Breaking the Silence

It’s been such a long time since I published anything that I fear I’d almost fallen into the mindset that I wasn’t allowed to write anything until I had a, well, glorious return of some sort. If breaking silence after two months amounted to anything less than the second coming my entire following would ragequit and I’d never have an audience again.

Or, you know, something like that.

Suffice to say I, like winter, have been fairly frozen lately in all senses, and the spring thaw (happy vernal equinox, by the way) has generated a welcome shift in my life, from the fundamental — I’ve been more spiritually focused, more physically active — to the fiscal — I’ve applied for a job for the first time since September — to the frivolous — I’m enjoying a variety of games for a variety of reasons. If you need further proof, consider this. As in, this blog.

My digital silence (if you call it that; I’ve been active outside the blogosphere after all) hasn’t been for lack of inspiration; perhaps just the opposite. Fear that anything underwhelming would turn people off has kept me from writing anything at all, despite a plethora of ideas (some of which have even spurred vibrant debate and conversation via alternative outlets). A quick catalog of things which might have been (and might still be) entries: the triviality and baseness of contemporary worship versus the soulless character of traditional worship; the commodification of gaming; the harsh (seeming) truths of Paul’s writings; the phenomenal childishness of the gaming community; why Linkin Park and Josh Groban have more in common than i’d realized.

The short “series” I began leading up to the Oscars garnered such little interest (part one, to date, has only 12 views; part two, only 7) and feedback that I did not even feel compelled to finish it out. I suppose part of the fault there is simply in misaligned interests — you guys didn’t really care about movies, or about my thoughts on movies, or whatever. But more importantly, I made the greatest mistake a writer can make: I wrote something I myself did not enjoy reading. No surprise, then, that others felt equally disenchanted.

Time and again I’ve inquired as to what, if anything, people I know would enjoy reading as a litmus test for how I ought to conduct this blog. Frequently the response has been (when there has been any response at all) that any writing conducted for the entertainment of others (rather than that which is born from personal inspiration) is destined to fail. As one who thrives on (if not attention then) affirmation, this is a tough rule for me to learn and live by. Mixed messages haven’t helped either; many a time I’m told that my writing is good enough that people will read it even if they’re not particularly interested in the subject itself, but my view, subscriber, and comment counts say otherwise.

We write what we know, I guess, and the things I know most are games, theology, and failure. Few people, I imagine, care much to read with any frequency (if at all) about the last of those, and not many more are often up to the strain (I’ll not say challenge) of grappling with the philosophical demons I’ve conjured up of late. That’s not to say I have no inclination to write about matters of spiritual nature so much as to say that, from a blogging standpoint, I’m not sure my thoughts are fit to print. Long-time readers will be familiar with the mental tug-of-war I’ve been carrying on with against Calvin. Some of you have done your best to assuage my concerns but it’s become rather clear that I’ve reached a bit of a dead end in that regard; that is to say, I’ve asked an unanswerable question.

At least when it came to that debate both sides were using scripture and humility. Other issues I’ve more recently encountered have a lot more emotion tied into them and thus have a tendency to get rather messy. So let’s add to the list of things I might feel inclined to write about the matter of the church’s dealings with homosexuality and the Biblical view of women (as compared to men).

If I’m honest about all the things I’m not sure of, I suppose the common denominator is the question of unity. What should it look like in the church? Do the dozens (or is it hundreds) of denominations around the world make a mockery of a creed declaring belief in a catholic — that is, universal — church? Is the apparent division of believers really, as one good friend suggested, to the benefit of specialized service? Or is our rigid adherence to certain interpretations of the gospel hindering our potential for much greater coherence as Christ’s body? And where does love factor into all of this? Where is the line between loving your neighbor by accepting his perceived shortcomings and loving your neighbor by calling his perceived shortcomings into question?

As for gaming, the past month in particular has provided a generous helping of reasons to love and hate gamers, games, and game culture. I’ve been led to question the validity of the medium in general, to wonder where the boundary between art and business is and whether crossing that line invalidates the other side of it. I’ve wondered where loyalties stand and where they ought to stand between producers, press, and players. I’ve relished nostalgia for almost eighteen years of a past-time and looked forward with both craving and caution to its future, near and distant.

The important thing, though, is that I’ve stopped wanting to write and now I’m doing it, and I’m going to keep doing it. The camera, too — what was once so frequently seen in my hand it might have been considered an appendage, but has spent the last eight months unused — has finally escaped into the great outdoors, and like the pen I have no intention of sheathing it anytime soon.

Last year, in a cute (take that word as you will) attempt at basic iambic pentameter, I wrote a simple two-line explanation of myself. Anyone comparing it to the Adam Bogert of the past six months would call me a liar, but I fully intend to own these words once more.

My life can be summed up in this: I write
With words (in ink) and photographs (in light).

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4 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence

  1. You look like you know how to write! I’m interested to hear more about all of the topics you’re outlining. I must have joined this site after you took your temporary leave of absence. As it happens, I write a blog much about the artistry and individual parts of gaming, and what makes games greater than a simple means of entertainment. You should check it out if you have the time!

    As for your point about video games crossing the line from art to business, you’ll find that the “line” is present in every form of art, and it’s not so much a line as a grey area. The question that we face as artists is: “Can I be true to my art and still be commercially successful?” It all depends on your philosophical point of view, and finding the balance that works for you. No matter where you are, though, there are people who will tell you that you’re selling out, and there are people that will tell you that you’re being a martyr for art.

    So maybe the pendulum is swinging a bit in the way of “commercial viability” versus “artistry” in that game companies are charging obscenely for their product. But, objectively, I see that video games are a medium of art more than ever, from the graphic design to the writing to the music. It’s still art, even if it’s getting pricey. Usually artists have to die for that to happen to their work.

    ~Another Gamer

    1. Thanks for the reply and subscription! I’ll do my best to look over what you’ve written as it certainly sounds up my alley.

      Regarding the art/business divide, I of course barely scratched the surface of what I want to get at. The most recent situation that has me itching to talk about this issue is the debacle over the Mass Effect 3 ending and, more frighteningly, that one guy who reported Bioware to the FTC for fraud on the basis that they didn’t live up to his expectations. Such actions treat the game as pure commodity and show zero respect for the game as art. What’s worse, though, is that Bioware has responded by saying they’re not ruling out changing/adding to the ending. I view that as a validation of the first guy’s actions, and an invalidation of any artistic claims that Bioware and its fans may have made about Mass Effect in general.

      That is, of course, merely the reason I feel compelled to write about it; it’s hardly the only (or, perhaps even the main) case study for such a blog. And it dovetails into the other question I raised about responsibilities and loyalties — what do gamers, game press, and the industry owe each other, and are they living up to those expectations?

      Anyhow, it’s not just about the money ^_^. But I definitely get what you’re saying.

      1. Jeez, I hadn’t had any idea about the legal issue! I thought you were mostly referring to the day-1 DLC, like everyone else. BioWare’s lost a lot of respect from a lot of people for doing what they did with ME3…

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