“Where’s that boy? Dinner’s getting cold.”

“Up in his room, working on his video game.”

“Blast that video game! Get him down here for dinner. Tonight I cancel his computer privileges.”

Alice knocked on the bedroom door. “Bobby?” No answer. She respected his privacy, but didn’t want Rob storming up here, so she pushed opened the door.

She walked into a world of spectacular color. Bobby had hung mirrors on all four walls so that every bit of artistry was magnified. The room was a living kaleidoscope. On his computer screen, the colors and shapes were dancing to the soundtrack of a hauntingly beautiful score. Alice forgot about dinner, forgot about Rob’s anger, forgot about everything except the incomparable beauty surrounding her. “I’m on fire!” Bobby had told them months ago. “I’m creating a masterpiece.”

Bobby was designing all the graphics for the game, composing all the music, writing the story line. “Come see,” he begged. But his parents had nothing but disdain for video games. “Total waste of time,” they pronounced.

Now, at last, “Escape Into Wonder” was unfolding in front of Alice. The richness of Chagall, the swirling motion of Van Gogh, the sensual energy of O’Keeffe combined with Bobby’s own unique palette of expression. Impossibly rich reds and blues were haloed by chrome yellows and soft golds. Forest greens lightened into limes, morphed into teals, then darkened into ultramarines. The music was influenced by Holst and Stravinsky with echoes of Debussy and Messiaen. Alice could barely hold back the tears. She wanted to embrace Bobby, ask for forgiveness. But where was he?

She looked under his rumpled covers, in the closet, in his bathroom. Bobby simply was not there. Then she looked more closely at the computer screen, read the story synopsis.  A teenage boy finds refuge from an uncaring world in a universe of his own creation, a world of beauty. And there he was, amidst the vibrant colors, watching his mother with sorrowful eyes.

“It’s magnificent . . . we didn’t realize . . . please, don’t leave,” Alice pleaded.

But Bobby turned away and disappeared into the game.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
10 months ago

Miss Julie, I wonder if the boy was truly happy in a colourful kaleidoscope of his own making? Was he being the rebel who fought against his parents’ disdain for his art? Love your rich use of colour descriptions!

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
10 months ago

Great story, Julie! People often say video games are bad for their kids but I recently read a study that proves it can be good for both social skills and mental health. Bobby seems quite talented in the design of his video game. Coding and setting the music to it must have been no small feat! Moral of the story is to support your kids in their passion.Even if their passion is video games- this has been something I continue to live by. Great work!

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
10 months ago

What a beautifully described story, Julie. I often disappear into games inside my head when I’m playing, they really are a marvellous way to escape from the rigours and mundanity of real life sometimes. But to really escape into one; how wonderful. Nicely done.

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Heather C
Heather C(@heather-c)
10 months ago

Excellent story! I was really pulled into the scene and your descriptive writing was amazingly executed!

Heather C
Heather C(@heather-c)
Reply to  Julie Harris
10 months ago

Oh wow. That’s really cool. Seriously, the best stories come from our own experiences!

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
10 months ago

Julie, how beautiful was this. I was swept away by the colours, the artists, the music. How sad that the parents of a child so immensely talented showed no interest in what he was achieving. No winners here. I absolutely loved it!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
10 months ago

Hello, Julie. I feel guilty about myself because I always scolded my children whenever they play video games. I want them to focus on their study. Now I just found out and thought that I need to support them sometimes on what they want. Thank you for this one, Julie.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
10 months ago

There are so many things to like about this story, Julie! The idea itself, of course, with a profound interest calling us, like Ulysses’ sirens, to come and forget about the world, but also your way of describing Bobby’s creation in terms of musicians and painters in such a great way. And then there is the relationship-aspect, with the non-understanding attitude of people surrounding someone with a profound interest. (Alice should understand, since she herself went down the rabbit hole!) Finally, I love the philosophical/science fiction-take with the possibility to physically disappear into an unknown reality. Great writing!
By the way, I was confused by the names Rob/Ron. I take it that it is Alice’s husband who got two names. Or did I get it wrong?

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Emily O'Leary
Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
9 months ago

Beautifully written Julie! Such vivid descriptions of colour! I completely relate to Bobby, as someone who frequently likes to disappear into my own world! I wonder, will Alice follow…?!

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