Childhood games

picasso_quotes_01I asked people to tell me what they’d want me to write about, and someone asked me to write about my childhood. To be frank, this request kind of caught me off-guard, mostly because I don’t really write about personal experiences. I just don’t think that I’m interesting enough.

Anyway, about my childhood. I didn’t use to get out and play with others very much. Actually, for most of my childhood years, I never went out. No brothers, no sisters, it was just me and my games. And toys. This fact has shaped part of who I am right now: an introvert.

In a way, I was happy. I didn’t need the company of others. I just made stuff up. I had a lot of toys, and I kept imagining different worlds. I actually have written stories and novellas based on these games I used to play.

So, in a strange way, I was a writer even before I learned how to write. Or maybe I was just a storyteller without an audience. I did write about some of this stuff in another post of mine: how I named my parents’ apartment Seattle, and I didn’t even know how to properly pronounce it, how the living room was downtown, and the washing machine was supposed to be a power plant.

One day, when I was six years old, maybe even younger, I stumbled upon a brochure from a supermarket, I think. And on the back it had the logos of all the companies its products it sold. Quite a lot. And I wondered… how would it feel to own all of them?

That’s when I came up with the crazy idea that I wanted to become the richest man in the world. Not for the money, but for what it meant to build such a great thing.

So, yeah, I was born a dreamer. I’ve always lived in this bizarre world where everything was possible, and you could get everything you wanted just by wanting it bad enough. By trying hard enough. By dreaming it into existence. A world that was big enough for all of us to get what we want most, a world where the life we thought we deserved could, actually, exist.

During the summer my parents worked at a hotel, and so I lived with my grandparents. My grandfather is the closest thing to an idol I have. Mostly because he told me stories from his past, stories wrapped up in a certain bitter melancholy. Things that used to be and no longer were. That sort of stuff. There was this park close to where my grandparents lived, and we used to go there every day. Sometimes twice a day, once in the morning, and once shortly before sunset.

Memories are strange. As time passes, we sort of mix them together. They tend to form a singular image. Like a frame from a movie. Then they become just a sensation. To me, my childhood makes me feel as though life was easy and simple. I was so eager to grow up and find answers to all the questions that I couldn’t answer.

Maybe this is what it really means to be a child: we assume that we can find answers to all of life’s riddles.

Simply put, nothing is impossible.

And so we’re eager to grow up, to assume the world. To find our place. To become what we want to become. And somewhere during this process, as we grow up, life starts taking away this innocent ambition of ours. We find out that some questions can’t be answered, that some questions have more than one answer, that some questions have no right or wrong answers.

We experience tragedy and we think that life’s all black and white. The good and the bad. And then we’re not so sure anymore. Life’s all kinds of different shades of grey. Good people will do bad things with the best intentions. Some people will do good without meaning to. And life becomes infinitely more complicated because of that.

That’s one of the reasons I write. It gives me freedom, just like it used to when I was a kid. I’m not playing with toys anymore, I just have to use my brain. I make stuff up, because the world outside my window is not as beautiful as the one I can imagine.

Maybe this is a weakness, maybe this is just a way of escaping something, not fighting against it.

But, frankly, it doesn’t matter, because no one can tell me what’s really important or what’s not. It doesn’t matter if someone cares as long as I care.

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27 comments on “Childhood games

  1. Did u know that your website is down? I can read your posts thru my wordpress app, but your website comes up as a blank page in my browser. My niece is about to turn 5. She lives in Cali, and my brother brings her out to visit twice a year. This past Christmas, my youngest brother showed her how to draw snowflakes using fractals. She ate it up. Lately she has this cubist thing happening. She says Matisse is her favorite artist. My brother recently took her to a Matisse exhibit. So you’re picasso quote definitely resonates with me.

  2. nkygyatso says:

    Unlike you and most others, I never really loved writing as a kid, but I can understand where you are coming from, especially after reading Anne Lamott's: "Bird by Bird," where she talks about her childhood and how writing played a big role.

