The Merits of Spider Solitaire and Writing by Debra H. GoldsteinWhen my writing isn’t going well or I’m simply bored, I play Spider Solitaire. In the old days, before I bought my latest computers, my game of choice was Solitaire. Occasionally, even now, I’ll play a hand of Solitaire, but usually I devote my energies to Spider Solitaire. I find it more of a challenge, plus it wastes more time.
Let me be a bit more specific. The merits of the game are simple – it is a challenge (I’m still at the mid-level of play), it’s fun, and more important it distracts me from the project at hand for 3-5 minutes. If I play enough games of Spider Solitaire, an hour can easily fly by. That’s something that doesn’t always happen with my writing. When I’m drawing a blank or the words coming out can best be defined as trash, time moves slowly. In fact, it crawls at a pace that the fastest thing I can do is hit delete and realize the dead feeling I have is despair.
That’s not the case when I play Spider Solitaire. The hand may not work out, but a message flashes that lets me know I played a good game. I smile and begin another game. There is no gap thinking I’ll never find my way. A click and I’m there. Not bad, but not good, either. Because instinctively, I know that if I click away all the hours, in the end I’ll feel worse for not having tried to find a way to communicate my thoughts.
I write to express myself. I play Spider Solitaire as a means of avoidance. Both have a complimentary place – the key is to find a balance between the two. Those who do, write. Those who don’t, mourn what could have been.