That’s what I’ve been telling people when they’ve asked what I’ve been up to. “How’re you doing?” “Um, kinda dead inside.”
People generally dislike the concept of death – fair enough. I shouldn’t be surprised when I receive more than a raised eyebrow in response. Honestly, though, I don’t mean to be scary or overly dramatic when I say it. It’s just the best way I can think of to describe how I’ve felt the past few months – how I just don’t have particularly strong feelings about anything right now.
My writing has stalled lately. I do the occasional news posts and… not much else, really. At some point, many months ago, I started to lose confidence in my ability and never quite picked myself back up. I’m realising now that I deal with these things by simply clamming up. Staying indoors, skipping social events, and playing lots of video games.
And oddly, it’s that last one that keeps me from flatlining entirely. After years of writing about them, going to conferences about them, thinking about them, and talking endlessly about them, I was beginning to find myself very easily annoyed by video games.
I think I’ve found love for them again.
So I just finished playing The Cat Lady, an unassuming and basically unheard-of game that’s already amongst my top five favourite games ever. It’s full of gore, mental illness, and cats, which won’t surprise anyone who knows me even vaguely. There probably isn’t a more Katie-type game out there.
I surprised myself playing it, though. Playing a suicidal cat lady character, you’d think it’d be all too easy to empathise – to back out of conversation trees prematurely and concede defeat. But no. Through Susan Ashworth, I became defiant. Through Susan, I beat down monsters that would compromise one’s will to live, and I pretty much told Death to go fuck herself.
Pretty deep stuff for a game I found by typing “cats” into Steam, really.
My partner found out last month that he’s moving to the Bay Area for work, and I’m hoping to follow him. I grew up as an awkward expat kid and I’ve actually become deeply uncomfortable with how comfortable I am in Melbourne now, so the move’s welcome. Unfortunately, this is where I also grow anxious about writing again, because I can’t continue my sorta-self-engineered freelancing “dry spell” forever; if I’m to stay in the States, I’ll need to find a job. And to do that, I need to prove my worth. I need to start writing again.
There are two terrifying, huge-ish features that I’m steeling myself for. You have no idea how much these frighten me. They’re both on topics I’m very passionate about, and I fear screwing up – or worse, nobody wanting the copy, because isn’t that a sign that you’re just not made to write? Well, no, and I know that. Just gotta beat my way through those demons, I guess. I’ve had some practice now. This cat lady wants to win.
I’ll see some of you in California soon, I hope.