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    Three Indie Games that Will be a Hit on New Game Tuesday

    Engaged Family Gaming E3 Indie Game Finds The Mommy Gamers

    Tuesdays are all about new games on The Mommy Gamers Twitch stream. I scoured E3 this year to find some games that I knew Marcia would love to bring to her channel on New Game Tuesday. Below are three indie games that are all but surefire hits. Take a look and let us know in the comments if they sound like games you would play too!

    Ooblets

    Ooblets is an adorable indie game that is being developed by a two-person, patreon-funded team. Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser have been working on it since 2016 and it is scheduled for release on Xbox One and PC sometime in 2018. Ooblets is a farming, town-life, and creature collection game that draws heavy inspiration from games like Stardew Valley and Pokemon. Players run a farm, manage a shop, and explore all while trying to uncover the secrets of “Oob” (whatever that is).

    All of the different mechanics in the game are centered around collecting the titular Ooblets. You grow them in your garden, you explore the wilderness looking for new seeds, and you even battle them with your own team. Anyone who has felt to the urge to Catch ‘Em All should feel right at home here.

    I could talk about interesting mechanics all day, but that would betray the true strength of this game: Its charm. Every line of code and frame of animation is just oozing (oobing?) with it. Characters walk with a fun bob in their step. The Ooblets sway to the music and battle each other using dance moves. Heck. Even the plants in your garden are practically dancing as they grow.

    This is definitely a game to keep an eye on. I don’t know if it will dethrone Fortnite as Marcia’s game of choice for streaming, but I think it’s got a shot.

    Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin

    Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin puts players in the shoes of a lonely Harvest Goddess who has been banished, along with a small group of mortal humans, to a dangerous island. She needs to fight dangerous monsters to clear the land for settlement, and then help grow rice to help keep the humans alive.

    Sakuna is two different games joined at the hip. Gamers from the SNES era might compare it favorably to Actraiser. Both games include a side scrolling action mode where the player controls a hero as they battle their way through stages to gather resources and to clear away monsters. The difference is that Actraiser paired that action with a Civilization style kingdom building game. Sakuna replaces that with a peaceful rice farming simulator.

    I’ve played Sakuna at each of the last two E3’s. I came away from my demo impressed both times. The art is gorgeous, the animations are smooth, and I was intrigued by how the two different game modes played off of each other.  Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin will be launching on PS4 and PC in 2019! I can’t wait to play it again.

    Mineko’s Night Market

    Mineko’s Night Market, by Meowza Games, is a game about “crafting crafts, eating eats, and catting cats.” All quirky humor aside, Night Market is a game that is intended to celebrate Japanese culture while also delivering a wide variety of interesting activities to perform and quests to complete. Players take on the role of Mineko as she moves to a new home on a superstitious Japanese island. The island is overrun by cats, which is fitting considering everyone on the island worships Abe, the Sun Cat.

    Gameplay is diverse, but the main loop of the game involves gathering materials through quests, exploration, farming, and trading. You then use those materials to craft items to sell at a market that takes place every week. Selling better items not only earns you money, but it improved the market as a whole which gives you access to even more resources.

    The cat theme runs deep here as well. Mineko is accompanied through the game by an, as of yet unnamed, giant cat as well as a cadre of “normal” cats. Its anyone’s guess at this point what those cats do, but  you acquire them in a number of interesting ways including growing them out of plants! I can’t wait to play Mineko’s Night Market when it comes to PC, Mac, and Nintendo Switch later this year.

    If Marcia’s love for farming games is any indication, then she should love streaming these games. What about you? Do any of these three games interest you? Sound off in the comments!

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    Super Cloudbuilt – Xbox One Review

    When You Gotta Go Fast, You Get There By Any Means Necessary

    Speedrunning is something that has a community all it’s own. There are places that support it and host contests, and there are even charity events that raise a bunch of money to watch people speedrun anything from Tetris, to RPGs like Final Fantasy VII. So what if there was a game that combined parkour, shooting, and speedrunning? Well that game would be Cloudbuilt. What if that game came out in 2013 on PC and had a bunch of a DLC and was due for a remaster for the console? Well that game would be Super Cloudbuilt.

