It sure has been a while since I posted a “Liz Writes” update.
I traveled to St. Louis this past week to support my nephew’s roller hockey team at a tournament called State Wars. It was a crash course in hockey and it was super exciting! I learned so much — about hockey, about my own limits. I came home with a streak of red in my hair and a newfound appreciation for kids’ sports.
We did a couple touristy things while in St. Louis. My partner and I went up in the Arch, of course. And we went to the City Museum with the younger nephew (5), who had a BLAST.
But this is a Liz Writes, not a review of the trip.
As I was looking at the displays in the Arch museum, I came across a plaque depicting an elephant:
“Seeing the Elephant”
As people experienced the wonder, adventure and hardships of the overland trails, they used a phrase in their diaries that expressed their feelings when bad luck, accidents, or outright tragedy befell them. They called their episodes of danger and adventure “seeing the elephant.” Why an elephant?
Elephants were rare animals in America at the time, only seen in traveling circuses. An elephant coming to town was a big event, causing great anticipation and perhaps a little fear of the unknown. On the overland trails, diaries and journals mentioned “seeing the elephant” at river crossings, during bad weather and even after the deaths of family members.
It struck me as a fascinating turn of phrase that particularly applies to my life right now. That feeling of anticipation — of a door opening before you while another shuts behind — of someone whispering just out of hearing.
I have seen a lot of elephants in the last year and a half.
And so I am working on a new piece of writing — poetry or creative nonfiction, haven’t decided yet — about that. I’m glad to have found inspiration and motivation for writing again while in a new city.
In other news, keep your eyes on this space for some updates coming down the pipe. I have been streaming on Twitch as my other internet personality, Internet Gramma / Katryam, and I have been thinking about putting some rough cuts of that up on YouTube. My brand seems to be branching out from the “Liz Writes” persona into something more all-encompassing on the “making stuff” front. I knit/crochet, I write, I make internet content, I publish tasteful and important reviews of tabletop games.
I think this site should reflect the multiple facets of the work I’m doing. So stay tuned for some much-needed improvements.
I’ll keep this brief: My best friend, known on the internet in various places as PansiePants, is getting ready to stream some Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on Twitch. She’ll be doing it today (Thursday, July 22) at 7:00 pm EST, but will be putting a schedule together later!
Here are several things I am going to do in the near future, in no particular order:
Edit and self-publish my novel in the next couple of months
I need to pick a good date. It’s going to depend on when the next issue of JoD4HAP is coming out (which will be sometime in August).
Publish the next issue of JoD4HAP and host a stream launch party
This is coming along quite nicely and I’m pleased at our progress. Some things have been a little slow just for reasons, but we have a lot of amazing art for this issue, and I can’t wait to show you.
Redesign this site
I’m feeling the itch to look at some new layouts and designs for the ol’ blog. Happens every few years. You’ll know when you know.
Pay off my car
Put together a more consistent streaming schedule
I’m loving the weekend streams with the Cool Gamers Retirement Home and want to continue doing it. Not really looking to be famous or anything, I just want to play games and have fun. Final Fantasy XIV has already become a staple in my games diet once again. Very cool, much game.
That’s enough for now, I think. I will update more later when I have accomplished one or more of these things.
Hello friends! I’ve been busy focusing on my mental health and bingeing podcasts and working (a lot), but this past week I finally decided on a streaming schedule.
First of all: Let me introduce you to the Cool Gamers Retirement Home (#CGRH). This is a chill Twitch collective that grew organically out of a Discord server I’m in — it was very much “You’re doing a thing. Can I also do the thing? Maybe we can do the thing together.” A couple of us were trying to reach Affiliate and we all got to talking one day–maybe we could do this thing as a group instead of alone. You know, as humans have done for ages and ages.
And then, because one of us streams as “Island Grandpa” and I have been kicking around the branding “Internet Gma,” we should just go all in and be a retirement home of folks who have done gaming in the past and are basically still kicking it like the cool kids we are.
The vibe in the retirement home is extremely chill. We are going to be streaming things like Stardew Valley, Final Fantasy XIV, and Minecraft (not me, because I haven’t played Minecraft, but o-Redria-o does, with their MOM, and it’s chill as hell).
