Tuesday, 9 October 2018

I'm Literally Going Nowhere

This water pipe possible symbolises G+

There were a few years of my life, from around 2001 to about 2007, where I think I didn't actually talk to anyone. I'm sure I must have spoken to people at jobs I was at, and my parents and people serving me at shops, but, essentially, I have no particular memories of those years.

If you imagine the figure of a kind of badly, or awkwardly, dressed and awkwardly proportioned white male of indeterminable age, fat, bad haircut, stamping grimly down a street in an otherwise industrial zone, or a residential area that's falling apart. Someone with heavy shoes, who's clearly walked to get there, (they either can't afford or won't use public transport, and looking at them you know they don't have a car).

This is the kind of person that your eyes quickly turn away from. They are someone who looks into restaurant windows as they pass but who will not be seen looking out. Someone continually moving but you know they have nowhere particular to go. That was me from around 2001 to around 2007. And still pretty much me if you see me on the street about 50% of the time now.

I do not have a clear or distinct memory of those years. They are a painful blur. It's like I wasn't really there.

The recently announced death of Google Plus, and the complex feelings it has evoked in me, as well as Davids post about productivity, have lead me to think of all the things that social media has given me and has taken from me. It's quite a lot on both counts.

All of the books, a lot of the success, all of the friends and 95% of the enemies. Most importantly, a purpose. Something for me to do. I am no longer walking nowhere.

What is has taken has been more subtle and invisible. A great deal of drama and angst, a kind of intangible chipping away of attention and, therefore, selfhood. That man stomping around Liverpool may not have spoken to many people but he read a lot. Much more than me.

I have begun to think in the last few years that the internet in general, and social media in particular, is a kind of Demon Mirror. Over time it has a kind of ethereal ability to shape itself to whatever the darker, more hidden aspects of your personality are. The invisible angers, hatreds, fears and resentments that even you didn't fully process were there and which are made all the more powerful due to their invisibility. Because its not you doing this - its them. It's the internet. And for any individual event that might be the case, but as a whole, over time, it is you.

There's that old Gaiman line about tools being the subtlest of traps.

So interacting with the internet over a long period of time is a kind of strange moral educator, but in the most terrible and destructive of ways. You come face to face with the demon without realising that's what it is. It warps you and twists you. Then you either break away, and to do that you have to realise that its a reflection, that the demon is, to some extent, you.

Or you are trapped forever in glorious and pseudo-meaningful eternal war. Like a warrior inside a magic gem.

Watching the internet, and the development of social media, over the last few years especially, has been like seeing an entire culture get trapped before the mirror.

Any yet, any yet it is truly a cornucopia. Tomorrow I go to the airport to meet someone who's been incredibly important in my life and I would never have encountered them without the internet and without social media.

It has made the impossible possible, brought people together across continents, given lost and lonely people meaningful society, it is largely responsible for giving me someone to be and something to hope for other than death. Many the highest possible dreams of the technophile prophets  of the past have been fulfilled and are enacted before us. They were right.

And is is also a demon in a mirror.

So, as G Plus is dying I am not going to be looking for something to replace it. At least, I will try to resist looking for something. My hope is to try to use the energy released from that site to read more, produce more, blog more and create more. I was always happier making things than doing social media stuff.

Possibly I am G+ in this image, and the donkey is me?

I'm also trying to meet and interact with, actual, real people more. That's what a lot of the 40k stuff in my feed has been about.

As it is, you can find me in the following places;

Facebook is a damned stupid and impossible to organise mess. Putting stuff on there is like throwing a leaf into rapids. Nevertheless, I am on there and will continue to drop the blog posts on there. I will add almost anyone who is clearly not a robot. I do not interact much on there.
I'm on Reddit. I don't know if people are going to start dropping more stuff on the r/OSR subreddit, but that's always a possibility.

I'm still kind of obsessed with minis and sculpture. This tumblr is purely for images of sculpture, miniatures and form,  I will follow you on here if you produce images I like and I do not follow many.

So far my Instagram is purely for pictures of minis I have painted. I'm hoping to try to keep it that way.

I'm on Goodreads. I've been trying to review every book I read on there, to rather mixed results. If I review something I think fits I might put it on the blog a well.

Here is a Tumblr for art based on my stuff  there is precious little up there but much of what is there is good. I don't use it to follow anyone.
And I also have a handful of interviews on Youtube. I may add more as and when the mood or the ideas take me.

As G+ goes away, I'm planning to post a lot of stuff that would have been there, here instead. So get ready for the number of posts to rise and quality to plummet. Since stuff won't be going to G+, I'm hoping to actually engage with commentators more. A strange new world beckons. It's essentially the old world, but with the new knowledge I have from my travels.


  1. It's a brave new world. I'm looking forward to it.

    PS: I loved those wild movie reviews you used to write, please do more of those?

  2. This is 100% in line with what I was thinking, but so much more beautifully put. I love my blog and I love the people I've met through the blogosphere, but it's so much better to focus that creative and collaborative energy constructively, rather than treat it as another feed to follow. I've already twice now found myself getting into conversations or confrontations that have made me feel angry, or depressed, or alienated, that nearly made me want to quit doing this or took away from the joy of it, and fuck that. Following the blogosphere and starting my own blog and creating and collaborating has been a hugely rewarding experience for me at a time when I really needed it, and why let that get mired in social media drama? I think this will ultimately be for the best.