    Developed by Coilworks and published by Double ElevenSuper Cloudbuilt is being touted as a definitive remaster. The dev team has gone back into the game and looked at it “from the ground up”. What we get is something that is completely immersive and welcoming to new players, as well as a very challenging game for those returning.

    Players take on the role of Demi, a young soldier detached from her body. It sounds weird yes, but trust me, it all comes together. She awakens in a ruined building and must try to make sense of her new reality. Free running, jumping, shooting, Demi will do all she can to find out what’s going on, and why.

     

    Colorful, dark, cell-shaded, Super Cloudbuilt is a treat for your eyes. Colors pop against the dark backgrounds and are made to look even more colorful thanks to the dark outlines. Don’t let the colorful nature of this game detract from the challenging nature of it. In fact, the sparks of color also double as waypoints or points of interest in the game.

    The soundtrack to this game is incredibly well done. Music swells and lowers as action picks up giving you a real sense immersion. The music is a combination of deep thumping tracks mixed with orchestral movements. Players will find themselves bobbing their head while trying focus on reaching the next checkpoint.

    Speed and focus is the name of the game in Super Cloudbuilt. The speed running aspect of the game mixed with parkour elements mean you can get from Point A to Point B, but you decide just how you want to get there. This where the game shines, and also flounders a bit. Having the option to free roam while also flying at top speeds is exhilarating, until you hit a wall and fall to your death. When you do manage to slide, boost, wall jump, into a checkpoint, it feels amazing. Controls are precise and accurate so when a player does die, they have no one to blame but themselves. I will admit that when you are flying at top speed and suddenly stop, it takes the wind out of the game almost too abruptly. It feels like the entire game just stops and you have to start again. It’s a bit jarring.

    The addition of shooting in a game like this doesn’t take away from it’s parkour… core. It adds a new element that will have players tying to precisely aim and time their shots perfectly. While it takes a little bit to get used to the game’s controls, once a player is familiar with them, they will feel right at home in the world Super Cloudbuilt has created.

    If you are looking for something different I recommend Super Cloudbuilt. Fun, fast paced, challenging, and rewarding this game will satisfy the competitive nature as well spark the puzzle solving creativity within players.

    Super Cloudbuilt is out now on PS4, Steam and Xbox One at $19.99

    *The reviewer was given an Xbox One copy of the game for review purposes

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    Perception [Xbox One] Review

    What You Can’t See Is Even Scarier

    I play A LOT of horror games. I also have a wife and a baby so my gaming time is limited to nighttime after everyone is asleep. Lights were out, Astro headphones were on, game was loaded up. I was ready to dive into the world of Perception. What I was not ready for, was how messed up this game would be.

    Perception is from The Deep End Games and published by Feardemic.A successful Kickstarter helped make this game possible raising over $160,000 to help finish the games development. Made by a dev team of former Irrational Games employees that worked on Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite, Perception is a first person perspective horror game played through the eyes of a blind woman. Yes, a blind woman. She uses echolocation to see things in her environment and it makes for some truly terrifying scares.

    You play as Cassie, a blind woman who has been called to a manor in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Through the use of echolocation, her footsteps, her hearing and her cane you can get a great sense of the manor. This is where the gameplay really shines. Having this forced sense of… ‘Perception’ really makes you appreciate all the subtleties that appear on screen. Movement is very fluid and Cassie can use her cane to help her see what is around her. Be warned though, use the cane too much and The Presence will come after you. What this game does incredibly well is it’s scares. Because of the use of sound is so important in this game when a loud noise happens, Cassie quickly turns around in the direction of the sound. Making you feel just as nervous as she does. Perception is spooky, creepy, and downright scary. Multiple times when I played I had to stop playing because I would get so scared that I would wake my sleeping wife and baby.

