Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adri Leya and the Case of the Purloined Perception!

Now that I’ve dipped my big toe into the world of Alan Moore’s comic series, Promethea (see previous blog entry for deets), I have a couple of questions. Okay, only one.

Where did my IMAGINATION go?

As an offbeat, introspective kid (growing into an even further offbeat, mildly/pleasantly disturbed young adult) my mind swirled with magic, story fodder and faith in different, expansive worlds. I believed in unicorns for real. At way too old an age, I would creep into the woods behind my house and sit, waiting for a unicorn to approach. Sometimes, I tried planting little flowers or even singing, hoping to affix a horned beast to my childhood posse.

We all know how THAT story ended.

SIDENOTE: One day, however, I did happen to stumble upon an odd, magical discovery at the large rock where I would sit: a fully intact pair of monarch butterfly wings. I still have those wrapped in Saran, tucked away in the treasure drawer or box that every girl had (or still has – guilty). Among the other treasures: a loose Mother of Pearl button; a rock from the top of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, the first mountain I’d climbed; a fistful of realllly old chestnuts; Mancala beads (remember that game?); random foreign coins and sea glass.

Even after the Unicorn Rejection Period of my life, my imagination trudged on. I would write for hours - short stories, poetry and attempts at “chapter books.” I wrote the endings first, then took a stab at the beginnings; very rarely would I make it to the middle. I have, thusly, a pretty impressive collection of story twists with mediocre intros.

I’m proud to say that, over time, my little yarns became increasingly disconcerting, and clearly influenced from the breed of mystery novels I was getting my hands on from used-bookstore scavenging. Stories like dizygotic twins experiencing death telepathically; women with personality disorders who believed they were Biblical characters, or the ghost of a young girl searching to be brought back to life to exact revenge on humanity. I think I was about ten years old at the time.

Ask me to write something fictional now, I'll sit for hours on it. I'll sift through any strange dreams I might have had, books I've read. I'll come up with mind-blowing, incredible ideas - and then realize they're actually the stories of Narnia, or X-Men, or Dahl's Matilda, or something.

When you’re reading a book, or a graphic novel, or a poem or see an amazing illustration or piece or art, do you ever wonder how the HELL they did it? Are you reminded of the times in your life where ideas like that grew, and blossomed and were nurtured by outlets like coloring, or painting, or penning – even typing on your shitty typewriter, armed with White Out? How do these men and women SUSTAIN the visceral force to construct entirely NEW worlds and ideas?

Landlords. Cable + Phone + Internet. Heat, hot water. Supermarkets. Department stores. Deadlines. Taxes. THEY have stolen my imagination! This massive, seemingly inexorable new breed of Super Villains have succeeded in pilfering my punch!

They must be stopped. MUST be apprehended! But HOW?


Eric Orchard said...

Start with kid's books and work up. Although things don't get much better then the middle reader YA sections of the book store. As Alan Moore would say-trust your own ideas(I think he said something like that to Neil Gaiman).

greenthumm said...

sigh, glad i'm not the only one who didn't get to hang with the unicorns :)

April said...

Less input.
More output.

jahfurry said...

Rock on.

Anonymous said...

I like unicorns

John said...

I don't think you've *lost* your imagination. The thing about all the writers/stories you mentioned in your list of things your stories are really just is that those stories are really just recombinations of other, older stories.

Like, take Narnia. C.S. Lewis was obsessed with Norse mythology, and according to his autobiography, it was Norse mythology that led him to convert to Christianity. So, for him, the two are intertwined, and this shows up in the Narnia book. Aslan, the Christ figure is also a Thor figure . The White Witch is more like Loki than like the Protestant idea of Satan. Add to this Lewis's love for Kipling, and you can see Narnia is really just The Jungle Book + Christianity + Norse myth, with a little Greek mythology thrown in from time to time.

If you think about all the books we really, really dig, they do this -- take from the stream of literature and make a new combination of old images and plotlines. This is especially true of hero stories, fantasy and sci-fi, which tend to be the bulk of comic plots.

So I wouldn't discount your own writing because it is a part of that centuries-old conversation. I think that's actually what makes a writer want to write -- she wants to join the discussion.

And yes, I'm totally reading through your blog.

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