a guy from Neither here, nor there, Canada

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"If it’s not real, you can't hold it in your hand, you can't feel it with your heart.. And I won't believe it - but if it’s true, you can see it with your eyes, oh even in the dark.. (H. Williams)"

I was writing short stories in grade three.  My then teacher, Mrs. Ketcheson, took editing to a whole new level.  I always felt my third grade efforts lost their oomph and/or grandeur once she ‘Ketchesonned’ them (yes, it is totally a real word, look it up, honest) to coincide with her own particular vision of literary excellence at the third grade level. 

I would say the most inspirational gift to child kind in terms of confusing youngsters onto the path of storytelling, came in the form of MGM’s brilliant adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth.

For my young self, it inspired a literary masterpiece high fantasy adventure of epic proportions, as recounted from the point of view of the somewhat disgruntled horse and donkey ridden upon by the hero and his plucky sidekick.   The manuscript, sadly, has been lost to the ravages of time.

With the advent of the internet, the world-wide-web collaborative story was born, long before Protaganize came into being.   I first got involved with one such group in and around 1999. The group was called Imperial Secrets, and it operated through a ‘listserv’, as a primitive play-by-email ‘game’.  

Many such games existed, mostly in the vein of dungeons and dragons campaigns.  Imperial Secrets was different, in that it did not operate by rules, there was no ‘GM’ to lead a campaign, no dice to roll.  Each author was free to write their own character, and evolve it as they wished, so long as other player’s creations were respected. It is, of course, more complicated than all that. I have distilled it to its most simple elements.  As a system at the time however, it worked brilliantly, until graphical games began to take over the internet, and sap away the attention of otherwise willing fantasy writers, one by one, until naught remained.

In merry old 2002, I graduated from the University of Toronto, where I took a number of showers, and a degree in English.  No baths for me; that was Douglas Adams' thing. We miss him terribly.  I have also dabbled in art and animation, although when Mickey Mouse came after me with a sawed off shotgun, I figured it was time to cut my losses.

Well, anywhohow.. Since the eve of Imperial Secrets’ inevitable demise, I have explored the internet hither and yon for an acceptable replacement.  No such alternative has presented itself to my satisfaction.  I must admit, on top of that, my own attention span is not what it once was.  It may be that my voice wishes to remain lost, as to be found and given a forum to speak, requires a consistency of effort that it has not endured in a decade.

Come what may, I dare hope that some good will come of this.   

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