OK, dear readers. I realize that I've dropped off the face of the planet. I barely have the energy to make this post, but I really need some help. Here comes the "shameless plea."
Well, actually, it comes as part of a great big "thank you" to you all in the gaming community. A great big "thank you" because of what you all mean to me, and how your unspoken--and possibly unrealized--support has gotten me through some bad times.
I've had a bad couple of years. After a dozen-plus years slaving for a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge, I bought him out and hung out my shingle. Then I slowly realized, more and more, that he'd taken advantage of me, and had incurred a lot of secret debt that now had my name stuck to it. In the past couple years I've sunk everything I have into this firm and have finally come to the conclusion that my desire to help people has not been outweighed and overcome by my inability to bring in business. I haven't made a mortgage payment in a year; heck, I've not taken a paycheck home in a year. There's been game-related spending, but it's been driven by extreme depression.
You see, I've been suffering from depression for nearly 5 years. I will confess, I was always one who kinda scoffed at depression. I was raised by parents who were nearly a generation older than most of my friends' parents, and were of the "pull up your boots and get back to work" mentality of the Nineteen Forties generation. I'll tell you, that mentality lasts only until the moment you realize that it's all true: depression has a definite mental, emotional, and physical effect on your life.
Then add to that the food allergies that hit about the time I bought out the old man, "Grampa Asshat" as my staff calls him. Severe food allergies. To the point that I have maybe a dozen things I can eat...at most.
I'm not saying this because I'm craving sympathy or pity. I'm getting to my point here soon.
Putting together The Stronghold has helped, putting out this blog has helped, proven a distraction, at least.
Fast forward to about 6 weeks ago. Due to circumstances beyond my control, someone close to me--professionally--screwed me over. I felt like I was the victim in a bad prison movie. I dropped emotionally, mentally, and physically lower than I had ever before experienced. I determined that I was closing my doors. I felt like a failure, even though I knew (and everyone around me knew) that I had been set up for failure by Grampa Asshat. Since that day, I have been nearly incapable of producing any gaming material. Heck, it's been tough to even get up the gumption to game. A few of you've provided some little goodies in the mail that have acted as defib paddles. A month ago, a colleague offered me a job in his firm, providing me an open window to the door I'd just closed. This past 3 weeks I've worked harder than I have in several years; my depression and medical issues have severely inhibited my thinking and processing abilities. All of this? It's exhausted me. Severely. Exhausted. It certainly hasn't helped my desire or ability to produce, game, or think straight. In addition to client deadlines from my new firm and my old firm I also have self-imposed deadlines: editing deadlines for a couple of OSR projects, writing deadlines for several anthologies, and, of course (potentially) Issue #3 of The Stronghold. None of this takes into consideration family stuff, of course.
Now the plea: I'm relying on you all. I've relied on all your support (see above) for the past several years to get me through the past several years.
Do I keep going with this? do I keep going with the blog? with The Stronghold 'Zine? with gaming? I need some reasons. I need your support. Call it prayers, karma, or positive vibes. Yeah, it's selfish, it's self-serving, it's shameless. I think of you all as my friends, and I wanted you--as my friends--to know what's been going on and what you all mean. And yeah, to beg for some positive support as well.
Maybe this is overly dramatic. I certainly don't want to give all this up. I really don't. It's probably all emotional and mental burn-out. I'm sure I'll get past it.
Thanks for listening.
And I certainly can't conceive of WHAT I can use as a Joesky tax for this post. Hope y'all will forgive the intentional oversight.