Breath of the Wild

I’ve been playing the newest Legend of Zelda. On the Nintendo Switch. Breath of the Wild.

Battling Ganon. Saving Hyrule. These are things I have some experience with.

I started my first quest in the original Legend of Zelda when I was seven. The game was a masterpiece. Dungeons to clear. Puzzles to solve. A world to explore. I liked reading as a child and playing Zelda was, in some ways, better than reading. I became an active participant in another dimension.

The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past came out in 1991. I was eleven. And then I played Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask in my late teens and early twenties. The mythology of the game has followed me through my life. I’m 39 now, and playing Breath of the Wild evokes my childhood in powerful ways. Plays on nostalgia.

I’m working on a paper that compares reading with improv. Essentially, the argument is that in both reading and improv people participate in the idea of worlding. Click on the link. It’ll blow your mind. Or confuse you. Ultimately, I think reading helps us pay attention to and participate in alternative realities. Writing too. Improv might actually help develop our capacity to world. Playing video games, for me, has offered a similarly disorientating experience. Enter Hyrule. Become Link. Pay attention to other aspects of myself that, in the day-to-day grind of adulthood, are often lost on me.

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I paid to upgrade my WordPress site. Regular readers of this blog will, perhaps, see that those pesky ads are gone. Goodbye capitalism. Hello money out of my pocket.

I’ve been developing as a writer over the last five years. I gave up my job as a high school teacher, moved to Pennsylvania, and have been spitting out blogs, academic articles, and creative writing. Turning a profit? No. Am I Stephen King? More like Larry King. Sans celebrity. Okay, that Larry King sentence was crazy. And not a great joke. But it made me laugh. Anyway, I have been increasing my capacity with language. Working some muscles.

I gave readings from my Weepy Memoir trilogy a few weeks okay at Webster’s in State College during Arts Fest. Members of Happy Valley Improv joined me. I read brief excerpts from Shot Across the River Styx, Determined Weeds, and Playing with Sharp Objects. The improvisers used the short readings to inspire scenes.

There was a small crowd. Less than 50 people drifted in and out as I read, as the improvisers played. Still, this was the first time I’ve read from those books in a public setting. I was surprised by the energetic charge that I felt while reading the prologue of Shot Across the River Styx aloud. There’s vitality in that book. The event made me realize that I’d like to be doing more of that. Sharing my writing with others.

I don’t have a literary agent. And I don’t really have a publisher. My writing has moved forward only because I keep moving it forward. Little by little. That work has a cost. I certainly haven’t made any money on my writing. But I’m getting better. Upgrading.

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I have six heart containers in Breath of the Wild. Anybody who knows anything about Zelda knows it’s all about heart containers. Link develops his capacity to absorb damage – to take hits – before he is able to battle Ganon. Or Gannondorf. Or Calamity Ganon. There’s all sorts of different names for evil in Zelda. In real life, too.

Here’s an interesting fact. Did you know that The Legend of Zelda was inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto’s explorations as a young boy of the hills, forests, lakes, villages, and caves near his home in Sonobe, Japan? Thanks, Wikipedia. Apparently, he came upon an entrance to a cave in the middle of the woods. He explored it with a lantern. Again, anybody who has played Zelda knows that exploring caves with lanterns is a huge aspect of the game. Magical lanterns. Here’s another interesting fact. The title of the game is an homage to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda. Miyamoto though her name pleasant and significant.

F. Scott was a writer from St. Paul. He made tons of cash from his books. And accumulated much fame. And died in his forties because he was a lush. Did you know that I once wrote an improv novel with a former high school student in which F. Scott Fitzgerald was a major character? Ernest Hemingway was a character too. They opened up a library together and drank stiff whiskey. The book was madness. Hilarity too. It never saw the light of day. I’m not famous. Unlike F. Scott. But I’m developing. Exploring caves and valleys. Gathering heart containers.

Writing is a creative act. Creative acts are, for me, powerful ways to combat death and destruction. Battling evil. One upgraded blog at a time.

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