We have just sold our house.
I spent the early hours of the morning fitfully resurrecting an old and decrepit magic system conceived of in the equatorial years of my adolescence, and actually managed to turn it into something quite … magical. Mystical at any rate. I made it up waaay back in the day when, for whatever reason, I was obsessed with subjecting magic to the systematic logic of science. I was determined to explain magic in real-world terms, make it feel plausible enough so that speculating about its existence would feel a little less fanciful and a little more ambitious. I think I needed something to hold onto back then, some kind of anchored life-raft to keep me going, and it was magic.
And then I got into videogames and D&D and systems and my scientific inquiry into the mechanics of ‘realistic magic’ transferred a little too effectively. So taking what is possibly the worst magic system I have ever come across, the one I designed when I was about 15, and turning it into something that actually feels like magic, is pretty dope. I’ve finally grown out of wanting magic to be ‘fair’, I guess, something that I can rely on. I don’t need it anymore, and as such I’m starting to find that it’s really quite enjoyable.
Old things have a way of coming back to us in new and helpful forms if we take the time to reconnect. Now that we’ve sold this house, the impending move makes me appreciate this place for the first time in a long time. But what’s funny about it is how I appreciate it. I did a bit of wandering the halls – well, hall – and reminiscing about all of those moments of childhood bliss, running around with siblings and friends, laughter filling up the walls, like always happens in flashbacks in the movies.
Then it occurs to me that, actually, it’s exactly like in the movies, this reminiscing – that shot with the main character looking wistfully off into the distance while an echoing laughter-track plays, evoking their childhood. I’ve got the soundclip in my head, and it’s that soundclip that I play to myself while reminiscing, and as I do this I am aware that I never laughed like that. You know the one, the Wilhelm Scream of nostalgic child-laughter that always gets used for maximum sentimentality. Not something from my actual memory.
And I’m still getting sentimental about it.
It is apparent that I am so far gone into the world of storytelling that there may not be much point in trying to turn back. I’ll just have to accept that I’ve got a script for my own memories, and it’s not even my own script. Narrative convention for the win.
But it’s been a good home to us. Also a crappy one. It’s been a home.
I even borrowed that little three-line structure. I bring a very new meaning to the term ‘life-hack’.
I am now listening to Tori Amos as a sort of musical comfort-food. I have discovered, after devoting the past three years of my life to becoming a social justice warrior and having that agenda influence every creative decision I’ve made during those three years, that what I want to write about more than anything else in the world is Kung-Fu Wizards with laser guns hanging out at a futuristic shopping-mall. Possibly with some kind of pseudo-Pokemon nonhuman companions.
It’s the story that I tried to make for for 12 years, and I think the reason I want to make it work now is because it is quite possibly the strongest tie that I have to my past, the only through-line of my history that remains in tact to this day. I want to excavate and nurture it, cultivate it into a glorious self-sustained life-form. I want to finally expose it to the light, and watch it grow, like I’ve wanted it to for a very long time.
And with that, I can finally let it go, let it stand on its own, while I make the effort to do the same.