03) Describing the Dream « Tidepool News

In the last four weeks, I’ve pushed myself to describe a dream.  First with the business plan, detailing not only what we want to do, but why and how as well.  Writing those fourteen pages was difficult, requiring an unusual amount of stare-at-the-ceiling time and long thoughtful baths.  The writing itself was equally slow.  I averaged something like a paragraph an hour, with breaks every few hours.  It was tough going.

Each morning I read the whole thing aloud.  My enthusiasm increased as the document took shape.  I knew the writing was taking too much time, time I didn’t have, but I allowed things to unfold anyway, reverent of the ineffable source of thoughts not fully my own.  After two weeks, I sent the plan to my list of 84 conspirators, quite unsure of myself and fearing their reactions. Though the document was likely the best I’d written, I still felt the usual panic as I clicked Send.  Such a brazen thing to say, “Listen to me,” never mind “Believe in me” too.

When the first few positive reactions came in, I was thrilled. People that knew more about startups and business plans than me were saying “Good job.”   The few that read the whole thing seemed enthusiastic and ready for more.  Even my wife, who had a dim view of the whole enterprise, began to get excited.  As I read her passages from the plan, she kept asking questions, at last feeling hope enough to quell her financial fears.

Exhausted from writing, I took a few snow days off with Paula and Isabel, introducing them to Minecraft for the first time.  I’d bought it years ago, but never spent more than ten minutes playing it.  Knowing that Tidepool would have the same kind of open-ended creative nature, I figured it was a good time to get the girls doing “research.”    Two days turned into five as the three of us became enthralled with our creations.  Watching eight-year-old Isabel use Minecraft was especially inspiring.  I’ve been talking about sustained creative engagement for years.  To see my own daughter glued to the screen, narrating her thought process continually … I was thrilled.

Since then, I’ve been finishing the website and trailer, both more concise versions of the plan.  While I’m quite familiar with making websites, the trailer has been a real trip, requiring hours upon hours of counting Flash frames and fixing little details.  A few days ago, I decided to include 90 seconds of actual 3D gameplay, which has me learning Sketchup and Blender for the first time, which is a non-trivial detour, let me tell you.

Yes, I’m spending time I don’t have.  Not a day goes by without feeling the ever present creative juxtaposition  of “this is taking too long” and “just one more thing.”  For now at least, I’m letting my artist side win out over my manager side, though as principal software development resumes, this will change.

What can I say?  Seeing the first rendering of 2D Isabel sketches within a 3D explorable terrain was just too cool.  If Minecraft has taught me anything, it’s that designing the overall look of Tidepool is paramount.  Creating it now with my wife and daughter is about the coolest thing I’ve ever done.

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