*Poof* Part 1

by Christopher Paul on May 11, 2007

Just like that, it seems, it happened. I got old. And for the first time ever, I wish I was a kid again.

See, this morning, I was thinking during my lunch break at work and it hit me. I don’t like where I am. I don’t like what I’ve become. I don’t want to be who I am. And I don’t want to continue like this but I don’t know what else to do. It’s not like I can go back in time, reverse my age, or ditch my job or my responsibilities. But I do wish I could live care free and be able to satisfy my childish desires to play, build, write, create, and have fun like I used to.

When I was a younger, I had one hell of an imagination. With Go-Bots, Transformers, Voltron, and Star Wars as my inspiration, I created my own transforming robots out of Legos; my brother and I build entire worlds out of those plastic pieces. We had our own set of heroes battling out with evil Lego robots who we created in similar fashion. Part of the fun was simulating explosions by smashing our creations into the floor, wall, or our hands only to put them back together again – often with enhancements born out of an epiphany. But building then destroying robots built of spare parts wasn’t the real enjoyment; it was the story lines we acted out as those toy characters we created that was the fun part.

Somehow, I acted out – mostly impromptu – a story for our toys to follow. We had a police force, scientists, communications experts, and auto repair and tow “robots” that all had alter egos when called into action to defeat their evil enemies when some diabolical scheme to take over the universe was being carried out. With the help of my younger brother, we’d act out a few episodes a week – it was our own action drama and we were the writers, directors, set & costume designers, location scouts, and (or course) actors. We’d spend hours at a time playing this way and I don’t remember ever worrying about a thing except for where a particular Lego piece I needed was.

I wrote what came to my imagination, too. When I was in the second grade, I wrote my first sci-fi novel. At 16 pages, it wasn’t the tome that The Hobbit is but it was pretty darn good, if I say so myself. I remember my teacher, Sister Mary Laureen, seemed to like me (even after I went on the 3rd and 4th grades, she would wink at me as we passed each other in the hall). When I showed her the book – which was written in pencil on multi-colored paper that I stapled together – she said she liked it (teachers are supposed to do that, though) and thought it was “romantic.” Of course, I didn’t intend for it romantic but when your main character is a space swashbuckler named Moonlit Mouse, I can see where she was misled ;). In reality, I meant it to be a gritty but heroic tale of a mouse who (again) battles evil cats (a la Tom & Jerry) for control of the universe freeing the other mice from feline tyranny.

Somewhere, as I grew up, I lost the ability to create, fantasize, act, illustrate, and write whatever my heart and mind desired. Perhaps, when I was a teen, it was the shame of being different. When group think is the easiest way to fit in and best way to avoid bully, its easy to loose whatever sense of identity or creativity – both of which I had when I was younger. But even when I grew older, still, I couldn’t create like I had in the past. Things were still different.

Yes, I wrote a lot. But it was almost only out of necessity – a term paper, essay, or quiz. I can’t even think of one time I wrote creatively for myself. And forget playing with toys! I didn’t even remember where they were!! I couldn’t design new robots out of Legos or let alone build whole worlds; I couldn’t even think of what they would say in one scene let a alone one episode.

But realizing what I did and what I lost doesn’t explain how I lost it, really. Theories abound. While I can’t say with any certainty why I “lost it,” I have some ideas which I’ll write about in the next installment of *Poof*.

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