NaBloPoMo Day 20: Missing Like Wishing

I’m sure I have mentioned this in varying forms over the past few weeks, months, what have you, but I miss gaming. I mean, live gaming. Physically being in a room with people, either sitting around a table or moving between spaces, engaged in our characters, laughing at antics, putting on our acting hats, and slipping beneath the skin of someone else. I miss the interaction, I miss the theatrics, I miss it all! I miss planning my costume/outfits for game, tapping into what my character is thinking or feeling that time and how that would influence what they choose to wear. I miss my closet full of gowns, the flowers for my hair that were chosen specifically for their meanings. I miss the “letters” full of flowery language, figurative (and sometimes proverbial) bear traps hidden beneath seemingly harmless nosegays.

I miss walking into a room full of friends and, for a moment, feeling that rush and thrill of nervousness as if I were walking into a room of strangers (especially if there were new people there). That feeling that has me either wanting to hide in a corner or run away. I would get over it eventually and be caught up in the fun and flurry of activity from soft rp to the rampaging plot bus to wrapping up rp at the end of game before nominations. At any game I have ever attended, we have always done some form of nominations at the end of game, acknowledging those who surprised us, delighted us, put themselves out there for plot, or whose characters royally screwed up and thus made lots of story and to-do for the rest of us.

I miss late-night “afters”. I miss gathering to eat with friends in the small hours of the morning, still gleeful and charged up from roleplay. I miss sharing conversation and good food and laughs while even on the verge of sleep.I miss slipping into the skin of someone else and living their life for a while. I miss feeling their heart beat and expand and drop and break within me. I miss being with others, with friends, with people who make me laugh, cry, hate, and love all in the space of a six-hour game. I miss feeling the energy of others pulsing all around me, even if it left me drained and weary at the end of the night. That was a cost I could live with most of the time. I miss my playtime.  I honestly can’t help but wish to have it again and thrill and be elated when I do get chances to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies.


A Lesson in (Geek) Etiquette

I inhabit a world of geeks. If you have not been confronted by the passion of the geek by now, I salute you, because we are one seriously fervent and animated bunch. We usually make sure that you will remember us, one way or another.

That being said, I have apologies to make. In the past, I have been pretty unkind and even downright mean in my dislike of several comic book characters in the past, namely Scott Summers, aka Cyclops. I have disliked the way the character treats the people in his life, his insistence that his way is the best, etc. But I have realized that, in the past, I have been rather rude when discussing this character with others who may just like or even admire him for his leadership and what he has gone through in his tenure in the X-men universe. I may not agree with or like this character but that is no call for poor behavior on my part when it comes to respecting others and their position in the argument. So, to anyone I have treated that way, I sincerely apologize.

As much as our opinions and passions matter, I think one of the most important things we need to remember is our geek etiquette. What makes us so great a community is that we have a myriad of varied interests, likes, favorites, fandoms, etc. But we can also be exceedingly vocal and adamant in our passion for particular fandoms or characters or even specific versions of the two. Sometimes, we can allow those passions to overcome our good sense and in our desperate attempts to show that we are “right” and to win others over to “our side” or our way of seeing things, we can actually disrespect and damage our relationships with other people by unknowingly tromping all over something that might mean a great deal to them.

We might not know that this particular character or comic that we absolutely despise was an escape for this person when they were younger, a way to get away from the difficulties in their life at a particularly rough time.

We might not know that this character whom we find unbelievable and trite was the first thing that she bonded over with her brother, when before they had had nothing in common.

It might not have even crossed our minds that Matt Smith’s “Doctor Who”, whom we might consider manic and out of keeping with previous Doctors, calmed that frazzled mother’s colicky baby and gave her a few moments of peace and rest, which is why he is her favorite.

There are connections behind people’s opinions and favorites, thought they might seriously diverge from our own, that we might not know of because they are personal and close to their hearts. We are more than welcome to our own opinions, of course, but that does not mean that we cannot be kind and respectful in our passionate discussion, allowing for others to maintain their stances without our trying to tear them down when they refuse to “see it our way”. And this doesn’t just stand for “geeky” hobbies or interests. This practice can and should be applied to areas across the spectrum of our lives. We can be passionate AND respectful and possibly avoid damaging our friendships and relationships with others by stomping all over something that they might enjoy by detailing to them just how awful their choice in geekery, religion, career, or hobbies is. Trust me, we all get enough of that in our lives.