    Cassie moves through standard first person controls. She walks at a brisk pace and the use of her cane and echolocation are both easily accessible. As mentioned before though, use too much of the cane and you be hunted by “The Presence”. What makes the gameplay interesting is that if you want to not be hunted, you simply don’t make a lot of noise. There is enough atmospheric sound to keep your echolocation working but it makes for a creepier vibe as you can’t see much of the manor.

    The game is short, linear, and has some predictable scares but there is also a great narrative. Perception focuses more on telling a story than trying to scare you. You can use Cassie’s “6th Sense” to see your next goal which feels like it takes some of the frighting parts away. At the same time it’s what you don’t see that can be really scary. As creative humans our imagination can be worse than the real thing.

    Perception is out now for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One at $22.99 and for a game like this, it’s a great value. You’ll enjoy a wonderful story while being creeped out. Just remember to keep a small light on.

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    Kerbal Space Program – Xbox One

    All of the excitement of exploring space. All of the frustrations of using a controller as a mouse.

    The Mommy Gamers Kerbal Space Program Xbox One

    Kerbal Space Program, an indie game from Squad, is a sandbox game that deals with building and flying things. Whether those things are rockets, airplanes, space planes, or interplanetary probes is entirely up to the imagination of the player. It’s an incredibly deep game that deals with physics aerodynamic forces, gravity, and orbital mechanics. All of that depth is beautifully abstracted away with a very simple snap together system for building aircraft and spacecraft.

    The core game mechanic is very satisfying; start with a cockpit, add a fuel tank, snap an engine to the bottom, and select a Kerbal pilot. Then go to the launchpad, fire up the engine, and see what happens. What will most likely happen will be an explosion. Maybe on the next launch you’ll actually send your Kerbal up, or in a general direction that is somewhat up, and then there will be an explosion. On your third launch that little green guy or gal is DEFINITELY going up, but then you’ll realize that you forgot to add in a way to separate the capsule from the fuel tank. So now your Kerbal is coming back down too fast and on top of explody things….explosion. For the fourth launch you put in a stage separator. Now when the engine runs out of fuel you smartly separate the capsule. It goes up higher, and higher, and then starts coming down. It’s then that you realize that a parachute would’ve been nice. Crash, then explosion.

    KSB3

    But, throughout all of this, something that absolutely shouldn’t happen in games does happen, you start to learn things. The iteration between build, launch, and explosion, is entertainingly short, and no loss is permanent in Kerbal. Soon enough you find yourself getting Kerbals to space, and then in orbit. After that you will find yourself docking things together in orbit. And then, leaving the safety of your home planet, Kerbin, to land on your moon, Mun. Then, quite literally, the solar system is the limit. Kerbal features nine planets with different orbits, gravities, and atmospheres. You can build craft to explore all of them. Whether or not you build craft that can return your Kerbals safely home is entirely up to you. You can play in a sandbox mode or a full career mode with space center management, an economy, research and development, and astronaut recruitment.

    For building your rockets and planes the collection of parts you can use is very deep. There are multiple types of each component. Along with capsules, tanks and engines there are solar panels, batteries, landing gear, and science experiments, just to name a few. If you head over to the aircraft hangar there are wings, tail fins, rudders, elevators, everything you need to make fully flyable airplanes and spaceplanes.

    Unfortunately for the console releases (this review is based on the XBox One release) the simplicity of everything is mired in a port that did nothing to adapt the game to a console experience. This is evident from the very first loading screen where the name of each file being loaded is shown to the user. Why? Even on the PC and Mac versions such information is of questionable value. But, at least on those platforms the user has the ability to look at the filesystem and find the files if something goes wrong. On the console providing filenames is useless. It does nothing other than enforce the fact that Kerbal Space Program is primarily a PC game. From there the experience with KSP on a console only gets more frustrating.

