Thoughtful Thursday – The Nagging Itch – On Games, Creativity and Procrastination

Hello dear reader.

Being a creative is horrible sometimes. At least I’m assuming the feeling I’m going to write about is to do with being a creative.

The long and short of the matter is that I spent a large portion of yesterday trying to find a computer game to play, which I do from time to time; I open up Steam and spend literally hours scouring through hundreds of games, trying to find the “right” one. I’ll then buy one or two and play them for a few hours before never touching them again.

I’ve been doing this for years and I know my wife, Smidge, suffers from a similar malady; though it expresses itself in less expensive ways. I have no idea why I do this; I love the idea of playing games and when I find one that does scratch that itch, it feels great, but most of the time I end up spending money that I shouldn’t have spent, on games I don’t play.

I’m quite an introspective beast, so it’s not as if I haven’t tried to find the route cause to this feeling, and honestly I think it’s guilt. I desire to do something with my life, and every time I feel like I want to just relax with a game, I feel like I’m not really “doing” anything towards my goals. The games I want to play are strategic and complex, like the games I want to design, but I push myself into a corner and feel like I should be playing a multi-player game because that experience will in some way feel more meaningful; I’ve played every single MMORPG you could name because the persistence inherent to them engenders a feeling of accomplishment…a false feeling of accomplishment.

The reason I’m writing this article is, more and more, I’m learning that my real projects; those linked with this website, are the ones that give me a real and tangible sense of accomplishment. Maybe when I make real progress on something I value, something real, I’ll be able to give myself a break and just enjoy a “meaningless” experience.

At the end of the day, it’s all just a push and pull between short-term pleasure and long-term accomplishment that represents a common modern struggle; there’s so much in the world that appears to be fun and in the moment, worth doing, but when inside you’re striving to do something more you will never be able to get away from the feeling that you’re not supposed to be wasting your time on short-term fun, at the expense of a project or endeavour you’re “meant” to be working on.

So what have I learned from the last day or so?

Do what you know in your heart you should be doing before trying to distract yourself and put it off because it takes a little longer to get there. Such times as that build motivation if you can find a way to not give in to the urge to procrastinate.

Thank you for listening to me ramble. Good luck in all your endeavours.

Cross Stitch Corner: Experiments

At the start of this year I made it a goal of mine to make my own cross stitch patterns. I thought that it would be many months before I gained the knowledge, experience and whatnot to be able to do such a thing. But cross stitch is a wonderful thing and it’s so easy to create things. Using an app on my iPad called StitchSketch I can turn my drawings into cross stitch!

the corner of a screen shot of a cross stitch chart
A sliver of my design.

Eventually I want to sell the digital charts, if people are interested, but first I have to figure out how to make a pdf look nice and all that pavlova.
In order to test the app and to make sure that I was doing things right I used a simple pattern and the colours I had on hand. When I use this chart (are they patterns or charts? I get so confused since I’ve done many crafts) again I’ll use a lighter blue for the sky and a white for the cloud.

Progress
Finished!
Felt to cover the back

I had a lot of fun with this one, even stitching that felt on the back was interesting. I need more practise at finishing and I would stitch up the aida a different way next time but for my first original project it’s pretty great!

I’m pleased to say that the app worked and my cross stitch came out better than I imagined. The app is a little tough to use (I’m used to the ease of Procreate) but I’m sure I’ll get to grips with it. I can only use it for short periods as it only has a “dark mode” and the white writing on a black background gives me headaches and makes my eyes all funny! But I will be creating many more charts and projects.

So that’s my practise and I’m excited for many more to come! Have a wonderful day.

Car Ride

The rain tip taps on the car roof, falling from a grey sky. Blue sky lies in the distance, far in front, beyond the trail of metal carriages filling the motorway lanes. Red lights flash, on and off, on and off, as we inch along the road.
A gloved finger taps on the steering wheel, in time with the drops all around. No small talk, or music fills the car, just the ambient sounds and the taps.
Beyond the barriers steep tree covered hills give way to undulating fields of pale green grass with cream coloured sheep. Then, a forest of white turbines, reaching their slowly rotating blades high in to the air.
Soon the inches turn into feet and the feet into miles and we are travelling at a steady pace, the landscape whips by, once again the hills creep back around us.
We will pass through into the sunlight before long, the rain will be behind us and the road will be clear.

