Creatively Frustrated

For the past five years I’ve been developing, polishing, and pacing what I hope will eventually be my first novel. I’ve been writing and reading my whole life, but I’ve never put paper to pen long enough to write an entire novella.  I can feel the story crying out to be written, and the voice of creativity shows no signs of holding its tongue.

As mentioned in my previous post A Forgotten Flame, I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts again lately, and yesterday I listened to a podcast in which the host spoke about being productive as a writer. Most of what was said would probably be considered common sense to many; such as: “Read a lot, and write a lot.” Which is great advice, but also something that I’ve already heard, many times before.

What did fascinate me, to the extent that I immediately grabbed a notebook and pen to write down what I had heard, was the last point of advice that he gave. I won’t beat around the bush, so here it is:

Once a day, do something creative, and then write it down on your calendar.  Keep on doing at least one creative thing a day, and eventually you won’t want to miss a “something creative” day because of all the positive, creative momentum that you’ve built up. The idea being that you’ll eventually reach  a point in your life wherein each day will always provide you with a creative achievement to your name.

Now, it is worth mentioning that we all have different ideas of what constitutes as a creative achievement, and that’s great! Our creativity differs, which is kind of the defining characteristic of creativity.

Personally, this blog post is today’s creativity challenge.  I’m a little sick. I’m not feeling well, and I have some work to catch up on, but gosh dangit, I’m writing this post!

Ultimately, the novel I write will be a collection of many days’ creative writings culminated into one story of epicosity.  I know that’s not a word, but screw it, I’m sick.

So…

Are you feeling creatively frustrated?

Are you hungry for a creativity revival?

Are you someone who’s been waiting too long to get things done?

Well then…

Take it one step at a time.  Or in this case, one creative gesture of symbolic freedom, at a time. Draw a picture, write a poem.  Write a sentence.  Whatever!

Dylan

10-09-2015

P.S. This damn cold better go away, or I’ll be forced to write about it.

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A Forgotten Flame

Recently I rediscovered something that I used to have a deep admiration for.  The interest in this particular thing had faded over time and eventually completed disappeared from the spectrum of my interests.  What is it you ask?  Well, technically it’s not an “it” but rather a “something.”  Okay, I’m taking to long to get to the point.  Here goes…

Podcasts.

I recently started listening to all my favourite podcasts again.  Now for those of you who don’t know, podcasts are basically like radio shows, except they’re recorded in the form of episodes and are usually released exclusively via the internet.  Some of my favourites include:

The Nerdist Podcast, Fatman on Batman, Smodcast, and my absolute favourite podcast of all time… Radio Free Burrito, which is a podcast written and performed by Wil Wheaton, the person who actually got me through several rough patches in my life.

So anyway, I started listening to these podcasts again and catching up on all the episodes that I’d missed, and during all this catching up I felt a kind of sudden shock.  Why on God’s good Earth had I lost interest in something that I so clearly have an absolute passion for?  Doesn’t being passionate about something mean that you should never tire of it? Apparently not.

I went through the archives on several websites and listened to these internet radio shows every day when I had a chance, or if I had to spend some time doing menial tasks.  But the more I listened the more I struggled with the fact that I had simply forgotten and left these wonderful podcasts behind, in the blink of an eye.  It then occurred to me what had happened.   To put it simply, I had gotten so busy trying to find things to be passionate about and to love, that I had completely forgotten to be passionate about and love the things that I had already found.  It sounds tremendously silly but that’s what happened.

So here I sit on a wonderfully calm Tuesday evening listening to a podcast, writing this article, and smiling, because I get to spend my evening doing two things that I love and am incredibly passionate about: To listen to people who inspire me to be better and to work harder. And to write about the wonderfully simple and elegant medium with which they do that:  Podcasting.

So I urge you to take a step back and look at your old loves.  The things you used to be passionate about.  Why did those passions disappear?  Is passion like a candle that slowly melts away, or is It rather a rapidly burning fire that needs to be fed accordingly? 

So don’t spend too much time trying to find things to be passionate about. Odds are you’ve already found them.  You just need to be reminded as to why you loved them in the first place.

Hell Yes I Like To Party

This past weekend I attended a party. But not just any kind of party.  This, peasants, was a Board Game Party.  Hosted by a local company here in The South of Africa in the city of Johannesburg.  A good friend of mine and I decided to go.  It should be no surprise to you, regular and valued DWIWINS reader, that I am in fact, a HUGE board game enthusiast.  It might however come as a surprise to you that I have never been to a party of that type before, until this past weekend.

We walked through the doors and witnessed what can only be described as what I hope heaven looks like. Lots and lots of super friendly people laughing and having a genuinely good time. All of them in communion with one another, thinking with each other, and trying to beat each other, in most cases that is.

