An amazing storyteller. My friends remember me as an amazing storyteller.
I look back on the bleak years in between my childhood and now; the desolate decades where creativity was sweated out of my being as I endlessly spun the hamster wheel trying to get ahead. There was no time for reading let alone story telling. And what time there was, I indulged away in the excesses of youth.
What happened? How did I go from being an imaginative child to someone boring? When did I change from a creator to a consumer? How did I end up a vampire feeding on the ideas of others?
Today’s post is intended to provide some of the background and motivation as to why my third, and most important goal, out of the three that I have set myself as part of my “Race to 40!” challenge, is to complete my novella by my 40th birthday on the 26th of June.
The Early Years: Exploring my Talents
When I was a child my parents – my mother in particular – encouraged my brother and me to express ourselves and be creative. Both my parents were active in the vibrant arts scene in Colombo during the ‘70s and early ‘80s; my father played Cassius in Julius Caesar; my mother was Jennyanydots in Cats as well as Maria in Sound of Music.
Inspired by my thespian parents, I participated in Sunday school skits, in Christmas pageants and pantomimes, in Middle School musicals. Then my voice cracked, and I could no longer hold a tune. Then I became a self-conscious teenager and increasingly introverted. Theatre was no longer for me.
After theatre, I delved into music. I took up the clarinet. It wasn’t my first choice; I had wanted to learn the saxophone, but there were no slots for saxophone available at the boarding school I attended so the clarinet was the next best reed instrument. Later, I switched to the guitar.
I was a reasonable musician – I passed the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Grade 5 exam for clarinet – but suffered from a lack of rhythm. This lack of rhythm made the practices a chore. I didn’t feel the music. It didn’t flow. I eventually gave up on playing instruments. Two guitars still gather dust in my basement; perhaps one day after I retire I will form a geriatric garage band 🙂
In addition to theater and music, I also dabbled with art. I still remember one of my early watercolor paintings. It was a tiny piece but extremely intricate. A gray skull with spider webs in its sunken eye sockets. It was undoubtedly influenced by the Dungeons and Dragon campaigns I used to play. I recall that it was meant to be the Demi-Lich from the Tomb of Horrors, one of the hardest adventure modules I ever played.
But “art” as a hobby did not persist. Like its cousins, “theater” and “music”, it flared brightly for a summer or two before petering out.
The Dungeons and Dragons, on the other hand, lasted throughout my teenage years. I had a character, Zorn, an Elven Fighter / Magic-User / Thief that I campaigned with. Over the years, I grew him from Level 1 till he was god-like. But most of the time, I was the Dungeon Master; guiding a group of young minds through amazing adventures filled with laughter and trials, heroism and betrayal, wonder and war.
Thanks to email and Facebook, I am in touch with many of these same dear friends from my childhood. I am flattered that they still remember me as the best DM they ever had and an amazing storyteller.
An amazing storyteller
My friends remember me as an amazing storyteller.
This is why I want to complete my novella before my 40th birthday. Not for my friends but for myself. To reaffirm that I am a storyteller; that pulling others through wonder worlds with words is my talent.
I am so thankful that circumstances have allowed me to take the time over the last year to work on my novella. Finding the spark of creativity again has fanned a flame of ideas that have spread right across my life. Completing the novella will be an important symbol. I’m creating again and not just consuming; and not only stories but opportunities.
Once upon a time, I told stories with my words. The words may have rusted over years of un-use but they will be honed; and they will hold a cutting edge again.