So a few weeks ago, I volunteered to do a post for Critical Distance. It’s a great weekly round-up of games-related criticism from blogs and websites, and while I’ve always skimmed its entries and clicked a few links – mainly those pertaining to games I was familiar with – I volunteered because I thought it could get me reading much more deeply into games criticism than I had already been doing.
And it did. I did the round-up again last Sunday, and while I was stressed out and barely had the time for it, I was fulfilled by all the great writing out there. It had me thinking miles a minute about games I had played and games I’d never even heard of.
It also had me thinking about the way that we use blogs.
It’s amazing what a person can achieve through something that sounds so inconsequential and ugly (seriously, say it to yourself: “blog”. Don’t you feel ridiculous?). Some use it as a diary of sorts of their gaming adventures, random thoughts and anecdotes collected in one space; others post veritable essays about very defined topics. It’s quite brilliant, looking at all the other bloggers out there, seeing how they’ve used the medium to carry their message.
It inevitably had me thinking about my own blog. What the hell is my message? I actually have no clue. I know that it took me two weeks to come up with a name for this thing, and that my mission was to have a site on which I could say, hey, I am capable of writing and thinking!
… But I don’t think the thinking part of that has come through very clearly. I was new to the games criticism scene a year ago, and pretty much blissfully blind to how volatile opinionated discussion can get. (You’d think this was politics, not video games.) While I enjoyed putting my thinking process here on the internet to begin with, I’ve been in enough heated arguments by now to need to think twice, thrice, and too many times again before stating anything that falls outside of popular opinion. Frustratingly, it’s been quite detrimental to my output, and you’ll notice how infrequently I update this blog. I play it safe now. Most of my recent entries have simply been links to my writing elsewhere on the web. I avoid stating certain opinions because boy, am I tired of arguing with people so set in their views. I avoid getting truly honest here because unlike a year ago, I have a few people watching this blog now, and revealing such honesty makes me feel incredibly vulnerable. I feel like my breathing room is limited so as to avoid offending anyone I respect and don’t want to damage relations with.
I’ve kept – and you’ll pardon the pun – my own critical distance from this blog. When it comes to writing, for some reason I feel that something huge but unknown is expected of me, and I’m scared that I won’t deliver. So I don’t. At all.
This is why I’m so grateful we have a place like Critical Distance, and that I get to participate in it. It makes me feel a little better about having a dissenting opinion sometimes, and it’s made me realise that I don’t necessarily need to write in an essay-like, emotion-free way to get a point across. There are so many bloggers doing such a good job without seemingly stifling themselves, and I envy that. I’d like to work my way up to it again.
So you might see some changes here at Alive Tiny World. I might get a little more ranty, a little more emotional, a little more personal. I have other interests I’d like to touch on now and then – fashion, travel, droning indie music (seriously, I’ve not listened to anything but a single Belle and Sebastian album for a month). I might even share some fiction, because fiction is, after all, what I started blogging with some ten years ago. How do these things even intersect with the nerd culture I’ve settled into? I don’t know, but it might be fun feeling out the corners of this strange space myself.
I’m sorry if it’s just the nerdery that you visit for, and I understand. In the end, though, I have this online space that I’d like to use a lot more, and I really do feel that honesty, flippancy, and I’ll-do-whatever-the-hell-I-like is going to help me improve, both as a writer and a critic.
But then there’s that other side of blogs. The public side, the fact that a blog is on the internet and open to readers and their interpretations. So to the few of you who read this regularly, I’d like to know: what do you visit for? What have you liked and disliked about Alive Tiny World? Where would you like to see this thing going in the future?
In any case, it’s been a great ride so far, and I’m appreciative of anyone who has stuck with me so far, even in spite of my inconsistency. If you haven’t already, hit me up on Twitter. Say hi. I’d love to get to know you. (And visit Critical Distance. It’s hyperlinked. Go!)