Writing is Like…


People write for a lot of reasons. It occurs to me one of my primary motivations was something along the lines of “I can never find enough stories of the kind I want to read.” I’ve always found a lot, don’t get me wrong. But there’s a certain point in the process of being a voracious reader (as I started out when I first learned to read) that there simply aren’t enough. So the solution was obvious.

Make my own.

I’ve been doing that for a long time now. It also remains one of my primary metrics for evaluating any particular book or story: “If I didn’t write this, would I want to read this?” And when the answer is an unequivocal YES, then I know it’s a successful story by my own standards. How it fares in the market is another matter, and frankly, not my problem.

This “make your own” mindset applies to other things as well: bread, boxes, garden arches, whatever. Which brings me to the above picture. See, I once played chess. A lot. I was on my college team, though it was informal and we only played one inter-collegiate tournament (I won my game, so there). Still have an episodic interest, usually chess problems and suchlike noodling. I once had a nice tournament quality chess set, but it didn’t make the move to NY, and every now and again I found myself missing it. Thought about getting a new one. Then I remembered I had a 3D printer and a rudimentary knowledge of computer aided design(CAD).

So, with some valuable online instruction and a little time, I made my own. Most of the pieces were easier than I expected. Except for the knight. The knight required a little drafting skill, but after five iterations I got something I was happy with. So there they are.

Next time I feel like setting up the board, I’ll be ready.

Obsessing Serially

Long time readers will know that we’ve been here before. For those who aren’t, I’ll lay it out: I’m a serial obsessionist. Meaning that I grab on to intense interests that may last for weeks, months, even years. I’ve found this to be a useful trait for someone trying to be a writer. For example, I spent a few years in the literature and history of classical Japan. The result was the Yamada Monogatari series from Prime Books. Even when such interests don’t inform an entire series, they usually make their way into numerous books and stories, either giving the initial impetus or fleshing them out with new information, or both.

All of which brings me to the item above. On one such whim, I acquired a 3D Printer, as I’ve also mentioned before. There’s an entire sub-culture dedicated to creating designs strictly to be brought to life on such devices. One can spend an awful lot of time tracking them down online and doing just that. And yet…

You know what’s really fun, and doesn’t get old nearly as fast? Learning the basics of CAD (Computer Aided Design) and creating your own designs. Like that vase above. Nothing really special about it, except that particular design with those particular proportions is something I created myself. I mean, it’s just a vase. It won’t win any design awards, but I’ll lay odds it’ll hold flowers and look good doing it. Also, I have a tsuba (Japanese sword guard) that is normally stored in a specially made box, only the box got broken in our move to New York state some years ago. For my next project I’m going to recreate that box in PLA down to the millimeter. And the best part?

Actual printing of such items takes hours.

Leaves plenty of time for writing.