Reanimated Affections

A Plague-tale

This section is for players to post about things unrelated to the Standing Trials roleplay. You may talk about anything from world issues, to your personal life, to funny things you found on the internet. You are free to use this forum to express yourself as a player and not as your actual character. You can also post in other players journals so long as they give you permission to. Please remember not to post anything relating to pornography or anything with extensive use of profanity.
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Plague
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Thu May 19, 2016 6:55 pm

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A plague a' both your houses! I am sped.
Is he gone and hath nothing?

-Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet)
I was always drawn to Mercutio's character. Sardonic, lackaday, haphazard storyteller with a flair for dramatics always appealed to me as something to strive for. Joyous in life, caretaker of tales and kindler of revelry he died for the honor of an insulted friend against a superior enemy.

Aye, I felt there was honor in his death. There was purpose there. Narratively it served as the catalyst propelling Romeo from Verona with blood upon his hands. Had not Mercutio perished, perhaps all could have ended in peace. Perhaps. Perhaps.

I've loved narrative since I was a child, sitting on old railroad ties and listening to my dad tell us stories about the creek in our backyard. I remember being enraptured then, spellbound, sipping root beer under the shade of our huge sycamore and trying to spy out the monsters and legends hidden in the forest below.

I never saw them, but I did walk away with an appreciation of tale weaving, of storycraft. You will not find me more excited than when talking about a plotline I love. The themes, the genres, the grand sacrifices...compelling villains, flawed heroes, enigmatic mentors, and reliable allies. Magic lives in stories and poetry, digging beneath the sterilized bones of fact and feckless hapchance to a world where all things happened for a reason, where all roads wove beside each other in some complex subplot. Myth, legend, old gods, the otherfolk, our world was built atop stories and we cannot escape our birthright.

Now I write. I tell stories for my tabletop group that draw years of commitment. If I am proud of any skill I possess, it is that skill to weave a story.

I struggle with availability, the balance of work and life always a challenging tightrope to walk. I grapple with attention, with misunderstandings through text, with commitment, and with trying to please everyone. I dunno if any of us don't struggle with something, but I like to be upfront about my capabilities and weaknesses.

I love life dearly. I crave adventure. I am easy to befriend and eager to enrich existing friendships. I welcome your creativity here, I read threads for fun and imagine how your stories will climax and weave together. I welcome the flawed heroes, the memorable villains...because at my deepest core I honor your time here, your creativity, your contribution.

I want to tell stories with you.
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Sabine
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Thu May 19, 2016 8:36 pm

This is such a lovely first journal post, Plague. I’m a big fan of Shakespeare (including the remakes & revisions of his stories), so I particularly enjoyed what you wrote about Mercutio and his role in Romeo & Juliet’s tragic love affair.

I'm so thrilled that you're on Standing Trials and are willing to share your writing and your stories with us. We players are very, very lucky.

Looking forward to reading more. x
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Plague
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Fri May 27, 2016 4:46 am

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True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet)
Twelve years ago I was fourteen and just starting my freshman year in highschool. I came from a small, private, Catholic school called St. Luke's where I had spent the last eight years. I entered highschool with a crippling shyness, inherited over years of teasing and quiet playground reading. I found people difficult to relate to. No one resembled the characters I read from Tolkein, Eddings, Rowling, and Salvatore. Life seemed perilous, fraught with social interactions and treacherous hierarchies I couldn't begin to understand. No one had my love of swords and sorcery, of finding magic in coincidence or wonder in being lost. I suppose some of that was my inability to communicate these concepts, so turtle'd up within myself that my friends threatened to put a bell around my neck to find me when I wandered off.

It seems forever ago and you'll be glad to know I grew out of that phase. I learned to socialize somewhere around freshman year in college and have kept up the trend since. Although, at the time, highschool seemed a daunting and intimidating place. I doodled imaginary interpretations in my subject notebooks, stick figures dueling between mathematical formula and historical dates. Luckily, I managed to keep a few of these growing up and find some warm memories looking back at what I built for myself in those early months of school.

