Hi there readers, old and new. Hello Internet, how are you? It’s been a while.
Holy crap the flavour text on Unexpectedly Absent is unexpectedly… poignant. Time is that thing we just can’t get enough of. If your Covid experience has been anything like mine, you know the currents of time can be treacherous, and your own permanence can be always in doubt.
If you followed the blog, you’ve noticed that I’ve taken a prolonged break. Blogs come and go, and since mine was largely based on a casual Magic the Gathering tournament series called the Commander Challenge at The Connection Games and Hobbies in Vancouver, I could easily have let it drop.
Initially, I found it very tough to want to write about a card game in the face of greater world issues. It didn’t help that I was writing a series on Commander Staples and the next card up for me was Merciless Eviction.
Great card. Total staple. …Not a concept I wanted to trivialize in an internet post about a card game when people in my own neighborhood were being mercilessly evicted because Covid suddenly meant they couldn’t pay their rent. I certainly didn’t want to talk about how to get it cheaply relative to the often exorbitant prices some of the cards command, or how much the cards cost at all. The idea of giving a post like that hashtags makes me cringe.
I also didn’t want to write about, for example, cards and strategies being oppressive when people were out marching for racial and social justice.
I think we are all the same race, and the fact that we come in different colours is wonderful. There is nothing more beautiful than human skin, of any colour. Well, maybe Love.
I’d like to take an active role against hate, against the purposeful, selective dehumanization for profit that we call racism (and misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, etc.), and against the financial inequality that stifles the prosperity, creativity and success of most of the people on this planet. Against the pollution and greed that pushes the Doomsday Clock forward at a maddening pace. Against the subtle abuses of power by many of our trusted authorities.
But I don’t quite know how to do that. Not the best way for me. Yet. There’s innumerable starting points, and tons of small things I can do to make a difference, and while I try to do as many of those as possible, it doesn’t seem like enough. I don’t know about you, but I get pretty stressed about this stuff and what I’m not doing about it.
One of my stress releases is playing games. I like reading about them too. I spend a fair amount of time online reading about Magic the Gathering, mostly formats I don’t play, and don’t ever intend to play, like Modern and Legacy and Vintage. The interactions are fascinating, and while some of the best ones can be replicated in Commander, there are all stars in other formats that simply do not scale for the EDH meta, and I like reading about them.
There are definitely writers I enjoy, and go back to again and again, no matter what format they’re writing about. A great example is Jim Davis at CoolStuffInc. He writes well, concisely, and even when talking about his accolades, never comes across as an arrogant snert with all the answers. Probably because he knows next week’s meta is probably something completely different.
So knowing I destress by reading about Magic, a game I enjoy and use to destress, and knowing I care about the quality of the writing about said game is enough, I think, to get me going again. I mean writing about it. There’s enough about it that’s good. The game promotes critical and strategic thinking, problem solving, response to change/upheaval, and so much more. Plus it’s fun, diversionary, and can be played successfully while quarantining or social distancing, or even while anonymous online.
I have a real soft spot for Richard Garfield’s ultimate creation. I think it’s the best game humankind has come up with yet. While I figure out how to use my creativity for the greater good, I’m going to write about the things I love, and the things I do. Even if they are frivolous card games.
Maybe I can even make a few decent little ripples. Wizards, if you’re listening, we need smaller footprint premium boxes and fully biodegradable packaging. Now. Yesterday. It may be a make or break at some point, so get ahead of it. I hate opening packs because of the waste they make, and should just stop doing it until things change.
I have no idea what other kind of content I want to publish, but I have a few things to say about Magic these days, especially on the design front. I’ve built some cool, new Commander decks, and even played them with my teeny social circle. I might even do a few new Phyrexian Dad comics.
I might write about other stuff, too. I’ve been painting, making homemade paper, homemade ice cream, and designing my own card games too. Maybe some of my fiction, or some of my work in film. Here’s hoping I have the energy.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at the bottom of a few more posts in future. Love your fellow humans, fight the hate, and please stay safe out there. If we all exercise and harness our creativity, I believe we can solve our problems and make a lot of extremely cool and useful stuff along the way.
And give every human the worthwhile, supported, valued life they deserve.