Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Yesterday's post, made in a moment of angst, was my usual mixed bag of nonsense. "Prattle" as dervish was kind enough to point out...though to be fair, I wasn't railing against free enterprise as a concept, but the pursuit of profit as an end unto itself. Unfortunately, I offended more than a couple people (some quite unfairly), so I've taken the thing down.

I'll repost the "good" (constructive) part of the post:
Please, Please, PLEASE: EVERY person is capable of creating things: music, writing, fiendish D&D adventures, blueberry muffins, computer apps, friendships based on shared human fellowship. Try to create something new every week and share it with other people. Put it out there; charge money for it, even (I'm not talking about doing free labor!). But everyone can be constructive; everyone can be an active force in the world. Money is just a means of exchange, not an end to itself. "Creating wealth" is not an act of creation.
That bit was meant to encourage folks. Sometimes we underestimate our own potential for creation. Sometimes we underestimate just how much of a positive impact we can have on those around us just by sharing our creativity. And sometimes, even when we know these things, we forget them.

I'd just like to re-emphasize that when I use the word "share" I'm not saying you have to give away the the fruits of your creative labor gratis. If you create something that's cost you time and money, it's not unfair to ask for compensation. No, what I mean is: don't hide your creations. Don't hide your talent. Don't feel like you're not good enough or smart enough or whatever enough to make something worth showing to the world.

No, perhaps you aren't a Rembrandt...and perhaps no matter how hard you try you'll never be anything remotely close to a great master of your art (whatever that happens to be). But the mere act of doing it and sharing it has an impact. It inspires others. You may not be Rembrandt, but maybe someone who sees the joy you get from your creations to take up her own brush and she will be the new Rembrandt...and even if she isn't, maybe her creations will give her joy and inspire someone else. And so on and so on. See how that works?

Any person can be a match that lights a fire that makes a brighter world. That's not bullshit folks. Oh, it sounds all floofy and rah-rah, but it's true. Write a haiku per week and post it up at work. Maybe you're shit at writing haiku; maybe your co-workers will think the same. But you'll probably inspire someone else to try their hand at writing haiku, too (maybe just to see if they can do a better job, or maybe because they think it's funny or whatever). just encouraged someone else in the world to be creative. That's kudos for you, pal. And what if someone, inspired by haiku, goes on to write other stuff...long form poetry, novels, screenplays, newsletters, blogs, whatever...that ends up inspiring other people? It could really just takes a spark...and all because you wrote a silly 5-7-5 bit of fluff and put it on a bulletin board. Or a cubicle wall. Or whatever.

But regardless of whether or not you have a "dramatic impact" or not, creating and sharing is good for the soul. It feels good to be a contributor. It increases our sense of self-worth, makes us feel a part of our society, helps us build a relationship (i.e. a rapport) with our fellow humans. We create, we share, we get feedback: this builds in us a sense of our value. It helps us find meaning and purpose. Which makes life all the more worth living.

Create and share. Find your art. That's what "art" is...look, here's the definition from google:

"the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination"

[expression is defined as "the process of making known one's thoughts or feelings." Sharing, in other words]

Find your art...that creative thing in you, that comes from your skill and your imagination, that you can share with others. Tell jokes. Share recipes. Organize Happy Hour events for you co-workers. Draw a picture of a fighter decapitating an orc, scan it, and post it to your blog. It doesn't have to be a Big Thing, just something.

And do it once a week. That's all I suggest. Create and share once a week. It doesn't need to be a lot of people; heck, it can be an audience of one (your child? your spouse?). If you DM a weekly game, you have a good opportunity to create and share and inspire, just waiting at your fingertips (provided you don't phone in your effort for the session). For the rest of us...well, we'll just have to get creative.

Ya, basta.


