Frustration, Sadness, and Anger

Dear Imaginary Friends,

I was going to make this a Dear Dragon but what I have to say is for you.

As I’m typing, I’m vibrating with anger. I’m going to structure this into three parts to avoid it devolving into a curse filled rant.

Background (This isn’t new)

South of the border, or in Canada’s Pants, we’ve been seeing increasing acts of violence and hate. The Google Manifesto and the atrocious events in Virginia are only the newest in a long line of hateful, vile, putrescent evil. However they’re not new. Nor are they worse than what we’ve seen.

Two years ago just as many horrifying things were happening, but the political climate, news, and public were less informed. It was still happening, it was just as horrific, and it was just as open.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely happy that these things are being noticed and people are speaking out about them, but they are not new. It might have gotten worse, but it’s not new.

Canadians: wipe that smug smile off your faces. We have all the same issues here as they do in the states. Just look into some of our CPC candidates and you’ll get the idea that maybe we aren’t as progressive as we think. We have as much hatred and racism here. Expect the white nationalists, nazis, white supremacists, anti-minority, and canadian values crowds to start protesting more and more openly.

Don’t believe me? Ask a minority or look up the debate on Bill C-16 that extended basic human rights to Transgender people.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or shut the hell up about Free Speech

Calling for the mass killing of an entire demographic of people is not Free Speech. It is Hate Speech. NO ONE has the right to spew hate.

Unfortunately, yelling and saying that one kind of person is better than another isn’t hate speech.

Free Speech means you can’t be prosecuted for your opinion. It controls what the government can and will do in response to what you say. It doesn’t protect you from your employer, friends, family, or media’s judgement. Eg; You can say nasty things about a subset of people in the comments of this post and the government won’t arrest you. I, however, can delete the comment or send it to your mother.

Your Rights and Freedoms should only extend to the point where they infringe on someone else’s health and safety.

MAY3886-770x581

You’re human beings, start acting like it!

This is for all those who agree with Trump, Kellie Leitch, and Pauline Marois; that some people are better than others.

Ignorance is not an excuse for hatred! Get the fuck over yourselves and start trying to understand how your problems are of your own making and all people are the same.

It is our responsibility to help our fellow humans and to stop hate when we see it.

Be better, act better, and stop others when they aren’t.

Éric

Sexism in Gaming

Yesterday I read an Tumblr post that made me deeply uncomfortable. Go read the article but be warned it’s disturbing.

Ok if you don’t want to read it it’s an account of how abhorrently women are treated in the gaming community; specifically tabletop, Pen & Paper, and miniatures/strategy. Not just heckling or general sexism but multiple forms of assault.

It made me sick to my stomach and a little part of me was glad I’d never experienced it. (In case you’re just tuning in; I’m a thirty-something, white, cis, male.) As I sat there thinking how it might turn me off gaming completely, and how sad that would be, I remembered a game I ran once.

It was the mid-2000s and Lost was every geek’s favourite show. Narnia had burst onto the big screen and I was running a game for three other guys. They were my first gaming group and they had a strict no girls policy.

The game was set on an Island (of course) and had Halflings that rode polar bears into battle (what game doesn’t). The overall theme of the game was racism, I’d based the story vaguely on the real life story of boxer Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter. (I was listening to a lot of Bob Dylan at the time.) Only he was a Halfling Colosseum fighter.

The group was ridiculously cautious. They’d spend 20-40 minutes per decision trying to plan for every contingency. (Probably my fault, a polar bear had killed their character in the jungle when they’d foolishly run ahead alone.)

After several sessions of them literally doing nothing and then getting pissed that I wasn’t moving the story along fast enough I introduced a new character; an impulsive human female Ninja, with shady motives. The idea was to have a character that could move the plot forward without a player fearing for their characters’ lives.

I’d done it early with an, “enemy of my enemy” style bad guy and they’d followed him straight into a trap. They still liked him afterwards.

They hated the Ninja from the start. At first I thought it was the impulsiveness (ten years later I think it was the gender). It wasn’t too bad at the beginning but when I started having her assert opinions like, “You’ve been arguing about going through this door for 30 minutes, I’m sure they’ve heard you.” Or “Shut up and stab something.” They started to verbally abuse her both in game and out of game and she was renamed, “The Bitch”.

