Fallout, Boy

“You said you’d keep me honest…but I won’t call you on it.”

Today is Sunday. It’s the day I set aside for “game culture” writing, or at least the publication thereof. It’s also one week since the first blog written as a follow-up to “Set Your Watch and Warrant.” I won’t be writing a game culture blog today though, so I guess if you set your watch by me, you might be a little off. Say sorry.

Truth is, I did have a topic — game journalism — the flavor du jour of the week it seems. Between the launch of Polygon and a rather brutal Internet-mediated bloodbath, there’s much to be said about our medium and the ways in which we report about it. Most of what has been said is snarky, and if we’re honest that’s probably what I would have said too. But then I realized my snark is about far more than games writers. It’s about writers on every beat, the so-called journalism of today. It’s about how news has ceased to be in any way a service to the people but a business, a thing to be bought and sold. It’s about the future of our nation being reduced to the banality of memes and Twitter zingers. It’s about the Weather Channel using a hurricane to garner Facebook fans.

I don’t want to write that blog, and no one wants to read it, so I guess I’m doing us all a favor today by breaking my own rules (God knows I’ve been bending them anyway). A week in and an assessment’s in order, because this is about helping me help myself, ensuring productivity, and to the extent that making sure I hit these topics and deadlines seems to be producing more stress than growth (and to the extent that very little interest has been shown in most of what I’m writing anyway) I’ll consider it my prerogative to do as I see fit. Who cares if no one knows your watch is off by an hour if you’re the only one checking it, right?

There are of course more practical matters at hand. First is finance: I might not be able to afford new media at the rate at which I proposed covering it, which is doubly stupid if (as with this week’s prospective album review) I am spending money I don’t have on music I don’t want because my “need” to review something has superseded my actual musical interests. Couple that with an impending storm that will preclude a great deal of consistency and sticking on-task, and you have a recipe for a recalculation.

I will review media as I have the chance to encounter it. I’ll review the movies I watch, the games I play, and the books I read — and I’ll endeavor to read more often, so that will hopefully take on some form of consistency. I’ll use the camera that introduced so many people to me and that has pleased so many people in the past. I’ll embrace this beautiful season — in New York and in my life — with gusto.

By the time Sandy has passed, it will be November, and November means graduate school research crunch time, and National Novel Writing Month (henceforth always to be referred to as NaNoWriMo). Over the summer I committed (via the strongest of binding statements; a tweet) to writing a book this year. This piece of writing has taken myriad forms in my mind over the passing months, fluctuating between temper and temperance. I have a lot of criticism for the church (both specific and general) that I’d like to get down. But if recent incidents have taught me anything it’s that I’m not in the proper place spiritually to be questioning my elders, whether or not I have any valid points. Humility must precede such things, and I am a slave to pride.

The reality is that I have to nail this grad school search here and now. This is do or die time for me. If I hit December, it’s too late. Deadlines will begin to pass. References will be requested too late. I gambled a lot on my own ability to stay focused on my future when I left Upton. The next couple weeks I’ll see the wheels on the slot machine stop spinning and we’ll all know whether my gut feeling was inspired or insidious.

To that end, while setting other goals in my life is amiable, and while maintaining productivity and avoiding tunnel vision are crucial to my success as a human being, I can’t allow secondary, ultimately arbitrary things to interfere with me over the next month. I’ll search, and I’ll read, and I’ll reach out, and if I find the time to write a column here or there, great. If I outline a novel or some essays, great. But if at the end of the month I’ve accomplished finding a dozen schools I feel confident in applying to and nothing else, that will be okay with me. More would be wonderful. Less would be devastating.

In the interest of saving face to some extent, I will say this: if people have a real problem with my decision to renege, or if they were really looking forward to some topic or another, I’ll do my best to accommodate. I need to do what’s best for me; let me know if you think I’m not. Meanwhile, especially if you’re an East coast dweller like I am, please try to stay safe this week. Winter is coming…but Sandy will get here first.

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