Chasm


by
L.P. Stribling

Wicked games they played back then,

Childhood trickery (painful trickery), all masked in fun,

One was called the Sin of Chasm,

And she was the lucky one,

The chant still sticks –

First comes Faith, at the end, Reward,

Don’t look down,

At the Chasm of Gore,

The chittering teeth, the rot of the pits,

Lose your wits and they’ll ask for more,

But think of the reward!

The rope was taught between the rooftops,

And night around us – starry and cold,

The schoolyard dirt was the chasm below,

But naught to be seen in the frosty chill

of those evenings.

“Next Walker, Next slave!”

“Fallers force the Daybreak!”

Erma was a friend that night,

A friend of a friend,

She came not to be seen, but to watch,

Last girl in sight,

But the Chasm hungered, and forced a growl,

“Next Walker, Next Slave,

Chasm’s Worms on the prowl!”

She shook her head, shook her legs,

Tried to shake herself from their icky hands.

They pulled and prodded and forced her to stand,

Feet on the edge, and pushed up her hands.

She balanced and shook, and tears filled her eyes,

And the first step she took held our breath in the night,

Three steps across, we could hear her sniffles, her whines,

Though not a word did she yell, when her feet missed the line.

Not a second passed then,

Plop – crack, plop.

She was still.

I looked down at the rope,

Eddie picked his hands off the line,

Wiped them on his outer vinyl.

His words loosed a gasp of smoke into the air,

“Nope!” he laughed.

“The Chasm claims another victim!”

Victory hit him and his arms darted

Over his head, Over his head.

He cheered in the night.

It was cold, so cold,

And under the stars, who knows how long she lay,

Before they found her,

Dismembered, I imagine,

A quiet girl, a lonely fall,

Victim to the Chasm.

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Outline and Tumblr


This outline has taken me much longer than the first book. The point is it’s done. I’ve finished the outline for Black Sun and I’m somewhere around 89K into the first draft. What does that mean? It means I’m a whole lot of words into the draft that doesn’t matter.

Well, maybe things aren’t quite that drastic.

The general writerly view of the first draft is that, like Hemingway said, it’s shit. I don’t necessarily concur with these findings. That same group of writers will also likely agree that you have to finish the first draft so as to at least have something to work with. I’m with that group. Yes, the first draft is likely going to be mostly trashed as it goes through the revision process, but it is the clay mould on the spinning wheel (or whatever it is you call that stupid wheel that Swayze and Moore practically humped all over in Ghost). That’s the draft that gets plopped on the wheel. All subsequent drafts are different knives and sculpturing tools used to carve the artwork into the piece – they’re used for the visual. That’s how I see it, anyway.

I did add a nifty little word count off to the side of the blog here for those who visit to see where I am in the process. Also, I’m not sure if you were able to sneak down and see that I just finished Pressfield’s The War of Art, which really asks the artist to truly take a look into themselves and, with blunt honesty, state who they are as a creator. Are they just someone who says they create and don’t, are they an amateur creator, but talk about it like it’s bigger, or are they somewhere else on the spectrum, perhaps someone who talks very little, but does very much?

I hesitate to provide too much here on the work. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. There’s a reason I’m writing this to you now. There’s also a reason you’re reading it. If you feel like you’re a creator, but inside you know that you really haven’t created much, I would suggest giving this book a read. It’s a very short book – one  you could read in a few hours, but the information within (mostly points out aspects of yourself – the reader, very self-introspective that way) is very necessary. It’s stuff we need to hear/read. 

In other more self-aggrandizing ways, I started checking back into my Tumblr account. If you haven’t heard of it, just know that it has cool stuff like this.

 

Very artsy-kind of site. Dangerous too. You can just start scrolling and be there for quite some time if you’r not careful. Check me out and take a look at all-things-Tumblr if you’e up for it.

Lastly, I’m working on Week 24 of Roll Play: Swan Song.

Perhaps one of my favorite space operas ever. If you’re into table top rpgs, I would definitely check this out. Adam Kobel is one of the finest GMs in the game. 

Much love, my people. Stay classy.

lp

Playing D&D


Some of you out there know that I game. Some of you have just read the first sentence and really aren’t quite sure what that means. Someone who games, in common parlance, is considered to be a gamer. A gamer is a person who games.

Good.

Now, what kind of games does that mean? It probably means video games and some table top games. I play both, but what I was referring to in the above first sentence for this post is D&D – Dungeons and Dragons for the laity.

I have been playing for the past three years (I think) with many of the same guys. Many of you are not up to speed on how the game works, I’ll try and simplify it here. It’s a role-playing game. You make up a characters (there’s a process), then in your adventuring party, you narrate what your character would do in given situations (which may include using his/her voice.

