When I was four years old, my mother taught me how to use the computer. This was an old, bulky machine with Windows XP and dial-up internet. Still, I loved it, probably because it was 2003 and who was I to know any better? She taught me how to use Paint, where I would spend hours building houses using the rectangle shape and colouring them in, how to access BBC games (but I could never play for very long; internet was/is expensive) and how to use the PC games. Heck, she also taught me how to use Excel! Have you ever heard of a four-year-old that made spreadsheets about all the different coloured hats the family owned?
But my favourite thing was Word. I was a terrible speller and typing took me about ten billion years, but I still enjoyed making up stories in Comic Sans and adding awful pictures from Clip Art. A few years later, my mum introduced me to Typing Tournament -probably the most boring game in the entire world, but at least it taught me to type 20 words a minute.*
*Nowadays, I type 80-90 words a minute, 100 if I try really hard. One day at school, in business class, the teacher pulled out Typing Tournament and it was quite a shock. People still use that??
Anyway, now that I was a bit older and had learnt how to properly write narratives at school, combined with my 20 wpm one-finger typing speed, I began to write more and more. I was using the computer on my own now and had fully progressed from BBC games to the Polly Pocket website. Over a decade later, I haven’t stopped writing stories. My latest is 450 A5 computer-generated pages! That’s basically novel-length! It’s safe to say that I was a pretty creative person growing up, and I am still a pretty creative person nowadays.
This creativity makes me wonder if it’s the reason I am still attached to Barbies, because it was always so easy for me to make up a story. Perhaps the reason everyone else gave up Barbies at 5 years old was because it was ‘boring?’ Perhaps that was the end of their childish creativity? The kind where you personify your toothbrush, or umbrella, or other random objects like that?
Lately, I’ve been wondering if the rules of adult life have been hampering on my creative ability to simply ‘make up a crazy story’ with Barbies. Sometimes, I think to myself “right! It’s time to play with Barbies! This won’t be a photostory, it’ll be a nice, fun little game.” So I set everything up and while I do, I plan the storyline out in my head. Not on purpose, I just see a basketball and think “oh! there can be a big basketball game!” and before I know it, the whole game is already planned out. This means that when I actually start, I am terribly bored and simply pack it all away again.
This bothers me quite a bit, actually. When I was younger, making up stories was a breeze. I wouldn’t even bother whispering the character’s lines, I would say them right out loud! When I got closer to finishing primary school, I still didn’t have trouble making up a storyline, but I did say the lines in my head. I could easily play for hours, using only two dolls and piece of furniture. Sometime between then and now, that all changed.
I know it’s silly to get worked up about this, since I can still enjoy Barbies without playing with them. I can still take photos, blog, sew outfits, make sets and display my collection. But when I see the latest Dreamhouse, I think “wow! cool! I want that!” but then I realise that I won’t actually play with it. It’ll just sit there, like all my recent purchases. $250 down the toilet.
So that’s why I’m starting a mission. No, not a mission. A quest. A quest to regain my creativity! I’ll keep you updated.
UPDATE: (as of 14/8/16) Okay. So I played a little game with the Cloudship 507 I just made recently. It was quite amusing, expect then someone made a comment about me talking aloud. (I didn’t even know I was doing it!) That was when I decided to pack up. It didn’t help that it was 10pm and I had to get up early in the morning.
One thing I found, was that even though I kind-of knew what was going to happen (Imogen and Kayla were going to go exploring the new planet), I still managed to randomly make things up on the spot. For example, when it was time to go back to the ship, they suddenly began to run out of oxygen. And then Imogen fell into a crater. And then the hoverboard broke (It actually did. The hot glue did not hold on to the shoes at all, so I used blu-tack instead).
UPDATE: (as of 23/8/16)
I tried to play another game, got it all set up, then got bored after five minutes and packed it all up again. Well! Looks like I’m going to have to try a different approach.