Sunday, October 27, 2013

Virtual Inspiration

Photo by Bill Strain .  licensed under
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
What have I been up to lately?  I've been working on the fourth Hemlock book.  Progress is slow but steady.  I recently finished reading The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.  I think it was perfect timing for me to read that book as I'm facing the challenge of completing the finale of the Hemlock story.  In The Pillars of the Earth, Follett masterfully weaves together the tales of many characters over an epic story arc.  I studied this book as I read it, and it taught me a few things about creating interesting conflicts and keeping the reader engaged with many different characters.

I've been taken with a new tech toy I recently bought: an Oculus Rift VR headset.  I don't use the term VR lightly.  I've been waiting for legitimate virtual reality for over two decades now.  I briefly owned a true VR setup in the 2000s.  It was made by a company called Division, and it took a computer the size of a small refrigerator to run it.  The headset was the size of an American Football helmet and the computer tech was from the 90s.  But it had good field of view (percentage of your vision it covers), good head tracking, and it was easily the best thing I'd seen before or since--until Oculus Rift, that is.  The Oculus Rift is the real deal.  It is VR fully realized in a small and convenient package.  It fits on your head like a ski mask and it covers nearly your entire field of view.  The resolution isn't amazing, but it's good enough.  The head tracking and 3D effect are first rate.  You feel like you are in the virtual space.  And that's a very trippy feeling (sometimes literally if you manage to lose your bearings in the real world while wearing the mask).  I think VR is going to be the future of gaming.  If you think online games are addicting now then you ain't seen nothing yet.  This is a game changer (pun intended).

I recently came up with a saying that I kind of like: "depression is unrealized inspiration."  Now, when I discuss depression I don't necessarily mean chronic (clinical) depression because I've never experienced that.  I refer to the more conventional type of down feelings that everyone experiences from time to time.  I've noticed that when I start to feel down I typically end up being very inspired about something soon after.  It's a mysterious phenomenon.  But, after some introspection, I think it's like a stream of creative energy is flowing up toward my conscious mind but getting obstructed somehow. And, paradoxically, it seems like the pressure of that unrealized inspiration can create a feedback loop where the pressure itself begins to become an obstruction to the creative flow.  It seems to queue up, and the pressure builds until I finally achieve some kind of creative release.This personal realization may change the way I look at depression.  Instead of wallowing in it I'm going to try to think about creative outlets and things that inspire me creatively.  I'm going to listen to more music and watch films I love.  And I'm going to spend more time talking to people that inspire me--positive people. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you are enjoying a wonderful fall (if you are in the U.S., that is).  We're gearing up for Halloween in the United States.  Halloween seems to be a holiday on the rise.  I think that's because it allows for safe exploration of the greatest mystery of our lives: death.  But that's a topic for another blog post.