At one point, in the middle of a puzzle, I tried to give them a hint through the Ninja. One of the players told her to shut up and let them work. I snapped and asked through the character, “What the hell is your problem? I’ve saved your life, fought monsters beside you but you still treat me like shit.”

The answer was, “You’re an NPC.” (Non-Player Character) Which I would believe if they hadn’t had the epic bromance with the last NPC. Then the player added, “Plus I just don’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.”

The rest of the group burst into laughter as if it was the cleverest joke they’d ever heard.

If it sounds familiar, it’s a quote from South Park that specifically makes fun of a character for being sexist.

The game fizzled out shortly afterwards. It had made me deeply uncomfortable. At the time I thought it was because I was doing something wrong in running the game. I thought the hate and vehemence was aimed at me.

I’m sure some of it was aimed at me but most was aimed at the character who dared to be female and not be a love interest, damsel, or incompetent.

It’s the closest I’ve ever come to experiencing the sexism women deal with every day and it sucked. It’s nothing like the stories in the article but my experience does illustrate how deep seeded the sexism in gaming is, that a fictional character played by a man was treated poorly just because I wrote down F instead of M on the character sheet.

Since then I’ve played with dozens of people and have had great experiences. I’ve built up my own community of players that aren’t jackasses and I’ll re-post what I said on my facebook yesterday:

Let me be completely clear: Books End, FADDS, and any game I run is a safe space. If you EVER feel uncomfortable you let me know and it will be dealt with.

This sort of behaviour is unacceptable, deplorable, and will result in being permanantly banned. I also have no qualms with calling the police if things are bad enough.

Gaming is about having fun and imagining other worlds. It’s not exclusive to one gender, sex, race, class, ethnicity, language, etc… It’s meant to be shared and enjoyed by everyone.

 

Be Excellent to each other!

Éric

Grump Grump Grump

I have been consumed with righteous anger!

Anger_Inside_Out_1Ok maybe not righteous more indignant.

Fine not really anger more annoyance.

Well I suppose it’s more plagued than consumed.

I have been plagued by indignant annoyance!

It’s been a short feeling summer and I’ve been extremely irritable. For anyone who’s had to deal with me the past few months; I am sincerely sorry for being a grump.

I’m not sure why I’ve been like this, maybe it’s allergies, maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the fishbowl I call my new office, maybe it’s my lack of writing? It’s probably none of those.

Most likely it’s the number one stress in everybody’s lives, Money. I (and every other writer ever) would love to live off of my writing. Someday hopefully I will… (I suddenly have the urge to buy a lottery ticket.)

New Resolution

I updated my Resolutions in June. Check them out here.

Those resolutions are all professional / career goals. I’m going to add one now since I need reminding. “Be less angry and annoyed.” It’s not going to be easy but I need to Let It Go!

Opinions

Talking about resolutions, one of mine was to put up some stories on Wattpad.

I’m starting to get an okay backlog of stories, particularly the serial stories. (Start at part 1 of Only Human, or The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis!)

For you smart, sexy, and special imaginary friends out there, do you think publishing them on Wattpad and then selling them as ebooks with an exclusive epilogue is worth the time, editing, and money for covers? They range from 6,000 to 10,000 words so I’d only charge .99 and call them novellas.

 

Thanks for reading!

What do you think, would you buy one of the serial stories, with an exclusive epilogue, for $0.99?

Éric

Éric’s Top 5 Pet Peeves

Everyone has things that annoy them. I’m certainly not an exception (I annoy a lot of people.)

I’m normally a pretty relaxed guy but I go through phases where I have to stop myself and say/sing “Let it go.” If I don’t, I’ll just get grumpier and grumpier until I explode in a semi-comic rage.

There are things that no matter how happy I am, they will piss me, royally, off. So with no more delay here are:

Éric’s Top 5 Pet Peeves

5. Small Talk

I’m not talking about seeing a friend on the bus and asking them how they’ve been. I’m talking about the useless words to fill the void of silence.

