Today I was present as a guest on LowPopWow’s sixth episode, which focused on community-building. It’s available for download/listen on their Twitch channel, and should be uploaded (along with a few other episodes) to Stitcher and iTunes fairly soon! I really enjoyed the experience a lot — it was a much different interview style than I’m used to, extremely structured, more like an actual panel at a convention than anything. Practice, maybe, for the future? Hathorr is a fabulous host with a voice that’d make any NPR broadcaster feel woefully inadequate.
About halfway through our recording I got an email from Ghemit of the Let’s WoW! podcast asking if I could fill in for his co-host Dae for the evening, since real life apparently crit her for like 74692764 and prevented her from being able to do the show. How could I turn down an offer like that?! Though Dae was sorely missed, we had a great time with Rongar of Hearthstone Cast fame talking about Hearthstone and what excited us all the most about its impending release, as well as delving into the wonderful world of roleplaying in World of Warcraft. There’s a rough/temporary version of it up on the Let’s WoW! Twitch channel, though Ghemit will undoubtedly have it up on Podbean, Stitcher, and iTunes within the next couple of days. He’s an industrious sort like that!
I really can’t wait to do more podcasting. I’m toying with the idea of a “Let’s Play”-type Twitch channel for myself, where I could really go through all of the various zones and instances and apply a designer’s perspective to them, highlighting details, bugs, et cetera, but in the meantime, I’d love to be back on LowPopWow and Let’s WoW! again! There’s also a laundry list of other podcasts I’d love to be a guest on, and I’m hoping that in the very near future I’ll have more announcements for everyone about my guest appearances! And maybe I won’t be all hopped up on Nyquil by then! (Seriously, I am so sorry to anyone who had to listen to my gravelly/more nasal than usual rambling today.)
I actually did a little bit of listening to the recordings today and was somewhat disheartened to hear that the aphasia I’ve been having to deal with as a side effect of my old medication hasn’t resolved itself as completely as I thought it had. There’s a few instances where I can hear myself struggling for words, slurring my speech, and flat-out using the wrong verbage. Aphasia is a neurological issue that messes with the speech and/or language centers in my brain and occasionally makes me sound like a dolt, something I certainly don’t need any help with in my day-to-day life. Imagine being onstage in front of a thousand people and without ever having read the script, so you have to think as fast as you can to cover up for it and ad-lib your way through the play you’re in. You’ll probably get some of it right, but you’re also going to screw up a bunch of it by spouting off random nonsense because to you, it sounds like it maybe fits the scene.
That’s a pretty complex analogy, I know, so here’s an example: I want to say “I insist upon it,” but what comes out is “I exist upon it.” The word is close, but definitely not correct. I know the definition of “insist” and “exist” and if you asked me to write the sentence down on a piece of paper, I could do it perfectly. It just gets messed up when it goes from my brain to my mouth.
I know that it’s not something I can really control, so I shouldn’t be upset with myself, but it’s a terribly embarrassing issue to have. Those not in the know usually think that I’m a.) drunk or b.) unintelligent and trying to sound smart by using words I don’t know the meaning of. When I slur the pronunciation of a word, most people will laugh and ask “You mean ___?” and though I’m pretty sure they aren’t trying to be dicks about it, I want to cry every time. I know how the word is pronounced. My brain is just not cooperating. And should I have to stand there and struggle to come up with a word, they just assume I’m not paying attention or that I’m an airhead. It’s common for people to not be able to think of a word once in a while. For me, it’s more like I can’t think of any words because part of my brain has just decided to turn all the lights off for a while. As a writer and hopefully soon-to-be game designer, it’s mortifying, because good communication is part of the job description. I am a good communicator, I really and truly am, especially when it comes to writing, I just have a temporary setback right now while the damage that the Lamictal did to my body and my mind undoes itself. Trying to explain this to people and desperately hoping that they’ll understand and not hold it against me is a terrifying thing.
The aphasia gets worse when I’m under stress, tired, or taking medication that spaces me out, such as — you guessed it — Nyquil. There’s always a certain level of anxiety I deal with when verbally communicating with people, mainly because I have to think a little harder to sound “normal.” On top of that baseline, this weekend my mother managed to drill through her hand while working on a DIY project which resulted in an emergency room visit, one of the mice passed away of unknown causes, and just this morning I was startled awake very early by a crashing noise in the living room that ended up being the cat getting into the mouse cage and killing another of the mice, who happened to be the sweetest, cuddliest, most loving of the bunch. My weekend, as you may have gathered, has been a fairly large pile of shit, not even counting all of the sleepless nights and highly uncomfortable days I’ve spent before that with The Plague. It’s like a perfect storm of failure on my end.
I’m not trying to make excuses or get pity, more that I’m troubled by it to the point that I really feel the need to explain myself and maybe educate a few people here and there on some of the weirder things that can go haywire with the human brain. And to a degree, I think I just need to talk about it for my own sanity rather than trying to pretend like losing partial control of my faculties doesn’t scare the everliving crap out of me, even if it is a problem that should eventually go away on its own. But until it does, purple monkey dishwasher, I suppose.