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The Sims, the Bible, and Clifford

July 13, 2009

I used to think I would never let my child 1) watch dumb things on tv 2) play video games and 3) eat bad things. Now that he is eleven, I still don’t let him watch dumb things on tv and I try to limit his junk food intake. But I do let him play video games so I can write. The middle section of The Woman Who Named God was composed while listening to the distant tinkle of the Sims. I hate to admit this in case anyone notices any link between my sentences and that mind numbing muzak in the background of all the SIms incarnations. But when my son played, I was free to write. Occasionally, I had to admire one of his characters, or the house his family had just bought, but mainly we worked side by side, both of us tapping away on our computers. At times I caught myself humming along to the medley of Sims melodies. When Hagar was trekking through the desert, looking desperately for water, there I was — dum de dum de dum de dum — until finally I had to tell him to turn the sound off the game. I could not imagine myself into Hagar’s desert ordeal while tinkling along with my son’s computer. I wonder how many writers have written their books against this kind of backdrop, or with this kind of background noise. I wrote Mistress Bradstreet to the tune of Clifford, the big red dog.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2009 2:29 pm

    Yes, everything has a backdrop . . . most recently, sport-talk radio, which I despise but which is my younger son’s background for living. And then there are the more random shrieks and thuds that arise with two boys in the house, plus parakeet squawks and dog barks and weird MIT radio, which my husband plays incessantly as works on his digital printing projects. Fortunately, I was the older of two daughters and learned early about how to ignore my younger sister’s noise so that I could keep reading and avoid playing with her. So mostly I can barrel on through.

  2. Ruth permalink
    July 14, 2009 3:11 pm

    As one who always has music in my head, frequently migrating to my feet and often right out my mouth, I well know about working with background noise or music. Perhaps it is what keeps us working?

  3. July 28, 2009 6:46 pm

    you know what always bothers me about clifford. . . is the idea that someone could have a dog that outgrows a city apartment so they just get up and move to some island. where is birdwell island? is that the hamptons? or is cape cod? do you know how much that would cost? i can’t get past that.

  4. July 28, 2009 9:40 pm

    There are many problems with the clifford premise. I think Birdwell might be off the keys, not far from cuba. Have you ever seen snow there? Then there’s dragon tales, although I have always liked the music in dragon tales.

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