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Well, the Weather Sucked…

…but the time off was much-needed and well-spent. Felt like I got to actually get to know my family again. Strange process, novel writing: it is, in many ways, like living two lives at once. I move through the necessities of my day, I do all I need to do, I answer promptly and properly to the questions that come my way. I do all the things I should normally be doing.

But at the same time, I’m perpetually living someplace else, in this world that doesn’t exist, with people who don’t exist except in my mind. It’s a writer’s cliche, it’s been said a thousand times before, but it’s true. The number of times Jen and I have been having a conversation where I will blurt out, “oh, you know what Atticus has to do next? He has to go back to Turkey, that’s what he has to do!” and she’ll blink at me and then ask if I’ve heard a thing that she’s said. And I have, and I can tell her that, yes, I will take Elliot to gymnastics after I pick up Dashiell from art camp, or whatnot. Hopefully, this is the closest I’ll ever come to having MPD.

Andrew and I drove back from the coast yesterday, and while normally we spend the most of these drives in an elaborate post-mortem of the holiday’s gaming and toss around ideas for future stories-slash-complications-slash-rewards (the game of the moment is AEG’s defunct 7th Sea, as opposed to its open-license d20 conversion Swashbuckling Adventures; the campaign is about a year old at this point, with perhaps a handful of actual sessions under its belt, and it’s as fine and rewarding a game as we’ve played for many a year, now. Just finishing up a visit to Avalon, and everyone had a good moment or four.), this time we started talking about the state of baseball.

I’m not a huge sports fan. When I was younger, growing up, I liked football, as in the American game. I have always — to this day — loved football, as in the game the rest of the world follows. I was not, growing up, a fan of baseball, due in no small part to an altercation between myself and the game’s namesake that resulted in my teeth punching their way through my lower lip (most people would call this “an accident” or “bad luck”; me, I called it aversion therapy (and no, I don’t know what’s up with all the psych references in this post). Andrew, with his love of the game, worked patiently on me for many years, beginning in college, and about the time we were both at USC, he succeeded in turning me into a fan. When Jen was at the U of O, I was a devoted fan of the Mariners, as well as of the Eugene Emeralds.

I have since soured considerably on baseball. And I see no signs of this changing, frankly. Talking about Barry Bonds a year back with a colleague of my father’s, the point was hammered home. The gentleman said, “do you really think it’s ever been any different than it is now? That this is new?” As if that explains, or justifies, or excuses the inexcusable. Try applying that attitude to, say, segregation, see if it holds water, asshole. Just because you can’t see another way doesn’t mean it’s not 1) wrong, and 2) that a better way shouldn’t be pursued.

Andrew put up a post on his and Christie’s blog that, in many ways, expresses my frustrations and disgust with the sport better than I. When Andrew gets angry, he writes very well. Speaking from personal experience, when the man argues, he takes no prisoners. I’m glad he wrote the post, and while it is quite literally screaming into the intervoid, it’s worth a read.

27 Responses to Well, the Weather Sucked…

  1. jeditigger

    The link was pretty awesome, Greg, thanks. I happen to have a huge issue with Bonds (as a lifelong Pirates fan, and most of us do loathe him) and the way that the game has changed. Certainly there’s some nostalgic air-brushing associated with our memories of the sport, but I think baseball fans are really unhappy about the steroids thing and in general the way Beelze-Bud Selig has run the league.

    As for the writer’s comment you made about living somewhere in your mind with people who don’t exist, that’s a freaking brilliant and poetic way to put how a fiction writer’s mind works. I sure feel that way.

  2. kozemp

    Summer 2010, Seattle Sounders v. Philly FC (or whatever stupid name we end up getting): oh, it’s on, Rucka.

    Because come Summer 2010 in Philly IT’S SHEVA TIME BABY!

  3. crisper

    I played 7th Sea at DunDraCon a couple years ago and it was a marvel of a system, a terrific convention game, like a one-night stand that was only fun and free of regret, that you’d call again if you ever come back to town. So sad that it got d20′d. Eventually tracked down a set of the books through Amazon resellers and, at some point, will run something for my Apple group.

