Friday, February 22, 2013

Get Your Geek On! Oh, And Write Too.

One of my favourite past-times, aside from writing speculative fiction, is playing table-top war games.  Warhammer 40k was the first one that caught my attention, back in grade 7 when one of my classmates brought in his older brother’s White Dwarf magazines.  White Dwarf is a Games Workshop publication for all their games, Warhammer 40k inclusive.  I saw the pictures and read the army descriptors and the various units and fell in love.
Not until years later did I get into the game.  Other game systems joined my repertoire of table-top gaming, now dwindled back down to just my 40k armies.  The cost of the game in terms of cash for the models and time to paint the miniatures certainly curtails how much I get to play, but I still game as much as I can.

The odd thing is how much my wife accuses me of being a closet gamer.  Frankly I consider myself a closet geek.  Being an officer in the military certainly doesn’t lend itself to bragging rights over playing games involving little painted plastic models, or writing thus far unpublished speculative fiction for that matter (aren’t I the optimist).  On that vein, it seems that a lot of writers keep their passion a secret, tucked away and reduced to when their friends or colleagues aren’t around.  Described as such, it almost sounds like an addiction.
Getting together with other gamers certainly lets me get my geek on; no pressure, same interests, etc.  The people certainly vary, in age, employment, income, you name it.  Great, now I’ve made my gaming group sound like a rehab session; group therapy for the gaming afflicted.  Living with a major military base nearby does draw more than its fair share of military personnel into the hobby.  There is a gaming club on base, primarily for tabletop gaming, which I unfortunately can’t participate in due to timings and distance.  The local gaming store is the only real venue, which includes a number of the base club players as well; I can say with certainty that I am one of the few officers that shows up to play.
I was more than a little surprised by the recent email and phone call from another captain that used to work in my Branch, asking whether I played Warhammer 40k.  The cryptic email was worded almost in code, or certainly would have looked that way to the uninitiated.  We talked and I discovered someone else with the same passion for tabletop gaming.
Then I wondered about how this reflects on my writing hobby.  Not everyone is open about this little part of their lives, almost embarrassed or afraid how others would react – especially so when you ask them to read your work, or they themselves ask.  What will be their reaction?  Will they enjoy it?  Will they hate it?  Agents and publishers are strangers, phantoms unknown at the other end of an email address that make a yes or (typically) no judgement.  When dealing with friends and family, things somehow seem more personal. 
I’ve never allowed anyone to read my fantasy manuscript, largely because it was far from finished, let alone polished.  Now that I’ve completed the final draft, I’ve started sending bits and pieces off to be reviewed, to see where it stands.  It’s soon off to either finding a beta reader or through the rounds with agents and publishers.  This leads me to wonder, how many others out there have closeted their ambitions to being a published author from friends and family?  Is it something you keep hushed away?
NB:  For the sake of clarity, I don’t want anyone to think I have minimized the trials of those with addiction.  In my position I am privy to the sometimes sordid and wretched results this may cause.  I would also like to applaud those who have beaten their particular ‘dragon’ or continue to fight their personal battles.

NB 2:  I feel I must make a statement about the recent and, in my personal opinion, atrocious handling of the whole 'Space Marine' is a trademarked term for book and e-book publications.  As you can imagine, most any reasonable person, typically a concept used in the basis for legal decisions, would find any credence to GW's claim.  I don't think they have a leg to stand on and am absolutely thrilled to see Amazon re-offer the book that caused the kerfuffle. 

No comments:

Post a Comment