SCG Daily – Magic Musings

In the shallow depths of a Long Island Iced Tea, Billy ponders why he plays our little game… Reflection, inspiration, and sharp writing, from one of the true characters of the game.

I’m an aspiring writer… big aspirations, too. I hope to be as influential a writer as Shakespeare, or Jesus (assuming that you accept his dictation, even loosely, as writing), with as much impact on the world of the future as they’ve had on the world of today. Tonight, I was drinking. Right now, I’m sitting down at the new laptop I have (bought with my Pro Tour LA paycheck) to 1) try drafting a Ravnica deck based around late-pick Stone Rains and 3/3 Stone Rains, with good Red cards, late game rares from any colors, and signets to fill in the necessary early picks, and 2) to write this article while I’m drunk.

Because of my huge aspirations as an artist, I’d always imagined I’d go through, even artificially, an alcoholic stage, which, though such time period might not actually involve the production of any really important works, would be integral in my maturation as an artist. Big Picture Thinking (BPT), ya know. So I find it odd that the first time I’ve ever written inebriated – as in “in a state of inebriation,” as opposed to “writing the word ‘inebriated’” – it happens to be about Magic.

My brother and I engaged in many deep and introspective conversations over the course of the evening, as one is wont to do on such occasions. None of those conversations were on the topic of transitions. However, I imagine that if we had dealt with such a mundane, pedestrian issue, the conversation would have, ironically, been transitioned by such run-of-the-mill classics as “I’m sayin’,” “ya know,” “it’s like,” and “what I’m trying to say is.” Nah’mean?

We did manage to talk about the big picture, and how Magic fits into it. We agreed that life – human life specifically – is meant to mean something, to do something, to change the world. And so, in front of him, like the exhibitionist I am, I tried justifying my plans to attempt to invest the next however many years (or months) of my life in Magic, with the goal of supporting myself for that time.

In my drunken earnestness, I identified two possibilities. The one with more psychological appeal is that Magic is easy… not easy to succeed at, but easy to succeed or fail at. Magic, and other games like it, is one of the few things in life with attainable, tangible results. The failures are almost more important than the successes in that regard. They give you a safe, dull-edged razor, with which you can slice and pick and poke yourself. “Aha, so that’s what I can do to be better,” and “these are my shortcomings.” But what’s the real downside to sucking at Magic? Frankly, it’s a whole lot easier to deal with than sucking at life.

The other possible role Magic could be playing in my life is that of a really fun and fairly rewarding job, for the next few whatevers at least. I’m in New York now because, basically, it’s the center of the world, and I’m a sucker for gravity and for Big Pictures (BP’s). I promise you, while the windows of my apartment might be covered with bars and crowded by walls, the Picture doesn’t get any bigger than New York City. Not on a personal level, at least. Anyway, a lot of bright, interesting, promising people come to New York to make a name for themselves. Sometimes that requires working some meaningless, seemingly self-denying job to support yourself, until what you mean to the world reaches a level where life pays you to be you. In Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, the future Buddha pimped himself out. He was self-immolation, selling pieces of nothing to any and everyone, all with the sole purpose of living… sorry, of Living. In the Big Picture Sense (BPS). Magic could, legitimately be that for me. A way to live life for the next few years… to live enjoyably (and maybe easily… certainly, it’s a lot easier lifestyle than the grind-the-skin-off-your-soul of a nine-to-five) while getting to see the world and meet a lot of very interesting people. I know, there’s nothing special about that sentiment. I just find a lot of comfort in the sincerity of it right now.

In the shallow depths of a Long Island Iced Tea, I had planned on writing a much more ambitious article. An article that sprawled across the expanse of competitive Magic. I meant to bless you with my keen foresight on the matter of my imagined impact of Dissension on the upcoming Standard format. I even hoped to delight you with tales of my cavalier victories on the broad backs of Barbarian Riftcutters wielding Seismic Spikes, and bulldozing the way to a Brave New World where Five-Color Red was the Ravnica strategy of choice. Alas, my eyes are bigger than a lot of things that are smaller than my eyes, and the rest is not to be. Not tonight.

Tomorrow is another day.

Right now, I just hope Magic is what it needs to be for you.

Signing off,
Electric Bill.