Georgios Gkikas

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

My Writing Journey

Posted by Georgios Gkikas on

Writing was not an easy task for me growing up. I started writing for the first time at the age of four, when my parents enrolled me in kindergarten, in Greece. I can still remember writing my name for the first time as well as my teacher’s reaction as I was picking up the pencil with my left hand because I was the only left-handed in the class. I probably inherited that from my father. Being left-handed is considered to be a gift nowadays, but back in my father’s early childhood, they had a completely different view on left-handed people. I can still remember the stories he once told me. Being left-handed was different and different meant odd, and unnatural. Whenever he used his left hand to write, the teachers would slap his hand with a ruler, and command him to switch hands. Ever since he trained himself to write with his right hand. Even nowadays, he uses his right hand more than his primary one. Imagine how these views can also change the way we interact with the world, like language for example. Humans came up with the word “right” to describe a situation as correct, valid. Humans have been using words like “mankind” when describing humankind. So, it is clear to me that the views of the people can shape the way we communicate as well.            

In later years, my parents could see me struggling to read and write properly. While reading, I would skip lines, misspell words and even forget to use diacritics. So my parents decided to find out what was wrong and sent me to a psychologist to test me. As it turns out, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which not only affected my reading and my writing skills but also my way of thinking. After I was diagnosed, I have been attending meetings with a psychologist for two years. She helped me with my homework as well as improve as a writer and understand how my mind works. Even though this disorder affected my performance in school, I tried not to view it as a disadvantage. On the contrary, I considered it as an opportunity for me to improve myself even more as a writer.

Over the years, writing became my main way of communication. As an introvert, I would barely talk. I was the silent person in every group. Since I started communicating, I was not a very talkative kid, and that didn’t improve. I was that shy boy, who wouldn’t raise his hand in class, and who would prefer to express his feelings over a text message or a piece of paper because he was afraid of human interaction. As a result, writing made me feel more comfortable and free because I didn’t have to interact with other people. It also gave me time to organize my thoughts in order to create a more detailed and meaningful message.

At the Age of fifteen, I realized how much I loved writing. I was never much of a reader, but the movies I watched and the video games I played growing up were enough to convince me that creating worlds was my thing. And what is a better way than writing to do this? All I needed was a story, a pen and a blank piece of paper. I was not spending much time on homework at home, but I would gladly spend hours creating ideas in my mind so that I could give them life.

Later the same year, I started writing a personal diary, recording all my dreams and ideas, which I thought would help me create new stories. One day I created an alphabet using odd symbols as substitutes of the Greek alphabet, in order to communicate safely with my friends in class. All these experiences made me love not only the process of writing but also the structure of the language itself.

I was always into fantasy, mystery, horror stories. As a result, most of the stories I have written are based on dreams I had in the past, including nightmares, or other books like the series of “Harry Potter” from J. K. Rowling and “Lord of the rings” from J. R. R. Tolkien. Furthermore, books from other important figures of horror stories, authors like Stephen King and H. P. Lovecraft were great influences. Being a fan of J. R. R. Tolkien, I was impressed not only by the story but also by the idea of creating a new language within the story. So I decided to give it a try and create my own language in one of my stories. Admittedly,  my imagination played an important role in creating stories and languages, but most of my stories and languages are incomplete, as I realized it takes a lot of research in history and I need to study a lot more about how languages are created in order to understand how a language is properly structured. Not to mention how the background of the story can affect the way a language can evolve over time.

Nowadays, my goal as a writer is to enable myself to express my thoughts in the best and most colorful way possible, so that the readers can picture exactly what I have in my mind. I will also try to enlighten myself with knowledge about linguistics as well as read more books that can help me gather useful information that can help me create my own worlds.

Blog Posts by CUNY Peer Leaders

The Game of Reality

Posted by Georgios Gkikas on

I have been making decisions in my life since I can remember myself. With every decision, a number of uncertain events unfold. Usually, I  have a reason to make a decision, in order to cause a specific outcome but the outcome can turn out to be completely different from what I had in mind. That happens because my decision is not the only factor that can determine the outcome. To me, there seems to be a connection between my decisions and the outcomes. Each outcome caused by my actions creates another event, making a “chain” of events out of my decisions.

            Every day I notice how my decisions affect my life. When I have to take the train to go to work but by the time I reach the door of the train, the door closes and I miss the train. The first thing that comes to my mind is that the reason I lost that train was that I waited 30 seconds on a traffic light, right before I reach the station. But then I realize that before that I stopped for 10 seconds to stare at that good looking red car and before that, I had an old lady in front of me who walked so slow that caused me to lose another 5 seconds. And it goes back to the time where I wake up late because last night I slept for 3 hours. If I keep going back I will reach the point of my birth. I was making this “chain” of events since I was born, but before I was born, even though I wasn’t self-conscious, I existed and I was affecting my mother’s decisions.

            So when I say that one thing causes another thing, what I think is a chain of reactions. Like in the game of chess. Each player makes a move and creates a number of options. The other player will have to choose one of them and then that move will cause another number of possible moves. That number of possible moves for each player in every turn seems to be countless, but like in every game, chess has certain rules, and the rules will determine the next move.

            In real life we have rules too. Our society has set certain rules based on morals, ethics, Justice, religion and other factors that target on achieving for any living being or not living thing to coexist in harmony and peace, eliminating any possible threats leading to chaos, aiming for the development of our society and human relationships as well as the enviromental protection which is vital for our survival, etc.

            In some degree these rules limit our freedom of choice. Let me make an example. China is known to have some strict rules with regard to internet. People living in China are not allowed to use internet that has access to any web site outside their country, which makes it nearly impossible to communicate with people from China nowadays. That means that  their access to online information is limited because it is against the law to access foreign web sites. This restriction limits not only their options online but also their communication around the rest of the world.

            Examples like the one above prove that our number of choices depend on the rules we set as a society.

I believe society limits my freedom of choice. My family helped me to grow in a healthy environment in which I respect the rules, even though I know I can break them. So my childhood environment affects my choices, and there are probably other factors as well, in which we can not prove at the moment. But for those who break the rules, we should blame society, more than we blame them. By letting a child grow in a wrong environment, the chances of having problems in the future are higher. If society wanted to protect the child, then the child would be protected.

In a world where everything depends on those rules, we should at least demand to make them fair. Otherwise, if we let the problems unsolved the future will inevitably be problematic as well. One problem will lead to another problem, and that is how one thing can cause another thing.

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