This is one of those rambling I-should-probably-just-bahleet-it-but-I'm-writing-it-because-I-need-to-even-though-I'm-not-sure-why posts. You should probably skip it.
I was talking to Andrew last night (we're planning Monolith Press Global Domination 2009) and since we both love RPGs, we ended up talking, as we usually do, about the ones we used to play, the ones we want to play, and how severe our withdrawal happens to be at the moment, mostly because we keep talking about gaming without actually, you know, gaming.
I've recently concluded that -- hey, I just realized that I haven't looked down at my fingers once since I started this entry, and I've only made a few mistakes. I wonder if I grew a level in touch-typing? Can someone get Mavis Beacon over here for a ruling?
So. Back to my post: I've recently concluded that reading RPG books, playing hobby games, and listening to Boingo, Bow Wow Wow, The Smiths, and Depeche Mode puts me in an incredibly happy place, because that's how I spent the bulk of my fifteenth and sixteenth years, when things weren't that complicated, and the hardest thing in my life was some dickwad bitching me out at a Star Trek convention because he didn't like my character. (Yes, this was hard at the time, but compared to other dickwads I've had to deal with in the last ten years, it's not that big a deal by comparison.)
My friends and I spent virtually all of our free time playing games during those years, and it's when I really started to get a very strong sense of self, of who I was and what kind of person I wanted to be. It was a good time, and when I can viscerally connect to that time (the good stuff, anyway) it sort of relaxes and inspires me, and I have more unfettered access to my creative, uh, nature.
I don't know if this is how it is for other writers. I don't know if there's a . . . oh fuck it, let's just call it a "happy place" even though that's totally lame. I don't know if there's a happy place where other writers go, but for me it's this emotional place where I can let go of the day-to-day bullshit (the election is driving me to distraction) and responsibilities (getting a little bit of work done on the house is far more complicated than it seems, and every fucking day someone needs more money for something, it seems) that set up roadblock after roadblock between me and getting good writing out of my head.
Stephen King says that you can't be a writer if you're not a reader, and he's right. But I haven't been able to concentrate and focus long enough to read any books, so I've been working through my books every day, even the ones that I bought and never read until now. I find that I can let my mind wander a little bit while I read them, sort of like multitasking, and sometimes I'll realize that I've read two pages, but I haven't retained any of it, because I'm plotting in my head, or working out some problem I unintentionally created for myself (I'm making a lot of mistakes on this first real effort to write a novella, but I'm allowing myself to make them because how else will I learn and grow levels in Fiction Writer if I don't?)
Occasionally, I come across something that grabs my attention and captures my imagination. This happened with all of the True20 book, because I kept saying, out loud, "My god, this is such an elegant system! Why isn't there more True20 in the world?!" This is currently happening a LOT in the World of Darkness book, probably because there's a lot of prose in there and I love that genre anyway (I may write a horror story before too long, because that seems to be where my brain wants to go right now. Irene Karou called Halloween "Goth Christmas" and even though I'm not Goth, I've always been Goth-adjacent, and wish I'd coined that phrase; it's exactly how I feel, and I hope to have some kind of classic horror tale penned in time for Goth Xmas.
The intro to the D&D Basic Set says "This is a game that is fun. It helps you to imagine."
I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about that until I quoted it the other day; I love RPGs - even when I'm not playing them - because they help me imagine. Funny how that's stayed constant throughout my life, even as I and the reasons I need to use my imagination have changed.
I saw a woman dancing with childlike abandon to Footloose when it was playing in Whole Foods tonight. Her unselfconscious joy inspired me. When I'm boss of the world, unselfconscious dancing in grocery stores will be mandatory