Impractical Applications (The Obligatory Gratitude Post)

Christmastime is here, by golly

Disapproval would be folly

–Tom Lehrer

This week, the day for an Obligatory Holiday Post coincides with the usually planned Impractical Applications. (I’m not sure I want to think about next year, when it falls on what’s usually a Generic Villain day. Easter was bad enough.) It’s a good time to sit back and appreciate what we’ve got—and when it comes to this blog, and to my games, I’ve got a lot to appreciate.

First, the people I game with, particularly those for whom I run game, group and solo. They’re a crazy lot, and they don’t always fit together (it depends in large part on which permutation of players we’ve got), but I couldn’t ask for better. In particular, those who have managed to stay with me for most of my game’s run—we don’t have anyone who’s been there the whole time, for a number of reasons, though a couple come pretty close—to those who show me the insides of their characters’ minds and voices even outside of session, and who will pop on in the middle of the week between games to remind me how excited they are about the next one or make suggestions. They put the collaboration in “collaborative fiction with dice.”

To my boyfriend. And my editor. And my sometimes muse. Who, probably more fortunately for me than for him, happen to all be the same person (and overlap with the prior category; I’m surprised I haven’t worn him out yet). For being willing to deal with deadline stress and rough session annoyance, to brainstorm with me for post ideas and take a few minutes late in the evening to check over my work, he’s earned my gratitude a thousand times over.

And my mother. I owe her one for a lot of things: her involvement in my life despite not having primary custody for most of my childhood, her having passed on to me a lot of her test prep teaching techniques and a role in the family business, the recent help she’s been giving me with my art projects (I’ve known very few people whose parents will respond to one of their pictures not only with notes on where it worked and didn’t, but with actually exploring the physics of the pose in question and suggesting alternatives). But I think my largest debt is for a mindset and corresponding skill she taught me: that of taking what information I can find, synthesizing it into understanding of a new subject, and then being able to explain that to someone who isn’t steeped in the subject in question. I’m not sure I want to think about how many of my blog posts arose from learning that skill.

Merry Christmas (or whatever else you may celebrate, early or belated) and take care!


  1. Michael says:

    You’re not the only one who has a lot to appreciate :) I’m very grateful to you — firstly for being such an excellent GM; keeping us all endlessly entertained and fascinated by your convoluted storylines, bewildering situations and larger-than-life characters; being so patient with the misunderstandings and scheduling difficulties; and helping us maintain a positive attitude towards our many mistakes.

    Secondly, I’m grateful to you for being such a great collaborator and source of inspiration with my writing — both with looking over my actual writing and with discussing plans for future projects. Both for being enthusiastic and willing to listen, and also for having an inspiration style that complements my own so well — you always ask the important questions and notice details that I’ve overlooked and get me to think more deeply about the areas I have difficulty with.

    Thirdly, of course, it’s wonderful that you’ve kept this blog going for so long, a post every day without even missing one! That would be an achievement under any circumstances, but on top of that is the wealth of diverse topics and ideas — everything you write is worth reading, and much of it has really helped me by provoking me to think about these topics in more depth and giving me ideas for new directions in which to develop myself as a writer.

    And finally, I’m thankful to you for being such a great friend. You’ve done so much over the years to enrich and stabilise my life, and I’ll always be glad that I was lucky enough to get to know you.

    Merry Christmas, and here’s to many more years of blogging and idea-sharing!

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