Today is the one-year anniversary of The Society of Torch, Pole and Rope. Back in August of last year, I started this blog after becoming aware of other forums dedicated to classic style of D&D that I was first exposed to. I hoped that I might be able to contribute to the “old school” scene in some small way, perhaps by chronicling my attempts to get back into a game which I had been long-absent from. I thought there might be room in the blogosphere for a few more wry commentaries, a handful of deranged home-brewed ideas, and maybe a little bit of humor. That was extent of my plan.
I plan and the universe laughs, it seems, because somewhere that idea went completely off the rails.
What was meant to be an occaisonal diversion has become a regular part of my daily life. Every day, I find myself writing something concerning this hobby of ours, whether it is a blog post, an article for submission to a fanzine, a new quadrant of Stonehell, or some notes for my own personal use. In addition to the 261 posts that have accrued here since the Society first opened its doors, I’ve had five articles appear in various magazines, written my first professional RPG book, almost completed my first self-published supplement, helped found a creative fellowship, served as a judge for the One Page Dungeon Contest, and created a smattering of free .pdf releases. A drop in the bucket compared to many, but far beyond what I ever envisioned when I first posted here a year ago.
I trust that, in spite of these other diversions, I’ve managed to maintain a credible signal-to-noise ratio on this blog. I know not everything that has appeared here is an instant classic or a spring-board for deep thoughts, but I believe that I’ve accumulated more hits than misses, and hope you feel the same. The Society of Torch, Pole and Rope isn’t one of the biggest blogs in terms of audience, but the number of regular visitors to this site each week is enough that I feel indebted to my readers and I sincerely hope they enjoy their time here each week.
With a full year of the blog behind me, I find myself contemplating the future. If I’ve learned nothing else over the past 365 days, I’ve discovered that divination is a fool’s game: one can never be sure where the course of a year will take you. I want to think that I’ll still be here a year from now, carrying on my efforts to make a small mark on the walls of history, but I can’t be sure. If I’m not, however, it won’t be from a lack of effort.
I’ve learned that I need to rediscover the word “no” and use it from time to time. In my enthusiasm to reenter this hobby, I agreed to anything that came my way. The result was a very heavy workload which actually conspired to diminish my enjoyment of this recreational activity, thus undermining the whole point of having a hobby. With the release of the first Stonehell book, I’m going to take some time off from accepting new obligations. I still have promises which I intend to keep, but I need to scale back my workload for a time and gather both my thoughts and energy. I miss having to work on only one or two things at any given time.
I’m not complaining, mind you. I feel very lucky that this blog has opened a few doors and allowed me to share my ideas with a broader audience. That’s the dream of most referees and I know some people would love to have my problem. I just need to find the perfect balance between creating and playing so as to not burn out in either regard.
What that means to the blog, I’m unsure at this moment. Part of me is loathe to stop doing my regular schedule of M-W-F postings, as that might be the first step on the road to this blog going dark. Another part of me argues that a less strict schedule would result in an increased quality to the posts that do see the light of day here. I’m holding off making a firm decision as of yet, but I mention it just in case I decide to switch off of the schedule I’ve maintained for the last year.
In the meantime, I intend to keep doing what I do here. While the Society is not unique or ground-breaking, I seem to have found my spot on whatever threefold model we’re using this week. A place to celebrate creativity; to turn over a few stones in search of odd ideas; to indulge in humor so as to remind us all that this is a game we’re playing, not “serious business”, and to share my long-standing love for this weird little pastime.
Thank you all for your interest in this electronic birdcage liner and encouragement you’ve given me throughout the past year. Without you, my regular audience, I’m just another oddball yelling into the wind. I much prefer it when the wind occasionally yells back.