Every Childlike Author needs a Playground.

No Ideas and a Bit of Childhood

As a blogger who prefers to come up with my own ideas for my articles, they can run out pretty fast. Yes, I take the time to jot down any halfway decent ideas that may occur to me throughout the week, but ideas don’t jump into my lap everyday. And when they do jump into my lap, they’re not always good ideas, or they could be only partial ideas that need a lot more substance to be worth writing about—substance that may not fully develop for years. Really this wouldn’t be so bad, except that I’m a bit on the younger side of life… which means none of those years needed to grow and age these halfway decent ideas into good ideas have taken place. The wine is new-made, so to speak.

Even worse, I have little real experience to write about. I’ve got my college days, and my high school days, and middle school, and even most of my life before middle school, but it’s not particularly interesting stuff. I’ve lived in the same town for my entire life (except for two years in college), and things have been… well, normal. But I’m not complaining, even though I’ve only a measly twenty years of life experience from which to draw ideas. I’ll get there eventually. In the mean time, I might as well recount my first memories. They are from the ripe and tottering old age of two, and they are vivid, unhappy memories which formed and set through acute distress.

In one of these memories, I was briefly forgotten by my mother, who left me, tired and drowsy, in a car seat while she carried groceries into our home. This doesn’t sound so bad on its own, but it turned into a nightmare when every single one of the big, Dodge Ram van doors closed around me… and all of my siblings and both of my parents disappeared into the house, leaving me alone and, by this time, asleep. You can imagine what happened when I woke (or you could just keep reading because I’ll tell you).

Our van looked almost identical to this one. It has two side doors on the other side that swing away from each other, and a big door in the back. There are two bench seats plus the driver and passenger seat in the front. It fits eight, which is the size of my family.

Our van looked almost identical to this one. It has two side doors on the other side that swing away from each other, and a big door in the back. There are two bench seats plus the driver and passenger seat in the front. It fits eight, which is the size of my family.

First, I noticed I was stranded. Second, I yelled, a frantic attempt to alert someone of my plight. Third, I unbuckled myself from the car seat (I was a darn smart and highly coordinated two-year-old), climbed down to the carpet floor and went to the side door. I knew exactly how to open it from the inside… except that I was too small and weak in my toddler arms to throw the latch. It was too stiff, and I couldn’t open the door to freedom despite all of my efforts and know-how. Which is when I started to cry…

Fortunately, my despair and distress did not last long. My mother came outside in a hurry, rather frantic herself because she’d realized I wasn’t in the house, and released me from my vehicular prison. My relief at seeing her come out the front door of our house was instantaneous, but it was such a scarring experience that I remember it to this day. Incidentally, I’m also a bit claustrophobic, and I sometimes wonder if it has anything to do with being stuck in a van at the age of two.

Another memory I retain from my life as a “terrible two” is an experience in which I tripped on a grate and gouged my knee. The grate was by the front window in my family’s home, and I had run over to look out of it at… something. I can’t remember. Cars maybe. A squirrel in a tree, perhaps. Regardless, I stumbled and fell, and a strip of flesh about a half-inch in length and a quarter-inch in depth peeled from my soft baby flesh and promptly oozed blood and pus. I remember the sight of the prickling blood on pale skin as if I were staring at a photograph of it. You will be happy to know that I did not cry, which is rather unusual for a two-year-old, though I did screw up my face and howl, which is not unusual. Yet even now, the scar on my knee is still prominent and visible.

In yet another memory, events resulted in a scar on my forehead, identical to Harry Potter’s lightning scar (although a bit smaller and less magical). If I had been born with black hair and wore glasses, I would have been his double, and if you look closely at my photograph, you can see the remnants of Voldemort’s curse one edge of the tiny scar in the middle of my forehead, right above my eyebrow line. The scar was a product of a noble, short-lived cause—my older brother was under attack by imaginary foes. Naturally, I was running to save him… when I tripped (again) and my face smacked the concrete.

My mother was watching from the kitchen window, and when I didn’t immediately get up she came running out to see if I was injured. Well, I was, but the way my mother tells it I was unconscious for minutes. The real truth is that I was simply too afraid to get up. I knew something was not quite right, and the thing that was not quite right was a small, jagged piece of plastic that had lodged itself into my forehead. The doctor called it a “boo-boo” before he stitched it up. I thought he was absurd for calling it that. I called it by its real name—a battle wound. I distinctly remember the yellow cloth they put over my eyes as they sutured the edges of my battle wound together, and if I try, I can recall how uncomfortable and weird the needle felt as it slipped in and out of my skin (they may have used a local anesthetic, but I could still feel the pressure the suturing caused).

When my father got home from work, he picked me up and showed me to myself in the bathroom mirror. There was a big, scarlet dot of dried blood between my eyes, as if I was some Hindu woman.

This is about how my own dot looked at the time...

This is about how my own dot looked at the time…

I have a few other memories from my days as a two-year-old, but I won’t recount them now. I grew up a little. I could ride a bicycle without training wheels at the age of three. I was a natural at elementary mathematics, and athletically inclined ever since I can remember (though you wouldn’t know it from the number of times I tripped). Yet somewhere along the way, I lost my childish prodigy and my peers caught up with me.

Now, I struggle to find ideas for a blog post.

But I love the struggle. I love the reward.

And as I age, my ideas will get better and better just as wine does, and my writing will keep on improving, and maybe someday someone will think “that guy is a prodigy,” which means I’ll have come full circle.

But however much I circle through life, I will always be myself. I will always be as childlike as I can possibly be.

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2 responses

  1. Just stopping by early from A to Z.
    Sue Ann Bowling
    Homecoming Blog
    Stormy’s Sidekick
    Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

    Like

    March 27, 2014 at 12:37 pm

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