This was not a movie you go and watch with your friends, a movie where you go and sit down to watch a big screen and usually don’t say more than a few badly timed whispers to your friends. This… was table top gaming the way it’s meant to be. We walked in and paid a small fee.  The payment let us play as many games as we wanted, as much as we wanted. It also included all you can drink coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and juice.  Yes, hot chocolate.  ALL YOU CAN FREKEN DRINK.

We explored new games and made new friends. We played an amazingly fun game called Smash Up, which I actually bought before leaving.  We couldn’t spend as much time as we would have liked, but the three hours we did spend there, were arguably the best three hours of my week. Needless to say, I CANNOT wait for the next one!

Dylan

2015-08-20

Did I Miss The Memo?

Lying on my warm, comfortable bed, listening to some smooth jazz while gently sipping from my cup filled with tea is really the way I’d love to spend most of my time. It’s the way I like to unwind.  The way I like to forget about all the troubles this world likes to throw at us. Miles Davis and some Camomile for me thanks.

There seems to be a really odd and quite frankly, silly, social stigma going around these days. That it’s okay for young people to go out and get floorfaced drunk and party till the next weekend. Now, I know how saying that makes me sound.  Like some old prune of a man who hates fun. DAMN YOU FUN. Well actually, I’m not against fun, at all.  I love fun, and I think it’s important for young dudes and dudettes to go out and live life to the fullest.

HOWEVER

My problem is not people not having a problem with all the excessive alcohol.  My problem is that people think that it’s okay, and then giving me and my friends a tough time because we don’t like to get floorfaced drunk every weekend.  It’s strange and weird for us to enjoy things like board games or cosplay, but it’s “normal” for us to go out and do things we’ve been told are wrong our whole lives.

Did I miss the memo?

Please forgive the rant.

Dylan   A.K.A. The prune of a man who hates fun

2015-08-12

Bored Game?

Yesterday night I had an opportunity to introduce my parents to a classic board game.  Having grown up in an age where Monopoly and Rummikub were the only real table top toppers, they were unfamiliar to the vast world and community of table top gaming as it stands today.  You dear reader might also be unaware to the massive renaissance that board games have been experiencing over the past few years. As Wil Wheaton says: “A lot of people think that video games killed board games, but a lot of people are wrong.”

There is actually an award (a very prestigious one at that) called the Spiel Des Jahres, which basically means game of the year in German.  Winning a Spiel Des Jahres is like getting an Academy Award in the board game world.  Just to give you some perspective, Rummikub won one way back in 1980.  It’s a big deal. A game that wins it usually sells tens of thousands more because of it.

Anyway, the game I played with my parents last night holds the prestigious position of having won the Spiel Des Jahres in the year 2001.  The game is called Carcassonne.  You and other players basically “build” the city of Carcassonne, and then score points by placing “followers” or meeples, as they are more commonly known. It’s a heck of a lot of fun! The game itself has sold over 10 million copies. Yes, you read that correctly.

After explaining the (very) simple rules, we gathered around the dinner table and started to play.  Once a few rounds had passed and everyone had the swing of things, we started laughing, joking, and just in general enjoying the game for it’s simplistic beauty.  It was at that moment that I saw a very rare reaction on my stepfather and mother’s faces.  They were surprised.  Now don’t get me wrong, they’re surprised just as much as any other person, but this time, they were surprised by the game.  Having been exposed to nothing but long never-ending tedious games of Monopoly and repetitive card games, they had unconsciously dismissed board games as simple minded games that are actually just meant for children.  Carcassonne, in a single game, destroyed that entire misconception.

It was a good night.  So if you’re looking for a new hobby, or a new way to spend time with your partner, friends, family, whatever, do yourself a favour, and try a board game.  The rabbit hole gets deeper the more you dig.

If you don’t know where to start, then I recommend The Settlers of Catan, or just Catan (the new edition but the same game) Otherwise, I’ve included an entire list of Spiel Des Jahres winners just for you!

Enjoy!

2015 Colt Express
2014 Camel Up
2013 Hanabi
2012 Kingdom Builder
2011 Qwirkle
2010 Dixit
2009 Dominion
2008 Keltis
2007 Zooloretto
2006 Thurn and Taxis
2005 Niagara
2004 Ticket to Ride
2003 Alhambra
2002 Villa Paletti
2001 Carcassonne
2000 Torres
1999 Tikal
1998 Elfenland
1997 Mississippi Queen
1996 El Grande
1995 The Settlers of Catan
1994 Manhattan
1993 Call my Bluff
1992 Um Reifenbreite
1991 Drunter und Drüber
1990 Adel Verpflichtet
1989 Café International
1988 Barbarossa
1987 Auf Achse
1986 Top Secret Spies
1985 Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
1984 Railway Rivals
1983 Scotland Yard
1982 Enchanted Forest
1981 Focus
1980 Rummikub
1979 Hare and Tortoise

In Flux

I recently discovered a card game called Fluxx, and it instantly became one of my favourites because of one simple reason. And that reason is that Fluxx has one simple rule: Draw a card (from a deck of cards) and then, play a card.  Simple, right?  No.  The thing about Fluxx is… the rules constantly change.  That card that you drew from the deck might be a “new rule” card, which can then be played.  The “new rule” card will then change the current rules.  Crazy right! Well yeah, that’s why the game is called Fluxx, because the rules are constantly “in flux.” Cue the witty giggle.  Anyway I thought that that was quite interesting.

