Wednesday, 16 March 2011

‘I never knew you wrote that much …’

Last weekend my wife and I spent most of Sunday helping my brother and sister-in-law begin the process of sorting out my father’s house. In amongst a load of bags that my wife found was one that contained quite a large collection of wargames publications. The collection had belonged to my mother(!) … but on closer inspection it became apparent what they were … they were all things that I had written.

I was very touched by this. I knew that my mother was quite proud of the fact that I had had various articles and books published, but I never knew that she had secretly acquired copies of her own. What also surprised me was how much I had written and forgotten about!

The collection included the following:
  • Computer Assisted Wargames (1984)
  • ‘Chaco’ (Miniature Wargames No. 13 – 1984)
  • Spanish Civil War Rules (Wargames Illustrated No. 13 – September 1988)
  • ‘Dardanelles’ Submarine Game (Wargames World No. 2 – Christmas 1988)
  • Arriba Espana! Wargames Rules (Partizan Press – 1989)
  • La Ultima Cruzada (Partizan Press – 1989)
  • Guadalcanal 1942 – Wargaming Midway (Osprey Campaign Series No. 18 – 1992)
  • La Ultima Cruzada [Revised edition] (Partizan Press – 1993)
  • Midway 1942 – Wargaming Midway (Osprey Campaign Series No. 30 – 1993)
  • Matrix Games (Wargames Illustrated No. 64 – January 1993)
  • The Balkan League Matrix Game (Wargames Illustrated No. 66 – March 1993)
  • ‘Save Gordon!’ Matrix Game (Wargames Illustrated No. 77 – February 1994)
  • The Balkan Wars Wargames Rules (Wargames Illustrated No. 78 – March 1994)
Not a bad haul … but it set me wondering … why did I stop writing for publication after 1994?

PS. The title of this blog entry is a quote from my wife. It is what she said after she had found the bag and just before she gave it to me.

14 comments:

  1. Hi Bob
    I had a similar experience when I helped to sort the belongings of my first wife's father , Geoff Futter. Geoff had written prolifically for military modelling etc - you may recall his afv camoflage series - for many years - and then just stopped. For obvious reasons I never had a chance to ask him why - but it remained a puzzle - so why did you stop? kind regards Ken

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  2. Bob,
    You still write a lot, but here on your blog and in the Nugget rather than in other publications.
    Perhaps you should think about publishing your blog as a book!

    Cheers
    Mike

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  3. Cherish that, Bob. You're a very lucky man.

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  4. Ken H,

    I certainly remember Geoff Futter's work. In fact, I think that I have some of his articles in my cuttings collection.

    Looking back, I think that I stopped writing for publication for a number of reasons:

    1. I had a long period of sickness that lasted over a year.

    2. It took some publishers a very, very long time to pay ... which is quite a disincentive to write for them.

    3. I began writing more and more for 'The Nugget'.

    4. Some of my work was plagiarised in the US, and this was also a disincentive.

    That said, looking along my bookshelves I have realised that over the past few years I have had more work published.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Mike,

    You are right ... I do still write quite a lot ... but not much of it reaches a wide audience.

    I have been thinking about putting a book together about grid-based war-games, and if I do, it will include some re-worked stuff from my blog.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. Conrad Kinch,

    It was a very touching reminder of my mother, and I intend to store the collection somewhere safe as a reminder of her.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. A wonderful find and a respectable body of work. I have a vague memory of some of the magazine articles but in those days I only rarely looked at the byline.

    Anyway, there should now be lots of time in the years ahead for book projects.
    -Ross Mac

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  8. Ross Mac,

    It was a surprise to see how much I had actually written.

    Over the past few years, John Curry (of the the History of Wargaming Project) has published books that I have either helped put together, written chapters for, or edited (the latter being the latest edition of Joseph Morschauser's book) ... so I am still doing my bit!

    I am seriously considering putting together a book about gridded wargames, but that will probably have to wait until I am properly retired.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. That's quite a list; it's a wonderful thing for your mother to have done.
    I always find your blog an interesting read and those publications show why that is so.
    I would definitely buy any book that you intend to write but a book about grid-based wargames would be of particular interest.

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  10. Paul,

    Many thanks for your kind words ... and if I ever get round to writing my book, I will expect you to buy a copy!

    Seriously, what was particularly touching was the fact that I did not know that my mother had created the collection. I will treasure that thought for the rest of my life.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. My mother insists on having a copy of all my published articles and wargames. It is touching, but I know she hasn't got the vaguest idea of what I'm on about; never has.

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  12. Itmurnau,

    I suspect my mother did not have much interest in what I actually wrote, but she was proud of the fact that I had written something.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. I can identify with

    2. It took some publishers a very, very long time to pay ... which is quite a disincentive to write for them.

    &

    4. Some of my work was plagiarised in the US, and this was also a disincentive.

    There was also the fact that I submitted articles and never heard if they were going to be published or not. You didnt know whether to send it to another publisher/ magazine or not, and the publishers held a dim view of that. just in case they wanted to publish it at a later date.

    I ended up writing a lot for The Hobilar to exercise my demons. And I don't regret that at all.

    Cheers
    Mark

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  14. Mark,

    From what I can gather from other comments that have been made to me in private emails about this topic, our experience is by no means unique.

    I don't know if things have improved since I stopped writing for magazines, but I am unwilling to find out ... as I don't want to be disappointed ... again.

    All the best,

    Bob

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