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Millimeter at a Time

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Millimeter at a Time

Take Me to the Moon 5.0

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“How’s the birthday boy?” Elise jabbed at her brother, Ewan.  She grinned to herself, knowing how much he hated parties or celebrations.

Ewan changed the subject.   “We need to figure out what we’re doing for dad’s birthday.  It’s only a couple of days away.”

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Bella and Desmond had moved into the house again, at Alexander and Cassandra’s insistence.  Bella may still look no more than 50, and she may appear in great health, but there was no arguing the number of sunrises and sunsets she had witnessed in her very long life.  Alexander and Cassandra were worried for their little brother, Desmond, that he needed to be surrounded by family when Bella was no longer able to parent him.  On this particular day, Elise, Ewan, and Eric had all taken school holidays, but Desmond was at school.

Today was Ewan’s young adult birthday.  Instead of having a party, Ewan wanted to go to the Art Museum, and he asked Eric what he thought about tagging along.

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“Me? I’m in! “

Eric, who is very outgoing, proposed that Ewan should invite some friends.  Although he wouldn’t do it on his own, for his little brother, Ewan would do just about anything.

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And so it was that Ewan’s former classmate, Simone, and Ewan, Eric, their cousin, Dashle, and Etienne Pancakes travelled to the Oasis Springs museum.

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Ewan seemed a little tense about Simone being there, but in school, she had never been anything but friendly.  Thankfully, Simone was confident enough in herself not to take his distrustful looks personally.

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Ewan quickly left the group and began to tour the works of art.   Besides playing around with Eric’s lumps of clay, sculpture had never been an interest of his; it wasn’t something he’d ever had a desire to create.  He looked at the fancy busts on the ground floor with a total lack of connection.

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He was much more interested in the paintings and screen prints.

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Although, Ewan preferred a style which required more technique than this particular painting.  Sure, it evoked a feeling of elation that was reminiscent of being at Yuma Heights under the stars, but it was a comic book version of the truth.  It brushed over the agonizing doubts that the night sky brought to Ewan’s mind and heart:  the nagging feeling that one is a tiny speck, at times feeling virtually insignificant compared to all that exists.   Precise and thorough work, fueled by inspiration and creativity, was the only way to create something that was true to Ewan’s experience.

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Eric regarded a still life; he was more drawn to motion and sound than these works of two dimensional representation that were so flat.

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The three cousins ended up discussing their favorite bands and color theory, oblivious to the rest of the group and the exhibits.

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As soon as they returned home, Ewan gave his mom a big hug.   Even though he wasn’t leaving home to live on his own, this birthday symbolized his transition to being responsible for himself.  Perhaps he was thankful for the home his parents had provided for him, and the acceptance and love that was so easy to take for granted.

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Marking the day with a celebration had to be faced, whether Ewan wanted to or not; his family wasn’t going to let it slide.   He was too important to them for them to pretend it wasn’t a big day.  They did give him space as he blew out the candles.

Ewan approached the start of his adult life with trepidation.  Would he be able to live it well, to manage his life and its stress, and add some value to the world?  The pressure he put on himself was immense; the lens he saw the world through was one that did not filter out any of the sadness.  His creativity felt as much a burden as a gift, because of his gloomy perfectionism.

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After they ate cake, Delaney tried to cheer up her eldest son.

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“This birthday is really hard for you.”

“Mom, what have I done of any use in my life?!  I’m an adult now, and I’ve yet to create anything of real value!”

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Delaney listened, and when Ewan started to calm down, she told him about the amazing coral flowers of moon N 62.3 near Canoris Majoris.  These corals, similar to earth’s, grow only millimeters a year, but their beauty is not only visually striking, they emit a fragrance which triggers an essential neurotransmitter in the sentient beings on that planet that allows them to experience empathy for others.   The “glue” that holds that society together, is created by these exceptionally slow-growing flora.

“Well, Ewan’s probably not going to live that long, nor is he part of a colony of polyps or interconnected beings, so he’s going to have be a tad more efficient with his time,” Elise chipped in.

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“How about a game of chess,” Delaney asked Elise, thinking to give Ewan a break from Elise’s jeers.  Elise felt that it was a primary directive of sentient beings to tell the truth, even if it hurts.  In fact, she made sure those around her had plenty of practice at accepting painful truths regularly, and carefully observed their reactions.

Elise, ironically, struggled quite a lot with accepting the painful truth that her logic skill just could not compete with her mom’s or dad’s.  She often found something absorbing on her phone about the time that the tide turned against her in chess games.

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Delaney never rubbed it in, no matter how quickly she defeated her daughter at chess.

