Coming out Geek

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Labels are strange things. While sometimes we place them on ourselves, just as often they’re placed on us unwittingly by others. You don’t have to let them do it; you don’t have to accept their tags. But you usually do, because even if the label is wrong, it’s still descriptive, and lets you know who you are, and who you’re not.

The problem is, when we choose to live with the wrong label so long we forget it’s the wrong label, we end up totally bent. See, you learn early on cool is important. Cool means no beatings, or if you do get some, its with large people there to back you up. Not cool is bad, in some places very bad, and pain is not cool. So when the kid you always liked to talk Star Wars with in elementary school gets dropped in a dumpster, you keep your head down, because dumpsters are not cool. And now there is a gap.

Then you play basketball, because cool kids play sports, and when basketball is over you do what basketball players do…generally act like idiots and rip off tear-away pants in front of girls…rather than play Magic: the Gathering with people you actually have common interest with. Magic, I hear, is pretty cool. I don’t know, as I’ve never played, because it’s not cool, and the distinction is important. And the gap widens.

Then you go to college and major in important things that will get you a good job and high paying career, instead of taking the creative writing and drama classes you’d like to, because what kind of money can you make doing that? (caveat: if what your geek self wanted to take was computer science, you are golden, alas that wasn’t me) You go to parties with cool shallow idiots and do cool shallow idiotic things with them to impress other shallow idiotic people you don’t even like. The other guys have parties too, but they usually consist of talking about ideas and dreams and the future and other things that aren’t cool. Beer is cool. Keg stands are cool. Ideas? Not cool.

Then you graduate, and you are now an adult. Adults MUST be cool. Cool hair, cool clothes, cool car, cool job. If you can wear sneakers to it, it’s not a real job, at least according to the cool book. (This is less true in 2013, but that’s because of something I’ll discuss later.) So you find a job where you can wear a tie, sit at your desk and be adult. You make adult phone calls. You sit through adult meetings. You work adult hours. And every minute you are looking at how to be first, get promoted, get a new office, get a better title and never once do you stop and wonder why you hate every second of it.

The answer is simple. You aren’t cool. You are a geek in repression.

Certain things take top billing in our society. In some circles it seems almost a trend to be counter-cultural, even if your not. The cool thing being the uncool thing makes my head hurt. I know a guy who swears he’s bisexual, even though he doesn’t find men attractive, and never has. He has a VERY large support group. I have no support group.

Being a recovering alcoholic or drug addict is cool, if you are white and famous. You can get away with ANYTHING and just say it was a relapse. If you are anything but white and famous, it’s not cool, which seems like total bull to me. It makes me almost want to go to rehab so I can have an excuse. But I’m not famous, so it wouldn’t work. There is no rehab for Mass Effect withdrawal.

What do you do when the deep dark pit of your soul holds the one thing all cool/adult/important people most strongly attempt to deny? What do you do when your dark secret place holds such sick and twisted fantasies you are ashamed to reveal them, even to yourself?

I suppose you try to carjack one of those 12 step programs, so here goes:

Step 1 – admit our addiction, and that it has become unmanageable.

  • I want to be a Barbarian in a table top RPG. I want to roll dice and know what all those pips and symbols mean. But I’ve never played one, or known anyone who would admit to such a past time. Or maybe I have, but coward that I am, I’ve never asked.
  • I want to stay up until 3 am making Monty Python jokes while drinking Red Bull and playing Settlers of Catan. But I don’t. I go out with professional people and have important conversations about important professional things, then watch Will Wheaton do it on Geek & Sundry in the bathroom with the door closed on my iPhone.
  • I want to go to Comic Con and squee, just a little, and without guilt, when I see Patrick Rothfuss and his legendary beard.
  • I want to dress up like  Star Wars cannon fodder and laugh when Princess Leia asks me, “aren’t you a little fat to be a storm trooper?”

But I don’t do any of these things, so I suppose I’ve already crashed the 12 step car. I can’t even recover correctly.

I’ve spent 20 years with the wrong label, and picked up many cool habits that aren’t cool. They are hard to break. Worse, they label me as a class traitor. There is a big market for cool people pretending to be geeks, and even though geeks have a lifetime of experience and should know better, they fall for it. When the uber-hot girl on Youtube dresses up like Hello Kitty and plays Call of Duty via webcam, its not for the love of the game. I’m sure their are true geek beauties out there, but come on guys, if you can GM your D&D gaming group, then you’re smart enough to see that marketing strategy a mile away. Comic Con used to be for geeks, now its for corporations trying to get a piece of the geeks, because in 2013, the geeks have the cash.

