S-GAS Reflections: A Doula’s Tale

Thoughts from Cathy OtherSide

Playing and writing S-GAS Transformation has stretched and challenged me! Coordinating so many Sims, so many households, so many activities, and so many perspectives tested my organizational skills and my flexibility. I’m sure those of you who are also hosting events can empathize–or will be able to soon, if your events are just starting up.

In many ways, S-GAS felt like an exercise in vulnerability–opening myself to the expression of all these various ideas.

Rather than relying on a central consciousness through which to tell these stories, the ideas came through a variety of Sims and Simmers.

When I write, I often lose myself in the perspective from which I’m writing. When I write from the point of view of my SimSelves, this isn’t such a big deal, for we overlap so much. I may, for the moment, forget if I’m living with Elder, SimJim, or Jim, but even that’s not such a big deal, for they’re all three big cheeses, and usually, when I look across the table during a meal, I can see that it’s Jim’s face, not SimJim’s or Elder’s.

But when I was presenting the words of Sterling Rover and the words written by other Simmers, immersing myself in these perspectives as I heard the words on the paper, letting them roll through my mouth while I read and reread the posts before publishing them, when I let my perspective slide into these Sims during game-play–I became a little lost. I took long, long walks during the weeks of writing this–well, I always take long walks–but during these walks, I felt a delicious double-life. As me, I saw through these weeks, the stalks of mallow lengthen and grow, the buds slowly opening into a riot of orange, and I saw, simultaneously, Oasis Springs with its riot of wild flowers and tall ochre cilffs.

There was also for me during these weeks an onrush of ideas begging for expression. I never sat down and asked, “What do I want to write?” For it felt like what wanted to be written was coming to me through this big funnel which poured idea after idea that wanted to be expressed.

This felt disorienting–for I can’t really say that any of these are actually my ideas. Do I believe what I wrote? Does it resonate with me? It’s more like it resonates with something that wanted to be expressed through me. That’s where the vulnerability came in–in simply opening myself up to let these ideas come, whether they were mine or not–whether I believe they’re true or not. It doesn’t really matter. Even if nonsense, it’s nonsense that wanted to be expressed through me.

Sometimes, stories want to be told through us, whether they’re our stories or not.

Wrimmingfun takes this to a new extreme, for our Sims present their own ideas that they want to express. Sometimes, our Sims align with us, and sometimes, the Sims decide where they will take things.

I got myself into a bit of a bind through Sterling Rover’s contributions. I knew that I wanted to bring in satire–for this is a goofball event and I had dread fear of sanctimoniousness and preciousness. Originally, Sterling was going to be a New Age astrologer, but I think on some level, I didn’t want to make fun of him–I wanted him to be in the position to make fun of and point out the absurdity of all that happened around him. When Hunter Thompson began to speak through Sterling, I was so delighted! As a wild crazy kid in Northern California in the late 60’s and early 70’s, I grew up with copies of Rolling Stone nearly always within reach. I read a lot of Hunter Thompson and devoured a lot of Ralph Steadman’s work. During my childhood, I was protected by my innocence and naivete, so the more horrifying aspects of both Thompson’s and Steadman’s work were somehow invisible to me–I drank in the satire and the wild cadences and scratchy lines and was either oblivious to or accepting of the ugliness. So when early in the writing of these S-GAS sessions, I decided to read Thompson’s “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved” I fell from a state of delight to one of horror by about page 12. Holy plum! This wasn’t the energy or mood I’d hoped to introduce!

Fortunately, I don’t eat sugar–so I swapped one poison for another, and as Rover and Insteadman ascended sugar highs rather than plunging into alcohol-induced delirium, I started to feel like I might just be able to pull this off.

I don’t know if I pulled it off. I got through it. That, at this point, is enough.

I got to know and love so many Sims, I was able to collaborate with remarkable Simmers all over the globe, I deepened some friendships. Sharing our ideas, enthusiasm, and inspiration, listening to each other, falling in love over and over with each other’s amazing Sims–and so with each other–and above all, enjoying and celebrating both our diversity and our shared connections through imagination–this is what this experience has been about.

The events continue in the other threads. We’ll enjoy surprises and delights and laughter.

Through the thread I hosted, I put myself out there–I let these wild ideas use me. And I didn’t die! And I’m still able to return to my own stories, which wait patiently for me! And! I even have energy and inspiration to make a fantastic supper for tonight! We’re having Ezekiel noodles with butternut squash and kale. And pumpkin seeds. It takes about Cooking Level 5–but if your cooking skills are higher, it will come out Excellent every time!