Notes:

  • Bella has lived 96 days according to the game, and she still has most of her elder bar left to go.  She might even out-live Alexander, but I’m not taking any chances after losing Barnaby without a grave marker.   I actually already aged up Alexander, which will be in the next post, and he looks so much older than his mom, so weird!
  • It’s probably pretty easy to guess I was hoping that Ewan would like Simone, but he just gave her that horrible look and ignored her.  And they are technically friends!!   I guess he’s still unwilling to have his heart hurt again.
  • After having cake, “Deep Conversation” was the topic of discussion that Ewan was so intense about.  And Elise (who has a mean trait,) just sat there smiling.   Her mom did beat her really quickly in chess, though.
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21 Comments so far:

  1. Echo Weaver says:

    Ewan and Elise are such well-drawn characters. I kind of like that Elise has an edge.

    Sims 4 has really done a lot with chess. You can cheat and check your phone and all sorts of things while you play. Or, I guess some of that it multi-tasking too.

    Bella borders on immortal at this point. It’s hard to believe she will ever die.

    • Ha! Yes, Bella may be immortal. Maybe she’ll live long enough to see an expansion pack with vampires, and truly become immortal.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying Elise’s little edge. It’s a bit of stretch for me to write as I tend to be pretty diplomatic, although as I get older sometimes I do just say it like it is.

      Thanks for reading & giving your two cents!

      • Echo Weaver says:

        Heh. My default behavior is for the sims in my household to get along. I’ve been trying to look for opportunities to write sims who don’t get along with everyone. In that sense, Sawyer has done me a favor.

  2. cathytea says:

    This post really touched me! This line is beautiful: “Precise and thorough work, fueled by inspiration and creativity, was the only way to create something that was true to Ewan’s experience.” I’m limping through a draft with Silduun, and I’m struggling for that precision and thoroughness–reading this, and reflecting on Ewan’s response to art–wanting what’s real, not what’s comic book–is inspiring to me.

    I also adored the part about the corals that ” emit a fragrance which triggers an essential neurotransmitter in the sentient beings on that planet that allows them to experience empathy for others.” Is this something you entirely invented or do you know of plant fragrances that stimulate neurotransmitters that affect emotion or even empathy?

    I love the depth that’s coming through your writing–and also how the Sims are taking such a strong lead in determining the direction of the story!

    (Of course Elise, with that face that reminds me so much of Alexander, is a huge favorite of mine!)

    • I love Elise’s look too, and am just not making any heir decisions as long as possible, because I like both of them too much!

      Thank you for all your encouraging words. I’m so glad that Ewan’s feelings about what makes art, true art, was helpful for you. Silduun is a terrific character who I adore already (and just realized I’ve been spelling her name wrong for a while). Ewan is very exacting, which is different from the light or fun creativity that some sims have. He is almost tormented by his own expectations, in addition to having a low set point for happiness. (Or maybe more accurately, it takes a lot of joy to move him to feeling happy.)

      When I was trying to think how Delaney would cheer Ewan up, I figured she’d use something from her space exploration, and since he was frustrated with not seeing enough progress in his painting skill, I thought about corals that grow so, so slowly. Going from the fact that there is so much still undiscovered about the brain, and about the ways plants and animals contribute to their environment, and are interconnected, I made that up about the fragrance. Also I’ve been thinking a lot about what how vital empathy is, and about developing it in children, and kind of compared it to oxygen in my mind, which of course, earth’s plants emit and help support our survival. Elise is usually a little aggravated with Delaney for going on about her space explorations, though.

      • cathytea says:

        So surprisingly (or, maybe not!) shortly before I read your post, I was writing about Silduun standing beneath a mesquite and drawing happiness from the dew that fell on her–it ties in so amazingly with what you wrote! I think that I will add a reference to your corals, and link back to here! I have such great appreciation and empathy for Ewan. I adore deep-thinking Sims!

        • That amazes me. Maybe it is connected–isn’t that called synchronicity? Isn’t that something that we were both thinking about images of emotional well being interconnected with others?! That’s a beautiful post about happiness you wrote about Sil.

          • cathytea says:

            Thank you. This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this with Sims and Simmers. I feel there’s definitely something about their being composed of electric impulses that hooks them up with energy out there, and then also with us and what we experience, and connects us in that way. And sometimes, too, our Sims seem to know the themes that are alive within us, which is also amazing–especially when we experience that synchronicity.

            • That’s pretty hard to believe or imagine, but I’m not ruling it out, and the possibility is one of those mysteries that makes life so fascinating. And it could explain things like this, or how some sims seem to know you are there, or like you say, be aware of themes. I never thought of it that way. But I do know my husband tells me part of quantum mechanics is that particles separated by thousands of miles can act in tandem, and ever since I started hearing about that, I couldn’t help but wonder if it helps explain how things that happen, and people can know things or feel things or have things happen simultaneously when they are separated by great distances.

