Colonizing Self (Finding Inspiration in Sid Meier’s ALPHA CENTAURI)

It has been suggested to self that if she truly desires to stay more in the Philippines, she should consider becoming a nun.

There is a Trappist monastery on Guimaras.

Self is quite sure she will visit this monastery, on her next stay in Bacolod.  It can be reached quite easily by pump boat from Pulupandan.

It will be hard for self to assume the veil, however, since her imagination (aka her “inner life”) is so wild and uncontrollable.  She might end up driving Mother Superior crazy.  She might even be accused of infecting her sister nuns with her innate restlessness.

Which brings us to —

A long, long time ago, when self was the mother of a grade-school boy, she used to be read to, all the time.  Son would be so excited over a new computer or video game that he would insist on reading the game manual to her.

One time, he read to self from the manual for Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri.  This self-same manual is in self’s hands at this very moment.  It was abandoned in son’s room when he went off to the Wild Blue Yonder, which is to say college.

Abandoned, but not forgotten!  Not, at least, by self!

This afternoon, self was busy preparing son’s room for her brother-in-law and his wife, who will be visiting with us for a week starting this Saturday.  And self undertook to straighten up the bookshelves in son’s room, which is where brother-in-law and his wife (who neither self nor The Man have ever met) are to stay.  And she found this book and thought, Hmmm.  What if she opened it?  Which she did.

She opened to a random page, and found herself at the opening of Chapter 4:  “Colonizing Planet,” which goes:

Your faction begins as a few huddled refugees in a single, makeshift encampment.  It’s up to you to see that it grows into a self-sufficient, globally dominant society.

Your fundamental goal on Planet is for your faction to survive and thrive.  Your faction expands, in terms of size, power and influence, by building new bases.  These bases are each independent, self-contained ‘cities’ —  the centers of your faction’s economic, military, technological and social progress.

From the above, it was of course only a small step to conjuring the world of “Extinction,” the story self sent to ZYZZYVA a year later.  It was accepted for publication, and subsequently formed part of her second collection, published by Miami University Press, Mayor of the Roses.

Here’s an excerpt:

The coastlines were bare, and the soil on which the people had built their homes was slowly washing out to sea.  Thus there was great fear and trepidation in the coastline villages, and the people there generally exhibited the clinical symptoms of depression.

Funny, typing that second sentence, self was suddenly reminded that son is currently in a Ph.D. program in Social Psychology.  Did her fascination with all manifestations of human personality have anything to do with it?  All she knows is that son used to be her most astute interpreter.  (And he had a nickname for her, too:  He called her “Mood Swing”)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

1 Comment

  1. KJB said,

    September 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I’ve heard of the Trappist monastery, because I received pasalubong from there years ago and my uncle owns a mango farm on the island. I think a better idea than becoming a nun would be a **WRITER’S RESORT/RETREAT” that you charge $ for. Write it up in the magazine blurbs. Since we know it is *More Fun in the Philippines* , it’s fame would spread virally. You could be the total donya (where’s the enye?). I would visit every year. 😀

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