Design, play, and process blog. This is where we get personal.

Ten Slow Laps

I haven’t read or practiced Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way but I’ve heard about it from a ton of folks, the most of recent of whom looked into my tired face back in August, a face not yet recovered from a grueling month+ of putting up a brand new, live and in-person show for the …

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Muppet Theory

Muppet Theory Someone close to me shook me to the core this week. It started as a casual conversation about Muppet Theory. The theory is based on Jim Henson’s The Muppets and the gist is this: there are chaos muppets and there are order muppets. Order muppets like things tidy and predictable, ie Kermit or …

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Toddler Creation Hour

There is a moment when we are each ready to create. For me, that moment presents itself like a toddler, full of Need and Now and Let Me Goooooooo. If I’m ready to write, perform, or in any other way create something, I want it right that second. I’m an adult human who works in …

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Tabletop Games Denouement

As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said (allegedly), ‘change is constant.’ Theater makers track change through story arcs and character arcs. Video game designers focus on interest curves- tracking player engagement over time. Larps often contain scenarios that escalate in tension and stakes, while role-playing games follow a similar structure to theater, relying on character …

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This post is a counter-point to the last where I talked about my evolving relationship to procrastination. This post is about the opposite of that: Precrastination. My friend M is a classic procrastinator. We co-work together a few times a week and while I was writing the talk I was going to give later that …

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I wrote the talks for the last three conferences I’ve spoken at the night before the talk. Sometimes the day of. Even if I’m “done” the day before, I almost always make tweaks the day of. I am… a procrastinator. Ugh. I hate saying it. I feel like such a failure when I can’t nail …

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Rules Sheets Need A Revamp

Every group of tabletop game players needs a Rules Person. Exactly. One. One person who loves reading the rules, keeps them beside them during gameplay (just in case), and gets low-key anxious when someone else asks to see the rules because then they have to give up the rules sheet. More than Rules Person per …

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Emotions Are Metrics

I’ve spent the last year and a half reading a *lot* of books about business and entrepreneurship, listening to podcasts of the same ilk, and thinking about high-performance output and metrics for success. I began working as an entrepreneurial coach and have increased my consulting practice considerably. A few of the many branches of self-growth …

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Songbirds Sing Because They’re Alive

“Songbirds don’t sing to be the most accomplished songbird. They sing because it’s an innate thing that songbirds do because they’re alive.” One of the speakers at a conference I attended this month said this during his talk. I was struck by how it removes intentionality from a core action of being a bird: to …

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On Sensitivity

The last thing I remember before blacking out was taking a sip of water and thinking “huh, I’m glad it doesn’t usually hurt this much to drink water.” Next thing I knew I was flat on the floor, glasses askew, blood dripping from my temple. I didn’t know it at the time but I’d just …

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“Just Make A Game About It”

Sometimes, when I express frustration that I’m not able to figure something in my life out, a friend of mine (who is decidedly not a game designer) will needle me with ‘Why don’t you just make a game about it? Isn’t that what you do?’ And then I hang up on them. Well, no, but …

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Art is a Gremlin, but it’s YOUR Gremlin

You have to show up for your art. It will pout if you don’t. Your art wants to be picked up, played with, joked with, and present with you. It wants to stare into your eyes like they hold the answers to the meaning of life. It is your child, your pet, your Best Self. …

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A grad school professor of mine once related some wisdom to our class: “every artist has a certain percent ‘done’ at which they will stop working on a piece. For some people, they’re “done” when the project is 50% complete, others are “done” when a project is 137% complete.” Personally, I have yet to come …

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Vulnerability in Practice

I listened to a podcast recently in which the guest, a visual artist, was saying that it is the job of all artists to be vulnerable and to make that vulnerability public. I’m still thinking about it. I have certainly bared my heart and soul and fear and courage and pain and love and tears …

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Ghost Brain

Today’s post is for everyone with a backlog of creative projects a solar system wide and a galaxy deep.  Ideas exist in the way ghosts exist; they can’t take corporeal form without possessing people. Fortunately for ideas, many of us are willing, if not eager, to be possessed by an idea. Ideas also resemble ghosts …

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L’appel du vide

L’appel du vide is a French phrase for ‘the call of the void.’ It refers, literally, to the feeling we get when we’re high up, looking way, way down, and feel an urge to jump into the abyss. Maybe you know this feeling. It’s not a desire for the consequences of that jump, simply the …

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Perfection Worship

Perfection is alluring. It’s shiny, calming, and I imagine it would feel really good to achieve. You know what else would feel really good? Wearing pants made of clouds and riding around town on a 20-foot-high panda named Jedediah. Too bad those things aren’t real. Too bad perfection isn’t real.
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The Art of Rest

Doing things is important. I am a big fan of doing. But on the flip side of the same coin is not doing and not doing is also important. As it turns out, it takes just as much energy, dedication, and grit to not do something as it takes to do something.
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New Year’s Resolutions: Your Own, Personal Interactive Experience

New Year’s Resolutions are interactive experiences. They just happen to suck most of the time. As a designer of interactive experiences that gamify philosophy, chaos theory, self-growth, and paradigm shifts, I’ve been experimenting with New Year’s Resolutions and gamification for years.
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Pantser Mentality

I completed my first National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novel in 2010. Since then, I’ve written 50k words every November. This is the premise of NaNoWriMo: Writers all over the world commit to writing a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days, from November 1-November 30. This year, 2020, marks ten years that I’ve been committing to NaNoWriMo.
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What’s In a Name?

I’m often asked about the name IKantKoan. What does it mean? Where does it come from? Why, for heaven's sake, would someone choose a company name that is so hard to pronounce?
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