Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Being a Parent Can Be Heartbreaking

Last night I spent a wonderful evening with my lovely 4 year old daughters History and Mystery.  They had spent part of the day coloring with Jody and had shifted from one creative activity to another, namely dancing.  Both of the girls had turned on their electric keyboards to play pre-recorded songs, neither in sync with the other, and had begun dancing with the free and unselfconscious joy that only young children can truly manage.

It was a beautiful scene to watch, and was one of those glowing moments when as a parent you feel on top of the world.  That natural high was about to take a severe you might have guessed from the title of the post.

As happens every night, and too quickly every night, the clock ticked past seven and thus initiated parenting subroutine 8.(e).D.7.1.(m).3.  That's right, it was bedtime.  It was time to take a quick bath, brush teeth, read stories, and sing a bed time song.  None of this was out of the ordinary.  There was also what appeared to be the typical groaning about how either History or Mystery had yet to finish some entertaining task, which usually amounts to "but Dad...Ironman needs to go defend the castle" or some similar activity.  This evening though, History was upset that she hadn't been able to finish coloring the pictures she had been working on earlier in the day.  Jody and I assured her that there would be plenty of time to color them tomorrow, maybe even when mom was working on some drawings of her own.

That's when it happened.  Mystery looked right at Jody and then at me and asked, "Why am I not an artist like mom?  I want to be an artist like mom."  I immediately felt as if, Mola Ram had reached into my chest, pulled out my heart, and left it burning in his hands laughing maniacally.  I was stunned for a moment as I tried to find a way to tell a 4 year old that:

1) Yes you can be an artist like mom.  You can be anything you want to be.
2) That some things take time to learn, and show her how she was more comfortable drawing and coloring now than she was a year ago.
        a) I'm not one to tell History or Mystery that they are now "better" at a task like drawing and       
            coloring at an age when they should be experimenting and feeling free. 

The books on parenting provide wonderful advice, but they don't do anything for the sinking feeling one feels in ones chest when a child expresses disillusionment at a perceived limitation.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Gen Con:The Finest Four Days in Gaming Have Begun

Gen Con, one of the longest running hobby gaming conventions, celebrates its 45th anniversary this year and continues to provide its trademarked BEST FOUR DAYS IN GAMING.  The event opened to the public yesterday August 16 and will continue through Sunday, August 19.

If you've never been to Gen Con, it might surprise you to find out that it is as much a collection of creative workshops as it is a fan convention.  This stems from the fact that Gen Con has been deeply involved with the role playing game hobby since the very beginnings of role playing as a hobby, and as James Wallis wrote quoting the now famous game designer Greg Costikyan in Interactive Fantasy (IF) issue #2 back in 1994,  "gaming is a democratic form of entertainment, placing the audience and the creator on more or less equal footing."  This is true of most gaming, but it is especially true of role playing games where an expected part of play is the creation of new content -- either mechanical or narrative.  Since the early days of the hobby designers like Greg Stafford have been arguing that role playing games themselves are art, "Role-playing games are a new form of art, as legitimate as sculpture, drama, or prose fiction."  Gen Con is filled with events for those gamers who wish to become artists.

The Writer's Symposium contains over 70 events focused on the creation and marketing of genre fiction.

The Gen Con film festival -- and supporting "how to" panels -- keeps growing every year due to the democratization of film making tools. 

There are game design workshops a plenty, and a vibrant artist's gallery where new artists and established names share their work and their expertise.  The Miniature Hobby Events feature skilled miniature painting and provide over 60 workshops from those who want to learn more about painting, building terrain, and pursuing this artistic avenue.

In addition to the artistic and creative events, this year's event has a couple of highlights.

  • As mentioned above, Gen Con is celebrating its 45th anniversary.
  • The convention is also celebrating its 10th year in Indianapolis.
  • Last year's event saw four-day turnstile attendance of more than 120,000 and this year's event is even bigger than last year.
  • Thursday night featured a Keynote speech discussing the Future of Dungeons & Dragons.  It was the first time that Wizards of the Coast has provided a visionary Keynote address.
  • More than 45 brand new games will be on sale at the convention -- form family games to card games and rpgs Gen Con is hobby gaming's version of E3.
There is something for everyone to do at this year's convention.  If you are in town, you definitely want to stop by.  If you aren't here this year, you might want to visit and consider attending next year's event.