Work is slow today, so I’m writing. I want to finish this story and move on to the next because you know I already have it floating around in my head. An entire conversation came to me on the way to work one morning. I wrote it down the minute I got there. Now I can’t wait to begin the story.
This morning, before we left, I was downloading user content for my favorite game, Zoo Tycoon 2. The online shoot-’em-ups don’t appeal to me. I can’t see the thrill of running and killing for hours upon hours.
JJ came up behind me at the kitchen table and looked at my monitor. “Black chain link aviary?”
“Yeah, these are pieces I can use in my game to make something open and pretty. I can’t wait to try them out.”
“You haven’t played for a while.”
“Not since my hard drive crashed and I lost everything. I decided to start fresh, so I’m grabbing stuff online I used to have that I cannot live without.”
“So…this stuff didn’t come with the game?”
“Players made it, and some of it is incredibly good. Look at these glass wall panels. Aren’t they gorgeous?”
He rested his hands on my shoulders. “Fen, I finally figured something out. You’re a builder.”
“Huh?” I was busy clicking and saving and only half-listening to him.
“You write because you enjoy creating new worlds. It allows you to imagine anything you like. You play this game and Sim City because you like making new things. You’re a builder.”
“Well, yeah, but I’m also an escape artist.” I grinned. “Think about it.”
He leaned down to breathe in my ear. “This world isn’t enough for you, so you escape to others. That’s kind of sad, honey.”
“Not sad at all, because I’m lucky enough to live in a time when technology not only makes it possible to spend time in other worlds, but it encourages it, as well. Take Google maps. You can now walk along a path in Central Park and enjoy the view as if you were there…without leaving your chair or going outside. In this game, I can create exhibits and layouts that are pleasing to the eye, and to the people who visit, and I can then walk around inside my creation, or ride on the sky tram or in a jeep. When I write, I see it all in my mind’s eye. How terrific is that?”
“It’s pretty damn impressive, I’ll give you that.” He slipped on his jacket. “Time to leave.”
I wanted to stay. I wanted to play and create and disappear in another world…but real life required my presence. “Good thing I have a job, or I’d never get off this computer.”
All the way in to the city, I was alternately planning my new zoo and considering the new story…