Nerdy Imposter

Art by Cal Slayton –

Author’s Note: Edited on 6-7-14 for clarity and personal opinion.

I realized the other day that I feel like an imposter. For a while now, I have called myself a nerd, specifically a comic book nerd (Or is it ‘geek’? I don’t know which is the acceptable term now). I mean, we have about four issue storage boxes similar to the one the picture stacked in a corner of our living room by a bookshelf, not to mention two whole shelves of one bookcase for our trade paperbacks, 80% of them mine. So I think I have often thought of myself as the girl in the picture – fun (maybe a little cute and devilish) and geeky, glasses and all. But, as I go to more and more of the comic-based films and, inevitably, debate them afterwards with my husband and my friends, I’m realizing something. I’m realizing that I often feel like an imposter in this particular corner of the popular culture world.

With the releases of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-men: Days of Future Past, and The Amazing Spiderman 2 this spring alone, not to mention Guardians of the Galaxy hyping up and preparing to release in August, I find myself forced to think long and hard before and as I debate these films with others and, usually, they are others who have actually read the comics these movies are based on. For me, here’s how it breaks down, at least the most recent ones:

Captain America – never read a single thing with him, except for the recent A vs. X arc. Never been interested, actually.

X-men: My experience has been sporadic at best. My longest love affair has been with the animated series, The Uncanny X-men, X-men Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-men. I read the comics a great deal in middle school, read some again in college/grad school (only remember one arc that actually made any impact – Wolverine: Return of the Native)and the closest I have come to loyalty lately is the recent Uncanny X-men arc with the proto-mutants, which I a.) collected because the covers were pretty (love the nouveau layouts), b.) Storm was leading the team, and c). the story was interesting. Of course, life got in the way and I got lost on it.

Spiderman: I have not touched a Spiderman title since I was a child and I would grab my uncle’s stack of Spiderman comics, put them beside my grandma’s hammock that was hung up in her front hallway, and swing and read all of a summer afternoon to stay out of the sun and the heat. Those comics are gone by now, rotted to dust in a corner of the storeroom somewhere. And I only remember one or two of them with any sort of vividness.

Catwoman (90s run) issue #37 – Story by Dixon, pencils by Balent, inks by Smith

So maybe you can understand why I tend to feel like imposter. Maybe I’m not a comic book nerd, not really. I do have loyalty but not to a brand or a company. I have loyalty to a single incarnation of a single character: Catwoman. Specifically, her 90s run with the art drawn by Jim Balent. To my mind, she has never been more capable, lovely, or deadly than in this incarnation.  But I posted about that a little over a year ago so I won’t rehash it here.  I love Catwoman; she has been my only ‘real’ loyalty over the years. Batman, my feelings come and go. Superman I can take or leave. Even Wolverine , I run hot and cold at times.  Wait. I think I may have accidentally fibbed. There is one other title that has my love and loyalty and always will, I think: Fables.  But that is a whole other story in and of itself.

So, with this in mind, I’m not entirely sure I have earned the right to call myself a “comic book nerd”. I enjoy comics. They are fun to read. But I am not the girl who will stand there and argue Bone First vs. Adamantium First a la Big Bang Theory. Well, not if I don’t know the right answer right off the bat.  I do love offering theories, though. And I do love continuity, which, of course, X-men plays havoc with all the time, but that’s OK. It’s kind of part and parcel for the universe. But, for all of this, I feel like I’ve maybe been appropriating a title for which I am ill-suited, as silly as that may sound. It’s kind of like Cyanide Happiness comic about  “loving” science. Maybe…maybe I don’t “love” comics so much as I have been ogling Catwoman’s shapely behind for the past twenty years of my life.

It may not be the truth but that is how I feel. Over the past two years, I feel…removed from the hobbies that I love and used to participate avidly in – belly dance, comics, cosplay, and larp/tabletop. I hardly feel worthy of calling myself a ‘bellydancer’, ‘cosplayer’, or ‘larper’ any more either, truth be told. I know that with life comes changes and the finding of a new balance amidst those changes. Maybe that is what I need to work on.