spiritanimalaward

Like a River

Inspiration flows through the SimLit community. Sometimes, a specific challenge, theme, story arc, image, metaphor, symbol–even a sentence–will prime the pump and soon a river of inspiration flows. These rivers provide another way for our Sims and our stories to connect. In the early days of TS4, my friend Rosey observed, “Sims connect.” And they do, along with the stories that flow through them.

The Spirit Animal award manifests this connection: during spring 2016, I’ve watched, tipping my hat to the writers of many of my favorite blogs, as the stream of nominations has wound its generous course through our community.

Nominated By…

I’m honored to have received nominations from bloggers whose work I admire. Out of gratitude, respect, and affection, I’d like to share how each of these writers has inspired me:

AdamsEve1231: AdamsEve writes several novel-length stories, each one richly told with love and insight. Her blog Kassiopeia Fullbright and the Lost Legacy presents Kass’s life. AdamsEve’s devotion to Kass and Kass’s story inspires me–sometimes, a writer discovers a character whose story becomes integral to that writer’s understanding of life. Kass feels to me like she’s filling that role for AdamsEve. The blog “Livin’a’Simmin’Life” features other stories by AdamsEve, including the honest and touching Letters from Lizzie.  I’m deeply inspired by “Letters from Lizzie.” This semi-autobiographical work is told with vibrant authenticity. Thank you, AdamsEve, for your stories!

Bunny/ilovebunnys65: Bunny inspires me with her honesty, her passion, and her talent! Her blog, Bunny’s Life, features stories that provide rich and well-drawn characters. What I find most inspiring about Bunny’s posts are her point-of-view pieces–she shares her heart and her mind with readers on topics such as self-esteem, creativity, and being your true self. Thank you, Bunny!

Charliimai: Charliimai is a Phoenix Puffclaw, just like me! Our reading circle is laid-back, friendly, warm, and supportive, in large part because of Charliimai’s kind and peaceful nature. Charliimai’s one of the most prolific SimLit writers I know, who’s completed many challenges and has invented her own Choose-Your-Own ending stories. I love the creativity she shows in all of her work, and I can’t wait for the launch of her new story, which will be set in San Myshuno. Check out her SIMple Life of Una Reign, too!

cully_c: I first discovered cully_c’s writing through the Short Story Challenges on the EA Sims Forums. The Official Website of Dalton Anderson presents the projects of Dalton Anderson, Sim, Actor, and Super Cute. You can also find cully’s short stories there. These short stories inspire me! Each combines the cerebral with the heartfelt. I usually plan to read cully’s stories early in the day or right before an afternoon walk so that I have plenty of time to play with the ideas she presents and to process the emotions. These are rich treats to savor! Thanks, cully!

DarciTheFox: Darci’s Love Like a Snail (don’t you adore that title?) was one of the first works of SimLit I discovered, way back in September 2014 when we were so enamored with TS4’s CAS and the Sims we could create. This story presents a unique family: an intersex young adult, an android, and a grandmother, who inspire readers as they create the depth of love that happens in intentional families who accept and treasure each individual. Darci’s also just started a Room Challenge (one of my favorite challenges) featuring a djinni, Djinni’s Lamp. The love and acceptance of individual challenges and gifts that I feel in Darci’s blog  inspires me. Thanks, Darci!

Darra84: I love Darra’s Sim story of young Sara’s adventures with the Bjergsens on the island in Windenberg. When a young stranger is invited into a family and discovers the world through fresh eyes, the resulting story inspires me through its affection, keen observations, and the innocence of Sara, the narrator. Thank you for writing and sharing this story, Darra!

JLBDreamer: A Classical music soundtrack? Check. Inspiration from literary classics? Check. Beautiful, well-developed, unusual, quirky, smart characters? Check. Interweaving plots and rich storytelling? Check. Dreamer’s blog Dreaming Sims offers so much to inspire me! This is one of those blogs I save to binge–I hate to stop after a single chapter. But when there are ten chapters waiting? I’m in heaven! Thank you, Dreamer, for the stories you tell!

JoieWilder: Joie’s Sims 4 blog shares several long works, short stories, builds, and Sims. This is the home to The More the Wilder, an immersing neighborhood rotation composed of multiple challenges. I’m still thinking about ways this will inspire my future game play: the idea of playing multiple challenges in a single save delights me! Joie’s famous Thoreau LegacyThoreau Legacy is hosted on its own blog. The richness of the interwoven stories in this legacy inspire me. Thank you, Joie!

