I’ve tried all of the usual New Year’s Resolutions – lose weight, get in shape, various household projects – to greater or lesser effect. It almost seems that by formally recognizing these things I should be doing that I sabotage myself from the start. This year, I thought that I’d come up with a list of things that are both enjoyable and will still make me a better person…or at least a better geek. Hey, I’m a professional geek – it’s kind of the same thing for me, right? Anyway, here are some of my resolutions.
1) I will read more comic books this year.
I’ve always been an off-and-on comic book fan, and most of the stuff I’ve enjoyed in the past has been of the non-cape and spandex variety: things like DMZ, Northlanders and The Walking Dead. However, DC’s New 52 has been a real opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and dive into the superhero stuff that I’ve been missing out on. And you know what? I’ve missed out on a lot. I’ve been reading Batman, Batman & Robin, Justice League Dark, Catwoman and a bunch of other titles. I’ve clearly been ignoring a wonderful storytelling medium that has a lot to say. The titles themselves, plus a little reading about comic books and what they mean (Grant Morrison’s Supergods is a must), has opened up a whole world of geekitude to explore. I’ve got a lot to catch up on, and I plan on doing it in 2012.
2) I will teach more people to play Dungeons & Dragons.
It’s time to stop bemoaning the “graying” of the tabletop gaming hobby, and start bringing in some new blood. I’ve been a gamer for 30 years now (Wow, time does fly!), and as a “graybeard” now, it falls upon me to pass on the legacy. Young people love fantasy and science fiction – you parents out there have done a great job of making sure of that – so it’s up to me to help kids discover this endlessly entertaining pastime. I will buy a few Dungeons & Dragons Starter Sets as birthday gifts this year. Maybe I’ll run a few public games, too. Heck, maybe I can even bring some more adults into the game.
3) I will make sure that writers and artists I admire know that I do so.
Being a writer or artist can be a tough job, and requires a lot of time alone. Sometimes it feels like you’re just sending the fruit of your labor into an uncaring – or worse, hostile – void. I will send more fan letters in 2012. Sometimes, and I know this from what I’ve heard creative people say, just hearing someone say they appreciate your work can be the shot in the arm you need to make it through another tough day. Many writers just hear complaints (You’re not writing fast enough!), and I think all of us could do a better job of encouraging the creative minds that make our lives so colorful and fun. I’m going to try my best.
4) I will play more video games.
I play first-person shooters, almost exclusively. The military kind, at that. Battlefield, Call of Duty and other shooters hold prime real estate on my XBOX GOLD account. I need to break out of that. A publicist sent a copy of Saints Row 3 to me a few months ago. I thought I’d just play it for an hour and put it aside – after all, it wasn’t a shooter, per se. Nope, I was hooked. This huge sandbox utterly enthralled me. Now I’m playing Batman: Arkham City. Like the superhero comic books I passed up, I’ve missed out on amazing video games over the last couple of years. It’s time to expand my horizons.
5) I will attend more conventions.
Getting away from work – I’ve got several jobs! – can be difficult, but I will make more time (and save more money) to attend more conventions. I love them, I really do. San Diego Comic Con is the highlight of my year (New York Comic Con equally so) and it comes and goes so quickly. I’ve always wanted to go to Dragon*Con. I’ve always wanted to go to GenCon. Lately it has occurred to me that I shouldn’t just go for my own enjoyment. I should support these events just to make sure they keep going.
6) I will sharpen my mind.
I love science fiction, fantasy and horror, but it’s not enough to just sit back and enjoy these things. I need to know why I do so, why you do so, and how they fit in to the grand scheme of things. It can only help, and really, popular culture deserves serious consideration.
7) I will explore the outer edges.
There’s a lot of cool stuff going on that I don’t really investigate: cosplay, larping, medieval studies of various sorts. Maybe I won’t be putting on armor or spandex myself any time soon, but I will get to know how these things work and what people enjoy about them. I’ve never avoided or shirked these subcultures, but I’ve never really dug in deeply, either. I can and will in 2012.
8 ) I will not apologize about the things I enjoy.
Sometimes I feel embarrassed talking about my comic books, games and love of stuff off of the beaten path. Not usually, but sometimes – especially when I’m around people I don’t thing will understand and appreciate them. I admit that sometimes I get a little apologetic or embarrassed, or maintain an ironic distance, when someone I perceive as “out of the fold” sees me lugging around the latest Monster Manual or graphic novel. You know what? Most of that is my fault. They probably don’t care at all, and at the very least, I should try to share the things that make me happy. At root, I’m not giving people the benefit of the doubt because of my own insecurities. Maybe the guy in the next cubicle over would really enjoy science fiction. Perhaps my neighbor might like to throw around some funny dice for an evening. It could be that the barista behind the counter is a huge fan of zombie novels, but unless I’m secure enough to share my interests – or at least not hide them – I’ll never know. How is that not close-mindedness on my part? I’ll try and fix that in 2012.
9) I will buy more collectibles.
Companies like Mezo, Gentle Giant and Sideshow Collectibles make great stuff. I’ve admired them from afar, but avoided buying them in order to not clutter my already-crowded house. Why deny their allure? Why not support these great companies? I see a few great sculptures, action figures and museum quality replicas in my future. And you know what? I’ll proudly display them.
10) I will support my fellow fans.
I’ll try to make sure that my fellow readers, gamers and other participants in this great fan culture we have get what they need from me, both here and at large. This is your site, too, and I want it to be a place that reflects your interests. I always try to do this, anyway, but I want to make it an even bigger priority this year. I’ll also do my best to make sure that as soon as I know about something that you’ll enjoy or will make you happy, that you’ll know it moments later. Let’s enjoy these things together.
Those are my resolutions, and I plan on following them. If you’ve got some of your own, I’d love to hear them.