Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers & Dragons; A Mother's Day speech

My mother is a librarian. Not surprisingly, that means she knows a lot about books and what different people ought to read. It’s a talent that goes back a long way, and it had quite an impact on my life back in sixth grade when she came home one day, and she handed me this strange red book. “Read it,” she said, “I think you’ll like it!”

It looked like this;

The notion of role playing games had, up until then, been something I couldn’t really fathom beyond what I was used to on my C-64. Sure, I’d played Gauntlet and knew about Wizard and Elves, and I’d seen my share of folklore too. Back when I was just a child, my mother would take me out looking for elves late at night; I distinctively remember an adamant belief in the fact that elves were around our house and that they could be found.  And did I mention that I also used to play Co-Op in Gauntlet with my mother? And she was the one who figured out how a Commodore 64 loaded a game in the first place and used to read the instruction manuals out loud for me?

Fantasy had, so to say, been with me from a very young age. So had the ability to dream and imagine. But I believe that Fighting Fantasy was the thing that really kicked it all off. It’s a strange thing to look back on, on this Mother’s Day, and suddenly realize how much you owe it to your mother for supporting and presenting this brilliant universe into your life.

It’s odd to think that my mother’s enthusiasm for RPG’s was initially bigger than mine, as said. I never believed it was something for me, but one Fighting Fantasy book took the next, and suddenly she came up with this odd suggestion that I’d start a so called “Roleplaying Group”. It seemed odd at first, but we certainly were at the stage in school, in which all the cool football playing kids had their fun, and the small niche of kids (boys) didn’t really know how to counter it. So with much support, we got it running and she helped me find books about becoming a Game Master in the first place. Hell, it was my mother who came home with AD&D Player’s Handbook for me in the first place.

To this day, fantasy and RPG’s fill out the majority of my life. Gaming in various sorts and the eagerness and joy I find in the amazing universes along with kindred spirits brings something to my life beyond words. I’ve made some truly amazing friends and people; played some games that left me smiling, crying, laughing and swearing. Delved deep into books, universes, journeys, travels and made up stories, books, groups and dreams about something that makes my life feel meaningful and fun. Things that make me look forward and be thrilled like a child again, with an innermost curiosity about the next element in this universe. Whether it’s PC games, Warhammer, Warmachine, D&D, WoD, the next roleplaying session or even LARP’ing.
And I owe so much of it to my mother. She was the one who found our local hobby store and encouraged me to go down there; I even ended up working there for a short while. But I made friends too. She was also the one who supported us when we decided to start our own LARP-campaign and took up the mantle as the ‘grown up face’ towards the other parents. She even got involved in the game herself and was so great at welcoming the new, younger players.

These days, in which all of us have so much to do and look forward to, be it the boring stuff or things that make our heart smile, we easily forget our roots and those who forged us to become who we are. Not everyone out there can feel the same appreciation as I can towards my mother; I understand that. But I want to sit down and be happy that I turned out to be the one I am today. And if you recognize some of what I’m saying, you should too.

Made by Eclipse Dragon of "The Escapist"
There were plenty of chances to turn back along the way. Grow out of these silly things, like the majority of my friends who eventually became adults in body and spirit. People who go to work, people who forget to play and people who look at me and tell me they don’t really find much joy in things as they once did. People who really just want time to pass. I suppose that without my mother and all the things she supported me with, I’d easily have ended up like that as well. After all, there is certainly more than enough pressure from your surroundings, telling you that what you’re doing is wrong and that you should stop it and move on. People that frown when you journey through the worlds of Azeroth; When you truly get the feeling of being the commander of The Normandy; When you lead your mighty and painted miniature forces into battle; When you get absorbed in an adventure in the depths of a book and allow you to truly feel and let go; When you’re willing to take a step back and set the stupid world on standby, and let the fantastic fill your life. Allowing yourself to do what truly matters to you, and BE you.

So on this Mother’s Day, I’d like to dedicate this blog to my mother. Without her influence, there likely wouldn’t have been that many happy D&D groups, painted miniatures, angry outcries at the gaming tables, sleepless nights of reading books, or telling of fantastic times and places.

Thank you, mum.

And for the rest of you, who can relate to this, don't forget her (or him)!
Take care.

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