    The Mommy Gamers Kerbal Space Program Review Xbox One

    Dialogs, like picking graphical settings and saving and loading games, are not adapted to the console at all. Instead of navigating through options with the thumbsticks and buttons you are expected to use the left thumbstick to control an onscreen mouse pointer and the A button as a mouse left-click button. No thought or design work was done to change the interface for consoles.

    Text, of which there is quite a lot in KSP, is very small and hard to read. This is based on sitting on a couch which is about eight feet away from a sixty inch television.

    Building a rocket is frustrating. Again, the console controller has been relegated to emulating a mouse. Picking an object and moving it around is passable, but trying to position two objects close enough to each other that they snap together correctly is tedious. No consideration has been given to making the snapping system more user friendly on consoles. Building a simplistic rocket of less than a dozen parts was a struggle. I don’t feel I’d have the patience to snap together enough pieces to build a Mun capable rocket, let alone an interplanetary vessel.

    Kerbal Space Program is a deep game, with a career mode, space center management, research and development and, of course, rockets and lots of explosions. It’s designed in such a way that a player only has to expose as much of that gameplay as they want. It’s a wonderful game and I am a huge fan. If you want to play it and you only have an XBox One, please give it a try, even with the problems the basic porting effort has introduced. If you have access to a gaming PC or a Macintosh, play it on your computer. You will have a much more enjoyable experience exploring space.

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    GUEST REVIEW: Owlegories

    The fauna steps in where the flora fell down

    Owlegories_1

    I had been down this road before. I became a Christian in college and immediately was made aware of the presence of Christian-themed anthropomorphic produce shows.

    They were fine. I mean, they were cute, they told a story, had a Bible verse or two, and were generally exactly the kind of wholesome cartoons the classic Christian household would prefer to the likes of Spongebob Squarepants or Monster High.

    Then there was a feature-length movie. As the brand’s popularity skyrocketed, VeggieTales quickly spiraled down the drain, replacing Christian stories and lessons with a focus on therapeutic moralistic deism. Instead of adhering closely to the Scriptures as their source material (to the point of actually putting verses on screen), VeggieTales became an avenue for teaching moral lessons (be kind, love one another) through allegorical tellings of Biblical stories with animated fruits and vegetables. Phil Vischer, one of the creators of VeggieTales, shared his regrets about what happened in an interview with the Christian Examiner back in October of 2015.

    It became became a shell of what it was. It’s not that these lessons were bad, but they were no longer the Christian programming they purported to be. As such, there wasn’t great, widely available, Gospel-centered animated children’s programming anymore.

    Enter Owlegories. There is no doubt anyone with even casual familiarity with VeggieTales will immediately be reminded of it when the show begins, but the similarities to the VeggieTales we have today ends very quickly.

    Owlegories is a brand wrapped around a number of apps and direct-to-DVD/digital cartoon episodes. The brand makes use of a core cast of owls to tell of the glory of God through nature. Using metaphorical language, student owls learn from teacher owls about aspects of who and what God is that are like certain elements in nature. How is God like the sun? Like water? Like fire?

    Owlegories

    Owlegories is an inventive way to teach children about God by providing real world examples that can be replicated by parents. Instead of a story with ethereal touchpoints that is theoretically tied to a Biblical event (and taking wide liberties, at that) Owlegories provides concrete examples and concepts that are easy to grasp. Each episode features three ways in which God is like the aspect of nature they’re studying (the Baptist in me is proud).

    The episodes reminded me a lot of VeggieTales with a little bit of The Wild Kratts thrown in. There is an adorably goofy conflict with a classic over-the-top villian owl named Devlin in each episode that the student team needs to resolve, learning about God through nature along the way.

    My wife and I chuckled a few times while watching the three episodes with our children. Even though the construction of the episodes was superior to today’s VeggieTales, that wasn’t what impressed us the most: after the show was over, a guest would give a Gospel message.