Yes, that’s right. Comic Con didn’t get cool because the world realized geek was good. It got cool because of all the 15 year old socially awkward programmers who turned their personal shame into multi-billion dollar industries. The geeks are the ones with the bank now, and so we have a fleet of slave girl Leia’s and Lara Croft’s who look good in their metal and spandex. 15 years ago…not so much.

Outside of the mainstream geek culture (I can’t believe I just wrote that), there is  a geek counter culture, but its very tight knit, as you’d expect. They tear their hair at the blasphemous reinterpretation of their beloved comics. They bemoan the rise of the vlogs full of gaming advice from good-looking people who don’t even play the games they are touting. They stop going to E3, because it’s too expensive, and they know whats going to come out weeks in advance from all the leaks. And they are VERY, VERY exclusive. They assume outsiders are there to mock and ridicule, because…well…they usually are. I’ve walked into the comic shop by my house several times, and each time I’ve felt like every eye was on me. Conversations die when they see the tie.

So I’m out. I will no longer deny the way God made me. I’m a geek…but a lonely one.

So I read books and have nobody to discuss them with. I play RPG’s, but never on multi-player. I watch awesome videos that I never share. I got excited when I realized Felicia Day and I had the same birthday, but told no one. When I inevitably reach an unbearable point of social isolation, and can no longer stand it, I suppose I’ll have a super bowl party. I’ll invite all the guys from my basketball league. There will be beer. That usually works.

Because I’m too cool to be a geek, and too geek to ever feel cool.

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The Switch

Today, I got the call. The call every parent fears: “Meet me at the hospital.” We live busy lives and get bogged in the mire of our busyness. It’s nobody’s fault, the little kicks life gives you pile up until the fact there are no paper towels in the bathroom becomes a big deal.

And then you get the call, and suddenly you go all binary. Is he in serious danger (yes/no)? Do I need to get to you (yes/no)? Do we have someone who can watch our girls (yes/no)? Is he in serious pain (yes/no)? Can I get there fast (yes/no)? Is that fast enough (yes/no)? Is there someone I need to kill for this (yes/no)? Do I have enough ammunition (yes/no)? It goes on.

I call this mindset ‘the switch’. Pro athletes and military veterans talk about being ‘in the zone’ where everything gets quiet, and you are able to do things you never thought possible. The world goes in slow motion and you can truly see and think, as opposed to just react. The switch is not like that.

I had a train set as a kid. My dad and I had a blast driving around the engine, loading and unloading the cars, and flipping the levers to move the train smoothly from one track to another. It’s not like that either.

The switch is the antithesis of the zone. When you flip the switch, suddenly everything is moving at triple speed and you are standing knee deep in mud. The world blurs. You can’t think about anything except your boy going to the hospital, and you needing to be there.

The switch isn’t like going from one track to another, calmly rerouting and moving forward. Its jumping the train right off the rails and plowing straight at a nitroglycerin plant.

Suddenly, the client wailing isn’t the worst part of your day. It’s the wails of your 6 year old when the doctor tries to straighten his mangled arm.

Suddenly, the pain in your gut from losing that account is nothing compared to the pain in your gut as you are politely asked to leave, so the nurse can make sure you didn’t cause his screams of pain.

Suddenly, the stack of unpaid bills no longer weighs down your heart, but you are curious as to how many stuffed animals you can load on his bed without them falling off.

Suddenly, the “guys night” your wife has begged you to forgo ad nauseum is forgotten so you can kneel by his side until he falls asleep.

The switch is a sudden and dramatic reallocation of priorites, followed by a near super-human ability to focus on a single objective. Binary. 1 or zero. Yes or No. If you make my boy cry, I will end you, mercilessly, without hesitation, thought, or remorse. Do not stand in my way. If you make my boy well, I will give you my kidneys. Both of them. I don’t care. Each tear is a bullet. Each smile a salve.

I don’t know if as a single 20-something I would have understood the switch. Back then, I was the most important thing in my world, to my great detriment. Your switch can’t flip unless there is someone in your world whose well-being you hold in significantly higher regard than your own. There is less of that in this world than you imagine. The rush it fills you with is the most gut-wrenching narcotic you could ever be exposed to. It’s high is skin crawling nausia.