  4. will_eslinger

    Seventh Sea looks pretty bad ass, it’s too bad I don’t have any friends quite as geeky as me or I’d buy that ASAP.

    I’m not really a sports guy at all. I’ve played football since I was in the 5th grade (and after this year- Senior- I’ll be done with it) and it’s really become something that I do out of obligation more than pleasure. I’m not particularly great or anything, but I’ve always been the guy who could snap the football and play middle linebacker, and I’m rarely injured so there hasn’t been anyone groomed to replace me. And so I’ve just kind of been stuck in the sport for the last couple of years because my friends who are really good and need a good season to look good to colleges need my slightly above average/mediocre skill set.

    Watching sports has been soured by the misery that football has been.

    However I looooooooove the Olympics, like seriously. Maybe it’s the history. But I really think my love is that it’s so pure. There are no Pacman Jones’, Barry Bonds’ or Kobe Bryants, there are just good athletes striving to be the best for the honor of themselves and their nations.

    Or maybe I’m just romanticizing the whole thing ;)

  5. parakkum

    Also, baseball is incredibly dead boring. When I made that complaint to a friend who likes baseball, he said, “It’s not really about what’s going on in the game.”

    In which case, I’m fine with having the game summarized for me afterward. In contrast, I love watching World Cup and Euro games.

  6. admin

    Spalding Grey called writing “telling the lie that tells the truth.”

    I always liked that one.

  7. admin

    Bring it.

  8. admin

    I really like the 7th Sea system, certainly for the style of game that I gravitate towards. It really does encourage “story”, and the mechanics have, for the most part, been fairly innocuous.

    Pity the game seems to have died on the vine as it has. The amount of money we’ve shelled out buying the oop books is a little depressing.

  9. admin

    I’ve been very much take-it-or-leave-it with the Olympics in the past, but this year, with the kids both being so sincere in their love for gymnastics, the whole family is much more engaged.

  10. admin

    The Euro Cup final was being played the Sunday of Wizard Chicago. I had to go back to my hotel to wait for my ride to the airport, and the Hyatt had flat screens placed irregularly throughout the lobby. Ended up sitting on the floor near the entrance with four other guys — three of whom who worked at the hotel, and all of them clearly speaking English as a second language — watching the game.

    That’s not commentary, mind you, just an observation.

  11. crisper

    I have an occasional ongoing debate with some of my gamer buddies about whether a game’s mechanics can and will inherently limit the stories it can tell/play – some folks will take the stand that you can play any kind of game with any system, and the only limiting factor is the flexibility of the players and GM. But systems like 7th Sea (and even moreso, indie games like octaNe and Dogs in the Vineyard) really do make it easy to do certain kinds of stories, and very very hard to do others. I think mechanics really *do* affect the game stories themselves. (The upcoming campaign I’m going to be running is pretty much the opposite of 7th Sea – rather than swashbuckling Baroque heroics, it’s going to be grim Dark Ages squalor, so I’m going with Warhammer FRP.)

  12. crisper

    As for dying on the vine, role-playing games have been following almost the exact same crisis-curve that comics have: an explosion of creativity years ago let to a glut of material on the market, rising paper costs started putting it out of casual hobby range, and a “dominant paradigm” set and owned the rules of the industry. Every puts out a d20 game because everyone else puts out a d20 game; d20 is the Big Two Superheroes, and who has money to buy everything else or the time to find out what’s good, right?

  13. tawang

    I hear you on the writing. When my wife and I first got together, I was working on a play set in Wales. Every now and then, she’d see the look in my eye and say, “You’re in Wales again, aren’t you?” Yup. To this day, that’s our code for “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the last five minutes…” The last few months, I’ve been in Baghdad with a play that’s premiering at the Capital Fringe Festival in D.C. this week. Talk about subversive…

    As for baseball, I had more time for it when I was younger, but the last ten years have done me in. I live in the heart of Hoosiers country, so there’s a certain amount of basketball you’re supposed to pay attention to; I don’t usually mind, but I don’t live or die by it.

