Loners, Or Not?

If you ask creative people whether they’re loners or not, most would probably tell you “yes.” At least to some extent. Creativity may be enhanced by collaboration, but all ideas still begin inside a single human mind.

And that’s where the challenge comes in.

You see, I’ve always had a little trouble–a lingering hiccup, you might say–with getting those ideas out of my mind and into other people’s. The leap doesn’t come naturally. Somehow, my thoughts never sounds as good in a pitch or on paper as they did in my head.

If you’re a creative person, you might recognize this dilemma. But as with so many other challenges in life, this one brings a sweet reward to those who persevere.

I was reminded of it this past weekend.

After a whirlwind week at my new job, I was granted early leave-taking on Friday (it was pre-arranged) for an engagement I’ve been looking forward to for a long time: my  world workshop at the Midwinter Gaming Convention.

A great small group of writers gathered to share this time with me. We laughed. We argued. We learned a lot. (At least, I did!) And right before it was over, someone asked me about my creative work.

It had been a long week of training, hand-shaking, and more names than I could remember. I had plum forgotten to mention that, “Oh yes, I’m a writer too, by the way!” But it didn’t take much prodding to get me warmed up. And not long after that, I brought out the Aurelia Bestiary.

That’s when the magic happened.

One of the workshop attendees snatched up that little book like it was the first he’d ever seen. He didn’t just glance through the pages and hand it back, either. He perused the book carefully. Laughed with delight at this monster, and that one. Told me which was his favorite (it was Terry Reed’s “Hollow,” as I recall). He examined the font and the page design. Speculated on which monster his personal RP character would most enjoy encountering. Even asked me when there would be more.

That young man left with that bestiary, of course. And I left with a joy such as I have not experienced in a very long time—the sort of giddy enthrallment that makes you realize just why you nurture your imagination in the first place . . .

So you can share its fruits with those around you.

It was a weekend of many such moments, where creativity leapt from one mind to many. All over the convention, I met gamers who had come to share experiences. Some had even brought their own games, complete with hand-written rules, hand-crafted boards, and hand-painted game pieces. Others donned costumes and armor to spin collaborative stories with people they’d never met before.

I could tell you, too, about the leather-working demonstration at Society for Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and the excitement backstage as the new season of AURELIA launched this week. (There’s still time to join, by the way.) But I won’t tell you about them. At least, not now. Because I’m writing this at bedtime, and I have to be up early.

There’s a story growing in my mind. I can’t keep it to myself for long.

I guess I’m not a loner, after all.

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