In high school and college, I was not so nerdy. I went to one of those high schools that aren’t private, but you did have to test into them and most kids were in a particular kind of program. Specifically, I was in a writing program. But there were also science programs and an agriculture program. Yes, I went to high school in New York City, and I don’t suppose there are very many other high schools in the five boroughs that have a chapter of the Future Farmers of America. I also can’t imagine how many people who graduated that school actually became some sort of farmer. But I digress.
In college, I had a good time–possibly too good a time. But after three different colleges and more than that many drop-outs on my part, I finally graduated with a Bachelor degree in Literature and Communications. And all through my high school and college years, I had never once played a role-playing game (hencefoth, RPG) or read a comic book. Looking back, other than reading the very occasional science fiction or fantasy novel required for class, I’m not even sure if I participated in any activities that were particularly nerdy.
What changed everything? Both strangely and sadly enough, it was the death of my mother, which happened almost ten years ago. My mom and I were really close, and I became very depressed after her somewhat sudden death. However, at the same time I had to deal with my father’s depression and other ensuing family issues. It was all terribly overwhelming.
A good friend of mine suggested I needed something to take my mind of off the situation. What did she suggest? Not drugs, booze, knitting, or whathaveyou, but watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While I had heard of the show before, I thought only mildly insane people watched it. But my friend lent me all of seasons one through five (season six was airing at the time), and I got through them fairly quickly, watching a few episodes a night.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer quickly became my gateway drug to nerdiness. I loved the show so much, that my friend then suggested we play the Buffy Role-Playing Game. Now, when my friend had mentioned RPGs in the past, I had thought they were just for losers who never got invited to the good parties. Nevertheless, I agreed to play. Since it was my first time, my friends and I all took the parts of characters from the show. I remember I played Anya, and had fun using her quotes from the show and imitating her mannerisms.
When that game was done, my friend suggested we start a regular Buffy RPG twice a month, making our own unique characters. I was a little nervous, since prior to that day I’m not even sure I had rolled a single die before. But it seemed like something I could devote a lot of time and energy to and take my mind off my personal problems, so I agreed. I think we played for three sessions before I started gushing about how awesome gaming was, and my friend said, “If you think I’m good at running a game, you should meet the guy who runs my Mage game.”
That guy, as it turned out, became my husband a very short time later, and in addition to being the love of my life, he was the person responsible of introducing me to more nerdlier pursuits than I can name. Here is a short list of nerdy things: video games, tabletop RPGs, live-action RPGs, board games, card games, nerd-themed conventions, and of course, fantasy novels.
After having wanted to write a book since I was about five years old and reading a smattering of vampire-related fiction, the only natural course of action for me was to write my very own series of vampire novels. And since I’ve started to play RPGs, I will occasionally think, “This book reads like an amazing RPG that I would love to play in!”
So when a friend of mine said that very thing about my book, I was immensely pleased and flattered. And I no longer think nerds are people who don’t get invited to the cool parties.