Solstice's Vent and Education Workshop

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The player scrapbooks forum is literally a place for writers to warm-up, brainstorm, keep little scraps of notes, or just post things to encourage themselves and each other. Each player can feel free to create their own thread - one per account - and use them accordingly.

Solstice's Vent and Education Workshop

Postby Solstice on October 6th, 2018, 8:48 pm

Moving On Through Writing
So, I’ve never been really good at the whole diary/blogging thing. I’ve got about a dozen diaries from my childhood, all with only a page or two filled and nothing else. But I think diaries can be cathartic… and there's something about being able to use a diary to look back and see what your previous mindstate was like at the time. It gives perspective. Plus since this diary is public, I could potentially use it to inform. So that's cool too.

I’ve been thinking about expression and how we use writing to convey concepts and emotions, so I wanted to write about that a little. I’m not very good at expressing myself in standard ways. Just saying that I’m feeling sad or hurt often takes a great deal of effort for me. I often feel like people don't really want to hear what I’m going through, or I’ll be a burden if I talk about it. If I do say things, it's usually along the terms of 'I'm upset about this, but it'll work out' or 'but I'll be okay'. Whatever it takes to not burden others. I think that really shows how comfortable I have grown with the Mizahar community. I say a lot of things in chat that I’d never say anywhere else, especially aloud.

I don't have a very good family life. I live with my parents and, whether intentionally or not, they treat me like a burden. I can't really express myself to them, because whatever issues they are going through are always more important than mine. I accept that they’ve got a lot of problems themselves; my Mom has terrible chronic pain due to a botched spinal surgery, and my Dad has dementia. But there’s no room for any of my problems, so I’ve had to learn to express myself in different ways outside of just...y’know. Talking to someone.

That brings me back to writing. Although just writing about your feels all diary like as I’m doing here is great, it doesn't really scratch that itch in the same way. I read and play video games a lot, and the ones I’ve had the strongest emotional connection to have always been ones in which the characters are going through similar emotional struggles as I’m dealing with at the time.

Wandersong, a game I’m playing right now, is a really good example of that. On the outside, the game is about a silly bard trying to save the world from mutually assured destruction with the power of music. But there's hidden depths to it. The protagonist deals with his own insecurities about not being good enough to do what needs to be done and nobody really believes he can do what he's set out to do. And meanwhile, he tries to remain optimistic. At one point, he and his companion, a grumpy witch with her own insecurities, have this incredibly heartfelt conversation while dancing in the middle of a nightclub. She tells him that she doesn't understand how he manages to remain cheerful all the time, and brings up a time where everything he believed crashed around his head, but eventually he got over it. He tells her that he doesn't really think he ever got over it, he’s just continuing to move forward because that’s all he can do and it's better than doing nothing.

This whole game, but particularly that conversation had a really big impact on me. I would rather be happy if I can. It's uncomplicated, and it makes everyone around you feel better. But in real life, you can't just be happy all the time. Bad things happen no matter your circumstances, and we as people have to figure out how to get through them. Figuring your own emotions out and how to express them is something deeply personal, and sometimes just saying how you’re feeling isn't able to express the fullness of your feelings. So I’ve fallen on writing as a way to express complex emotions and themes that I wouldn't know how to say otherwise.

Anja and Rook are both really good examples of characters I created as means of expression. Rook is a victim, and an outcast. His bondmate is the only person he can actually trust. But Rook as a character is the kind of person who won't give up no matter what is thrown his way. Even as he suffers, he keeps moving forward, looking for solutions, and trying to find ways to survive a world that tries to strangle him. Rook’s stories inspire me to keep trying, even when the world dumps everything on top of me all at once, and even when it hurts to keep going.

Meanwhile, I chose to write Anja because death is an extremely complicated nexus of emotions for me and I wanted to create someone who understood and accepted it better than I do. Anja sees death as a natural process within the world, and in allowing himself to be entwined in it he’s able to see the beauty in the reflection between life and death. Writing Anja comes across as poetic sometimes. A lot of his beliefs are things that I want to feel, and writing helps bring me closer to seeing things the way he does.

I’ve always written about subjects close to my heart, since long before Miz. They’re means of expression that are too complex to be explained through words alone. Sometimes if you look directly at a problem, it's too bright and you can't see the nuances with it. Writing lets you circumvent those problems and explore the subject with more nuance. And it can reveal a lot of details that you might not have noticed otherwise.

Anyways, this is getting a bit rambly and long-winded and if I go on much longer than I’ll wind up not posting this at all. I suppose if I want readers to take anything away from this scrap, it's that if you don't already, you should consider putting as much of yourself into your writing as you can. When people write about subjects that are dear to their hearts, they endear themselves to their readers because the writing comes off as genuine. And there’s always a chance that your writing could impact your reader, and help them to understand and move through their own issues.

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