Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Making gravel

By Dan O'Shea

I’m late, I know. I had a post all set to go about recording the audiobook for PENANCE, but there really wasn’t much to it. Turns out reading 375 pages into a microphone is hard work. Turns out, when you’re doing that reading in a small studio that’s usually booked by indie rock bands, it smells a lot like your college dorm used to. Guess that foam stuff on the walls soaks up the marijuana smell pretty good.

And I couldn’t really think of anything else to talk about. Been having trouble making sense out of things lately. Life’s been a little too chaotic, unfocused, random. I could weigh in on the great issues of the day I suppose, be just another blogger shooting my mouth off on gay marriage or why rape is bad, probably make the same points a few thousand people have already made, but probably less articulately.

Lots going on, most of it personal, most of which I choose not to talk about, but I’m in one of those stretches where life feels like an Asteroids game. (Not that most of you would remember Asteroids. It’s what passed for cutting edge video game technology in my salad days. You were captain of a little triangular space ship. Big chunks of space rocks would float across the screen and you had to maneuver amongst them, blasting them with your laser, which turned them into more numerous, smaller, faster space rocks, and then you had to maneuver amongst them and blast them with your laser, which turned them into more numerous, smaller, faster space rocks, and eventually you’d crash into one of them and die.)

That Asteroids game was kind of addictive. Get into a good groove where you got all space psychic, you’re spinning your little triangle around and bulls-eyeing zipping space pebbles you could swear you hadn’t even SEEN yet, managing impossible cross-screen deflection shoots while simultaneously making an impossible s-turn between converging galactic boulders, so caught up in your mastery of the immediate, in the mad space scramble, that the larger meta issue never strikes you – that it’s just pointless chaos and no matter how good your run, it always ends the same way. Your last video-game life smashed into oblivion by a pretend space boulder. Game over.

It occurs to me that maybe that’s what this writing thing is all about, the meta question. Taking the Asteroids game of life and making sense out of it, finding a gestalt in it, a beginning, a middle, an end. Making stories for people that give them a little of that Asteroids adrenaline rush, that put them in captain’s seat of that tiny space triangle, but that turn those zipping space rocks into something other than all there is, something more than the inevitable end. That turn them into obstacles overcome on the way to some purpose, some goal, some reason that this all makes sense.

I hear that’s what they do with video games now – give them stories. You still get to zip around a shoot shit, I guess. But you’ve got something to accomplish. That’s what I’m told. I wouldn’t know.

I’m still stuck in the Asteroids universe, trying to make sense out of it, but I haven’t got time. Up to my ass in space rocks in the vast indifference of heaven.

1 comment:

David Cranmer said...

I loved Asteroids in the day, Dan. And get everything else you're saying, brother.