That little red dot appeared, alerting me to a notification. It was a Castleville request. It read, “You’re hereby invited to create your happy ending!”  That to me was invitation to craft my own demise. Reading that sentence was like taking a rock to my solar plexus. What seems like a benign invitation to play a brand new Internet game is for me, deadly.

I shudder when I think of the hours I’ve spent plowing, planting and fertilizing animated crops, dazed in front of my computer playing Farmville. A couple of years ago I, at the encouragement of two friends, chose my avatar. She sported brown hair, had large brown eyes hidden behind red framed glasses and, the last time I saw her, was wearing a cute blue shift and cowgirl boots. My friends quickly tired of the game. I didn’t. I created a farm kingdom. There was not only one barn but two.  There was a totem pole, a balloon ride and an elephant on the farm. Strange- come to think of it. A calf nursery, a gardening supply business, log cabin restaurant and pretty pink castle became my pride and joy. I begged my friends to return to the game so I could “buy” an inch more of land around the perimeter of my cartoon property.

My writing projects gathered dust. The needlepoint pillows I was creating seemed too heavy to pick up. I left a little later for work every day.  I entered chat rooms in order to friend others who also shared in the belief of empire building. On vacation, I became frustrated when I lost plots of blackberries three times in a row because somehow my plowing on my iPhone didn’t “take.” I think that’s when I hit rock bottom. Somehow I managed to put down the drug- I mean game. It was hard. I decided to let it hover in cyberspace. It was just too hard to delete my creation entirely.

Occasionally, I’m alerted that someone has bought a pie or scone from my beloved bakery. I continue to receive requests from game buddies on a daily basis. Some of these same individuals are friends in my real world. I’ve told them I’ve stopped planting blueberries- the four hours it took for them to whither gave me more gray hair than I could deal with. These people don’t listen but I forgive them. The games are addicting. They made my life unmanageable. I was powerless. It was insane.

I’ve decided that I prefer to spend my time doing other things and display my talents in other ways. Instead of playing with my avatar’s dogs I play with my real dogs. The animated ones hadn’t been programmed to play fetch X-treme.  Ginger and Chutney are much happier playing with me than lying at my feet while I “play” at the computer. I’ve revised my novel and am so enjoying writing my first mystery.

So, while I am tempted at times to play again, the invitation to Castleville clearly asks me to create a happy “ending.” Ending is the operative word. I’m just beginning as a writer and an artist. I think I’ll RSVP a no to this invite.
What distracts you from creating your creation?


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