Stuff I Did in the '80s
It’s Just a Fantasy
It’s Just a Fantasy

For the first half of middle school the only recreational reading material I enjoyed was comic books. I couldn’t be bothered with my reading assignments or the books on the summer reading lists but, boy oh boy, did I tear through every manual, guide, handbook and module that Dungeons & Dragons published.

For a couple of magical years it seemed like all the world was rolling twenty-sided dice and playing D&D. We’d play before school, during our lunch break, after school and on weekend sleepovers. Although I was obsessed with memorizing the information listed on the stats, charts and tables, it was the imaginative element of the game that I enjoyed most. Consequently, I often played the role of dungeon master.

In 1982, false controversy began to grow around the game when a college student went missing who happened to be a D&D gamer. This incident was sensationalized in the film Mazes & Monsters (starring a young Tom Hanks). By 1983 my friends had moved onto other pastimes (i.e., chasing girls). I shelved my copy of D&D for the time being but its lasting effect on me was profound.

I craved stories that reminded me of D&D. I read books like The Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian and classical myths. I watched movies of the era as well, such as Legend, Ladyhawke and The Neverending Story. A whole genre—a whole fantasy world—had been revealed to me, thanks to Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s creation, and I would never be the same.

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Introduction Half a Boombox I’m Not a Member I was Simon Le Bon (For Fifteen Minutes) Motown 25 Watch Whatever, Whenever Snowblind You’re the One That I Want Call Me Your Kiss is on My List Electric Boogaloo Dear Daryl Hall and John Oates Where Shopping is a Pleasure Dialect of a Decade I’m Alright The Sunshine State Shazam! It’s Just a Fantasy I’ve Got a Secret Sunday Funnies Impeachment American Top 40 License to Drive Risky (Show) Business Jumping Someone Else’s Train Yakety Sax I Want to be Elton John When I Grow Up Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Tetherball, Dodgeball & Flag Football Sk8 or Go Home Roll a Saving Throw vs. Velour Piano Man The Duckman Cometh Money for Nothing Waiting for the Bus More Than Meets the Eye The Legend Begins Whip It When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best Keeping the Faith
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Never Abandon Imagination Tony DiTerlizzi: Never abandon imagination.

Imagination is a world of possibility that exists within each of us. It is what makes us uniquely human. It is our creative fingerprint that touches and influences the world around us. Imagination is essential to art and science; to innovation and prosperity. It gives us hope, calls us to action and leads to change.

Whether it’s fairies, dragons, robots or aliens, all of my children’s book characters are siblings born of my imagination – an imagination strengthened through years of encouragement from family, teachers and friends. While so many others abandoned it during their transition from childhood to adulthood, I fiercely held onto mine, hoping for a day when I could share it to inspire the next generation of dreamers. Innovators. World changers.

Imagination empowers us to envision and create a reality of what could be. We must hold it dear, foster it and never abandon it.