I don't know about some people but, for me, I have learned a number of life's lessons the hard way. Those things, and the emotions they trigger within me, are what colour my writing.
Here's one blog post that I wrote this morning, which I thought illustrated one of these life lessons and the consequential understanding and emotion, which then filters through to the stories I pen.
This post is inspired by this BBC article, “Why I wish I hadn’t sold my Star Wars toys” where Richard Fenton-Smith reported on the StarWars figures he collected as a child, but later sold for a Sinclair ZX Spectrum… and regretted it. To be clear here, he makes it clear that the Spectrum gave him years of joy, but there was something about the Star Wars toy collection that he didn’t realise would vanish in to the ether, on the day he parted with them.
That, “something,” seems to be captured later on in the article by Tracey Hamilton, “The man who didn’t sell them,” and there is a picture of a proud Hamilton in front of his StarWars toy collection. However, the last picture shows an American special collectors Anakin next to a French collectors… um, what the heck is that character? That’s what ultimately triggered my mind this morning. What price, collection perfection? Is perfection even possible? How far do you go? All the figures, in all the sizes, in all the release countries?
To a degree, that’s what a collection has come to signify to me; not really the things that have been collected, but the effort gone to in the physical collection, the research, the hunting… the collection goes beyond being a bunch of things and enters the realm of being as much a physical embodiment of the collectors determination and focus, as we can get. That is probably what Fenton-Smith is regretting, the loss of the physical representation of all his childhood effort.
That is what brings me to the DB5 that my parents bought for me. You see, with any toys bought for kids, they don’t last long. They get out of their boxes and played with, battered, scratched and… as in this case… lost.
Mum had been giving me earache about that car, even recently with me being in my mid forties. And I understand now, what I didn’t understand as a child… the sacrifice that my parents went through to get me the things that I wanted. Also, the things that I didn’t ask for but what they wanted to give to me; as an embodiment of what they wanted me to become… British Super Spy in this case.
Sure, I had a paper round, a long, awkward one that was done in all sorts of weather; but somehow I didn’t really understand the value of money. I’m living proof that sometimes, hard work doesn’t instil responsibility. For me, those things came later in life.
So, one day, after being reminded yet again about the DB5; the precious gift (among many) that my parents gave to me, and over which I failed to give due diligence, I went on e-bay and bought another. Yes, in my mid forties I bought a Dinky toy…
So, yes Mum; I get it now. Only with hindsight (which is always 20/20 vision) do I know what that car really represented; the effort that you and Dad went to, for me. But we can always get another car… we can’t get another life together; and I know that sometimes it might not seem like it, but I appreciate every day.