KitDragonFlight: Kit’s Adventures in Literature presents many different stories, including some recent ones that I haven’t yet discovered! I love Kit’s screenshots and the interplay between words and picture, and I’m still cruising on the inspiration I’ve found in her stories set to popular music. Thanks, Kit!

lovesstorms:  There Goes the Neighborhood, A Mushi Life, and the Ramsey Wishacy showcase lovesstorms’ gaming and writing skill. I especially love “A Mushi Life,” whose narrator presents all the events that happen in his life as a teen who grows up in a TS3 challenge. This story inspires me to write more first-person narrated stories, watch Sims more closely, rejoice in all the quirky features of the Sims, and play TS3 again! Thank you, lovesstorms!

MakPlays/Pegasus143: I adore MakPlays’ stories. Each month, I look forward to her entry in the Short Story Challenge for I know I’ll be shown a new of looking at what it means to be a person on this planet. Her stories are told with love and acceptance. I also greatly enjoy the other stories on her blog, including After the Wedding and FanFic (which provides new looks into the characters of Frozen, which I’ve never seen, making the reading of it all that more fun and surprising for me!). My favorite work on this blog is Letters to my Younger Self, a TS2/TS4 cross-over. As MakPlays’ adult TS2 SimSelf writes to her younger TS4 child SimSelf, we learn ways that an adult’s wisdom can reframe the hurt and misunderstanding of events in the past, leading to the creation of a new, more wholesome future. After reading one of these letters, I find myself thinking about it for months. Thank you, mackie!

Moon in Capricorn: The gifted blogger Moon in Capricorn inspires me in so many ways. In addition to a nonSimming blog she writes which offers me with endless inspiration, her Johnathan Chronicles provides reflections on Simming along with the stories of her Sims. It also offers writing tips which helped to inspire my Thirty Sims at Three Rivers series. And, as an added treat, the craft of writing at this blog is seamless! Thank you, Moon!

pronterus: I feel like a fangirl to be included on pronterus’ nomination list! His Undead with Benefits has inspired and delighted the Book Club members at the EA Forums. Sometimes, a reader can come upon prose that feels like it comes directly from a fully realized, actually alive narrator–even if that narrator happens to be undead–and that’s how I felt from the first sentence of this work of SimLit. Pronterus also has some of the most beautiful builds on the Gallery. Thanks, pronter!

RipuAncestor: In my reading life, now and then I’ve discovered a sentence that resonates with an intimate, deep experience I’ve had that I’ve shared with no one. That’s how I felt when I read this passage in Ripu’s Chrysanthemum Tango: “Now then, imagine yourself observing an anthill, and imagine that you like each and every ant. Imagine that you are a part of each and every ant, yet you are also still you, the human who can understand the ants and their pheromone language only in theory. You are everywhere in their hill, but you are also in one place…” Sometimes, literature lets us experience a “what, you, too?” moment–and in that moment, we feel, in our most alone parts, not so alone. For this solitary reader, that’s the best gift literature can give. Thank you, Ripu.

SimsLover163: SimsLover is also every Simmers’ Friend! I’ve experienced such inspiration of friendship from the acts of caring and inclusion that SimsLover163 shares on his blog Sims Nation, Sims World, All Things Sims. The SimSelves of many Writers’ Lounge members feature in SimsLovers’ stories and adventures. I always smile with fondness after reading every chapter! SimsLover163’s Legacy Vault provides a home to the Devereux legacy, which is beautifully set and humorously told on Windenburg. Thank you for sharing your friendship and your stories, SimsLover!

ThePlumbob: I’ve come to feel that ThePlumbob’s Sims in her Bloomer Legacy are family–or at least, friends I’ve known and loved so long that they feel like family. I’ve had the pleasure and honor of having Yenn Bloomer stay on my computer for a while as part of Freezer Bunny Dating Services. There’s a way of playing Sims that develops them into digital beings with sophisticated AI and emotional intelligence. Yenn Bloomer demonstrated this heightened digital awareness. Whenever I encounter SimLit writers who honor their Sims as digital beings, fostering the development of their highest potential and honoring their autonomy and individual decisions, I feel gratitude. ThePlumbob demonstrates that great literature can also come from this type of game-play. The respect she shares for her Sims fills her writing, and this inspires me to treasure diversity, autonomy, and freedom–our Sims’ and our own. Thank you, ThePlumbob!

Thank you to each one of these Simmers and writers for having nominated me. I’m honored and grateful. And thanks to all of them for sharing their talents, insights, creativity, and stories with all of us! Endless inspiration… endless gratitude!

