My Idea of a Story
A foreword for the interested reader:
Scratch is an educational website designed to teach coding to children. It has an heart-warming community that can always turn up the unexpected.
I’m typing nervously. My eyes are flying across the screen in front of me. I am checking, double checking, and triple checking what I am about to post, a habit that I normally reserve for special occasions. Not that today isn’t a special occasion.
As words fill the screen in front of me, I feel tension build up inside of me. How will this go? How will it end? Will it end? Will I be successful, or will this flop on its face? Is this professional enough? Should I include that? How does this look? My mind fills with seamless questions and thoughts, but there’s one important question I’m oblivious to: How did this start?
It was a chilly day in December. The trees menaced with spikes of ice, snow carpeted the earth, and it was an overall typical Winter day for central Ohio. Fortunately for me, I got to stay indoors, in my warm toasty house, with a fireplace to boot. I was doing what I would typically be found doing: browsing the Scratch discussion forums. Basically, the discussion forums were a place where anyone could post for help with a coding question, ask for ideas for a new juicy project, or advertise their polished projects. It was like a little town square, with every walk of Scratch life apparent. I was one of those people who would primarily help others, even if I didn’t know how to help them.
On this Winter day, I happened to be helping a Scratcher (a user of Scratch) who needed inspiration for a new project. I replied with my usual, a few abrupt blurbs, and called it done. What life would have been like if I was done. This scratcher said something that I hadn’t heard before: “Can you give some more ideas?”
To be frank, I had a habit of giving the same ideas over and over, and I wasn’t very creative. What this event forced me to do was to venture outside of the box to imagine unique ideas, new and juicy ideas. Not boring ideas, lazy ideas, repetitive ideas. Dull ideas. Lifeless dreams.
Alongside a third request for more suggestions, I replied with ideas from restaurant management to tower defense. Although I didn’t feel it at the time, my entire perspective of game ideas had forever changed. They’re not a small sentence, but a story that you’re trying to convey, a story that the player gets to influence.
This was my first constructive experience with ideas, the first time I started striving to make something better. Eventually, I would harvest that mentality as the basis for the Idea Shop, but I didn’t know then. In fact, I am typing up the Idea Shop at this very moment. A one of a kind place where Scratchers can ask for ideas.
As I nervously compose the Idea Shop and ready it for posting, I recall one other important event in my history on Scratch. It’s what started the typing jumble I’m currently in. It may have been pretty small and insignificant, but it sure had a mountain of an impact. I visualize the event as incorporate its legacy into my post.
It was another ordinary day in the discussion forums. There was a post or two of CEO spam, as well as lots of young Scratchers looking for fresh ideas. I decided it was time to donate some ideas, so I idled over to a post by the Scratcher lizzyhippo. It was a regular post like you might find by any other Scratcher, a bit short even. All it said was, “What project(s) would you like?”
This was before I learned to expand my ideas, so I gave my usual short blurbs of ideas in list format. Average ideas, average day. A few long days later, I received a reply from lizzyhippo that changed everything I knew: “I always love your ideas!”
This may have been another average comment for all I cared, but the fact of the matter is, I cared a lot. Never before had I been complimented on the ideas I was giving Scratchers, and this comment really warmed my heart. It made me think I had a knack for giving ideas, that I might be able to turn my idea skills into a shop; something I revered back then. Lizzyhippo’s kindness caused the birth of the Idea Shop.
I finished writing what was about to become the Idea Shop, did one last check through, and clicked the Submit post button. I was nervous yet excited to finally see the Idea Shop off into the throes of the discussion forums. To begin helping people, what a sweet joy! I went to bed full of enthusiasm, and the first day ended. Nothing. No activity. Nada. I put on an optimistic face and continued my waiting. The second day ended. Nothing. No activity. Nada. I crumbled into distress. I mean, I was extremely happy to have my own shop! It was a status symbol to me, but to have an abandoned shop, a worthless shop… I worried if I could ever be anything. The thoughts echoed in my head.
It is now two years later. The Idea Shop is the most prosperous shop ever created. It has given over 600 ideas to Scratchers, has expanded to include members, and has changed beyond anything I could have ever recognized.
To me, it is also the most meaningful shop ever created. It is where I learned to write with voice, where I learned to think more critically, where I learned so many life lessons. These lessons aren’t constricted to Scratch either; I am a more creative person because of it. I can fly higher into the clouds of creativity, to taste the currents of innovation. And daily I continue my flight, flying higher and higher up the vine of life, into a destiny beyond compare. The Idea Shop was and is the liberator of my soul. Will I ever be the same?
A footnote for the interested reader:
The Idea Shop is a place where Scratchers may request ideas for projects.
It has changed my life forever.