I wasn't ever the kind of person who was about to worry about being called weird. I was full ready to put myself out there and be accepted as I came, packaged and stamped with whatever originality I portrayed. Something tells me I never would've got there without the people who shaped me when I was younger.
It's a long way to trace back, but if you can strain yourself to remember what it was like to go outside and play, well this is when all of this took place. This is when all the textures of the world were still more beautiful to us than the scattered pixels of a blazing LCD screen. This was when we were kids, this is when we loved to be so innocent.
So here I was, this chubby little kid who absolutely loved anything out of the ordinary. I always liked to get out of my own bones and become a character, and it was something that made me feel a little bit better. I guess I was bullied? But I looking b
ack, that kind of thing isn't all that detrimental if you're around the right people. Anyway, I was a pudgy little guy, and I only had one real friend. Let's call him Fisher (referring to a past time he quite enjoys to this day). He was the only friend I really had until this other fellow came into town. Some one with incredible leadership skills for his age, and some one who knew how to unravel a world of something completely extraordinary for anyone who was willing to try. Will call him Hatch (referring to the Hatchery at which he lived).
On any given day you could find us defying our parents and taking a walk into the woods not too far from each of our houses. This is where I discovered my own creativity. This boy, Hatch, had an ability to create a story, which we could build and temper on our own. The woods, they become something incredible for us. It's where we could act completely ridiculous, pretending to wield magnificent powers and tame imaginary monsters. It was like living out all the video games and cartoons we watched every day.
We'd go there everyday, and make a new part of a story. It's plot even had some what of a standard progression. Hatch, Fisher, and myself all played some roll in this larger story. I'm not sure if Fisher would vouch for me on this one, but something about all those days made us more creative people, made us more open people. We could accept that all of us were strange, and therefore accept nearly anything any one else could throw at us.
There were three of us, so it was us against whatever jibes would turn around to be thrown at us. We weren't alone in that elementary school anymore.
Some nights we'd go out, and be terrified to even be in "The Woods" for fear that some large animal would come from around a tree and rend us to bits. When I worked with kids, I took them to some of the same spots I reveled in when I was their age, places that held so much wonder for me. I wanted to inspire that creativity in them that was once inspired in me. It was disappointing on two count:
First, half of "The Woods" I adored so much had been clear cut to make way for more houses. This is progress, this is not something I can fight for only my childhood memories. Second, the children had no interest at all in SEEing the woods. At first, the younger ones had a moment of incredible awe because they'd never been aloud into this place before, but once that was gone, they reverted into the pass times they were used to. It felt like a stab that the future could do this to the hidden imaginations I once saw in Fisher, Hatch, and myself.
But needless to say, if it weren't for that boy moving into my home town, or that small fish hatchery, I'd never have gotten to where I am. Don't let this take away from young Fisher though, he has his fair share of stories to come.