    The episodes, which provide the bulk of the content, can be seen via DVD or by downloading the Owlegories TV app. There is also an “Owlegories: The Original” app that allows you to view a lot of the same information in a more interactive way. and an Owlegories memory verse app currently in development. The apps are currently available for iOS and Android.

    Owlegories App

    Owlegories is a labor of love initially developed by the Boto family. That team has grown to include a number of others including the accomplished Keith Alcorn, who has worked on movies like Jimmy Neutron and The Ant Bully. The leadership team is working with Spy House Productions and Gundersen Entertainment to bring Owlegories to market.

    Owlegories is well on its way to becoming a Gospel-themed multimedia force, if it can keep up the quality of what they have put out so far. I do hope they continue to do so, and especially that they don’t deviate from their banner verse(s): Psalm 19:1-4.

    Though I could pick nits with its theology from a personal preference perspective, I think Owelgories does an excellent job conveying the core message without diverting into a feel-good mess. I also think any parent who is looking for this kind of entertainment for their children is probably prepared to buttress it with direct teaching. Within this vein I’m very happy to see the continued efforts of the staff at Spy House/Gundersen Entertainment to engage their community on the Owlegories Blog.

    There are two Owlegories DVD’s currently available that can be purchased on Amazon or at Wal-Mart or a number of other brick & mortar stores. It is an excellently produced show with a clear Biblical message. If you’re a Christian parent looking for some entertainment for your kids that is a little more Biblical and a little less moralism, it might be something for you to check out. With additional content right at your fingertips via the apps, it is easy for a family to check it out to see if it is right for them.

    MoreOwls

    Owlegories DVD Giveaway

    Help the Monsters, Help My Dream

    Wallace Phelps Monsters Anonymous

    “You’re the guy who is with Jeremy London, aren’t you? The zombie guy?” The security guy for the celebrity room seemed star struck when he noticed my writing partner Jason Robbins and myself’s presence. Jason confirmed our identity and the tattooed mountain of manhood pulled back the curtain to escort us so that we didn’t have to wade through the throngs of fans waiting to meet Jeremy and the other cast members of Kevin Smith’s “Mallrats” at Pensacon in Pensacola, Florida.

    When Jeremy saw us, he hugged us all and made certain to introduce us to Joey Lauren Adams who is best known as Alyssa from “Chasing Amy.” We got settled in his area and people smiled and asked each other where they knew us from. We had to be someone if we were in the “Mallrats” area. An older man walked by and looked at Jeremy’s headshots and posters, pausing long enough for me to nod to him, trying not to freak out when I said, “Mr. Cummings…”

    His familiar soothing voice responded, “Hello there!” Jim Cummings, the voice of Darkwing Duck just said hello to me. What is my life?

    Every bit of this is thanks to a new short film I helped write called, “Monsters Anonymous.” In the film we sit in on a group therapy session where the classic movie monsters of the 1930’s try to cope with modern audiences not finding them scary. Frustrated and irritated with the continuing popularity of zombies, they learn a powerful lesson at the end regarding relevancy from the very zombies they vilified.

    Just a few months prior, I almost gave up. In my journey to make a better life for my little girl, it seemed like I was making negative progress and it wasn’t fair to her due to many personal setbacks and tragedies.

    Then randomly my writing partner sent me the idea and partial script for “Monsters Anonymous,” asking for help fleshing it out, it didn’t surprise me none. He had done this kind of thing before and I love the challenge. He explained he would be given a little money to produce a short 12769508_10153932498499004_501892817_nwith the members of an acting class he was in.

    I liked the idea so I agreed to rewrite it for him. I added jokes, restructured the scenes, and inserted new characters to make it more lighthearted and when Jason received my draft work, he said it was one of the funniest things I had ever written. I explained that it was just my first pass on it, but Jason gets excited and can’t help himself sometimes. The next day he told me that he sent it to everyone including his acting teacher, “Mallrats” and “Party of Five” actor Jeremy London.

