12 September 2008

A SIMulated world

Hello, everyone. My name is Meg Allison, and I've been invited to join the group for a time until life settles down for one of the regular bloggers. :)

I'm a writer, obviously, but first and foremost I'm a wife and mom. Those two 'jobs' take up most of my time and attention. My dh and I have been married for almost twenty years and we have five beautiful, intelligent children. Yes, they're all mine. No, it's not always a picnic. ;) Especially when you consider three of them are now teenagers.

Unlike the horror stories you hear about teens, ours haven't given us much grief. (knock on wood) But they do have their moments. Honestly, most of our difficulties lately have to do with computer games...namely, SIMs.

Most people have probably heard of SIMs, but not everyone has the chance to experience it first-hand. Lucky you. I find it to be a huge drain on time -- like many games, it's somewhat addictive. Once you start playing it's difficult to stop. If they don't stop, then Mom doesn't get on the computer when she needs to be.

In the game, the player is a god-like entity who first creates characters -- including facial features, clothes, hairstyles, etc -- then builds their homes, puts together their families. Once this is done, the player happily manipulates the digital people through their lives. And yes, my girls have tortured a character or two -- but only the ones who really deserved it. ;)

I watch my kids play the game sometimes -- over their shoulders which they find highly annoying. I hate to admit it, but it's rather fascinating, actually. SIMs have personalities, hopes and dreams... but they're also too stupid to live. They literally have to be told to do almost every basic thing. And life passes quickly in SIM-land. A baby becomes a toddler in three 'SIM days'.

I think I prefer writing. While the concept is similar, there are subtle differences that attract my particular personality. Okay, yes, I enjoy manipulating the imaginary people in my stories. But they are rarely stupid -- at least, not the hero and heroine -- and often the characters take over, telling me what they will or will not do and say. Sometimes, when I'm in the zone, it's more akin to taking dictation than actually making up stories. I like those moments.

As the writer, I am in control... but if I'm doing it correctly, at some point the characters themselves will come to life. For me and the reader.

Although I will say that giving birth for SIMs is something I can appreciate as a mom five. The mom-to-be has a couple of contractions, does a funky spin and POOF! The baby is there, in her arms -- all diapered and ready to be adored.

Now that would have come in handy. ;)
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