Obviously just about everything I post on here has to do with either writing or reading, but occasionally I do need to step away from the laptop, put down the latest page-turner and reacquaint myself with the world outside my imagination (also known to some as the "real world"). When I find a need to participate in this so-called "real world", there is one pastime that I prefer above most, and if you have noticed the photo to the left there, you may have already guessed that I like to play games. Board games and card games, classic and obscure, I love to get a good game going.
This love of gaming started when I was very young and used to spend weekends with my grandmother. She and I played games pretty much all weekend and she wasn't a softy about it. She was competitive and shrewd, never let me win, and taught me to be both a good winner and good loser. I loved every moment we spent at the game table. She also encouraged my reading addiction and my urge to scribble down ideas and turn them into stories, so I have a lot to thank her for. Even though she's been gone for almost ten years now, it's rare a day goes by when I don't think of her, and sometimes I think my love of playing games today might have a little bit to do with the fact that when I play games, I feel a bit closer to her, like maybe she is right there playing along with me.
No matter how far removed an interest is from writing, however, I never seem to be able to remove myself from the writing state of mind for any real length of time. So even when I am gaming, everything has the potential to become writing fodder. One of the most recent games I have discovered especially appeals to the writer in me. Dixit is a game made up of a deck of 84 cards each illustrated with a picture that is designed to churn the imagination. When it is your turn to be the "Storyteller", you must select one of these cards and describe it with a word or phrase in such a way that others might be able to guess which is your card when it is presented with a group of cards, but still in a subtle enough way that not everyone will be able to guess. It's a fun game for a group of creative individuals.
As much as I enjoy playing Dixit, I will confess that I bought it partly just so I can pull out the cards and look at them. I don't just want to limit myself to a word or phrase; I want to tell the whole story! Most of the cards have a bit of a fantasy element to them, some could even be considered a little gruesome, while others give you the hope for a happily ever after ending. I pulled a few of my favorites for the picture to the left there. I think the most intriguing one is the cat staring at the birdcage, which holds a miniature bride and groom in it. Intriguing. . . I am tempted to actually get a group of writer friends together at some point and adapt the rules of Dixit to suit our needs or at least just use the cards as a writing exercise. Maybe see if we could do some fantasy themed flash fiction based on the cards we randomly draw from the deck. At any rate, if you are a writer that likes to play games, Dixit should hold some appeal.
The second game I wanted to share with you is actually a writing game. What could be more perfect for the writer who likes games? Storymatic is a box of cards, half of which give you descriptions for characters (think things like "lonely", "retired", "circus clown", "bad driver", etc.) and the other half are situations or events. The instructions for the game suggest drawing two of each type and combining them into a story, but the joy of the Storymatic is that you can adapt it to suit your needs. I find using more than three cards becomes too limiting and can lead to some extremely absurd stories, which isn't always a bad thing, especially if you're just looking for a writing exercise. One of my favorite ways to play this game is to draw my desired number of cards (usually two) and then roll two dice. Multiply the numbers on the dice and that is the number of sentences I have to write my story in. This is great if you like flash fiction, which if you have hung around here at all, you know I do.
So what about you guys? What are your interests outside of writing? And how do you manage to bring writing into your other hobbies? You know you can find a way to connect the two. . .
P.S. Gus insisted on "helping" me with my game photo shoot this afternoon, so I thought I'd give him some credit for his assistance. You can also spot his tail in the upper right corner of the Storymatic pic. Normally I'd just crop it out, but Weebly is being fussy today for some reason and Gus really seemed to want to be photographed today, so here he is. Enjoy!
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