I found a roleplay site, Iwaku, that year. Originally I had aimed to roleplay on the forum of a favored webcomic in the vainglorious hope I would be chosen to be a character in the comic. Instead I found an invitation to a small roleplay community where I spent much of my resource period writing.

I learned storytelling there and am happy to say the forum still exists (much changed from when I knew it more than a decade ago).

More stories died before completion than ever reached their epic conclusion. Even nowadays with the tabletop stories I tell among friends, only a small percentage of our games come to any discernible conclusions. Scores of characters and motivations lay lost in that no-man's land of 'IRL troubles'. In a small way, I mourn every character ever robbed of a conclusion. We forget, sometimes, that those characters we create to interact with the world have hopes and dreams they seek to triumph. Villains long for control or revenge, Heroes for redemption or protection, Allies for support and sacrifice...the list goes on.

A wise writer told me that all characters should leave a ripple. In a world of competition and clashing ideals, ones accomplishments should never be forgotten or overlooked. Weave, he told me, Weave their failures and triumphs into the narrative. People will appreciate knowing their effort mattered, their work mattered.

Now I am a graverobber, plundering the tombs of forgotten roleplays and half finished stories to build grander ones, better ones. In a small way, I can carry those abandoned to something greater by not forgetting their impacts. The Villainous choices of a plague-bearer can open new ideas for the plot of a new threat and the tragic failures of a divine reject could foment new motivations for a struggling NPC.

For me, the importance of a roleplay is honoring contribution. You all take time out of your lives to create magic and wonder here with the rest of us. I believe that if you successfully route a gang of slavers, that impact should be felt in the community. Who did those slavers know? Is there revenge? Reward?

Nothing happens in a vacuum and we are all entwining stories together. Don't be afraid to let your character lose the fight to another, or acquiesce to their magical manipulation. Share the spotlight, built a narrative that contributes to the lore rather than devours it. Find an interesting new player and wrap them in. Kill their brother, marry their sister, let them pickpocket an important object, foil your plans. Imagine the joy they'll have in knowing that what they did MATTERED and imagine how fun it will be to plot how you'll get them back, or build a story tying in more players as allies or enemies in the continuing adventures.

I will always strive to honor your contributions as mine have been honored in the past. Together we will take our failures and our triumphs and we will weave wonders with words. I found escape from the tyranny of social awkwardisms fourteen years ago and I've never slowed in my appreciation and honor of storytelling.

No one is unimportant. Every character matters.

Cast your ripple. Absorb the ripples of others.

Make a wave.

Change the shoreline.
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Whisper
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Mon Nov 28, 2016 10:53 pm

Hap birf <3
Congratulations on making it another year!


(Also I have never read your journal before... I didn't even realise you had one. It's very nice... a pleasure to read. You should do more.)
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Plague
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Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:36 pm

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"No, 'tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a
church-door; but 'tis enough,'twill serve"


-Mercutio (Romeo and Juliet, Act 3, Scene 1, line 1601-1602)

Last night I took a long walk. An unexpected March snowstorm had come through earlier in the day and at the time I found myself in the elements, most folks had wrapped themselves tight indoors. I wore a single scarf and shoved my hands deep in my pockets to ward the chill, walking along the deserted road to a park that had closed at sunset hours before. The point wasn't where I was going or the weather, really. I wish it had been warmer, but there's a kind of silence that follows with the cold that's almost solemn. I take this walk at least once a week, if not more. About two kilometers in distance it's just enough time to really reflect on things. Last night I thought about my past, as I am often, and trying to rationalize the person I was with the person I am today.

