Smilodon, vulture, and a camel that isn't getting back up. Artwork of Charles R Knight, whose work influenced me considerably.

I’m Back

I’M BACK? AT least, I am coming back. Kinda.

For the last of couple years, I have been … let’s just say “preoccupied”  … while working to complete Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. It only took two and a half years to do it.

Now the game is finished. The pdf has been released at DriveThruRPG, and the dead trees edition is at press. If you want to keep up to date on happenings about dT&T, I recommend the dedicated Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls blog, presently maintained by Steve Crompton. There is also Trollhalla for the hardcore fans.


Deluxe, Tunnels and Trolls, RPGs, artwork, Danforth, painting,


Blogging fell off my agenda, one of many things. And by “blogging” I mean the chatty or philosophical posts, not the ones begging you to please buy mah artz! I’d like to get back to talking with you, whoever you are out there, even if I don’t post like clockwork.

At some point, I may write about what a wild ride this project was. It was epic. We used and over-used the analogy of the Fellowship of the Ring, first in silly jest and later in gritty deathmarch determination. The effort to get the Ring to Mount Doom (getting the book to press) seemed to be all that.

It seems to have been worth it. The Ring has been delivered, I still have all my fingers (not for lack of trying to burn one off early in the project), and the Shire is cleansed. Fans seem happy with the new edition and all is right with the world.

Right? No?

Well, what next? Follow me over the jump and let’s talk about that.

I don’t expect to rest on my laurels. I have a plethora of assignments and commissions that stacked up while dT&T was in progress. I discouraged new work when I couldn’t be certain when I’d be free again. Quite a few clients said “I’ll wait. Here’s what I’d like you to do. Put me in line.”

But me not that kind of orc. (Not entirely, anyway. Some of the quotes in this video are entirely too appropriate, though.) I did accept a few assignments that excited my imagination, which challenged me in some way, or which had a good ratio of time for the price offered. People have been patient.

Mostly I didn’t, though. I don’t like overbooking myself, because it makes me frantic, not creative. Frantic isn’t good.

It was so frustrating. With the dT&T project taking so long, I couldn’t work for new income until I was finished with what was on my plate. I sold off many paintings to keep a roof over my head. (Those include the please buy mah artz! posts you see before this one, and many private sales.) In addition, I am profoundly grateful for the kindness of friends and others who helped me make it through.

Since dT&T wrapped up, I’ve been playing catch-up. Some things are work-related, but most are life-related. To get back to regular exercise, I started swimming again. I signed up for a year-long health class that aims to stave off diabetes, which runs in my family. With the weight I gained being so sedentary, I need to address my risk more directly.

I’m trying to make time to write again. I was endlessly wordcrafting in Deluxe T&T — rewriting the draft Ken started me with, revising content, or writing all new material — but it wasn’t fiction. It wasn’t stories. And as invested as I am in dT&T, it isn’t mine the way my own stories are mine. I want it back, if I can make the time. Writing has always been a slippery bugger for me.

I’m working to declutter and downsize. That’s been “in progress” since long before the decluttering trend exploded, but becoming critically urgent. I heard about an interesting offer last month that would have entailed picking up and moving many states away. I realized I couldn’t — I am trapped by my stuff. Emotionally, it’s like looking around to realize you’re deep in a tarpit, and there are Smilodons circling.

Smilodon, vulture, came, Charles R Knight, painting, paleontology, tar pits

I swore to make myself wait on a couple of games that I desperately wanted to play: Dragon Age Inquisition and Witcher 3. They were to be my reward to finishing the job. This is my downtime activity, what I do at the end of the day when I’m too pooped to do anything else. With the job done, I tasted both games and decided to play through Inquisition before Witcher. [It had as much to do with the UI and controls as the games’ respective content, which was a tossup.] I am on hiatus from WoW for now.

I’m trying to do too many things. Deluxe T&T is doing great, and I’m glad to have done it — but I’m two years older and there’s still a lot I want to do before I can’t. Fix this website. Get the garden and yard spruced up. Visit friends. Do artsy-craftsy things for the hell of it.

Muse, patterns, Zentangle, design, drawing
I absolutely have to prepare for IlluxCon in October (that’s HUGE, my first time attending). Heck, I never even got my bio and sample art sent off to them, so I have to do that too. Local convention TusCon takes place immediately after. I hope I can manage to do both.

They say change is hard (and I don’t argue with that) but all life is change, and transitions are always stressful. Even good changes take spoons, as Jim Hines wisely pointed out. (If you are one of the seventeen remaining webwise people who don’t know what Spoon Theory is, read that link.)

Too many days I just plain run out of spoons. I’m still tracking my time 24/7 as I have for five years now, and I can see why there’s always more to do than I can reasonably fit in. After so long with Just One Job To Do, I’m struggling to figure out my priorities. Everything seems important.

Cardigan Welsh Corgis, dogs, petsOther days, I don’t get much done at all. I’m recognizing signs I don’t like to see in myself, the distant mockery of the hyena-faced Lack Dog. Others call it the Black Dog, except I really like dogs and have two very nice black ones like the one in this picture. So I call it the Lack Dog, and the Lack Dog is one more Very Important Thing on the To Do list. One more task to add to the overwhelming pile.

Sooner or later, I’ll work out the priority list. And if I have to chop a few things off the bottom, well, I’ve done that before. So if my blog posts here are a little hit or miss, when I do post something, you should realize that blogging hasn’t fallen off the bottom of the Do All The Things list quite yet.

I’ll have more for you in the days to come, questions I’d like you to answer, ideas I would like feedback about. But they’ll keep for now. For now, I’m just glad to be back.



4 Replies to “I’m Back”

  1. One of the most comforting and scary things I’ve read. Thank you for the link to the Spoon Theory. Saved, linked, and printed Ms Miserandino’s article and shall attempt to use it if anyone in my family really wants to know how living in a shutting-down body works. (I blunked out Chines’ explanation when he decided to start using obscenities. Why add to my depression?)

    Wonder how it will work with people who love to be “one up”?

    Congratulations on your accomplishments! You seem to feel you’re mainly just enduring, but to me – it appears you’re succeeding. And succeeding very, very well.

    Hang in there! You’re an example to me now, and I need my Alan Swanns as large as I can get. (Lousy grammar, but I’m either quoting or paraphrasing.)

    *jeep! and God Bless!
    —-Grandpa Tzhett

  2. Ah yes, that nagging feeling that maybe you ought (if you had the time) to be *writing* something (in your case a blog) for what readers/followers you have, but you never quite seems to have the resources spare which you need… 😀

    1. Realize this: when I do write something, it means I think you are collectively worth the spoons I have put to use for you here.

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