Woz All Dis?
"There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on." -Robert Byrne
I need to develop good writing habits. A few years ago I made a career change and was thrilled it meant I could stop writing. I felt like I had set down a burden I'd been lugging around with me for years. I was crippled by it; weighed down by expectation and guilt. And my new career filled me with joy. Weightless. Nourished. Every day, eager to get in to work. I love my job and feel very fortunate that I get to do it. But in the corner of my mind, in a blindspot I constructed specially, I began to make lists. Nothing serious, just lists: interesting names, a calendar system, a religious structure, rough geography. Sketches really, doodles, in the margins of my life. Notes on a fantasy novel I would never write.
Running alongside that distraction - or, on top of it - is my love for fantasy fiction and role-playing games, and boardgames, and the need I have to talk about those things, to be absorbed, to get inside them and examine all their little moving parts. I have read fantasy books just for the weather. The Godless World trilogy, by Brian Ruckley, is a series I was ambivalent about but still burned through, just because it contains so much snow and rain and rocks and wind. I might have a disorder. Perhaps there is some medication I could take.
So, I thought I could serve a few of my needs by mounting a blog on which I would write about the fantasy books I'm reading, the boardgames my bride and I are playing, and the role-playing games that are stopping me from making my work deadlines. And at the same time, get back in the habit of writing again. I hesitate to call these word experiments reviews because a) The Internets are already full of critics and reviewers, both capable and otherwise, and b) It's all so bloody subjective, and who do I think I am to pronounce this or that book good or bad. Just because I thought the story smelled like a gerbil's armpit doesn't mean it won't work for someone else. So I'm not going to do that. No ratings. No stars. I'm going to write about the elements that interest me most. Which means I might spend all my time writing about the weather, or the Milanese plate, or the broken windlass on the crossbow, or the character I cannot get out of my head, even though we only met her for five pages, or Quick Ben talking to Pearl up on the rooftop in Darujhistan. Whatever draws my interest. I'm aiming for a tone that is more conversational than critical.
Imagine you've just eaten, night has fallen and it's raining out but you can see warm, yellow light in the windows of The Crooked Crow, and you fancy that's the sound of laughter, so you button and take a walk up the hill. The tavern is maybe half-full and smoky, and I'm sitting with a few others in good chairs pulled close around the big, flagstone fireplace. You hang your coat, gesture to Kvothe for a pint of his best bitter, and come over to join us. A window shutter is rattling and we can hear the rain dancing on the roof and running down the eavestrough. As you settle you nod to Isthmus, the cooper, getting her yellow pipe going, and Calleach, the Blue Jacket, finishing a plate of rabbit stew and wiping his mouth on the shoulder of his surcoat. Kvothe drops off your pint and pats your arm before moving away to collect some empties from a nearby table. You take a long pull on your ale, savouring the rich, hoppy flavour. You pull out your tobacco pouch. What are we talking about tonight?
What would you like to talk about?