A Mysterious Egg – Part One

“A-ha!” Swooping a gloved hand into the undergrowth Rafie pulled up a glorius specimen of a Hedgehog mushroom. She admired her treasure for a moment before placing the fungus gently into her basket.
Sunlight streamed through the canopy warming the air, making the afternoon pleasant. Rafie had already filled the small wicker basket, but, enjoying the atmosphere, she carried on around the narrow forest path. Birds chirrped from all around, insects buzzed, her boots crunched fallen twigs. The path snaked around trees, patches of wildflowers released their intoxicating scent into the air. A sleepy peace washed over Rafie.
Some time later Rafie reached the oldest tree in the forest, as large around as her own cottage and taller by many times. Squirrels darted up the tree at her approach, flowers and plants quivered as unseen creatures escaped to their hiding places. Five strides took her right up to the trunk, its deep brown bark was almost smooth, many branches stuck out far above her head, full of deep red leaves. She placed her basket by her feet, after straightening and removing a glove she rubbed her hand over the trunk, a common ritual, bringing comfort to both woman and tree.
For over twenty years Rafie had lived on the edge of the forest, drawn to the area by this tree. Her sensitivity and openess led to a quick friendship and over the years they had become family.
“Do you need anything today, Lady Time?” Rafie closed her eyes, slowed her breathing and listened.
Above Rafie’s head leaves rustled, a branch creaked and something fell with a thud behind the tree trunk into the soft ground.
Slowly Rafie opened her eyes, adjusting back to the light, removed her hand and moved to investigate. Raking her eyes over the ground she searched for the fallen object.
It took only one pass to spot the item, a yellow egg the size of her head. It shone amongst the dark undergrowth. Carefully, Rafie scooped up the egg, it was heavy, cold on her ungloved hand. It was slippery so she cradled it in the crook of her left arm and went back to talk to Lady Time.
“Do you want me to take this somewhere? Look after it?”
Leaves rustled but only those which faced the way back to her cottage.
“Home?” A question, but not really, she could feel the answer, she was to take the egg to her house and wait.
A gust of wind rushed away down the path swaying all the trees.
“I’ll do my best.”
Egg and basket in hand Rafie made her way home, the air cooling.
When Rafie emerged from the forest evening was turning to night, dark blue sky smeared with the reddish pink of the setting sun. Her cottage glimmered in the waning light, smooth white stone topped with dark brown thatch. Her garden expanded around her house, bordered by a low stone wall. Behind her dwelling sprawled a wildflower meadow and far on the horizon a village visible only as a silhouette against the sky.
With her hands full Rafie backed into her door and leaned an elbow down on the handle, the door swung open.
Despite there being no light and the counters being completely covered with plants, bottles, clay sculptures and scraps of cloth, Rafie unerringly placed the egg gingerly on top of a pile of fabric. Turning her back on the egg for the moment she walked over to the wide fireplace, placed the basket of mushrooms next to the pile of logs and set to building a fire.
The fire and candlelight filled the one room cottage with a flickering glow, light bounced off pots and pans, illuminating herbs handing from thick black beams in the ceiling. Dusting off her hands Rafie stood, a great huff of air escaped her as she gazed at the mysterious egg.
“What are you?” She walked around a chair and leaned on the table where the egg now sat.
Rafie wondered whether the egg might want warmth. She picked up the yellow egg, cloth bedding and all, transfered it to the rug in front of the hearth.
Rafie eased herself into a plush armchair, kicked off her boots and pondered the new addition to her home. How long would it be until it revealed itself? She gazed until her eyelids and head grew heavy, still in her walking clothes. In the chair in front of the fire Rafie nodded off, and the egg began to shake.

To Be Continued…

This story is set in a world of my own devising, one in which I plan to set many stories. This particular story was only meant to be a short practise piece, however, as I began writing I realised I wanted to expand it a little. So here we end and next Saturday I will post the next (last?) part. Follow along and see where this takes us!