Challenge Meme Responses

A quick post covering the initial four suggestions I received.

wrote: “Maybe spiritual stuff from you would be a nice change.”

That’s a hard one, because I’m not really doing much spiritually right now.

There was a period a couple of years back when I really re-awakened to my faith (pagan, for those who don’t know), and I derived a renewed sense of community from it. The events of the past year shook that somewhat. The cancer situation turned me inward (somewhat necessarily, in my opinion), and that was followed by a year where some of my relationships within that community changed drastically, and not for the better.

Right now, I’m in a good place, but it is a fairly solitary one, spiritually-speaking. How that will sort itself out in the end, who knows.

wrote: “Hows about some retrospectives on what drove you to get into the gaming industry?”

Whereas it is true that I haven’t blogged about this per se, it’s a common question that I get in interviews, so that’s why I haven’t gone into it much here. Briefly, though:

I owe it all to a few of friends of mine, Matt Harrop (formerly of EpitaphStudios, and Event Horizon Productions), Aaron Rosenberg (Freelancer for tons of people, author of a bunch of novels) and John Phythyon (ex-EHP head, also formerly of Guardians of Order).

We all met in college (University of Kansas) at the gaming club (KUGAR)–after playing in several campaigns together for a couple of years, Matt is the one that convinced me that we should publish the game that we were working on (a sci-fi game called PERIPHERY). I wouldn’t have seen it through to the end, if it wasn’t for him standing behind me and pushing me forward, and Aaron providing his skills to compliment mine — additional design work, and graphic layout chops.

After getting material into print, that really got my foot in the door of the industry. Hanging out at the conventions, I met the people I needed to know (it’s not a big secret, but connections are important — especially when you’re looking for freelance work, advice, or introductions to other connections, ya know?) and beforeI knew it, I was in the industry.

Still, PERIPHERY didn’t light up the sky, and freelance work is nice, but not particularly lucrative — I probably would’ve eventually just sort of faded out of the industry if it wasn’t for my other friend, John Phythyon, who founded Event Horizon Productions, and asked me on board. That experience was what got me into everything for good.

“I know more about the contents of your ipod than your domicile. Describe it a little, please!”

I live with and my oldest daughter in a town house that’s too small for all of our stuff. I spend most of my time in my office, which features three 6-foot high bookshelves packed to the breaking point, a vintage 1930s oak secretary’s desk (upon which sits my iMac), and a futon (in couch mode — largely for the use of the dog, who sits there while “we’re” working).

“How about the most positive, joyful moments in your life.”

I could naturally describe the usual suspects: My wedding day, the days that my kids were born — but in all honesty, as anyone who has been through such days knows, they’re not wholly positive or joyful, because you’re stressing out for quite a bit of the time. In retrospect, those days are meaningful and positive because of that meaning, rather than for the experience itself.

Instead, I’ll describe one of my clearest memories of my teenage years, which I think of as one of my Perfect Days. The last day of Sophomore year–May 24th, 1985.

During our Chemistry final, my best friend David and I hear from another good friend, Mike, that he had spotted the new FASA Doctor Who RPG at Clint’s Games and Comics the previous afternoon. Since David and I were anxiously waiting for that release (perhaps the understatement of the decade), we fought the urge to smack Mike in the head for not mentioning it sooner, and got to a phone immediately after the test. David called his parents, who agreed to pick us up after school and take us to the store. A second call, to the store, placed two copies of the game behind the counter, waiting for us.

At the end of the school day, David and I waded through ankle-deep piles of discarded paper and school supplies which filled the school’s hallways. The brain-dead, overindulged children of privelege who made up the bulk of our school’s population had “cleaned” their lockers by simply dumping the contents into the hallways. Unopened packs of looseleaf and graph paper, unused since their purchase at the beginning of the year…binders, pens and pencils…in short, gamer-supply paradise. We grabbed some stuff (including a denim-covered binder which I used for years afterward for my campaign notes), and met his folks out in the parking lot.

We drove to the mall, picked up the Doctor Who games, and made immediate plans to get together to begin play that summer (which we did — and would return to throughout the years). David and his parents then dropped me at home, where I read the rulebooks until later that evening, when I went to see the premiere of the new James Bond movie, A View to a Kill with some other friends (Rob and Jerry, among others).

For whatever reason, that one day is crystal clear in my mind. Every second of it. It’s not particularly eventful, as other days have been. I think about it now as one of my happiest days, and a snap shot of an entire period of my life. A day spent with friends, doing things I enjoy — which is why I guess it’s been burned into my memory.

So there ya go.

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