The Power of Bare Life in Gotham: Batman as Homo Sacer

Writing about the Suicide Squad reminded me about an academic paper I wrote back in college (counting on fingers and toes) a few years ago. The Dark Knight was still a newish movie and I had read Agamben’s Homo Sacer (which is super good). I’ve posted this before to my old blog but wanted to put it back up here. Hope you enjoy!

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Time Cycles

Extra Credits ran a game jam recently with the theme of ‘Cycles’. I wasn’t going to enter but then there was a category for table-top role-playing games and suddenly I had a MIGHTY NEED to write a Hero’s Journey based storytelling game. So I made TIME CYCLES.


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The Great Weight of Blankness

Originally posted to Concerning Fiction on blogger, 03/09/2015

Today the campus I work at is being visited by Neil Gaiman. I tried thinking about all the things I could scribble out on a blank Q&A form for him. Thankfully no one will get to stand up awkwardly and ask questions into a microphone. This is always the part of any symposium where I try to see if I can shove myself completely inside my seat in the auditorium.

The only questions I could up with were either your generic “how do I get famous writing?” questions or “who is your favorite Game of Thrones character?” I’ve decided I’ll go with the latter.

This is because I’m sure he and people in his position get the first question all the time. Also, I’m fairly certain the answer is: Write.

That stings. Straight and deep. To get famous and write for a living I have to start by writing. Reading King’s On Writing says as much. His thoughts on life while up to his elbows in maggots at a dry cleaner could sober anyone up to that. If you want to write you have to start by actually writing.

And I have been writing–just not all on the novel… okay, or even the same project consistently.

The adventure novel project is at 17,775 words (nearly halfway through) and it is coming easily when I write on it. The problem is that I haven’t been writing on it very much. Between grad school, the house, work, and video game project I barely sleep a full night much less complete anything.

Every time I think, “This will be a short project,” I end up taking months to complete it. Endless email chains, phone calls, and planning docs till I set it aside to start the next project. I know many other creatives probably do the same thing. We just see their accomplishments and think they only ever worked on that product alone. All the same, at the end of the day I can’t help but stay at the blank page I’ve written myself to, sigh, and put it to the side.

Life is some much more simple when I’m running or drywalling. I only have to do to do X number of miles or X amount of wall left to cover. When I’m writing I get so wrapped up in the end product and the big picture that just getting a few words takes hours.

In the blank places between my thoughts, I find myself contemplating GoT’s–that’s probably why I want to ask Neil which character he likes. My wife and I just finished watching season four over our snow (read as ICE) day. Sometimes I turn my thoughts to what will happen next.

Will Lord Baelish swoop in and save the throne after everyone else is dead? Will Arya become a legendary swords lady? How will dragons play out in the series if they are so wild? The questions just run out my ears.

That’s when it hits me the hardest. When I find myself so completely consumed by a work that I spend my spare blank time mauling it over. That is so powerful. That is what makes good writing good! That’s what I want to do–I want people to feel, think, and experience the thoughts I have had.

I feel so separated from the world. It’s like a heavy blanket of Otherness hangs between everyone and me. We never really touch (at least not in a meaningful way). Then I write something. They read it and they get it. Like notes passed between jail cells. I have stories inside myself that want to be shared.

But not today! Today I will write! I will tear a little off the blanket, pass it to my neighbor, and bask in the knowledge that a little bit of me transcended the little blank place between us.


Hello, dear, sweet, innocent reader. As you are likely aware, I am usually trying to do way too much. Which is why, over the past few years and months, have been thinking about starting a podcast. It really won’t be a soon thing but I think I may have an actual plan on what I want to do. Which means I am, at the very least, on a path towards getting started.

The picture is only slightly related to the topic.

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Gate-Keepers are Bad for Gaming

Steps to becoming a gamer

  1. Play games

Congratulations, you are now a gamer.

This may seem pretty straightforward but in recent years this has become a heated debate. One that I feel strongly about: there are no requirements to playing games and shouldn’t be. To play games is an incredibly important aspect of being human. Therefore, it makes no sense at all to say what is a game or who can be a gamer.


Continue reading “Gate-Keepers are Bad for Gaming”