S-GAS Interviews: Bill Monaghan 1

The unpublished notes of Sterling Rover, on assignment for RollingPlum
(Many thanks to the carbon-based Bill Monaghan for transcribing digital Bill Monaghan’s words.)

Hanging out in the cornered shadows near the piano, I spot Bill Monaghan, something of a ground-breaking, heirophant-crunching, pre-made-worshipping guru among the game-aware literarati, a leader of sorts for writers and readers striving to show how hip and clever and meta-referencing they can be when they think no one is watching. It’s guys like these that provide the underlying engine for the whole SimLit cadillac. Or I should say, it is this guy: this one person who single-handedly has re-invented Bella, redefined Eric Lewis, and set in motion a game-altering plan to save the lives of Townies throughout the Simverse from DTS. The dude is a bloody icon.

I corner him before he grabs a book from the shelf, turn my cell-phone on to record, and begin what I hope to be the interview of a lifetime. Or, of a career, at the very least. Or at least something that somebody might read one day and say, “Hey. I dug that.”

Bill Monaghan

SR: So, what’s an old hippie-radical dude like you doing at a worn-out, hashed-up convention like this? I mean, haven’t you heard of “Been there, done that,” already?

BM: I’ve heard that expression, and I’ve got nothing against those that crave novelty, but I don’t think of it like that.

Bill Monaghan

SR: So what did bring you here? I just came here to meet hippie chicks, drink some juice, and maybe shake up a few of the stodgified readers of RollingPlum. What trees are you hoping to shake?

Bill Monaghan

BM: I’m hoping to remain largely unnoticed, maybe help with dishes, taking out the trash, anything a skill-less Sim can do to help.

We maneuver to the worn-out couches that are supposed to look hip and comfortable, and, sensing that this dude’s not biting the alpha-contesting bait I’ve been dangling, I make the considered decision to switch gears.

Bill Monaghan

SR: By the way, off the record, I travel with a briefcase full of, err, traditional medicinals, which I’d be happy to share. You know where to find me. What are your favorite methods of self-medication for a Sim?

BM: What is there? Some Moodlet-altering potions, herbal remedies, objects and animal hats? Where’s this briefcase, and why have you been holding out?

Bill Monaghan

The ice broken, I’m thinking I can start getting to the meat of the matter now.

SR: The future of SimLit. What can you tell me about it? I mean, Proust, Joyce, Faulkner, Kerouac, Ginsberg. Everything that’s needed to be said has already been said ten times before. Why say more? And why say it in SimLit, of all things?

BM: Well, everything hasn’t been said, not by a long shot, and much of what needed to be said bears repeating.

Bill Monaghan

We talk for a while about cadence, about the sound of the word as it’s processed internally, when you read to yourself and you find your tongue moving across the palette of your mouth and, were there anyone there to watch, the rise and fall of the Adam’s apple would be sure to be noticed. Then, as with all conversations with Bill Monaghan, the topic veers back around to the Sims.

SR: Speaking of Sims, tell me. What do YOU think of the future of the franchise?

Bill Monaghan

BM: The company’s failure to address the population cap and Disappearing Townie Syndrome are strong indications that the franchise will continue in the direction began with The Sims 3. It will keep moving away from creating and maintaining a game engine that allows for stable, multi-family and/or multi-generational game play and continue to cater to players with atrophied attention spans seeking new sensations.

SR: The same demographic they pander to in their You Rule ad campaign?

BM: Exactly.

Bill Monaghan

SR: With an ad campaign like that, targeted towards the younger generation, it makes a thinking person wonder. They’re saying that New Age is dead. Do you agree?

BM: The change of the age from Pisces to Aquarius is coming whether we’re ready or not. We’re not ready, not in sufficient number, and I think it’s too late to change the course we’re on. It’s not the New Age that’s dead, but this wonderful experiment in sentience that’s dying, a murder-suicide that will carry most of us to extinction.

Yeah. Not very uplifting; That’s why I try not to … uh, proselytize.

Bill Monaghan

I decide to roll with the pessimism, see if I can draw some gold ring out of the muck.

SR:  When faced with the darkness of it all–the tragedy, the needless deaths in pools, by hysteria, by fridge glitches–how do you go on? How do you look into the endless darkness that faces every Sim at day’s end and muster up enough hope or courage to live another 24 Sim hours?

BM: I’m not saying the deaths of individuals aren’t all sad, particularly those that are untimely. I’m not sure what I’m saying. I’m just not ready for the alternative, maybe? That I’m disinclined to force irreversible change, maybe? That maybe it’s a lack of courage that keeps me clinging to the desire for another 24 Sim hours?

Bill Monaghan

SR: And what the devil did you do to that bonzai up there?

BM: I have since learned that, at approximately the same time I was murdering a bonzai tree here, another instance of me was hearing, for the first time, the story of why the primary Western herald of the Age of Pisces murdered a fig tree. The events are connected, I’m sure.

Bill Monaghan

Bill Monaghan