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*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

#30: Dead Time

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2017 issue.

I know there are those who think I live and breathe Traveller; that everything is Traveller related; that that’s all I do. Often they’re not far wrong. I’ve long been carefully collecting books and collating Traveller publications into my bibliography. I’m often scribbling down an idea, rolling up a character or detailing a world just for the fun of it. Or perhaps I’m taking a bit more time to put pen to paper and finger to keyboard to write an article or an adventure. More recently I’ve been preparing for refereeing at TravCon or my even newer lunchtime library or evening pub sessions.

Worse than that I can read something in a totally unrelated book, see something in a film or overhear a conversation on the bus and find it sparks an idea which begins “that would be great for Traveller…”. I try not to be obsessed but when I find myself relating some anecdote, adventure or excitement over a new book to my work colleagues or my aged father, I realize I’m probably headed that way.

But occasionally I find I’m on something of a hiatus. I realize I’ve not read anything, written anything or thought anything Traveller for quite a while. I mean a month or two, rather than a day or two. I’m just coming out of such a period now. It was brought on by a fairly intense work- (and pleasure-) related trip to the Czech Republic and a desire to learn something of the language before I left. This, together with the ongoing Chronic Fatigue, has meant that there has just been no spare physical or mental capacity for anything other than the job in hand. Even odd moments changing buses might be filled with learning yet another word of vocabulary, or a tea break might be spent testing out an idea for the presentation I delivered.

And then on return from the ten days abroad – in which any sense of pacing myself as I’m supposed to had completely gone out the okno – utter exhaustion set in and I essentially collapsed. Often sleeping, sometimes just sitting unable to process anything. The ‘payback’ those with CFS will know all too well was much worse than I expected and lasted a couple of weeks rather than the couple of days I’d hoped.

The couple of months ‘apart’ from Traveller have been a good break. Although it felt like dead time, I’m pretty sure it’s healthy for the mind. I’m also sure ideas have been stewing in a back part of my brain somewhere. They’ll emerge when they’re ready. One incident from my travels was tailor-made for a scene in an adventure and will no doubt be inflicted on my players at some point. Even better, I’ve got a fresh enthusiasm for picking up some of the old projects I’ve started but haven’t made much headway on recently. Energy levels are still an issue, but perhaps I should schedule a more formal break like that more often.