“Summertime and the living is easy,” the words ring through my mind as I sip my chilled Chardonnay. The best time of year, well, one of them, as I greatly appreciate mulled wind and mince pies too.
Well, what does one do during the long, lazy summer holidays? Well, one can obviously swim, sunbathe and end up sporting a gorgeous tan, naturally, after having administered the highest sun protecting lotion on the market and then forgetting to reapply the product on venturing back up the beach. One can also indulge in afternoon siestas, the heat acting like a natural tranquiliser, unless there’s an air conditioner in the room, but that would spoil the romantic image of a light breeze creeping through the partially opened balcony doors causing the white lace curtains to gently sway apart. Then, of course, there’s those summer evening greatly enjoyed by many. I enjoy mine sitting by the sea indulging my taste buds on a typical Mediterranean platter of freshly baked bread, olive oil and tomatoes, not forgetting my wine. Perfection.
Or one can couple all the above with a good book or eBook. I prefer the traditional age-old-page-turning, musty smell of a good book, but then again an eBook is a welcome addition to any handbag. So let’s choose both.
There are those who might take up archery or cross stitch. I love archery, always wanted to be a “Legolas”, standing strong with bow in hand, hunting orcs……..and cross stitch is a favourite of mine. I actually have a number of designs to my name. Think I’ll pat myself on the back for that one. Very proud. Yes, I am.
Then there’s gaming. I would call that my secret love. I don’t really talk about it to anybody. My friends wouldn’t really care and they’d probably think it stupid anyway. A grown woman playing games. Really! Come on, are you serious! Shouldn’t I be doing something more productive like baking – no, that would make the kitchen too hot and it’s summer, hot enough as it is – no thank you. May be cleaning the house, washing the floor, dusting the furniture. Done that. Writing a story. In progress……Now it’s just time to relax. It’s game time. It’s time to unbutton the cloak of reality and slip into something more virtual……and there is an entire wardrobe I can slip into; Dragonborn, rogue- archery-Inquisitor, stealth assassin, wasteland explorer, hunter of witches and ghouls and that’s just selecting a few. I could wear all, but for the sake of this venture I’ll wear my favourite two; Dragonborn – Skyrim and Inquisitor – Dragon Age. Dragon in the name, therefore they equate to something awesome.
There is nothing quite like being the hero of a realm, the one to bring peace, to heal the wounds of the people and give them shelter from the malevolent beings who are hell-bent on destroying their world. Striding into a captured keep and being hailed; “Welcome Inquisitor”, “You are the Dragonborn.” Now that deserves a toast.
Just like books, games transport you to other worldly dimensions where the mundane becomes relevant. Through books I see worlds in my mind’s eye, whereas games translate those same worlds into graphic images. You can lose yourself in both, become that person you would have liked to become, may be, in real life if only it were possible. I consider bother genres art forms, both involve a degree of creativity and imagination, both have the capability of transforming the creative spirit into something tangible. The difference between the game and the book though, is through one you become the protagonist while through the other you are the observer. In Skyrim I become the Dragonborn. The hero who speaks in the dragon tongue, who uses this newfound strength to defeat Alduin, the devourer of worlds (Alduin being a big, black, mean dragon). In Dragon Age: Inquisition I become the Inquisitor branded with the key to seal rifts into the Fade, the one who ultimately destroys the creator of the Breach – Corypheus (a very unpleasant guy) and his Red Templars. Oh the glory and satisfaction, I being the one to heal the world. Something, I guess, some of us might aspire to. Heal the world of all rifts and make it a better place.
Books, on the other hand, are windows on the past. They mirror the present, they are prisms reflecting the life to come. Without them we float on stormy seas. Books are boxes containing priceless artefacts and just like a magic carpet they transport us to unknown lands. We learn to fly among the planets, recognizing the beauty lying on the pages of black print…….and you can become so wrapped up in the story, so emotionally involved with the characters that reality just seems to dwindle away. I remember the first time I read The Lord of the Rings. I was still in 6th Form studying for my A Levels and I had nothing else to do during my summer holidays except read. There I was sitting on the roof under a canopy when Frodo said, “Get off the road” and I held my breath. I literally felt I wasn’t breathing as the Nazgul leaned in to where the hobbits were hiding. I felt so scared. It was so cool! Come on! It’s like watching a movie in your head, suffice to say I felt the same thing at the same point in the actual movie. The printed word bridges the gap between the thoughts and the paper. They paint pictures in a multitude of colours. Words are ultimately the offspring of thoughts and as Lord Byron once said “A drop of ink may make a million think.”
Summer is definitely a good time. Sit back, chillax and enjoy the summer glow. Well, that’s what I’m going to be doing.