Games Writers Play
Throughout life writing has been a butterfly hovering and then flying off. I’ve spent hours writing, and I’ve spent years not.
Not to say my inner voice isn’t always running at top speed.
Usually in showers and driving. Words gifted from my subconscious descend upon me with clarity and precision. However I can’t write them down, so I am stuck repeating the thought while trying to either avoid a speeding ticket or rinse off.
Unfortunately, my mind has a mind of it’s own and runs away with the idea, effectively creating and pushing any decent stuff out of my brain before paper can be found.
But I digress. Writing for me comes in torrents with gushing in every direction or bare dribbles as I attempt to focus on important things.
Of course, surrounding environment plays a huge role in whether I am flooded or parched.
While I was getting my graduate degree I worked in a call center for a waste management company. The pay was tolerable, the work load light (barring blizzards), and in the early days society was limited allowing me to focus on my studies.
The graduate course I attended was a front runner for accelerated online programs. While some may snub such styles of education, the system is perfect for students like me.
In a traditional system, I performed well in the first month and the last month of study. First month because I was fascinated by a new topic, last month due to anxiety of meeting expectations. The 8 weeks between bored and frustrated me.
Hosted by a state university, I was able to earn an accredited Masters in Arts while consuming information in mass. Finishing a topic before boredom set in. The graduate program presented me a challenge of learning 16 weeks of information in a 5 week period, with the same expectations of performance. I was in cerebral ecstasy.
That also meant I was reading during lunch, reading at night, and writing papers and emailing in assignments while sitting at my computer between calls.
My boss knew what I was doing. Talk about big brother, call centers watch everything. But I was performing above metrics, so they didn’t bother me.
As I mentioned, society was limited so I was able to push through a magnitude of reading and notating during lunch.
Troy was (or still is, I don’t know) a very typical post-Goth individual. He alternately dyed his hair blonde and black, and was sure to wear short sleeve collared shirts so everyone could see his star tattoos despite the dress code.
And of course, wore all black. Always all black.
I admit, I wear majority black accentuated with gray. However, my reasons are pure aesthetic laziness. In the morning, I don’t want to worry about separates matching. I grab and go, focusing my mind on other items like making sure my toddler gets in the car before I drive off.
I do have to focus on matching shoes, to each other, but that story is for a different day.
Troy was ego-centric, highly emotional, and constantly in a state of angst. The epitome of poet and alt rock musician.
He was also very intelligent. Which, when combined with his childhood and life decisions, gave support to the image he worked so hard to propel in efforts to equally push away and entice other people.
At some point Troy started talking to me about something I was reading. I know for sure it wasn’t me. I don’t approach in general, with rare exceptions, and at that point in my life I was an island with nothing but ocean around me.
Not really sure how our friendship progressed to the state it did, but when two writers meet each other they will inevitably throw out they are a writer and begin talking and bonding over writing.
Except in the cases of competitive people. Since I am not competitive, one-upping writers make me gag and turn away.
At the height of our inescapable bonding, I was taking a poetry class. I was not in a creative writing tract, yet this class required me to learn not only history and differences of form but write in every form studied.
So Troy and I started a game, via IM.
Each week we chose a form. We would alternate writing a poem in the prescribed form based on a theme decided by the other person. Troy would pick the theme, and I would write a poem. Then we would switch.
The person who picked the theme would get to grade the poem for both form and theme strength.
Yes, all this between phone calls. I was in the commercial division, he was in pro accounts, we had time. And yes, all under big bro’s tech spying.
We had a pretty laid back boss. As long as her boss didn’t walk behind us and see what we were doing, we were golden in her eyes.
After the first day of independent writing, we upped the ante on ourselves and each other. We co-wrote poems, taking turns on theme. I would pick a theme, Troy would write the first line (or first two depending on form), I would write the second (or 3 and 4), and on and on and on.
We played this game every day for two months. Together we created some astonishing poetry.
None of it transcribed, saved, or archived beyond whatever IT did with IMs on their server.
Part of what worked so well between Troy and me is there was never any physical intimacy. I was coming out of hell and wanted nothing to do with most of humanity, and he was all agony over his ex/girlfriend/wife (she was all three during our friendship).
Even if there was physical attraction, it was quelled early. He was too much emotional maintenance for one. I was a bare ghost of a human for two. And for three, we were too similar.
We were not a soul split in two, we were mind clones. There was compatible intellect, curiosity, and boredom in equal measures. Of the same topics. Yin and yin do not make a whole.
About a month after the height of our friendship (eating lunch together, hanging out after work, writing poetry) the company went through a restructure. Troy was laid off.
We maintained contact for a short period of time.
Then my life went through a restructure. And we slowly drifted away as is natural in friendships developed in daily proximity between two people who are not inclined to reach out.
Troy called me randomly about two years after we had drifted apart. He and his ex/girlfriend/wife had moved to the suburbs, and he was working construction. Troy explained he had a dream in which I was screaming, and he felt an overwhelming urge to save me.
At the time I was evolving into a fully content being. I didn’t want his kind of saving.
Troy admitted it was pretentious of him to think I needed to be saved by anyone. In all our time, conversations, and mind melding that was the first time Troy dropped his hero-to-all-tortured-women filter.
We talked for about 15 minutes and never spoke again. And I don’t miss Troy. We were never meant to be more than an intense fling of intellect.
But I miss the games we used to play.
2 thoughts on “Games Writers Play”
LikeLiked by 1 person