Thursday, January 30, 2020

(Lack of) Patience

I have been a damn grouch lately. My apologies for that, especially if I happen to have written something mean and nasty on your blog the last few days or so.

I am not a patient man. Lazy at times, sure. Prone to inertia, of course. Easily sidetracked into procrastination and time-wasting, obviously. But patient? No...and I imagine I've written that more than once once on this blog (after a couple thousand posts, the occasional repeated thought is perhaps inevitable).

And I tend to be grouchy when I get impatient. Right now, I'm going through a phase where I'm running up against my own impatience in two separate areas, both having to do with some very exciting developments in my "publishing empire:" I've got two books nearing completion. One is waiting on art; the second is waiting on art, formatting, and a slight amount of rewriting.

The art (and this is the really exciting part) is coming. I've commissioned work from two different artists (one for each book) and both appear to be on the ball...I've received preliminary illustrations from both in the last few days. For me, that is excellent news. It is exciting news. The artwork is always the last piece for my books, seeing that (to this date) I have been unable to rely on my own inadequate drawing skills. Seeing illustrations get's like smelling something delicious cooking in the oven and knowing that the feast will be ready in a very short time.

And more than that, seeing the work from an artist is a validation of sorts. Sure, I am paying them, but the fact that they're doing the work and following my art direction and that the results are good...well, it makes me feel like a real live book publisher or something. Many are the times that I've felt like a big fraud...not just with the writing/design thing, but with other areas of my life. Just second guessing my choices, second guessing my motives, second guessing my authenticity. Probably because I believe I should have more to show for my life up to this point...which is pretty damn ridiculous when I actually take stock of myself.

[what can I say? People expected great things of me when I was younger. Writing the occasional RPG book every five years for an audience of a few hundred feels like pretty small potatoes]

[but still...ridiculous. I look up at the TV from my table (I'm drinking coffee at the Baranof...again) and see the immensely talented Wayne Brady is now hosting "Let's Make a Deal" on daytime television, sporting a gigantic lycra turban. I'm sure he's making a good living, but if I was in his shoes, I would probably be having the same misgivings (regarding my entertainment career) that I've been having this morning. Probably the beard symbolic of his feelings? Does he day drink more than he once did?]

*AHEM* So, anyway...the waiting. I hate the waiting. We are at the "watching the pot boil" stage of things and there's no way to hasten the process. I've never been a pregnant woman (duh) but I'd liken the mental stress at this point to be around the 7th or 8th month range. Not just in wanting things to be done, but in preparing for what comes after.

No, scratch that. It doesn't really approach expecting a child...much more stress (especially regarding the "after" bit) with that, even as a father. Poor analogy. Point is, the waiting can't be helped. I want the books to have illustrations, I want the art from the artists I've commissioned, and I don't want the project botched or rushed. Well...maybe rushed a little.

Now...the OTHER bit of impatience: the second book that is ALSO getting artwork, but that requires a bit more work is Cry Dark Future. Yep, really. It is going to be published in the form that it was when originally play tested: all the gripes and grumps I've had the last few years about it being derivative trash, etc.? Don't care anymore. Yeah, it's derivative. And I'm a hack. I'm content to own both those facts so long as I can get the thing out the door.

Here's a thought: it's hard to really come up with an original idea. Few people can do it (or do it on a regular basis). I can't: I'm good at tweaking and polishing and reworking other people's stuff, but originating awesomeness? Eh...not so much. And is that so bad? Star Wars is mainly Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress colored by Flash Gordon with some WW2 fighter plane action spliced in, and it's entertained a whole bunch of people over the years (as has the film's incredibly self-derivative sequels). And while I wouldn't expect CDF to meet the same sort of fanfare, I know some people will enjoy running it. After all, I did...and the Shadowrun concept doesn't fire my pistons nearly as much as it did when I was a young teenager.

As for the rules not being "simple" or "streamlined" enough: the fact is, they're simple enough. And just as I've gained a newfound appreciation for the "complexity" of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, I've decided there's no reason to fear the fiddly. Look here: the systems are still more intuitive and straightforward than, say, the dice pools of Shadowrun, the asymmetrical systems provide interesting twists, and the internal consistency feels far more "realistic" than trying to push all the crunch into a universal or "one roll" system (which I was never going to do anyway).

And do I really need to do a game with another Vancian magic system? No, I do not.

But I'm digressing (as usual): the thing that tries my patience here is the reviewing, rewriting, and formatting, all of which takes time. Time, that most precious of commodities, and the one so often in shortest least for me. Finding the time to do what needs to be done with all the other pressing concerns in my life makes the reworks so...darn...slooooooow.  And things are just going to get crazier as I start a new part-time gig (next month), and have kids joining basketball and baseball teams. Plus there's the daughter's birthday, the wedding anniversary, the school auction, the last two months of soccer (three games last weekend...sheesh!), volunteer stuff, home improvements (need gravel for the driveway).

[thank goodness the Seahawks got bumped from the playoffs. One less distraction]

Finding the time to make progress is tough, and thus progress is slow...which makes me grumpy as hell, even though I still have to wait (anyway) on art. It doesn't help that I had to upgrade my MS Word to work with the new Mac OS (Catalina) and the damn thing looks different from the way it was the last, oh, 15 years or so.  Grrrrrr...

Time. Patience. I wish I had more of both. I know I should try cultivating more of both (I'll stress less and live longer)...but knowing and doing are two different things, as I'm sure my astute readers are all aware.

ANYway...I wish I had some zinger to wrap this post up with, but I don't. Just wanted to check in with folks, if briefly (while firing down a couple pots of coffee). Right now, I've got to get back to work.

Later, folks.


  1. [thank goodness the Seahawks got bumped from the playoffs. One less distraction]

    Oh so you are to blame for the failed comeback in Greenbay cause the thought of a shot at the superbowl and 9 more hours of telivesed football was too much for you.....

  2. I lay the blame at the feet of Malik Turner (at the same spot where he dropped a sure 1st down pass to keep alive the game winning drive) and Trey Flowers (who was beat like a rug all day).

    1. I agree that drop pass hurt and should have been an easy completion to keep that drive pushing forward.

  3. I am simultaneously sorry to hear about your frustrations and also just like gimme CDF.