Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's becoming real

I haven't written all that much about it, because I haven't wanted to jinx the process, but last night I sent the final manuscript of Perceiving Play: The Art and Study of Computer Games off to Peter Lang Publishers. It's supposed to be in the stores some time in spring 2009 - most likely March.

It's been an educational experience. There are so many words which are hard to translate between English and Norwegian, and I feel like I have run into every one of them as I have tried to negotiate with the publishers and editors. Also, I never knew I had contract-phobia until I had spent 3 months not signing one. And I have learned several new meanings of "proof-reading."

But it's also been a good experience. The editors Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear have been amazingly patient when I have panicked, although at times I think I may not have panicked enough. I have also loved to work with the content. This is the book I want people to read before they contact me and say "there's nothing written about computer games!" (Alternatively: "There's no research done on computer games.") I have not been able to read and cover everything, but I have made an effort to cover a wide range of topics, and treat them fairly. Now, a fellow guildie told us all generously in chat that 90% of everything written about game studies is crap. I am not sure how to use that statement. I have some options

1) I can assume that not covering the whole field doesn't matter, as I have covered the 10% worth writing about.
2) I should have quoted this person a lot more!
3) I can assume that my book, not being all that, is perfect for the majority of what is published in game studies.
4) I can ignore what's being said in exuberance at midnight, Friday night, online, and just hope my books doesn't prove such statements right.

One thing I think is really hilariously funny though. I have illustrated parts of the book myself. I am getting published also as a graphic artist ;) Now how cool is that? OK, so the graphics are drawings of game screenshots, but hey, those are MY pencil lines! I never thought that a career of intense reading would ever lead me to publishing images - something I haven't done since I was 20 and worked in a tiny local newspaper in Hardanger. Where I actually worked on one of the first computers in use for setting papers in Norway. Oh, the joys of aging - when you have been part of history.

Anyway: Now that it's accepted, and sent, and the wheels are turning towards publication, I am relieved as I havent' been for a year. It's good. It's really good. Champagne tonight, I think.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First day of term

I met the students for the first time - again - today. I am growing old. You see, I was just about moved to tears. Students are so incredibly fresh, like the term, like our plans and hopes, and there's so much that can happen from here on and through the next three years...

Anyway, to get away from the sentimental stuff:
We have a large group, almost doubled the number since the sudden low two years ago. This is something we are extremely happy about, and a challenge we're ready to meet. This is not the largest group we have worked with, but it is still big for a lot of the teaching-intensive subjects we teach.

Due to the reform of education in Norway, we now have very homogenous groups, where most students are young and have little work experience before they start. This is a challenge, as it means they have a lot to learn about society, but at the same time we have them for three years, not two, which means that we have more time for this process than we used to.

The information study staff are at a long-time high, there are less leaves and more of the regular staff at work at the same time than we have had for a long time. YAY for that, as working with a good, experienced staff makes life so much easier. It leaves room for all of us, if not for anything else, then to breathe in and out slowly a few times, look around and figure out what we are doing and what we should do. Definitely the best way to start a term.

The study has been tweaked in the last year, and I returned to find that it was changed to eliminate several of the issues that have been hard to work around. Do you understand what a good feeling that is: to go somewhere else and think about something else for a year and then return to something that works better than it did before I left? OK, the conclusion is that perhaps I should leave more often... but right now I am just delighted at the work that's been done while I was away.

And now I have a new class of students. Young, fresh, unmarked students. And this is where I quit before I get started again!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

This and that...

Some odd stuff that's been coming my way the last weeks:

Somebody have, for some odd reason, invited me to participate in a work-shop for physical theatre. While I'd love to do something like that, it would be to set myself up for failure. And not exactly what I am doing, anyway. And the dean would finally ask me to reconsider how I spend my time.

I have been invited to an interesting conference in Germany, which sadly is at the same time as IR:09 - More Fun, More Risk: Digital Games as a Challenge for the Protection of Minors. It is obvious that no matter what I might want to say about the threat games represent or not to our society, the fear of them is growing. And so it really should be taken seriously: people should look at this issue with open eyes, not just as enthusiasts and enemies. I hope this conference can do exactly that. The program is however not available yet, and the titles of the tracks are not exactly uplifting when it comes to hoping for neutral view. Well, time will show!

And now, over to the marketing department!

Nah, I am just afraid it will look like marketing, because I am so delighted with a couple of objects. First, my MOO cards, ordered through and taking advantage of my flickr pictures. I love it, it's a handful of colourful memories from 2007-2008. Flowers from Australia, silk from Japan, snow and forest from Umeå, mountains and water from Norway.

The other thing I did was to order a photo book from I just made a small one, and ordered three copies, one for each kid and one for us. It's lovely, an overview of what we looked like in 2006, and I know the kids will love it as much as I do. So now I am moving onwards to step two of the plan: To make one for my mother's birthday. SSssshhh, don't tell!!! I am trying to get all her daughters and our families over the last 4 years into one book, with as many names and times as possible. My mother has a very relevant complaint: we never give her pictures any more. We share with each other, but we send nothing to her, as she is disconnected from the digital age. I am planning to amend that, in one, big, swoop!

So, that was the Volda news. Also: The house has changed colour from whitish to blue with indigo windows and a grey foundation. I think it looks great. Seriously, I like it. Still a lot of details to paint though. I never knew I had such a big house.