I am beginning to realize that weekends are really tough to get writing time into. The problem is that my weekends are always so packed – I have a kajillion things going on and the weekends are the only time I get to do them. Finding even fifteen minutes to sit down and write can be incredibly difficult, as a lot of the time I’m not even home to be able to do so, or if I am home, I barely have time to breathe, let alone break out the laptop and write. That said, I still did things that I consider writing related, so that counts, right?
My weekend started out Friday evening. Thankfully, I had a chance to pound out a story for Chuck Wendig’s weekly challenge, and I am really pleased with the tale that came out of it. Then, off to meet one of my best friends in the world, whom I haven’t seen in person for over four years. It was my first chance to meet his awesome, beautiful wife, and their little baby boy, who I have to say may well be the cutest baby boy on the planet. He is seriously going to break some hearts with his bright blue eyes and broad, perfect smile. We had dinner, and then eventually retired back to their hotel, where my buddy and I hung out in the lobby, drank homebrew, and cracked up the night staff with our hilarious banter.
One of the things we talked about was, can you guess it? Writing! My buddy happens to be a writer too, in fact, you can find his WordPress blog here. As we hung out, we discussed our various projects, and the idea of writing “what you know”. I was telling him how I was really enjoying exploring different genres with some of the challenges I’ve been doing here, and how interesting I found it that I could draw from my own life and past to make passable attempts at most any genre. And while my own choice in fiction tends towards sci-fi and fantasy (to include urban fantasy and the like), it can be a real joy to explore more “real life” drama as well. I don’t know that we got to the bottom of anything (other than a few bottles of homebrew), but it was a great night. I finally got home around two in the morning, and crashed out.
Saturday was crazy busy. I got up, made breakfast for my wife and youngest son (stepson, for the record, but I don’t consider either of my stepkids as any different from my biokids, so from here forth, he’ll be called my son). Chow consumed, I dove into project number one – repairing my suit of armour.
Yep, you read that right. My suit of armour.
Y’see, one of my many facets of geekery is an intense love of history, and historical re-creation. Note, that isn’t historical reenactment, as my particular group of history nerds doesn’t actually reenact any particular event, but instead attempt to recreate aspects of life in the middle ages through experience and experimentation.
Really, that’s just a flowery way of saying we like to dress up on armour and beat the hell out of each other with sticks. May as well be honest, right? And beat the hell out of each other we do – full force, full contact, unscripted combat. It’s fast, it’s strenuous, it’s often painful, but most of all it’s fun. Glorious, maddeningly crazy fun. But that fun comes with a price – beyond the bruises and occasional bone breaks that can happen when you let a bunch of big dudes swing 1.5″ thick sticks at your body, the armour you wear takes quite a beating, and every once in a while, you have to do some maintenance. And, since I’ve lost, oh, 63 lbs or so since the last time I did this, I spent my Saturday morning through afternoon grinding out rivets, cutting leather, fixing straps, punching holes, and pounding out dents in my 14 gauge stainless steel armour, and resizing bits of it so that my now much skinnier self could fight in it again. Saturday early evening, I made dinner for the fam, and then prepared for writing related task number two – running a long-overdue promised role-playing game session for some friends who helped me move.
(Me, prior to losing 63 lbs, in my armour)
For those of you who aren’t familiar with them, role-playing games are often called, collectively, D&D. It’s a misconception, for though D&D *is* a role-playing game, not all RPGs are D&D. The one that I tend to run is called Pathfinder, and though it has its roots thoroughly entrenched in the body of a past edition of D&D, it is its own beast entirely. I’m not going to go into the details of how these games work, save to paint a very broad picture. Essentially, it is interactive story-telling. One person, usually called the DM (for Dungeon Master, from the days when RPGs were basically board games with a lot of rules) tells a story, and the other people playing each take the part of one single character within the world of that story. As the DM describes a situation, the players choose how their characters react to it, and the DM adjusts the outcome of the story based on those actions.
Now, I’ve been running these games for almost thirty years. I’ve become pretty masterful at thinking on the fly, adjusting stories to fit the crazy antics of my players, and making it all come out like I had planned for it in the first place. I honestly feel that gaming helps make me a better writer, as I am used to rolling with the weird punches that characters like to throw at me. And likewise, being a writer makes me a better gamer, because I am able to take what the players come up with and weave it into the tale I want to tell almost seamlessly, resulting in a night of fun, excitement, and a lot of laughs. We played from about 9:00 PM till just after 3:00 AM Sunday morning. It was a blast.
Sunday, up at 9:30, despite my lack of sleep. A quick breakfast for the wee one, then my eldest son and I loaded up my armour and gear in the car, ran a few errands, and went to Sunday fighting practice. It has been a LONG time since I went to a practice. About a year and half ago, I tore my left ACL during a fight, and haven’t been back in armour since. My ortho doc said that the only way I could return to fighting without getting knee surgery would be to drop a lot of weight and wear knee braces any time I fought. The story of my weight-loss journey is one for another post, but suffice to say, I have since lost 63 lbs (and still losing!) and yesterday, stepped onto the field in the best shape I have been in a very long time.
It showed. At the risk of sounding immodest, I did not fight like someone who hasn’t picked up a sword and shield in over a year. I held my own against one of the best fighters in our area, hell, in our “kingdom”. He killed me twice over many hard rounds of combat. I killed him once. When we retired from the field, he was huffing and puffing and I was still pretty damned fresh. It was a great feeling, and I rode the high off the adrenaline and exercise buzz all day. And I got to get a little misty eyed seeing my eldest son, now 15, fully suited in armour for the first time. He has been watching me fight and build armour since he was a two year old, so it was both awesome and sappy to see him out there, wearing the first helmet I ever built, ugly as it is (but functional!) and swinging a sword like a grown man. Awesomeness, indeed!
Sunday evening, home, with friends visiting. We cooked, we made kick ass mojitos, we drank, we told stories around a fire. The night finally ended somewhere after midnight, and though I thought briefly of writing this up then, I was exhausted, physically and mentally, and more than a little buzzed from those mojitos.
So there you have it, my friends. My weekend, packed as hell with activities. Only a bit of writing done, but lots of writing worthy experiences. I think I’m cool with that.