Tuesday, September 28, 2021

When the cup is empty, in. When the cup is full, out.

I've had a complicated and largely asocial relationship with the RPGsphere over the last couple years.

Back in the day when the Internet was still marginally fathomable, I sought out and collected interesting images and visual art.  Anything I found eye-catching. 

Eventually there was just so much out there, and I'd get into veritable trances just scrolling and saving, that something snapped, and I simply had to stop actively seeking it out. Kind of an abyss-gazing situation. Image sites almost took on the quality of eldritch horrors I dare not think of peeking at.

Shutting it out was an easy decision, so obviously beneficial to my mental health in retrospect. (It's still true for the most part, with exceptions when I have very specific obsession, like starship interior cutaways.)

And now the OSR/DIY sphere has grown to such breadth and richness that it has taken on the same Dread aspect in my mind.

I long ago discarded the notion of becoming a visual artist, but I still entertain notions of producing game stuff of some value.

So, starting around the time of the pandemic, I’ve basically been completely avoiding RPG Twitter (I post but don’t read), Reddit, etc. or seeking any sort of replacement for G+. To mixed results.

My ideation and project-starting has basically continued unabated, bar the usual low tides. But I haven’t really felt like running games or playtesting anything. Or blogging. 

I think partly because I feel bad about preaching without practice, much less practicing what I preach.

I did manage to create and release something, a meta-reflection on my creative process itself:


aka if brain won't make games, make brains your game

Pro-tip: you can playtest solo games yourself.

And I started Ephemeral Palimpsest to try to get over some of this by letting loose a little, and not holding myself to such a high standard, with zero expectations.

I've also been trying to practice a mantra, put into words that stuck with me by Hankerin Ferinale of Runehammer, as an answer to a question about when to read and when to write:

When the cup is empty, 
When the cup is full, 

Read and consume inspiring things only when my mind is depleted of self-driven inspiration.

When I'm inspired and my mind is on fire, let myself be taken by it, and get it out onto paper (well, Workflowy, if not gDocs). Be comfortable rejecting input.

And when I have the agency, work on refining and polishing existing projects in the hopes of finishing and releasing them. - or, write blog posts to get them out in whatever state I can, instead of gathering dust in my notes unto eternity.

Of course, the times I am most inspired or have the most agency are during unstructured times when I am not more distracted by the pull of other social media or gaming - in other words, during work hours...

In terms of Intake, I've been trying to take construct a kind of drip feed, a controlled stream of content. The things I have been letting through and enjoying: 

  • Knock!
  • the new season of Blogs on Tape
  • Runehammer’s streams about discovering OSE and his Campaign Recaps (starting here, but of course all his stuff is highly entertaining)
  • Skullboy’s module reading and dungeon creation streams
  • And it would be nice to be able to consume the Glatisant in a way that doesn’t expose me to a thousand second-order links. Reading on mobile helps, because it doesn't display sidebars and stuff.

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