Cratersville, where I grew up, is an iconville. This means, besides being a techno-magical construct, it is based on the ethos of Earth-like things.
Knowledge of this has prompted me, on more than one occasion, to dig further into certain aspects of life on Earth. The cosmic treasure trove where I mine these gemlike facts is that wondrous place known as the Celestial Warehouse.
My favorite things to excavate are songs of various eras, cute animal videos and factoids of dubious of worth.
Back when I was in school, however, I obsessed over another category of interest—that of discovering special days of observance that I could insert into the Cratersvillian calendar.
There was national ice cream day, world elephant day, speak-like a pirate day, but one of my favorite days, especially when the beginning of the year rolled around, was “no pants subway ride” day.
Now, technically this was more of an event than day, but I decided that its general premise of going around town otherwise fully dressed while being a bit drafty down below sounded like fun.
Of course, I had to modify this idea a bit to prevent wholesale expulsion from Cratersville, a small desert town not known for putting up with such shocking shenanigans.
It was my senior year of high school when I finally decided to insert this esoteric event into my repertoire of bizarre behavior. I had just weathered a pretty emotional winter holiday break, and I wasn’t quite ready to return to school and all of the boring tedium that that entailed.
I needed some time away to think, and I’m proud to report that my belted mid-thigh length t-shirt paired with over the knees rainbow-striped socks was demure enough to avoid a visit from the decorum police, yet stare-worthy enough to be a distraction at school.
Thus, with my coveted suspension in hand, I spent the morning basking in the warmth of a small replica sun I had conjured above my head, while I stared at a water-filled crater hoping that my murky future would resolve into crystal clarity within its glassy depths.
When that didn’t work, I took out my Creation Book and spent the rest of the day doodling while I let my mind wander over the mess that my life had become.
After years of creating little creatures with wild abandon, a tsunami of change had swept through my family, leaving broken wreckage behind.
Poppy, my co-conspirator in creative endeavors, knew the storm was coming. Being connected to the Magic the way she was, meant that she saw things out of time.
I envied her that, even with the knowledge she possessed, it didn’t keep her from the path she ultimately chose as her own. The sun that saturated her very being banished all fears along with the shadows.
I, possessing mere moonlight to guide my soul, did not feel as sure about my steps or as certain that I wanted to face the consequences that would surely follow once my decisions were made.
I thought about my father’s motto: Life is a game of cards. I knew all too clearly that cold and windy January afternoon that I would have to decide which cards to keep in my life, and which cards I would have to let go.
I didn’t want to let go of my life in Cratersville, but I knew, even then, that this would have to be one of the cards I jettisoned.
I didn’t know then of the Realm I would discover just a few months later—a Realm that I was literally born to fit into and to fix if I could.
I also didn’t know of the cards that other people held or the wildcard that the Magic was waiting to play on my behalf. Above all, I really didn’t know what repercussions would befall me for my Monday morning stunt.
All I knew, as the day drew to a close and I went home that night, was that I must be willing to keep playing no matter what cards came my way.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures
Life is a Game of Cards