The recent nonsense directed at White Wolf/Onyx Path and the new edition of Vampire has made me step back a little and think about the situation this hobby, and I, find myself in. It’s my hope that the sheer ludicrousness of what’s been done to them, and especially the absurd accusations levelled at Mark Rein•Hagen, will wake a few people up. He’s a sweet, nice guy who – while a little naive – is the very opposite of what they accuse him of being.
I look back at everything that’s happened to me since 2010, but especially since 2012, even more so during Gamergate, and it seems incredible; beyond parody. There’s been a slow slide into insanity and while I noticed it creeping into my political and artistic home on the left first, the insanity is now on all sides.
Finding any kind of peace or comfort, creating anything in this kind of atmosphere, is difficult. It’s difficult, even without the other struggles and issues I’ve faced in that time and, thankfully, overcome.
Now I find myself at a bit of a loose end, not quite sure what I want to do with myself creatively – and how or why to go about doing it. Completing the Gor project was exhausting, not just in terms of the work and the (anticipated) negativity, but because I was acutely aware of how late it was every single day, and did everything I could to get it out sooner.
Now I’m aware that I have a rod I have made for my own back, the necessity of supporting a successful game, acclaimed by fans of the series, but knowing it’ll never get any recognition outside of that, not that I particularly seek it. Finding the energy to start or complete another project is also tough, and my hard drive is littered with drafts of short stories, another novel and a half dozen abortive game projects.
On the one hand, it’s heartening, in a way, to see that nobody is safe from these spurious accusations. On the other, it’s depressing to exist in such a stifling, judgemental, censorious and puritanical atmosphere, let alone to create anything in it. I find myself self-censoring (believe it or not) and hating myself for it. After all, if anything you do is going to be considered problematic (or degenerate) then what is the point of holding back? Yet still that pressure is there, and I hate it.
I value, more than I adequately have words to express, the people who have stuck with me throughout this journey. Professional and personal friends, customers, players, artists, writers. Your support and appreciation mean the world to me, and I’m sure it has been a crazy ride this past half-decade for you too.
I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know – for the first time in a long time – what I actually want to do next. I don’t know where to go next, whether we’ll ever get back to just having fun, sharing stories and creating worlds in our imaginations. I do know that wherever I end up going, whatever I end up doing, there are good people out there still, who appreciate the principle, honesty and integrity I try to bring to my work. Even, even especially, when it costs me.
Love to you all.