Yup, I’m Still Alive. Sorry About That.

(or, not?)

It’s been over a month. Soz.

Many things have happened between now and the last time I trackpadded my way onto the little WordPress shortcut I have at the top of my Chrome window, and I intend to give you the highlights; sadly, everything has been a highlight in what may well have been the single busiest thirty-day stretch of my tiny, insignificant life. And we’re all about blowing up tiny insignificant nonsense into epics of Homeric proportions on this blog, aren’t we? So let’s get to it.

The biggest change is that I’ve moved out. Not to a shitty student room, and not to the unspecified wilderness of ‘down the mines’ that was a favourite parental threat back in the day; no, I’ve moved to a place of my own! I (my flatmate) found this place, I’m (my dad is) paying rent, and I am (my estate agent is) sorting my utility bills, just like a proper adult! I’m living a bit north of Camden, for those of you who know London, and London for those of you from farther afield. I’m also living with those strangest of creatures, ‘friends’; specifically, the two young women featured in this rather infamously popular post, plus a third woman who I don’t recall vaguely describing on this blog, but is a lovely person with excellent taste in TV shows who is one of three people in the universe to have curly hair and not look butt-ugly in the process. I may name them for the sake of convenience later, because I might be writing about them often if they’re inhabiting the same space as me for long periods of time like a shitty council estate infested with two different clans of rats who get on rather well with each other, but for now that’s all I’m prepared to say.

Another big change is that I’m a vegan now, having decided that straight edge vegetarianism is a lifestyle with not quite enough needless restraint. I think I mentioned this in passing last month, but it’s now been two and a half months without dairy, so I’m comfortable saying ‘I’m a vegan’ rather than ‘I’m giving veganism a go’. So far, I only miss Cherry Bakewells, and am suffering from slight exhaustion as a result of changing my diet without the accompanying change in lifestyle: I’ll still go for walks having eaten nothing for eight hours, which is a problem when your only food intake is bread without even the fat from butter. But I’m committed to this veganism thing, and my lifestyle will just have to adapt – in the experiment that is my life, the veganism is a fixed variable, and my walking and working habits are the ones that can change.

Speaking of working, my studies have gone better in the past week than any point in the previous year. Part of this is that I’m studying the things that I want to – namely medieval nonsense full of letters that no-one born after 1437 can pronounce – and so ‘working’ is a less arduous task. Also, I read Peter S. Baker’s excellent Introduction To Old English basically cover-to-cover. It was a textbook in Old English last year, but we only used it sporadically as we trundled over the relevant bits of grammar in our seminars; reading it in the order it was written makes building up an understanding of the language so much easier, rather than rote-learning random case endings and verb tables, which works at year eight French but not at degree level. It’s gotten to the point where translating Old English is one of my favourite pieces of work to do, as it becomes the literary equivalent to having a flawless run of Tetris, sliding grammatical blocks into place and watching the archaic unintelligibility that veils dead languages shatter, opening up a world of new ideas and approaches to humanity.

Notice I said ‘less arduous’ in that last paragraph, however, as opposed to ‘fun’. I enjoy my studies, but they feel more like highly enjoyable pieces of work than activities that bring genuine joy. What brings joy to me is ludology. And yes, I’m going to insist on using this pretentious pseudo-Latinism. This is the academic study of video games, introducing schools of criticism such as psychoanalysis or literary criticism to the narratives, characters and worlds of games; I feel that games occupy a unique place in human cultural history, bringing the audience into the narrative-forming process through interactive storylines in a way that books or paintings never can, insisting on a rigid divide between artist, who makes the stuff, and audience, who can only react to the stuff. When I pick an ending to Mass Effect 3, I feel like I’ve shaped a story, and can weigh the moral and individual implications of that story not as one observing it from afar, but as someone more involved in the creation of art than even the most learned of Shakespearean critics could be. Ideally, I’d like to be a gaming critic; not a reviewer, but someone with a PhD in a field related to the literary narrative of games, someone who writes books with fancy embossed titles and blank back covers that line the walls of university libraries across the world; I’ll probably settle for being a particularly pretentious gaming journalist instead, or at least initially, but now I have a goal in my life, which is a rather profound thing to have found. I always knew that I wanted to do something with games as a career but, much like finding out there’s a term for my sexuality, knowing a community exists of like-minded people makes that dream so much more tangible, and so much more valid.

With that in mind, look out for a new project from me in the near future! I know I’ve got this blog, plus another two that need rebooting, and I think six publications to be writing for, as well as my novel that I’ve only written 12,000 words for in the last month, plus a game I want to write and/or produce, but it’s a project I’m looking forward to, as are all my other half-baked and indefinitely suspended projects. I’m on three committees next year, and will to go for a first; I want to write short stories again, and will try to bang out an essay a week whether my tutor asks for one or not; I’m going to represent my uni in all four of my sports next year, and I’ll be eating nothing but plant matter and Party Rings in the process.

I love doing things in all their guises, and meeting great people when I do them. That’s why this blog is so important to me, a hub that is both a platform for my personal projects, and a way to find awesome people with things to say, advice to offer, and insults to bandy around.

I’ve missed writing these posts, and frak knows I’ve missed you guys.

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17 thoughts on “Yup, I’m Still Alive. Sorry About That.

  1. That sounds like an amazing study! I was actually just pondering today while sitting at a red light debating wether I feel more involved and inspired by the characters in my stories, tv shows, or video games. Fascinating to find there is an actual term for such a philosophy. And major respect for the choice of vegan, I do not have that kind of discipline myself!

    I have just returned to wordpress this week after leaving in May. It’s so nice to be back!

    1. Obviously not all game characters are vivid, and not all stories are worth telling, but that’s true for any art form – I find a lot of people dismiss games as art because of the success of series like Call of Duty, but that’s like dismissing all literature because Fifty Shades of Grey was so popular. And you said ‘my stories’ – you’re working on stuff? 🙂

      Re. the veganism it’s always starting that’s the hardest – now I’m so used to using vegan substitutes and avoiding egg-fried rice from takeouts like I’ve avoid caffeine and sugary crap for years that its second nature.

      And welcome back yourself! 🙂

  2. *slams down a dictionary* Okay! I now understand what you’re talking about and I’m happy for you mate 🙂 also- fucking hell, vegan? As much as I respect you, milk is much better than fake milk.

    1. Nope. Nope nope. I actually prefer the taste of soya milk – it has an almost chocolately aftertaste and is a much richer flavour than regular milk, which I always found a bit sharp. Yes, I find the taste of milk edgy, what an exciting individual I am.

      And dictionaries are less useful, more ‘googling random collections of words like “gaming” and “legitimate literary criticism” and hoping for the best’. That’s what I did anyway, and it seemed to work.

        1. I’ll take being a heathen. Better than ABUSING DEFENCELESS ANIMALS FOR MY OWN SELFISH GAIN *gasps*

          Sorry, sometimes that just comes out. It’s an inherent part of following such a pretentious, entitled diet.

          And is that … Spanish? You’re too multilingual for me.

          1. It’s a joke! A punny one! (That I got off Tumblr) and if we don’t abuse animals, then uh… Something about dying or something? … The only languages I know are German, English and Spanish. ‘Tis pitiful.

            1. Oh. HA! (I assume it’s funny)

              And that’s pitiful? I only know Modern English, can just about get through Middle English and have a tentative grasp on Old English – I kinda know one language ffs!

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