Over at Gamers With Glasses, I have co-curated with Tof Eklund this month’s series of features organized around the theme of the winter solstice. “The Shortest Day, The Longest Night” begins today. Here is our framing post: https://www.gamerswithglasses.com/features/the-shortest-day-the-longest-night
“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.”
2020 has simultaneously made us feel that life is too short and the days are too long. It’s been a long slog through a dark place, guided by the desperate hope that there was a faint light ahead, vexed by the fear that said light was no relief but only the proverbial freight train in the tunnel. That light seems a lot closer and more substantial now, but this year has been a memento mori – a testament to death – even for those of us who aren’t in mourning for family or friends. Everyone agrees that we’ll remember 2020 for the rest of our lives, implicitly because it was the worst year of our lives. No one’s ready to say that we might instead remember it as the year everything changed, the year our old ways of living died, the beginning of a reckoning.
By the same token, this year has been a testament to our ability to endure loneliness, fear, and loss, and to find joy and light in the strangest of places. We’ve supported each other and been supported by our communities, we’ve adapted and tinkered and made do, our lives becoming survival/crafting sims even as video games took on new roles and importance in our lives. The twin theme of this series, “The Shortest Day, The Longest Night” is intended to reflect the paradox and imbalance we’ve been living in.
Some of the themes you’ll see reflected here are maudlin: “this too shall pass,” and “make hay while the sun shines,” but they don’t seem banal to us. The sunlight too-bright on fresh, powdery snow and the last stick added to a guttering fire in the predawn chill are, if not opposite sides of the same coin, matching pieces of the same puzzle. Gathered here are essays that meditate on solitude, sheltering-in-place, time management, wearing masks, snow and ice, the end of the year, and thankfully, the beginning of a new one.
Read the first article in the series, on loneliness and fatigue in Skyrim, here.