Like many others, I found D&D to be a wonderful creative outlet. I started playing the game at a very young age, because I was fortunate enough to have an older brother who brought it home with him from high school. I remember playing the game with the original boxed set, before the advent of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons with the Player's Handbook and the Monster Manual. We had to use copies of Dragon magazine to supplement the rules.
I remember many afternoons of going to the Compleat Strategist on 33rd Street to buy gaming equipment – books, character sheets, and dice.
I remember the day the Dungeon Master's Guide came out, and how excited I was to finally hold a copy in my hands.
I fondly remember the two characters I played the most: Pureheart the Powerful, a Lawful Good paladin whose name I shamelessly stole from the Archie Comics superhero; and Mr. X, a thief whose origins were a mystery, even to himself.
I remember hours of bonding with others, regardless of age, over a gaming session. I remember how D&D led to me to discover Champions, and Boot Hill, and Top Secret, and Traveller. (My very first attempt at a professional submission was a new alien to the Journal of the Traveller's Aid Society.)
All of us dreamers should be grateful for Gary Gygax. He invented a way for us to harness the imagination, and to do it together.