A reader and friend recently inquired if I was discouraged from posting to the blog based on the how the IMech discussion went. I was somewhat dumbstruck. Let's establish first that nothing could be further from the truth, in the event that there are others out there with similar notions. As for the difference of opinion in how to go about the IMech, that's been more than adequately addressed here. For my part, I'm still working on my own solution to the IMech and plan to post about it when I have a post's worth of material and results to share. But that's not really what I wanted to write about. The question set me on a path of inquiry, and I apologize in advance for the lack of actual game-related content to follow. Why am I blogging at all? Here's what I came up with, in no particular order:
1) Narcissism: Anybody starting one of these has a narcissistic streak. One would have to admire their own thoughts on something before he or she could presume somebody else would as well, yes? There are also the additional and related benefits of seeking and obtaining approval and validation and increasing one's relative importance, I suppose, but if those things motivate me they seem at least to be secondary concerns. Primarily I'm here because I like what I have to say. I don't see narcissism as a problem, really, provided that one's faults are balanced by more admirable qualities. I hope to offer more then just over-indulgent navel gazing to anybody stopping in, and that's admirable in its way, yes? (Ah, there I go seeking validation)
2) I Think About the Game Constantly: I do. I even blogged about this recently. My hope is to capture some of what goes through my head every day for posterity's sake. Why should posterity care? It doesn't. See narcissism above. There's an added benefit to writing your thoughts down and making them public, however. Given the implied scrutiny a potential reader will bring to bear you need to be a more vigilant editor when examining your own bullshit. It's easy to be a genius after a glass or two of wine, blathering on about agency in RPGs to your unlucky friends and family. Write that brilliance down and invite other people to come and shit on it, I say. Perhaps there's a buried sense of masochism at work here as well. I've always felt all artists are secretly masochists, and I have at times aspired to be an artist.
3) I Want to be a Better DM: Reading an abundance of fine gaming blog content has given me no shortage of things to consider. My interest in them began with a desire to be better at the craft of DMing. Writing a blog is in many ways simply an extension of that.
4) It's a Writing Project: I don't want my life's body of work to begin and end with what I did for a living. So I'm taking Oprah Winfrey's fine advice and finding my passion and pursuing that. This amounts, essentially, to writing. I've written music and lyrics, and now essays for no other reason than to have them and see them commented upon. I'm working my way up to short stories or perhaps a graphic novel . The end goal is to have conceived and completed a novel before I'm dead. To be a novelist. Yes, I'd like to be a novelist. This blog is part of that process.
I have no illusions regarding acclaim, fame and fortune in this pursuit. I also have shared this with only a handful of people. I'm doing it because in some ways I have to and I regret not having done it sooner. I feel like time has been wasted, never to be regained. The sands are running out and all of that mid-life crisis stuff. Writing this down here, publicly if still largely anonymously, might help me overcome my tendency to think grand thoughts and not pursue them due variably to complacency, fear and an avalanche of more mundane concerns.
As an aside, its long been my suspicion that the DMing ranks are lousy with frustrated writers. What other reason for the tendency to think of the game's structure and execution more in terms of storytelling media (books, movies, etc...) than as a game.
5) I'm Not Here to Sell You Anything: I make a good enough living that I don't want or need to turn my primary hobby into another means of generating income. I'm not here to begrudge any that do want to make a buck off of gaming. I do wish some of them would shill less and go back to doing what made their blogs so great in the first place, but I suppose if the milk is free nobody will buy the cow. Or something.
6) I Want to Do My Part: I believe there is a community of like-minded people out there, and whatever differences I may have with them are secondary to the common interest we have in sitting around a table and rolling dice. No stark revelation here, I know. This so-called OSR seems to just get bigger and bigger. Whether or not it will sustain itself is another matter, and that's what I'm driving at. For this to amount to something greater than nostalgia or a niche of a niche then its participants need to continue to challenge one another with new ideas, methods, mechanics, and what have you. There needs to always be new blood. It needs to not be managed or constrained by some commercial entity, be it WoTC or Goblinoid Games (I'm accusing neither of any such desires, by the way) but by the talents and interests of its participants. I want to do more than just cheer and jeer from the cheap seats, so here I am.
So in closing, let me just say that based on all of the above I will go through stretches of time where I won't post anything here. It won't be due to lack of interest, or hurt feelings on having been disagreed with... but probably lack of having something meaningful to say. I'm both pretty thick-skinned and reasonably even-keeled and surrounded in my professional and personal life with bright, dynamic, bull-headed, explosive, opinionated, and sometimes outlandish people. This OSR blog shit is a breeze by comparison. Also, I typically won't inflict the sort of self-examination preceding this paragraph on the burgeoning readership that I recognize and appreciate now having.