    And football (int’l version), I got back into both because of a great Belgian brewpub in Indianapolis that opens up at odd hours for live telecasts of games (and has devastatingly good beer), and because of a play we produced about one man in Belfast and his redemption through football.

  14. kozemp

    Oh, it’ll be brung. Brought? Willen on-bring? The tenses are confusing…

    You know, part of me hopes Sheva doesn’t end up here because I don’t want MLS to turn into a dumping ground for over-the-hill Europeans. (c.f. NASL)

    However, part of me DOES want him to end up here so I can demand the return of our thirty million quid in person. “What a waste of money,” as the chant goes. A hundred bucks of that was mine, Andriy, and I WANT IT BACK!

  15. jeditigger

    Spalding Grey. There’s a name I haven’t heard in way too long. :/
    Like Atticus, the name should be used more often.

  16. dewline

    On paragraphs one and two: Amen. That’s all I can say publicly on that subject right now.

    As for baseball…some day, I may vent on the Expos and Lynx at length as well. I wasn’t happy with either of those situations and still have an issue with them having shaken out as they did.

  17. dewline

    I was in Nanaimo with family and friends of family at the time, at one of the Cactus Club restaurants scattered across the region. I think it was the first real look some of my relatives had ever had at this sort of event. I suspect it made a good impression.

  18. will_eslinger

    Having a little sister who’s active in gymnastics has really added a lot of depth to the sport for me.

  19. dewline

    I hear at least some of that. There’s some talk right now hereabouts of at least two things:

    1) How Toronto FC may be the trigger that’s truly set off a Canadian soccer renaissance, particularly in creating a need for homegrown talent to feed that team…

    2) …among others expected and hoped for when Toronto FC’s Canadian market exclusivity clause expires in 2010. Including my backyard here in Ottawa-Gatineau.

  20. kozemp

    I’m sure a lot of teams in any sport wouldn’t mind being in Toronto’s position; anyone who can be that bad and lose that much and still sell out every game is positioned very well for the future. They’re not ALWAYS going to be bad, after all…

  21. parakkum

    Are you paying marked up prices for the OOP stuff? I haven’t checked to see whether this is D20 or “classic” 7th Sea, but there are quite a few 7th Sea PDFs available at a discount at DriveThruRPG.

  22. dewline

    One would think such things…if one didn’t know how other sports franchises owned by Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment(MLSE) were managed over the decades.

  23. kei87

    It’s interesting reading your thoughts about finishing a novel. I write far too rarely these days but whenever I finish up even a smaller personal piece there is always an immense sense of satisfaction when I wake up the next morning. I cannnot even imagine what it is like to look back after polishing off the first draft of a full blown novel.

  24. willow_dot_com

    Dear Greg Rucka,

    Usually I rather like you. However your comparison of your mental landscape as a writer to those who have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder – the new, as in 12 yrs plus and counting title for people with multiple aspects) is distinctly full of failure.

    Surviving trauma by a splitting off of your psyche is NOT the same as living half in the real world and half in your imagination. It is not close. It is not somewhat like. The only thing in common is a creativity in coping.

    I say this knowing both sides of the equation.

    It took me a bit to write this comment but I finally decided I’d rather get pissed off at you now, than open a book someday where you contributed to the misrepresentation of a group of people to the unknowledgeable public. Because that would lead to me loathing you forever and getting rid of the one arc of Wonder Woman I’ve ever liked.

  25. admin

    I hope you feel better having set me straight on the matter. Clearly this has been bothering you for a while.

  26. willow_dot_com

    Y’know it wasn’t about ‘setting you straight’ as much as it was about not being silent, even if you are someone whose work I admire. In almost all the media I ever see, people like me are either portrayed as fakes or exotic crazies.

    What to you was a moment of mirth or a casual, perhaps unthinking, remark about where your mind is as a writer – to me was just one more example of how much the general public doesn’t even take the time to know what the basics of the diagnosis is, far less bother to realize there are stereotypes they might have absorbed.

    Thank you for replying and letting me know you did read my words. I appreciate you’re not likely to get into any heavy discussion about this, particularly with a random fan.

  27. admin

    No problem, honest.

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