Apart from the discovery of a new card game, my life has been pretty busy lately. Working as a full time lecturer and studying copywriting part time is no joke.  Apart from work and studies I also have to find time to write.  I’ve recently been asked to write for a new website called Business Casual.  I’m really enjoying that because it’s taking me out of my comfort zone, writing about topics I don’t generally find myself writing about.

Apart from studies, work, this blog, and the Business Casual website, I’ve also recently been contacted in regards to a big project. I won’t go into that too much now but big things, and even bigger opportunities are on the rise.

I’m pretty much always working one way or another. In the rare moments of free time you’ll find me writing music, playing a board game, or learning Mandarin.  What I’ve noticed is that in this current chapter of my life (being busy all the time) I am actually the happiest I’ve ever been.  This constant feeling of productivity has really slapped me through the face, permanently leaving a smile on my face, and more importantly a happy heart.  Very poetic I know.

Having said all that… where I am in my life right now has enabled me to reflect on something I heard many years ago on a much deeper scale. I don’t know who said it, but it goes something like this…

“Work is more fun than fun.”

I can officially wholly agree with that statement, although I might make one slight adjustment and say: “Productivity is more fun than fun.”

Now stop reading this blog, and go and be productive. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, I promise.

 

Dylan

2015-08-09

Dungeons and Dragons… and lots and lots of rules.

I recently started developing a massive interest in Table Top Gaming. So I went to my local comic book store and bought a Dungeons and Dragons starter set. The reason I opted for D&D was because it just seemed like the right place to start.  Just like if you were to start reading fantasy,  J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings would be the perfect place to begin.  D&D was my Lord Of The Rings.

I patiently waited for us to get home before gently, and at the same time violently, ripping off the plastic covering that was separating me from the magical, and beautiful land of the Forgotten Realms.  A smile ripped it’s way across my face, and much like a Heath Ledger Joker, these scars would be not be leaving anytime soon.  I called my two younger sisters and older brother in excitement.  It was time to play Dungeons and Dragons.  The enthralling, almost electric pulse of adrenaline was all over the room.  As we sat down, I realized that I had forgotten the most important part of any game:  The rules.

I looked at them all and asked if they didn’t mind me quickly having a glance at the rule book before we began. Once I had a basic idea of how things worked, we could work our way through the game, and also find out what was, and wasn’t allowed.  I took the manual from the box and gave it a good looking.  I began at the first chapter, everything you need to know to start playing.  15 minutes later I reached the second chapter: Combat, which was even longer than the initial rules chapter.  I decided to give it all a quick glance instead of trying to give it a detailed read.  I started paging through the now intimidating manual of “basic” rules.  The pages just kept on turning…  New concept after new concept.  I realized that this wasn’t just another game of UNO.  This was Dungeons and Dragons.  Arguably one of the most well known fantasy board games ever crafted by human hands.  I took a deep breath and told my siblings that we weren’t going to be playing D&D that evening, or the next.  We all laughed and decided to play the easier to grasp Zombie Dice instead.

I’ve been reading the D&D manual for the past week and almost have a full grasp on most of the rules.  Since D&D is mostly just imagination fueling the game,  there have to be a lot of rules dictating what can and can’t be done, since the game is actually limitless.  From what I’ve read already, the game looks fascinating and exciting.  Perhaps we’ll get to slay a dragon sooner than expected.  Whenever that does happen though, I’m sure that it’s going to be well worth the wait.

Dylan

2015-06-28

Why not?

Over the past year I’ve been trying to expose myself to new things.  I felt like my own interests and hobbies were starting to dry out, if that makes sense.  I craved change and a new fresh view on the way that I saw my life.  Being a geek, I have a natural tendency to obsess over anything that I enjoy.  Whether that be reading the news everyday, or a new video game.  I really get connected to the things I enjoy on a deep, almost emotional level, and I’m a firm believer that the things we enjoy doing in our spare time are really the best representations of what we represent, what we enjoy, and ultimately, who we are.

I started small.  Listening to a new radio station was the equivalent of dipping my toes into the ocean of the unknown.  Things got more interesting when I started reading books that I would normally just glance over.  I even tried a romance novel.  I didn’t finish it, but hey, I gave it a try. I introduced myself to different cultural ways of doing things and tried implementing those things into my culture.  There was an immediate sense of excitement.

