A few things occurred last weekend that got me to thinking.
I had a surprise visit on Friday evening from my old friend Rob. Whenever he comes back to see his family he always takes the trouble to call by and arrange to go for a catch up over a drink.
As well as being good company Rob is a font of knowledge and my one connection to a previous life, that of gaming. Not the gambling sort of gaming but Role Playing and various board games played, in pre-internet days, through the post via ‘zines (a form of printed newsletter, named from fanzines, magazines created by fans of a subject. Produced invariably by students or people who could not afford glossy professionally printed material; zines were often run off simple typewriter created stencils using an early duplicator or, in rare cases an early photocopier).
I used to spend a huge number of leisure hours pouring over aspects of role playing games such as Dungeon and Dragons and paper based science fiction games such as run Galactic Society Four, developing characters, studying statistics, or developing businesses or running whole empires. I am convinced that this use of my brain enhanced my cognitive abilities and was, in part, how I could do things I would never consider feasible now,for example, attending Greek and Japanese language classes in the same week for the better part of a year, ( I have always found language learning extremely difficult). When I think back I cannot recall another time when my brain was so active, though I am aware that the googles of nostalgia and the aging process will have something to do with this.
Our conversation today was that of friends and would not have been riveting to an audience. Much of what we talked about was to catch up on other old friends, in the main people Rob had remained in contact with and I had not. I learned about what had been happening in his life and filled him in on mine. I always really enjoy hearing about what Rob has been doing, as it is almost like a view of an alternate world - no, it is a view of an alternate world – one where maybe I would have done similar things if my life had taken a different route. I am not looking for change and don’t want this read as though I do, it’s just the latent story teller in me speculating, just as I speculate when sitting in a cafe, here or abroad and wonder what is going on in the lives of the people I see. Sometimes I will witness an encounter and imagine a story line that precedes and proceeds from it, I occasionally do the same about my life. I would love to be a writer and this is part of how I try to develop my skills. I imagine my name on the spine of a book on the shelf in my local library or bookshop but in that dream lies madness; having tried to compose fiction at different times and forms I am confident in my lack of ability to string a narrative together.
The range of topics rpgs, prog rock, books, music,comics all leave me feeling nostalgic, from programmes and general tastes that have come around again I guess it’s a certain amount to do with the age I am at.