I'm not proud of who I used to be some five ish years ago. People had a lot of opinions about me but I think it all came down to the fact that I wasn't confident enough to be brave. Not brave enough to speak honestly, not brave enough to take chances with my education, not brave enough to throw myself into travel, and not brave enough to break from an emotionally abusive relationship. We all have stories like that, I think, traps and snares that caught us up in the past. In some ways, a few of us are still trapped in those snares...if not literally, than in the figurative reflection of our minds. Years we paid piece-meal to relationships, friendships, wasted programs, and enough 'playing it safe' to encapsulate a cautionary children's show. One of my defining weaknesses is my inability to let things go. All the way back, I've had this obsessive desire to 'balance the scales', properly repay any damages I might have carelessly inflicted while in the throes of 'growing up', an excuse of uncontrolled emotions that sounds tired these days. Even the people who have wronged me are not exempt from my focus. In some twisted way, I always surmise that anything paid to me by others was motivated by some poorly executed action of mine.

I think people get trapped, walled in by justification. We're too good at arguing with ourselves not to construct chains, link by link, to bind our ankles to the past. We stroll around with bleeding sores no one can perceive, pressured by the simplest things. Innocuous comments can become thumbs dug into slashes, the pressure on a broken bone. Some of these scars are understandable, horrific things that were done to us at the behest of others, others are self-inflicted and delicately maintained with morbid intimacy.

I found myself thinking of all the people I've upset through the years, what I would say to them, how I would try to acquit myself as different. The trouble is that I'm not sure it would change anything. Most of my own brands of punishment as maintained regardless of relevant presence in my life. I keep the lights on in the torture chamber on behalf of someone I haven't spoken with in 3, 4, 5, 8 years as if it meant anything at all that I was still beating myself up over what had happened. Most of these, mind you, were not abominable things. Broken trust, shattered relationships, stupid impulsive decisions regretted by both parties...but certainly not the stuff of nightmares you would expect someone to agonize over (Or hope they would). The truth is that we are our own wardens, crowd-funding the prisons of guilt we live in with our own multitude of thoughts. Deep down, you know whether you deserve scorn or persecution. I don't think most of us do, maybe not anymore.

No one grows when they focus on the punishment. It's part of why I think the United States prison system is so remarkably ineffective. Without a drive towards rehabilitation, acceptance, and growth...all that remains is the monotony of pain, a perpetual surrender without reconstruction.

I walked down a neighborhood I'd never tried before last night. All the houses lined like quiet sentries in the void of unexpected winter. I thought about all the friends I've ever made online, the ones I've had for years without ever shaking their hands.

Sometimes life can feel like a prison, and the escape is through the eyes of another character. We build lives fraught with danger, knowing that we have the power to correct their sorrows and give them what they want. The control we lack in our own lives we give to those born from our minds into worlds like these. A story, especially one like this, isn't a recounting of random events. Coincidence and fate are married into the concept of tales, a certain intelligent design that assures us any terrible situation is only a temporary setback. We can foresee how they will rise or fall, meter it out, measure it. I doubt that's why everyone writes, but I think it influences some folks.

When I had finished my walk, I realized that I felt better. Maybe not cured of my persecution complex but at least I had loosened the chains, lost some walls.

Take a walk when you can, let yourself explore what holds you back. Forgive yourself, if possible, because sometimes you can't count on someone else to do it for you. Be able to recognize when you have learned a lesson, when you have truly grown and especially when you haven't. I'm not saying this works for everyone, but it brought me some relief on an otherwise miserable snowy March night.

Take solace in the silence. Listen to your own voice and the wind whistling through your wounds. Find them and close them up, stitch them shut with fishing line, or acceptance, or whatever you'd like to imagine.

And remember that behind every character there is another more complex and remarkable than fantasy ever could be. We are all here to explore creativity together, to posit our stories and intermingle our thoughts. Might be nice to get to know some of your writing partners a little (if they're open to it). You never know what kind of friendships you'll build, or what sort of paths it will open.

Thanks again for listening,

-Plague
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