The way I looked at the world started to change.  I think we get so engrossed in the things we enjoy that we don’t see the need to try new things.  Why should I try that hamburger when I could just eat the one that I already know is going to taste nice?  That question stopped shoving its way into my thoughts.  Instead of “Why?” I started saying “Why not?” and I gotta tell you.  Life feels fresh again.  Everyday is a different experience.  Everyday is something I didn’t know about the previous night. I’m always learning and, as a result, always growing.

Even this blog is something that I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy, until I tried it.  And I know that change is scary, but you know what?  It should be.  Once you stop giving yourself the limits of what you can and can’t do or enjoy, life really becomes limitless.

I’ll even try something different right now, and end this post with a quote.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” – Richard Bach

Who Doesn’t Love a Good Boardgame?

As a young boy growing up in America in the 90’s, there were a few things that I was required to be well educated in.  Namely: Pokémon, Video games and Star Wars.  I would spend hours with my San-Diego friends discussing the best Evee evolution, or the best way to clean our Nintendo 64 game cartridges. Watching the Star Wars movies on loop for a whole weekend was not uncommon either. These things became a part of me, and I still have brief moments of spontaneous excitement when someone brings up a lightsaber, or even Pikachu.

There was however, another love. The love of board games.  And while Star Wars, video games, and Pokémon stuck with me, board games seemed to lose their charm.  Why?  Heck if I know.  Maybe I grew out of them, or maybe I just stopped seeing the appeal of what was usually, quite a repetitive system of play.

Recently however, I discovered a show that would change everything for me.  TableTop, a YouTube show on the Geek and Sundry channel, which is hosted by one of my favourite actors: Wil Wheaton.  It’s basically just celebrities playing a board game.  It’s a different game each week, along with different players.  It’s actually a ton of fun to watch. Give it a try.

Before I carry on, you should know this: Board games have really developed over the years.  It’s not all about buying property or capturing Australia anymore.  These days, board games range from simple family games, to complex tactical fantasy role playing games.

After watching enough TableTop and deciding on which game I was going to spend my hard earned money, I opted for the classic: Dungeons and Dragons.   I cautiously opened the box, which revealed a bible like rulebook filled with every possible scenario the game could ever put you through.  I giggled like a little girl. I unpacked everything and then convinced my little sisters to join in on a game.  Sadly, the rules were so complex that we had to stop just to allow a chance to make sure we all knew the rules.  It was fun spending time with family around a table with nothing to guide us but our imaginations though.  We laughed, a lot.  These days, not enough people play board games.  While watching a movie with the family is always nice; playing a board game provides a whole other level of bonding and simple satisfaction.  I think that were going to start having a family board game night, once we learn all the rules that is.

It felt really good to connect to an element of my past with elements of my present, in the form of my little sisters. They couldn’t wait to play again. I don’t know why I lost interest in board games.  That doesn’t matter anymore though. Playing Dungeons and Dragons with my little sisters made up for all those lost years.  It wasn’t just a simple board game in that box, It was a part of my childhood that I hadn’t seen in years, and golly, did we have a lot to talk about.

Dylan

2015-06-22

Pronunciation Is Key

Okay, so here’s the deal, the brass tax, the main headline, and the bloggy business. Also, I don’t want to bore you my lovely reader person, so I’ll try to make this as entertaining as possible.

How do you pronounce the name of this Blog?

What is this Blog about?

These are both valid questions, and  It’s high time I answer them. (Especially the first one)

The name of this Blog is DWIWINS, and it is pronounced (Dawi-wins)  Say it loud and slow, then slowly accelerate the speed at which you make this delightfully homey but at the same time foreign sound.

Perfect.

Now for the important question.  What is this Blog about?  Well honestly, It’s about nothing, and everything.   It’s my personal view of things.  My personal experiences. My loves, my joys, and my hobbies.  This Blog is also going to talk about what it’s like to live in a 3rd world country.  You’ll soon discover that I’m a movie fanatic who hates reading movie reviews (or writing them) More about that later (In another post).  It’s also honestly just going to be about what I feel like writing.  Which is important.  If you want to read about things that only you enjoy, then start your own Blog! Write a novel! All great ideas.  This Blog however, is mine.

If after that rant, you still care about what I have to say (and write) then I think we’re going to be good friends.  Despite the fact that this will touch the personal side of blogging, I can assure you, it will be an entertaining personal side.

The world is full of people writing what they want to write, which is exactly how it should be.  This is another one of those Blogs. Love it or hate, I will be publishing posts everyday.

Dylan

2015/06/18

P.S. Once you’ve practiced it a bit, the name does get easier to say.