Of roleplaying, writing and failures of motivation.

It’s slowly starting to get cold again. NaNoWriMo is approaching. The Group¹ will be starting another game shortly, based around a Star Wars homage to Firefly.

NaNoWriMo has consistently served to remind me that writing 50,000 words is an achievable goal in a month’s time. It also reminds me that I’m a slacker, because I write words all fucking day, but haven’t done so in a way that produces results. Last year’s event was a complete non-issue for me, but last year was spent in the throes of relationship woes, so *all* writing was a non-issue at the time. This year, I’m going to give it an honest shot. Success is a great way to get the stink off of things.

The problem? No fucking clue what I’d write about. None whatsoever. I normally have a shitload of ideas and a lack of motivation. It’s quite possibly the opposite this year, though laziness is a constant X-factor.

The game will likely help. I’m good with tabletop games, because most of the world has already been built, and there is generally a path that has been laid to follow. When it comes to characterization, I generally do pretty okay in creating a compelling meatbag, and allowing their virtual psyche to run amok in the sandbox.

Self-propelled projects are a different story. I was once able to churn out words like fucking kudzu, generating stories that were huge, despite being pure crap. As I’ve gotten older, my characterization and storytelling abilities have started to mature, seemingly at the expense of my formerly bottomless drive to produce. This has put me in a position where I tend to shine when playing in someone else’s world, but pound my head on the desk repeatedly when it comes to writing out my own stories.

The older I get, the more comfortable I am with the hypothesis that I work much better as part of a team. Honestly, I think NaNoWriMo is going to be my last hurrah for personal storytelling; I really just want to be able to say that I fucking did it, with the added benefit of having forced myself to get used to writing every single day for a month. Producing a Great Work of my own seems of little importance these days; right now, I really just want to be a productive part of something.

In order to properly embrace that, however, I really fucking need to stop dropping projects. The laziness is powerful in me, and I suspect that it’s a product of both ADHD and Depression, both of which have gone untreated my entire adult life. Creative bursts of inspiration are no longer enough to put me in front of the keys; fuck, they’re barely enough to get me to pull Notepad up and document the base idea of the inspiration, and even then, it’s 50/50.

Though my laziness primarily affects me, it also affects others on a fair number of occasions. There are a number of group projects that have suffered from inaction or blame-shifting on my part. The first that comes to mind is Colin’s educational-comic project, which he’s commissioned my writing abilities for. The second is a group script for a Star Wars fan film/series spearheaded by Ryan and a colleague of his; the premise was an interesting homage to BSG, and an opportunity to tell a great story in a universe that so often lacks them. There are plenty others that I can’t think of; that alone is indicative of an ongoing problem.

Going further, I’ve been dying to GM my own game for ages. I’ve run plenty of collaborative stories before, which required only my knowledge of power dynamics and social interaction. Since being introduced to internet-adapted tabletop gaming, I’ve been champing at the bit to get familiar with a gaming system and throw a bunch of my favorite players in the mix. To that end, I’ve been brewing a story off and on for a few years, and am finally in a position to make that story a reality. Some of the regulars are reportedly excited about getting involved with it, which really should make *me* excited to get it started.

But it doesn’t. It just brings up feelings of inadequacy. Furthermore, I can’t seem to get myself to jot down more than a few ideas every week. They’re sitting in Notepad, just congealing. I keep thinking that with enough ideas in there, the story will just suddenly explode in my brain, and I’ll be off like a race horse. It’s becoming rapidly apparent, however, that I’m only fucking around and picking at it. It’s like some sort of “bare minimum” that I’ve established for myself, and it’s getting me nowhere. I know the fuckin’ story, I know the Bigs of what I want to accomplish, and I know enough about the surroundings and the theme that I can likely deal with the player-generated Smalls without compromising the overarching goal/reveal. All I need to do, really, is craft a general outline of characters, locations and events for the first chapter of the game; the rest will come as the story unfolds. It doesn’t strike me as difficult; indeed, it really isn’t difficult at all. The difficult part is getting myself to sit still for long enough, without getting distracted or giving up out of fear.

As mentioned earlier, there are people interested in playing the game. According to Kt, there are people *excited* about the game, herself included. The longer I wait to get it finished and running, the more I run the risk of the game becoming overhyped and not living up to expectations, or worse yet, losing the players’ interest altogether. Time to get my shit in gear.