Anyway, check us out! So far, I will be streaming at least these days, games, and times:
Saturday, 9am EST: Final Fantasy XIV
Sunday, 11am EST: Stardew Valley
Monday, 6pm EST: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
A friend I made recently while playing Pathfinder mentioned that he had gotten back into Final Fantasy XIV. I played this game for years and years — my ex introduced me to it, and I played with him and my brother for a long time. We had our own Free Company, raided together, and eagerly awaited each expansion.
Post-divorce, and honestly even pre-divorce, I fell off the wagon. There wasn’t much going on in the Free Company, I worked too much to really enjoy raiding anymore, and my leisure activities gravitated more toward crochet, writing, and spending time with friends.
But my Pathfinder bud has been talking up the merits of the game at each of our sessions the past couple of months, and it’s making me want to play again. My fingers itch to play Monk and Scholar and do my monotonous crafting.
And, lo and behold, I have resubbed.
I moved my character to my friend’s data center/server, and I’m excited to have kind of a “fresh start” with a new Free Company. This group seems lively and active. I even had to put in an application to join! That’s kind of serious! I’m hoping to get back to the nitty gritty of raiding by the time the new expansion comes out later this year. That should be exciting and fun.
I might even stream some of my escapades. That might be cool.
Alright folks. Things have never been more exciting around here.
The Journal of Dungeoneering for Hip and Attractive Professionals is now LIVE at jod4hap.com.
This first issue has been in the making since 2019. We did the first interview in October 2019, and from there, we have experienced setback after setback. I got divorced, COVID happened, some asshole cops decided to be asshole cops. So we’ve been working and waiting and working some more (with some beer and scotch and writing and reading). And now we’re ready to share our work — and the work of our wonderful contributors — with the world.
This issue contains an interview with a psychotherapist who uses TTRPGs in youth therapy, a memoir essay about joining a Pathfinder table, discussion about PFS Organized Play, the introduction to our GMs’ advice column (hosted by a Flumph), cats, maps, book reviews, and more! It’s 50 beautiful pages of art and love.
Our release party is Monday evening at 7:30 pm at my Twitch channel (that’s TONIGHT). Come hang out and listen to us talk about nerd shit. The next release party will be in person, I promise, but this is a great opportunity to chat with creatives and pick their brains about their work.
Putting together more of a streaming schedule was on my list of goals for this year, so I am going to knock that out of the park early in the year. Every Sunday for the next few weeks, I’ll be hanging out with Soph on my Twitch stream, until I’m done with this game we started last week, called Life is Strange.
It’s her favorite game, a narrative-driven decision-making game about a high-school-age girl who has the power to reverse time — an interesting game mechanic that functionally serves as an “oh shit!” button for you to go back in time when you make a decision you regret or don’t solve a puzzle in the allotted time. It’s a beautiful game, quiet and introspective and easy to get lost in.
Also I make a point to look in every trash can, and it’s pretty enlightening usually.
Soph is creating a cookbook based on the different kinds of food we see in this game. It’s going to be full of delicious content (get it?).
If you have been following this blog for a few years (good for you to have stuck with my ramblings and random hiatuses for all this time!), you’ll remember me waxing poetic (and decidedly unpoetic) about the fantasy novel that I turned in as my master’s thesis. I wrangled a master’s degree in fiction out of that — and I’m still proud of the book that I wrote.
After graduating, I knew I wanted to do something with this piece. It has big magic, big relationships, big themes. I re-wrote it, and re-wrote it again, and re-worked and edited and revised and edited again.
I’ve been thinking about it for so long. I gave a half-hearted attempt to find an agent or a publisher, back when it was still fresh. I know I didn’t give it enough effort, and then life happened. And kept happening, and kept happening. I made excuse after excuse.
Honestly, I’m tired of thinking about it.
I believe in this piece of work. I think there are good things in here. Is it a perfect book? No. Is it a testament to where I was at that point in my life and in that point of my understanding about literary themes, politics, and writing? Absolutely. I think it deserves to see the light of day, if only for a moment, and then we can happily forget all about it. (Or not… I mean, if you’re compelled to read and write a review, please do! I will be crowing about this for a while.)
So, wish me luck! I am going to ask around to commission some cover art and work on the bits and bytes of this project. Stay tuned for more information. (And if you know any rad artists who would love to throw me some art for some money, I would appreciate an introduction!)