The End of Games

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Here's another Ask Anything segment from over at Andrew Sullivan's place. The questions was whether I still play D&D. Sadly, I don't and perhaps more sadly, I'm finding that I don't really participate in any of the great literary influences of my youth. Hip-hop, comic books, gaming (both table-top and computer) have all been gradually left behind. "Left behind" is too strong a phrase. They're still with me in spirit, and each of these things exerts a heavy influence over my writing. But I am increasingly a non-participant.


Part of the issue is that is that I've found it really tough to age up with each of these. I can't keep debating women in comics, or women in hip-hop, or women in WoW. (Sensing a trend here.) As I've gotten older the hours in my day seem to have shrunk. I just don't have the energy to fight.

Or rather I don't have the energy to fight on that front. Writing has, increasingly, taken up residence in the space where I used to put fandom. Even nonfiction writing, for me, requires an act of imagination because I am always thinking of ways to afflict the reader with some of what I feel. I'm not simply trying to afflict him/her logically, but also emotionally. The writing must emote. To do that I employ the same imagination I once put into the nasty poison-spewing green dragon (or was she blue? red?) from the Isle of Dread, and redirect to (attempted) acts of literature. Regrettably that means less time for Isle of Dread.

Nevertheless, I miss Tucker's Kobolds.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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