Just do it!
Raven Zachary, the most important man in PBM as I have called him on occasion, was nice enough to tidy up the list of back issues of Suspense & Decision magazine that I created for this new blog site. As I prepare to head out and find some lunch, today, I pause long enough to reflect upon the history of publication of each issue of this thing that I long ago labeled A PBM Magazine for the 21st Century!
The thing that caught my eye was the date of publication that Raven posted alongside each issue number. It is worth highlighting, I think, that the first ten issues of Suspense & Decision, or S&D as some like to call it, published at a monthly rate of publication. For ten straight months, Suspense & Decision adhered to a publication schedule with substantial rigidity. It didn’t falter. It was simply there for its readership in a very timely manner.
Then, it became like various other PBM magazines that came before it – although S&D seemed to go further into the abyss than they did, and for increasing lengths of time. Granted, there was a three month period during 2017, when the issue seemed to get back on its feet, before collapsing into what can only be described as a horrible and ugly mess. Somewhere along the way, Suspense & Decision magazine lost its way.
And whose fault was that? Mine. Nobody’s but my own.
All well and good, I suppose, to claim responsibility for such, but honestly, most people who read PBM magazines don’t really care about the why. Rather, they just want such magazines to be there for them – reliably! They know that things happen. They understand that life can become a bit much, at times. No harm, no foul. Just fix whatever the underlying problem is, just address the root cause(s)
Easier said than done. Not always, but many times. A lot of things factor into such.
From time to time, I encounter comments online, or I listen to remarks that someone else makes, about how “hard” it is to publish a PBM magazine. Yet, after having been there, done that, I just mostly shake my head at such off-the-cuff commentaries. “Hard” isn’t the right word. I’ll probably stand by that statement until the day that I die.
The way that Suspense & Decision got its start, the way that it succeeded for the first ten straight months of its existence, was by way of a very simple little trick called “just do it.” It worked then. Common sense says that it could work again. But the desire to always “improve” thinks invariably has a tendency to “break” them. That’s been my experience, anyway.
People want PBM magazines. People just tend to not want to participate in an energetic way. People also develop something called burnout. Sometimes, burnout is short lived. Other times, it can last for the proverbial forever.
Plus, too, one can get so many irons in the fire that it can become distracting. Just trying to find stuff about PBM gaming on the Internet to bring to the PBM masses’ attention can be a full time job. I’ve yet to find the bottom of that well.
So, here we are (some of us, anyway), trying anew to “improve” things. Will we simply end up breaking it, instead of improving it? Or can you “break” that which is already “broken?”
In real life, I’m tired. I’m getting older by the minute. The truth be told, I don’t know if I’ve ever been “sure” that I’m up to the “task.” Hell, do any of us even really know what the “task” is, much less how to do it?
So, forget about Suspense & Decision magazine, for a moment, and focus, instead, upon what I like to call “the BIG picture.” For those with good memories, you might recall that I stated long ago that I was working on a Kirby machine (see here and here).
And that is something that evades explanation or description.
It’s not one thing. Rather, it is a thing of many. Not very unlike the Internet of Things, in one respect, I suppose. But a creature that is entirely its own sort.
This “thing” has many tentacles. It has many mechanisms. Part of it is a PBM magazine – maybe even more than one. But the magazine, itself (Suspense & Decision, if you prefer), is but a portion of what I envision to be a greater whole.
I’m not sure what happened to Bernd (aka Ixnay on the PlayByMail.Net forum), but I’m sure that he would not want us to hold back, just waiting on him. PBM gaming is far too important to be dependent upon any one individual. It’s such a shame that David Webber (of Paper Mayhem fame) and Carol Mulholland (of Flagship magazine fame) aren’t here with us to share in this moment.
It’s time to get back on track, again. My plan? To just do it.