Viva Las Vegas
Harley Stroh, world’s luckiest d20 author, is sitting at the Denver International Airport, waiting for his flight. In two hours he will be in Las Vegas, where he will do his best to convince retailers that they should carry DCCs in their stores. Run some games, sign some DCCs, and schmooze with the industry.

Truth is I’m scared witless. Las Vegas? Trade Show? Running games for retailers? This was never part of the plan.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech lives on in our public awareness, diminishing the importance of any emotion I might be having. This week I’ve had a hard time posting anything to the blog. It seems unseemly, garish even, to celebrate milestones in my life, when so many others have been denied milestones altogether. With no television I’ve been free to work through the repercussions in my mind, from the lives lost, to the potential liberties that might be lost through reactive legislation.

Martin Luther King, Jr., once said something along the lines of, “I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”*

Put another way, he might be asking, Am I my brother’s keeper?

Virginia gives us the answer. If someone, somewhere, is suffering, it will affect my life. And no matter how isolated I might be, if I am a suffering, I will affect someone else’s life.

I am my brother’s keeper. Not the government, not the police, not any legislation. Me. And you are mine.

So what does this have to do with a blog?

As artists and writers, we create. But I've been silent the last week. To be inspired to silence is to allot Cho’s violence more power than it deserves. Silence, out of respect for the families and victims, has a place. Silence, out of fear of impropriety, strips away any claim I might have to art.

When tragedy strikes, we shouldn’t be silent. When tragedy strikes, we should answer it with creation. That’s our job, the obligation earned by living in America. Those of us with food in our bellies owe those less fortunate more than our meek silence. This writing thing isn’t just a gig; it’s a duty.

They just announced boarding. Please excuse the unedited nature of this post. Next post coming from the GAMA trade show.


Viva, Las Vegas.


*Here’s the full quote:

In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the inter-related structure of reality.


At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Harley. Thanks.

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, above was Ed.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Nicely said, Mr. Stroh.

Good luck in Vegas!

At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Joshua Wentz said...

"As artists and writers, we create. "

Exactly right.

Regarding brothers and their keepers... I've been battling a lot lately with the idea that I'm not going anything substantial for those in need. I am too protective of my own time to volunteer somewhere, and I am not rich enough to start my own Foundation For Kids Who Don't Read Good, and so on.

But I do create art, and do projects. Why not re-purpose one of them to become a non-profit, charitable project.

So I thought about it some more, and decided last week to make my new quarterly zine, HEY Quarterly, a non-profit where all proceeds go to a charity. Since HEY was already about allowing artists and authors get their ideas and work out to the public, I might as well make the whole thing about the public.

So, www.heyquarterly.com was redesigned and now is set up so that at the end of the year, I'll be taking all the "profit" from the magazine and donating it to a charity. I am so excited about that I can't even believe it. And yet it is such a miniscule thing, in the end.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Grimbones said...


That is very, very, very cool.


At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Jessica E. said...

I haven't read you in awhile. Being a VA Tech student, the past 10 days have been disgusting and surreal and frustrating. I am trying to finish my thesis and complete my designs and I can't get past some pent-up blockage. Reading what you wrote made me weepy for the first time since last Monday. It's what I needed.
Thank you.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

There are two interesting things going on here that I feel I need to comment on. (Okay, partially I feel the need to avoid packing for 5 more minutes.)

Cho was, like many of you, writers. Where does it leave us that he was trying to deal with his interactions with the world via creative writing? Admittedly, not necessarily healthily, but still an interesting thing to consider in light of your post. He struggled to deal via creation, and when that didn't work turned to a massive scale destruction.

Secondly, there's a global/local consideration here that troubles me. The day after VT lost their 32 students, a suicide bomber killed 140 in the Middle East. The day after that, another. And another. Much like Cho these are acts of domestic terrorism that end in suicide.

(Yes terrorism- and it's worked- I previously though I was entering a "safe" profession, unlike being a high school teacher.)

Does the "inter-related structure of reality" only apply within national boarders? How can creativity and activism as duty be applied to a global format?

Not that I'm doing anything about this currently, mind you. I don't want to come off all "high-horsey", but I am occasional concerned with the narrow view of America and how we can choose to avoid that what affects one (or thousands upon thousands) directly is in some way affecting all of us indirectly- even as we often try to ignore it.

I have no answers, only lots of questions and concerns, and a whole house to pack.


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