Mindless Games and Why I Play Them

Happy new year, everyone!  I hope the year has started off pleasantly for you.  I’ve just been working on revisions to G&G and relaxing.  I have a tendency to play mindless games when I relax.  You know the ones.  Candy Crush, Diner Dash, Papa’s Pizzeria.  Pretty much anything with an alliterative name is bound to be mindless.  Match three games or hidden objects games or time management games.  The types of games that give you something to do with your hands and pretty images to stare at, but require little to no deep thinking.  However, some people don’t really understand why I play them and even pick on me for it (in a funny haha way, not a mean one), so I thought I would explain a little bit.

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May your year be filled with love and light!

Mindless games are simply a way for me to shut down my brain and stop overthinking things, especially when I’m dwelling on something.  They allow me to focus on something mundane and ignore the voices in my head for a while.  When I’m upset at life or stuck on a story or whatever, the games help to clear my thoughts.  It’s kind of like when you get sucked into a TV show or a movie or a book and everything else fades away for that hour or however long.  It’s a way to bring peace into my head, like my own little meditation.  When your brain is constantly on high speed over the stupidest things, it’s a really nice feeling to just relax.

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I can stop whenever I want.  I just don’t want to.

There’s also this weird side effect of mindless games that I don’t get from TV or books: I find solutions to plot problems when I play.  With TV and books, I have to focus on their plots and follow along.  Mindless games don’t require that much interaction, so my subconscious is free to roam wild.  In its roaming, it finds solutions to problems organically.  It finds things I would never come up with even after hours or days of plotting.  I know a lot of people who have these revelations in the shower, and others who keep dream journals for this type of stuff, but not me.  Mindless games are where it’s at for me.

So, laugh at my stupid games all you want, but there’s a method to my madness.  Plus, and this is important, I enjoy the games.  I like matching games.  I like the games that simulate tasks like waiting tables and cooking and all the other stuff I can’t do.  It’s fun and stupid and makes me a huge nerd.  I fully accept that.

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I’m right here!

Do you play any mindless games?  How do you go about clearing your mind?  Do you find your aha moments in the shower or driving down the road or in your dreams?  Thoughts, comments, questions, and everything in between are welcome in the comment section here or on my social media pages.

Cozying Up With A Cozy

Howdy, howdy!  It’s currently Monday (June 6th) and, instead of being productive, I decided to watch one of the Garage Sale Mystery movies.  Yeah, Hallmark channel crap.  Don’t judge me.  Anyway, it got me wondering why a cozy is such an attractive thing.  I mean, I can’t really say I’ve read any.  And I have zero desire to write one.  But I do enjoy watching the movies and some of the TV shows within that genre.

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Cozy characters either have the worst luck or are the best serial killers ever.

 So, what exactly is a cozy mystery?  It’s a subgenre of crime fiction.  Some random lady (it’s usually a woman in my limited experience, anyway) in a small, close-knit town stumbles across a crime scene and takes it upon herself to solve the murder despite a fairly capable police force being present and numerous warnings not to get involved.  There’re usually subplots of romance or family drama.  And there’s almost always a BFF or creepily close sibling for the protagonist to bounce ideas off of and occasionally drag into some dangerous situation or another.  They’re cheesy, (usually) family friendly crime dramas.  Granted, some cozies break the rules, but this is the general set up.

What’s so appealing about this type of thing?  I really don’t know.  There tend to be dominant themes that link the movies together (baking, flowers, garage sale items, etc.), usually based around the protagonist’s career.  I prefer food related ones (because who doesn’t love food?).  I also know someone who writes a  grittier type of cozy that revolves around the music scene, which is cool (okay, so I have read at least part of a cozy).  It’s partly a matter of finding one with a theme you’re drawn to.  It also helps if you like punny titles.

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The first one was “Mum’s the Word.”  Punny.

 Personally, I think it’s mostly just the combination of a picturesque small town and a scarily naive protagonist who saves the day/solves the case and comes out of it all just as perky and unscathed as she started out.  Yeah, I know that’s not how it works in the real world.  I know most people who find a dead body would be scarred for life.  But this is fiction, by golly!  It’s a world where it’s possible to wrap everything up with a neat little bow in under two hours (or an hour if we’re talking TV shows) and have everyone end up happy.  Sometimes, we need to escape to a place where that stuff is possible.  Otherwise, reality gets depressing.

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Exactly!

 What about you?  Are you a fan of cozy mysteries?  Would you admit it if you were (because I know there are people who view the genre as “lowbrow,” and thus not worth their time)?  If you are a fan, what do you like about the genre?  Do you have any recommendations for movies or books or whatnot?  Better yet, what’s a genre you enjoy, but have no idea why?  Share your pleasures!  Share your guilty pleasures even.  And remember that this is a judgment-free zone.

Until next week!