Do you have friends who love playing games? My relatives were big card players–Pinochle, Canasta, Cribbage. I grew up to the sound track of shuffling cards. When Uncle Perlie came visiting, you could count on beer, stinky cheese, and those oily canned oysters.
Back in the day, I had friends who held board game weekends with Saturday all-nighters: Monopoly, Risk, and Clue, supported by pizza, chips, and beer.
Board games are technologized now. I think it’s called gaming, a verb, and singletons with pasty skin sit in cold dark rooms, hunkered over a device that pits cartoon war-gods with blaring guns against little kittens and ducklings. I think they eat sticks and dirt.
None of my friends ever played word games like Scrabble or crossword puzzles; that would defeat the purpose since those are the chosen games of the Intelligentsia. Word games had that nasty by-product of falling limply into the category of educational. [Pre-canned oysters rejoice!]
I don’t enjoy playing games. Yes, somewhere a room full of ex-boyfriends-and-husbands hold open hands above their heads, nodding in affirmation, and some testify, “Boy Howdy” in agreement. I don’t mean that; I mean whatever the current name for board games is…
The problem with making a blanket statement like that is there’s always, always, an exception to the rule. Then we do a butt-fall into some foreign place and notice in hindsight that perhaps we weren’t quite right about what we thought we didn’t like. Char-fried brussel sprouts with vinegar and brown sugar, for example.
And so it is with me and my favorite game. Apparently. It seems there’s something I might like as much as writing and it hurts my suffering-author-street-cred. I’m embarrassed to admit I enjoy editing; sliding words around, replacing one with another, looking for a smaller word to make a bigger impact. [Pre-canned oysters squint their tiny eyes with uncertainty about their future.]
I might spend a couple of hours writing a short thousand-word essay and then, as if I’m slipping into a hot tub, I settle into a dreamy few hours of editing. Do I over-indulge? If so, why do I constantly miss that correctly-spelled wrong word? Like now instead of know. Or if instead of is. Oy, these pesky little words that trip me up while trying to carve and sculpt just the right turn of phrase.
The last time I wrote about editing, I immediately got two emails from readers about needed edits in that very editing essay. The irony is not lost on me, and still I plow ahead… It’s the undaunted sign of a fanatic.
WEEKLY UPDATE: I’m half-way through editing Barn Dance. It’s the next book and I’m hoping to have it out by the New Year. Even as I love to languish in editing, I’ll try to hurry. As soon as I’m done with this edit, I’ll send the manuscript off to an edit-pro with a huge smile. In a few weeks, it’ll be returned with the computer version of red ink all over it. It’s an enthusiastic investment; I really love this part. It’s where I learn even more about punctuation and word tense–wildly spellbinding to a WordNerd like me. After that, I’ll incorporate those corrections and move on to the final version.
In a way, Barn Dance is a bit like both of the last two books. It is like Stable Relation, in that there are stories of ranch dogs and rescue horses, baby llamas and sage donkeys, goat anarchists and the most elusive and cantankerous creature of all–the old gray mare. Who writes. And it’s like Relaxed & Forward in that the book is structured in a short essay format.
My personal gaming reality? I sit in a cock-pit of two computer monitors and a keyboard. The window in front of me faces west; my pond and Pikes Peak. The window to my right opens to my barn. My soundtrack is quacking and braying and nickering, and the snacks of choice: apples and cheese and cookies, with time appropriate tea or wine.
It’s true. I’m the most similar to the pasty players in the basement; odd hours off by myself, staring at a lit-up screen and somewhat defensive about what I eat while making bad jokes about ducklings. I work at the fantasy of playing my game as a full-time job. A job that, if I’m wildly successful, could eventually rise to the coveted level of almost minimum wage.
As always, thanks so much for your support and comments. I couldn’t do it without you. And have a grate day!
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm