I have been struggling for the last year or more to find a purpose for this page, other than just practicing my keyboard (non-)skills. I follow several writer blog sites on social media and most are focused, not just the ramblings of a struggling newbie, which are what my posts look like to me when I go back and look at them. That in and of itself might not be a bad thing, but does a bitch-blog really accomplish anything? Other than to satisfy a writer’s ego that is. And is that what I really want in my blog?
So, I have been doing a little (OK, a lot of) soul-searching while on this blogging hiatus. Not that I haven’t been writing, mind you, I just haven’t been writing anything I consider blog-worthy.
I have had several ideas rolling through my head, but I can’t seem to pin anything down that sticks. Well, a couple of ideas have bubbled to the surface, but they are so far removed from each other, that I’m not sure how to blend them.
The first of my ideas has to do with the fact that I am on the cusp of retirement—in a country that cares little for you once your usefulness to the system has passed (that’s your parents and grandparents I’m talking about for all you young whippersnappers out there 😉). Officially, I have a handful of years left working for my Corporate Masters. Unofficially, they could decide at any moment that my talents are no longer desired.
I could blog about one writer’s journey as she ends another career and moves into the next phase of life. I don’t know whether that would be interesting to anyone but me and a handful of people close to me. And do I really want to let everyone into my psyche as I go through a difficult time of life for anyone, let alone someone who doesn’t always handle change well? Good question. I have never been good at directly sharing the celestial spirit who lives inside this earthly shell. Which leads to my second idea for blog-worthy ramblings.
First, though, I have a confession to make.
Hello, my name is JJ, and I am a Dungeons & Dragons-a-holic.
I started playing back in 1984 while on deployment to the Far East. Someone in my division had the core set of books and a set of dice, and everyone had a pad of paper and a pencil. Even better, our division had a space big enough to spread out and play. So began the journey into my imagination.
If you can’t tell where this is leading, let me spell it out.
The second blog topic running around my brain is my D&D-based fantasy world. How did I build it? Who are the main characters? What continental intrigue keeps the factions at war—or peace? Who are the principles that make the world go ‘round? How do the little people survive?
Since my military days, a part of my brain has been building the continent of Adara. In fact, I drew a map, started a novel, and got all the way to chapter six before … SQUIRREL! (I think I have a little ADHD going on, too, that doesn’t help me stay focused.) The main character in that story is a half-elf named Meegan Redoak. She is the child of seduction, hated by and exiled from the elves because of her human heritage, hated and feared by humans for her elven heritage. I have continued Meegan’s story over time, but it is not yet complete.
In the many years that have passed since those early D&D days, I have set up scenarios for my kiddos, and now their kiddos. As the Family Game Master, I am teaching a second and third generation of children how to play my favorite hobby and teaching my kids how to be Game Masters themselves.
As I read through what I’ve written here, my brain keeps trying to figure out a way to blend the two topics—retirement and D&D—as they are at the forefront of my writings these days. I have more story ideas running through my head than I can count, not all of them located on the Adaran continent. One of my stories is set in a parallel now, with all the political and economic uncertainty we read about in the news, but with a twist. Right now, these are the characters that yell at me the loudest.
And for me, it’s usually all about the characters. The characters tell me their story, but it’s a little disconcerting when the characters tell me their stories, but won’t tell me their names, as is happening with my loudest characters right now. Only one of those characters has given me a name (Leo Morgan), the other two are holding out on me for some reason. And I think I’m a little afraid to tell that story, to be honest. As the author, I know what is going to happen, and I am not sure I’m ready for that depth of raw emotion just yet.
Some of my D&D projects include building stories from twenty-something years of gaming notebooks—both with my kiddos when they were younger (and now with their kiddos), and with an adult group that has gotten together once a year when I visit my youngest during the holidays. We play once or twice while I visit, usually half the night since most of the players work in the restaurant industry. Eventually, we kept a campaign going that I just wrapped up because my kiddo is moving closer to where I live, and chances are I won’t travel during that holiday much anymore—we’ll see.
So, here I sit, wondering where to go. I have plenty of ideas, scattered from here to Adara to Eberron to the Forgotten Realms and back again. I have characters from all worlds knocking at my conscience wanting equal time. A Paladin is trying to keep a man from turning evil all while searching for a dead Goddess; a Wizard whose soul was magically captured in a crystal is then released into the resurrected body of a distant relative years in her future; and a young Rogue is flung through the Astral Plane and deposited on another world—as a cleric to a goddess about whom she knows nothing.
Then there is Leo and his friends. This is a novel that started as a class assignment for a college class many years ago. The script started as a dream not long after I moved to a new state, a good five years before college. This dream stuck with me, the more dream-like elements taking on less importance as I wrote it out. I always felt there was more to this story, and it turns out there was. I just needed more information, more experience, more world events, and the intervening years have provided the background and rich detail that was lacking since I experienced such a vivid dream.
As you can see, I have plenty of ideas. Procrastination is my worst enemy, but then again, isn’t it for most people? My resolution for the new year is to pay more attention to my “retirement career” before I actually retire.
Season’s Greetings, Blessed Yule, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year to one and all.