    As for me, i discovered during my college applications; all my friends and family sought me out, to write their personal statements, and what's funny is that most managed to get into their dream schools. And, that was the case even with my own choice of school as well. However, even that wasn't enough to convince me to pursue a career in writing because we all know the lack of financial security, stability, uncertainty and yada yada.

    What finally did it for me was my entrancement with American Politics and Society, and how I felt that I had a rational voice which I could use to influence public opinion instead of hearing the general stinky narratives out in the press that I disagree with a lot of the time.

    I believe writing serves a greater purpose than onself and if not then it should seek to.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing Mihai!

  3. ranu802 says:

    To be able to remember one's childhood as well as you can is God's gift to you.True stories are never boring.It helps to visualize an individual's childhood. These are the stories that can continue for a while.The beauty of these stories are they help any one who reads it,think about their own and piece together their childhood memories that are real and begin to write like you have.
    Thank you for this.All the best to you.
    Ranu

  4. angrygaijin says:

    Cool man. I really like that quote in the picture. It's hard to remain an artist as an adult. I'm glad to see that you're keeping it up though. :) That gives me inspiration to keep on going myself.

  5. Piscis says:

    Writing for freedom, to explore the tangents of our experiences that we can not, do not, and possibly should not pursue in our own lives. I can certainly concur with that.

  6. oawritingspoemspaintings says:

    You've summed up life beautifully and finished it with a lot of wisdom, once again bravo!

  7. MuseWriter says:

    Writing has always been cathartic to me as well-being able to twist and shape the world however. I find your story to be similar to my own. Good luck with your endeavors and dreams :)

  8. mimirshead says:

    Very well written piece.
    I personally believe that it is actually the beauty of our world that inspires me to dream and to write as opposed to the way inspiration seems to come to you. I was fascinated by your motivation to dream and to create because it is quite different from mine.
    Truly the world is not as it should be. As the poet Yeats wrote: "Things fall apart. The center does not hold" (or something to that effect. However, I take this in stride. There is a kind of beauty in imperfection and chaos. It gives us the drive and motivation to create order and to dream about how we feel the world should be. It is a solemn and humble yearning for truth and security in a volatile and unstable world.
    Also there is great natural beauty. Humanity is complex. We possess the urge to both create and destroy. I write to orient myself between the opposing extremes to create for myself balance or at the least – a sense of control.

  9. mimirshead says:

    Instead of isolating myself from the opinions of others I allow them to care and I take interest in what they take interest in. It allows me to understand character better. So of course, no one can tell you what is important or not but perhaps sometimes others expose us to new ideas and new ways of thinking.
    Thanks for the food for thought!

  10. blessedaaron08 says:

    Every goal, every action, every thought, every feeling one experiences, whether it be consciously or unconsciously known, is an attempt to increase one's level of peace of mind.

    Sydney Madwed
    I enjoyed this post. The grey portions of life for me have been the best, although painful, they have made me what I am. Stretching ones faith and character are all colors of the tapastry. Let your canvas be filled with the joyous colors of life experience and watch how beautiful you make everyone else feel. Make it a great evening and keep expressing yourself, I for one need to hear from you!!

  11. But that’s where things get wierd. I achieved so much more when my ambitions were innocent and naive. I think that has a power that’s unparalleled…

  12. nikgee says:

    I had to pause for a moment as to why I pass right by the little like button and straight to the comment box. Is it some form of rebellion.. No,the answer is much simpler than that. That word, like, is a nice word. But for me this single word is not enough to say what I feel . Not a complete sentence, not a complete thought.

    I know I seem to be a bit off topic, but humor me for a moment . There is rhyme in my reason. So as I was saying , I can not completely express what I feel with one word.

    Let's say for example I read a post, I am not making reference to this post. If I read a post and think it is the greatest composed piece of literature I've ever read. A brilliant presentation of works. But i totally disagree with part or every thing said. Can I in all honesty press a like button? And for that matter If there was such a thing as a dislike button, could I push that in all honest?

