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. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

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