What D&D Character Am I?

I’d have to say this survey is pretty close, and I’m a sucker for D&D stuff. I found it through bluejack’s site.

I Am A: Chaotic Good Elf Bard Ranger

Alignment:
Chaotic Good characters are independent types with a strong belief in the value of goodness. They have little use for governments and other forces of order, and will generally do their own things, without heed to such groups.

Race:
Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Secondary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Deity:
Hanali Cenanil is the Chaotic Good elven goddess of love, beauty, and art. She is also known as the Heart of Gold and Lady Goldheart. Her followers delight in creation and youth, and work to spread happiness, love, and beauty. Their preferred weapon is the dagger.

Find out: What D&D Character Are You?

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Blogs, Bryant and Bands

I’ve been reading bluejack’s blog daily since I first heard about it. The more I read it, the more impressed I am by his page design. I’m considering altering this journal to a format more like his, with one daily entry per page and a link to recent entries. I’ll contact him today to see if he is okay with that. I’ll probably make some changes anyway, so if you see any links that aren’t working, please consider them to be works in progress.

Today is the Stories for All Seasons celebration of Ed Bryant’s 50-mumbleth birthday. Keith and I will be going there tonight to listen to him read stories from his (still) forthcoming collection, Flirting With Death, and he’s hinted in his Mathom newsletter that he will read a new science fiction story. That’s a treat, because he has been writing primarily horror for quite some time now.

I also heard from Brad the Drummer today that Dante Spumante may have gotten a Friday gig at Cricket on the Hill based on their (our?) performance on the 13th. I hope they call me to fill in again; I enjoyed playing that gig very much. I don’t know if this will be an original set or a cover set, but I’m hoping for an original set or a mix. That will increase my chances of getting a phone call from John.

John and Theresa from Dante Spumante will be playing at the Singer/Songwriter showcase at this year’s Taste of Colorado, on Sunday, September 1 at 2:00 PM. Go see them if you get the chance.

I also found out that Willy Porter, one of the most talented singer/songwriter/guitarists I’ve ever seen, will be playing in Ft. Collins and Denver on September 20th and 21st. Check his website for details. The Denver show will be at the Soiled Dove, downtown, which should be a great intimate venue for his music. I’m there. I hope I get to meet him.

This morning, I actually got up and exercised, then did some work on the computer for a little while. I’m trying to get into the routine that I told myself I would get into when I got the office set up. With my son starting school again next week, I have even more incentive, because we have to arrange our showering schedules. (That’s probably more information than any of you wanted to know!) The point is, I’m getting closer to writing in the mornings, like I wanted to do. I may make these entries part of that morning ritual, too.

At lunch today, I read some more of Sophie’s World, and passed a critical juncture in the story. The plot has thickened, as the saying goes. It’s pretty cool when I can say anything about plot in a novel that’s primarily a survey course in philosophy.

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Plante’s in the Garden

When I checked Brian Plante’s Chronicles of the Garden Variety Writers today, he had posted a new entry for the July 3rd session. He started the entry by acknowledging that he had received feedback from people stating that he was being unfair to the writers in the group, so I was encouraged. Unfortunately, he then went on to say the following:

“I’ve already stated these chronicles will contain, by necessity, a lot of my personal opinions, so maybe you should just take things with a grain of salt. You’ve been warned. I am mostly at peace with what I am doing.”

 

At this point, I decided I should send him an e-mail. I resisted doing that when I posted about this blog in my June 27th creativity journal entry. It will be interesting to see if he responds.

When it comes right down to it, he has the right to cover any topics he wants in his weblog. That’s part of what blogging is all about. But I’m concerned that he may have crossed the line in terms of this writing group, and his portrayal of some of the members as “tourists,” who don’t do anything to further the productivity of the group in his eyes. I’m also concerned that he posted the group’s charter online without their permission.

Moving on.

(Later in the day.)

No, I’m not moving on. I thought about this some more, and it struck me that I’m not having a problem reading the logs of some people who are attending Clarion East and Clarion West right now. Essentially, they are journaling in much more detail about the events in their workshops than Brian is. So why is it bothering me that he’s journaling about a small group in … oops, I almost gave away the secret location of the Garden Variety Writers group.

