Stories of Weird Mystery

Month: May 2024

Second Playthrough

There are two video games I play through probably once a year: Borderlands 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2. They’re long and complex and rich with lots of experiences, much of it seemingly superfluous.

Always stop to pet the dogs.

When I play a game like that for the first time, I’m always full of anxiety over whether I’ll succeed, whether I’ll “win,” whatever that means. There’s a lot of desperation in my character’s actions, taking shortcuts and completing the required missions however I can with whatever I’ve got.

Now the second playthrough – that’s where things actually get enjoyable. Once I’ve lost that anxiety over whether it’s possible for me to succeed, I can dawdle and do all the side missions and optimize my character with all the best gear and explore all the easter eggs. I can pay attention to all the things I missed the first time, and usually succeed even better.

Also don’t forget to stop for the beautiful waterfalls.

You might see where I’m going with this.

I’ve had a stressful several months, scrabbling to finish the missions any way that I could. The ones coming up may or may not be better.

I hope I can remember to act (and more importantly feel) as though this is the second playthrough.

  • Act with the confidence that I’ve already won this game in many ways, and even the big setbacks end up being part of that story in the end.
  • Do all the side missions, gathering skills and experiences.
  • Optimize my character, fixing what’s not working and leaning into what does.
  • Explore the world a little more, looking for easter eggs and grace notes left for me by the designers.
  • Know when to pause, when to shut the game off and do something else before returning re-energized.

That all sounds surprisingly positive for me, I know. Sometimes I have to remind myself of things that are obvious to everyone else.

But really the advice holds for all of us: ALWAYS stop to pet the dogs and cats.

A Scout is Brave Book Launch Jamboree!

Our modest book tour for my new novella from Lethe Press, A Scout is Brave, is coming together, and we’ve now got a launch event!

Image advertising the book launch for A Scout is Brave by Will Ludwigsen.

As you may remember from Steinbeck’s book launch for Of Mice and Men and Poe’s for The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, these events bring together friends, family, fans, and sometimes even members of the public lost on their way somewhere else, all to celebrate the release of a book.

At this one, we’re going to have:

  • A conversation/interview between me and Lethe Press CEO Steve Berman
  • A mercifully brief reading from the book’s contents by the author
  • A signing by the author, mostly of bankruptcy documents
  • Copies of the book
  • Food and drink
  • Other surprises

It’s open to anyone who would like to join us!

If you can’t make it, there are a few other opportunities to see me during the book tour:

I hope we cross paths sometime this year!

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