My Influence

2 min read by Dmitri and Stepan. Published in Essays, Stories.

My earliest childhood memories are from the Moscow apartment where my mom worked on giant oil paintings as a graduate project for her school. A lot has changed since, and in many ways, neither she nor I are the same persons anymore. Though the feelings of wonder, being surrounded by the craft that my mom was proud of, take over as I recall the details. Those images have impacted me on a very deep level, more than I could comprehend for a long time. For me, they have permanently associated creativity with a positive and intelligent way to approach any task.

I’ve learned a lot from observing her passionate dedication to every brush stroke on any medium. More so, I’ve learned the joy of the creative process that comes back and pushes me to do more, no matter the task, all those years since.

I remember the feeling the undeniable joy when we built a toy tower in my grandparents’ living room. Made of cubes, topped by cylinders, along with balls throughout the crevices, topped by cars, propped by sticks, garnished with toy soldiers and decorated with mini houses. No structure, no scheme, no rules.

It felt magical.

That day I received a gift of seeing the world beyond the brittle net of rules invented, taught, and enforced by man.