So let's start things off tonight with a couple good pieces of book news. Firstly, my hometown comic shop Stadium Comics (which, it's worth mentioning, is owned and operated by two of the nicest, most down-to-earth individuals I've had the pleasure of working with) is the latest to be added to the list of shops that carry The Summerlark Elf. If you live in Brampton, be sure to swing by pick a copy up, and pick up some comics while you're at it, because Kevin and Ricky are good guys.
Secondly, this Saturday, May 3rd, I'll be doing my first interview about TSE! I was put in contact a couple weeks back with TJ Redig, a fellow speculative fiction author, and host of the Speculative Soapbox Podcast, a short-form podcast wherein small-time fantasy, sci-fi, and other speculative fiction authors get a chance to promote their work. My interview will be live at 9pm EST, and will be available for streaming and download sometime thereafter.
I'm sure I've lain this point on a bit thick before, but I really enjoy Dungeons and Dragons. The game has been part of my consciousness in one form or another since I was a kid, when my dad bought my siblings and I the "New Easy-to-Master Dungeons and Dragons Game" from Toys 'r' Us back in the early '90s (this is a story outlined in greater detail on my tumblr page here, should you wish to read into the matter further). The thing about when I enjoy something, is that I become an absolute sponge about it, trying to mentally ingest anything and everything I can find on it. I could just as quickly tell you the last song on the UK cut The Clash's debut album (1977), as I could tell you who invented the frontside rock 'n roll (Eddie Elguera), and what were the original three playable character classes in the D&D White Box (Fighting Man, Cleric, and Magic User). As such, I also have a habit of scouring Youtube for whatever visual media I can find in an attempt to slake my unending thirst for trivia. This leads me to this video posted by author Ethan Gilsdorf.
It's an actual super-8 recording of a young Gilsdorf and his friends playing D&D. There was something heartwarming about the video because, though it lacks any audio, it shows one thing that makes tabletop RPGs so unique. Part of why I love D&D is because whether I'm playing or DMing (usually the latter), I'm creating. It starts when I build a character, or think of an interesting adventure hook for the players, but that certainly isn't where it stops. If I'm thrown into a situation where I'm being interrogated by the city guard, how do I react? Conversely, if my players don't take my hook, or find some other way to circumvent what I had planned, what do I do next? By their very nature, tabletop RPGs require you to try and think as creatively as you can for the duration of play. As a writer, there's no better way of keeping my creative mind as sharp as it can be. Don't get me wrong, writing every day is important to maintain motivation and momentum, but working on the same project constantly can easily lull a person into inanity, and something as visceral as a roleplaying game can oftentimes give your creativity a nice kick to make sure it isn't becoming sedentary.
That isn't the real reason this video is so great, though. What the video shows in spades is a bunch of friends getting together and enjoying an evening. Of all the positives I can think of to playing tabletop RPGs, what comes out on top is that it's an amazing social experience. You may wind up making new friends (I have), or seeing old ones in a new light (I also have). I enjoy writing because I get to tell my story, but I enjoy D&D because I get to be a part of telling everyone's story, and that kind of combination of creativity and camaraderie is something that I think everyone ought to experience at least once in their life.