Stories, man. What enchanting, wondrous creations. Figments of imagination that leap into existence, flowing bountiful from vibrant minds all over the world. Each one nestles in itself a strange universe, some quite like ours, and others that couldn’t be more different. There is a gravity to these tales that draws us towards them, makes us seek out as many as we can. It’s beautiful.
I’ve always loved stories, right from the age of 7? Younger? Don’t remember exactly when, but suffice it to say that my earliest memories either begin after I’ve consumed one tale or another, or end at one.
I remember these book fairs that our school used to have, a couple of shelves set up in a small hall where kids could get their parents to buy them whatever book they wanted. Now, the funny thing was, that these fairs only happened on the day of a parent-teacher conference, so the kids who were prancing about delightedly amongst the books were the ones who’d got glowing reviews from their teachers.
Others who had been ripped apart, slandered and debased by their class teachers, glanced nervously at their parents’ bright red faces and decided to cut their losses and just make a beeline for the car. Yes, I’d been on both sides of that spectrum.
Sometimes, I’d write the names of the books I wanted on a little piece of paper and slip it to my grandfather right before he left on one of his daily trips to the market, waiting eagerly for the sound of his positively ancient moped. Acquired the Buddha graphic novels that way, and over a hundred Archie’s double digests. Damn, I made him spend a lot.
Didn’t spare my parents either, but going to the bookstore with my mother was wiser because you see, she’d just tell me to get on with it and pick one, but if I went with my dad, he would glance at the cover of the book I’d picked and begin a disappointed monologue, ‘Son, try and read the classics too. This is another one of those guns and magic kind isn’t it?’ But he’d let me buy it anyway, so that’s okay.
Then came my love for movies. Sprawling depictions of a grand story on a 30-foot screen in under 3 hours with seat-shaking audio? Hell yes! (TV was cool too but, meh, even though I watched most of them on our old CRT). And, I’m not proud to say, I did consume a ton of pirated content, but hey, I was barely 13 and thought that six movies on one DVD that barely cost half a dollar sounded absolutely legitimate. (Does the FBI take iOU’s?).
The first movie(s) I bought was a director’s cut of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It came with a map of middle earth, character posters, appendices, DVD cover art and whatnot. Super cool stuff to a child who’d only spent half dollars up until then. My brother is mostly into the same stuff I am (wait…hey! Get your mind out of the gutter, sheesh), so we kept recommending movies, books and games to each other. Have a veritable library now and an entire room had to be converted to hold our combined stuff.
Did I mention games? People, if the first image that hearing the word ‘video game’ brings to your mind is of a gun-wielding maniac blasting away at goons on successively higher difficulty levels, you need to update yourself. I mean, you won’t be wrong, I definitely enjoy being the maniac once in a while, but the thing is, video games are so much more now.
They started out as Pac-Man, but now, are fully-realized, lifelike simulations in ultra-definition. In other words, awesome. Imagine an author who could make his readers see what he actually intended, to paint his imagination on a canvas, bring it to life and make his audience step into his characters’ shoes and play out the story themselves, or even better, craft their own tale! Yes, I just summarized a video game. See?
Hold on, I’m not advocating playing games, nah. To each his own. I’m simply telling you why I play them, and while a good novel will always have its own charm, I believe video games are the natural evolution of story-telling. Come at me.
Okay, enough about games.
There are random moments in certain books that stuck, and I have no idea why I remember them so vividly to this day (uh…because they were amazing? well yes, but still). Like Jo, Bess and Fanny clambering up the Faraway tree after moon-face, White fang ripping out the throat of a bulldog, the hobbits meeting strider in a tavern, Tintin’s dog going ‘woah’ and the captain’s colourful curses, Arlen cutting off a demon’s arm with a warded circle, Arthur flying over a bottomless pit of Nothing, Taita bathing in the blue Font after killing Eos, Artemis figuring out where Opal’s ship would be, and countless others that I wish I could recall right now.
The point is, I had one cool childhood y’all.
– pretty swell doodle by HezrielHelric on deviantart