Not only in a creative sense but in a real, honest-to-goodness friendship sense. I have gotten to speak with them by phone, in person at conventions, and every now and then I receive responses to my posts via Facebook Messenger, text, email, or other means more personal than a comment at the end of an entry.
Just yesterday I received such a message from WQRobb of the blog 'Graph Paper Games' (which he should totally get back too). Rob, who is a good person the likes of which our modern world doesn't have nearly enough of, read my previous post and had this to say...
"Just read your last post. I have thoughts on the matter.
So in the last year there has been a lot of reporting and conversation among clergypersons regarding our emotional (and spiritual) responses to the pandemic and the subsequent quarantine. While all of us are struggling with isolation, loss, and depression, the response of clergypersons has been even beyond the pale. A surprising percentage of clergy have even had suicidal ideations.
The reason: we are not only experiencing the normal absence of social interaction but we are also not getting the emotional validation from our congregants and furthermore, we are not living our vocation in a normative fashion. And most of us have a very close personal identification with our vocation.
So even though I go to work every day and work very, very hard, to find some way to continue to minister to my parish, it doesn't feel like I'm doing anything. I feel like a fraud or a failure, or...like I'm just filling in.
So even though you are gaming a lot, you're not doing it the way you have done it since you were a child, you're not getting all the emotional payout from it, and really, being a gamer, especially a GM, is a huge part of you being you."
Wow. Is that not 'Wow'? I think it's pretty darn Wow.
To sum up, even though I am gaming, I am not gaming the way I game. I am not doing it in the ways, means, approach, and application that it took me 44 years to develop. No matter how much effort and energy I put into it, it is going to feel off, second-rate, or at the very least less than optimal.
Knowing this though...helps.
It means, to me at least, a little of the self-applied pressure is off.
It's no longer, 'Why aren't I doing this as well as I know I can?'. It's being OK with, 'This is the best I can do given this situation." Instead of being frustrated that I can't seem to paint another Mona Lisa, I can look down at the crayons on my table, realize all I have is crayons so what was I expecting, and just enjoy making the best drawing I can with what I've got.
That said, I think my next games going forward, at least until we meet in-person again, are going to be shorter 'art pieces' instead of longer 'blockbuster' campaigns. If the art-pieces turn into campaigns 'cause everyone involved loves them so be it, but it isn't the intended goal. I want to experiment more. My best outing so far during this pandemic was far and away the Red Dwarf / Yellow Sun game because I tried different approaches and took creative chances. I want and need more of that.
Thanks Rob and thank you readers for indulging me.