    It wasn’t until we were in Jeremy’s home working out the ending that he had come up with that it hit me that this was real. After the story meeting, he and his wife lead us out telling me that “Monsters Anonymous” was one of the funniest scripts he had ever read and this is the guy who read “Mallrats” before filming, which is one of my favorite comedies.

     

    The last few months have been incredibly surreal. Just a few months ago, I wrote a letter to myself entitled, “I Hope,” where I basically asked myself if this was all going to work. I asked if my little girl would ever get to see the type of life I want to provide for her. Now, I have co-written a movie in the living room of the lead actor in the movie that got me wanting to write movies, Jeremy London.

    The star of Kevin Smith’s first movie, “Clerks,” Brian O’Halloran has agreed to star in it and there is so much more I want to be able to tell you, but at this stage, I cannot.

    I understand that this short film alone will not bring me to my dream of providing my princess with a better life while doing something I’m passionate about, but I’m a whole lot closer than when she was born and it feels amazing.

    Untitled

    If you have ever felt like a dream of yours is out of reach, please believe me when I say that you can do it. Right now we are running a Kickstarter campaign to get funding for “Monsters Anonymous” and at certain levels you will have the opportunity to spend the day with us as we shoot the film. You will be able to get professional zombie make up and be an actual member of our cast, but the real value will be in the experience. There is nothing more inspiring than to be with a group of passionate people who want nothing more than to create.

    No matter who you are or what you want to do with your life, take a deep breath. If you can complete that breath, you still have time to achieve your dreams.

    Fallen

    Rembering to love

    9/11 Tribute in Light

    One morning, fourteen years ago on this day, I was awakened by the sound of my grandmother crying in my room. As I sat up in my bed I looked at the television she was watching and saw footage of the falling tower. At first I was confused and asked what show she was watching. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “No, mi hija, se callo!” Still confused, I sat up and took a closer look. I realized she was watching the news and the tower that fell was real life footage. Instantly, I ran out of the room, I ran out of my apartment and into the hallway, and up the stairs. I climbed the steps two at a time, flight after flight till I reached the door to the roof. I took a deep breath and stepped outside. What I saw was a huge cloud of smoke as the second tower crumbled to the ground. The building disappeared into the mouth of the clouds of smoke as if it were swallowed whole. I stood there mouth opened wide, the building gone, and then there was nothing. No towers, no sound, just smoke. I stood in disbelief, in shock, the fear and sadness had not begun to set in yet. I looked up into the grey sky and watched the ash fly above me. I saw papers soaring up into the sky, across the water, as they fell around me and onto the other roofs and streets of my borough in Brooklyn.

    [quote type=”center”]I looked up into the grey sky and watched the ash fly above me. I saw papers soaring up into the sky, across the water, as they fell around me and onto the other roofs and streets of my borough in Brooklyn.[/quote]

    I sit here in my office today remembering the day that the two mighty towers fell; the staple of our skyline; the towers that represented the city that was my home. One moment they stood strong, the next moment gone. I think about all the people that woke up that morning to go to a regular day at work just as I did today. I think about the moment they realized that this was their last day on this earth. I wonder what their last thoughts were or what images crossed their minds. Families? Husbands? Wives? Babies? Memories of bringing life into this world or the sharing of special holidays? Would they think about regrets of things they should have done or not done. Perhaps fears of “what will my loved ones do without me?” I imagine that’s what I would ask myself.

    As the towers fell and lives lost on 9/11/2001, a 19 year old girl stood on her roof in her pajamas across the river in Brooklyn, tears streaming down her face. Too young to grasp the immensity of what had just occurred. Over the next few weeks families would grieve. Confusion, fear, pain, and anger would consume the city streets. We grieved as individuals, as families, as a city, and as a country.

    [quote type=”center”]My heart aches from the memories and the loss. But what now?[/quote]

    I sit in my office today. I look out my window. My heart aches from the memories and the loss. But what now?

