State of the Smithy

“Blacksmith at Work” photo by Derek Key, CC by 2.0

A year ago, I had an audacious plan: Finish translating Aquelarre, write a sonnet weekly for The Pastime Machine, release a monthly 6-page D6xD6 RPG expansion, publish another poet or author monthly, launch a D13 RPG Kickstarter this fall, manage an annual Halloween anthology, attend a half-dozen conventions, and possibly publish a dice game and a couple of Monster Con card game expansions.

Today, I’m staring at a bucketload of unfinished business. My Aquelarre translation is overdue. I’m behind on The Pastime Machine. The monthly D6xD6 schedule is on hold after just two releases early in the year. I have a stack of unpublished poetry books and novels (including one posthumous title by an old friend). My D13 RPG project is delayed indefinitely (with a half-dozen illos already paid for). I’m barely able to leave my house. And the dice and card plans are in limbo (also with some art finished). While this year’s annual Halloween anthology, Lupine Lunes, is still a go (with family help), that project is much lower key than in the past.

So what happened?

You may know that I’ve have a neurological condition for a decade—a diagnosis of “more-than-migraine/less-than-seizure”—and over the past two years I’ve suffered some related prescription side effects. Add in new family responsibilities—including a daughter’s foot amputation—and I’m fairly overwhelmed.

As a generally upbeat, hopeful guy, I kept planning for the future, expecting things would sort out eventually.

I still believe they will, but the sorting out is taking longer than I had hoped. And part of that is facing the idea that I just can’t keep up the pace. I’m at diminished capacity. It’s sobering, but I can’t keep expecting to “recover.” This may be my new reality.

I love my work. Translating Aquelarre has been the opportunity of a lifetime, but I’ve been talking with Stewart Wieck (the publisher) about getting help. On the side, I’ll continue drafting a sonnet a week for The Pastime Machine. And with family help, we’ll finish Lupine Lunes. I can’t even think about the rest right now.

But one last thing: I apologize to everyone who was counting on me for more. That weighs on me. I’ve done my best, and my best wasn’t good enough. I’m truly sorry.

Sincerely,

Les

2 Comments

  1. Les–
    I think it is a measure of your quality as a human being that you are pained that you have not been able to complete those things at the pace you had hoped. It is another higher measure that your concern is for those you fear you have let down. It is yet another high measure that you feel the sense of responsibility to your fellow people and openness that you found the strength to write that, which must have been difficult. If I could, I’d make it so that you could see how those traits in you are so rare, and so valuable, that you could find a way to let yourself off the hook you ought not be impaled on. A sense of responsibility and commitment to never give anything other than your best is a gift and a curse. May your life be lit by the gift part of it, and may the curse part of it admit that you have graduated and earned your degree, and be off to torment someone who deserves it, like that venal, truthless, loveless husk of a dolt in the Oval Office.
    If you ain’t da man, you’re so close that I wouldn’t ask for change back.
    Love,
    Dave

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