Them, “Hi”

Me, “Hello”

Them, “So the weather is really weathering huh?”

Me, “Yep. Canada Eh?”

ARG! Why? Sure, it used to be fun and screw with people by going off script and saying I like winter or hate heat but it’s just so boring. (I love weather and the science behind it. I totally fanboyed when I met Mark Robinson.)

4. Being Corrected

If I’m pronouncing something wrong, made a spelling mistake, or got Jeffrey Dean Morgan confused with Javier Bardem (again) I don’t mind being told I’m wrong.

If I say I hated The Dark Knight rises and you tell me I’m wrong, I will strangle you with my mind. My opinions, feelings, and philosophical thoughts are not yours to disprove. Star Trek 2: The Khan Strikes back wasn’t a Star Trek movie and I’ll happily argue it with you but don’t tell me I can’t feel that way.

3. Drivers that idle in the pedestrian crossing lane

I get that you’re in a hurry and that you want to be as close to the stop sign or light as possible but there’s this nice little part of the road that’s meant for pedestrians to cross the road. I’m not in a steel shell, I should be walking in front of you, not behind you because you’re too fraking impatient to stop at the right place.

OH and by the way this:Yeild

It’s a yield sign. You need to stop for other cars and pedestrians and YIELD to their passage. It’s not a park in the middle of the lane sign or speed up sign. YIELD you stupid metal clad morons!

2. People who walk and smoke

I get that you can’t smoke in parks, city events, restaurants, bars, workplaces, etc, but how would you like it if I started spraying skunk smell as I walked?

I’m just trying to get from place A to place B, I don’t need your noxious smoke in my face. It stinks, makes me want to vomit and punch you in the face.

Don’t even get me started with the jerk-faced-morons that smoke in front of doors.

Someday I’m going to snap and start carrying a spray bottle and start treating you like a misbehaving cat.

1. Positive People

Being genuinely happy and positive is something that makes everyone around you feel better. Being perky or super-positive at people is annoying.

If I’m upset, no amount of telling me how I should be happy will help, unless you’re trying to make me angry. Seriously, let me be grumpy or not like mornings. What’s it to you?

I think all these disgustingly happy/perky people are hiding something. Either deep seated sadness or dead bodies.

 

That’s my top 5 pet peeves for the moment. I’ve purposely left out the category “Stupid People” (Climate change deniers, Antivaxers, Gamergaters, Rabid Puppies, preachy-angry religious or atheists, and people who give their carnivorous pets vegan/vegetarian diets, etc) and “Boring Conspiracy Nuts” (People who say: Aspartame is bad, Big Pharma, the liberal cabal etc .

 

What are your pet peeves?

Éric

 

Disgust and Disdain

Hi,

I can’t remember if I’ve spoken about #GamerGate or #SadPuppies

If you’ve happily avoided these two movements you’re lucky and feel free to click away if you don’t want to get very angry, sad, and lose a little hope in humanity.

GamerGate was/is a hate movement with a veneer of fighting for journalistic integrity. I’m sure there are some in the movement that generally believe they are fighting for better accountability between journalists and video gaming companies but most are threatening people, specifically women, with violence and doing other horrific things.

SadPuppies was a movement that believes the Hugo and SFWA have strayed too far away from its Hard Science roots. To them, this means there are too many non-science writers, woman, and minorities that are dominating the field. “Real Science Fiction” is written by old white men with science degrees, or at least that’s how they sound.

The two movements have the same base in fear of losing privilege and fear of outside influence. Science Fiction and Video Games, have been dominated by white men for a long time and slowly over the past couple of decades women and minorities have started to take a place in both industries.

I’m an outsider, or fringe element to both industries. I play games but I’m not active in any communities outside of TableTop games, and I write but I’m only mildly active in the Ottawa writing scene. This means that I only know what I’ve read or seen from the news and people affected.

As an outsider these movements scare me. Plain and simple the things that have been said and done to certain people is fundamentally wrong. Threats of murder, rape, etc are evil. There’s no room for jest here they’re evil. Calling the swat team on someone, or posting their personal information online without permission is even worse than the threats. These acts are wrong on every level.

