Wednesday, October 7, 2015



Not much time today...just got the baby down to sleep. Usually, I can do it in a four song set (and truth be told she's often out halfway through song #3 "Heavy Metal" by Sammy Hagar), but today had to double down with Free Bird and The Zoo. Consequently, the other baby will be waking up any moment now. In fact, I think I hear the pitter-patter of little feet as I type this.


I want to take a moment to thank all the kindly responses on yesterday's post. Yes, I need to get in a game. Yes, I should just go ahead and work on my "holy grail heartbreaker." Yes, this is probably as much about withdrawal as anything else...steeping oneself in an in-depth review of and D&D edition (even 4th Edition) can cause unexpected side effects. You should all take that as a warning.

No, I don't plan on doing anything like an "abridged 4E" myself. Really. Not even to get me a warlord class. Face facts, folks: the warlord doesn't really work as a low level archetype except in a game like 4E...though if you're interested, Will B. over at A Wizard's Kiss came up with a nice little B/X version. But something else is roiling around my brain, and has been for days now.

More on that later.

Today, I spent a good chunk of time looking up a couple old friends on the internet. Specifically, old writer friends. Well, friends who always (as long as I ever knew them) aspired to be writers. They had word processors as soon as such was available on a personal computer (back in the early 80s), and were plenty fond of typewriters as well, and were always writing short stories or working on adolescent novels. I wanted to see what they'd been up to lately...specifically, had they published anything recently?

Turns out, it doesn't appear they've published anything. Ever. At least not that I could find.

Nothing noted or mentioned on their social media pages (in which both are very active), nothing floating around the internet or available at Lulu or Amazon. Couldn't even find any blogs for either, though it's possible they're going by handles other than their actual names.

Both had links to writing workshop type places/sites. One lists "writer" as a past occupation.

That's kind of depressing. Though both seem to be doing fine, and have other creative outlets (one even has a band thing going on the side), but still...these two really, really wanted to be writers.

I never really thought about being a writer. When we first moved down here (to Paraguay) my wife suggested I list "writer" as my occupation, since I had no other job and I intended to at least try to do more writing. "Game designer" wasn't one of the options on the immigration documents.

But writing is what I do now (well, and try to be a father, usually. Oh, look, here's the other rugrat now. Let's put on the TV for him!). I suppose people who knew me (in college anyway) would probably be a little sad to find I'm not pursuing some sort of acting career...but I've got kids and a mortgage and can't screw around with auditioning on the possibility of landing the equivalent of "temp" work. And nightly rehearsals? No way my wife would stand for that!

[I should note I did actually do some English voiceover work down here for the Paraguayan government...still waiting to be paid, though]

Writing is something I seem to be able to find some time to do, and while I'm not especially proficient at it, at least the regular practice (blogging and whatnot) is making me a little better. I'm still a hack, but I'm a (self-)published hack, at least.

[jeez, it's a weird world, though I suppose I should have seen this coming. I used to think astrology was antiquated superstitions. I used to say that there's no reason I'd ever need or want to learn Spanish. I used to rip on English majors in college]

[heck, once upon a time I was in favor of the death penalty. I was a stupid kid about a lot of things]

Anyway, my friends don't have the same excuses I do for not writing. I'm sure they have their own, different excuses (of course), but...well, these people were so sure of what they wanted to do with their lives, back when I knew them. I was never "sure" about being an actor...I liked acting, I was good at it, and I really couldn't stand any of my other subjects in school. There was no major in "games" back then, or I might have had an easier time. But these cats wanted to write, they did write, they studied writing, they gamed with me (both) as much or more for the stories we were creating in play as for the gameplay itself. And both eventually grew out of gaming because it wasn't writing.

I wonder if I'll still be doing this ten or twenty years from now. I wonder if I'll still be trying to do something with the written word. I wonder if I'll consider myself something other than a hack.

This isn't meant to be a "poor me" post, by the way, nor a judgmental look at my friends. It's more of a my-how-the-world-turns thing. I'm not sure I could have (or would have) imagined my life being like this back in 1995.

Okay. Baby's awake again. Got to go! Boy an hour passes quick around here.
; )


  1. I'm a lot like your buddies. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, yet have never had a single poem, short story, novel or screen play published/sold. Oh well, I was passionate about it when I was young, but college took something out of me. It was never said outright that I remember, but there was a subtext to many classes that anyone who wasn't trying to write "literary" fiction was never going to be any good. And I was trying to write fantasy, sci fi and comedy stuff, for the most part.

    I haven't completely given up. A friend and I wrote a halfway decent screen play that I should be trying to shop around (hard to do from East Asia when my market is Hollywood). I also keep telling myself I'll get back to it some day, once the kids are grown, I've finished my Ph.D, and all that.

    Maybe I never will get back to fiction writing, but blogging and working on game stuff is a good outlet for my urge to write.

    Like you, though, if I look back 20 years, I never would have guessed I'd be in Korea studying to earn a Ph.D in English, with 17+ years of teaching experience under my belt, and not a single published piece of fiction to my name. Oh well, life is what happens while you're making other plans.

  2. That does seem odd, but sometimes weird is the norm.

    Writing is a tricky job, but a good hobby. That's just my opinion. Keep writing!

  3. "I was a stupid kid about a lot of things"

    Oh yeah. We have all had that feeling once we got to our late thirties and forties. I know I have.