I don’t play many PC or video games, despite the somewhat silly amount of money I’ve spent on acquiring them and on making sure I can enjoy them in comfort. My solo gaming is divided between a small number of well-loved strategy games such as Ticket to Ride and Monster Prom that I play casually to while away low-energy afternoons and long role-playing games full of subplots, romance, choices, and level-up choices. I am a fiction writer, after all, and I thrive on narrative. It is among the latter that the small-release Japanese RPG I Am Setsuna claimed its niche in my life, and it is among the latter that it quite impressed me.
Poetry is perhaps the ideal artistic medium for processing an abusive relationship. One of the hallmarks of an abusive relationship, what distinguishes it from merely being assaulted, is that the attacker must convince their victim to linger, and abusers the world over share one key tactic: damage their victim’s senses of reality and self-worth. When reality breaks down, emotional impressions remain, tethered to the moments that made them and providing a path toward making sense of life once more. This is the place where Pet: the Journey from Abuse to Recovery, by Kella Hanna-Wayne, lives, and in that noisome soil this poetry collection has grown into something beautiful.
Reading The Way of the Heathen, first and foremost, reminded me of why I fell in love with Greta Christina’s writing. A series of meditations on weighty topics from an atheist, science-loving perspective, The Way of the Heathen is the antidote to religious insistence that we have no answers for what it means to live a life well lived, and a much-appreciated bridge between the scientific and the sublime.