Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Obessions of the past

I remember, while growing up, from middle school to somewhere near the end of my highschool career, I clung to the fantastical, wishing that things were more than they were. I wasn't exactly a daydreamer, because I could focus my attention when I needed to, and it didn't affect my schoolwork at all. However, once I got home, I was fairly lost to the world - drawing, writing, dreaming of things unusual and amazing.

I remember the strength of my fantasies though, the ferocity with which they gripped my heart and soul and made me yearn for something otherworldly to happen in this little boring town. I think my first fascination was with dragons - thanks to a video game series called Lunar; Silver Star Story - a tale of an ordinary boy who is destined to save the world and his gal with the help of the dragons hidden in his world. I was completely infatuated with the idea. That's where my self-proclaimed nickname Dragonchild came from. I immersed myself in everything that I could find pertaining to dragons. I foolishly hoped that maybe my boring existance wasn't all there was - maybe I was a dragon in disguise, or a child of one, or any other number of fantastical ideas. Wishing it to be true didn't make it so - but that didn't stop me. I wrote, I drew, I dreamed. I had an especially vivid dream of a dragon , one that was my equivalent to a spirit animal. I still cling to that dream, as my proof that my imagination can be a wild place of creation for me.

Not long after, vampires joined the repertoire of my obsession. Ann Rice books were my new bedside companions. Again, I immersed myself in anything I could find pertaining to vampires (although I preferred Rice's versions to more traditional versions). Again, I wrote, I drew, I dreamed. My obsession with vampires wasn't as strong as my obsession with dragons, but still, it was a fairly large part of my life.

I began dating a young man when I was 15 (Yes, this does relate a bit). I was helplessly in love with him, despite the obvious that we were not right for each other. Of course, I refused to believe this, despite all the signs proving it was true. He was my first love, and I was tenacious. Looking back, I can see now that after the initial bliss of a new relationship wore off, we really were complete opposites, but not in the compatible way. Other than our love for fantasy books, and a few other things that have faded from our memory, we were nothing alike. I was clingy. He wanted freedom. I was overbearing and protective. He was a risk-taker and a rebel. I was a hopeless romantic. He was..well, he was not. After about a year, I was swinging between bliss when he payed attention to me, and misery and depression when he would push me away. Through all the ups and downs, I tried to ease my pain with my fantasies. Usually the pain he caused was too much, and I would just go through my life automatically. Over three and a half years - my obsessions failed to be the escape I needed them to be, and they started to fade away.

I broke up with the young man for the final time during my first year of college. Soon after, I began dating the young man that would end up being my husband several years down the line. New love sprouted, new friends were made, and I didn't think of the lost fantasies as I was happy and didn't seem to have any room left in my head for more. College killed my creativity (ironic, as I went to an art school), and I let my imagination run wild less and less. I guess responsibility, friends, and video games will do that to you.

One thing that has developed over the years is my love for angsty romances - love stories that are doomed from the start, or at least seem to be so. Not romance novels, mind you (for some reason I feel that I'm above reading romance novels, probably for the fear that I would absolutely love them, and I can't allow myself to do that) but fantasy novels, comics, or manga that involve a troubled romance. I always put myself in the place of the female lead. It helped especially if she was plain looking, or if she had low self-esteem and at least saw herself that way. It also helped if she fell in love with an impossibly wonderful/beautiful/amazing man who in turn eventually loved her back. But they have to go through so much strife to be together. I need that struggle for me to really connect. I've never been sure why. Maybe it's my earlier experience in my first relationship. Maybe it's my desire for something more, something meaningful and unordinary.

I hadn't thought about my earlier years and the strength with which my fantasies held me, until recently.

I had a gift card to Target, and seeing nothing else I wanted and being wary of having nothing to read at night, I picked up Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I had heard all the hype about the upcoming movie and I wanted to see what it was all about.

I began to read one evening - and I was hopelessly lost again in my fantasies. Meyer's tales of vampires have brought back those years of obsession. I sat and read the first book all in one go - I could not bring myself to put it down. I finished, and near had a panic attack - I needed the rest of the series - needed it soon. I absolutely had to know what happened between her wonderful characters. I cried more reading these books that I ever have - relating to the characters, feeling and completely understanding their pain and their strife.

I'm still wrapped up in the heady feeling, the inability to focus on what I need to. I don't know if I should be happy, or miserable, or frustrated, or what I should do. Any time I try to focus, I begin daydreaming within a few minutes. I am frustrated with myself, as I never had problems with this before. I think the stress of the impending move and worries about the financial situation and everything else is again making the promise of an escape too..well...inescapable. And yet, I revel in these feelings again, after so many years. I want to create - to draw, to write, to dream. Now if I could only harness this creativity, maybe it will help.

I always have wanted to write and publish something. I want to be a storyteller, weaving a tale with the same magic I feel in Meyer's writing. I might be able to do it, if I can get past the intimidation of it - the feeling that I'll never create something as amazing as what has inspired me.

However, who knows. Maybe I can rein in these feelings and use them to create. Maybe my name will be on the bestseller list in the future. After all - I can dream, can't I?


Will Rutherford said...

I've been with you through most of the ride and i have to say, If anyone can do it, it would be you. You know I've always loved your writing. I would absolutely buy your books. No question.

Dragonchild said...

I'm not sure I deserve your praise, but thanks. And thanks for being with me through all that - it was something interesting, wasn't it?