Today my day starts with fishing out a porcelain incense dispenser, the one I use for green tea or dried herbs. I then bring out the last of some dried cedar I harvested up north years ago. Lighting the candles in the dispenser is a small prayer. Elsewhere on my desk is a bunch of dried lavender, sage, a sprig of basil I’m trying to encourage to grow roots. I have notebooks and my tea: oolong, and it’s delicious and pairs beautifully with the bright blue sky—

(Sorry, I got distracted. Someone is screeching Hakuna Matata at the top of their lungs while biking down the street outside.)

You know, I have been wrestling with this for weeks: I don’t know how personal to get with these blog posts. Do I describe the day to day? Do I complain as much as I honestly want to? Is ranting the order of the day? Do I share intensely personal facts about what’s happening in my life and in the life of my close ones in the context of the pandemic, stuff I would have probably shared on here back in 2013 but now I have arguably better boundaries when it comes to sharing grief and trauma online?

Okay, let’s stop the anxiety whirl-around riiiight there, and focus on the small accomplishments and other nice things that happened lately:

I read two short stories last week that are both really excellent: The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado as well as an old favourite of mine I hadn’t looked at in years, Night of the Quicken Trees by Claire Keegan. Both stories have some interesting through-lines that echo each other, though their genres and execution are quite different. Carmen Maria Machado blends genres and even style to create something incredibly intricate and impactful. Revisiting Claire Keegan’s story reminds me of the cliffs of Moher, of the wind and the smell of the ocean.

On a totally different note, I got an email today from Matt Finch about a twine game he just published that uses the really basic Twine 2 Harlowe inventory system I threw together for the Myst Jam back in 2016. His Twine game is called The Library of Last Resort, which you should check out! I really love getting emails like that from people, reminding me that even though I’m not active in game development or the tech scene anymore, some of the stuff I did back then still resonates and helps folks make stuff.

As I’m trying to survive the economic impact of the government’s response to covid-19 on my practice, I am genuinely trying to muster as much energy and focus to accomplish at least a bit of creative work, because honestly sitting with my own anxiety for too long eats me alive. Because I’m having trouble focusing on my writing and still struggling with reading more than a sentence at a time, I’ve thrown myself into learning how to sew (my first project is a really simple smock that is basically a bunch of rectangles of variable sizes sewn together, I have promised myself I’ll make a blog post when I’m done).

I’m going to wrap this here, but with a little call-out that I’ve taken to streaming videogames again when I have a little bit of time and need to do something really straightforward. Most recently, I’m revisiting Transistor, an eminently moody little game with a killer soundtrack I’d bought back in the day but (despite listening to the soundtrack on repeat for most of 2014-2015) I hadn’t actually gotten around to playing the game past the first boss, so it’s been kinda fun to finally get to it.

Thank you so much for reading and I hope you and your loved ones are all safe.