Monday, August 6, 2012


In my forthcoming book, Annika Riz, Math Whiz, the book I was writing frantically during the month of July, Annika enters a city-wide Sudoku contest. Even though I'm not the kind of writer who does exhaustive research for a book before plunging in to write it (I'm more the kind who plunges in first and then does any needed research after the fact), I thought I should at least learn how to do a Sudoku puzzle. When I visited my sister in New Jersey at the end of June, she taught me how to do Sudoku online on my iPad. (She's a math whiz, too, the mathiest and whizziest imaginable.)

Now comes the sad part of this saga.  I became addicted to Sudoku almost immediately.

I should have known there was a danger of this happening, because in the not-so-distant past I became addicted to solitaire. I never played solitaire on a computer; I always played with a regular deck of cards, loving the tactile feeling of the cards in my hand, loving that satisfying thwack as I laid them down on the table. I loved everything about solitaire - the meditative rhythm of thumbing through the deck, that hope-spring-eternal optimism that despite how badly a game was going, it could get better simply by turning up one card that would make everything different. I became so addicted that I would give my deck of cards to Gregory to hide for me - and then I'd go into his room to look for them when he wasn't there. Finally, I realized that I could no longer keep a deck of cards in the house. And then one night I actually sunk so low that in desperation I tried making myself a deck of cards out of index cards, with the face value of the cards scribbled on in pen - totally unsatisfying!  I have now been solitaire-free for perhaps a decade.

So I might have guessed that Sudoku would not be a good idea.  Now I keep taking that app off my iPad and deleting all saved data, making the grim vow:  I will never play Sudoku ever again!  But, alas, it's only a matter of seconds to re-install it. Sometimes I do this several times in a day: off, on, off, on.  I start my to-do list for each day with the stern warning: Don't do Sudoku!  But then I tell myself, oh, maybe I'll just do ONE more game....

I'm writing this to go public with my addiction in the hope that by owning up to it - "My name is Claudia Mills, and I'm addicted to Sudoku" - I can face the problem fully and move past it.  I would lock up my iPad except that on it I have the 42 manuscripts I'm judging for the juvenile fiction contest sponsored by the Utah Arts Council, so I can't. 

All right, dear readers: I am NOT going to do any Sudoku today - any at all!  This is my pledge to you (not that you have any reason to care), and my pledge to myself.  I'm not even going to play one VERY last game before I give it up forever - no, I am not!


  1. OK I hear ya!I will ask you how you are doing!

  2. Good! I'm sure you resisted. I did four. Two for me and two for you. That's what friends are for.

  3. Twenty years ago, I had a similar experience with Tetris. It was before you could do it at home on an iPad or even a desk top! It was still at the arcade no less. So embarrassing. And there's a long list of other games that followed that one.