My son was playing video games with his sisters today on the Wii. Upon his dramatic victory, he performed an obligatory victory dance where he spun wildly in circles. So wildly that he cracked his arm on the furniture and broke his ulna. That information I learned later. It wasn’t a part of the call.

In that context, its a rather funny story. He was in pain for several hours, that part wasn’t fun. But 5 minutes after the splint was set, I was able to get a laugh out of him. By the time we got to the car, he was jockying for a happy meal. Now he’s excited about picking out his cast color. Yet for about 2 hours today, I was running through a mine field, my boy in my arms, as he cried to make the hurt stop. Making that happen was the only thing that mattered. My boy smiling again was all that mattered. Binary. 1 and zero. Yes or No.

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It’s unfortunate that it took a broken arm to remind me of that. The clients are going to complain. The bills are going to pile up. Life is going to get heavy. We’ll find our nerves, our patience, and our attitude all on edge. When it happens, and its going to happen sooner than you expect, remember the switch. Everything will hit the fan, and things will get blurry while becoming a lot clearer; the switch is in that place. That place in between where you find the ‘other’ kind of love you didn’t know you had, the kind that doesn’t sell movies or make tabloid headlines. The greeks called it agape, the love unconditional; free and undeserved. We give it without expectation for its return. It’s a gift that can only be recieved.

Don’t let the switch be the only catalyst that activates your unconditional love.

Love your kids when they drive you nuts. Love your spouse when they can’t stand to look at you. Love you mom when she makes you feel small. Love you Dad even if he breaks another promise. Love your sister when she makes you look bad. Love your brother, because nobody else will.

Love them when they let you down. Love them when they don’t love you. In fact, love them when they hate you, then in particular. Love them in their faults. Love them BECAUSE of their faults. Love them for who they are, not for who you want them to be. Love them as they curse your loving them. Love them while they are here, because you never know when they won’t be. Love them from the center to the edges, and everywhere between.

Love them, because you CAN.

I sat at my sons bedside tonight, and remembered I was supposed to teach him to throw a baseball. In particular, how to do so in the manly way us neanderthals aspire to. We’d talked about it, he’d asked more than once, but I was always busy with something that, in the moment, seemed more important. “We’ll do it next weekend,” was the answer.

As I gazed at his arm, splinted and broken, I thought, “What could possibly have been more important than being with my boy?”

I don’t have a good answer.

Why we tell Stories

That movie was terrible…”

We’ve all done this. The next blockbuster comes out in film, print or television. Our anticipation rises as we wait for the release, enthusiastically invest in the experience, then walk away thinking, “I could do better than that” when our expectations don’t match reality. Delusions of grandeur are common amongst critics, and if you are alive, you are a critic.

The thing about critics is that they don’t bring anything new to the world. Either they acknowledge the value of anothers creation, or attempt to diminish it. Few among us ever attempt to create, and of those who do, most of what they create is…well…crap.

While there are many ‘writer’ jobs in media, public relations, etc. most of them aren’t creating something new. They are giving what they see scope. Highlighting part and shading the other. Bringing forward what was hidden. There are many who do this exceptionally well, but this kind of writing is more construction than art. (There are of course exceptions). They bring us outrage and joy, excitement and disgust, but always in response to how reality has either triumphed or failed. It’s still criticism.

But to create a world in your mind, to imagine a different kind of reality, and then through the medium of ink and paper (or pixels, I suppose) to implant that world into the mind of another is tantamount to magic. Many attempt it, few succeed.

It’s hard to be a writer. It’s very hard to be a good writer. It’s exceptionally hard to be a great writer. Of that tiny minority of greatness, most will never crack the surface of public consciousness. For every J.K. Rowling or Stephen King, there are thousands of others who had great vision but, because of timing or connection or a hundred other roadblocks, stumble along in obscurity. To steal a line from Montgomery Scott, becoming a published author is akin to trying to hit a bullet with a smaller bullet, whilst wearing a blindfold, riding a horse . Of that microscopic portion, the number of published writers that can afford to live off their words are smaller still.

So why do they do it? Why do they spend days and weeks and months crafting a brave new world, then attempt to ensnare others into it?

Because we were made to create.

We explore the edges of our world, swim the deeps, reach to the stars and attempt to find the key to eternal life. We build taller buildings, smarter computers, safer airplanes.

