As a child, I spent my time creating worlds and indulging in those others had created. The summer was my favorite time of year, not just because school was out, but because it meant that our annual family camping trip was just a few weeks away. Every year my father, mother, aunt, cousins and I would pack up, leave our electronics behind, and head into Northern Maine for what adventures we could find. Every year all of us kids would bring pads of paper and pencils because we all knew what would begin the minute we sat in the car together. The only name we had for it was “The Game.”
Influenced by whatever we liked at the moment–toys, movies, T.V. shows, our favorite video games–the Game made us into heroes. We built backstories during the car ride, and drew pictures of the monsters we would fight. Camping was the time parents took a vacation from their work and we started ours. After arriving at our site and setting up the Forest Castle, our legendary 10 person tent, we set off into the woods. We had a remarkable amount of freedom for children of our age. As we went, we documented the monsters we saw in the trees, and made detailed maps of the new lands we explored. Everything we did was incorporated into the Game; from netting crawfish and learning to fish with a rod to chopping wood and walking down to the bath-house in the middle of the night, everything became epic.
I never lost my love for our imaginary worlds. To me they are more than just a fantasy or a game. They are the embodiment of who I am, and I’ve found that, usually, my creations know me better than I do–all that I create is a representation of some part of myself. I am determined to keep creating, keep imagining, keep inventing because I am convinced that creativity is one of the most powerful gifts given to humankind.
I believe in creativity. I believe in its ability to change the world and move the soul. My heart has broken upon the deaths of characters who exist only in the pages of books, and I’ve been inspired by men and women whose only link to the physical world is their projection onto the big screen. Every law of science, every experiment, every song, movie, book–all the accomplishments of humankind–begin in a moment of creativity.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.