Gygax Memorial Fund & Book
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  1. #1

    A "Drizzit" Type-Thing (Lvl 28)

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    Gygax Memorial Fund & Book

    I've just received an update on the progress of the Gary Gygax memorial fund and book, a project organized by Gary Gygax's widow, Gail Gygax [Edit - just to clarify after some questions: the below is a quote; the "I" is Tavis Allison who handles the PR for the fund, not me].
    Fellow beneficiaries of Gary Gygax's inspiration and legacy,

    On Gary's birthday this July 27th, I'd like your help publicizing the Gygax Memorial Fund and its goal of building a monument in his honor.

    The Fund has achieved its initial goals to incorporate as a 501(c)3 nonprofit and petition Gary's hometown of Lake Geneva, WI to grant parkland for the memorial - the first time the town council has ever approved plans to construct a statue of one of its residents. Although three years have gone by since Gary's passing, his memory is still very much alive. Recent news coverage of the Fund's successes to date, including a story in Slashdot, resulted in hundreds of thousands of unique visitors to [the fund website].

    The Gygax Memorial Fund's next step will be to exhibit at Gen Con, the convention Gary began, this August 4th-7th. At the Old School Renaissance Group booth (#1541), Gail Gygax will be talking about conversations she had with her husband before his death about how he wanted to be remembered, the resulting vision for the statue, and the goals of the Memorial Fund. Gail will also be presenting the ENnie Awards on Friday night.

    At the booth, we'll be taking contributions and offering donor rewards including T-shirts with the Gygax Memorial logo - Argent, a Bar Azure, Three Lozenges Gules - and a book called "Cheers, Gary" which selects the best of his correspondence with fans at the EN World Q&A threads. Editor Paul Hughes will also be at the booth with Gail signing copies of "Cheers, Gary" and discussing plans for another volume based on the Dragonsfoot Q&A.

    If that goes well, we'll be poised to launch a Kickstarter effort in support of the Lake Geneva statue. As someone who raises money for a non-profit hospital as my day job and is doing a successful OSR Kickstarter in my spare time, I think there is real potential for the Fund to achieve the $500K goal for this campaign through crowdfunding alone. This would be the most ambitious Kickstarter goal in history, but it's not unprecedented and if Gary doesn't have ten times the dedication that Robocop does I'll eat my dice bag.

    To help continue the Fund's momentum, and in recognition of everything Gary meant to us, I'm asking for your assistance in getting the word out about our efforts. Many of you will already be marking the occasion of Gary's birthday by posting to your blogs, social networks, and communities. Adding a mention of the Fund's booth number, #1541, or website, would mean a lot to us.

    If you'd like to do more in-depth coverage, I've attached the Memorial Fund logo; the introduction to "Cheers, Gary" which contains more information about the project; and the Erol Otus illustration which will be used for the book's cover. (Both this and the EN World posts are re-used with permission). I will also be glad to answer questions, provide links, and arrange interviews with Gail, Paul, and myself either at Gen Con, via email, or on the phone/Skype. I'll also be glad to talk about opportunities to make tax-deductible contributions of goods and services to the Fund, and explore ways to do cross-promotion with others who are building on Gary's pioneering work.
    The book, Cheers Gary, which compiles the best of Gary's half-million words on the EN World Q&A threads, will be available at Gen Con.
    The Gary Gygax Q&A began as an hour-long chat session on enworld.org. And with pretty much anyone but Gary, that's where it would have ended.

    Starting August 30, 2002, ENWorlders posted questions to a "Q&A with Gary Gygax" message board thread. The plan was that a moderator would ask Gary the very best questions during a Sept. 4 chat. The problem was, Gary couldn't wait. On Sept. 3, he started answering the questions--all the questions. And he didn't stop after the chat, either.

    Gary Gygax imposed upon himself the goal of answering every question asked of him (and there were a lot of questions), and acknowledging every thank you (and there were a lot of thanks). And so the Q&A grew. It ended up spanning 13 threads, 600 pages, 9000 posts (a third of them by Gary), 1,000,000 words (half of them by Gary), and six years. Gary's last post was on February 21, 2008, two weeks before he died.

    To put Gary's 500,000 words into perspective, that's about the same word count as War and Peace. What did he do in those half-a-million words? Besides patiently answering hundreds of (often repetitive) D&D questions, Gary shared anecdotes, puns, barbs, his love of Camel cigarettes and Bombay Sapphire gin, gloomy commentary on the Chicago Bears, and, most of all, good fellowship. He routinely offered his hospitality and a seat at his game table to anyone who could make it to Lake Geneva--and he meant it, too. He joined in edition wars. He told stories of how his beloved PC Mordenkainen subdued a couple of red dragons.

    Sure, it's not Tolstoy. But on the other hand, I've read the Q&A threads, and I've still never finished War and Peace.

