I thought it might be fun to learn some more about the people that frequent these forums- and in particular, how who you are and your experiences colours your work. You pick up on a little of this through threads, especially from long-term, in-depth reviewers: but it’s also deeply fascinating to see how people describe themselves. I think it’s why I love memoirs so much.
I’ve mentioned often before that I consider myself a poet, writer, artist, and general creative in that order. I flit between genres, but the gothic (whether paired with proper subgenres like gothic horror or gothic romance, or just as a shorthand for the style of prose and narrative as applied to other things, like rambling on about the ethical nightmarescape of sentient robots) has been a lifelong love of mine. I’ve studied literature somewhat formally (undergraduate university classes) but more so in my spare time.
Poetry means a lot to me- it’s the first medium in which I ever felt truly seen. I cried like a baby the first time I ever read Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese, and Albert Goldbarth’s The Sciences Sing a Lullabye is what inspired me in part to pursue life sciences, as well as exploring the intersections of science and the arts in my creative writing. It’s ironic that someone so inclined to longwinded essays on the daily loves poetry for the way it distills language: but I think the way it can cut so cleanly to the quick is a huge part of it’s allure for me. I love it for the same reasons I love Post-Impressionism and Fauvism: because it’s about the feeling resonating from a drive-by glimpse, rather than true-to-life fidelity in every meandering word or hair. You don’t have the space to waffle on at length. You pick out the most striking bits and go from there.
I’ve had a lifelong knack for writing- which is balanced out in my silly little character stat sheet by my aphantasia (inability to visualize, particularly faces) and dyscalculia (learning disability with regards to mathematics.) Educationally, I’ve been considered ‘twice exceptional,’ which is a polite way of saying ‘how on earth are you dumb as a rock with math to the extent you couldn’t do basic algebra in your junior year of highschool and instead brute-force memorized all your physics variations and yet we also wanted to push you into fourth grade instead of leaving you in junior kindergarten because boy golly can this kid write and you’ve swept the place clean of scholarships and awards for writing???’ I’m also physically disabled, (I have an incurable genetic disorder that leads to my blood being unable to clot properly, and at the severity it manifests, I have spontaneous internal hemorrhaging and coagulation dissolution: I joke cheekily it’s like going to bed and never knowing if you’re going to wake up after having been beat soundly with a baseball bat). I creak, like a haunted house. It’s pretty funny to me, considering how much I love the gothic.
All of that informs my writing: in my edgier poems, there’s a lot of hurt and despair in the little ‘self portraits’ I write, where I sit frankly with myself and sketch out who I am in that moment. It’s not all doom and gloom- in many respects, it makes me a more interesting writer, I think: the visuals of my prose are often highlighted, but they come from having to put that much more effort into trying to catalogue, remember, and describe the world around me where pictures fail. When you love someone, and you can’t remember what their face looks like: the world opens up in the soft sigh at the back of their throat, the smell of high notes of citrus and the smoky aftertaste of cologne barely masking cigarettes and cold air, the way they hold you so gently, warmly tucked close against their chest.
There’s also sillier things. I often will paint hands backwards, (as I usually end up referencing my own while painting, but forget to account for having to flip them the other way around, especially the thumbs as I can’t ‘see’ that rotation in my head) or omit, or duplicate things: fingers are especially bad for this. That slight body weirdness is part of why I like body horror so much: something is wrong with the vessel, and it’s slightly offputting beneath the pastel softness of my rendering the same way some dude’s eye smearing casually over his cheekbone is unsettling as he treats it like it’s just another Tuesday.
The intense heights of emotionality running beneath the gothic are very appealing. I like bouncing between the tightrope of hysterically gaudy, glittering camp, and the quiet unease of light spilling into the corridor when you’re meant to be home alone. It’s a genre that takes mundane elements and distorts them terrifically: weaving the supernatural ghosts and ghouls with women wearing their mother’s faces. The legacy of the past, the unrelenting forces of fate- plumbing emotional depths while pitting teeny tiny little characters against a maelstrom of things bigger than them: that’s a good time. For similar reasons, I like romance, horror, westerns, noir, and science fiction.
All of that is to say- I approach nearly all of my creative projects, interactive fiction included, as more of a poet and writer than a programmer. I think IF is a very cool little corner of the internet I had no idea existed- where writing takes more of a prominent role than in other videogame inclined spaces, and that rocks! I wish I could get more into the puzzles, but it’s very cool seeing what such a melange of creatives come up with and release for free.