Thursday, July 12, 2007

Making a Fool of Myself

Enough talking about other people (or not talking at all) -- it's time to talk about ME.

I'm in full panic mode now trying to get ready for GenCon. Which of course means I have to watch all of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season Two. Cause that's what "full panic mode" means -- you aren't really panicking if you're sensibly getting things done. No, sir. True panickistas know that panic must be allowed to steep. And one-hour episodic increments of Girls Kicking Butt is perfectly designed for that purpose. You know, when you sit down to dinner, well, it'll probably take you an hour to eat, right? So you might as well just put one on while you eat.

And once that one's over, well, you're all full, and anyway, that one wasn't really such a great one, but the NEXT one is probably killer.

And then suddenly it's two o'clock in the morning. And that little mild panic has managed to crank itself up to something substantial. Something worthwhile.

What? I like Xena, too. What about it?

Even when I do work, I spend most of my time tweaking text treatments in my favourite graphics program, Create. Cause what really matters to my players is that the font I use on the map looks really cool.

Although truth be told I'm kind of thrilled about the idea of running a game at GenCon with nothing but a few ideas and a couple of maps (with REALLY COOL text on them).

Season Two Over Here, Too



So that's thrilling.

And I've finally found the nerve to jump in and start trying to write something based on Season Two of my old d20 campaign, Barsoom. This one was hard, mainly because the story we made up over the course of that season really became a passionate act of creation for me (I think for all of us, to some degree, but definitely for me). It was hard to carry on with the campaign once that season was over, actually. I'm glad I did, because there were so many ideas I hadn't had time to flesh out and carry through on, but Season Two was something unlike anything I've run before or since. I and the five folks who played through it with me (Athena, Chris, Paul, Blaine and Steph) all collaborated to produce something very strange and, for me anyway, very important. It was a real honour (not to mention a challenge) working with them episode after episode.

Story Hour writing is a unique art form -- very short episodes and quick action with long meandering story lines. I'm pretty proud of some of the work I've done in this form -- I think the Kung-Fu Angels stories are among the best writing I've done. So I wanted to take what I've learned writing this form and try and push myself to create a really polished, solid Story Hour that was worthy of the creative process we all went through to create Season Two.

But I'm lazy.

And I'm basically terrified of actually admitting anything is important to me. Especially the art I create -- I'm the king of "Oh, I just tossed that off. It's no big deal. Just goofing around." Steph kind of called me on that recently and when I look at the passion she put into her film and the high standards she sets for herself for the novel she's working on, I have to say that I feel like I'm not really pushing myself. I'm not challenging myself.

Not that I HAVE to. I could easily go on, just goofing around. After all, I HAVE a full-time gig already that's fun and challenging and immensely stressful. Maybe writing and stuff should just be relaxing-type fun for me. A chance to goof around.

But honestly, I think I burn off more stress if my passion is engaged in something. Because when it's not, there's always that little voice at the back of my head saying, "You could be doing more than this. You'll never know how good you really could be because you're afraid to find out how much you suck."

So no holds barred. No more excuses. Because if I'm going to be honest with myself, that's what a lackadaisacal, casual attitude is all about -- providing myself with a bulletproof excuse that I can always trot out to explain away any failure, any limitations, any lack of brilliance.

Why would I want to do that? Much more fun to make a fool of myself trying to write a Story Hour based on a role-playing game as though it were honest-to-god literature that might actually connect with people and make them feel something.