My path of storytelling

From a very young age I gained a fascination with stories. I remember vividly that one year we had a corner of the classroom which had a small library with a green couch. I was a very good student back in primary school and would often be done early with whatever tasks we had. When I was sitting there twiddling my thumbs I was allowed to go and read in this corner. I remember we had something similar in other years as well, but the green couch in the back of the classroom still rests in my memory. Even back then I loved reading. This was before I ever got into writing as a hobby, but not long before. I read a bunch of Dutch books, most of which I barely remember and the ones I do remember aren’t particularly interesting. One thing I did find out while looking into some old books was that a series I loved as a child called Dik Trom was way older than I thought. The first book is apparently from 1891. That’s a 131 year old book, that’s pretty crazy.

Not much later after this my aunt and uncle threw a party. I think it was a celebration of being married for a certain amount of years or something like that, it’s not particularly relevant what it was for. One thing I remember was that I was trying to compete with a friend to think of the most animals and write them all down. I definitely wasn’t an autistic kid, I don’t know what you mean. The second thing I remember is that there was someone there who was a professional storyteller. I don’t remember what story the man told, but I do remember I was enthralled by it at the time. Not long after this I started writing stories with a club of school friends. I still remember one of the stories I wrote about how me and my classmates found a hole under the swingset on the school playground. This hole led to an underground maze which then brought us to a jungle only to find a pyramid there to explore. It probably wasn’t very good, but the creativity was already there.

I kept writing stories for a long time, until I was about eighteen or so. Unfortunately that’s right around the age where you’re constantly developing so every three months I’d look back on what I wrote and think it was bad and delete it. That’s something I do regret in hindsight. I had a story that was over a hundred pages at one point. Sure, it was probably really cringe and immature, but it would be really cool to still have that. Alas, that computer is long gone and when I was fourteen I sure didn’t bother making backups of things.
Unfortunately I soon after that started getting serious mental health issues. Bullying had made high school difficult for a while, but I often got through it and the last two or three years I became friends with people I still speak to. But starting uni without having a good grasp of my mental health was tough and there were maybe five or six years where I barely wrote anything. Only in 2020 did I start a serious attempt at bringing writing back into my life. I did still read in the meantime, of course, but writing was definitely on break.

One thing that did enter my life during this time, and something I will be forever grateful for, is Dungeons & Dragons. I like saying that I started playing it before it was cool, and that’s sort of true. Truth be told, it was always cool, people just didn’t realize it. Nowadays everyone and their mother plays Dungeons & Dragons and with the rise of popular shows like Dimension 20, High Rollers and Critical Role it’s become a lot more mainstream. None of these existed when I first started playing D&D, it was just me, my friends and a lot of awkward attempts at roleplaying. As someone with low charisma in real life it took me quite a while to get used to roleplaying and I still wish to get a lot better at it, but it’s a different game now compared to when we started. Initially I thought this was the dumbest idea ever, and now I think it’s the greatest idea ever. It’s a different kind of storytelling, but it’s an exercise in teamwork and storytelling at the same time and I urge everyone to try it at some point.

I find myself writing a lot more forcefully lately because of how important it is to me. I feel like if I start neglecting it or take breaks I’m losing something that’s integral to who I am. It doesn’t even matter if my stories are good, although I prefer it if they are, I just want my stories to be. So as you can see, my history with storytelling is long and probably not nearly as interesting to others than it is to me, but I find storytelling to be something fascinating and extremely important and I just wish to share it with other people. So to those of you still reading this please keep in mind that the stories you listen to and tell are more powerful than you might realize. They say the pen is mightier than the sword and although I’d rather fight a man holding a pen than someone with a sword, I think someone skilled with a pen is definitely someone to be wary of. Thanks for reading.

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