Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Simple Games Relax the Mind

Solebon [http://www.solebon.com] was the best solitaire game for the Palm OS. When I migrated to an iPod Touch, I was thrilled when Solebon was ported to my new PDA platform. Now, with Solebon on my iPhone and iPad, I play several games a day. My favorites remain the traditional Klondike games (deal one or three) and Free Cell. Think back to Windows 3 and classic "Burning Monkey" solitaire on the old Mac System 7, and that's about all the complexity I want in a game.

I also play Columns, Collapse, Tetris, Lemmings, Supaplex, and Pipe Dream to relax. I like the simple puzzle games that I can start and stop. Sure, there are nights for chess and maybe Scrabble, but for the most part I like quick, five-minute breaks from the routine. Puzzle games clear my head so I can get back to work. The breaks help.

The appeal of realistic first-person games escapes me. I would rather play Pac-Man any day.

Anyone else enjoy the classic games as a way to relax? I'd like to imagine Tetris is being played somewhere, by someone, every minute of the day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Overload Wins Some Days

Naps and extra sleep help a little, but after too much social interaction and too much stress, I need some time to compose myself and prepare for yet more socializing. I'm not alone: most introverts experience this same need to recharge alone, in a quiet space.

For me, the quiet space isn't silent. It's walking around the track with my wife. It's sitting with a cat in my lap. It could be baking, writing, or engaging in some sort of activity. People confuse my need for "less input" with a desire for "no input." Those are not the same.

I actually relax more with my wife and my cats than when I am alone. But, I don't want to be around crowds or in loud spaces. I want to be able to decompress, not experience isolation.

This is an incredibly busy year. Teaching two courses, working on three new plays, revising five plays that are in development, and trying to maintain my other to-do items. It's a lot for me, and maybe too much at this moment.

Add in some anemia, a little palsy, and I do need a nap. It's about pacing myself, too. Down time is needed to be productive later.

Today, I'm doing some basic tasks, sitting in my comfy chair and not thinking too much. That's a break from the overload, too. Simple tasks let you feel like things are getting done, and they are, but without stress.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Empathy and Writing

Writing for stage requires some understanding of the motivations and emotions of the characters that appear before an audience. Sometimes you also have to appreciate unseen characters that either shaped or continue to shape events and other characters. Writing, therefore, is exercise in empathy and more.

If you cannot imagine how others feel, you cannot write effective dialogue. You must think like another person, and that person might be "good" or "bad" in ways the writer is not.

My writing process includes research, interviews, and working with a dramaturg. I recognize that I miss things, especially when what people say isn't what they mean. By working with collaborators, I learn more about people and writer better stories.

I was asked if my autistic traits make me a better, or worse, writer. I have no idea. What makes me a small success is that I listen to people and try to incorporate the best suggestions I receive into my works. I listen to the actors, director, dramaturg, tech crews, and audiences. I learn what I have overlooked and try to improve my craft.

It isn't autism that makes me a better writer. It is knowing my limits that makes me a good craftsman and maybe an artist.