Life happens but we must move forward
There comes a time when every boss needs to think about her future.
I have been working on Gaming Insurrection full-time for the better part of eight years. And, let me tell you, these long eight years have been simultaneously heartbreaking and rewarding. We’ve survived getting bigger, getting smaller, losing co-founders, dropping to a two-man crew and upsizing the amount of content we produce on a quarterly basis. Through it all, I’ve been sustained by my love for video games and journalism. That’s partially the reason why I’ve been doing GI for as long as I have: because I love those two things, specifically. Once upon a time, they were my life and I needed something to do. But then I grew up. My tastes, along with my job, changed. I went from a married 20-something living with my husband, to a divorced 30-something with disposable income, living at home and taking care of my parent.
And I gave up journalism and nearly gave up video games.
In the middle of working on the 4Q2011 issue, my producing partner and husband of seven years decided he couldn’t be married anymore. Immediately, we separated (I’m being nice here and biting my tongue) and in the short run, I realized that I wasn’t going to be married anymore to this person. That’s the reason why I slowly changed my name back to Hicks throughout GI.
In the long run, I realized there was going to be a long-lasting change to GI. My baby, my idea, my piece of the pie was being changed through no fault of its own, and I had to do something. So, I recruited writers and continued on my merry way. Half way through producing the 2Q2012 issue, I learned that GI Mama was diagnosed with a terminal illness. This time, everything changed permanently. My focus shifted even though I was still involved in journalism and would be for another two years. Once I figured out where I was going to go and what I needed to do, I started planning to move back to Columbia and care for my mama in her final years. At about the same time, I came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be able work in journalism any longer and suddenly, GI became superfluous.
Over the course of the next two years, I thought about whether I still wanted to do this thing called Gaming Insurrection. It’s time consuming and with the job that I have now and fewer writers, everything had taken on a veil of “too much.” I creatively became burnt out and nearly stopped playing games altogether. I felt that I had told all of the stories I wanted to tell, the tales that I came up with when I began GI in the winter of 2002 in my kitchen. I was, truthfully, so hurt by the dissolution of my marriage that I didn’t want to touch another game ever again. That was significant, by the way, because my husband wasn’t just my spouse; he was also my gaming partner and the reason why I restarted GI in the first place. The idea of talking about games stemmed from our late-night conversations at our favorite Waffle House in Anderson, S.C., which is where I was when I decided to restart the dream. My Xbox 360 sat untouched for months at a time, and I dreaded playing everything that I owned — especially Borderlands — because even the slightest playthrough of anything reminded me of the years I spent sitting in front of a TV playing with him. The dream was dead, as Marvel Comics’ Onslaught would say.
But did the dream really die? Well, now that I’ve settled in at home, missed a few deadlines for the first time and decided to be just a small force of two, I can say with a modicum of certainty that I want to continue doing things for a little while longer. No, I don’t make money from GI. Yes, all I get is the satisfaction of being an editing overlord to my longtime writer-turned-boyfriend/partner (that really is the best perk, by the way). And, yes, I do get the occasional “You’re really talented. And a supreme video game geek.” But the reason why I keep coming back, putting out issues, traveling and coaching? It’s because I like this. GI, in its own twisted, crazy way, has been there for me when the world was falling apart around me. No, it’s not a real person, but I’m pretty sure it loves me, and I love it, too. So, here’s to another year of creativity and video games … because I can.
Lyndsey Hicks is editor-in-chief of Gaming Insurrection. She can be reached by email at email@example.com