This past weekend I made a quick trip to Sarasota to visit my parents. I don’t get back to my hometown nearly enough–much of this is because I tend to see my parents at other places, like family weddings or the High Holidays. However, there’s nothing like visiting your childhood home and sleeping in your old bedroom. Also, hanging out with my parents is super fun: we eat at lots of fun places and we take morning walks on the beach, and then sometimes I say something like “my flat iron is dying!” and then my mother says “I have this flat iron I don’t use because I have a WAY BETTER ONE do you want mine?!” and then I take her flat iron and it is way better than my old flat iron was, even before my cat chewed on the wiring and compromised the heat transfer to the plates. ANYWAYS.
Part of the reason I love going home is the chance to see all my old childhood stuff through my adult (“adult,” heh) eyes. Even though my room has been converted to a guest room, a lot of my old paraphernalia, books, tchokes, and decorations are still lying about. And, looking through these items, one can see that I’ve been on the road to nerd-dom FOREVER. Behold:
That’s a corner of my bookshelf: Anne Rice‘s Queen of the Damned, Robert Heinlein‘s Stranger in a Strange Land (I totally never finished that book, guys), The Subtle Knife which is the second book in Phillip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials Trilogy, a couple Tolkien books, and Anne McCaffrey‘s Dragonflight and Dragonquest (told you I read those books a lot as a kid). Also, The Agony and the Ecstasy , and on top, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (not nerdy, per se, but a great book nonetheless!) Consider all the possibilities in that mini-snap-shot of my bookshelf, and then consider this one:
A Star Wars art book, some sci-fi fantasy art books, and Crisis on Infinite Earth (My Dad gave me that one).
And then this, I mean, come on:
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is also a great book, y’all should read it.
We’ll now move from the bookshelf to the walls. I dabbled in painting as a kid (I wasn’t very good at it). Here are a few examples:
So those are some fairies in an enchanted forest (I know. I was like, fourteen guys). And then this is the best one, truly, it is:
This is my copy of a portion of the original cover of A Clash of Kings, the second book on George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire series (the basis for Game of Thrones on HBO). I want to point out that I had never heard of the series or George R.R. Martin when I painted this (I think I was twelve). I just saw the image in one of the fantasy art books pictured above, and I thought “SO COOL.” So I painted it. And you know who that lady in red is, guys? That lady in red is Melisandre, who I costumed as last year and who I am doing a screen-accurate costume of this year. How insane is that, seriously? I really cannot get over the fact that I did a painting of her, like, fifteen years ago. If you’re curious, here’s the original cover (showing the full image, with Stannis on the other side).
See, I told you I wasn’t a great painter but still–so weird!
Okay so I bet you are wondering how I got to be this way? Well, the obvious answer is my dad: he introduced me to comic books and science fiction and fantasy. However, my mom is a total freak too! She’s a DOLL COLLECTOR. BEHOLD:
That’s my mom’s Alice in Wonderland doll collection–she has a thing for Alices.
And then she has this gothy doll surrounded by not one but two plush Maleficent dragons.
And then she has this great, green-haired Jun Planning Pullip doll (she has a few other great ones too, but this photographed the best!)
She also has these great Monster High Dolls. Monster High is this fantastic collection of ball-jointed dolls, the premise is that the dolls are the kids of classic monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Wolf Man, etc. These dolls are incredible with adorable accessories–I wish these had existed when I played with dolls, it would have given me something to do besides re-enact The Little Mermaid every afternoon with my neighborhood friends. My mom has lots of versions of the Monster High dolls, in lots of little dioramas:
My mother has some “normal” dolls, but she mostly leans towards dolls with a bit of a funky macabre flair. Pretty great for a tax attorney, right? She’d totally love the ball-jointed doll panel at Dragon*Con. I’d say one of the things that defines fan-dom is being a collector, and my mother certainly fits that mold.
My mom also built me a little doll collection of my own:
Peter Pan dolls!
Alice in Wonderland dolls!
Even my little innocuous Madame Alexander Doll collection has a fantasy twist!
A few more pictures during this stroll down memory lane:
A little Death action figure, from Sandman.
A dragon puppet and some hanging fairy figures.
My mother sent me back to North Carolina with this Star Wars Monopoly and Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Anyone want to play?
I know that just looks like a Rubbermaid container, but it is actually full of Star Wars figures. I didn’t notice it until right before I was leaving for the airport, otherwise I would have rifled through it, but hopefully this photo will provide evidence of my giant Star Wars figure collection.
So that’s a little tour through my childhood and some of the household items that shaped me! I’m lucky that I had parents who totally encouraged my nerdy hobbies. They’re still 100% interested in Dragon*Con, and even proudly display this creepy-awesome photo of my boyfriend and me in one of the main rooms of the house:
My parents are awesome.
What about y’all? What are some of your early childhood nerd experiences? Are your parents down with your nerdy hobbies? Let me know in the comments–EVERYONE SHARE THEIR CHILDHOODS!