myself.

I am going to continue to work with twine.  It’s been a very therapeutic process for me in a lot of ways, allowing me to look at old memories askance, and to synthesize a lot of the information and theory I get from my work as an academic, but to put it towards ends that are in some ways more personally rewarding than simply writing a research paper.  2013 could probably be called the year I remembered to think about myself.

Also: this was the year I asked my girlfriend to marry me.  She said yes.  The date is a ways off — not until she finishes her grad program in another year and a half, at least.  But that’s certainly a thing that happened in my life, a very big and important thing, in a year that seemed to be filled with important things.

It was a tough year for a lot of folks. Next year might not be any better, but we’re all here right now. For a time, at least, we’re moving and saying things in a crazy multifaceted fully articulated material universe, and things just keep going.  So thanks for taking a moment out of your busy, fully articulated (but eternally obscured) schedule to read this, to read any of the words I’ve written on this blog, or elsewhere.  Best of luck next year.

I will end this post with a block quote.  Rather than provide any explication — apart from the fact that it is something I think about often — I will let it stand on its own, and perhaps its significance will become clearer in time to both you and me.  From The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton:

“What place can this be?” he asked. “Can it be the old devil’s house? I’ve heard he has a house in North London.”

“All the better,” said the Secretary grimly, planting a foot in a foothold, “we shall find him at home.”

“No, but it isn’t that,” said Syme, knitting his brows. “I hear the most horrible noises, like devils laughing and sneezing and blowing their devilish noses!”

“His dogs barking, of course,” said the Secretary.

“Why not say his black-beetles barking!” said Syme furiously, “snails barking! geraniums barking! Did you ever hear a dog bark like that?”

He held up his hand, and there came out of the thicket a long growling roar that seemed to get under the skin and freeze the flesh — a low thrilling roar that made a throbbing in the air all about them.

“The dogs of Sunday would be no ordinary dogs,” said Gogol, and shuddered.

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