It’s 2 a.m. when I arrive home, but my husband Cam doesn’t question where I’ve been all day. Instead he says what he usually says: “I always love seeing your face when I come home from work. . . . All my worries melt away when I see you.” But I don’t scoff at the sentiment or its repetition—twice daily for the seven years we’ve been married.
If asked, I would have told him I’d been out fishing, my expression carefully neutral. But there’s no hint of suspicion from Cam and no guilt on my part, though I’ve left our daughter, Dahlia—nearly a year old—alone all day. I shower and head to bed without a care in the world.
Friday rolls around—Date Day. After I rise at six to feed my three dogs, two cats, and owl, my husband taking little interest in their welfare, I greet Cam with his daily gift—whatever I can scrounge out of the sack I always carry. He usually likes herb tea and flowers. And, as is his custom on Thursdays and Fridays, he will walk about the inside of our house while I slave over the farm work, caring for my four cows, two sheep, two alpacas, and six chickens. But I don’t complain.
My co-laborers in this venture are my dogs and cats, which herd the animals in and out of the barn and chicken coop. The owl gets underfoot.
My husband . . . just stands there. Thursdays and Fridays are his days off from the flower shop. When I race into the house at 11 a.m., he suggests that we head out for our date. Our child lies in bed oblivious. We dash off, leaving her behind. We’re cheerfully neglectful parents.
Afterwards, back to work I go. I have two million dollars to raise to build a spa. I gather the necessary wood and stone. Afterward, I head into town, greeting people as I go. Every bachelor I meet still wants to date me though I’m happily married to a guy who wears the same outfit every day: a lavender shirt and vest combo, skinny tie, topped off by a purple plaid cap. The sparkly party dress I’m wearing probably has something to do with my allure.
I hand out gifts to my fellow townspeople to keep their favor—the mayor included. Then off I go to purchase food to maintain my strength. Inflation is high. Everything I buy costs hundreds of dollars. But I can afford it. I’ve got the two million nearly saved.
Off to the next town—the one from which I moved. I’m growing two fields of crops there. I harvest my crops and then head through the tunnel back to my town. I run past a messenger whose attention is usually quite fervent and his temper when thwarted volatile.
After shipping my crops, I return home late. Again my husband fails to question my whereabouts. Instead, he tells me that seeing me makes his day.
By now you’re wondering what’s going on. Is this a story I made up? The plot of a reality TV show? A fantasy? A cry for an intervention in real life? Before you dial Child Protective Services or suggest therapy, let me quickly say the answer is none of the above. This scenario is brought to you courtesy of the RPG Harvest Moon: Tale of Two Towns for the DS. (Rated E for Everyone.) If you’ve played this game, you probably already knew what I was talking about.
This is not a post about the game’s issues, but about its emphasis on work. From sunup to sundown—work, work, work. Even the relationships are work. You have to earn friendship points with everyone and build the one you want to marry up to a certain heart level. And before you can marry, your house has to be up to the level where you can marry. But work is fun. It’s a game, right? A fun challenge to conquer.
I have to evaluate whether I’m willing to put as much effort into my writing as I do this game. Do I have the same work-is-fun outlook when I have to revise a story for the fourth time? Do I have the same determination to make it through every day, striving to meet my writing goals without fail? Do I cross every T and dot every I, making sure the elements of my story all add up to a compelling narrative? Or am I a neglectful parent, leaving my child—my writing project, whatever it might be—at home to care for itself while I tend to a guy in a purple plaid cap?
The other bachelors in a Usual Suspects pose. Cam is second from left.
Off I go. See you around, Cam. I’ve procrastinated with you long enough. I’ve got some writing to do. Oh, and don’t wait up.
Is writing fun work for you or just work? How do you motivate yourself to stick to your tasks?
Cam from harvestmoon.wikia.com. Other Harvest Moon bachelors from kupika.com.