Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rambling: Weekend Sloth Update, or Digressions Galore

It's Last Saturday and Black Friday Weekend. I'm watching movies and shopping for perfume. War of the Roses just ended, and now Blast From the Past is on. And I finally agreed with myself that of all the perfumes I haven't bought, the one that I would most regret missing, if it went away, is Aftelier Cepes & Tuberose. So I just sent off for it. Bwahaha.

(By the way, Josephine, I just went to look at my post for that perfume and saw your comment, and I wanted to mention that I miss your blog. I hope that you're being refreshed by the blog break.)

Digression: I should be focusing on my BlogAWriMo, or whatever one might call it, but I'd have to blog slightly more than thirty-four thousand words to get there by the end of November, so, well, no. I've decided that what I'm going to get out of my NaNoWriMo Rebel experiment this year is (1) experiencing a higher blog frequency and a freer "ah, just go ahead and post it" attitude and (2) increasing my blog post length. Those are rather mechanical goals, but I think they're valuable anyway. The first ties into a life philosophy of anti-perfectionism, and the second I burbled about here.

Digression: Longer and less edited burbling is making this blog a bit more like a journal, except, of course, for the part where it's not the least bit private. That makes me curious about the practice of "journaling", and exactly how it's described and why it's recommended. So, of course, I Googled. Websites claim that journaling exercises or left brain, frees up your right brain, and improves your immune system. I'm eyeing these claims skeptically, and am tempted to make a sarcastic remark about floor polish. But I do see a mention of a specific study where a group of students was asked to write about plain old stuff, and another group was asked to write about traumatic events, and the trauma group had a higher immune function response, based on, er, some measure.

This suggests that not just writing, but writing about all my worries and deepest undisclosed thoughts, would be useful and help with my immune system and psychological state and all that. I'm not going to be posting a great deal of that on the blog, though, and I find that I'm just not that interested in writing nonfiction off the blog.

Digression: For that matter, I'm finding that I'm not all that much interested in writing fiction off the blog. I was just looking at a thread about "why do you write?" and realized that I write fiction because I want to have written it, while I write nonfiction because I want to write it. This strongly suggests that whether I like it or not, I am a nonfiction writer.

I have trouble entirely accepting this, because I've been creating fictional scenes in my head all my life. But I rarely if ever string those scenes together to form a story. I can create situations and trigger a beginning, as I used to when I gamemastered Call of Cthulhu adventures, but I rarely create an entire story, characters and situations and plot and sequence, from beginning to end. This might just be a roadblock that I need to plow past a few times until it's flattened, but I suspect that it may be a fundamental lack of either capability or inclination.

Digression: On the other hand, I very much miss those Call of Cthulhu adventures. And Shadowrun adventures. And online roleplaying on MUDs. It may be that I want to create fiction, but in a roleplaying context, which is a context that was never all that widespread and seems to be less and less popular every day. All the new online games have little to do with roleplaying, based on my definition of the activity--any setting where a computer or a predefined set of possible events limits what the characters can do is not, IMO, roleplaying. And face-to-face roleplaying...

Actually, I don't know if face-to-face roleplaying is fading. I'm reassured to see that Chaosium,  the company that created the face-to-face Call of Cthulhu game, is still selling gaming modules and has in fact branched out into some "basic roleplaying" thingie that apparently applies the same roleplaying system to a variety of different settings. I always liked Chaosium's roleplaying system, both of the variants that I experienced; the mechanics were simple enough to get out of the way of the roleplaying itself.

I loved roleplaying. Did I mention this? It's absorbing, it's exciting. I give it credit for bringing me out of an isolated shell and into the world--something about interacting with others as a person that I wasn't, allowed me to interact with other as the person what I was. I miss it, a lot.

Himself and I and some friends have discussed getting a roleplaying group together, and now that we live in the same place all the time, the idea is more plausible. But while I love roleplaying and miss it badly, the thought of digging out the books and writing a scenario and restarting my gamemastering career gives me qualms. I tell myself that I'm too old and that I'll make a fool of myself. I tell myself that adults might write novels, but they don't create character sheets and throw dice. But, really, either you're too old for Let's Pretend by around age twelve, or you never get too old--I'm not all that much older, mentally, than I was in my late teens and twenties.

It is Last Saturday. I could buy myself a shiny new Call of Cthulhu module, for inspiration. I went browsing, and I realized that what I'd really like is a combination of Call of Cthulhu and Shadowrun--Cthulhu cyberpunk, essentially. I Googled that phrase and found that I'm not the only one who's this crazy; in fact, Steve Jackson Games produced a book called GURPS CthulhuPunk. Sadly, it's out of print.

Have any of you folks ever been into face-to-face roleplaying games? Are any of you still into them? I don't know what it's like to play at age thirty and beyond--does it work? Is it possible to maintain the excitement and the suspension of disbelief, or is the brain just too far past childhood?

All righty, that's my digression quota. The next idea that I have will be a new post. And Hell On Wheels is on. I didn't think I'd like it. I was wrong.

Image: By Rama. Wikimedia Commons.


  1. I run a school drama club for upper primary children so I do the role play thing a fair bit but...I'm doing it with children. Not sure if that is more, or less, humiliating than among adults...

  2. it all depends on the adults you hang with. If you choose to hang out with someone who likes working in a children's bookstore so she can wear a gnome hat with impunity then I think foolproof roleplaying is a real possibility. Let the roleplaying begin!

  3. Hey, Jennifer! Yes, that would be an ample and useful excuse for roleplaying. And the fact that I'm looking for an excuse clearly signals that I want to roleplay, right? But all the same...

  4. Howdy, Cynthia! Yep yep yep, I'm trying to work up the nerve. And, of course, the plot and characters. Maybe the depths of winter and the lack of gardening opportunities will get me moving.

  5. Hello! Very cool that you've been involved in RPGs. There are still plenty around being played and created. Where I am the age range is not just younger folks--quite a lot of us are in our 40s. (I help run the roleplaying section of a game convention on the East Coast.) Anyway, I would definitely encourage you to go ahead and start a group or attend a game convention near you. You can look for groups through your local gaming store, join a facebook group for whatever your regional conventions are, etc. Looks like the Gamestorm convention might be near you: Game cons are a great way to find people for an ongoing group. I'm extremely shy in normal situations but I'm much more comfortable with a great geeky game crowd. The guys tend to be quite welcoming to women since there aren't nearly as many of us; it's really easy to meet other gamers.

  6. Hey, Anat! Yeah, what is it about games that makes shy people, well, not-shy for an evening? At least, it used to be that way for me, except now I feel extra shy at the thought of gaming. What's the deal?

    But I did enjoy it so very much back then; I should do something about it.