Anyway...I saw this post over at Demogorgon's temple, and it struck a bit of a chord in me. Enough so that I felt I'd throw out a post on the subject. First to address an idea Brunomac brings up (if briefly)...one I've seen in print before:
Those who can't game, blog.
Sure, there is something to this. When I first started blogging (and reading other RPG blogs) I was in a "non-gaming phase" of my life. Well, as much as I ever am (I've generally kept an eye open and ear to the ground with regard to RPGs over the years...even during "the dry times"). But it's true that I was gaming a LOT less during the height (read: most prolific) of my blogging a couple years ago.
Fact of the matter is, I needed a creative outlet that involved gaming and I didn't have one. Reading other folks' blogs, commenting, and writing my own allowed me to be involved in the gaming hobby. To be a voice in the conversation. To be a participant...something I desperately wanted...perhaps something I really needed.
There are many, many reasons to write blogs and many reasons to write gaming blogs. I'm not a writer...at least not by profession or education...and the blog wasn't really about needing that kind of creative outlet. Nor was I interested in acquiring a big following (um, "glory") and having a spotlight shone on my silly thoughts. Nor was I trying to drum up "buzz" for my RPG products (I hadn't written one at the time).
Nor was it even about nostalgia...hard as that might be to believe. My recollections and musings on my gaming childhood certainly gives me plenty of "blog fodder" (I've got a LOT of gaming history) but even though I wrote (at the beginning of this blog) that part of my reasons for starting it was "edification of memory," a glance over the subjects posted shows I've strayed a long way from that more often than not.
The fact of the matter is, I love role-playing games. I love games in general, but I especially love using your imagination to create characters and worlds. I love to pretend. Hell, that's probably most of the reason why I switched my major in college from engineering and pre-law to dramatic arts.
[though in retrospect, a minor in business and/or technical writing would have been smart]
And blogging about games allowed me to converse about those games that I loved...at first with the empty space of the internet, and then with the readers that started checking in at the ol' Blackrazor.
And it was a worthwhile conversation to have. It allowed me to keep my hand in. It forced me to both scrutinize and crystalize my thoughts on gaming. It allowed me to be a participant in my favorite hobby industry.
And it led me back into gaming...serious gaming, regular gaming. First with people who would allow me to play with them. Then to my own table and my own players. Now...well, despite a few slow weeks due to the holidays, I still have several people emailing me to see if they can join my group or asking me to participate in their own games.
And I've inspired some people. And that's the best part of this whole "blog thang" - the thing I love the most and yet something I was totally not looking for, nor expecting when I started this. I see other people gaming now that weren't doing so before. People gaming at least in part (I won't take all the credit) because of my actions.
And that is truly a great thing. Because I believe (and have written before) that it is a worthwhile pastime. That it is important in this day and age to have rituals that bring people together, engage them, force them to interact face-to-face, and use both their minds and their imaginations. Ritual...like sitting down to the gaming table on a weekly basis, taking out your dice bag and notebook (electronic or not), and ordering a beverage (alcoholic or not). Taking time to delight in the joy of fantasy and imagination, not just individually but communally. Building a community. Sharing the love.
Yeah, I'm passionate about it...perhaps overly so considering it's "just a game," not a cure for cancer or hunger or anything. Hell, it's not even exercise (after all the chow I put away tonight, I could use a work-out or two)...but exercise doesn't generally build "community" even if it does make for healthier, longer-lived, happier humans, which in turn can improve the world we live in.
But exercise is soooo much work. Or feels like it, compared to gaming.
And so (I guess) I'm trying to say, I am VERY thankful...both for my opportunity to blog AND to the folks I've had a chance to game with over the last year AND to the role-playing community in general. I wish I had more time (and energy) to devote to both. But I'll do what I can for as long as I can.
All right, that's it. Time to go sleep off this zinfandel.
[by the way, don't forget to shop small business and local this weekend...and always...whenever possible. Good luck, folks!]