Lately, I have been helping to promote the local comic book convention (or comicon or simply con as it is also known) through chalk art, because I’m not much of a cosplayer. (I typically don’t even dress up for Halloween.)
The latest events were Hero for Heroes and International Tabletop Day held at a couple of local venues. The former being a comic book store event to support the Wounded Warrior Project and the latter a game store event to benefit anyone who likes to play things like Warhammer or D&D.
I support both, because the world needs more heroes. It also needs more myths. I am not suggesting the kind of myth that falls under the category of “urban legend” or “old wives’ tale”, but instead, the kind of myth that inspires us to greater things.
We need our heroes and myths to make sense of life every bit as much as we need them to have fun while alive.
We are our stories. We are the heroes we adore. What good is a world without heroes?
I believe our soldiers, the majority anyway, are heroes. At least, many young men go in with that thought. I dislike what is done to our servicemen by government officials who never have to physically experience the consequences of their policies.
My grandfather was career-military: World War II, Korea, Vietnam. He worked with the Strategic Air Command.
He was my hero, and still is even though he’s gone now. I think of him whenever I drive past the local air force base, or see an airman. I always wonder if someday they will have a crazy granddaughter who models their whole mental image of hero after them?
I gave the finished image to the nice serviceman displaying the humvee at the event. He let the kids play in it a little when they stopped by, and didn’t flinch when my three year old made something loudly go clunk right after he had said, “Don’t worry, they can’t break anything.” Whatever it was got reattached shortly thereafter.
I think, and hope, he liked the picture.
Later, I wandered over to the game night and sketched as games of crazy complexity went on behind me. The games were like chess, or Risk, if either of those games has a multitude of pieces and the game boards had stories and bags of dice.
There was an art to the scene. I never realized all of those little pieces were hand-painted figurines. Nor did I realize that the game rules were so precise that anyone would bring a measuring tape to decide a game move.
I watched for a while after I finished my work and presented it to the owner of the shop.
I still couldn’t quite get a handle on what was taking place in the game. Too many dice and too many rules for me. No doubt these are good games for people with a keen eye for detail and good recall. I could easily see how Role Playing Games could enhance a variety of skills from storytelling to strategy and so on and so forth. Somewhat in spite of myself, I started to wonder what the results would be of a longitudinal study on the effects of RPG and brain aging. Could playing keep someone a little more mentally spry than their less playful counterparts ? And what about the effects of problem solving skills on young people who play RPGs of one type or another?
I pictured people sitting for long hours taking great pains to paint the heroes and villains of their games–getting the details right with ultra-fine brushes and tiny containers of acrylics by their side.
Imagination is so uniquely human.
Inspiration. Imagination. Art. Life.
Each patch is woven together in the end.