This past weekend one of my co-workers was in a wedding. She showed us some pictures and we admired her dress for a few moments before she stated, “It had pockets.”
The knowledge that the dress had pockets just made it ten times better.
I’m not a dress kind of girl. Pretty sure the only dresses that are in my closet are from a couple of weddings when I was a bridesmaid myself and maybe my senior prom dress from ten years ago. But hearing that a dress has pockets makes me so incredibly happy, as it does for most of the women around me. Pockets! You don’t have to lug around a pocketbook!
It’s something small and silly but, hey, women love pockets. Dunno why the folks who design our jeans haven’t realized that yet.
With that said, I’ve been kind of feeling like I’m in a rut lately. Nothing too bad, but with the changing schedules that tend to come when summer ends, I just feel like everything is all over the place. I need to recharge and just take a deep breath, and think of the little things that make me happy, aside from dress pockets:
- Sleeping in my own bed after being away for a couple of nights
- Walking barefoot in the grass or sand
- Being greeted by my pup when I first walk in the door
- Even being greeted by the cat — he’s a bit more aloof, but he tends to come into the room after I come into the house to give me a little greeting
- Seeing how happy the turtle can be when she’s exploring out of her tank
- Watching all the baby fish that have “appeared” in my sister’s tank these past couple of months
- Animals in general, really
- Writing something I’m really proud of
- Likewise, rereading old works and pieces and still being happy about them
- The crinkling sound of written notebook pages
- Having that one pen that glides so smoothly across the page
- Video games
- Green tea
- Thunderstorms, especially when I’m staying at home for the day
- Laughing until my stomach hurts
- Pajama days
I’m thankful I can keep going with my little list, and I hope you can enjoy making a list of the little things that make you happy as well.
Back at the end of July, I was on vacation with my family. We rent a cottage right on a lake in Maine and it’s usually a chill time. The cottage is big enough so my family and I aren’t tripping over each other, those who like to swim can enjoy the lake, and there are some really comfy sofas and armchairs to just sit and read all day.
Near the end of the week-long vacation, I was in the middle of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind and… I haven’t picked it up since.
This book was recommended to me probably about three to four years ago, by now, by a co-worker when I was working at Barnes and Noble. Thick fantasy books are generally right up my alley, and I like Rothfuss’s writing style.
But, despite being in the middle of the 700+ page book, the story itself hasn’t captured my attention. I was reading it without really knowing why. There’s nothing bad about the book, but I have yet to feel that pull towards the main character and his story, to know why I should care. Judging by a few of the side characters’ reactions to the main character, the MC is an incredibly smart dude, especially when it comes to the universe’s magic.
Like, that’s nice, but I still don’t know why I’m reading the character’s biography.
While I’ll definitely finish the book eventually, it’ll probably stay on the back burner for a little while longer, especially since I bought about half a dozen new books within the past couple of trips to Barnes and Noble. I need a bigger bookshelf.
On Tumblr this past Sunday, September 2nd, there was a writathon where writers were to dedicate a whole day to working on their works in progress, either by writing, researching, editing, creating playlists for them, whatever. I roped Rachel into doing it with me and, while we didn’t spend the entire day doing the writathon, we both got farther along in our works than we originally would have been.
In the span of about two hours – with random distracted outbursts here and there – I wrote 1345 words of Hard Mode. My original goal had been 1k words for that particular WIPs, so yay!
Hard Mode is about a group of gamers who are stuck in a role-playing, simulation game and must learn to work together to survive. That sounds a little basic, and there’s probably been stories like that before, but I’m having fun with these characters!
If anyone’s interested, I’ll stick the piece that I’ve written below. I hope everyone else is doing well!
“Anyone else see the castle coming into view on the horizon?” Wyatt asked, the alchemist nearly skipping ahead of the rest on the path.
The forest around them wavered out as they moved forward, their path going from crude, dirt roads into cobblestones dusted with other players’ footprints. Landon’s graphics card did its magic, the castle blinking into view with its stone towers and colorful banners waving in the game’s wind. With the castle came the town wall, the stones protecting the citizens from the monsters that plagued the land at night.
With the daylight, the drawbridge was down, allowing NPCs and players alike to come and go as they please. More and more other players of the game were crowding into the castle town, no doubt eager to hear the new plotline.
“We’ll have some good competition, it seems,” Raine said from beside Landon. Her gaze was sweeping over the crowds, one of her hands placed on the dagger at her belt.
“No one’s experience any lag?” Elijah asked. “With this many folks around, this’ll be a good indication to how we’ll all fare in any dungeons or temples we come across.”
“Not lag, really,” Noah said. He was squinting at the castle. “Uh, but is the castle supposed to be blinking?”
“No,” Landon said, his stomach twisting. How would their group be able to complete the task if one of their teammates couldn’t properly see the graphics?
“Dammit,” Noah muttered. He sighed and asked sheepishly, “Sorry, but do y’all mind if I log out real quick? Just gotta check my graphics setting.”
“No problem,” Raine said, setting against one of the trees at the edge of the path.
“Wait a sec. Do we want to reach the castle town first?” Landon asked. “It’d be safer for your avatar in there if you’re logging out.”