In video games, you control the player with a controller. You press buttons and your character on the screen performs certain actions. In fact, I’ll explain it as I heard a very good game player describe it once: Video games show you what you can do in the game (pressing buttons shows the player what they can do), while DnD shows the player what they can’t do. There are only a few things in DnD that you can’t do in the world. Everything else is fair game.

General gameplay looks like this:

dungeons-and-dragons

There is one person called the DM (Dungeon Master), who is the storyteller/narrator. This person is, for all intents and purposes, “the game.” This person keeps the flow of the game, telling the party where they are, what is going on, and keeps people interacting. The DM basically keeps the gamer from hitting PAUSE. The others are the gamers. They are the ones who are pressing the buttons.

The adventure is not played on a screen, but on a table, and the story is playing out in the minds of each of the players. Players run campaigns, long sessions of adventure running across large portions of the game world. Campaigns (games) can take anywhere between one session and several years, depending on the playing style of the players and their level of strategy and cooperation with their party. It’s all a big game of social dynamics. You can play with people who played before and whom you know very well, or with total strangers. Your game mates can be great to play with or complete dicks. In general you’ll get a hodgepodge of all of these.

One of the big things that DnD needs for long-term play is consistency.

Okay so why am I talking about this?

Because I was hoping to game with my brother this weekend. Didn’t happen, and I’m sad. There were three of us (Me, J, and S) who got together to design a game – a real good game. S gathered some folk from other games and J and I showed up so we could all get together and design out party. Then we had to get to the final questions – is the time going to work for all of us. J and two others conflicted. J bowed out.

Shitty.

No one’s fault, but just a bummer. I know S and I were both looking forward to gaming with you, bro.

So, that was my weekend. Good overall. Went to Costco this afternoon, had an early T-Day meal. Life is good. Bummed I can’t game with Bro, but the gaming must resume. We must game on. He says he’ll come in on some one-shots every now and again, which will be great, and he’s also going to look into getting a game together on R20. I’ll have to see how that works out for him.

The games move along.

Armada – a letter


ArmadaArmada by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dear Mr. Cline,

Thank you for this book. I don’t know how long it took you or how many times you had to go back and edit, tear, toss out, emit, or rewrite, but however long it took you, you should know that from this reader’s perspective, your work was worth every drop of time you put into it.

You of course know of the old writing adage that (good) writing is rewriting, and from my experience reading this book, you’ve done your share.

I have been reading all my life, sci-fi and fantasy, mainly and have for as long as I can remember, been into all manner of game, movie, and geek lit. There are authors out there who are my heroes, just as there are games out there, movies, short stories, songs, and t.v. shows that have truly captured my imagination and helped me mold the way I see things in the world – the present, the future, myself, and all the possibilities therein.

RPO was one of those. I listened to the audio version, read beautifully by Wheton. What a well-crafted, intensely real story. It was so taken by the characters, the dialogue, the world, that I felt that I was there. Each page, each witty quip not only brought me back to the people, backdrops, and senses of my childhood, but helped me incorporate those memories into a game-tweaked alternate futuristic potential. One in which I got giddy goosebumps about. Thinking about that book now just excites the hell out of me. There are no words – it was bad ass. RPO is a book I’m still telling friends about. I’m almost to the point where, if they haven’t read it, I just figure my relationship with them is meaningless and isn’t worth pursuing.

….okay, that might be a bit harsh, but it was really good!

I had to read Armada. It did NOT disappoint. Loved what you did with game culture and dialogue, bringing all the joys of my childhood geekery again back to the forefront of my mind. Before I read it, my brother told me it was basically Flight of the Navigator.

Nah – didn’t believe it. It wasn’t. Rather it magically incorporated some of the flavors from my youth while opening new kick-ass doors of potential as to where games can take us in the future.

Five stars here isn’t really fair. It’s not a high-enough scale for me. I’m ranking your style and skill of ease of storytelling. You simply write the stories I enjoy reading. RPO and Armada are not to be compared as they are different tales with different packages of conflict and resolution.

I’m gonna stop here. I’ll just leave it as a big thank you. Thank you for the inspiration to continue writing, to continue doing what I’m doing, and to continue loving what I love. The gift you provide to storytelling and the fans of your work is monumental and game-changing, I would say. I would say that, along with Stephenson, you’ve added some delightfully florescent colors to the array of what kinds of sprinkles should rain upon the icing of the cupcake of modern literature.

Thank you, and carry on.

– LP

Post Script: I just finished the book nearly an hour ago and I’ll be going through the the general’s RTA mix forthwith.

View all my reviews

Summer Reads


Not sure if I’ve ever really come down to it and said, “Yes, this book (these books) is going to be read this summer.” I did just check my Goodreads list and found that I actually do read during the summer – cool. So, I thought I’d toss out a little bit about what I’m reading now and what I’m planning to read this summer.