And we tell stories. All stories are a part of the same story, but some pieces of that story are stories in themselves. We weave from what’s past and the future yet to come. We imagine what could have been, what never was and what might someday be. Sometimes we learn from their mistakes. Sometimes they give us ideas on how to make new ones.

But they always bring us together. When words on a page become the thoughts of the diaspora, we feel connected.

Despite technology allowing communication beyond anything our forefathers envisioned, most people still feel alone. A story can help connect the contractor in Dallas to the accountant in Toronto, and for those brief moments, make them brothers. A story can help the terrified child forget the unfamiliar bed and strange monitors around him, for a time. A story can help us all believe magic is real, good will triumph over evil, and anything is possible…

So we tell stories. Most will never be published. Few of those will ever cross your path. But when you pick up that next novel, or poem, or short story and it makes you feel something new and strange, terrifying or wonderful, remember the imagining that created it is only the barest hint of that which created you.

Writing is hard. But so is living. So keep seeking out new stories, and perhaps in searching you’ll find one of your own.

Pots and Kettles…

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In light of what is a very big supreme court ruling, I want to get something out that has been bothering me for a while. Regardless of which side of the ‘marriage’ issue you fall on, it saddens me that we now live in a country where people cannot hold different views respectfully without turning to hate speech and name calling.

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Those who support traditional marriage seem to think that the ‘legalization’ of what gay couples have been doing all along will somehow rip a hole in the universe and turn everyone’s kids gay. They have a religious BELIEF that they feel they need to LEGISLATE onto others who may not hold the same belief. That is wrong. Its not about corruption of marriage. Its about guilt and control. They want the PEOPLE who choose to live as openly gay to be FORCED to be legally reminded of all the people who think they are wrong every time they fill out a medical form or do their taxes.

Westboro Baptist Church members protest at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia

Those who support gay marriage seem to think if you don’t agree with them, then you hate them and wish they were all stoned to death in the street. They say that everyone should have the right to love who they want. Don’t they have that already? I don’t know of anyone breaking into the homes of gay couples and pulling them apart to be sent to labor camps. Its not about the right to love, its about legitimacy. They want the PEOPLE who don’t agree with their lifestyle to be FORCED to both allow AND accept it as legitimate, regardless of their beliefs. Its about ACCEPTANCE, not love.

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I personally think going out and getting hammered every night of the week is an absolutely horrible thing for you to do. But if you chose to do that, and don’t get in a car, or beat someone up, or pee in my yard, then you should be able to, regardless of my opinion. You are destroying yourself, true, but what you are doing is deemed legal, its your choice to do so, and so it should be protected.

Yet if I’m your friend, I think I would also have an obligation to tell you what I think you are doing is destructive. I may not be able to stop you from doing it. But it would be loving you to tell you to stop…hate would be letting you continue. I may be wrong, and excessive drinking is paramount to good health, but that’s a question of understanding, not intention. I don’t know when the word ‘no’ turned into ‘I hate you’, but if that’s the case, my kids must think I despise them. You can disagree with what someone does, and still love them. In fact I would argue its a greater sign of love then letting them do whatever they want.

To be clear, I’m not comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. Rather, I’m saying if we let drunks act like idiots, and even occasionally give them reality shows, then I think the universe will survive if we let gay couples share an insurance plan.

Religious belief should never be forced upon others, no matter how well meaning, and no matter what the religion. Its the difference between democracy and despotism. Intelligent people can have opposing views based in reality, especially on social issues. I may believe you are wrong. I may even KNOW with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY your wrong. But you have the right to be wrong.

Everyone seems to forget that.

The God of the Bible made strong statements on this topic. Anyone who argues against that isn’t interpreting honestly. Yet the Bible also heaps greater condemnation on those who sided with the law over loving people. Jesus didn’t convert through force, rather He forgave everyone who asked for it, and didn’t condemn those who were seen as doing ‘wrong’. That said, He also didn’t say, “keep doing what your doing, its cool.” He said, “Go, and sin no more”.

Everyone seems to forget that too.

For what its worth…

“Where I successfully offend everyone” OR “Why Newton’s Law is unfair and therefore can be ignored” OR “Why you have never had a compassionate thought”

Long ago when alarms where more of guidelines than rules and the rising cost of my health insurance never crossed my mind, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion. It made for interesting discussion groups and a deep appreciation for the strongly held beliefs that prompt both groups to see the other like Grover Dill from “A Christmas Story”… the stupid thug who attacks unprovoked and without cause. In the end Ralphie crushed Grover in a profanity laced fury, shattering his fragile persona and ending his hold over the neighborhood. I can understand the pull of doing that.

