Sam and Sebastian as… Each other.

Sam: I’m Sebastian, and I like to spooky eggs! Sebastian: I’m Sam, and I try to eat normie eggs but drop them!

Sam and Seb are great characters, but they seem a little young for me as marriage candidates. I bet they’ve exhausted all sorts of imaginative costumes, like their Solarian Chronicles characters, maybe the Journey of the Prairie King characters, shadow monsters, dwarfs, etc. But they’d definitely get to a point in life where they’d want to go as each other. They would totally embrace the opportunity to ridicule each other. The caption I added is among them. I just hope it wouldn’t get too ugly, especially when it involves family. But when they live in such a small town… I don’t think they could afford to cease their friendship. Heck, I dated both of them (and a few other guys) while being married to someone else and their friendship wasn’t effected.

Okay, sorry… Yeah, I cheated on Elliott just out of curiosity as to what would happen. I’m sorry, I just wanted to know what other scenes and dialogue I was missing out on. Once I saw everything I broke up with them all. I’m not perfect.

Elliott’s costume

Willy is perplexed by Elliott’s pretentious Halloween costume.

It’s been a while since I last made a comic, but here’s my latest. Stardew Valley for some reason gives me a lot of inspiration. Yes, I did call Elliott’s costume pretentious, but please… Don’t hate him! Halloween comes every year, and he, like me, probably got bored of doing the same looks. He was probably a pirate a million years in a row, and wanted to stick to the theme but do something different. I was a cowgirl-skeleton one year because I wanted to do something different. So call me pretentious too. He’s still my husband on two different game files. I think I might divorce him, wipe his memory, and marry him again because he’s that great.

Anyway, don’t mind me. I’m just preemptively defending my choice of words to describe a fictitious character I have a crush on.

Also, I really wanted to see what Elliott looked like with a handlebar mustache, and bring back the earrings from his concept art. I thought they were really cute.

Why have children?

Okay, job searching isn’t all bad, and I guess I have some experiences that are attractive to prospective employers. Interview or test requests trickle in, not always popping out at once. Life is worthy, even though I am often enamored with ones outside my concrete one.

In Stardew Valley, I caught a mutant carp, which is a legendary fish that can only be caught once. I will put it in a fish tank soon, once I’ve made room for it. A couple of days ago, I gave birth to a son, Orwell. I named him such because his father, Elliott, seems to be an Orwell fan. If the player tells Elliott their favorite genre is science fiction earlier in the game,his debut novel will be Rise of the Planet Yazzo, which gave me Orwellian vibes (only excerpts of the book are in the game when he reads it at the launch party). I’m actually not too familiar with Orwell, but the fact that the name also means “the branch of the river” and Elliott happens to be a nautical devotee also clinched it for me. Orwell’s older sister is Elowyn, after a character in a play I wrote in college (and it also happens to have the same first syllable as her dad’s; there’s some etymology significance too but I took the class a while ago).

As much as I love the game, having children in Stardew is rather dull. They walk or crawl around and look at you. Your spouse will sometimes say they are pregnant, or that you are pregnant, or the adoption paperwork was filled out if you are a same-sex couple, but nothing else changes. I’d thought my character was just a couple pixels bigger when I was pregnant, but I’m probably wrong or it’s too subtle to really make a difference. Well, one thing that’s nice in the latest update of the game is that your children can now attend town festivals once they can walk. They still don’t have dialogue, interests, or actions, but hey, now Leah the sculptor and Gus the bartender know we have kids instead of having them be cooped up in the farmhouse all year long…with only the dog and livestock as babysitters..

Back to the grind

Hello everyone. I’m often unsure what to post here, but sometimes simple diary entries can reinvigorate creative muscles. Anyway, I am job searching again, and I’d forgotten how arduous it is. In addition to regular roles, I sometimes look for calls to pitch, writing contests, or freelance opportunities. Sometimes these calls are vague, which is frustrating. Maybe they are vague because I am out of practice. I can’t really synthesize an idea when an editor just wants a pitch about “feminism” or something. There’s so many angles I could take. You’re often encouraged to look at a publication’s back log of work to craft a better approach, but some just have such bountiful back log, and every publication morphs over time, so often it’s hard to pinpoint an angle.

I guess since losing my job I’ve been going through a lot of languishing. I lack direction sometimes, and I often question my own ideas. It was easier when I’d be assigned essays so I couldn’t back out of them. I’d need a grade, or just crave a presence among these established collectives in extracurricular writing. I pray I can achieve the fortitude to follow through more. I was very blessed to have a contract job for the last ten months, and while it ended prematurely, I’m still very grateful to have been there and leave in the good graces of my superiors and colleagues, with their support to assist me in my continued career.

I see myself a lot in the characters of the game Stardew Valley, a very popular independent game which I’d begun playing in 2018. For the unaware, it’s primarily a farming simulation with social focus towards its non-playable characters. Many of these characters face setbacks in their creative ambitions. Sebastian is a computer programmer, his sister Maru is a nurse whose aspiration is inventing, Emily is a barmaid whose aspiration is fashion, her sister Haley is a photographer, Sam is a janitor whose aspiration is music, Leah is an artist with an ex-girlfriend who holds her back, Penny is a teacher who must create lesson plans with limited resources, and then there’s Elliott.

Elliott is a novelist. He lives by the beach in a small cabin. He mentions how neighbors in his hometown discouraged his dream. Pride and notoriety from his work are his motivations, wealth less so. He’s content living in a former bait and tackle shed he rents from the local fisherman, Willy. Penny and Elliott seem to have ambitions that most mirror mine, and thus, I’ve married them in separate game files. Lately though, I seem to prefer Elliott. I like to educate in my work, I’ve been a tutor like Penny, but sometimes the school year, children’s ages, or simple resources can be limiting. In your mind’s eye of the literary world, the utilities are boundless.

I guess I’m trying to let some of these characters’ stories inspire me. Especially Elliott’s book launch party, held in the same library where Penny conducts her lessons. He has the player pick the genre of book he will write, and dedicates it to you. His success is moderate, but he’s flattered nonetheless. I need to be more like that, grateful for the small wins.