Three years ago this month I started this blog. It was a hot Summer day like this, because that’s how years work, and I’d had a few solid shots of vodka for no reason in particular, but that probably contributed substantially to Problem Machine actually coming into existence.
Three years ago. Fuck me, am I right? Writing more-or-less weekly updates has been a part of my life for three years. I’m 32 now, as of approximately one hour ago, or twelve hours before this article’s time of publication. Some things have changed. I’ve moved twice, I’ve settled into a kind of routine, I’m set up in my own place and live here largely through my own work rather than the generosity of others (though, at all times, the line between the two is never as clear as we’d like to believe). And, for the last couple of years, I’ve been working on EverEnding, which it now occurs to me is exactly the kind of delightfully ironic title a writer with a nasty sense of humor would give a pretentious vaporware title that never manifests. That degree of existential smugness simply cannot be tolerated, which is another reason to finish the game I suppose.
Lots of things haven’t changed, too. I still don’t really feel like I’ve earned a place in the world, though I may have made peace with a growing belief that I don’t think most people ever do. I’m still so incredibly isolated, in some ways more so, finding it difficult to learn to want to engage with the world outside my head. I’m still broke, I still fight to tamp down an unearned sense of arrogance, I’m still essentially non-existent as far as the world at large is concerned, I still feel anxious and depressed frequently enough to trip up my motivation, I still try to push myself to work harder, I still often forget to push and end up spending much of my time doing barely more than nothing.
It’s not bad. It could be better.
It’s been so helpful having Problem Machine. It’s an anchor to hold me in place and a map to tell me where I’ve been. It’s a mind-dog I have to take out on mind-walks once a week, which is a pain in the ass but is good for me. I still want to turn it into more. Four months ago I wrote about my plans for the future and I haven’t done any of that shit, none of it at all. I don’t know what to do about not doing that. Something, presumably.
I just need that nudge. That hot Summer day, that birthday, that shot of vodka, that fear of mortality, than loneliness, that unearned arrogance. I need some yet unlearned alchemical recipe which, once combined, will open the road into my future. I need more error and more trial. I need to seed my world with possibilities, with disasters and with adventure, to knock myself out of orbit, to be in the right place at the wrong time and/or the wrong place at the right time.
I need a problem machine.