It’s silly, but it’s honest: When I’m stuck, I play The Sims 4. Over the last few years, my academic job has stressed me to the point of stagnation in my poetry. I’ll sit down to write, with ideas and inspiration in my fingertips, and after an hour, nothing. Manipulating fictional people, improving their skills, making them happy or playful or flirty—a few hours of that and I’ve resolved a failing choreopoem structure, or reordered a poem that’s been stuck in my head for months. It’s the same free-minded activity that brings shower thoughts.
Recently, my Sims have been hyper-focused on their greatest ambitions, and that’s strangely supported my own. When I play this game, intent on successful Sims and not playing out sadistic fantasies, I settle into my default state—I become a poet again. My pen turns into a trumpet and the walls come crumbling down to reveal my most authentic self on the page. The words return. The metaphors blend. The motives clarify. I save my own life once again—with an image, a choreopoem, an elegant line break. Consequently, none of my Sims are writers. That would just depress me.
—Monica Prince, author of Roadmap (Santa Fe Writer’s Project, 2023)
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