  1. should have let the original post stay up regardless.

    mistakes are good. :)

  2. Oh, its a pity you took the post down. I actually liked it quite a bit. I felt a sense of coherence between that one and your "Wino Thoughts" post. I think that once you are confronted the extreme brutality of Latin-American inequality, it is hard to look at middle- and upper-class people just 'looking out for themselves' as something normal. At least it is a feeling I have with respect to my own home country.
    I grew up in one such family, and I find the indifference with which we all looked at inequality as a profound moral and political failure, one that can only be explained away by remembering that even the most moderate attempts to bring about a less inequality-inducing form of market economy were brutally repressed by powerful elites in all the region.
    'Capitalism' means something quite different south of the Equator, so to say. It is not a Smithian utopia of self-interested shop-owners, pin-makers and bakers but a Conradian dystopia of foreign plantation masters, served by slaves or indentured servants. The descendants of successful captains of industry and socially protected workers might see the market economy under a different light from those descended from quasi-feudal landed aristocrats and recently freed slaves.
    I didn't get to read any of the comments to your post, but I can only imagine that some people found it wrong to claim that capitalism has anything to do with extreme inequality, or poverty. People who, I can only imagine, recalled that it was market economies and free enterprise that raised people out of misery all around the world. But that isn't quite true, or rather, it is only true to a certain degree, and only true once qualified by a great number of often unstated premises. Market economies have produced very unequal results around the world, which serves to demonstrate that its benefits are not simply dependent on ‘freeing people’ to produce, and exchange the fruits of their labor, but also on a plethora of socio-political structures that have nothing to do, in the narrow sense, with ‘free markets’.

  3. I liked the original post just fine but this one dovetailed with an old rant of mine about how people seem to be increasingly willing to let 'professionals' do the creating.
    Like, from what I've read, it seems like not that long ago it was a whole lot more common for people to draw and play music and even put on plays in their homes (toy theater).
    Then came cameras and recorded music and movies/TV... and it's much easier to just watch other folks doing stuff and doing it well.
    I think there's been a bit of push-back against this trend lately... but I'm not sure how extensive and long-lived it might be.

  4. As a participant in the arts since the early 1980s, I can say without question that producing art in order to provide an individual with the means to live, to do nothing but create more art for the rest of their lives, has ALWAYS been the norm.

    Every serious amateur dreams of being a professional - because having to work some other crummy job gets in the way of being either.

  5. I hope my candidness wasn't the source of you pulling the original post.

    I'll echo that you probably should have left it up. This new post has taken on a different tone.

    Truthfully, I thought there was more you really wanted to say. And you still have not told us the source of your angst (;

    1. @ Dervish:

      It wasn't (the source, that is). And, yes, it's supposed to be a different tone. I was feeling very negative "in the moment." I decided this morning (around 3am) that I wanted to be a bit more positive.

      There's lots more I could...and probably will...say. But at the moment, I feel it's best to step away from my self-righteousness. reason not to issue a few words of encouragement.
      ; )

    2. Coincidentally JB, this guy succinctly expressed in a recent post what I thought you might really have been trying to say.

      I'll admit that I coulod be off base, though.

    3. @ Dervish:

      No, nothing like that. My situation (financially and otherwise) is pretty stable. Sometimes I find myself feeling guilty for A) not doing more, and B) um...not doing more.

      I'll explain more in depth some a later date. Really, I will.

  6. A-frickity-men! Preach it, brother-man!

  7. I have to say, your blog was the deciding factor in my use of B/X (and the purchase of the PDFs thereof); I have not been disappointed one bit, and I'll probably use this system for all my future games. Proof that even a blog about roleplaying games can inspire people to make a decision that they are really happy with! Thanks for sharing your own thoughts here.

    1. @ Fuzzy:

      Thanks's always nice to hear.

      Hopefully I'll be able to get this new B/X book knocked out in the next month or so, and you'll have even more to add to your table.
      : )

  8. And I cannot recommend JB's B/X Companion book enough! I own multiple copies and it is exactly what I though Moldvay/Cooks would have been had it actually been written. It is definitely crafted in the spirit of B/X ;-)