Hi there. If you're reading this, it's either because you know me or you spend way too much time hitting "I'm feeling lucky" on Google. Either way, welcome.

Illumination is a perpetual work in progress, so please pardon our dust. The intent of the place is to provide space where I can lay down my thoughts and observations about the world around me and the things I do. That means it could be filled with nearly anything, from silly accounts of my gaming antics to thoughtful political discussion and anything in-between.

Whatever it turns out to be, please have a look around. It's only a few minutes of your day and you might find something worth your time. If you see something you like, leave a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Needles (on There's A Story Somewhere In That Haystack)

I’m good at building things in my head. People, places, worlds, all spinning freely away from my imagination to hang in the air around my mind’s eye like constellations sparkling in the night sky. Sometimes they start as an idea; an image or a description or a snippet of dialogue, a small thing that begins as a tiny spark and require some nurturing to grow strong enough to take wing and join the rest of the stars; sometimes they leap from my subconscious fully-formed or nearly, requiring only the gentlest of nudges to be off, rocketing away on a trajectory that I can barely control and only mostly follow.

Both kinds have their perks and flaws, but getting them out into the √¶ther where I can access them late isn’t the hard part. The hard part, the bit I’ve always had trouble with, is figuring out where they’re going. I can set up conflict just fine –and I often even discover some measure of it is built into the things I create- but resolving it is a problem.

So, in an astoundingly arrogant simile to NASA and SETI projects, I’m going to fling this question out into the great dark void and see if anyone answers it:

How do you find the endings to your stories?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ironclad (on Monsters In The Sky)

I sometimes think I was born a decade too late. I missed the early days of most of my hobbies –the dawn of such enduring games as Dungeons & Dragons, Battletech and Warhammer were all before my time, or I was too young to have made any sense of them. I wasn’t around for the explosion of controversy over James Dallas Egbert[1]  or the early years of White Dwarf and its riotously joyful celebration of this strange new hobby.

It’s strange to say that I miss something that I never really experienced, but having been given –through old magazines, discussions with older gamers and the depth of history that rests behind these games awaiting only a bit of curiosity to discover them- a glimpse into what this odd social group of mine was in the past, I find myself feeling a fond nostalgia for these things, a vague wish to return to the idealistic simplicity (if not the game mechanics) of those times.

In light of that, I’ve found the last month to be a fascinating process. After all, I’ve never been one of the first people in the world to play a game that is so brand new it’s not even on store shelves yet. After having spent the greater part of my life sitting on the shoulders of the hobbyists who have come before me, the ground floor is a very interesting place indeed.

 I’m talking about Leviathans, and it’s been a while since a game has captivated me so completely.