Let me start off by saying that a lot of things have happened in the past, hmm, say… week or so
(you can ignore those links, they’re just to an album that dropped that I’d like to just kinda document because it’s emotional and beautiful and relatable and I’m overwhelmed–), soooooo… anyway, catch this post not being long and not being fantastic. Let’s make it short and sweet, shall we?
Unlike the piece we read this week. With Those We Love Alive. (BOOM, segue.) That was not short, and it’s debatable how sweet it was, despite lurid descriptions.
I was… not expecting to be so emotionally invested in this weird little hypertext game/story. From the beginning screen…
… I was endeared. The language itself just suggested a depth to this piece I didn’t expect. “Before living this life.” Huh. From there I had a feeling I’d be going about someone’s–not my–daily life. Then there’s the thing with the pen/sharpie? To write on skin? I was skeptical at first, so I didn’t grab a pen until about the third sigil that was asked of me. It felt strange, doing what this story was telling me. Asking for a response that would, could, never affect it.
I may have subtly drawn a ghost of a sigil the first two times with my finger before I succumbed to just grabbing this screeching owl pen I have, but no one needs to know that.
So that in itself was almost exasperatingly endearing. The power that the game had over me based solely on curiosity and amusement. Or maybe it was more than that.
Anyway, skipping ahead, here was the final, sketchy product:
Color me surprised, then, when I found a link to Porpentine’s tumblr page at the end of the story/game with pictures of other readers’/players’ sigils.
Gave me a sense of community that I can appreciate.
Also, wow people are good artists. I just scribbled. But I guess those scribbles mean something to me, so they’re like… deep scribbles. Real emo scribbles. Important(?) scribbles.
I’m ashamed to say I didn’t read the description before diving right into the story/game. I’m almost glad I did, so I was able to experience it blind. But lemme just post it here, because, again, I’m endeared.
With Those We Love Alive is weirdfem dark fantasy where you design artifacts for a skull empress. It was made in Twine. Sometimes you draw on yourself with marker.
Hundreds of people have submitted pics of their sigils, which you can see here:
It’s inspired by mob violence, trash struggle, C-PTSD, and child abuse. It’s also inspired by friendship between trash girls. In most media there’s an unspoken belief that feminine lifeforms can’t survive on their own, can’t have spaces of their own, can’t have relationships of their own. I try to go against this with basically everything I make.
You had me at weirdfem dark fantasy. I was so pleasantly surprised when, reading it blind, I suddenly had a witch girlfriend. Thank you, Porpentine. I’ll protect Sedina with my Entire Life.
Was it explicitly stated that the main character (aka You-but-not-really, Haze) was female?
I mean, yes, the description says the focus is on feminine lifeforms, and yes, there were some stereotypically “feminine” traits to them (my brain only remembers the dress Sedina complimented *blush blush uwu*).
Regardless, I love that kind of neutrality in pieces like this. Makes it easy to fall into the role of the character because, well, they’re you, no matter who you are.
[or i’m just forgetful and projecting. anyway.]
I wasn’t able to grab a lot of screenshots–too lost in the world (that started getting a little repetitive after a bit, so I just kind of slept a few days in a row sometimes and oof if that wasn’t on purpose, representing days in one’s life where Nothing Happens and you just feel like you’re Drifting Through the Days Waiting for Something, then, well, I’ll fight.)–but I think I’ll end on this one that hit me that I was able to grab:
Firstly, the unconventional adjectives. I LOVE them. “The always weapons and the sometimes screams.” I love that kinda stuff. I don’t know how to describe why.
Then there’s that last line. Oof. Hoo boy. Wowie. Ain’t that too real. There’s a story I want to write that kind of goes along with it. I’d like to share it one day, if it ever gets written.
But yeah! On that happy note, I’ll go.
Thank you for reading! And definitely play this game/read this story yourself. It’s a treat.
Also, I still have faded sigil marks on my arm. I’m gonna wear them proudly.