Most of my childhood was not spent on Planet Earth.
I was constantly and consistently travelling among the stars, exploring new civilizations or visiting ancient times long since past. I was a part of my favourite films and books, not just re-enacting but changing their courses entirely. I lived in fantastic lands where anything could happen.
And I mean I lived in those places.
I wasn’t ever in school or a supermarket or the dentist’s office. No, those places were merely the blank canvas I would paint my own reality onto. And I would stay submerged in that place for weeks. Sometimes months. I would not allow outside distractions to break the illusion. Of course, I would answer politely and appropriately when spoken to – but that was akin to being occasionally distracted from my own world. If at all possible I incorporated it into my fantasy. If it was a temporary break, I tolerated it.
It wasn’t just my early years either, it was the entirety of my childhood. And probably then some.
I actually had quite a few friends as a teenager. The majority were in fact girls, but still I whisked myself away as often as I could. And I wish I meant that in a stared-off-into-the-distance-daydreaming kind of way. No, I was running and jumping and wielding and vanquishing and yelling and conversing.
I quit with the sound effects after a couple very embarrassing instances and kept the conversing down to times when I was alone, but I still couldn’t give up the escape from reality.
Eventually, I had responsibilities and relationships and things that generally ground a person into reality. Things that we associate with the trappings of adulthood. So, knowing I couldn’t live in those places any longer, I escaped instead into the more “legitimate” fantasies of video games.
But those other places never really went away. The fantasy land wouldn’t die. I knew I couldn’t live there anymore, but I would watch through the window of my mind as often as I could. I could still escape.
Even now, with wife, children, career… I legitimize it by being a writer. But really, I’m just looking into those places and recording some of the things that happen. I’m still escaping to those other worlds, still going on adventures. I just tell people that I’m writing.
And if you hear me talking at my desk, I’m just working out a bit of dialogue.
Now go out because I can’t swing the Shard of the Whispering with you in the way. It’ll disembody you with a single touch.