The Inevitable Return of Pokemon Wednesday: A Retrospective

Can you believe I’ve been blogging for ten years? It’s true: I first created The Writingwolf on January 1, 2010. (That’s why my Twitter and Instagram handles are Writingwolf2010.) A whole decade of blogging has passed. My life has changed in many insurmountable and unpredictable ways, but one thing has always remained: My love of Pokemon.

On the surface, Pokemon is a game about collecting and competition. There’s the challenge of getting all the things, then there’s the challenge of battling and defeating all the other things. It’s the best possible fusion of stamp collecting and Rock-Paper-Scissors that has ever been made. And yet, if this is all you get from Pokemon, you’re missing a lot.

Pokemon–as I’ve addressed at various times throughout the life of my blog–is also a game about adventure, overcoming adversity, and constantly challenging yourself to explore, fail, get up again, learn, grow, and then repeated the process to become a better person. It’s a perfect parable for the journey of life itself.

I’ve been wanting to do a grand reflection on my last ten years of blogging, but I just haven’t felt inspired. Then it came to me: Why not use my unending love for Pokemon as the vehicle through which I explore the last decade of my life (and then some)?

So with no further ado, let the adventure begin.

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Wordlost

November is my favorite time of year. It is, in a word, NaNoWriMo–that is, in four more words, National Novel Writing Month. And while it’s only my 13th time participating, the organization is now in its 20th year. The premise is simple: write a 50,000-word novel in November.

The challenge, however, is hardly simple: November is also the onset of winter holidays, the shortening of days, the advent of colder temperatures, the mad dash to teach all the content, the mad dash for students to learn all the content in preparation for finals, and November comes at the tail end of the semester when energy is already low and hard to muster.

But since 2006, NaNoWriMo has been my passion: It is, so I’ve often told myself, the one time each year when I selfishly put my writing before all other obligations and write. Each year I win NaNo, I continue to assure myself that my dreams of being a writer are within reach.

And since 2012, I’ve been mingling my passion with NaNo with my passion for the mythology I’ve been constructing since I was about ten years old. This coming-together has been at times the most exciting opportunity, and at other times, the worst.

In short, my wordlust has turned to wordlost.

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Message Received

Have you ever opened a book to see a mirror into the depths of your soul that you have never seen before? Have you ever turned a page like turning a corner to stop and realize that no matter where you are, wherever you are, you’ve finally found the place?

That was my experience when I finally read the Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation.

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Legends and Legacy

For nearly 18 years, Tolkien has been my literary idol. His words are lyrical and intellectual and as poetic as prose can be with neither rhyme nor meter. His stories are epic and astounding, digging deep into the nature of temptation and good and evil and capturing the heart and hardships of medieval adventure, swords and sorcery. His trilogy has become the standard by which all fantasy trilogies are judged, and it’s to his level of exquisite storytelling that I have long since aspired to achieve.

And I’ve realized now that while his tales may stand the test of time, and may be the most classic of all fantasy stories, not all within his tomes should live so long.

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Posting Poems

Or, A Title with Too Many Puns

Have you looked at the sidebar recently? If you have, there’s a good chance you noticed a new little picture promoting a Kickstarter campaign I started about a week ago: The goal is to create 100 poems, each of them inspired by a backer’s writing prompt, handwritten on a postcard, and illustrated with a watercolor painting before being put in the mail.

And…I hesitated to share it here. On the one hand, this my platform, why shouldn’t I? But then I remembered last year I heavily promoted a similar project here, and it ended up being unsuccessful, and I didn’t want to risk making my blog readers feel spammed by another failed project. Worse: I felt vulnerable putting it out there again, because my first attempt was a failure. So mum was the word. At least, until today.

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Speaking in Tongues

I kept thinking, after I wrote about my doubts in writing the sequel to Starfall, and I decided finally to go for it: On November 1, I began writing. And even with a couple days encumbered by sour and bitter feelings, I’ve written a few thousand words every day since. In fact, I expect I’ll hit 50,000 words today–but the story is still far from complete, and as I predicted back in 2012, it’ll need a third book to finish this tale.

(What can I say? Tolkien made trilogies fashionable.)

And then, just a few days ago, I decided to try my hand at mapping out the world–and my first attempt came out pretty well, if horribly off scale (catch it after the jump).

Then I realized: once you have a map, you’ve gotta start naming things.

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