“We’re all right here,” Wyatt said with a shrug. “We’ll make sure nothing happens to his avatar while he’s away from the keyboard.”
“Besides, I assume we’ll get caught up in a cut scene for the new plot once we make it far enough into the town,” Elijah said. “Noah won’t be able to log out in the middle of a cut scene.”
“Good points,” Landon conceded. Noah gave him a brief smile before his avatar grayed out with the letters AFK resting above his head. After a moment, his avatar disappeared completely and Landon fidgeted until Noah wavered back into view about five minutes later.
“There we go,” Noah said, staring at the castle. “Much better. Onward!”
The group clamored down the path and joined the crowds. Elijah took the lead, his avatar being tall enough to meander through the crowds to head toward the castle. It was from the king of the realm that the players would receive the new plotline, the new goal of Steel and Sorcery. Raine gestured for Noah to go right behind Elijah, considering Noah was the smallest of the group, and amid the jostling of the crowd, Raine ended up a step behind Landon. Landon presumed Wyatt was bringing up the rear.
His presumption was shattered when Raine tapped his shoulder and called out to the other two, “Wait… We lost Wyatt.”
Elijah glanced at them over his shoulder before tugging on Noah’s arm and leading the rest of them out of the crowd toward one of the castle town’s alleyways. “Thought it’d be you who would get lost,” Elijah said casually to Noah.
Noah’s ears turned red. “What? Why?”
“You’re the smallest, that’s all,” Raine said, her gaze directed at the crowd as if they could spot their lanky fifth member. “Shouldn’t be surprised with what I’ve learned about Wyatt’s attention span these past few sessions, though.”
“He probably found some market stalls and is spending our gold,” Landon said, mentally berating himself for not taking up the rear. He should have been in the back keeping an eye on everyone.
“We have gold?” Noah asked.
Elijah chuckled. “Not much,” he said. “Wyatt’s probably putting us in the red.”
“I’ll go find him,” Raine volunteered. “We can either meet you guys here or at the castle.”
Landon was fine with meeting Raine and Wyatt at the castle, but he said, “We’ll wait here. Don’t think we can get the mission without the whole team.”
“Alright,” Raine said. “Be back soon.”
She disappeared into the crowd, moving faster than Landon believed possible. Then again, he never tested out the rogue class. He quite liked the swords of the knight class, figuring the balance between offense and defense would suit him better than having a higher speed.
“Are all these players here for the same mission as us?” Noah asked, his eyes transfixed on the other avatars passing them by.
“Maybe,” Elijah said lightly. “A new plotline always draws players in. Of course, it also depends on the teams’ skill levels. I have my user settings so I can only see other players around the same skill level as us. Helps with lag and loading the graphics.”
“Wait, how do you do that?” Noah asked. Elijah helped Noah bring up his user interface and walked him through the graphics options. Once they were done with the little tutorial, Noah beamed. “Okay, that’s so much better! There’s still a lot of people here, but at least I can see across the road now, haha!”
“How are you at a high enough level to join this mission,” Landon asked, “when it sounds like you haven’t really explored the basics of the game, like the user interface? I mean no offense,” Landon added quickly when Noah’s ears tinted red again. “Exploring all those options is just usually one of the first things I do whenever getting a new game, so it’s a little odd to hear someone else… not.”
Noah shrugged and tugged at the hem of his warrior armor. “I kind of just dive in, usually,” he said. “I tend to figure out stuff as I go, but little options like the user settings I tend to forget about because I’m busy playing the game. I don’t really think of that stuff until someone else mentions it or teaches me.”
“Other people you play with haven’t mentioned things like that?” Landon asked.
“I usually play by myself,” Noah said. “So… no.”
“Well, you’ll learn by being with us,” Elijah said. “Just stand next to Wyatt, wherever he is, and he’ll babble enough to probably teach you how to code a game yourself.”
“What about me? What do you need me to babble about?” Wyatt appeared at the edge of the alleyway, Raine right behind him with a shake of her head and a small smile on her face.
Wyatt didn’t wait for anyone to answer, for he suddenly produced a bottle of thick, bubbling orange liquid from his user interface. “I’ll babble about this!” he said. “I got this from an NPC vendor over by the entrance. He says it amplifies our magic power by five. I think we’ll each get at least a small boost if we each take a sip—”
“I am not drinking that,” Elijah said, his nose scrunched up. “That stuff looks like my first attempt at cooking tomato soup.”
Wyatt raised an eyebrow as he stared from Elijah to the bottle. “Dude, tomato soup is red—”
“Why don’t we talk about this later,” Landon said, “and get going to the castle? I’ll take up the rear this time.”
“Sounds good to me,” Raine said, gesturing for Elijah to take the lead once more. “I can trust your attention span.”
Noah fell in step behind Elijah and Raine motioned for Wyatt to go ahead of her. Wyatt instead grinned and looped his arm with hers. “Since, you know, you can’t trust my attention span,” he said.
She rolled her eyes but opted to stay connect to Wyatt as they caught up with Elijah and Noah. Landon followed a step behind, marveling at the amused smiles on his teammates’ faces. Was he the only one willing to take this seriously?