So, I started this creativity workshop taught by writer Elizabeth Gilbert and the first assignment is respond to a prompt in writing for 20 minutes. Forgive me if I bore you. Here goes nothin’.
What did you love to do most of all when you were 8 years old?
My memory may fail me. I can’t quite remember what I loved doing, but I can remember what I did do. Maybe those are the same things. I would run around outside in the yard and play. I’d play with my sister and we would jump on the trampoline or run across the road and play in the creek. We would uncover crayfish and salamanders and try to find pretty rocks. Katie and I would bring these things back with us to put around our Barbie houses. Sometimes we’d dance in the garden, pretend we were witches, and make special “potions” out of shredded grass, water, and mud. I would run around during the warm summer nights and capture fireflies in a jar and then show them to my parents. I remember telling my sister weird and wacky stories. Not stories really–but why things are the way they are. She would ask me questions about things (or maybe she didn’t ask, I just told), and then I would come up with a ludicrous story in my head about why things are the way they are. I usually believed my own stories, because why not? If I could observe a phenomenon and then explain it, then my explanation must be correct. One example of this is how I explained to my sister what floaters in your eyes are. I told her they were actually worms in your eyes that lived there, and if you weren’t careful they could eat your eyes which is why some people are blind. We both believed my stories.
I loved (and still love) animals. We had sooo many pets. There were chickens, ducks, a pig, bunnies, cats, dogs, songbirds of all kinds, and even a sugar glider. Not all at once, though. When we had chickens, I would go to the barn and it would be like an Easter egg hunt. They would lay eggs everywhere, and I’d gather them up for my parents. The ducks laid eggs too, and that was more like a REAL egg hunt, because they laid eggs all around the yard. I would go into the barn and play pretend that I was a witch or wizard or whatever, and the barn was my castle. I spent so many hours, days, in my head.
On summer afternoons, I’d go out to the pavilion near the house and sit in the hammock that stretched between two trees. I’d usually have a book in hand and just lie and read for hours.I can’t remember what I read at 8–maybe Junie B. Jones? Amelia Bedelia? Nancy Drew? Goosebumps? The Baby-sitters Club? Well, whatever, I would read.
I would look forward to trips to Grandma and Grandpa Brown’s. Grandpa would take me to the dairy bar at the end of the road and we would sit and eat ice cream together. I would sit in the middle of the floor of their living room and show them my newest somersault or flip. They were so freaking impressed that I could somersault, and I was proud of it too. I’d sit at the coffee table and color in their coloring books. I never really liked coloring books, but I did it anyway. I’d get impatient and either give up on the picture or color too fast and end up outside the lines. I would explore rooms in their house that I didn’t spend too much time in, like their bedrooms. I’d go through drawers and closets and just look at stuff I found. I’d find photo albums or toys and things from my dad’s childhood. It was like a treasure hunt. I’d always want to venture down to the basement to explore as well, but I wasn’t allowed down there alone.
And trees! I climbed every tree that I could. That’s one thing I DO remember loving. I loved to climb trees. I loved the challenge of using my body to hoist myself up to higher places so I could see things from a different view. I would scope out the best climbing trees. Grandma and Grandpa Brown had the BEST climbing tree in their yard. It was large and the limbs were thick and low. I could sit in that tree for hours!