  3. It's curious, I've personally learned how to avoid the hate and despair pits that litter the internet like pot holes on a Russian road, but I still waste away time on the internet. Mostly from reading cool blog posts and watching insightful videos that do not directly help me towards any of my goals, desires or needs.

  4. I do hope that this facilitates more organic meet ups. Which is how it should be. Our place in Manchester is always available... plus everybody is essentially kind and looking to forge friendships. I appreciate these things can still be hard/rife with paranoia. Luckily, your writing is sickeningly good... you can ride that particular disk a long way in these circles... really any circles involving people with a little discernment.

    It's good to hear you're going to up the amount of scribbling; it's a definite gift you have. I likewise, feel the burden of my tremendous DM skills---an invisible crown. How is it possible to be so popular AND so fine at shepherding awkward folk into fine life memories?

    I guess we'll never know. *cough*

  5. I really empathize with this post. I've only been on G+ for 2 months but I've already begun too feel my anxiety get worse. I've spent a couple days just refreshing my blog statistics and waiting for notifications to show up. But I also love the sense of direction blogging provides and the sense of community you can find online.

    Thanks for sharing this, it's helped me see myself and the ways social media effects me more clearly. Here is some relevant Coleridge from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

    He went like one that hath been stunned,
    And is of sense forlorn:
    A sadder and a wiser man,
    He rose the morrow morn.

  6. Thanks very much everyone for the kind words.

  7. You are my brother and always welcome at my table.

  8. G+ goes down and you write more? Tear that shit down.

  9. Great stuff you just said about the internet! Inspiring even. Thanks!

  10. Patrick, since I met you via your works, I will try to follow you in your immobility

  11. My decision to stop a backwater blog in favor of the effusive G+ promenade has made me a chump. Even though the OSR scene doesn't demand constant publishing, I don't know how much I have in the brain-pan to serve up at whatever platform rules in 2019. I have unpainted miniatures awaiting the last hurrah.

  12. Have you thought about putting your blog into Alex Schroeder's OSR RPG Planet (newly resurrected)?


    I believe you can set it up and learn more about it here:


    You may recall he had it set up a number of years ago.

    1. I think I knew about it then. I have a strange ambivalence about including myself on sites or lists like that, although I don't really know why I feel that way. Probably on some level I want to be included? But at the same time I don't? I can't really explain it.

  13. I think I would enjoy a renewed activity in the OSR blogs, like before we all moved to G+. It is always a pleasure to read you, Patrick!

  14. I have no doubt that those years were painful in ways that would be difficult to communicate, but I hope they have proven worth it to you if what you read served as an apprenticeship or bedrock foundation for your current work. If so, I’m grateful that you had that time to read.
    To use the demon mirror metaphor (because I have had experiences that I characterize in similar language): A period like that can serve as a demon that introduces you to your daimon. A skull-faced psychopomp. There *are* demons but they’re gatekeepers, dragons, dangerous but not assassins or cruel gods, and beyond their mirror is wonderland and hoarded gold.

    You've broken through that barrier and the gift you’ve been able to give as a result has been *real*
    This blog is an education, and it's as precious to me in its fields (the numinous, the aesthetic, actualizations/incarnations of the unknown, the meeting of disparate things in ways that light one’s brain up, your discussions of everything and your recommendations) as any other major source of wisdom in my own personal apprenticeship in fiction. Whatever you may have done before this, that’s *true* now. It's clear that a lot of people feel the same way. And that's no coincidence; I went through a huge quantity of RPG content and fiction combination blogs etc before I found your work and discovered that there was something that I consider special going on with you and Scrap. Perhaps those years in isolation served as a part of your own apprenticeship, to train your mind before you could give what you can now, and now you can open doors for people on their own paths. Not an easy sacrifice I’m sure, but not in vain, *at all.*

    That’s not to say that I read every post here or that every post has the same level of importance to me; there’s a Jungian concept that periods of relative madness (usually of an oracular character) accompany divine inspiration / shamanic revelation / extreme creativity. I don’t know if that’s what’s happening but there are posts here that sort of read like that to me, particularly when I haven’t read the series in which they’re embedded. I don’t know in what way that reflects your creative process, but that’s where posts like that map onto my mental model. They can be interesting but I don’t carry anything away from them; nor do I begrudge their presence. Some of your work, especially poetry, is right on the knife’s edge between premise and divine madness, and that I certainly remember.

    As to the Demon Mirror of the times. It's true that many people have gone mad in less productive ways these last few years, and it has been a painful opening of the eye to see the “invisible angers, hatreds, fears and resentments” surface in people who I’ve known my whole life. My hometown's been turned upside down, inside out. I agree with the idea that people who don't have a personal path that deeply reflects their own gestalt are doubly preyed upon by their lack of purpose and hope; it takes real character to not be swept up by the times when your own personal ascension path has yet to show any sign of materializing. And we all have our temperamental inclinations that makes that a potential risk under certain circumstances. Having a *way,* something to do that is so meaningful / transcendent / helpful that it throws temporal and contemporary affairs into its shadow, helps you realize and stay on your natural center line.