When I turned 20 I finally ran away to the big city. Okay, ran away might be overstating it a bit, but I did transfer from UNI in Cedar Falls to GW in Washington DC and left Iowa far behind. While in DC I fell in with a rough crowd.

They were dreamers, games-players, and masters of imaginary universes. They used words in ways I had not considered and manipulated the language in ways that amazed and inspired me. Some shared their story with urgent staccato beats while others filled screens with flowery, sometimes purple, prose.

doing some modern-day computing on the train to New York
Creative Commons License Blake Patterson via Compfight

Players came together from all over the world to build upon the stories within Roger Zelazny’s Amber books.

To be in with the cool crowd you had to spelling correctly, use grammar properly, and imbue characterization into each turn of phrase quickly and consistently. These strange friends taught me how to be someone else through my language, if only for a few hours a day.

Almost twenty years later there are some that I’m still friends with and some that I am almost sure I’m still fighting with, if I could just remember why. Many of them got to remain creative, becoming writers and game designers and artists. I never lost that love of words, or the envy of those who stuck with it. I think that’s why I’m doing this writing of my own.

My purpose is not to compete, but to keep up. Knowing that if my imaginary friends can do it, so can I.

It’s also why I’m super excited to see Storium get the love and attention that it is. I’m waiting for the next generation of authors to learn the love of imagining with strangers and building their skills with words. To keep up with the cool kids who can imagine faster and communicate it completely. I’m already plotting the stories I’m going to get going with my own friends. Storium just begs for an old-fashioned Amber Throne War of epic proportions.

I’m also hoping deep down that eventually even one person will want to take what I write and build their own imaginary world from the bones of my stories.