Gaming in an age of cancer

With Enfilade 2015 in the well I’m rapidly bearing down on the one year anniversary of my cancer surgery.  I’d like to say I’m a brave SOB and nothing about me is changed. But that would be a lie. Physically and psychologically I am a profoundly different person.  I am a little more anxious and afraid, the things that are important to me are different. I am more sober and sentimental

Little things matter to me, especially friends and friendships, and nothing quite brought that home to me than Enfilade. We got the news the week before the convention that Terry Flynn, a longtime gamer and supporter of the hobby died of cancer in Portland.  Though I didn’t know Terry well, his smiling face around the Olympia ballroom was always a regular feature, and I was devastated by the news in a way I would not have been in previous years.

I enjoyed the hour I spent with Ed Texeira in the bar on Friday night.  Ed and I are almost exactly the same age (as we learned over gin and tonic) and go way back to the same game shop in San Carlos, CA in the 70’s.  I always enjoyed his little game gig in Marysville  in the early 90’s (Breakthrough, for those who are searching their memory banks,) and very much admire his work with Two Hour Wargames.  Together with hanging out with longtime roomie Doug Hamm, and my Canadian friends from White Rock and North Vancouver, it was the time together that seemed to matter most.

In the year since my cancer revelation, I haven’t abandoned games or gaming of any type.  I continue to paint figures.  I game-though much less than I would like. I’ve turned inward a bit and have explored another interest-music.  No, I’m not making music; it’s simply not one of my few talents.  No, I’m convinced there are two musical types, music consumers and music producers.  I’m strictly a consumer-a music-in person.  I’ve often wished I was a producer, or a music out person, but if I have any kind of music talent I’m too busy and impatient to find the time to practice, develop and share it.

One of the things I did do is access my longtime interest in music and begin collecting vinyl records.  What does that mean to my gaming hobby?  Collecting anything means money, and so I’ve largely curtailed my spending on miniatures.  Not entirely, but I haven’t bought a figure since February, except for a few odds and ends at the convention.  I still have tons of minis to paint in almost every period, so I’m not exactly going without.  Meanwhile I’ve completed my first record collection, including all the the records by Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship and their ancillary projects.  It is much fun, and I’m sure I’ll turn to another subject soon.  I’m mostly interested in American and British psychedelia, so it’s just a start.  Why have I done this?  I think it’s some kind of acknowledgment that I’m not going to live forever, I have plenty of unpainted lead, this is something I’ve always wanted to do, and there’s no time like the present.  On June 6th I’ll attend the Annual Northwest 45, 78rpm, and LP Record show.  It’s my first show and I’m excited.

For the present, however, I’m staring summer right in the eye.  I have my summer painting all set out with 28mm knights to paint.  After that will be some Galactic Knights ships and a really big steam gunboat.  After that who knows.  I have lots of minis but I’m not willing to make big plans.  Life is too short for that.

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2 comments on “Gaming in an age of cancer

  1. Greg says:

    Every day is a gift – if it includes gaming so much the better.

  2. kgsmyth55 says:

    Yes it is Greg, Yes it is.

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