Push Preface (Draft)

December 17, 2005

This is not what I had in mind.

Push began as a column for RPGnet, a more practical, hands-on sequel to my discussion of aesthetics in The Fine Art of Roleplaying (2003).

But this was soon interrupted by another project; Chris Lehrich and I decided to co-edit a roleplaying handbook. The resulting volume would attempt to describe, discuss, and theorize about all the various and sundry ways in which people roleplay.

The handbook project, in turn, fizzled. Wanting to try my hand at a more modest undertaking, I imagined a progressive design journal, published as often as we could manage, modeled after several notable ancestors:

    McSweeney’s: Dave Eggers is a post-modern Kerouac with delusions of grandeur. Aside from writing the quirky, self-conscious, and bestselling memoir-of-young-adulthood, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, he also founded Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, a literary journal originally intended for pieces too odd, experimental, or emo for traditional publications. The result is something akin to She-Ra and Salman Rushdie co-hosting an NPR program, but in book form. Brilliant.

    Flight: Kazu Kabuishi edits an annual anthology of all new, full-color comics written and illustrated by Canadians, art school kids, and 20-somethings (sometimes all three at the same time). Flight continues to build a following, gaining the attention of comics readers of all stripes (superheroes, indie, manga, webcomics) as well as people who are not normally comics fans. It did this by just being really good.

    Beyond Role and Play: The largest roleplaying convention among the Nordic countries is called, in various languages, Knutpunkt (Swedish), Knudepunkt (Danish), Knutepunkt (Norwegian), and Solmukohta (Finnish). Each year, the roaming convention produces a book of articles on roleplaying, and 2004’s volume was Beyond Role and Play: Tools, Toys and Theory for Harnessing the Imagination, edited by Markus Montola and Jaakko Stenros. Once I got my hands on a copy, the pieces began to come together.

    Daedalus: Matt Snyder is my hero and, also, the creator of Dust Devils and Nine Worlds. Daedalus is his periodic PDF ‘zine, devoted to publishing whatever’s been submitted since the last issue (woohoo!). Matt proved that a regular publication about independent roleplaying and progressive roleplaying thought was both possible and strongly needed. Push is forever in his debt.

If you want to know what Push is about, check out one of these other publications. You’ll be glad you did. Or just continue reading this book. It starts with Emily’s piece, which is awesome.

Give us your lost, your broken, your people yearning to be free. And, assuming they like roleplaying, we’ll try to give them some prospective on where we are and where we’re going.

Enjoy.
Jonathan

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