    Life is happening all around us. Breathe in. Celebrate your existence in the world. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Embrace life. Embrace happiness. Embrace loved ones and all the special moments and the not so special moments. Feel the energy of life flow through your veins and beat in your chest. Embrace life because it is fleeting. Embrace life because one moment we are here and in the next we may not be.

    Love deeply; love fully; and start with yourself.

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    A Comedy & A Tragedy: A Memoir of Learning How to Read and Write

    From Travis Hugh Culley and Ballantine Books

    A_COMEDY__A_TRAGEDY_cover

    As a student of writing and literature, my literacy is one of those things which I constantly utilize within my life, but it is also something that I often take entirely for granted.  I began reading before I entered public school, and wound up being placed in a pre-1st classroom after essentially “testing out” of kindergarten.  So, as large a role as literacy has played in my life, it’s never been something that I was even all that conscious about.  It’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

    [quote]The idea of an established writer being someone who did not come to literacy until age seventeen lays the groundwork for an incredibly impressive and inspirational tale.”[/quote]

    A_COMEDY__A_TRAGEDY_coverThis was a huge factor for why the opportunity to review A Comedy & A Tragedy was so appealing to me.  Written by Travis Hugh Culley and published by Ballantine Books, A Comedy & A Tragedy: A Memoir of Learning How to Read and Write details Culley’s struggle toward literacy among a seemingly-endless field of obstacles.  Emerging from a history of abuse and a toxic family environment, Travis begins to find inventive ways to hide his illiteracy while navigating life as the epitome of the nontraditional learner.  His experiences in theater become a fitting gateway to learning to read and write, but the journey is an arduous one.

    [quote]It was difficult to hide my fear of reading from my acting teachers.  They were training us to take a piece of writing and translate every word of it into action.  They saw behind the process.  In every way, the theater was a threshold for learning literacy because it depended on a full and exact understanding of the actions.” (Culley 139)[/quote]

    The idea of an established writer being someone who did not come to literacy until age seventeen lays the groundwork for an incredibly impressive and inspirational tale.  Culley’s ideas about what writing means to him are so unique and intelligent, it almost seems as if his “late blooming” ended up being a tremendous advantage in his future as a writer.  He seems hyper-aware of the meaning of words, and the spectrum of that meaning; no doubt thanks to his theatrical experience and the idea that the same set of lines in a play can be performed in endless ways with endless nuance of meaning.

    [quote]The script we’d rehearsed so many times seemed to completely disappear between the actors.  This incredible instructive illusion, this force of coordination, was magical because at the end of the night it led me back to myself” (Culley 181)[/quote]

    Even though my path to literacy was quite different, the traumatic circumstances that Culley encountered were things I found myself relating to on a very deep level.  I’ll admit, this is not exactly a lighthearted read.  There are moments which are difficult to get through, but they are also incredibly compelling, because they highlight the immense achievement of Culley’s eventual mastery of written language.

    Travis_Culley_credit_Megan_HicklingI would recommend this book to anyone, though perhaps especially to writers and aspiring creatives.  But this is a unique experience for people, because as you read Culley’s words, you become more aware of your own process of reading, of why it is important to you, and the power that words have over our lives and our interactions with others.  And, when it comes to writing, Culley beautifully expresses that which every writer from amateur to professional holds dear: that writing has the power to teach you more deeply about yourself and your environment, and it will force you to examine and heal your deepest wounds in the process.

    TRAVIS HUGH CULLEY is the author of The Immortal Class: Bike Messengers and the Cult of Human Power. Travis has an MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was a recipient of the Ox-Box Fellowship in Saugatuck, Michigan.

    A Comedy & A Tragedy: A Memoir of Learning How to Read and Write (ISBN: 9780345506160) is available now through retailers including Amazon in Hardcover ($26.00) and Kindle ($12.99) formats.

    [box type=”info”]This post contains an affiliate link. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here. A review copy of A Comedy & A Tragedy: A Memoir of Learning How to Read and Write was provided to The Mommy Gamers by Random House.[/box]

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