Role Playing
This week I played a game with my boy… err, ‘manfriend’, well with Doug, who is heavily into gaming as in board games, computer games and role playing games. Normally I pass on these sorts of games as I have no interest, unless it is trivial pursuits, scrabble or rumikub.

However, Doug explained to me that role playing based games work on the principle of character building and developing a story. As a games master he plays the role of script writer and feeds the players outlines of possible scenarios based on their decisions and actions. Initially it was very complicated but as the action progressed I became intrigued into the outcome of play as concerned my character. After two hours my three fellow players and I managed to fight our way out of situations with cunning, deceit and negotiation. It was exciting! I liked the fact the game could be paused, packed up ready to play again another afternoon.

For those of us who are restricted in movement due to disability or poor health as I am, you will understand when I say your social circle of friends, work colleagues, acquaintances, becomes very small. Many will fall by the wayside due to lack of contact and a general disinterest in your predicament. Eventually you are left with a few good friends and whatever family you have close by. Your life can become very lonely and you feel isolated due to your condition which eventually leads to depression. It becomes a hard cycle of cause and effect to break away from.

I was headed down this path before I met Doug,’ online’ of course. He lives in South Wales so visiting is difficult, but because of him my world has opened up again and my depression fluctuates around his visits and periods of prolonged pain. He has helped me, not only with his friendship, but with encouraging my writing ability and it is because of him I am now published. He has done all my editing, formatting and eBook covers, so what was once a dream is now an actuality.

With Doug’s love of gaming another new world has opened up. I did not realise what a multi-million pound business this was, with millions of people playing online or at game workshops. What Doug has shown me is that you don’t have to duck out of living just because of a disability, illness or old age, (his mother plays with us and she is 85!) and that there is someone for everyone, so don’t stop looking! Gaming also has the benefit of keeping your mind active as well as online fiend’s to talk too.

I was lucky enough to be bought a kindle fire this past Christmas and I am a total convert to reading on these devices. Reading books in bed had become difficult when I was ill as I couldn't hold them for very long without it causing me pain, but my kindle is light and back lit so I do not have to have a bright light on, which when you are suffering a migraine you do not want. Also it is cheaper to buy eBooks, which as an avid reader is great as I am getting through two or there a week at present. I still like to have hard copy or paperback books as there is an aesthetic quality to opening a new book, or second hand, and then seeing them all lined up on a shelf ready to take you on a journey whenever you want to re visit. I have hundreds of books on my kindle now, ready at the flick of a button to read wherever, whenever I want, especially useful if you spend as much time as I do in and out of doctor’s surgeries or the hospital.

I also play games on my kindle fire, surf the web, chat on Facebook and play games such as scramble with friends,( like scrabble), and go on quests into worlds designed beautifully by others where I must collect items and solve puzzles, keeping my memory and cognitive skills sharp.

It all helps with my writing. Reading others books, seeing how they develop a plot, how good their characters are, and if it grabs me, what is the hook they use, and what makes me want to read to the end. Gaming also helps with ideas, character building, memory and entertainment, all of which I want in my books.

Role playing is not something I am that new too after all, I realised I have done it in many forms. When I worked for the DWP as an intervention welfare visiting officer, I developed a role to do it, a new persona who ‘acted out’ when doing my job of interviewing people to gain information from them. I had a lot of training to develop this new persona or character, and did ‘role play’, acting out being a customer such as someone who is out to deceive, or is angry and violent. All these little ‘plays’ helped me in my job, my role as a fraud officer, so when I came upon these situations, these other characters in real life, I had the training and experience to fall back on.

It definitely helped, though human nature being what it is never stopped me from being locked in by angry claimants, being pushed, having stuff thrown at me, and even being spat at! Every day in the five years I was employed was different, and I had to rely on my skills as a trained counsellor (another role), a welfare officer, where I was proactive and caring, to the extreme position of identifying fraud, where I was more calculating and steady in my approach to clients.

When I started this role with the DWP I was naive, gullible almost innocent in regards to what people do, the way they act, the way they live, the smelly houses, the nature of deceit and the ignorance I was faced with daily. When I left due to my ‘disability’, I was a nervous wreck, scared of what people did to each other; I could no longer face their problems, or society’s problems. I had a nervous breakdown and hid myself away from the world with a level of cynicism and self-doubt I didn't have before my ‘role’ with the DWP.

Of course there have been happier roles I have had, being a mother, the greatest and best role ever and now I have a new role as a grandmother! Through life we all develop roles, develop our characters, and we help and influence others to develop theirs. All this I now bring to my writing, to my short stories and too my new novel, it is full of ‘characters’ we will recognise from life because that is where I drew them from, and as a template developed them into their roles in my books. Time Tells Tales characters are all drawn from people I have met in real life, parts of them mixed with my imagination, but it is those little bits I dragged out of my memory which were the foundation for all of them and the story-line developed around them.

I told Doug I enjoyed the role playing game and will gladly pick it up and play again. It was therapeutic, a release from the mundane, a little bit if escapism into another world. You do need an imagination and a relatively good memory (which I struggle with) and of course, a few friends or family willing to give up some of their time to play.

Remind yourself of your inner child and make time - it wants to come out and play!

Until next week, I’m off to play!
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Published on February 08, 2013 07:15 • 163 views • Tags: character-building, ebooks, games, inner-child, mother-role, play, plots, role-playing, storyline, work-roles

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