2014 is just about fading in our collective cultural rear-view mirror, and to that I say “fuck along.” This year has been sort of terrible, after all. But as this blog was started/revived/whatever in March, it’s been around long enough that I do not have immunity to the contractual requirement that you have to do some sort of year-in-review piece. On the plus side, at least I don’t have to cast a vote for game of the year.
I probably should, but I didn’t play all of the games this year, so whatever.
So let’s look back at the collection of broken bottles and drunken notes that encapsulate 2014 and talk about them in hindsight, a hindsight heavily filtered by the fact that pretty much no one wants to remember this year and that I have a terrible time remembering when things actually happened. Seriously, I still think Lost premiered recently. I am not well-suited to retrospectives for precisely that reason.
If you’re doing anything even remotely creative, you have to first be willing to play for an audience of one.
I’m not saying you’ll have an audience of one. I’m not even saying your audience of one is going to be any good. Maybe you have only one person at your show and they’re hooting and hollering and basically treating you like garbage. Maybe someone’s heckling you the whole time you’re up on stage. Even worse, maybe they’re not even paying attention to you, treating you like you’re part of the scenery.
But none of that matters. If you’re going to put yourself out there, the first thing you have to decide is that you can get up on stage for that one person, and damn it, you’re going to give the best performance you possibly can for that one audience member. You are going to perform your fucking heart out. This is going to be the best performance you can possibly give.
In other words, you have to decide that you don’t give the tiniest shit whether or not you’re popular. You’re going to perform either way.
I woke up this morning to a hug from my wife, and it was lovely. Is that success?
While I don’t talk about it a lot here, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m doing, what projects I’m pursing, and generally raking myself over the coals for where I am in life as a grown adult. I look at what I’ve accomplished and I feel like I could have done more, that I could be further along than I am right now. Then I look at where I am and wonder if I’m further along than I tend to believe that I am. Then, usually, I pet the cat.
Success or failure is a big deal in basically every industry. We judged whether a game or a movie or an album has succeeded or failed. The problem isn’t that we do that, it makes sense, there’s a good reasoning behind it. And yet at the same time there’s a real challenge in any industry judging success or failure, because there’s so much more going on than the obvious metrics, and those metrics are lying bastards.