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.