Author Topic: Writing/Game-design as personal therapy  (Read 2900 times)

Villain Mastermind

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Writing/Game-design as personal therapy
« on: September 05, 2013, 01:09:42 PM »
If you don't laugh, you'll cry...

This is the quasi-philosophy that probably saved my life... that and my horrible track record at suicide. Suicide is not something that you over-think, and that is horrendously difficult for an almost comically over-analytical person such as myself.

According to some of Kafka's friends, he used to read his stories and laugh riotously. This may come as a surprise anyone that has read "Thank you for your cooperation", but I've never read any of Kafka's body of work. I swear... Always meant to, but never got around to it. Despite this, I completely understand why he would laugh at his stories that so many people regard as being depressing as hell. It wasn't until I had finished writing TYFYC that I watched Orson Welles' film version of "The Trial", and it is painfully obvious that Welles completely missed the humor in the story. It may be difficult to see, but there is a significant amount of absurdity in "The Trial", but this is overshadowed by the horror (especially nowadays where life appears to be imitating art).

I was in a pretty dark place when working on TYFYC, and to try to ward off the crushing depression interspersed with ennui-based numbness, I came up with the idea to create a purely humorous CYOA to eat up the time I otherwise spent waiting for an job-interview or  the eventual financial ruin and homelessness that comes with said ruin. It was probably the act of writing TYFYC that prevented me from spiraling into madness which would have landed me in the looney bin (again). It was an act of catharsis that allowed me to face emotions and memories that I in the past have just let build up and fester until I broke away from reality and became an avatar of the madness I saw all around me.

The ridiculous piece of shit that is TYFYC was exactly the steam-valve that I needed. That being said, I simultaneously love it and am disgusted by it. Every time I look at that damned thing, I catch a new mistake: An awkward sentence, a poor stylistic choice in a passage, reaching a bit too far to cause harm and misery to the protagonist, etc... But that is likely just partially my inner critic having another fit. Who fucking knows.

Feeling that I was on a roll, I decided to participate in a Mini-Ludum Dare. Out of that was birthed "Revelations", which was another cathartic exercise. But it felt hollow. It wasn't until I tried to write "Nzambi" and another story called "Fly on the wall" that I realized why writing was actually making me feel worse... It was all horror and no humor. The scenarios and events were surreal, but the there was no over-the-top absurdity to soften the blow. Just a depressing punch to the gut that beat you over the head with how helpless you (as the protagonist) were in the given situation. While CYOA's are notorious for killing you in all sorts of horrible ways, there is always the hope that you can "win". In TYFYC, there are very few "wins" in the traditional sense... The "wins" (if you can call them that) are not meant for the protagonist, but for the reader in being rewarded with bizzare situations and/or comically gruesome deaths. The reward is the journey, not the destination.

How rewarding can a journey honestly be that makes you want to slash your wrists with a rusty knife while jumping off a building into a pool filled with broken glass, razor-wire, and old car batteries?

I'd rather have at least an uncomfortable chuckle or guilty giggling.

As I thought about it more and more, I realized that there were plenty of embarrassing/traumatic situations I've been in that would be delicious fodder for more written lunacy. The very idea of it perked me up and started the gears spinning until steam piped from my ears and smoke billowed from my nose and mouth.

For example: A disastrous New Years party I attended that ended with a drunken "Sex in the city" marathon, a very uncomfortable interrogation by an ex-member of Mossad (the Israeli CIA), and a heated argument over whether or not to dine and ditch at a Perkins.

TRUE MOTHERFUCKING STORY!

Even I sometimes take the walk of shame through my memories and wonder if I just hallucinated large portions of it.

(Sigh)

And that is how I decided to write a follow-up to "Thank you for your cooperation"...

Enough of my rambling... Here is a video that some emo I-Fiction writer and/or Game Designer might get some comfort and maybe inspiration from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Avvj2qtnY

Thoughts anyone?
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Chris

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Re: Writing/Game-design as personal therapy
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2013, 08:55:17 PM »
I wanted to chime in here, but I don't think I can really respond to this in a way that would be appropriately meaningful.

That being said lunacy can be very therapeutic. And that actually sounds like a hilarious new year's party.

Villain Mastermind

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Re: Writing/Game-design as personal therapy
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2013, 07:35:38 PM »
It was one of those "Funnier in hindsight" situations.

And that last post came off a lot darker than I intended...
« Last Edit: September 08, 2013, 07:45:46 PM by Vhillain Mastermind »
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