a new book that’s a bit different for me

After a couple years off, I’m returning to publishing this week. Not to my job; I’m still somewhat unsure about going off my leave of absence. But I have been writing a lot, and this week, I’m putting out a new book for preorder. It’s called Mindspaces. It’s part of a big charity thing I helped put together. If you’re interested in hearing more about it, please read on.

Mindspaces is a book of puzzles I made in therapy. The puzzles are of the “marching bands” type of crossword, a particular variety that has a deep soothing effect on me. I made over 100 of them in my time in therapy. I hadn’t planned on doing anything public with them. But eventually, with encouragement from those close to me, I decided to share them. I’ve put them in a book which I think some people reading this will enjoy.

Those puzzles needed context. As I put the puzzles together, I also wrote a series of essays on how to be creative even when your brain is telling you that you can’t. I’ve been dealing with that a lot and … well, I get through it most of the time. It isn’t always easy. I use a particular method I call “mindspaces.” It’s about flooding my mind with the difficulty of creating art, amping the challenge to meet the challenges I deal with. I think it’s possibly useful to others who struggle with creativity under pressure. So, I wrote it down in a thematic, somewhat puzzly form.

I don’t want to make money off puzzles I made for therapeutic reasons. So, I’ve partnered with my friends at Lone Shark to do a pay-what-you-want presale, where all my proceeds for the presale — that is, everything that doesn’t go to making and shipping the book — will go to Game to Grow, a Seattle charity that uses games of all kinds for therapeutic, educational, and community growth. I really love these folks, and hope I can persuade some of you nice people to help me help them.

At the same time, Lone Shark is launching a Game Design and Puzzlecraft Humble Bundle, which I helped curate. In the bundle, you can get the Mindspaces PDF and more than 20 other great game and puzzle design books from me and my friends.

I’ve released a lot of books and games over the years, but I’ve never done anything this personal. I thought about keeping all this to myself, which would’ve been the easy thing. But I think it can be helpful for some folks, entertaining for others, and maybe both for some more. And it can raise money for some great charities. So, I’m giving it my best shot. Let’s see how it goes.

I didn’t do this alone. I’ve had some great friends help me throughout this process. I won’t embarrass them here, but they can all be found on the credits page. I owe them a lot.

If this interests you, please take a look at lonesharkgames.com/mindspaces and the Humble Bundle. Regardless, I appreciate your kindness in reading these words.