Jesse Pirnat Writes

And sometimes, blogs

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Love the journey, not the destination

Once, a long time ago, I was told there are two kinds of writers. There are those who love writing—who delight in the craft of it, the mental and physical labor of putting words to paper or screen, to construct the narrative their heart yearns to share—because to them, that effort is no labor at all.

And then there are those who love having written—the dreamers, the thinkers, the ones who say for years that they’re working on a novel, with most of that time spent imagining the finished product and taking no tangible steps to get there. In short, they’re the ones who don’t actually write.

But this post isn’t about writing. It’s not about any one particular subject, or activity, or even logical context. It’s about healing from trauma, and the inner strength it takes to stick to the difficult path. It’s about mortality, and finding meaning in a nihilistic universe whose lifespan is just as finite as yours. It’s about life, the universe, and everything, and also nothing at all, because it’s about a frame of mind that can be applied to just about any situation to make it better or more bearable. It’s about enduring.

It’s about the journey.

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Childhood Creative Projects: The War of Mmruda

One weekend morning in the early 2000s, was down. That’s right—the free-to-play fantasy MMORPG that had entranced millions of middle schoolers around the world, including me, with its charming graphics and goofy quests and people constantly shouting and scamming outside the bank in Varrock, was mysteriously offline.

I was devastated. Would it be back up in a few minutes? A few hours? This week? I didn’t know, and I couldn’t just put down my craving for some fantasy RPG action.

So I decided to create my own entire fantasy world with its own RPG instead.

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January 2024 Update

The short version: I moved!

Unfortunately, that means no progress on any other projects recently. No time to work on Porydex, or Shifty Squares, or any fiction writing. Nearly every free day for the last month and a half has been devoted to some aspect of The Move, whether by way of the physical labor of moving everything from point A to point B, or communications with our lawyer who was handling all the direct interaction with the people we were trying to leave behind.

The long version:

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I want to read the isekai where the Wicked Witch of the East is reincarnated to Earth after being hit by Dorothy’s house

2023 Year in Review

Today’s the last day of the year! For me, at least. Probably not for you, who’s probably reading this on one of the infinite other days that will come after I first post it.

At the end of every year I like taking inventory and seeing what I accomplished, which areas I fell short in, and making vague idealistic plans for the year to come. Not New Year’s Resolutions, though—those never work out and I’ve learned my lesson… after enough times…

So what did I do in 2023? Here’s a very abridged list of some highlights:

  • I wrote at least one blog post every month.
  • I read at least one book every month.
  • I reread Homestuck, and confirmed that my opinions on it haven’t changed. (The first half, through the End of Act 5, is great. The second half, in my opinion, is not.)
  • I got caught up in the web serial Katalepsis! Total reading time so far, from Chapter 1.1 to the latest Chapter 23.1: 136.7 hours.
  • I played absolutely copious amounts of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. (Didn’t we all?)
  • I played Celeste—and beat it!
  • I played utterly absurd amounts of New Super Mario Bros. – Mario Vs Luigi. I’m so good at it now that just the other day, someone accused me of being a hacker. Literally one of my proudest moments in gaming history.
  • I did absolutely petty and paltry amounts of creative writing this year, but that’s okay—I think I’m going to make 2024 another “writing year.”
  • I participated in a group game jam that completely flopped.
  • In preparing for that game jam, I learned Unity and regained a strong passion for game development.
  • I made a clone of the game Pong (for practice), but with an overly dramatic final boss fight (for fun).
  • I started making the casual puzzle game I had wanted to make for the last 13 years.
  • I moved! Gosh, that sure was an exhausting process and I’m glad it’s done forever now.
  • I cut off all my family and most of my friends.
  • I blew up nearly every human connection I have, and am now in a constant state of self-sabotage-induced lonely misery.
  • I revived the long dormant Porydex project, and after weeks of working on it non-stop, the finish line is finally within sight.
  • I maintained a daily log for the entire year of what projects I worked on each day, and/or any other interesting things I did, or sometimes just plain chore days. (That list was mildly helpful for putting together this post!)

Wow! What a year!

… Or was it? It really doesn’t seem like much when I list it all out like that. But maybe that’s because I’m too results-oriented, so things like the multiple months I spent working on game dev get condensed into the single line “I worked on XYZ game,” without delving at all into any of the nuances of the journey I took to get there. Like attempting to learn the basics of pixel art, and color theory, and the weeks spent on whichever feature of the game-in-progress.

Same for Porydex. For that one at least, I haven’t been afraid to go into more detail in my Monthly Update posts, about whichever gritty subsection of the overall project I’m working on at any point. And believe me, there are many. And they’re all so gritty.

I’m truly, genuinely not upset about my lack of creative writing this year, unlike other years where I felt that I failed to execute on my creative desires. And I owe it 100% to game dev, and another 30% to Porydex. I’m still executing on my creative desires, just in other directions for now.

But I think I’d like to change that in the near future. As much as I love the game dev, and as much as hyperfocusing on it comes naturally to me (versus writing, where I really struggled to get “into” it when I wasn’t already in the mood), I’m really starting to miss the writing, and I’m slow-burn building up the desire to do a big writing project again.

Which is why when I say I think 2024 is going to be another “writing year,” I say that not as a resolution (because I’d be okay if it didn’t happen), but as a feeling. A prediction based on knowing myself and my moods.

Or maybe not! Maybe when the time comes, when I’m faced with that blank page and the immediate challenge of writing the first sentence, I’ll decide “nah, let’s get back to writing code for the new feature in XYZ game.”

Overall, after having looked back on everything noteworthy in the last year (literally—by definition, the only things I could look back on where the things I took notes on), I think I’m satisfied and can say, just like I did at the end of my previous Year in Review post:

This was a good year.

December 2023 Update

First, let’s answer a question that’s been hanging in the back of everyone’s minds for the entire year: Yes, I can!

It’s been an extremely busy month, for more reasons than I can say. I mean that literally. Lawyers are involved. And not in the fun way, where you’re applying for copyright protections for a creative project or whatever. I mean in the bad way, where you’re helping a loved one through a real rough time. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it in a few months. In the meantime though, here’s all the actual project updates you’re here for:

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Getting hyped on tools you won’t use

A few years ago, the writing app Scrivener was gearing up for its next major release. Scrivener for Windows v3.0 had been in beta for ages, with a long list of new features to bring the app (mostly) up to par with its macOS older sibling. My writer friends and I were hyped as all heck for the shiny new software, even contributing to the beta testing cycle a little bit because we were so impatient to start using v3.0 for real.

And then, finally, after multiple months of delays, Scrivener for Windows v3.0 was officially released! I cheered internally and immediately bought the non-trial version of the app… And then I forgot all about it, and never used it, because I never used the previous versions of Scrivener to begin with.

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I do a lot of things as a joke

I’ve been thinking about this part of my personality a lot lately. There are lots of things I like and/or do that are objectively silly, and probably shouldn’t be taken seriously, but I do them sincerely anyway to add to the joke.

I don’t quite think it’s the same as “doing things ironically.” There’s a very specific feel to all of these things; it’s not just being dumb for the sake of being edgy. It’s more like… an elevation of sorts. Taking a silly idea and respecting it in its own right, laughing with it instead of at it. If that even makes sense.

Anyway, here’s some examples.

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