Besides being just a really nice young man, freshman Quinn Thomson is an aspiring comic book artist. He can be seen walking around campus with his trusty sketch pad in hand, ready to draw any spurt of inspiration at a moment’s notice. This is his “This I Believe” essay modeled after NPR’s running radio series of the same name.
When I was six years old, I was convinced that if I faced the wrong way when I fell asleep, a ghostly force would somehow hypnotize me into walking out in the forest, where a ghostly alien moth-man would fly off with me. As you can guess, I had a very overactive imagination as a kid. I still do. I don't believe in the hypnotizing alien ghost moth anymore, but I still, in a sense, believe in potential for the fantastic.
Along with the alien ghost moth, I had many imaginary friends and enemies when I was younger. Among them were a trio of small, insect-like robots who scuttled around the house when I was in bed, a mysterious, robe-wearing creature who lived in the apartment next to our house, and a monstrous specter who inhabited the dark depths of our (at the time unfinished) basement. I never saw any of these beings in person, but just imagined their presence. Strangely, I had these creatures envisioned in my mind; the robots kind of looked like vintage diving suits with claw hands and crab-like legs, the thing in the apartment vaguely resembled a Tusken Raider from Star Wars IV: A New Hope, and the basement specter was a floating demon face who probably spoke in a hammy, over-the-top villain voice. They may have been a bit spooky, but they never seemed to bother me much. Well, I always thought Mr. Face chased me up the stairs, but the argument still stands.
Now that I'm fifteen, I've forgotten most of these imagined beings, but I still have that sense of whimsy in my life. As many of you (my friends) know, I make comics. It might be seen by some as a silly hobby, or or a waste of time, but I see it as a way to express my imagination, a sort of fantastical catharsis if you will. I have a whole imaginary world inside my head, so I can't just keep it all cooped up in there! Most of my comics are set in a single collective world, a surreal, fantastical retro-future inspired by the old sci-fi movies I liked. This world, and the comic it features in, has become a good replacement for my currently forgotten imaginary beings, and just like them, the comic world is a strange but wonderful thing.
This sense of fantastic potential also creeps into other things, such as my views of the future. I've always felt like even though the world is a bit of a mess now, but that it can and will get better if we try hard enough. A lot of people these days think the world sucks and will only continue to get worse, until it reaches the breaking point, and society as we know it breaks down. I think that society as we know it will become unrecognizable, but due to a scientific enlightenment rather than an apocalyptic disaster. I think the future is going to be fantastic.