Recently, I stumbled upon David McRaney’s fantastically insightful blog youarenotsosmart.com . In digging the archives, I found an article about the illusion of Asymmetric Insight and how, while most people think that they respect the point of view of others, in practice we almost unilaterally do the exact opposite. In nearly every situation, from reading the news to talking to a friend or co-worker, you spend significantly more time considering information you disagree with than  information you accept.

“Great”, you say, “Insightful even.” “What does this have to do with physics and a persons political leaning”, you ask. Or maybe you’ve already stopped reading and moved on to TMZ, in which case the rest of this would be beyond you anyway (Zing!).

My point is, that because people generally spend less time thinking of their own views and more coming up with ways of proving wrong those who disagree, that liberal thinkers no longer believe in physics and conservatives are unsympathetic jerks.

A bit of a jump? Yeah, probably, but follow me here. Anyone who has taken high school physics should know Newton’s Laws of motion. There are 3, and while all make for great conversations over foie grae at your next Mensa dinner party, the third is the one I am referencing:

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction

The Third Law means that all forces are interactions between different bodies,and thus that there is no such thing as a unidirectional force or a force that acts on only one body. Whenever a first body exerts a force F on a second body, the second body exerts a force −F on the first body. F and −F are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.

Put very simply: a force acts between a pair of objects, and not on a single object. So each and every force has two ends.

“Great”, you say. “Thanks for reminding me of Junior year when what’s her name sat next to me and made it impossible to pay attention”, you say. “Your welcome”, I say…but I’m not done. No matter your political persuasion, it is my opinion (highly educated, insightful, well backed by statistics, but opinion nonetheless) that most people don’t understand the true reason behind why they lean one way over the other. I am about to drop some transcendental insight on you so get your pens ready.

Are you ready?

Every political, social, religious, military, and economic opinion you hold is based on your answer to this question:

Should every action result in the reciprocal consequence ?

Think I’m wrong? Look at your most deeply held beliefs. Abortion. The War on Terror. Welfare. Sin. Taxes. Fundamentally, your answer to the above question is a fairly accurate bellweather to your feelings on all these issues.

Biologically, sex results in pregnancy. It’s SUPPOSED to. You shouldn’t be surprised. But if you aren’t ‘ready’, for a baby, but really like sex, should you have to deal with the consequence and have the ‘unwanted’ baby? Aren’t you saving it a miserable life by ending it?

People are trying to kill me. They hate me and everything I stand for. Should I react to defend myself or try to make myself less antagonizing to them?

Certain aspects of my nature is looked at as negative by my culture. Should I change myself to match the societies norms or should the society accept my ‘rebellion’ as a natural progression?

In every culture in history, there have been have’s and have nots. Is it better to try to spread everything around to make things even regardless of actions, or allow some to suffer through no fault of their own?

I worked hard and made more money than you. Since I have more resources, I automatically PAY more than you, but should I carry more of the load percentage wise as well since I have greater resources?

Your answers to all these questions, as well as your opinion on how I WORDED the questions all come back to the ultimate question. In my observation, people who lean liberal feel you should not have to ‘pay’ for everything you do. Those of conservative leaning think you should pay for everything, with extreme prejudice, sometimes even for something you DIDN’T do.

Most poor children are not poor by choice. They didn’t CHOOSE for their parents to drop out of school, use drugs, have a one night stand, or even to simply be born less capable than others resulting in fewer opportunities. Yet the CONSEQUENCE of not graduating top of your class, going to a great college and getting a high paying job is that you are poor. Why should I have to pay for you?

Men and women in service to our country have died in places they had never heard of fighting an adversary they rarely see. While September 11th unified us for a time, we haven’t seen any attacks like that since then, so why are our soldiers still fighting and dying? Is it because there is no more enemy, or simply those soldiers deaths have resulted in the saving of my hundreds over in attacks they’ve stopped in advance?

I’m not here to give you the answer. I just humbly request that you occasionally stop and think about WHY you so adamantly oppose…whoever you oppose. Why do I spend my time coming up with ways to prove they are wrong? And, of course, do I believe Newtons laws define how things should be, or simply how things are?

