I moved into a neighborhood with a school named Puckett when I was in the 4th grade. I found friends very quickly. I was sort of a character compared to my new suburban companions. I was a kid who probably became too fond of a good hyperbole, telling slightly fabricated stories of the schools and the experiences I had been a part of prior to my time at this new school. But what really allowed me into their circle of “elite and cool” kids at Puckett elementary was my ability to create monsters and other imaginary characters with a pencil.
This group of boys at Puckett elementary had an increasing appreciation for drawings and doodles of the fantastic variety. Knowing my honed drawing skills, I knew that I could be appreciated properly. (Hopefully my sarcastic tone is being picked up here). When they saw my drawings and as I was slowly drawn into the group I was met with an odd thing. Community.
This group of boys was consumed with each of the characters and the deep back stories assigned. Each participant had developed their own sense of folklore and fairy tale with each character and monster they drew, and we all cared about each other’s ideas. We would ask for the honest opinions and thoughts on each hero or creature. We thoughtfully participated in each other’s dreams – literally. We were engaging in community, and inside of this we experienced a certain amount of freedom.
No one felt they were less creative than the most talented, we merely just had a respect for the unique outlook and perspective each person had shaping our ideas. In the absence of airier motives and childish innocence we were able to do community unusually well. And inside of community done right, community that was unselfish in nature, we were able to create freely.