A Word

Hello, internet. It’s been a while. I know periods of radio-silence are not unusual for me, but I’ve been quiet longer than usual, and I feel it’s about time to just write something just to explain what’s been going on to both you guys and myself.

So, here goes.

Like many of you out there, I’ve had my issues with both depression and anxiety. I’ve pretty much been dealing with them all throughout my adulthood, with varying degrees of success. However, just when it seems I’ve found some therapy or medication that alleviates my issue, they express themselves in a new form. Their newest form, one I’ve been battling for over a year and a half, is that of a desire to avoid the world and just stay inside. No movies, no galleries, no groceries, and sometimes no job; just stay inside, sleep until 1 PM, and stare at the Internet until it’s time to waddle back to bed. I don’t watch anything, I barely read, and I don’t have the desire to write much beyond the occasional funny social media post. Thankfully, I’ve been back in counseling for the past few months and it has been invaluably helpful in teaching me how to set goals and think about myself in ways that avoid masochistic self-denigration, but it’s going to be a long hard road to get back where I was.

While that has been the biggest issue influencing my attitude towards writing lately, it is not the only one. I am composing this post on the one-year anniversary of the passing of my good friend Catherine Brunelle. I met her by chance at work about four years ago, and while workplace socialization is far from my strong suit, I decided to put some of my therapy to use and talk to her. As it happened, she was a writer too, so we had plenty to talk about. She was always a bright, upbeat person, and she did so much to encourage me to take risks with my writing. It was because of her that I decided to submit my work to Strange Horizons and even start this blog. She became a friend at a time when I really needed one, and even now I miss her dearly.

Finally, while I have been slowly recovering my desire to write, I am still having trouble deciding what to write. I’m in another period where I feel like I have gone as far as I can with writing reviews and criticism, and I want to properly move into fiction, which has always been the ultimate goal for me. However, while I may no longer have the desire to write nonfiction, I often find myself returning to it simply because it’s the form I’m the most comfortable with crafting. I do want to make a serious go of fiction (I even have two or three story ideas to get me started), but I need to find a way to approach it that doesn’t scare me off.

Of course, this raises the question of what the future of this blog will be. I don’t believe in deleting my own work off the internet; after all, even no matter what I think it, there’s someone out there who loves it and will be sad to see it disappear. Still, that doesn’t answer the question of what I should do with this blog. I may return for some reviewing in October, and I’ve got a few scary games I’d love to talk about, but at the moment I really can’t say what will happen here.

Even so, you can rest assured that I’ll be out there, getting myself back into shape and beavering away on some new project ready to intrigue and enthrall you all. It’ll take a while to figure out where I need to go, but I can’t wait to get there.

Not a farewell,


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7 Responses to A Word

  1. janedotx7 says:

    Hello, I just discovered your blog through the delightful Abigail Nussbaum’s. I hope you keep writing! I really enjoy your reviews and thoughts. Good luck on moving into fiction–it’s the ultimate goal for story-lovers, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair says:

      Thank you so much! I do have one or two things I want to do with the blog come October (or maybe sooner, who knows), but for now I need a little break to start some work that’s been sorely neglected. Hope you’ve enjoyed your stay!


      • janedotx7 says:

        Have you ever played Baldur’s Gate 2, by the way? I’d be quite curious to know what you thought of that, or of video games as a vehicle for storytelling in general.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Alasdair says:

          I have not played Baldur’s Gate 2, actually. It appeared just before I seriously got into gaming, and I must confess that standard medieval-derived fantasy settings are not really my thing.

          As for my thoughts on video games as a storytelling medium, they are…complicated. While I’ve played a lot of games over the years, I’m much more a child of books and movies, so I have never been quite certain of what the relationship between the strictures of the developer and the agency of the player should be. Ideally the two should complement each other, but the strengths of one can often make up for the weaknesses of the other, and of course the ideal balance for every project is always different. I do enjoy the occasional “immersive sim” akin to Dishonored, but I’ve always felt there’s something very artificial about constantly scavenging notes and audiologs to gain a better understanding of the world. I’ve long adored the presentation of the Half-Life games, where you can simply walk and the world unfolds around out through snippets of dialogue and scripted events, but you can only go so far with that presentation (as I suspect the developers and Valve discovered with the later Half-Life sequel episodes). I do think horror games, by virtue of length, are well-suited for what I call “endurance horror”, where the player is slowly ground down by anxiety and uncertainty rather than being shocked with a sudden scare, but those can be tricky to pull off.

          All these thoughts are a bit incoherent, but it’s a difficult subject that I haven’t had any formal training in, so I just go off what I remember from my own experiences. Hope it’s elucidating, in any case.


          • janedotx7 says:

            I’m replaying some old CRPGs out of nostalgia (Baldur’s Gate 2 right now, and eventually I’ll start up Planescape: Torment again) and now that I’m twice as old as I was when I first played, I can see how bad the story and writing are. And yet, I still feel that the CRPG medium could tell some truly innovative, gut-punching stories that a more passive medium can’t. On the other hand, there’s articles like this Ferret Brain one (http://ferretbrain.com/articles/article-186) that argue that gameplay inevitably conflicts with the narrative needs. (Not that the Ferret Brain article is coherent. I just thought it was interesting.)

            I think you’re right about games being a wonderful vehicle for horror. It’s amazing how much you can do even with very little gameplay, as with this playable teaser trailer for Silent Hill: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.T._(video_game)

            For other emotions/genres though, games might be a bit more iffy.


  2. Sarapen says:

    I’m one of the people from the podcast you linked that covered the Tanya the Evil anime. I was hoping you’d write about the sequels since your review was what made me check out the light novels. I myself may write a review comparing how good of an adaptation the anime was (short answer: pretty good since it realizes animation and text are two different media) but I’d been hoping to know what you thought of the historical shenanigans of the later books.

    Anyway, best of luck on your creative endeavours and I selfishly hope you’ll have time to occasionally return to this nonfiction corner of your intellectual empire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair says:

      I must admit that while I have both the second and third volumes on my bookshelf, it’s been long enough that I’m going to have to reread the first volume again before I venture onto the next ones. Don’t hold me to anything, but at the moment it looks like it will be a project for the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

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