I think it has to do with the deception. Bluejack and Dierdre, above, are writing their online journals with the full knowledge of the other participants. Also, they are not pretending to be something they aren’t in order to gain access to their groups. (In fact, they paid a hefty entry fee to get in. It’s a great deal for six weeks of intensive writer training, but it’s still hefty!) Not only is Brian intentionally withholding his publishing history, he hasn’t disclosed anything to them about the fact that he’s archiving their activities.

How is that different from what I’m doing? First, I’m not a professional (or semi-pro, even) writer. Second, I have announced at all of my writing groups that I’m keeping an online creativity journal and invited all of them to look at it. I haven’t specifically said that I mention the groups in this log, but since they are directly related to my creativity, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to find references to them here. Third, I’m not making negative judgments about the people in those groups.

I guess there is a difference. Now I need to figure out why I’m picking this battle, I think. It’s really none of my business what Brian says about people in the Garden Variety Writer’s group, despite the fact that he is posting the information in a public forum. And I certainly don’t think it’s my responsibility to try and protect these people who don’t even know what’s happening to them (and might not care.) So why am I getting so vocal about this?

I guess I can say this much about Brian Plante’s Chronicles: they have pushed an emotional button in me, and to that end, they are worthwhile. Whether that button is a valid one or a sensationalist one ….

Hold the phone.

I think I realize part of the lack of appeal. This is like the seedy side of television’s reality programming. I abhor reality programming because in it the tragic portions of people’s lives become nothing more than network TV entertainment. That’s part of what’s unsettling me. To be fair, I don’t think Brian is intentionally trying to emulate reality programming, but the fact that the participants in the group are not aware of what’s happening makes it feel like a sting operation.

And for me, that’s a good reason not to watch any more, no matter how much I want to see what happens when the group finds out about it.

Okay, really, moving on now.

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Planteing Rumors

Today an excellent e-mail conversation sprung up concerning a website by a writer named Brian Plante, whose work I’ve never read. On those pages, Plante chronicles his experiences with a local writing group which he basically infiltrates, hiding his status as a semi-professional writer from the participants in the group and then posting comments about them and their practices on the weblog. It seems to me he has a specific idea of how a writing workshop should be run, and he’s unfairly grinding his axe on the members of this unsuspecting writer’s group.

I am a member of three writing groups (and a non-participating member of Andrew Burt’s excellent Critters.org group; I just couldn’t keep up with the pace and maintain the others as well.) It seems to me that the most important aspect of any critique group is honesty. Critiques should be civil, but honest. If a piece is written poorly, the writer needs to know so s/he can fix it; the writer won’t benefit from false “I liked it” criticism. The writers putting their work out for critique have to trust that the other members are going to be honest with them. By posing as a novice writer and then exposing the group’s goings-on in his weblog, Plante is betraying that trust, even if he has changed all the names to protect the individuals involved.

Plante claims to have posted notices about this blog on the Speculations website, but I didn’t see them in the Rumor Mill. If he did post them there, I have to wonder about his motivations; by advertising this, he has to know that he’s coming across as duplicitous. Does he think that other writers — and especially editors — are going to find this to be an admirable trait?

All this discussion about blogs made me question whether I am being fair in mentioning friends occasionally in this creativity log. I think I’m okay, because when I do mention my friends by name, it’s only in a positive context, and generally only in relation to how that friend has affected my creativity for that day. This is not a personal journal, like some blogs. It has a theme, and I think it’s smart for me to keep it that way, after reading Diane Patterson’s excellent essay “Why Web Journals Suck..” I stumbled across that while reading a journal recommended to me by my friend Michael Main. Bluejack is an online journal that seems to be intentionally anonymous; I couldn’t find the writer’s name on the site at all, and rather than dig through the WhoIs records, I’ll just take it on faith that the writer would like it to remain somewhat anonymous. The writer of this journal is currently attending Clarion West in Seattle (lucky dog) and I think I will find his daily journals to be inspirational.

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