On Frames Around My Relationship With Magic


I really love the Dark Tower series. To the extent that the loose structure of my favorite media can be meaningfully ordered, I would expect it to come out on top. The incredibly detailed worldbuilding, complex characters, and metafiction elements all explain this to an extent but I would actually say that the largest comparative advantage it has over similar works in my eyes is persistent focus on and discussion of addiction.

My relationship with Magic is complicated and bordering on if not entirely an addiction. On August 15th of 2021 after placing ninth in my first MOCS qualifier event I posted a Youtube video titled “Rambling About the Pioneer MOCS and Magic” announcing that I would be quitting the game. I was motivated by my significant emotional investment in this event and large amounts of stress about the uncertainty coming from not pursuing higher education. But the fact of the matter was that no matter the rationale I just should (In Replaching Guilt Soares makes a good case for thinking in “shoulds” being a negative. I was not aware of this at the time and sadly can’t claim to have internalized it now) quit. Even if my consistently middling performance somehow improved Magic clearly had no future for me and would serve to divert effort from the early parts of my career that would have the most compounding returns. Yet now more than a year later I am still yet to do so. I am in large motivated to write this by plans to step back at the conclusion of the current MOCS season but smart money would certainly be against me being successful in doing so.

A large part of what makes it difficult for my system to fully align on wanting to no longer play is the fact that I do not really see paths to working on something more real. I have some ideas but thus far efforts in those directions have both not yielded anything and have been composed of more fake work. Basically, I feel like I am stuck at a local minimal where if I stop trying to climb the steep curves around me I can at least not feel bad about failing at that process. But then of course we have Mr. King offering a poetic counterpoint:

Later it all became simpler. Later he came to understand that he wasn’t drinking too much because he was spiritually unsettled but spiritually unsettled because he was drinking too much. You wanted to protest, to say that couldn’t be it, or not just that, it was too simple. But it was that, just that. - Father Callahan

Honestly, this is a difficult subject for me to talk about it. In the depths of my personal notes I have written and deleted an absurd amount while trying to skirt around the edges of my shadow in a way that isn’t overly negative. This is why I have so much appreciation for the Dark Tower, it offers another set of frames from someone more experienced than myself. Maybe if I can just twist and build upon enough of them I’ll be able to find an approach that will let me meaningfully dissect the problem. Or that very well may be another in a nested series of copes, who knows.

In any case, we’ll see how things go.