JAmes Silverstein

"..His head is held high and his eyes are bright, for behind his eyes are towers and jewels and djinn, carpets and rings and wild afreets, kings and princes and cities of brass." - Neil Gaiman Ramadan

  

When I was a child, I was 'the responsible' one. I was sent to look after my older brothers, and, in my parents' eyes, hopefully report back to them of any wrongdoing. They wanted me, in a sense, to be a storyteller... Though perhaps that's too broad a term.

When I was seven, I was sent to look after my eldest brother. His friend, being no fool, decided I needed distracting, and put into my hands a blue-covered book with a dragon, a wizard, and a knight on the cover. Basic Dungeons and Dragons. I devoured it while he and my brother went shooting off model rockets (a pastime my mother would never have approved of). I was hooked.

The next year my mother gave me her old typewriter, and I started pouring stories out onto pages. Stories of dragons, stories of knights, stories of wizards, and more. Maps to fantastic treasure. Worlds wherein memory and time didn't work as it did in ours. More and more words onto pages, and each one giving me a grin at the end. I was telling stories.

There always seemed to be another story, and another, and I found myself running role playing game sessions to get the stories out. I found myself in creative writing classes and school magazines when I was in high school. I went to university to learn film, and found while I was there that the only part of the film process I actually enjoyed was the writing. There was always another story; they seemed to pour out of me like a river swollen by floods! And now people liked them, and wanted to hear more.

I had an odd experience in the early 2000's. I had started playing games online with a few other people, and one night we had a 'mystery guest' in our ranks. That night, I was playing out the struggling proposal of a spanish monk who had fallen in love with a peasant girl, and decided to forsake his vows due to his passion for her. After the game was over, the 'mystery guest', who'd only been observing, told me how powerful my words were, and revealed herself to be part of the writing staff for the game we'd been playing. Would I, perhaps, like to write for them?

Would I? A dream. Something I never thought would occur. And yet, for the next several months, I was working on my first 'professional' project. It was like every good day coming to me at once.

The first project morphed into a second, and while that particular company divested itself of RPG's, I found, miraculously, that I was telling stories, and people liked them, and wanted to hear more, and it wasn't just close friends and relatives. I had, somehow, become published.

Freelance work followed, as well as National Novel Writing Month challenges (So far, four years, four successes). Currently I've been picked up to write for the upcoming games 'Dissonance' and 'Cairn'. It's... Amazing. I get to create worlds, and write, and share stories. What could be better?

I think back to the kid I was. I smile. If I told him, “One day, you'll be sharing your stories, and that is how you will live,” I never would've believed it. But I certainly would've hoped. It would've been the best story I could've imagined.

 

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