Just because something is unfair, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

The Formless Void

For children, stories are real. The seperation of imagination and reality is thin, and because of that glorious truth, anything is possible. I love telling my kids stories. When they were young, it was reading to them at bedtime: Pat the Bunny, Good Night Moon, The Velveteen Rabbit and countless others. They knew the stories – they could repeat it to you verbatim if you asked – but wanted to hear them again and again regardless. As parents we lovingly obliged them.

As they all do, my kids got older. As they did, the stories changed, but – to my great joy – the imagination remained. One night while on vacation, my little gustapo wanted a story for bedtime and we had none. Now, the window where kids actually want to be with their parents is pretty short…and soon I knew I’d be the one chasing them for quality time. So, not wanting to fail them and excelerate my fate, we created a story on the fly… a kind of mad lib where whenever I reached a climax the kids took turns deciding the hero’s fate. I then had to weave that into something inteligible.

Hilarity ensued.

Ever since, we’ve played a rendition of the game.  Not every night, but often. Most days I drive the munchkins to school, and if one of them prompts the conversation, we come up with a plan. Each of my three give me one thing to think about: a character, plot or a setting, that I must use to come up with the story of the evening. Sometimes the components make sense together, most times they intentionally pick the most random conglamoration of details imaginable. The resulting tales are rarely coherent, but  always entertaining.

My wife is a teacher, and she encouraged me to write some of these stories down, for posterity if nothing else…a documentation of my monkeys childhood. I always smiled, nodded and immediately relegated the suggestion to the ‘my wife loves me’ file. The stories were fun in the moment, but that would not readily translate. That was until one random Wednesday, when the combination was one I actually wanted to write. I am an insatiable reader, and can see a limping plot line a mile off. This was not limping, it was flying. I wanted to see where it would go.

All day, while my fingers and mouth rattled on about client needs and sales targets, my mind was elsewhere…looking for twists, imagining character bios, looking for conflict. Sales meetings are ideal for this type of mentally detached behavior. I found myself excited in a way I hadn’t been since the first time I walked into Narnia. I was charged by the unanticipated excitement, and it only grew as the story took shape. I poured myself into it, skipping luch in order to concoct clever quips for my newly beloved heroes, knowing in my soul that this was what I was meant to do. It was a Walden moment.

I waited for bedtime, bubbling over with anticipation to share my creation with my children. I waxed eloquent, performing dialogue in the voices I imagined for the players, acting out the fights, and crying out for joy when the hero rose in triumph. It was glorious…

My kids hated it.

They didn’t SAY they hated it…they are far too well trained by their mother for that. But the exuberance and laughter we normally experienced was distinctly absent. I didn’t understand… how could they love the random mutterings I normally blathered, and not this finely crafted masterpiece?

I eventually saw the problem. Before, and for most nights, it was THEIR story…I was just telling it. Tonight, it was mine. (That, and the character arc was more suited for a 25 year old than the collection of single digits I had). In my zealotry, I made it into a story for me.

Despite that failure, I learned something important that night. I love telling stories. That was always true regarding the consumption of stories, thanks to a pair of persistent parents who tried everything on me until Louis L’Amour made me want to be a Sackett. But for the first time I discovered I might have a story of my own, in a world others might want to visit. I’m not sure if I’m delusional…or rather, I know I’m delusional, but not sure if its true regarding this. Time will tell.

So now I have a new challenge: to figure out how to turn our night time game into a vocation. Molding a time, a place, and a hero to see if they can become something more than words on a page. The formless void will be my outlet on the process. I’ll talk about the journey, add observations on the process, as well as any other random mutterings that cross my cortex. I may never become a ‘real’ writer, may never create anything worth reading, may never be published. In fact, the odds are around 1000 to 1 against.  But the value of any endeavor can’t be based solely on its commercial appeal, with the exception of reality television. At least that’s what my guidance counselor told me.

In short, I now have a collection of formless stories rattling around inside my head. I’ll try to get them out. Maybe someday you’ll read one.

In the Beginning…

In the beginning, a story lived in my head. The story was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the plot line…but the spirit of creativity hovered over the keyboard.

Then I said, “Let there be character development!” And there was character development. And the characters had depth and quirks and made bad decisions and made good mistakes and suddenly I actually cared what happened to them.

And I said that having people with flaws who weren’t predictable and did interesting things is way better than that crap I wrote the first time, and it was good.

So I divided the protagonist from the antagonists and called the protagonist, “The guy who didn’t know what was going on most the time”, and called the antagonist, “that pompous jackhole with delusions of grandeur.”

And that was the first draft…