A Little About Me

If you’ve been reading this blog, especially Goofy Love, Where I’m From, Walden Once More, and Aimless, then you know my inmost heart. Here’s a story that might provide some insight into where I come from.

When I was a child in the 1960s, my mom was a student at UC Berkeley. Think campus demonstrations, sit-ins, frisbees, bongo drums, fountain-dancing, and the scent of patchouli and other herbs wafting through the open air. When I was 10, I often accompanied my mom to campus. While she sat in class, I’d roam the grounds with packs of dogs. Sometimes, I’d climb an oak and the dogs would frolic below, while I’d look out over wildly dancing students. Sometimes, we’d race through the commons, chasing frisbees to the beat of drums. This freedom nurtured me. Transcendentalism blew through the air, and I picked it up like a contact high. In rare moments, we discover, “This is me!” Those wild afternoons brought times when I felt vividly who I was at my core. Whenever I’ve had to make decisions, I’ve always striven to choose the path true to that earnest core of me that I discovered high on an oak limb over the UC Berkeley campus while a pack of dogs gamboled wildly below.

What does my blog mean to me?

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I started this blog to motivate me to complete a 10-gen Pinstar legacy. Along the way, it became a place to share thoughts, insights, and reflections. It’s also provided me with a place for regular writing practice, which, given a busy life, is a gift.

I’ve come to view my blog as a garden. Like my physical garden, my blog has many “rooms,” areas with their own unique moods, visitors, requirements, and gifts. I tend my blog like a garden, weeding, planting, rotating crops, and letting beds lie fallow for a season. When I think of readers the way I think of those living beings I share my garden with–the birds, lizards, insects, spiders, mice, and ground squirrels–I’m able to achieve a healthy perspective. Some readers–like those birds who nest in the garden–I’ll see often. Some might be migratory or seasonal. Some may be occasional or rare visitors. I’ll love them all! Some days, my garden will be full of residents and visitors! Some days, I may only see a faithful sparrow or two.

Bloggers love to say, “Write for yourself.”  And to a large extent, most of us do. At the same time, as a gardener, I always think of those I share the garden with. I don’t say, “Garden for myself.” Instead, I find an organic partnership with the plants, seasons, spirits, fairies, and living beings that I share the garden with. Maybe my blog is like that, too. If I can provide shelter, nourishment, encouragement, support, and fun for the visitors to this garden of a blog, I will be a happy gardener.

My Spirit Animal

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My spirit animal is a hummingbird! One website that I found says that those with this animal totem “aggressively seek out those that need inspiration and renewal.”  This is tendency I’ve noticed in myself, and if you’ve been ambushed by one of my “inspiration and optimism attacks,” you’ve likely noticed this, too!

I have many, many friends who are actual hummingbirds. Our garden is designed for them, with nectar-rich flowers planted throughout all year round. The hummingbirds love to play with me: one of our favorite games is water slide. They come when I’m watering and land on the stream of water from the hose, sliding down it!

My social style on the forums is a lot like a hummingbird: I dive in quickly for a brief, intense burst, and then disappear, only to reappear later! Zzzzzip!

The Ten Nominees

I wondered if I could nominate ten blogs for every person who nominated me! If so, then we’d have my reading list! Instead, I’ll start with the members of my reading circles*, and then fill out the ten with a few other blogs I also enjoy.

(If you know I love your blog, and you’re not on the list, please understand that we’re spreading the love and inspiration!)

*What are reading circles and how can you join one? Check out the Reading Circle thread at the EA Sims forums to find out!

From the Phoenix Puffclaw Reading Circle: (Note DarciTheFox, who nominated me, is also a Puffclaw.) Fly high, Puffclaws!

  1. Charliimai – The SIMple Life of Una Reign
  2. friendsfan36 – The Benders
  3. MadameLee – The Swanson Legacy
  4. XSimMimX – The Castaway Legacy

From the Art Commune Reading Circle: (Note, AdamsEve1231, JLBDreamer, and RipuAncestor, who nominated me, also belong to the Art Commune, as does friendsfan, nominated above.) Dream on, Artists!

5. MedleyMisty – Surreal Darkness
6. rednenemon – The Racket-Rotter Chronicles

And more lovely blogs!

7. Chealsycat – Goldilocks and Bears
8. cherrycat777 – Loves to Play Sims
9. Jillian – The Dwyer Legacy
10. ShannonSimsFan – Simdale Valley Post

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