The April Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls Event

Yesterday was the first Tuesday of the month.  I have penciled that in for the monthly Magical History Tour event.  Since March of last year, the system I have been exploring has been Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, the most recent edition of the venerable Tunnels & Trolls game.  The first Monday of the month is out because I am busy on Mondays, handing sundry responsibilities.  And stopping into the local coffeehaus for lunch.  😉

I didn’t do much last night.  It was a combination of feeling tired from a long walk and not feeling like playing.  So, I’m going to do what I have done in the past and extend the event over several days.  That way I can keep playing until I satisfy my need for Tunnels & Trolls gameplay.

When I start the event every month, I check the status of each character’s story.  As a running joke I note that my first Tunnels & Trolls character, Basio, is still dead.  He died in August on the blade of Golden Birgir’s cutlass.  Life is cheap and strange on my version of Trollworld.

So, I am preparing to play the second Tunnels & Trolls character I created, Adasen the Goblin Scoundrel.  He is the folk hero (the background from Fifth Edition D & D) of Goblin Lake.  I was stuck for months on what kind of adventure to create for him.  I feel that Trollworld Goblins resemble kappa from Japanese folklore, so I have been using elements from the tales about them.

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On Writing and Responsibility

There was no blog post yesterday because Sunday is traditionally house cleaning day here at Dover Hold.  In addition this past Winter was harder on me than the one before and I have to make an extra push to do Spring Cleaning this year.  So I spent much of the day picking up messes and clutter.  I am a bachelor, so I create messes and clutter just by doing a thing in a room.  😉

Which brings me to a serious point:  Sometimes a creative writer has to do other things before they have the space and time to actually write.  I have found that when my place is cluttered or messy, my mood is poor.  This detracts from my ability to write.  On the opposite tack, when my home is clean and uncluttered, I am more energetic and focused.  Even doing housework for fifteen minutes improves my mood as well.

Why I Read

I read for more than one motive.  I began reading for pleasure at age six.  I had learned to read when I was five.  The first book I read which was not a picture book was Treasure Island by Robert Lois Stephenson.  I still have a soft spot for pirate stories because of that.  I also read to become informed.  After I got kicked out of college, I realized how much I did not know about the wider world.  As a creative writer, I read to find models for my own work.  I had limited myself to science fiction when I was a boy, and then fantasy when I was a teen.  As I have grown older, I have attempted to read more widely, including out of my comfort zone.  I never know when reading something will spark an improvement in my own writing.

#amreading

#amwriting

Update: Creative Content Production

I haven’t been blogging much this month.  I have had my writing energy go in other directions.  I have revved up and continued my “Thelsikar’s Ambition” Pathfinder campaign.  I am continuing to type and write in my private journals.  I have begun cutting and archiving the entries in my computer journal file because Word 2007 can’t handle files over 1000 words long.  Just yesterday I organized, added to and consolidated my fiction files on the hard drive of my current computer.  According to the Properties tab, I have 1.16 Megs of text files in the My Fiction folder.  That’s about half of what I had on my hard drive before the Russian Virus hard drive meltdown of 2006.  Last month I found a cache of old printouts from before the meltdown, so I have begun sorting and filing them into a binder with pockets.  My plan is to manually type them into Word and save them to my current hard drive.

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A Pastiche: The Grayling and Blue Hawk

Sometime in 1980, after I was given an electric typewriter for Christmas, I began not only writing stories longhand, but typing some of them and sharing them with my father.  The first one I was inspired to do was a Fritz Lieber pastiche, based on his Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser characters.  I hadn’t read the first collection in the series, yet, but I had read descriptions of the two characters and their adventures in the first edition of the First Edition AD & D supplement Deities and Demigods.

My creations were called The Grayling and Blue Hawk.  The Grayling was the big barbarian from the far northern lands, of course.  The name has two references.  First of all, he had gray hair, borrowed from the barbarians of The World of Grayhawk, even though he was only in his twenties.  Second, a “grayling” is a rather ordinary salt water fish found in the North Atlantic which has a rainbow stripe of scales on it.  Blue Hawk, was of course named for a color and an animal, like the Mouser.  Blue is one of my favorite colors and I am partial to hawks, when it comes to birds.  I used to watch them when a rare single one would fly over the house.

The actual story wasn’t much of a standout.  It was a typical adventure for two Fafhrd and Mouser type characters, a fetch quest.  They agreed to retrieve a magical artifact for a wizard.  It was held by an evil cult, of course.  They crossed as fantasy continent I had cooked up for the story, nearly killed their horses by riding them so hard and eventually ended up in far southern lands where the cult had their weird, forbidding temple.  You know, the usual stuff for swashbuckling adventurers.  Like Lieber, I added humorous touches to some of the scenes.  The final confrontation was of course epic, dramatic and violent, with several cultists being cut down when they charged the mock heroic pair in attempt to stop the theft of the artifact.

I didn’t write gory details, even then.  That was mostly because I modeled my writing on the pulp fiction I read, starting in the late Seventies.  The pulps from the Twenties onward had to be restrained in what they wrote, or the parents of the kids who read their magazines would wrathfully get them shut down.  For some reason, the neo-pulp writers of the Seventies also follow that convention.

The ending was weak.  The pair get whisked off by a wizard-ex-machina teleport spell to the wizard’s home, back in their home city.  They get their reward for delivering the artifact.  I don’t remember clearly what it was.  I think it was an appropriate reward for swashbuckling heroes as written by someone in their late teens.

On Remembering and Forgetting

One of the most important things I think a person can do is remember.  That is why I started my journal in college.  At first, I had things to do which I needed to be reminded of.  Then I learned things I didn’t want to forget.

I think the worst curse I can say to someone, after “May you live in interesting times” is “I will forget you.  I will forget what you have done”.  Within the past year, I have been doing some more close reading about the written work of several authors and about their lives.  There are some writers whose work I feel is so foul, or worse, their actions while alive were so vile, that I feel they deserve to be forgotten.  The worst thing you can do to someone who leaves a creative legacy is forget them and their efforts.

Reviews of Omission

I have some more thoughts about what I am willing to read and review.  I am generally not indifferent to what I read.  Reading is one of the few engaging activities I have where I can safely indulge a feeling of passion.  I either truly like something or I develop a loathing for it, after I have read it.  That sometimes applies to content creators as well.  I do not separate the art from the artist.  It has been my experience and observation for the past thirty-five years that if a content creator is unethical, or worse, morally corrupt, their work reflects that.  I have decided that I won’t post a negative review of a creative effort here unless I have some informational or educational point to make.  I also refuse to engage in analysis of the sundry content creators I have learned of over the decades since the early Eighties whose behavior available in the public record is of the clearly morally repugnant sort.  That kind of analysis would be a hit piece or character assassination at best or an actionable ad hominum attack at worst.  That is not the purpose of this blog.  I have fewer limitations when reviewing a book on Goodreads, but I am still constrained by policy from posting a personal attack on an author.

Which brings me to the topic of this post.  If you fail to see a review of a work by a content creator who had been or has been active since the early Eighties, then the conditions outline above mostly likely apply.  The exceptions to this are a whole laundry list of authors and their works available on my Goodreads “to read” list.  I am insatiably curious and am willing to give a content creator a shot if I can’t find a review of their work which warns me off.

That reminds me.  It might be useful or even helpful if I make my Goodreads lists available to the general public.  I might have to tinker with the permission on my Goodreads profile, too.  Ah well, I don’t have anything else better to do this morning after I publish this piece.  😉