Childhood games


I was a strange kid. I didn’t use to go 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.

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 named my parents’ apartment Seattle, and I didn’t even know how to properly pronounce it;  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.


33 comments on “Childhood games

  1. oaplascencia says:

    Great post. Keep on writing! Sounds like your imagination kept you sane and entertained in youth. It’s time to share that creativity.

  2. viscloset says:

    “I was a strange kid. I didn’t use to go 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.”

    The moment I read that, it reminded me of my childhood. As I continue reading, every adjective you use made me smile. I always do. Everytime I can relate to fictional character in a book, but to have a similar experience with someone for real. I feel happy. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You inspired me. :g

    • dermogiraffe says:

      I feel the exact same way about the exact same passage. I too am an only child. I lived in a bad area so I couldn’t go out to play like normal children. I was sheltered and my imagination was my playground. :) It is indeed hard to relate to another human being in this way, so yes, thank you.

  3. I love this, and it’s so true! You really have a talent and greatness in you. Thank you so much, for sharing this.

  4. dscottsemp says:

    Well said! This idea is something I have been contemplating recently, as well. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I really connected to this. Great post.

  6. renoir says:

    I wonder how much of an advantage to the imagination it is to grow up an ‘only child’. I know my experience is much like yours, as is the case for a few others I know. Some are socially adept, some REALLY aren’t good with company other than their own, but they’ve become dreamers and creators in their own ways. Yet I suspect there are others who didn’t develop the same way. What did they become?

  7. I too grew up with a large part of me wandering inner worlds. Books and D&D; paper, pencils and Caran D’Ache, and I was good. I connect with your story here–it works!

  8. inspoetry says:

    Childhood never goes away. Learning and sharing will broaden your perspective to grow and be a true artist in life.

  9. Jack Sutter says:

    “The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.”
    ~Chuck Palahniuk

    “Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
    ~Anaïs Nin

  10. MikeDR says:

    Your writing took my breath away. I don’t want to be a writer but I can only wish to have as good rhetoric as you for the sake of my blog and myself. :)

    Very beautiful story from your childhood too. *insta-follows*

  11. dwaycrafts says:

    Wonderful post! You are a brilliant writer with a unique ability to express emotions poetically.

  12. amandadancer15 says:

    Preach it brotha

  13. What a thoughtful blog. I was pondering the passage of time and creativity myself this week and found out a few interesting tips about accessing the same sense of creative freedom that a child has. Very satisfying! Have a read if you’re interested.

  14. this is such a beautiful post :)

  15. Priya says:

    Loved this line. ” I make stuff up, because the world outside my window is not as beautiful as the one I can imagine.” So true Cristian..if it weren’t for imagination, I think we would’ve all gone insane. :)

  16. raalbertarts says:

    As “viscloset” observed, I too, identified immediately with the first line. I could and still can entertain myself alone for hours. My one regret, at age 68, is that I didn’t start writing sooner. Although it is a solitary endeavor to write, it is a method of touching and entertaining others as well as ouselves.

  17. jecgenovese says:

    The quotation is spurious, Picasso never said that.

  18. aiyshah2014 says:

    We all have an inner world, there is no other, but some of us know it and some of us don’t. But what I do know is that it DOES help if other people care too, not just you. Just my opinion….

  19. Great post! I’m a dreamer, too. Nothing is impossible.

  20. carlpeters says:

    As all t’other comments say here, yes I thoroughly connected to this post! Sometimes I would be quite happy sitting alone, away from the main throng of other kids playing, and often would have an adult asking me if I was alright. The school even wanted me to see a child psychologist at one time! I still feel this way now at 47 and have to admit that when I make stuff up, written or just a daydream, that invariably it will always be a much better scenario than that of the “real life” event that caused said dream! Think I’ll just go and do some writing…

  21. There couldn’t be a more true statement! Perfect!

  22. Yes, indeed there are very many only children who are writers (or vice versa).

  23. AlluringEby says:

    That opening paragraph reminded me a lot about my childhood too. I guess we become who we are from those early stages

  24. writertales says:

    What you wrote struck a chord in me. Even though I grew up with an older sister, she was a realist and I was an idealist…still am. Writing is my escape. The process is addicting. I turn to my writing as I would turn to a friend.

  25. Wayne Kirton says:

    Imagination has already saved so many! Enjoyable read, Cristian. +1

  26. JRM says:

    Very inspiring…Simply placed…beautiful and Kudos!!!Keep the writing flames burning.

  27. “It doesn’t matter if someone cares as long as I care.”

    Totally agree! Your writing style is brilliant

  28. Tini Bugz says:

    I love this for me, you hit the nail right on the head all the reasons why I write, and the dreaming thing was the same for me as a child.

  29. jerevelation says:

    When I was young my toys were lumps of plasticine. I made my own toys in whatever image I wanted. Weird no doubt but incredibly imaginative. stay true to yourself and never change 😄

  30. I was like that. too. when I was a kid. I guess most writers have had this kind of childhood as well. I wrote this when I posted my piece telling of my evolution as a writer:

    “I have always loved stories, that is the clear and honest truth. It is the reason why I began to write. It is the reason why even in my own dreams, I make up stories and watch how they unfold. Perhaps, more than a writer, I am actually a pen-toting storyteller. But it wasn’t always like that. When I was small, I used to have this ritual. At night, I would lie in bed and imagine stories in my head, stories of adventure and drama—oh, I was such a masochist, making myself cry and loving it!—until I fell asleep. Which is probably why they made it in my dreams.”

    I started writing a draft of a more specific post, but that one has stayed unfinished.

  31. You gave me an idea, which is to share the beginner’s stories of writers. I will start with yours, would that be okay? I thought I’d put them under my post, but I decided that people will see the links to others’ pages more if I create a completely new post for each of those. Then I’ll add the links also under my Guest Area list.

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