For posterity, and for my personal ownership of stuff I’ve written, this is a collection of posts I’ve recently shared on my Facebook thingy.
I’ve been at this long enough to feel like posting on Facebook is … kind of icky, from my EFF-loving, anti authoritarian, fuck-all-Fascists point of view, but the shitty reality is that Facebook is where people are these days. When I post on Facebook, I’ll interact with hundreds of people, just like I did in the early 2000s right here in this old blog. But when I post here, it’s crickets. So I’ll go where the people are, but I’ll also x-post some of that here, for anyone in the future who cares to read it.
Okay. Here they are. From my Facebook, over the last week or so:
Reminder that your self care is really important. If you live with anxiety or some other super fun mental illness like I do, you may be feeling extra stress and pressure right now. That’s totally normal and valid!
It’s okay to turn off the news, to walk away from the information fire hose for awhile, and simply … exist. Read a book, have a tea or a coffee, play a game, take a walk if you’re able to do that while maintaining appropriate physical distance from your fellow humans. Draw something! Listen to some music!
Whatever you do, the news will be there when you get back. And, honestly? Things are changing so quickly, it’s okay to miss a few hours of breaking news updates.
I wonder if I’m writing this mostly for myself? I feel like I have a responsibility to be productive, and to stay informed so I can be the best husband and father I can be right now, and it can feel a little (or a lot) overwhelming.
Is this only funny to me?
I want to check in with a friend. So I type “Just thinking about” and I intend to type “you and [her husband]” but I see that the word “your” is in the predictive text thing. And I just *know* what it is going to lead to, but I have to see for myself, you know? So I tap it, and sure enough, the next word it suggests is “sexy” followed by “body” followed by the little smiley emoji with heart eyes.
I audibly groan and delete the predicted text, sanitize my phone’s screen, just to be safe, and send my intended text message, without the suggested, and thoroughly inappropriate, predicted text.
I’m not shaming anyone who texts that way, but I don’t, and I CERTAINLY do not text that to my friends.
It was just amusing af to me that this series of words gets typed enough that my keyboard app’s predictive text thingy was like I WILL HELP YOU, HUMAN. YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO SEND A CREEPY TEXT AND IT IS MY TIME TO SHINE.
Uh, no. Thanks. I’m good, predictive text.
Y’all who are on the front lines, going to work, ensuring that our society continues to function, even while everything is so disrupted, are major heroes.
I am so grateful for your dedication and your commitment to making sure your fellow humans have a place to go, and a person to talk to, when they need it.
A random person flipped out at Anne on Twitter, because she took a walk by herself, stayed far and safely away from anyone else, and had the nerve to post a picture of herself online while she was out.
She’s been getting all sorts of criticism for pretty much everything she does, from tons of random strangers online who seem to keep forgetting (or choosing to ignore) that she’s a grown-ass woman who isn’t doing anything wrong.
This one person in particular made me really, really, REALLY mad. I’m stressed af. I’m wound up as tightly as I’ve been wound up in maybe my whole life, and I feel like I could just EXPLODE if the wrong person says the wrong thing to me … or to the most important person in my entire world.
But I took a deep breath, listened while Anne expressed how frustrated she is feeling with people being shitty to her online, and I tried to maintain some perspective, tried to understand where this person was maybe coming from. I concluded that they feel afraid, and out of control, so they are lashing out, to give that emotional energy a place to go. It’s not okay that this person and so many people like them are telling a fully-grown woman how to live her life. It’s not cool to act as a gatekeeper, diminishing someone’s experience because *you* have decided that someone *else* has a worse experience.
I have the luxury of not being the stressed out mom and wife who is doing her best to get through a *really* scary and terrifyingly uncertain time. I have the luxury of not being the woman who was, once again, lectured by a man about how she is allowed to exist. Check that. I have the *privilege* of being a man, so that gives me an opportunity to depersonalize what happened to Anne, and use it as a teaching moment.
I’m doing my best to be the person I need in the world, and this is what I need today:
*gestures wildly at everything* all this is really hard for everyone, and I have to believe that everyone is dealing with it as best as they can. Yes, even the people who freak out at you online because you walked your dog (while safely staying 6 feet away from everyone). Yes, even the people who show up in every thread to act like this is a contest, gatekeeping who is and isn’t allowed to express frustration, boredom, or fear.
We are all scared, for a whole huge list of reasons that may all be wildly different, and humans don’t make the best choices when we are acting from a place of fear.
I’m scared, and I’m not going to pretend that I’m not. I would be a h*cking sociopath if I *wasn’t* scared. Basic math says someone I care about is eventually going to get sick, and may even die. The jackass president of my country makes things worse every time he opens his lie hole. The work I expected to be doing right now has all been pushed back by months, and I suddenly find myself staying at home, instead of having this amazing adventure, doing work I’m so excited to do.
But I’m not panicking. There is plenty of food, even if some things are scarce right now. I’m safe in my home and in my community.