              • cathytea says:

                A Simmer I know has compared Sims to Tarot–and I have always been amazed by the connections between Tarot readings and life events. (Jung was interested in Tarot, wasn’t he?) Sometimes (and this is more believable to me) I feel that it is that Sims–like Tarot cards–are archetypal or symbolic, so while we enter deeply into the game with our imaginations, we are able to “read” them. It is likely that people living on the planet at the same time, due to both the collective unconscious and energies at play, such as those associated with astrological symbols, would be exploring similar themes at the same time. And, a much more prosaic explanation is that we’re reading each other’s work, so of course we think along the same lines! 🙂

  3. Carla says:

    Aw, Ewan! He’s got some high expectations for himself but I’m glad Delaney was able to talk him down a little with her coral analogy. 🙂 I was wondering if there’d be something developing with Simone. Maybe he just needs a bit more confidence?

    LOL, what is up with Bella?! Wow! Have you ever had a TS4 sim live that long before? I can’t remember how old your previous elders were when they died.

    • The aging with Bella is just weird. It makes me wonder if they programmed her that way somehow, because in my relatively short experience with Sims 4, if a sim isn’t meeting a lot of whims and aspirations, and isn’t played a lot, they die very soon after reaching the elder stage but she’s still got most of her elder bar left. And then she’s got that glitch that makes her face in the game look eternally youthful, which is also quite interesting seeing as it is Bella. I am not complaining though; it will be nice to have her around while her grandchildren and Desmond grow up. Maybe she’ll be my first Sims 4 sim to see her great grandchildren!

      It’s funny, I always think about you now when I’m writing about Ewan, because you are like his advocate, to me! Confidence is probably key. I think he needs to accomplish something for himself, that he is proud of, before he’s ready to move on to the task of intimacy (to borrow Erik Erikson’s stages). The last few days I’ve been too tired and busy to play, but I’ve been researching art studios and galleries, getting ready to build a small one for him. I think he’s on the verge of big success because he just got three traits that will make him more likely to paint masterpieces: Perfectionist, Creative Visionary, and Savant.

  4. maisie says:

    “Probably won’t live that long..” LOL Elise! She’s hilarious, I love that bit of snark to her, I can relate to that, especially when conversing with siblings. Ewan is adorable, and too funny about that expression towards Simone. She is rather cute, maybe in sometime he will like her. Man though, he seems like such a loner, it’s hard for me to picture him as a family man with a wife and kids. He’s not anywhere as amorous as ether of his parents. He’s kind of an odd duck in his family, which I love about him.

    It is weird to even think of Alexander being an elder, when his Mom looks 30. And how odd on her life bar, why is there so much left? As in, what controls the length of the bar? I know in TS2 it was supposed to fluctuate, but it never worked properly, curious if they have that fixed in TS4.

    I forgot about you actually doing a legacy here, and needing to pick an eventual heir. The idea of that makes me sad, I adore her kids!

    • I like Elise’s snarkiness too. The whole heir thing is the reason I keep trying to find a spouse for Ewan!! But you are right, he has a loner trait, even though he doesn’t have it on his panel. His uniqueness in the family is very appreciated here too!

      Bella’s life bar may be partly due to how she starts the game (I haven’t looked, but she’s probably day one of young adult when Cassandra and Alexander are kids. Mortimer robbed the cradle!) Also, to keep people from dying in other houses without markers, I’ve had aging off a lot in other houses; but I’ve tried to go around and make up that aging by playing the household, so although I haven’t kept a record, I think I’ve kept them in sync pretty well. I do miss keeping track of everybody’s days so I know exactly how old they are. She’s just really old and yet has that facial glitch. Her body is looking very old now.

      Maddi lived at least 2 weeks after the “final warning” that her life was drawing to a close, which, if I remember correctly, was about a week after her life bar started twinkling full at elder. I attributed that to her health (she used to jog,) lots and lots of fulfilled whims and a completed aspiration, and lots of high relationships. Mortimer, on the other hand, had few fulfilled whims, didn’t complete the first level of his aspiration, never exercised, and had low relationships with most everybody but Bella. His life bar had just begun to twinkle when he died–it may have even been the first day. I don’t know though, about Bella, she could be glitched or programmed.

  5. Wow there was a lot of amazing descriptive meaningful stuff in this chapter. That was really cool how Delaney used the alien plants to refer to real life. Poor Ewan though. Feeling like he hasn’t done anything with his creativity but he’s still a young adult. He has time, that I have to catch up on lol.

  6. Ariadne2001 says:

    I’m so busy reading I’m forgetting to comment 😉

  7. Sophia, it’s so much fun hearing your comments but also, I hope you don’t feel pressured to read or comment 🙂

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