Retooling My Post-Musk Bio

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One benefit (seriously) of the shift from Musk’s Twitter has been rethinking my bio on social media.

To this point, that bio has been a pitch for my self-published games, ending with a tongue-in-cheek, boat-rocking “Vegan gun owner.”

And I’ll be honest, the RPG designs in particular have been exceptional. (If that sounds arrogant, remember that I’m in the habit of saying the same about work by other designers.) D6xD6 and Bookmark HP RPG especially have a simplicity on the surface that belies the carefully crafted mechanics beneath. I’m gambling my Origins award for Dragon Dice on that opinion.

But social justice issues, especially the “Black Lives Matter” movement, are more important. To quote Salman Rushdie, “A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.”

I’m trying to capture all of that in the new bio: credentials, then passions, then gratitude.

“I’m a ‘retired,’ award-winning hobby game designer & author. Passionate about social justice, games, & poetry. A one man, best-selling, bucket-list self-publisher. Honored to play any part in other people’s fun!”

Walking the line between passion and arrogance is a difficult task. At times I’ve stumbled and stepped on toes, and I carry that guilt with me. At other times, when it comes to social justice, I step on toes intentionally, in the spirit of Rushdie’s quote.

Every writer’s work requires confidence, a belief in oneself, though few writers enjoy self-promotion. I certainly don’t. Nor do I “enjoy” confrontation.

But I tell you the truth as best I see it. About cruelty. And about human kindness. About suffering. And about joy. At my age, I’m aware that sometimes my efforts have changed lives, just as other writers have changed mine. I’m grateful for both.

And I love you. Here’s wishing you the very best today and always.

Les

Death of a Bluebird

I have Tweeted my final Tweet. 😢

That Twitter is now a private company, beholden to just one man, is unnerving.

What’s unforgivable is even reconsidering the Trump ban for disinformation and hate speech.

I’ve such a sense of nostalgia for Twitter’s early years, the Fail Whale, the programmed account that composed sonnets line by line from random posts, Florida Man, Shit My Dad Says, and much more.

That’s what nostalgia is for.

Where to next, gang?

On the Clock

One change I’ve never articulated in my transition from factory work to the publishing world is the difference in clock skills.

In the factory, it was about making time go faster, looking forward to clocking out. The skill needed was to avoid thinking about how many hours lay ahead, but celebrating every minute passed. To avoid actually watching the clock. Each 15 minute break, and lunchtime, were milestones reached on the path to evening freedom. Mornings were about nothing but endurance. Afternoons were as well, but the finish line was in sight.

In publishing, work was generally too engaging to even think about the clock. Only the calendar, sometimes managing the tension of a deadline’s approach, but more often the exciting anticipation of a major step toward the project going public.

I have a deeper appreciation of the second for having spent a decade in the first. And paradoxically a deeper appreciation of the first for having spent three decades in the second.

It’s why I believe the term “job creators” is an ass backward view of the world. Employers are a dime a dozen. Labor and service are critical for maintaining a civilization. We rediscovered that during the first year of COVID, gave it lip service as “essential workers,” then surreptitiously pushed it backstage again.

We Are Those Townies

Photo by David Underland on Unsplash

Late one night, years ago, too sick with worry about my family to sleep, I turned on PBS, thinking, “Maybe there’s some Monte Python or something to lift my spirits.” But what fate handed me instead was historical Allied footage of GI’s discovering and opening Nazi concentration camps.

Yeah.

One thing that has stuck with me ever since is the outraged GI’s marching the townspeople of Dachau through the typhoid-infested hellhole outside their town, forcing them to confront the open pits of dead bodies, the stick-thin survivors.

The townspeople weren’t even aware! In fact, they had been donating food and clothing for the prisoners, supplies diverted by the camp staff to the Nazi cause.

Fast forward to today.

Recently, I subscribed to PushBlack on Messenger. Often the headlines are a horror to read, difficult to stomach. The events they introduce are stunningly evil.

And here you and I are, like the townsfolk of Dachau, ignorant of what’s happening. Thinking we’re helping by not being bigoted ourselves, or by donating to causes here and there.

It isn’t enough.