The Call to Adventure

I haven’t written anything in a long while. It’s not for lack of content; I’ve been stuck, grounded, and beached on my words. I’ve been in a sustained cycle of self-critique, dissembling


I write — my identity as a journalist, my cowardice as a wordsmith. I’m tired of being a tentative ink-slinger; I’m embarrassed of my ongoing censorship. So, a few weeks ago, I decided to carve out a new vocabulary of bravery, honesty, truth, and revelation.

And with this declaration set, I promptly stopped writing.

So what have I been doing the last few weeks? In terms of words, I’ve been thinking about my favorite authors, and their vulnerability on the page. Their transparency, their vitality. A good writer lets you in. And for various reasons, I’ve been withholding.

I don’t talk about drinking because my parents read my blog. I don’t talk about debt because of my Dad. I don’t talk about falling in love out of fear of hurting old flames.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I don’t want The Call To Adventure to be an emo trash heap. I’m not looking to introduce self-involved, high-school drama to my site. But since I’ve got the hubris to share my life, I might as well level out the self-aggrandizing with some emotional nudity.

That means if an anecdote involves getting hammered, my Mom’s going to have to suffer through my blossoming alcoholism. If a story includes my new boyfriend … then sorry, ladies. And, if it’s about a dashing and handsome guy I saw at Fornarina, then sorry, boyfriend.

Then again, if I ever see a really cute guy shopping at an all-girls-fashion-parlor, the dude is probably gay.

The point is, if I trudge through some fucking awful humiliating moment of come-uppance, I’m gonna post that, too. I’m hoping to find a better writer when I start peeling back my skin.


The last month has also been a fucking hurricane of comedy. I’ve been over-committed for so long that I’ve caught a nasty cold. Late nights and relentless stress have coagulated as thick, awful phlegm in my lungs.

Of course, Saturdays are still The Form at Ultimate Improv. We continue to drive at something our director J.D. can’t really define, but we’re slowly aligning to his vision. I believe I know what he’s going for, and I’m very excited to find the way there.

It’s sometimes frightening to pursue Art with J.D. Not because I don’t believe in his vision, but because I’m so confused by his personal choices. A few weeks ago, he cut ties with Dan Oster, a friend of mine and perennial defender of Ultimate Improv. I can’t fathom why it happened. I’m not tempted to leave the theater over it (and honestly, I don’t believe this is what Dan wants), but it casts a shadow over events at the space. And although I’m not worried about being cut from The Form, I don’t think Dan was scared, either.

With this in mind, I’ve been at Ultimate more in the last month than ever before. Not only are we smashing through this new longform, but I’m a part of a Musical going up at the space called United We Sing. I don’t know if I’ve been given clearance to talk about it, but I am very excited by the process, and the chance at Aspen. The tiny pitch is that it’s a musical on a hijacked plane. Not about a hijacked plane, on it.

I’m also finishing up work on Carnival Run By Horses, my two-person longform sketch show with Miles Stroth. For those who don’t know him, Miles is a standard of the Improv Olympic scene.

Miles was in the first show I saw more than ten years ago at I.O. Chicago, and he may have served me my first drink when I was 18. We’ve been writing a show all summer, and now we have an hour of continuous sketch — no blackouts, no dancing transitions, no music to switch scenes to. I play twenty-six characters in sixty minutes. The damn script is a bitch to memorize.

I’m quick to admit that Miles wrote more than half of it, and rewrote a lot of what I’ve submitted, but I don’t feel shut out of the show’s genesis. Fact is, I’m not going to argue much when he wants to work things a different way; he’s got a lot more experience than I.

That’s the poster I made for the show. (And it’s the first time I’ve bought the rights to a photo!) If you want to come check out the preview, which is being put up for an Aspen tape, drop by I.O. West at 7pm on the 25th of October. It’s free.


Finally, there’s news from My Life As A Videogames Journalist. The most recent issue of The Gamer’s Quarter came out a week or so ago; I beg you to check out my essay on Final Fantasy as a Religion, titled Faith and Fantasy. It’s not a quick read, but I’m satisfied with a few of the ideas in the piece.

Trivia: It will be the last time I refer to myself as gay in an article.

I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XII for the last month, for Play. I love the game completely; please check out that review in the October issue. I’ve never been so humbled by a game. It’s incredible. Hopefully, this doesn’t break my non-disclosure agreement.


Blogging personal events (and advertising shows) is not what I want to do with TCTA. I’m going to try, desperately, to bring more ideas to this space; to really write with words as opposed to using words to write about things. It’s a hard, frightening road ahead. But then again, that’s what a call to adventure is all about. I’ll try not to let such a long time pass in between posts, too. Not only am I ashamed at the intermission, but I feel like a pussy for taking so long to write anything. I promise, to the best of my ability, it will not happen again.