Sunday, August 16, 2009

The start of it all

For as long as I can recall, paper and pen have never been far from my hands. It's a rare day that I will venture out into the world with out some sort of variation of sweet dried wood pulp and thought capturing ink. If fact, if I really think about it, it almost frightens me not to have these wonderful tools at hand. *shudder*

As you could imagined, it's quite a joke amount my friends and relatives.

Allow me to give you an example. On a typical outing, lets say to go and hang out with friends, I'll have stuffed in my "flavor of the moment bag" (more on THAT obsession later) no less that 1 binder, 2 different notebooks, a barrage of pens and pencils, and a helter skelter selection of loose leaf sheets of paper that are deemed so important at that time that I need to have them at hand. That's just for a few hours, and that doesn't' include all the other books and bobbles I carry. Hard to believe I love computers so much with to many dead trees living in my house.

Compound that with years of bookbinding, role playing games, journal writing, a deep love of calligraphy, and my attempts to be able to sketch something other than a few wavy lines, and you have a man who stands on his pile of papers obsessed with the written word. I could go into details of the hundreds of pound of paper scatted in my life that exist just as half used note books alone, but I don't wish to scare ye yet.

SO, all of that, and the question is "WHY??". What would transform an otherwise unremarkable man into a slobbering, OCD induced paper whore??

It started with Saturday morning Cartoons oddly enough. You may remember the epic adventures and misadventures of one Wiley E. Coyote, super genius, and his attempts to eat a meal of one fast ass bird. He would use the all might grail of catalogs, ACME , to furnish his creations of self torture. I would only watch Loony toons just catch those clips staring Wiley. Hell, I loved the character so much that I even had several Little Big books that had stories about Mr Coyote attempting to get the roadrunner and his, mysteriously appearing, family. Due to this love, I wanted to keep track of all of those wonderful ideas and their failures. All so that I could write/tell spell binding stories about Willey having a meal that he didn't' have to stuck through a straw.

Well, being of humble life style, and more importantly, living out in the woods, I started to make Acme catalogs with my mother's business letter head. She wasn't overly pleased, but you got to work with what you have, right? I still have one of these booklets-- All staples and THICK layers of scotch tape. And, since I was at an age that I had yet learned the skills to write well, yet another theme in my life, a wide range of drawings with scribbles that look like scribbles adorned the the pages of this labor of love. I remember sitting there with my booklet, trying to draw what was being showed on the TV screen so that a record would be in the codex for reference. So deep was this desire that I kept the book on me always, just in case I was somewhere and I saw and episode that I had not seen before.

Yeah, that little idea left me with one hell of a scar, didn't it?

From that humble start, a a joy of writing flourished. I think it would really surprise my friends how much I love to write, and how devoted I was to this art so many moons ago. Flowing from that into my teen years, and we introduce role playing games. Now, these are not the wonderful graphic intensive, vertigo head spinning, carpal tunnel inducing games of today. This was classic dungeons and dragons with all the books, dice, character sheets, etc, as seen lovingly in the very start of the movie ET. Because of my love of writing, it was not uncommon for me to write at least three pages of hand written text about each one of my characters and their backgrounds. Which, of course, ment that the character sheets had to be on me at all times in case I "suddenly" had to use one. Factor in that I was also game master for many games, and I would find myself with several binders that where chalked full of binder paper with just notes for my games. I guess it would be no surprise to anyone to know that the amount of paper that I would lug to a game, let alone school, was in the 50-60 lb range.This, by the way, includes all the books I would carry with me; we go back to that obsession with having all my information at hand. Oddly enough, I don't' recall lugging around my school books very often. I think I wisely left those at home.

At some point, maybe due to my back pain or the difficulty of using RPG books in class without the teacher noticing, I started to write down important information for the games that I played on index cards. Kind of like a cliff notes for the systems, but easier to carry than the books themselves. I would spend hours laboriously writing down all of prudent need to know information onto both sides of the card. I could easly go through 200-300 cards in month by doing that. But what killed me, was when a game system would be revised or a new edition would roll out. Ah, the joy of re-writing ALL of that information.

That changed when my family got our new computers ( it was a 386SX with 1/2 a megabyte of ram and running at a blistering 16mega hertz(you read that right)), I thus started down the path of putting all of that information into the computer. It was much easier and faster, and mistakes didn't' cause to me smell that god awful flavor of White out. But, even here, i had a new problem to over come. Since laptops of the day where huge,and expensive, all that information I put into the computer could only be access in one way ; it had to printed out for my usage. Since binders just didn't' feel right for me, I stared to learn how to book bind proper like.

Let's fast forward into adulthood, and you add in the need of keeping track of appointments, phone numbers, what day of the week it is, what hours I need to be at work, technical document, notes from meetings, ideas for other ideas, important gaming stuff, plus everything that I've carried with me for years, and you have a man who is constantly trying to find his holy grail of paper usage and idea keeping.

SO, the point of this blog, is to write about this obsession. The tools, the thoughts, the things that I use to carry it all, and the experiments to try and make sense of the chaos. Blend that in with the creative side of my life, and I promise you a fun journey. Just don't forget your pen bag :-)

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