There are times when I learn that part of myself is still incredibly naive. I quit messing with code when DOS went out of style. I could do very interesting things with DOS and Basic. I fell out of the loop when I decided to just write, since that was the only thing I felt I knew sufficiently how to do.

Back in late 05, Joel convinced me to try doing a MUD. I had no idea how to do it. In fact, I had never played one. I had a vague idea of what they were because my daughter used to play them. He convinced me that he was an expert. Joel said there would be lots of help and I would not have to do a lot of it. I had a lot of deadlines and at the time, I was also doing freelance editing, and writing to deadlines, and reading slush for a literary agency. The idea of adding one more thing onto my work list was more than I wanted to contemplate.

Joel claimed to be a writer and that he had participated for years at, which was run by Andrew Burt.

I have always been attracted to spiky people. Blunt honesty pleased me because my soft-spoken mother had always been such a treacherous bitch.

Once I committed myself to the MUD, Joel would try to explain things to me in a jargon laden way that would leave me unable to fully understand what he was saying. I would offer a metaphor to him to see if I understood it and he would go ballistic, then he would calm down and say “I forget you’re not a tech.”

I accepted that. I was no longer confident in myself with code. I figured that so many years had passed and times and code had changed since the days of DOS that he had to be right and I had to be wrong. We were using Coffeemud. Help never materialized. I ended up designing the city and its environs, room after room, by myself with little or no help from Joel.

Creating the rooms was pleasant and simple. I started visualizing Merkreth’s Crossing in far greater detail than I had before.

When I would get angry at Joel for the way he spoke to me, and throw a fit, Joel’s wife would intercede and I would take Joel back again, and once more get started on the project. I was going through a period of burnout with my writing and I needed to drop things that were taking up a lot of my time. I dropped the agency work.

Now, Joel was not doing this for free. I was paying him. I was also paying for all the hosting and whatever Joel said we needed. The MUD started locking up. Joel said we needed a dedicated server, at a cost of $70 a month. I got it for him.

When I finally dumped the MUD, I asked Joel for a copy of the MUD to store on my hard drive. I wanted to retrieve my descriptions and such from it. He sent me that copy, but informed me that I would have to learn mysql to open it. Whatever software was the creator of the document I could not open it. I let it sit until arecently when I broke it open with a hex editor.

I saved it. but why couldn’t he have done it in a form I could access?