Why I blog – venture into my mind!

Well it is Saturday again and I am sat in my favourite local Costa about to write another blog post and, as the caffeine kicks in and I brush the crumbs off my lap from the toast (had to suffer brown toast today – it was very nice although I’m not sure of the reaction it will have on me!), I start to write a blog post on a completely different topic to this one and started to think – why am I doing this! It didn’t take me long to reach the answer because I have known for quite a while why I write this and my other blogs. So, rather than talking about what I was going to, I’ve decided to write about why I write and enjoy it so much.

I was trying to remember how many blogs I have actually started off and then forgotten about. In the days of Acorn Electrons (a computer, not an electronic plant) I actually did type in from scratch a wordprocessor into my computer so that I could actually write. Sadly, when I went to save it on a cassette (no floppies in those days!) I forgot to wind the tape on that little bit to avoid the ‘blank’ part and lost the start of the program and therefore everything else. It actually had taken me a whole day to type in and I wasn’t going to start again. This was probably my first attempt at a blog and after that I have have numerous wordpress.com and blogger blogs all of which have eventually met their demise. However this one, and my professional one, appear to be going stronger than the rest and I put this down to finding out why I am writing and my little niche.

  • Animate Dead – I actually started to write a long time ago when I was playing AD&D with a group of great people. I had decided to produce a magazine or fanzine after seeing the name being used frequently in magazines I was reading. I set about using my mum’s typewriter, some plain white paper and several sheets of carbon paper, and produced a magazine which featured character spotlights from the campaign we were playing, new rules, updates to the rules and, by favourite part, a piece of fiction. I enjoyed putting the whole magazine together, but my favourite part was writing the fiction. I’m not sure now what it was about, or the characters it involved (I’ll have to find a copy and publish it here if you want) but I do remember enjoying writing it week after week. I was completely engrossed with every aspect of Animate Dead and often wish I had become a magazine editor. I would never recognise myself as a creative person, but I do have loads of ideas rattling around in my head and writing them down in some form of story provides them with a small gap to escape. So one of the reasons I really like to write is actually that – providing an opportunity for my creative ideas to seep out. I know they are not great, but for me it prevents them clogging up my brain – believe me, there is very little room in there to start off with so there is definitely no room for clutter!

  • Communicating – I was trying to think, what goes through my mind when I am writing. After some thought it became obvious, it is a conversation. You might not agree, and if you don’t then that’s find, but I feel that I have a certain style when I am writing my blog posts. I have often tried to identify what style this and I have come to the decision that it is what I call a communication style of writing. I know the punctuation and syntax is not always correct, but I try to write a blog post as if I am having a chat with you. Often there are side lines and digression within the post and this is how my brain functions if I am talking to people as well. I feel like, as I write this, that I am chatting to you. It is kind of a one way conversation with only me talking, but this is fine for me. There are often topics and thoughts I have that I don’t really have anyone else to talk to about and so, they appear here. Just like the creative thoughts having to escape, here are my thoughts about topics that I would like to discuss with people and, with the absence of anyone around, then I write them down. It is quite refreshing actually, because it does allow you to clarify your point of view or just to get things off your chest. It is almost as if this blog has become a vehicle and I can just tell it anything and then it has gone. Like many people I do come on and look at the stats of the posts, but recently I am becoming less and less interested in these numbers. We often have visions of grandeur when we start new projects and I have recognised that I’m not ever going to be a huge blogger sensation, so as long as as my mum clicks on the link once or twice, then I am happy.

  • Writing a book – Slightly off the topic of why I write, I am currently reading Jennifer Saunders autobiography “Bonkers: My Life in Laughs”. As you are aware I don’t really read books but I am listening to it as I walk into work and I have suddenly been aware that I am suddenly literally ‘LOLing’ (Laughing out Loud) as I listen to Jennifer’s (or should I say Fer’s) narration. When I am listening to a book, I am completely absorbed by the narrative and I enjoy being immersed with the story. The same is actually the same when I am writing. Even when I am writing this part of the blog, my mind is blissfully unaware of my surroundings and my brain is generating words and ideas as I type. It is as if I have found some sort of peaceful place, without the meditation or Omming. Listening to Jennifer’s book makes me realise how much I would like to write both a work of fiction and my autobiography. This is not because I want to make thousands and live the life of a millionaire (although it would be nice not to have to work) but more because I want to sit and write and write and write. I want to wake up and go back to the world within my blog or writing. A world which is almost a world of a day dream where literally anything can happen with a press of a few keys. I often say to people whether they actually know me as a person or the person I want them to see. Through this blog are you actually encountering a persona which I would like to portray almost like an actor on a stage. While collecting ideas for my life story, I have started to come up with ideas for titles and one actually focuses on not what actually happened but more what might have been – “My life in Daydreams”. I quite like the title, although I am sure it has already been used before, but I think this would almost be a much better novel than my own rather drab life to date.

  • Okay, to coin a phrase from a famous Spice Girl’s song – “Stop right now!” I realise that I might have gone off the initial topic and might have just lead you down a wandering path through a quagmire of waffle, but I did say that I was planning to talk about something completely different today, so now you can see what happens when I deviate from my planned work or routine. I’m going to subtle bring this blog post to a close now, and let you go, while I finish off my dregs of coffee before heading off back to the real world. Hope you enjoyed our little chat and it was lovely having a coffee with you.

    So as you leave I would just like to say have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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