Josh Corey, blogs on poetry, but lately has also been doing a little blogging about playing D&D (that’s Dungeons & Dragons, kids) again with some friends. I too recently started playing again with some friends.
Today he put up an interesting reply to a reader who questions why he doesn’t write fiction instead of gaming, since role-playing games (like D&D) are so narrative. I quote part of his reply:
…Writing a poem gets me closer to the originary experience of reading fantasy novels—the discovery of a dream-landscape where I felt I belonged—than reading such novels does now. Also, there’s the sheer fussiness of D&D and its epigones—hit dice, THACO, alignments—and those constraints are perhaps akin to those we impose on ourselves in poems, the better to free the imagination. And the whole game happens in language—it’s distinctly un-visual, except in the sense that radio is a visual medium—so maybe it’s natural that my attention would be more captivated by the language’s powers of transport rather than any particular story. Also, the collectivity of gaming, which means that no one, not even the DM, has total control over what’s going to happen, imitates the processes of the unconscious and surrender of intent that I find intrinsic to the best poetry.
Go check out the rest.
It’s also interesting to note his bit about the “constraints” of game play (the rules) and it’s relation to poetic constraints and freeing the imagination. That’s pretty much one of the main ideas behind literary constraint, the opening up of new vistas of imagination.