Making and Mail

Still fighting this cold, under a dreary, rainy sky.  So here are some semi-random thoughts on gaming, making, mail, and philosophy.

Yesterday I received One Square Equals Five Feet, a real-life, real-mail paper zine from Christian.  It made my day.  Isn't it awesome to get real, honest mail that isn't junk or a bill?  It's so simple, yet it can bring so much joy.  My wife sends out 100+ Christmas cards each year.  At first, I didn't quite get it, but I am coming around to her way of thinking: it's simply nice to get something in the mail.  It means that someone thought of you, specifically, for at least a few minutes during the day.  I still harbor the dream of asking everyone I'm friends with on Facebook or via blogging to send me their address, with the promise of getting at least a real postcard from me.  I want to call it the "19th Century Social Networking Project".  I keep holding off because I am afraid of the time commitment.

This feeds right into the theme of the past few days of making.  Putting pen to paper, even if it's just to address the envelope, is a tangible, physical act of making something new.  It speaks of process, of thoughtfulness, of freedom.  A lot of us work in jobs in which we don't really make anything -- we push papers or "manage" or whatever.  I think the boundless creativity shown in our little hobby is a reaction to that sort of life; we want to make and we want others to participate in what we've made.

A long time ago, I watched the Kevin Costner film The Postman.  All in all, it's pretty wretched, even with the Tom Petty cameo.  But I just loved the idea that delivering the mail, of connecting people through the physical exchange of packages, could be the force that brings civilization back after some nameless apocalyptic event.  That actually makes for a nice game premise, no?


  1. Not only does mail represent a time investment, but also a cash outlay, however small. Sending someone an email doesn't cost anything directly. Putting a stamp on an envelope (that you also paid for), especially if you're mailing out a zine like Christian, can add up pretty quickly.

    As for making things, you're totally right on. Last night I hand-bound two PDF printouts, despite the fact that I probably won't use the books any time in the foreseeable future. It just really good to go from having the document on my coputer screen to having it sitting in my hand as an honest-to-god book.

  2. @sirlarkins -- I hear you. Although it's odd -- I find myself drawn toward RPG PDF's more and more, despite loving, loving books and their physicality. I think it has something to do with books as (art?) objects and books as resources. If they are the later, I am fine with PDF's.

  3. Right on, man! Glad you enjoyed the read. :)

  4. I have this fascination with solid, campaign artifacts. A polished campaign website is nice, but I really crave a hand-written journal. I recently bought a handful of small moleskin notebooks to be used for solo gaming, sessions logs, dream recaps, and miscellaneous ideas. I doubt they'll completely replace the iPhone the pen is a better input device then the iPhone "keyboard", so it has a leg up there.

    I'd also love to have props for my games, but I never muster the energy to actually make them.

  5. I got mine in the mail the other day and I absolutely love the concept. At first I was skeptical, but given it was Christian, I figured it would be interesting. Very glad I gave it a chance.


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