    I would have to say no for both questions. A like comment is a complete agreement with said post. A dislike would be discrediting a brilliant writer. Not giving credit to were credit is do. My solution I seek out your post comment box.

    You are probably wondering where in the hell I am coming from and how it relates to you or your post? Let me try to explain. As I finished reading the post, I had a few thoughts I wanted to share. I begin scrolling down to the comment box and I notice right under that like button the words, 211 bloggers like this. Thinking to myself that it was a good amount of people reading your write.And well deserved as it is a worthy read. Here's the kicker.When I got to the comment box I was very surprised that of all the ones reading your post no one had written a comment.

    To read what you wrote and not feel any more than a like. I am sorry I am not trying to offend any one. Just trying to understand. maybe there is a concept I am missing here. So as you can see I am over come by this thought and I am unable to comment on your post. If you are able to enlighten me I would welcome the conversation. And if I offended any one on the way I do again apologize.

    • myrecipehampers says:

      As one of the bloggers who "like"d the post without commenting I will answer for me. I'm not a particularly talented writer. I use my blog for other things. I liked the post as I enjoyed the writing as well as the content. I was showing that I appreciated Cristian's work, but that I didn't really have a full response to it.

      I completely understand your concerns with that. I enjoyed reading the comments on this post as much as I enjoyed reading the post, but I don't feel I'm eloquent enough to compete with the comments. So I liked it!

  13. cari365 says:

    Damn you Cristian :) your posts always feel like you just stepped into my mind and finally gave an eloquent voice to my thoughts and feelings. Thank You, I find your work profoundly inspirational.

  14. vinylrichie says:

    Excellent post and it struck a chord with me :)

  15. Jessica Cyphers says:

    Why don't you write more about personal experiences? You can use them as a starting point and then fictionalize them, you know. I find they're a great way to really connect with readers.

    I find the things you say about your childhood fascinating.

  16. jubilare says:

    Interesting stuff. My experience was very different, but there are a few common threads.

  17. I love that you were so influenced by your grandparents; I was too. My fondest memories of my childhood were my summers with them. Both grandmothers were librarians so I read a broad spectrum of books. Looking back I believe that the slower paced life with them (long drives at dusk looking for deer feeding and dark nights laying out on lounge chairs watching the sky for satellites) served to balance me out as an individual and a writer. Thanks for sharing such a special piece of you!

  18. Bastet says:

    Childhood memories are wonderful things…they help us explain ourselves and see from where we’ve come…or they help us understand the things we loved or most impressed us as children. I’m fascinated with how memory works. This article was very interesting, and helps answer the question of why some people write and others don’t, by adding another piece to the puzzle. Thanks.

  19. manjiT says:

    I started reading. In between i looked at the length of the post. I decided to giveup. Scrolled to the bottom, deciding to just read the last line and end it. Ok so may be i should read penultimate paragraph too. One above that and that way i couldnt stop reading the whole post.
    Its fascinating how start to end journey differs so much from retrospective one.

  20. Infer says:

    You’ve captured the essence of life so well. It’s beautiful how you’ve described the changes that come when one goes from being a child to an adult :) Thanks for sharing this!

  21. Honestly, I think you should do more of these things often! You are such an amazing writer with an imagination. I kind of feel the same way- a kid who’s never really grown up because I still have my imagination from childhood. Keep writing! And next week, write something about bedtime stories you thought about as a kid, or stories you told yourself when you couldn’t sleep.

  22. I just grew up playing video games :(

  23. I see now why I am drawn to you writing. Other than being a great writer, you have a strong inner child. I do not…or at least, i am trying to reclaim it.

    Thank you.

  24. Your closing line says it all Christian. Cheers.

  25. josefkul says:

    I’m glad your inner child speaks through the vivid imagination expressed through your words. My wife tells me mine is expressed more directly through the child like immature actions I present to her daily.

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