    Most of us are best acquainted with Gygax through the D&D rulebooks. He never got around to writing an autobiography, and most of us never managed to make it down to Lake Geneva. This Q&A is the closest thing we'll ever get to hanging out with him. And you know what? It's not a bad substitute. Here, in Gary's relaxed chatting with other fans, we can find a portrait of a talented, likeable guy--by turns brilliant, crabby, funny, inspired, regretful, generous--someone who I would have liked to know, and who'd have given me a chance, as well.

    Gary said repeatedly that he was just another gamer, and he meant it. He wanted nothing more than to talk to other gamers, and to talk (or quarrel, or joke) on an equal footing. He insisted that people call him Gary, not Mr. Gygax. Most posts were ended with an informal closing: "Cheerio", "Heh", "Ciao", various smileys, or, most often, "Cheers, Gary."

    I never posted to the Q&A threads. I started reading them sometime in the mid-2000s, but I didn't want to waste Gary's time by repeating a question, and I never managed to work my way through the hundreds of old pages to see what had been asked. I could have, as so many other ENWorld posters did, just said "Hi", or "Thank you", and Gary would have given me a gracious acknowledgement. I never did, though.

    Over the years, I've thought of lots of questions I'd like to ask. I even compiled all of Gary's Q&A posts onto one page, so I could find the answers more easily, without having to Control-F through 600 ENWorld pages. If I have any outstanding questions left unanswered, it's too late for me to ask them. It's not too late, though, to say what I could have said when he was alive: "Hi, Gary. Thanks for the game."

    And, since Gary enjoyed a fine cocktail, let me lift a Bombay Sapphire martini and propose a toast: "To Gary. Cheers."
    Paul Hughes
    August 2011



    I could hear Gary speaking as I read over his ENWorld thread. He certainly enjoyed the many questions and participating in lively debates. I could hear the keyboard clicking away! I hope this book brings as much enjoyment to the reader as he received from corresponding with all of you, his fellow gamers.
    Gail Gygax
    August 2011.


    EDITOR'S NOTE
    Over the course of the Q&A threads, Gary patiently answered the same questions many times. I've tried to include representative questions and answers. In places, I have cut and edited questions and answers, for brevity and to make out-of-context selections less confusing.

    If you want to see the full posts with context, you can read the original ENWorld threads starting [here], or my Gyax-posts only version [here].

    Besides selecting and editing posts, I have fixed some obvious fat-finger typos, while leaving grammatical errors and typos that elicited comments from other posters. I believe that it would be a mistake to edit a message board thread to print standards.

    I've also replaced ENWorld smiley graphics with text emoticons.

    My thanks to Gail Gygax and Tavis Allison, who suggested this book, and to all the ENWorld posters who took part in this fascinating conversation, especially those whose questions appear in this book: A'koss, Aeolius, AGFlynn, airwalker, airwalkrr, Akrasia, alleynbard, Alzrius, Anabstercorian, andargor, angrypossum, Anson Caralya, Arravis, Astragoth, Barak, barsoomcore, belegost, Bendris Noulg, BigBastard, BigFreekinGoblinoid, blackshirt5, Bloodstone Press, bolen, BOZ, Brace Cormaeril, Branduil, Bregh, Bulldogc, Chaos Sword, cimerians, Clangador, Clay_More, ColonelHardisson, CombatWombat51, coz, CrazyMage, Dannyalcatraz, Dark Psion, dcas, dead, Deogolf, dmprata, Dogbrain, Doug McCrae, Draco Argentum, Duorin III, Edena_of_Neith, edgewater:, edgewaters, Endur, Eternalknight, EvilPheemy, EyeforanEye2, fairylover, Ferox4, Flexor the Mighty!, Fool, Fourecks, francisca, Frank Mentzer, Garnfellow, Gearjammer, Gentlegamer, Geoffrey, gideon_thorne, Gray Mouser, Griffith Dragonlake, grodog, Gutboy Barrelhouse, haakon1, Hadit, Harlock, Helspar, Henry, Hikaru, Hypersmurf, increment, Inzae, JamesM, jasper, jayaint, JDM, Jdvn1, Jehosephat, jester47, Jhulae, Jodjod, Joe123, Joel of the FoS, John Drake, JohnRTroy, johnsemlak, jokamachi, JRRNeiklot, Jupp, KaosDevice, Kapture, Kershek, Khan the Warlord, King_Stannis, Korgoth, Krieg, Larcen, Levi Kornelsen, Maliki, Manzanita, MarauderX, Maraxle, mark_j, mattcolville, Melan, MerricB, mistere29, Moggthegob, Mortaneus, MrFilthyIke, Mycanid, mythusmage, Nagora, Naidim, Napftor, Nathan P. Mahney, Neo, nerfherder, O Brasileiro, oldschooler, Omand, Omegaz, optimizer, Ourph, PapersAndPaychecks, Patryn of Elvenshae, PowerWordDumb, Quasqueton, Ranes, Raven Crowking, RedFox, Redwald, Remathilis, RFisher, rgard, robertsconley, Roland Delacroix, rossik, roytheodd, S'mon, scadgrad, ScottyG, Seeten, shouit, Silver Moon, Sir Edgar, Sir Elton, Skarp Hedin, sluggo the sleazebag, solomanii, Spell, SpiderMonkey, Steverooo, Storm Raven, StupidSmurf, SuStel, sword-dancer, T. Foster, Talath, taliesin15, Teedoff101, TerraDave, terrainmonkey, Tewligan, Thanee, the black knight, thedungeondelver, thegolem, The Shaman, The_Gneech, Treebore, Ulrick, Upper_Krust, Virel, Voadam, Vocenoctum, weasel fierce, Whitey, William Ronald, Wolv0rine, Xyanthon, zakon, Zarthon, Zudrak.

