what a fucking year. i’ve been busy. what all happened in 2012?
i released dys4ia, a game about hormone replacement therapy. it’s gotten the most acclaim of anything i’ve ever made. i was paid less for it than any other game i’ve ever sold to a sponsor. that was the first sign that the flash market was going away. a friend and i spent months working on a flash game we couldn’t get anyone to buy. it sits, unfinished, waiting for us to decide what to do with it.
my first book, rise of the videogame zinesters, also appeared that month. having a book in print was a childhood dream i’d forgotten about. it debuted at gdc, the least appropriate place for it, and went on to sell 2,500 copies in the first three months of its existence. this was also the start of my ongoing battle with seven stories press over the royalty money they owe me. at this moment, they still owe me $600.
the tour, though. that was an experience. i was coming and going left and right this year. there are cities i miss: chicago, toronto. and there are people who i met for the first time who were prepared to give slut and i a place to stay in their homes, food and money, trips to the emergency room in the middle of the night, people who told me that the things i had to say were important to them, or who just gave me their friendship. adam and toni and kim and merritt, cherry and kevin, jake and jenn and clef, jennie and henry, rich and nova, the other rich and the other jenny, the kindness of these people and others whose names escape me just because of their sheer volume changed my life this year. i’ve started to accept that public speaking is now an important part of my role.
i also got to see people whom i already adored. luna, reba, christine. getting to go to sleep every night cuddled against my slut‘s warm body is a blessing that i do not take for granted, even when we fight. “my love for you is bigger than my fears,” i told her the other day. my life is so full of love, i remember thinking that many times this year, in short sublime moments, but there were plenty of moments that were not sublime.
we lost little meowzbow this year. he died in our arms, the experience of which still haunts me. i can only catch glimpses of how much slut, who raised him from a kitten, is suffering. i think his ghost follows her around, nuzzling her ankles. strider nearly went crazy from boredom in the months that followed his death, and then we adopted encyclopedia frown, a weird chubby affectionate moody nuzzle investigator, who is the first cat i’ve ever adopted as a kitten – six months old, at least. she keeps me company when i’m working, if she’s not cuddling with strider. they’re sickening to watch.
cats aren’t the only ones who’ve come and gone in this house. we’ve shared our apartment with a succession of brilliant queer artists and writers: liz, patricia, porpentine, ryan (our current roommate and animal crossing neighbor). i think of “community” and i think of these people.
this year i started wearing skirts and dresses for the first time in a long time. finally, i loved my body enough to put pretty things on it, to wear clothes that flatter a shape i hadn’t previously had. i wore dresses at indiecade, which was the first time i’d felt safe as a queer person at a big games conference. we ran a very queer games exhibition called metagirlactic boners battle at the edge of time in a tent festooned with drawings of cocks. then slut broke her arm.
the past few months have been a trial, and an education in how much the system fucks over the uninsured. they let her sit for three weeks with a broken elbow before they would operate on her. now we travel to bayfair for physical therapy every week. they tell us we’re approaching the limit of how much motion she’ll get back. they tell us she might be in pain for the rest of her life. i tell myself she’s more scared than i am. it is not a comforting thought.
my bank account has hovered in the one-to-two thousand range for months. money is the problem that never goes away. we’re choosing to ignore our mounting stack of medical bills for the time being. i started a fundraiser this week, and it made two thousand dollars in a day. the kindness of people who believe in me continues to be the thing that makes my life possible.
there were a lot of frustrations this year: one of the most persistent was trying to find a publisher for star wench, a choose your own adventure book i’ve been writing for three years now. nobody wanted it, nobody wanted to represent it. it’s too queer, it’s too sexual. one of the most unexpected victories this year was finding a publisher for it. it’s going to print in march of 2013 – a year from zinesters’ release – and it is, according to me, the best thing i’ve ever created, standing at the intersection of everything i love: kink, games, queerness, chance, pulp fiction, science fiction.
i’ve also been working on a very different book, a textbook called a game design vocabulary. it was a book i wanted to write for a long time; i don’t think i was prepared for how hard it would be. i spent months writing and rewriting a single chapter, and letting the dread of having to return to writing it hang over my head, and fantasizing about abandoning it and backing out of my contract. it’s going to get finished. i’m going to finish it.
what else is in the works? i’m cooking up a hot new project with a bunch of other queer ladies. more on that soon – watch this spot!
in my new year’s post, 2012, i wrote “2012 is gonna be a rad year, dudes.” i had no idea what i was in for. it’s with the same naivety that i conclude that 2013 will be even radder.