Minecraft, Muse

Jonathan Gourlay recreated a real house in the game Minecraft. And then wrote about it, beautifully.

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Minecraft, for the unintiated, is a benign Swedish game that combines Atari-era visuals with the breakneck pace of ice fishing and the adrenaline rush of Minor League baseball. You pick up Lego-style blocks and use them to build any kind of shelter you want in order to avoid cute, hopping zombies. That’s it. It’s like watching chamomile tea steep.

But for some players, Minecraft inspires collaboration, creativity—and occasionally fascinating writing. Here’s Jonathan Gourlay, a University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate-turned-linguist, on Sartre, parenting, and recreating “a memory in block form” in the game:

Most of what is around you right now is empty air. Yet, someone will insist on filling that emptiness with Taylor Swift music, especially if you happen to share your swath of emptiness with a nine-year-old girl. And if that little girl is suddenly absent, at a sleepover for instance, your walls will resound with the lack of “You Belong with Me.” The denuded trees in the front yard offer only bare ruined choirs where late the sweet tweens sang.

I sometimes carry with me the lack of a house I once lived in. Picture a house on a mountainside in the jungle overlooking the ocean. Picture a little girl peeing off of the second floor balcony every morning; claiming the world for her own. Now take the house away. Change the girl so that she faces the world from inside a room with the door closed and the YouTube Taylor Swift channel blaring. She could be in that room for hours while I retire to my computer, re-creating our old house in Minecraft, placing a waterfall on the balcony, trying to fill the emptiness with an approximation.

There’s more to Gourlay’s short, compelling tale. It’s worth reading in full; click here for the rest over at The Bygone Bureau.

Oh, and there are a ton of Minecraft-related videos out there, low-budget CGI and all. You can find most of them blogged about here on the Minecraft creator’s personal site.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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