Reversing Footnotes

At some point in my childhood, I remember mentioning something I’d read in a book – which I had, but since I was four, I didn’t realise this was gauche. It was immediately rebuked as ‘not interesting,’ because ‘I just read it in a book.’

Then I spent my entire life trying to hide the fact I read books.

Telling people about stuff you’ve read, ideas you’ve heard, concepts you accumulated, life underscored, was rude, and weird, and gross and boring. You had to act as if you came up with things yourself, unless you were quoting television programs. I made it a habit to synthesise things in my head – it was not so simple as to read something and learn it, I had to find some way to restate it so it sounded like me saying it.

When I hit university, this behaviour, this habit, was proven to be not actually the way you should do things. University was a process of learning that being able to point to your influences, being able to direct where your process came from, to give meaningful context of what you had interpreted and found, was pretty much everything. I did alright in university, but this was overwhelmingly the hardest and most daunting component of my work. And then I started on my Honours thesis, a process that involved literally the opposite.

My thesis, at its core, was showing how I could play a game, interpret that game, then use components of what I experienced in that game to make a new game, documenting the point of inspiration and conception of different mechanisms. And moving on, this seems to be what I’d work on next: showing the process so people can see how it goes and see if they can do the same thing.