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Books Creativity

I’ll Be Right Back…

I have a confession to make. For the past six months, I have been disappearing down a rabbit hole, crawling to the backside of the wardrobe, hitching a ride on a tornado…and making my way to the empire of Une Belle Ville.

It started innocently enough — my nephew on his tablet in the backseat on our way home from an adventure.

“What’s that?” I asked, hearing huzzahs and sing-song chimes.

“Forge of Empires,” he said.

“A video game?”

“Yea, it’s cool. You build a city by collecting resources and building an army. I’m in the Stone Age still.”

When we got home, we sat on the couch together and he showed me his city. Just a few random huts, some dirt trails, an obelisk — but it had me at sing-song. So I loaded it on my iphone and away we went, my nephew and me sharing our cities and achievements.

“I’m in the Iron Age!” he announced.

“Me, too!”

“You caught up with me. I have three archers!”

“I built a fruit farm!”

We went on like this for a few weeks, comparing notes as we played dueling technologies. And then one day, I started hearing zap-zap-zap and kaboom instead of huzzah and sing-song, sing-song.

“What age are you in now?” I asked, curiously.

“I’m playing Minecraft.”

“Not Forge of Empire?”

“No. It was too boring. This is better, see…”

And so our paths diverged. He and his kabooms went one way, and I skipped along with my huzzahs from the Bronze age straight on through to the Industrial.

I know, I know…it’s a little puerile. It’s also one of those nefarious escape mechanisms that gets you strung out on dopamine.  But given the state of the world (and the state of my family of late)? I’m all in for an extra hit of dopamine thank you very much.

The funny thing is, my city — Une Belle Ville — is exactly the kind of place I’d like to spend my time if the rabbit hole jumping, wardrobe crawling, tornado clinging thing actually worked. My fellow villagers and I rank high in enthusiasm and participate happily as members of the local Guild. We trade instead of battle, we polish instead of plunder, we explore the world and give aid when we can. We have lots of trees and gardens, a rosarium and a butterfly house. There’s a mountain preserve, a Celtic farmstead, and a vineyard. We can see the Oracle of Delphi, the Arc de Triomphe, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Notre Dame, and a Statue of Zeus all in an afternoon’s walk. We can visit the zoo, laugh on the ferris wheel, take a hot air balloon ride, or climb the steps of the Observatory to see the stars.

So far, I’ve built a paper mill, am working towards a print shop, and look forward to the day I can build a library for my city, because we all need books, don’t we? Those other things that give us a beautiful out, an “I’ll be right back” excuse to leave the 21st century messes and remember what’s possible with a little bit of imagination and some escapism-flavored dopamine. Huzzah!


2 replies on “I’ll Be Right Back…”

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