Animation

Teddy Bear Tuesdays! (An Intro)

Blake Harris 06.02.2015

Writing for IdeaRocket comes with all sorts of perks. There’s the fun of learning how animation happens, the joy of seeing characters brought to life and, given the company’s name, the freedom to feast on space ice cream any time I’d like. In addition to all that, of course, is the benefit of providing for my family. But, unlike the other IdeaRocketeers, my family is a little different than theirs. And that’s because, instead of having children or conventional pets (like dogs, cats or salamanders), my fiancé and I raise a family of teddy bears.

kiki gets a hula skirt

I know what you’re thinking: this guy is nuts. And that, I realize, might very well be the case. But before you cast judgment, let me tell you how all of this got started and maybe, just maybe, persuade you to a adopt a teddy bear of your own…

It all began back in 2007, when my girlfriend Katie and I exchanged gifts on Valentine’s Day. I presented her with a ravishing pair of pearl earrings, and she gave me…a teddy bear; a sneaky-looking little guy dressed in a purple cat costume. She named him “Claude Bear.” At the time, I thought, “I know gift-giving isn’t a competition, but if it were, I just kicked my girlfriend’s butt.”

CB Who?

But boy did I turned out to be wrong about that.

Claude Bear quickly became a part of our family. We treated him like a unique combination of pet, lucky object, and long lost childhood friend.

Katie and CB

His presence reminded us of the innocence and imagination that we’d slowly lost over the years.

CB Taxi

Flash forward to February 2008. I gave Katie a pair of tickets to see Mary Poppins on Broadway, and in return, she gave me another teddy bear. A koala named “Kiki.” This time, I was more appreciative.

Meet Kiki

I immediately loved Kiki, but not nearly as much as Claude Bear. Those guys hit it off!

sledding bears

After Kiki came Baby Bart. He’s sweeter than cotton candy (but probably not as smart):

BB Snorkel

Next came Freggly. He’s a mongrel and he loves books (but that’s mostly because he eats them)

Freggly Books

The bears weren’t just a fun escape, but soon enough they helped bridge a connection between the world AS IS and the world WE WANTED. As Katie and I found ourselves working too many hours—I was trading commodities at a financial brokerage and she was working at the school she was attending—and slowly but sadly we were beginning to lose touch with each other. But then a funny thing happened…

While I was at work one day, I wrote her an e-mail about the havoc I imagined that our teddy bears were causing back at home. She loved this little story and demanded more. And so, like a good boyfriend, I complied with tales of mischief and madness; schemes and shenanigans. These stories about the bears created a hidden, magical world for us—a special universe like Harry Potter’s—they represented a way to stay close even as we spent more and more time apart.

Oceanographer JPEG

I wouldn’t say the bears were the best thing that ever happened to me; that honor goes to Katie. But I will say that the impact the bears have had on my life has definitely been the most surprising thing that ever happened to me. I never would have thought that raising a clan of tiny, unruly, stuffed teddy bears would help me figure out how to break through the monotony of adulthood and rediscover the type of passion and creativity I thought I had left behind forever in my childhood home.

And if these names sounds vaguely familiar to you, it might be because I made sure to thank the bears in the back of my book CONSOLE WARS:

SB thank you

I know, I know, how dare I use a cheesy pun. But, in my defense, I had just written a 500+ page book and thought I could get away with anything. The bears weren’t happy about that either. But they were happy about this: I’ve started writing a children’s book series centered on these furry ragamuffins. It’s called Scheming Bears:

SB COVER

Finishing the first book is going to take a while, so in the meantime  I thought it would be fun if, each week, I selected a famous fictional teddy bear and explore how that bear and his or her creator rose to such prominence.

So check back in a week from now for the first installment of Teddy Bear Tuesdays.

Blake Harris

Blake Harris

Blake Harris is the author of "Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation."
Blake Harris

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