What I’m reading now –

Armada, by Ernest Cline.

armadaIf you know me, you know I’m into all-things video gamey. After going through Ready Player One, I was hooked on digital/video game fiction (Before I go on, if you are into video games, you MUST read Ready Player One). Okay, back at it.

I’m currently reading Armada, by the same author – Ernest Cline. Talked with my brother and he said he looked it up and it’s basically just like The Last Star Fighter
, which I wasn’t sure of at all. I haven’t read it. Here’s the thing with me and reviews – I don’t really read them. I will read them every once in a while, but mostly, as cliché as it may sound, I read books based on their covers. Yep. This one just looked cool and it had to do with video games, and it was written by Cline, so that’s what I’m doing. I am currently about 80 pages in (somewhere around Chapter 5) and It’s great.

This Summer

Just a Geek, by Wil Wheaton.

whetonI have no idea about this book other than it was written by Wesley Crusher. I like Wheaton; don’t know what it is. He did read the audiobook for RPO (above) which I listened to for the first time (which, by the way, I thought was very well done). He is now the host of several different things going on regarding geek culture. He’s on the Geek and Sundry channel often. He was (and still is, I think) the host of Table Top – a show about table-top gaming. I also watched a great role-playing game that he hosted called Titansgrave. I didn’t really get into Star Trek as a kid, but I do remember young Crusher. I watched Stand By Me as well, but didn’t realize it was WW until much later. Who knows. It will be good to have a look at the book and see what Mr. Wheaton has to say.

2. One Piece – Vol. 42.

I believe the most up-to-date volume is 78 and the adventure with Luffy and crew abord the Merry-Go is fascinating. Can’t wait for this to continue.

And that’s where I am.

What are you reading?

Game It – gaming professionally


 

game

‘Cuz it’s a thing, apparently. It’s a thing that has taken the entire world by storm – this whole playing video games for a living, to support yourself, and your family, and your dog (for those of you who don’t consider your dogs your family …. ‘cause you’re dicks).

But, the deal is that it’s huge – massive. It’s bigger than huge. It’s something that sells out Madison Square Garden more quickly than a professional sports team, the Knicks, say. It’s incredible.

It just shows what kind of world it’s becoming technologically, or more precisely, digitally.

Part of me is all for it. Part of me says, “Yes, woo hoo! I love games!” But the other part of me is saying something like, “Wait, what’s going on here? Why is it that everyone’s playing video games for hours and hours at a time?” Now, that last bit is hard for me to say since, if all the planets were aligned, I can totally see myself doing something like that. I love games – always have, but it’s a bit crazy that we have something like video game competitions. But is it, though?

There are sports competitions – basketball, baseball, football, soccer, etc. There are chess championships, Magic competitions, board game competitions. Are we really all that far away from video game competitions? We’re a competitive bunch and we crave entertainment. What’s so wrong about that? Now, yes, there are the cases of the kids who play 40+ hours straight at Internet cafés in different corners of the world, but hey, we all make choices. For instance, I love Gummy Bears. But I don’t eat 30 pounds of them at a given serving. Why? Because it’s fucking 30 pounds of gummy bears!

Remember that radio competition where that one girl drank herself to death just because she wanted to win the prize? (well, even if you don’t remember, here it is.) It’s the old adage, too much of a good thing, you know?

It’s about putting in the time at what you enjoy, doing what you love. It’s about having fun with life. Yes. Get up and walk around every once in a while. Go outside, take a walk, relax, work out, take care of yourself. But, if it’s not hindering your life in any way, and you want to do it, go for it.

I’m all for it – the whole professional video game thing. It helps fuel a great number of different people’s interests. It helps professionals stay motivated and do better than what they have done. It helps those of us who are curious out there in the world. It helps just bring out attention to something new, give a different idea an audition on our mental stages. It brings about online channels such as Twitch – a space for staying updated on the games you love and watching others tackle the same platform.

The deal is that it’s real and let it be known that I stand by this aspect of global technological advancement. There are some other sides on which I’m not all that keen, but this one I’ll take.

So, hey, if you’re into it, game it.

Binks is the Mark


 

1355718775-0

I’m into video games. Love them.

I love Star Wars too.

And I have an idea.

I’m thinking of a first-person shooter where all you do is hunt Jar-Jar Binks and gun his annoying ass down with different types of ammo.

God, that guy sucks.

gaming with the gang


images

I’m writing this from Mark’s house; we’re all gaming and just having a blast. Summer’s almost over, but it feels great to be back in the swing of things with the gang. We’ve been playing for over a year.
Love these guys…and you, Katie. Haven’t forgotten you.

…and the guy in the cage just turned into an octopus. WTF?