by: Thad Glindmeyer
I went through a phase a long, long time ago in a parish (county for the rest of America) far away which results in family members still calling me Luke Skywalker every Thanksgiving. I'm fine with that. I get the feeling they mean for it to be embarrassing, but it's a badge of honor and a reminder to occasionally revisit the well of fiction from which stories spring.
The parish I grew up in was far less Coruscant, more Dagobah, and slightly more inhabited by actual people. I swung from trees and flopped in mud when vines snapped quite un-heroically. I had grand escapades by myself and a cast of imaginary characters crossing storylines, genres, universes, and time itself. Why were Cylons working with a Loup Garou to catch young Skywalker? I'll never tell, but the Golden Pooh warned me well enough about the bees (a very real danger in our woods) to take a sudden detour, and I always managed to make it back to base just in the nick of time. I was a guardian of peace and justice in the (Old Republic) woods before the dark times... before the progress.
With the houses and endless road construction came the bulldozers and backhoes: the woodfolk were facing decimation by the lumbering yellow tankbots, but our house matriarch sealed the castle because it was too dangerous out there to save them. I watched treetops disappear from the window and can tell you stories today of old enemies siding with allies to fend off their new interlopers. The days passed and the sky was becoming more visible: imagination was not enough to save my world. The good guys don't always win, but I wasn't very excited to be rid of the ninjas either.
With the turning of seasons came school. Man, all of these kids were bizarre: they spoke in tongues of sportsball, fishing, and pop music. None of them had ever liberated a planet before, yet they called me strange. Ungrateful amateurs. I argued that my white tunic and tan pants were indeed a uniform and a few kids ended up in the dirt over our disagreement. The matriarch denied me future pass without proper school clothing. Her increasing allegiances with those who would end my adventures were beginning to border on villainous. Kindergarten was the darkest of night.
With the completion of preschool, I had moved on to a place where agents seemed all too eager at the time to take up the torch of ending my fantasy world for mother: the nuns at catholic school. My sanity might not have survived any one of the next 8 years had it not been for my aunt, the school librarian. I had a new base to build on with all the wisdom of the ancients at my disposal. I would often show up to class without homework just so they would put me in the library to “watch while the other kids were having fun.” When they make a video game about surviving childhood with your imagination intact, Aunt Laverne will be the character saying, “It's dangerous to go alone. Take this,” and hand you a book.
Thanks, Thad. Find Thad on Twitter as @gravimetric.