As an aside, there really are times I regret not going to college and getting myself on a career track; I could really use the psychiatric medical coverage right now. Then again, this really has served to be the shittiest year of my entire life up to this point, and I say that with no hyperbole attached. Maybe some of this is both allowed and expected of me right now. Regardless, I know that people have expectations of me, or want me to prove to them that they should *continue* to have expectations of me. Shit, *I* have expectations of myself, and more delusions of grandeur than I can shake a dick at. I know I have potential. I know other people see it in me. For once, I’d really like to start living up to that. Maybe then, I can start seriously positioning myself to be a professional creative force.

While we’re on the subject of shittiest years ever. One of these days, very soon, I’m going to start writing about my last relationship. It lasted four years, and the fallout has largely ruin the bulk of 2010 for me. As each day passes, the out-and-out depression bouts have lessened. Eventually, I’d like to get the point where I can make a conscious decision to either ignore the depression by doing something productive, or to productively wallow in the memories with the intention of learning something beneficial about myself and the experience. Right now, however, I’m still fairly rudderless; the only thing that’s improved is my ability to hide it.

Fair warning: I really don’t think it’s going to be interesting content; relationship drama rarely is, when it doesn’t somehow involve you or characters you’re familiar with. I just really don’t know what else to do with it, and I can’t continue to let it tear my head apart. For the two or three readers who might run into it, feel free to gloss over when it happens; I’ll make a point to avoid doing it every day.

Anyway. Small starts. NaNoWriMo², the game, and then rekindling old projects and making up for lost time. I know that I can complete NaNoWriMo; the question is whether or not I’ll lose the drive and ignore it.

Less than a month away. I guess we’ll find out.

1. The Group consists of the people I most typically play internet-adapted tabletop games with, and can contain any combination of Ryan, Kt, Cody and Colin, as well as the rarer instance of Brad and Erin. Despite being regulars in the general hangout, Fras, Ross, Dan and Chris don’t make my list, as I’ve only played with each of them in one game. Hopefully that changes, because they’re all great players in their own way.
2. I kind of find it humorous that, at this point in my life, I consider NaNoWriMo to be a small start. I remember when it used to seem like a completely insurmountable challenge. Then again, it’s likely that my cockiness will give way to the former opinion once I actually get started. ;)
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Of filler, jazz and alcohol.

It’s likely that I’ll keep with the threes. They’re attractive as fuck to me; to most people, I bet. It’s 7am on a Sunday; slept for four hours, woke up at 2am, and have been burning it since. Generally, I go to the garage or the porch, have a smoke, and decide that it’s time for me to do something productive. It’s a nightly ritual that rarely results in product.

So this morning, rather than marinate in my own unrealized ideas, I decided to fuck with something tangible. There are things I wanted to change around on this blog; the theme being the most important, followed by a decent, non-irritating widget to integrate the music I listen to while writing.

So, experimenting with a Grooveshark widget. Grooveshark is an awesome little site; I’m falling in love with it more and more each day. Not that I don’t appreciate the horizon-expanding Pandora (which has introduced me to a number of artists that I otherwise might have never listened to), but when I’m writing, I tend to circulate through music that I know and trust. My ability to focus on something for more than a half hour is already hard enough to deal with; writing a blog post while trying to decide whether or not I like the new music I’m hearing is just kinda stupid. Grooveshark is a reasonably quick method of finding exactly the songs I want, and tends to have all of the crap that I need at any given moment.

I went with the TwentyTen theme; the newer version of WordPress’ default choices. Not bad so far; not a fan of the default header image (likely disabled, or replaced by now with something awesome), but the overall aesthetic is nice, outweighing the minor nitpicks I have with it. The functionality isn’t so much an issue for me; if this blog ever gets enough posts to require categorization, I’ll eat my fucking hat. Once that’s done digesting, I’ll steal Ryan’s theme.

As far as the music choices go, I’ve noticed over the years that I tend to gravitate towards R&B or Jazz choices while I write. Almost always with hints of eroticism, almost always with some sort of smooth, meandering backdrop. My music taste is eclectic; I don’t so much subscribe to whole genres as I do to the individual merit of songs. That said, I tend to listen to a fuckload more Jazz and R&B than I do, say, Country or Celtic. Recently (within the past two years or so), I’ve developed a taste for downbeat/downtempo; in fitting with my self-imposed label of “Human Quaalude”, this seems to be more or less appropriate with my generally calm demeanor. More importantly, it extracts the words without so much pain as is generally involved with pulling teeth.

Alcohol. Welp. I’m still drinking it.

Maybe something more substantial and literary-fictiony this evening. Peace.

