Celebrating Talen’s Birthday, 2021

It’s my birthday today. I have turned an age that doesn’t feel right. I still think of myself as an Outsized Boy, inappropriately aged since I have this early period of my life when I stepped blinking out into reality while completely confused about things like ‘how do I even be a human?’ Like the first seventeen or so years of my life were ripped away from me, leaving me with this ridiculously inappropriate ‘age’ while all my cultural touchstones of my ‘childhood’ started in the late 90s.

It is also my birthday here, in Australia. Over there in America, it’s not quite there yet. You’re a day out. This is the kind of time delay that means all sense of immediacy and engagement with my birthday can both drag, and flicker past. I’m not writing this on my birthday, after all.

What to do for a birthday.


We celebrate birthdays in a lot of ways. In my culture, the birthday is commemorated with gifts, and weirdly, is still in my mind attached to this question of did I do a good job? Have I earned a present so nice? There’s still something of that guilt to me, now. Birthday present wishlists are so strange to me, they’re these things where people can just get you stuff, and it’s seen as like, acceptable to just present them, and share them out there. Like, I’m not saying you’re wrong to have this tradition but there’s still a part of me that feels pangs of guilt about presents I get. Like, I can remember a lot of presents I got that still twist in my stomach because I have some reason to feel guilty about them. My parents got me Kup, a Transformer, and I know that year that I had been unhappy because it wasn’t a Grimlock and I felt like a bad son for that, which made me feel like I didn’t deserve Kup either.

That’s messed up!

It’s still a point in the year to take stock. Every Decemberween, every final week or so, I look back on the history of this blog, of the posts, but that isn’t what I’m thinking about here. I think that there’s a lot of stuff on this blog that’s worth talking about on the blog – I think there are early, bad articles that I like the chance to go back to and fix. It’s not that I create #Content, though. Content is a term for a sort of slurry and it makes this creative energy, this work, guides and reviews and explainers and introductions and critical reviews and fanfic and original fiction, into a wash that just rolls over you. And that’s just blog posts, and just tweets. I write books, make games, make guides for making games, I’ve written books and I make podcasts and I do explainers and guides and even just engage in topics on twitter in an attempt to elevate conversations.

I don’t want to think of my writing, my creative effort, my, well, content as just as generic units of your time I’m burning. I want it to be comforting, to be inspiring, to provoke thoughts, to give you tools and give you fantasies. I want my games to be enjoyable and interesting, I want my books to be worth reading – I want to treat your attention as a gift, and to make the best of it I can.

With that in mind, what I think I’d like to do, today, to mark the time, is to ask something more of you. Not checking Patreon, though, you know, obviously, if you like what I’m doing, I appreciate that validation.

No, what I’d like to ask of you, is that if you can tell me about something I made, something I said, or something I did that makes you happy. An explainer for an idea you find useful. An insight into a media work that changed it for you. A game, or a tool for making games that helped you try it out. A phrase that lives in your head rent free. Something I did that I should be trying to do again.

If you’d like to respond to the tweet promoting this with something I’ve done that you liked, I’d love to see that. You can DM me on twitter, tell me in my CuriousCat, or just send me a message on discord. Heck, if you want you can even email me. And in that, you will be giving me a little bit of your time, to reflect on what I’ve done well, and what worth I have.

And that is a gift, too.