    And finally, thanks again to Gary Gygax for inventing my favorite hobby.
    Last edited by Morrus; Tuesday, 26th July, 2011 at 03:55 PM.

  2. #2

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

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    The book will be available outside the con at some point, yes?

  3. #3

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    i hope the book will be fo sale outside the con (and also hope for international shipping :O

  4. #4

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    Yes, we definitely plan to make it available outside the con, and hopefully the shipping to rossik won't be too outrageous (or we find overseas distribution)! Here's the plan:

    Cheers, Gary will be printed in a limited softcover edition of 200 copies, signed by Gail Gygax and Paul Hughes (who each contributed an introduction to the book) at Gen Con 2011. These will be available to everyone who makes a donation of $30 or more at the Old School Renaissance Group booth #1541 and, if copies remain, through Home. After this print run, we plan to do a hardcover edition of "Cheers, Gary" and also a similar collection of his Dragonsfoot Q&A threads. These will be available through the Gygax Memorial website and at conventions and fundraiser events throughout the year.
    I'm the "I" who will be happy to answer questions - you can reach me at tavis@gygaxmemorialfund.com. When I sent out that email I hadn't written it as a press release (which is foolish because what else is a message you send to people asking them to share it with others) so it's got more "I" in it than I'd intended - thanks for passing it on, Morrus, and I'm glad that people's enthusiasm for this will ride right over having a butterfingered PR guy supporting it.

  5. #5

    Gallant (Lvl 3)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tav_Behemoth View Post
    Yes, we definitely plan to make it available outside the con, and hopefully the shipping to rossik won't be too outrageous (or we find overseas distribution)! Here's the plan:



    I'm the "I" who will be happy to answer questions - you can reach me at tavis@gygaxmemorialfund.com. When I sent out that email I hadn't written it as a press release (which is foolish because what else is a message you send to people asking them to share it with others) so it's got more "I" in it than I'd intended - thanks for passing it on, Morrus, and I'm glad that people's enthusiasm for this will ride right over having a butterfingered PR guy supporting it.
    thanks for the answer, friend

    i've already posted this at my blog (too bad its a bit expensive to travel from brazil to EUA

    wish all the best for the project and for the memorial fund!

  6. #6

    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)

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    Fantastic. When the store goes live on the website, you can count on a shirt and a book sale from me.

  7. #7

    Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    Manzanita, MarauderX, Maraxle, mark_j, mattcolville, Melan, MerricB, mistere29, Moggthegob, Mortaneus, MrFilthyIke, Mycanid, mythusmage, Nagora, Naidim, Napftor, Nathan P. Mahney, Neo, nerfherder, O Brasileiro, oldschooler, Omand, Omegaz, optimizer, Ourph, PapersAndPaychecks,...
    I was super excited to see my questions to Gary had even a tiny impact on raising funds for the memorial. Besides buying a copy of this book after GenCon (cos I can't make it) it's the next best way to know I helped, even a wee bit.

  8. #8

    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tav_Behemoth View Post
    Yes, we definitely plan to make it available outside the con, and hopefully the shipping to rossik won't be too outrageous (or we find overseas distribution)! Here's the plan:



    I'm the "I" who will be happy to answer questions - you can reach me at tavis@gygaxmemorialfund.com. When I sent out that email I hadn't written it as a press release (which is foolish because what else is a message you send to people asking them to share it with others) so it's got more "I" in it than I'd intended - thanks for passing it on, Morrus, and I'm glad that people's enthusiasm for this will ride right over having a butterfingered PR guy supporting it.
    That is fantastic

    I'm in South Africa and I'm willing to pay for postage.

    Game on.

  9. #9
    Hi,

    The Cheers Gary book is finally available online:
    Buy “Cheers Gary” now! Blog of Holding

    So if you couldn't make it to gencon, you can pick up a copy now.

  10. #10

    Defender (Lvl 8)

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    Any word on when the next printing of Cheers, Gary will be available?

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