Spring colors, Zelda as a metaphor for the quest for enlightenment, and other news
March 21, 2012 in Random Posts
Again I’ve gone almost a month without an update. But I’ve been busy!
For starters, we have spring colors on the site now. No more of the winter blues. And the next bit on Beyond Good and Evil is coming. The past couple weeks have provided plenty of distractions, but I have #3 about half-written at the moment and will be returning to that project shortly. I swear. Really.
I’ve been visiting with my father and his side of my family in northern Idaho for the past few months. Among other pursuits, I’ve been putting in time at my aunt’s restaurant/bar, helping get the place running like it should be and sprucing the place up a bit. It’s been nice to have a project to put my time into without feeling like it’s another “job.” I’ve reconnected with a few friends, gotten to know some new ones and even been spending some time with a couple cousins I never had much chance to get to know as adults before. In a lot of ways I’ve been healing emotional and psychological wounds I don’t think I realized I had–at least not to the extent they needed healing. And I have been re-metaprogramming myself, as I knew I must; hacking my own psyche, I suppose.
I’m in the midst of, well, a quest, for reasons detailed here. I wrote something about a month ago that I think I’ll toss up here, at least in part. But first, a draft from a poem I’m writing:
Like playing The Legend of Zelda
For the very first time,
Neither manual nor map
A tiny shield: humor, refusal
To believe anything;
My inventory empty
The cavern on the first screen awaits
Does one choose to enter?
For to go within is to
Can I triumph if I stay above?
To rise one must descend
Oh! what chasms we risk to
But it’s dangerous to go alone
What could I be if I
claimed this splintered wooden blade,
To tame the mad beast called Impulse and
Rub the sleep from my eyes;
Will, constant companion, tool
And now a bit from the journal entry I wrote early that explains in part where those stanzas are coming from:
Lately my life has felt like playing The Legend of Zelda for the first time without a strategy guide. No Nintendo Power, no instruction booklet, definitely not the map that came in the original box. Maybe my fellow children of the mid-80′s remember the experience of the first Zelda–an open world full of secrets to uncover, new abilities to learn, items in the shop you can’t afford and nothing but cryptic, poorly-translated hints about eastmost penninsulas and slightly-more-reliable word on the playground to navigate by. More recent games in the Zelda series have eschewed the original’s sink-or-swim philosophy; the most recent, Skyward Sword, has drawn criticism for the frequency with which Fi, the game’s tagalong NPC, pops up to tell the player what to do. But while the more recent games have done a great deal to make the land of Hyrule a more “real” place, adding to the kingdom’s history and mythology and fleshing out its denizens, it’s the first game that feels the most “realistic” to my allegedly adult sensibilities and perspective on life. If Skyword Sword is an interactive storybook, The Legend of Zelda is an introductory course on existential bewilderment.
The older I get, the more I realize that there’s no way things are “supposed” to be done, just as one can do the dungeons in the first Zelda in several different orders despite them being numbered 1-8–hell, you don’t even have to take the sword on the first screen until it’s time to tackle the final boss. There may be easy ways to do certain things, as well as more difficult means to accomplish the same, but when it comes to practical matters, it isn’t so much the path taken to the goal as it is that goal’s achievement. That is of course counter to the value system I’ve been raised to believe in–but haven’t I already concluded that the traditional Judeo-Christian value system of my culture is asinine and destructive? Then let its abandonment be no argument against the attempt to live a better life, truer to myself. I am throwing away what’s left of the old instruction booklet for that life–all those rules have led me to is a string of game over screens. This time when I hit “Continue,” I’m playing by my own rules.
So I guess I’d better figure out what those are, huh?
There’s more to it, but the rest gets more personal and doesn’t belong here for now. I’ll put up a few notes I’ve made on the first three “labyrinths” I’ve encountered on this quest:
My will is my sword. With this blade I will carve a better future for myself.
The first labyrinth was my fractured self, the duality of my personality. The temporal stage of this labyrinth was the split between my sister’s home and that of my Other Family, representatives of my two families, a symbolic split of light and dark along so many cracks. I came away from that challenge with a unified sense of self and a renewed determination to become powerful enough to exercise my will to its utmost fruition. I want to be powerful enough that I’m no longer dependent on others. I love these people and want to be able to aid them as they have aided me. At the same time, I need to be able to back up my bravado and assert my independence from others. This means unifying my mind and wielding it more acutely than I have in the past.
The second labyrinth was my tendency toward homeostasis and lethargy. The temporal stage of this labyrinth was my father’s hometown, my oldest home on Earth, and I overcame the challenge by finding constructive ways to spend my time, new ways to exercise my will and to be more aggressive and pro-active. I have learned anew my own power to make changes, to create effects, and have been reminded that what I want to make of myself is above all possible. I have confronted my old prejudices and made myself more open to alternate views of reality. At the same time I have learned not to believe others so readily. The pink house adventure was the master of this labyrinth, as it represented a willingness to make my ideas about metaphysical reality vulnerable and step outside my usual sets of boxes.
The third labyrinth was my messiah complex, my co-dependent need to heal others, and particularly the way the two have heretofore ruled my romantic destiny. The temporal stage of this labyrinth has been my psychological and emotional landscape–in short, parts of my nervous system that needed some serious re-metaprogramming. I have learned to let go of my guilt trip if I want to be truly free, and to stand up for myself–and perhaps to begin to forgive myself as I forgive others. In letting go of something I wanted but never really had, I will be free to find relationships more worthy of my immediate attention. I walk away from this labyrinth with my pride and independence.
Yes, that’s probably a bit scattershot, but it makes sense to me at the moment. I’ll be able to explain it better once I’m done with this quest. The signal to the outside’s weakest when you’re halfway through the tunnel, after all.
Oh, and as to the pink house adventure… I’ll write that up another time. We’re still talking about going back with a Ouija board.