Monday, July 11, 2011


I do not have a bad opinion of doubt. I think doubt has been a factor in the movement of history. I have grown to appreciate doubt more and more and, at the same time, to distrust those companeros who only offer certainty. They seem too much like the wooden men which the Popol Vuh in Mayan mythology describes as one of the mistakes the gods made when they attempted to create man and didn't know how to construct him and finally they made him out of corn and he came out alright. But one of those attempts consisted of creating him out of wood.

The wooden man was just like a man except that no blood ran through his veins; he had no spirit or courage and didn't speak a word. I believe he had nothing to say because he had no courage and therefore was never discouraged. The proof that one has courage lies in the fact that one can be discouraged. 

And the proof that one can arrive at certainties that are truly capable of transforming reality lies in the ability to entertain fertile doubts before arriving at certainty; doubts that buzz around in one's head, one's conscience, one's heart, in the imagination, like tenacious flies. We need neither fear doubt nor discouragement: they are the proof that our endeavors are human. 
--Eduardo Galeano

Warning: wool gathering ahead, if you want more of the game-oriented post, hop back over to yesterday's contest or wait around for the next post—after I have exorcised a few inner demons.

This started as a reply to Limpey's well-written comment here about why he felt like he needed to pull the plug on Aldeboran. A comment he sadly deleted a few moments ago. I then noticed that Alexis today has had some grappling with the “why continue” question (though of an entirely different flavor) and I gave into the urge to lay down the other posts I have been working on for a few more minutes.

I understand too well the cost/benefit dilemma around closing up shop. I understand because I have those moments where the doubts buzz like flies too. Where the volume on the self-talk gets so loud that its hard to hear anything else. Where the perennial, check-in question “why blog?” on an occasion becomes less of an affirmation.

I have to admit that I have had at least a few deeply questioning moments in the last three months too--mostly on the days when real-life goals and activity just seem to large to warrant this blog sideline. Where the ledger book just seems too lopsided in the red for something ostensibly a leisure activity.

Where the simple, direct, immediate pay-off of running my tabletop game, seems much more the point of it all then the thinking, dreaming, and writing about such activity. (And yes, yesterday, the 2nd anniversary of the San Antonio HC campaign did indeed rock.)

Taking issue with my over-emphasis on escapism in our gaming the other day, DH Boggs said here that, “escapism, while a very real feature/attraction of fictional worlds, is not the only, and perhaps not even the major compulsion. Fictional worlds are dreams, and like dreams, they allow us to recycle our thoughts, push our boundaries, 'practice' our ideas, and reach toward experiences we hope will round us, grow us, satisfy us. and entertain us all at once.”

Though I didn't say as much at the time, it was well put and pointed to why the thinking and dreaming are worthy of pushing through the doubts and discouragement. Our dreams can be worth struggling through and for. 

Worth pushing aside the detractors both external—and closer to home. Worth spending months pounding keys or plugging away at a personal project; or worth just reaching out and finding like-minded people to sit around a table and roll funny dice with.  


  1. I'm still waiting to read a draft of the domain game, so you can't quit now!

  2. @Brad

    I took the day off so I can finish it up enough to send over to you sooner rather than later, so at least I believe my own b.s.

  3. Like most creative endeavors, I think people ought to keep going because that's what they want to do.

    It's nice to be part of a community of a sorts--to exchange ideas with others and do get feedback on your own, but I think mostly you gotta have that feeling that something (whatever your something may be) just needs to be said, and that stuff is the gravy (because it some ways that gravy is easier to get in other ways).

    I suppose there might be a kind of arrogance to that--but then nobody forces anybody to go to their blog.

  4. Hm, for a cake eater, you're alright ;)!

  5. I gotta say Chris, while I appreciate the thoughts and the underlying sentiment something continues to puzzle me in the current discussion, and not just your part in it. I see an implicit "all or nothing" approach when it comes to the current existential blogging crisis. My view is if you're just not feeling it or the ledger you mention is too far in the red, or somebody has made it personal and you just want to walk away... take a break and walk away. Come back when you're ready. There's a healthy midpoint between blogging everyday and shutting the whole damn thing down, is there not?

  6. @James C
    I cut the post by half, way too much lengthy navel-gazing on my part in this last week.

    But in it I advocate, like I did with the previous post, for taking a break for a short or long period over just shutting it down.

    I am actually jabbering in this one about giving up on your projects in general, not just the blog.

    Blah, blah, blah. Now I return to writing about things a little less poofed up.

  7. I forgot to add that my own doubts have nothing to do with outside detractors--a lot more to do with just not thinking that it's worth doing a blog and written gaming projects compared to other things in my life.

  8. Maybe you need to introduce more fiction/fantasy to your day job like others in the field, Chris; to provide an outlet for that and kill two birds with one stone? ;)

    Anyone who indulges in creative ventures without doubt is asking for more serious disappointment further down the line. Not always an easy balancing act.
    (n.b. focusing on "creation" rather than "escapism", since it's far easier to switch off the brain and "escape" into others' prefactored realities than it is to "create" - or even to mix - afresh; whether on an individual or a shared basis...).

    > Worth spending months pounding keys or plugging away at a personal project; or worth just reaching out and finding like-minded people to sit around a table and roll funny dice with.

    Hell, yes. It's a surefire way to avoid becoming a multimillionaire and having to deal with all the problems that entails. :)

    Cheers & Best wishes, as ever (+ thanks for sharing),

  9. Just a crackpot's two cents:

    * It's probably better to see this all from a CB Radio perspective - we broadcast material. Posts that 'hit the mark' with a lot of readers (should they visit) aren't as likely to spur comment as something that would ignite conflict. I think that's why we see so many '+1' or 'Like' buttons trying to elicit quick feedback. It's in Google's best interest to establish as much linkage between content and readers as possible (targeted ads are the future, for them). In a very real sense, we are the real product that makes Google's business run. From this perspective, in a way the best thing that can be done is to take your content down and give it a rest.

    * It seems to be regular posting that's the real bear. Sometimes (hell, some months), you just don't feel like writing.

    * As far as the recent YDIS 'wave', I'm pretty disappointed in WordPress' inaction on certain issues. I'm not for blog services playing 'cop', but an anonymous blogger using words like 'faggot' merited a complaint (in my opinion). I was informed by WordPress support that while they can tag a blog as 'mature' for language, they have nothing to do with content. So, unless a legal line is crossed regarding their Terms of Service, nothing will be done. Blog services are concerned with getting 'asses in seats', and don't really care about verifying a real identity for a user account.

    * I believe that a lot of the 'crap' that surfaces isn't really a blog problem - it's residue from 'forum culture' that simply will not die out. It persists and is still cultivated for one reason or another, is Edition agnostic, and probably has always attracted those who enjoy an argument.

    * The social networking wave may not seem like a strike to online anonymity, but I predict you'll see more of the true 'walled garden' model take over and slowly migrate users over to having real identities behind their accounts. The era of the anonymous keyboard commando will probably come within the next decade or so, if not sooner.

    @ckutalik: I salute you for your choice of quote for this post!

  10. for what it's worth, I think yours is one of the best blogs in the business. Thanks for all the interesting content, the range of your interests, and the thoughtful moments.