It’s not just the overtly evil acts that scare me. It’s the cliques, in fighting, and excluding of people for no other reason than that they disagree with you. The inborn sexism, racism, homophobia, and hate makes two of my favorite pass times feel dirty.

I want to make a career out of writing and I’d love to write for TableTop or video games but these events have made me not want to get involved with them.

Think about that for a second… I’m a thirty year old, white, cis, middleclass, five foot eleven, two hundred and fifty pound, man and these movements have me terrified to get involved.

Take another moment to think how it must feel for everyone else.

We need to stop being afraid of diversity and start embracing it.

Idic

 

Live Long and Prosper

Éric

Muse BS and Why It’s Hurting Your Art

Try telling this to a woman who's giving birth.

So you consider yourself a “Creative Type”? That means you’ve either spent your life being told you’re special and sensitive or you’ve been told that you’re a useless dreamer that needs to get a haircut and a real job. (Whoa flashback…)

If you consider yourself a creative type and want to feel you’re special go read this Article and don’t come back.

If you want the truth go read the article and come back to read the rest of this post.

Lies

You came back, great. Do you feel like you were just submerged into a giant vat of corn-syrup?

I’m not going to comment on all the points. Most of them are just sily.

First off there is no such thing as a creative type. It’s the same crap as the myth of “Talent”. My definition of creative type: Do you create something? Yes? You’re a creative type. The text before the list does say that everyone can be a creative type.

The biggest lie is the first point in the article:

They work when the work comes to them…meaning that they only paint, draw, write, sew, dance, or write out business plans when they feel like it. Creative people know the mind performs best in small bursts of concentrated work.

If you consider yourself creative and you only create when you feel like it then you’re doing it wrong. That might seem like a harsh judgement but it’s true. The only way to improve or get anything done is by doing it. Even when you don’t feel it!

The myth of the magical muse that will spray you with inspiration is not only a myth it’s an excuse to not create.

Try telling this to a woman who's giving birth.
This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Sometimes you need to force things.

If creating something was as easy as waiting for inspiration or a muse, everyone would be doing it and Memes like this wouldn’t happen.

Dangerous

It takes ten years, or a million words, or ten thousand hours, to get good at something. If you waste your time waiting for inspiration you’ll never get to that point. (Something I wish I’d been told at 18.)

Art takes work. I know that’s not what you want to hear but it’s hard, it hurts, and it takes a long time.

If you don’t work through the difficulties and wait for magical assistance, you’ll never create anything.

That’s the danger of making creating something mystical, it gives people an excuse not to do it. Only the chosen ones can create. So many times people say, I’d love to do this but I’m not good enough.

If a 5 year old kid told his parents he wanted to be a soccer player but he felt he didn’t have the talent they’d laugh and tell him to practice. Why don’t we do that with artistic pursuits?

Hard Truth

No one is born with the talent for art. No more than they’re born with the talent to walk or talk. They are learned skills that you have to work at. I haven’t worked that hard at the walking thing and the bruises on my legs prove it.

What you are born with is an incredible mind and body that can learn and adapt. The important thing is to do it and then re-do it over and over again.

Will your first attempts suck? Hell yes.

Will it be worth it? Immeasurably! You know that feeling when you listen to a great piece of music, read a great book, see a great movie, hear a great line, or see a great piece of art? You know that feeling of elation that comes with it, and the need to share it with others? Now Imagine, that you could see that in someone because of something you created. Effectively seeing someone geek out over what you’ve created.

That feeling combined with the sense of accomplishment is one of the greatest feelings I have ever had.

Be Your Own Muse

Go out there and make something, bring something new into the world. Prove to all the evil out there that you can make something beautiful.

It will be hard but all you need is a way to make yourself do it, even when you don’t want to. Make a schedule, set up a system of awards, create deadlines, do what works to make you work.

Use Habit, Persistence, Stubbornness, and hard work to create your own muse; one of practice and experience.

And when you feel like you can’t or it’s too hard, remember the feeling of joy and power you get when you create.

 

Good Luck and You should be creating,

Éric