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Of Estranged Ex-Fiancees, Child Killing and Plagiarism.

This blog isn’t starting from the most stable position; I’m not particularly interested in writing every day, every week, or even every month. Every so often, there is a compulsion in me to do something serious, and document this seriousness so that I might one day point and say “See, this was the process, and it was arduous and creative” as I smoke Shermans’ from my plantation mansion’s wraparound balcony.

Megalomania just ain’t any sort of fun without the proper military backing.

So, structure. We start with…

Extranged Ex-Fiancees

Generally, I like to single out one or two very close friends, and use them as my garbage dump during rough emotional times. Howevah, even now that I’m mostly over the worst of the fallout, my ex-fiancee still remains on my mind daily; I might as well get it out, if only to provide some tangential insight into why a lot of what I’m doing is tinted dark. Additionally, I’d prefer that this blog remain one of the few places in my life that I can be completely candid and honest.

Uncontrollable Vitriol: That cheating cunt tore me apart for months, repeatedly promising to change and then turning around to fuck around behind my back again. The cycle repeated for what seemed like forever, and I bought into it every single time. When it was finally over, it ended in such a way that left me feeling like an empty shell of who I once was. My creativity was fairly shot. I didn’t have any self esteem to speak of. I was broken enough to believe that I was irreparable, and fucked up enough to still want her back.

I guess part of finally starting this blog is to show myself that I can move past that, and can do something worth a shit. Logically, I know I can; I’m able to meta the fuck out of this whole situation. It’s funny, though, how self-actualization doesn’t seem to help a single fuckin’ bit in matters of the heart. The one nice thing about this whole situation is that it helps to reaffirm that I’m really not a fucking sociopath.

So anyway. Creativity leads to…

Child Killing

Months ago, I tried to start a game based around the Innocents book from World of Darkness. Usual suspects, people whose writing I respected. It didn’t pan out, mostly due to time restrictions. Recently, however, I’ve been putting it back together, writing up the major plot points, building the world and the major characters, and getting fairly excited about it all. Though the theme of Innocents will remain, the system used will be Primetime Adventures, something that was recently introduced to me by the Gaggle of Gamers in the surrounding Boston area. It’ll be a fairly new experience for me, having previously only run games based around mutual writing decisions without mechanics; I have stories to tell, I want the people I value to take a part in them, and the best way to make that happen is to offer an environment that appeases my need for writing-over-gaming, and my friends’ need for something structural.

What better way to hang with your friends than by murdering their fictional bite-sized alter-egos? :D

The game is going to take place at The Del in Coronado, San Diego Area, Southern California, Modern-Day. Being that it involves children, there will likely be a lot of uncomfortable themes explored. If it were up to me, I’d keep it balls-to-the-wall dark, but I know not everyone is so completely desensitized as I’ve become over the years, so I plan to crack at least a joke or two. Additionally, PTA seems to be set up to allow for the players to have a definitive say in what their character gets to do, despite the fact that they don’t always get to decide how they do it.

I think it’ll be fun. But then, I run into the issue of…

Plagiarism

I never really bought the whole “plagiarism as flattery” thing; as such, I’ve had to force myself to try extra-hard in recognizing when I’m paying creative homage, and when I’m just limp-dicking the source material. In the case of Innocents, it gets especially hard due to the fact that I’ve read Stephen King’s “It” a number of times as a kid, and when I think of dark stories involving children, it’s usually the first at-bat on the reference line.

I constantly worry about being an unoriginal fuck. As a youth, I would constantly pass off obscure comedian jokes as my own, steal phrases, clever lines, etc. and use them as a means of being respected for my humor and writing ability. Truthfully? I haven’t written a whole lot of original shit in my life, and often question whether or not I’m quite as cut out for being a writer as I’d like to think I am. Often, I picture myself in the writers’ room of a television series, being paid to be a part of the creative process; I picture well-educated people with flashing wit and a stream of pithy lines, and I feel as though I ought to crumple into the chair because I’ll never be good enough.

I recognize talent when I see it. I know some truly brilliant people, and consider myself insanely lucky to call them my friends. Not to be a complete depressive; I’m sure there’s talent in here somewhere, but I don’t think I’ve ever really acknowledged it, nor do I think I ever will with any degree of honesty.

Fuck. This was a hell of a disjointed mess. Maybe there’ll be more tomorrow, I don’t know.

Here’s what I listened to on youtube throughout composing this:

Janet Jackson – “Rope Burn”

Smooth – “Walking on Space”

Miles Davis Quartet – “My Funny Valentine”

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