When I was young, I wanted to be a writer. I wrote homemade “books” that I illustrated in crayon and stapled together. I took creative writing classes and went to Young Authors conferences. In college, I took years of poetry classes and kept journals. But I also wanted to be an architect, a singer-songwriter, a sociologist, an actress, an artist, and in my spare time, Indiana Jones.
My energies were divided.
I ended up getting my PhD in Sociology. For years, most of my writing involved book chapters, research reports, grant proposals, and copious notes on students’ papers. But I still got to be Indiana Jones in my spare time. Sort of.
Off and on since my twenties, I’ve enjoyed playing tabletop role-playing games (what RPG used to mean). Yes, Dungeons and Dragons, but also GURPs, Champions, and whatever new thing the GM (game master) wanted to play with that week. For many years, I played the role of GM. I applied my background as a sociologist, training in economics, and interests in Medieval history and religion to create a “home brew” world to set our adventures in.
That world was Eneana.
I spent years revising rules, figuring out how magic actually worked, and developing distinct cultures with their own histories, religions, norms, and customs. Eventually, sadly, the gaming group dispersed. But I kept poking my head back into those hundreds of pages of notes, periodically adding to them whenever I’d hear about an interesting burial rite or social norm that piqued my interest.
As long as we’d been gaming, I had an excuse to go play in my fictional world. Afterward? Not so much. Picture it:
“What have you been up to lately?”
“Oh, I spent all weekend wrestling with this nagging internal contradiction in the structure of an imaginary religious organization in a fictional world.”
Yeah, it was starting to sound less like a hobby and more like a psychosis.
I wanted a socially acceptable way to talk about my make-believe world, to share it with others. I wanted to “do something” with it. So I started writing stories.
At first I focused on the stories that people who lived in Eneana would know. Myths and legends and fairytales—Eneana’s version of the Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Adam and Eve, Little Red Riding Hood, Siddhartha, and King Arthur. Everything from the origin stories of the great religions to the folk songs behind the images painted on tavern signs. Lately I’ve been adding more stories about everyday people who live in this world, too. (Although some of them turn out to be the sources for later legends—surprise!)
For months I told friends that the plan was to put the stories on a blog and share them. (Example party conversation: Them: “You’re writing stories? What are you going to do with them?” Me: “I’m going to put them on a blog.”) See? Totally reasonable adult behavior: I had A Plan.
It took about a year to actually bring that plan to fruition. At the end of June 2015, I got my baby blog up and running and posted my first story. It felt great! I was officially doing something with Eneana, hooray! I’m no longer a weirdo spending all my free time thinking about things that have essentially no impact on the real world, because now I… have a blog. Gee, seeing it written down like that, it doesn’t look that much better, does it? Hm.
Fine, I’ll admit it. I spend a ridiculous amount of time in a make-believe world. But hey, it’s my make-believe world, and I like it there. And now that I have this blog, you can come keep me company!
I wish I had a map of the world to show you, or even a decent timeline. I do have drafts of each, but the more details I work out, the more logical inconsistencies I notice. (For instance, “Wait, that river can’t go uphill!” and “Why would anyone migrate through the desert when there’s a perfectly lovely coast right there?” Sigh.) I’m hoping to produce a map sometime soon. It’s my new Plan. But you see how long that last plan to start a blog took, so I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. Instead, I’d go check out the pages About Eneana and Major Societies, which include lots of cheater information about the people and places mentioned in these stories.
I hope that each of these stories holds up well enough on its own. But I also hope that if you read more of them, you will enjoy them even more, as you start seeing the links that tie them all together.
By the way, the photo I use for my thumbnail is a woodblock engraving my mother did of me, from a photo taken a long time ago, I think when I was home visiting from college.
© Sylvia Pixley
This is what I look like in color, a couple decades later: