The monthly project thing didn’t work out. There’s a few reasons for that, but the biggest one is the issue of enthusiasm management, a skill which I’ve had to improve at over the past few years. I guess some people call it passion when they’re able to work on the same project for half a decade. It’s passion in the way that gripping onto a flotation device in the ocean is passion, I suppose. It’s passion in the way that being compelled to return to the scene of the crime is passion. In the way getting a song stuck your head is passion.
I like making things – or, at least, I get restless very quickly when I stop. However, I have a hard time caring about any particular thing consistently. Something that seems extremely important one day can seem utterly pointless the next. It’s a toxic amount of perspective. EverEnding is the rare project that still interests me on successive days, weeks, months… and when I have something that I can care about consistently, that still feels like it has meaning from one day to the next, I cling to it. Perhaps I cling too tightly. Perhaps I sabotage myself in terms of completing the project because I’m not sure what will come next. I think I could come up with another project, though, if I needed to, once this one’s done – what I can’t do is commit to a bunch of small things, objects made to be practice, to be stepping stones, to be disposable, forgettable, irrelevant. I know that’s a bad way to think about them. I know that you never know where a work of art might lead, what might reveal itself to be important later, what might be the actual core of who you are as an artist.
Nevertheless, if the work feels trivial, I cannot do it. Not for long. So it seems.
And yet, if all I want to work on are large projects, then I can work for a very long time while achieving relatively little. If I spend weeks making an animation or a feature, and the game never comes to fruition, then what have I done with those weeks? Are they wasted? Evaporated?
Is this a question that only makes sense to ask because I have little else in my life besides my work – work which seldom seems meaningful to anyone besides myself?
Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective to see value again. I don’t like anything to be forgotten, to be just a point in between, to be flyover country, so I’ve started to change the way I think about work. Every game is made of hundreds, of thousands of tiny components – art and music and writing and so forth. I’ve tended to think of these as being stepping stones: of being necessary components to create the game I envision. That’s not inaccurate, but each of these creations also exists in its own right, each is something I’ve made, each is a work of art. It’s time I took pride in that. It is necessary: Otherwise every today becomes dependent upon an unknown tomorrow, instead of each tomorrow extending from the foundation of today. At a time in the world where tomorrow is so uncertain, when I don’t know how long I will be able to work before disaster begins to overtake us or who will be left to be interested in my work, I have to find value in what I am doing now. Later can wait until later.
Rather than every month being a new monthly project, every month from now on is both part of a large overarching project and a succession of micro-projects, which I will do my best to share with you. I may withhold bits and pieces here and there if I think it would be spoiling a surprise, but short of that I will try to be as open as possible. I’ll also be, once I get a bit more groundwork laid, setting myself milestones. If I commit to the idea of a large creation as a series of smaller creations, and if I’ve proved that I can do smaller creations to deadline, then there’s no reason why I can’t create, and perhaps even release, the entire project that way.
So far, EverEnding is one of the few projects I’ve managed to care about for more than a month or two, and also one of a very few among those few that I have a chance to actually bring to fruition. As overambitious as the concept may be, it’s fairly modest in many ways. If I was less particular about the methods of its execution and more consistent in my ability to work on it, it would likely be done by now.
That was the main thing I wanted to talk about. But something else is gnawing at me, and I can’t exactly describe its outline. I feel so strongly about imparting emotion and experiences to others that I feel like I’ve numbed myself, cloistered myself, robbed myself of emotions and experiences of my own. My world is a world of words and lines and numbers. It is beautiful and these are good and necessary things, but it’s nutritionally incomplete. If the unexamined life is, as they say, not worth living, what about the opposite? Is a life comprised entirely of examination any more worthy? It feels like half to two-thirds of an actual human life. I don’t know how to finish it – but I suppose life, like all art, is never finished, only abandoned.
If nothing else, I will continue to write. More than being a consistent creative outlet, more than it hopefully providing interest and insight to readers, this has become an invaluable tool for sorting out and expressing my own ideas and emotions – not to mention archiving them, since it is terrifyingly easy to forget things that seemed very important just days before.