It was, of course, a delightful experience to be interviewed about the cool things Lilah Sturges is doing with #transpizza. She’s a treasure, and “Trans Pizza Winner” is a title I wear with pride. Go on and watch.
I was recently reading about a larp that was specifically about motherhood, and it was…fine? It didn’t describe my experience with motherhood, but I’m sure it described someone’s. Larping is a strange beast, with very particular limitations. The representation of a child in a game about motherhood is a particularly difficult one—to have another player be the child doesn’t feel right. This larp decided to do away with a child representation altogether, and focus on times when the child isn’t around. Which is fine, but also not my experience. I’m writing this now while my mother-in-law takes my daughter to music class, but she’s still here, really. My daughter is still present, even when she’s gone. And to gloss over that seems…false? At the very least, not my experience.
With that in mind, and my tongue more than half in my cheek, I jotted down some thoughts on a larp about motherhood, that I will probably never write:
– Everyone gets a die. All the dice are different: 20-sided, 4-sided, etc. Roll the die to see how many steps you can take each turn.
– Each player gets a 15lb weight, a full glass of water, & 2 paper towels
– You cannot put down the weight. You cannot drink the water until the end of the session. If you spill the water, you have to clean it up.
– Players choose a nursery rhyme from a list provided.
– Each player must choose from the other players:
* Someone they’d like to know better
* Someone they’re trying to avoid
– The game starts with all the players against the wall in a room, spaced far apart
– A timer is set for 3 minutes.
– When the time goes off, you must move the number of steps you rolled earlier along the wall in a clockwise direction.
– When you run out of steps, you must recite your nursery rhyme 5 times.
– You can only talk to someone if they are next you, you are not reciting your nursery rhyme, or you are not cleaning a spill you made.
– You cannot talk about your weight.
– Play continues at 3-minute increments for 1 hour
– At the end of the hour, the players put down their weight, drink the water they have left, and sit down for one last 3-minute interval in silence
- Then the players pick up their weight, say their nursery rhyme one last time, and leave
If anyone plays this, let me know. I have absolutely no desire to do so myself.
One thing that struck me is just how small the story is. Which is an odd thing to say about a book whose chief plot is averting the end of the world, but it’s true. Everything, from the Bones getting kicked out Boneville to the saving of the world climax is stripped down to its component parts, making it really a story about the pain caused by the lies two small families tell each other. The end of the world, the fantasy tropes, all of that is set dressing for the wounded emotions of a handful of characters. Which is why its great.
An important lesson that I’m certainly taking to heart, as I am currently plotting out a new fantasy set dressing for wounded emotions…
Good luck with the dragon.