My name is Gregory M. Rapp, and I am a college instructor at Clovis Community College in Clovis, New Mexico, where I teach English composition, English literature, creative writing, political science, and whatever else they throw my way. Before I was hired on as a full-time college instructor, I earned degrees in history (B.A., Eastern New Mexico University), political science (B.S., Eastern New Mexico University), English (M.A., Eastern New Mexico University), and creative writing (M.F.A., Southern New Hampshire University). I also studied, quite extensively, graduate-level history and political science at Western New Mexico University. You could say I've been a professional student, but that would be a lie. I've always been a terrible student, someone who daydreams, reads books that aren't assigned (especially when I should be doing something else entirely), and writes, everything from Web serials to novels to blog postings.
In 2020, I struggled to get my fiction writing off the ground. I took most of 2020 to explore what I really wanted to write, and, more importantly, what I hoped to accomplish with my writing. Ironically, I discovered that I have a talent (of a sort) in writing, but I am more inclined to write nonfiction, especially in a narrative form. This got me thinking, “Should I just make the switch over to nonfiction? Should I abandon fiction altogether?” Those questions were a good deal more complicated. My M.F.A. in creative writing focused solely on fiction writing, particularly speculative fiction, with a heavy emphasis in science-fiction. While I love science-fiction, I have discovered my passions for writing exist in a realm where my previous creative writing endeavors, i.e., narratives, and research, reflection, and explication and analysis come together.
After coming to this realization, I began mulling over the focus for a project I knew I had to get started before 2020 completely vanished. Archimedes' Death Ray came to life like any small fire does: Sparks and smoke at first before roaring, crackling flames. My interests over the last fifteen years have moved around quite a bit. I finished high school thinking I was going to start a career in IT. Later, after taking a Western Civilization history course, I decided to pursue history seriously as a student. When I graduated with my history degree, the economy in New Mexico was trash, and I decided to forego the job market and hopped back into school, taking classes in political science and finishing my second degree. Political science combined my love of history with my love of economics, politics, culture, and the social world human beings create, live within, and perpetuate. By the time I finished, the economy had gotten a bit better, but I decided graduate school was my smartest move, giving me an opportunity to study English literature with geniuses like Dr. Amanda Gerber and Dr. Edward Avila. Their work inspired a lot of what will be published on this blog. Graduate school allowed me to read wide and deep, ignoring the usual forced specialization. I wrote a creative thesis, From Behind the Eight-Ball, under the guidance of Stefan Kiesbye, author of Berlingeles, which didn't accomplish much, aside from endless frustration and a real appreciation for those who write about economics, technology, and cryptography.
Upon graduation from graduate school, I sought out a break from academic studies and began looking for steady employment, which came in the form of adjunct work at Clovis Community College and Eastern New Mexico University. As I struggled to make sense of employment in academia, I decided to take classes at Western New Mexico University, in order to see if I wanted to pursue further studies in history or political science. While there, I met Dr. Allison Evans, a wonderful scholar and a brilliant mind, who introduced me to the complexities of collective action, collective behaviors, Game Theory, post-Communist transitions, and the like. I also worked closely with Dr. John LaValle, a German military historian, who was notorious for his long book lists, which we thoroughly read and dissected over the course of each semester. After exploring history and political science at the graduate level, I decided to pursue a graduate program that would allow me to focus on bettering my writing and (hopefully) tackle the novel I always wanted to write.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) offered such a graduate program, but I finished with little sanctification in what I had written for my creative writing thesis. I finished my coursework in June 2020, feeling like I had been following a dead end when it came to my writing aspirations. COVID-19 didn't help matters. My job went completely online, which pulled me away from my writing. My Web serial, A Protracted Game, came to an end, but not like I wanted it to: It was delayed numerous times before I decided to place it on hiatus permanently. By this time, summer 2020, I had begun experimenting with blogging, focusing on gaming, game culture, and play, under the title, Homo Ludens in Mirrorshades. My new blog, which deployed in May/June 2020, Back to the Holodeck, absorbed the experimental blog and housed my Medium writings published between 2019–2020, but I wasn't fully satisfied with its real lack of focus and its lack of depth.
I discovered Digital Antiquarian (and its companion Wesbite: Analog Antiquarian) around August/September 2020, and it felt like a lightning bolt ripping through my writer's brain. It was entertaining, well-researched, well-written, and (fairly) evergreen when it came to its content. Maher's Digital Antiquarian helped me ignore the dominance of short-form blog content. It showed me that long-form had a place on the Internet, despite evidence to the contrary.
With financial and mental health matters yoyoing between highs and lows in 2020 and early 2021, I began looking into the Write.as blogging platform to handle all of my blogging needs and to get away from the unnecessary garbage that now fills up the time when one tries to blog semi-professionally and professionally. My first major Write.as blog, Archimedes' Death Ray, has mainly focused on culture, human experience, etc., with plenty of asides in areas like gaming, game culture, history, and so on. To avoid Archimedes' Death Ray from becoming a random mess, I have developed The Parliament o' Fowls to cover my interests in medieval history, the global Middle Ages, and so on. Homo Ludens in Mirrorshades has been revamped and brought back to life on Write.as, so I could focus on gaming, gameplay, play, games, and play in culture without Archimedes' Death Ray losing its focus on human experience.
While I understand if people are immediately put off by someone who has failed miserably at blogging, I hope all of you return for my first blog post, a sort of prologue to the exploration I hope to tackle here.