I am remembering to focus on the things I *can* control, so I don’t obsess (and feel disempowered by) the things I can’t control. I’m listening to public health officials, trusting the scientists, and social distancing. I’m planning my meals with my family, and we’re going to the store as infrequently as we can. (And I wish I could go to the store more often, because a little bit of normal in all of this is SUPER IMPORTANT for mental health. I’m choosing to be grateful when I *do* go to the store.)
And I am doing my best, in my way, to be a helper, because I *need* to see helpers in the world, I need to know they are there. I need to believe that, for every person who is a jerkass online, there are a dozen out there right now, working in grocery stores and delivery services and hospitals and research labs.
Making the choice to be a helper has been really good for my mental health, in countless ways.
Can you be a helper, too?
Let’s do our best to choose kindness, patience, and empathy.
Let’s do our best to be gentle with ourselves, and with others.
Let’s be compassionate.
We are all in this together. This is, literally, our entire planet going through something scary, together, at the same time. And the thing is, it doesn’t care if you’re rich or what country you were born in or who you love. In the eyes of COVID-19, we are all equal, and we need to start acting like it. We need to take care of each other. The only way we are going to get through this, is by working together.
And let us remember that everyone is dealing with this as best as they can, and let us not be a dick to our fellow humans.
Thanks for listening.
Another X-post from my Tumblr Ask Me thingy:
QUESTION: Would you be willing to donate your voice talents to an indie podcast for an episode or two? Should we contact your agents or would you be willing to handle it on your own? (The voice actors don’t get paid as most of us are doing for the love of it and what money we do make has thus far gone into promotion and production costs.) At the very least, would you be willing to listen to the show and mention it on social media if you like it?
ANSWER: I love that you asked me, and I’m going to give you an answer in public that I hope doesn’t turn too many people off: I *love* that you are being creative and making amazing new art. That is wonderful, and I wish you all the success in the world. When I was younger, I did projects like yours all the time and I loved it.
But I can’t be part of this for you, and I want to explain why.
I get asked all the time to donate my work, my time, my experience, etc., to projects, and I always have to decline. It’s not because I don’t believe in you, or want to support you. It’s because I’m working full-time as it is, and any spare time, energy, or creative inspiration I have really needs to go into my own projects, as I continue to build my career as a voice performer, narrator, and (hopefully) novelist.
I don’t feel your ask is unreasonable, at all, and I’m *thrilled* you had the courage to reach out. I’m also honored to be thought of as someone you want to work with. I hope you understand the practical realities of my life, and I hope you aren’t put off by my need to decline your kind invitation.
As to your final question, I rarely listen to podcasts these days, and I struggle to make time to listen to audiobooks. You can send me a link when it’s done, and I’ll make an effort to give you feedback, but I can’t promise anything.
I wish you the best of luck! I hope you’re the next Welcome To Nightvale.
Another question from my Tumblr ask thingy: So, I’m sorry if this is something that you’ve answered/been asked before. But I’m trying to start a DnD campaign. I’ve been playing since I was 4 (so about 23 years now), but I’ve never tried to run a campaign. I’m having a hard time trying to figure out where to start and staying on track with it. But I want to introduce my roommates to the game and I want it to be as fun and magical for them as it was for me when I first played. Do you have any advice? Thanks so much! I hope you’re doing well.
My answer, which I’ve edited a little bit to add some more thoughts:
When I was younger, I always put a ton of pressure on myself to write my own modules, build my own world, and do all that work that I wasn’t really able to do (and didn’t want to do). I have no idea why I felt that way, but it wasn’t until I was teaching RPGs to my own children about 15 years ago that I realized it was time wasted.
So with that in mind…
Don’t start out with the core books and one of the epic adventure books. You’ll all get there, eventually, but that’s a LOT to handle when you’re running a campaign for the first time, or playing the game for the first time. Players and DMs can *absolutely* start there, but I don’t recommend it.
I recommend starting out with the 5e Starter Set, or the 5e Essentials set. Both give you everything you need, for the players and for the DM, to play and experience everything that makes D&D awesome. They both take the players through several levels, and the writers take time throughout the whole thing to tell the DM not just what you’re supposed to do, but *why*you need to do it, to make the game work. You can sort of lean how to run a campaign this way, from some of the best DMs in the business.
But they do not overwhelm you with information, which is what sets them apart from the core books, for a new player. The important, foundational rules are all there, but they are streamlined just enough to prevent overwhelming new players with information they don’t really need. Nobody who ever plays them (and I’ve played them both) will ever feel like they are playing a slimmed-down version of the game. It’s just cleaner and easier to follow.
I *need* to be creative, and until I have the creative energy to write my own stories, I’m going to do a thing I’m pretty good at, and narrate some public domain short stories.
As long as people are listening, I’ll keep recording. Your feedback is important to me.
Okay, that just about catches me up, here.