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Dreams before reality 10 April 2017

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Life, Ponderings, Role-Playing Games.
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Hurrah, perhaps finally a post that can do more than make passing note to the Role-Playing Games part of the blog! I won’t hide the fact that I have rather a lot of them – the collected games, books and related printed articles are in the hundreds. I may not get to play very often, but I still actively write even if little gets beyond my computers and printouts. Indeed, even my web-site is down. There are times I worry about whether I’m losing it with age, and then I get whisked off in my head to destinations old and new and I cease to worry too much. It’s that ephemeral rush that probably explains the incomplete settings for Nod – gaming in the dreams of Cain, the lost island of Rocabarraigh – of which only Rockall remains in our reality, the extra material for the part-published land of Caratan and also the Balkoth Tribe – both in Glorantha, and the Dishani Combine for the Official Traveller Universe (and the as-yet unnamed setting that’s my current project for the same game). And that’s without several geofiction settings too. I have thousands of words of projects on my hard-drives & back-ups, but very little published or “out there” (although some snippets are on a partner blog to this, Tales from Elsewhere). The call to imagine is a powerful one.

rqhq shelfMaybe my problem as a closet creative is that I actually would like people to read my stuff (and getting paid for it would be a nice bonus) all the while doubting both my competency and the value of what I produce. As much as I get a degree of satisfaction from blogging, it’s very little help, in that there seems to have been a change of practice from the ‘glory days’ of blogging over ten years ago. At that time, in the naive pre-“Like” days, you only really knew that people were engaging with what you’d written by the fact that they commented, they engaged. Now I may have followers and likes, but precious few indications of meaningful interaction. It may not be scientific, but the day I included a picture of a cat in my post my engagement figures were noticeably higher. However, I suspect that I’ve digressed…

Imagine. John Lennon asked us to “imagine there’s no heaven”, and that it was easy if we try. I can’t help wondering about the changes between now and the different generational mindset he was addressing. What the song asks is not an act of imagination, but something closer to a denial of imagination. Surely, seeking to envision something beyond sight takes far more effort than a refusal to contemplate the possibilities (or as I as a Christian minister should perhaps assert, the realities). Even in the secular context there is a need for imagination. Without it there wold be no innovation in the production of goods or the provision of services, far fewer developments in technology or medicine, as well as staleness in art and culture. We may not like the results when people turn the imagining into reality, but we’d be worse off without it.

In the scriptural realm it’s the imagination that breathes life into prophecy, even if it’s perspiration that turns good hopes and pious intentions into a changed reality. (Just like it’s perspiration, and maybe encouragement and accountability, that will finally turn any of my games materials from the realm of good ideas and into to final product. Even this blog is driven at the moment by the accountability of the Lent Challenge).

Jesus may not explicitly encourage his hearers to imagine in so many words, but if the parables are not classy imagined teaching stories, I don’t know what they are! Small wonder that at the end of the third chapter of the Letter to the Church in Ephesus the author (who may, or may not be, Paul the Apostle) in concluding a prayer for his readers gives glory to “him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.”

In the mean time I’ll continue to imagine getting my weight down to a more respectable level by the next birthday that ends in a zero (not too far away), and maybe actually starting the process. On the whole though, to imagine is easy. It’s turning the potential into the real that’s rather harder – but everything has to begin somewhere, with the seed, the inspiration, with daring to imagine.

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