Dragonlance: Leap of Faith

CompanionsAfter being offered a job by TSR in February 1982, the most difficult part was saying yes. I had lived most of my life in Utah, had met my wife there, and our then two children had been born there. While it was true that as a missionary had traveled to the far side of the world nevertheless this was home for me.

My parents called me on the neighbor’s phone since, by that time, ours had been disconnected. My father advised me not take the job. In retrospect, he had good reasons for this advice. I had hardly been a paragon of traditional good judgment. I had started college at Brigham Young University only to drop out again after two semesters in order to support my young family. I was a dreamer with grand ideas but was short in the way of workable plans. I had, in fact, used a portion of my student loan money to purchase the newly released Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules books. While I would later argue that that was the best use that money had been put to nevertheless, considering my situation of the time, one could hardly call it ‘good judgment.’ I had worked as a movie projectionist and the theater manager,  neither of which employment offered any real possibility of advancement or growth. That I had left my job at the theater in Logan, Utah to pursue the dream of a networked arcade game only to fall prey to conmen, was not an indication of improved judgment. In retrospect, if I had been in my father’s place, I would have given me the same advice.

He asked me not to take the job. Moving across the country to make games sounded, to him, like another dead-end. My little family and, of course, his grandchildren would be very far away and it would be difficult if not impossible for him to help us if we got in trouble.

He offered me an option. He knew the manager of the local Sizzler and was sure he could get me a job there as a cook. I was welcome to bring my family into his home and we could live in his basement until we got our feet under us. It was a sensible and reasonable plan.

As I hung on my neighbors receiver, I saw two futures before me. I could be a cook or a game designer. I could give up or keep fighting.

And that was when I told my father that I had to try.

We packed up our belongings, meager as they were, into the moving van paid for by TSR Inc. then we drove down to Orem, Utah. My loving parents had made the 10 hour drive from Flagstaff, Arizona to spend some time with us and show their support before we began our journey east.

Little did any of us know that it would be on that trip across the great American Plains that the name ‘Dragonlance’ would be forged and the seeds planted of the world that would become Krynn.

Years later, when I flew my family from Wisconsin back to Arizona for the holidays, my father and I were driving somewhere in Flagstaff on an errand. That was when he told me how proud he was that I had not followed his advice but had stood up and made a life for myself. I hope he knows that I stood up that day because that was who he had raised me to be.

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