Whether I’m creating some new piece of art, or taking a photo, even writing a story (wait, “he writes?”, you say), I have always loved creating things. I especially love to create things that have, shall we say, an unusual feel to them. I love the fantastic, the supernatural, and all of the strange things that people don’t like to admit exist.
As a creator, it’s inevitable that I’m going to meet people who are interested in what I do. Now, as I’ve been doing this for many years, I have learned to read people. I try to think about how I’m going to tell them what I like to do, so that I say it in a way that sounds interesting. But, in the end, how they take it is up to them, it’s their business and not mine.
|Originally published by Apex Book Company, October 2012|
It works fine most of the time, and people are either truly interested or they are not. If they are, I will regale them with stories of my awesomeness (thus, I don’t talk with them very long). If they aren’t interested, I’ll move on to something else, it’s their life to miss me anyway.
Every once in awhile, though, I get that person who seems to have a different view of the world. One where I shouldn’t be in it for daring to love the things that I do. I see it in their reactions when I tell them how I am a horror artist (or writer, sculptor, creator, take your pick), their instant disapproval of anything else I could say to redeem myself.
Sometimes it’s a subtle reaction, like a slight curling of the lip. Sometimes it’s a bit more, a turning away so that they don’t have to be near you and your filth. It can even be overt, as in the title of this very article.
Yes, I have been told I’m one of those kinds of people.
It doesn’t matter what else you’ve done in life. I could have just stepped in the house from saving a busload of children from a watery grave, after their driver had a heart attack and ran off the road. I luckily saved him of course, just in the nick of time, as I was grabbing a box of puppies that were about to slide into the abyss.
The very second I say, “I am a horror artist”, in their eyes I might as well jump into that abyss myself. Suddenly, despite anything else that I’ve done for the good of the world, just that little idea of my horrific work makes me the villain of villains. I should just start twirling my mustache and get it over with.
When you are on the receiving end of that reaction, it can be crushing. Sure, I don’t really give two shits about what they think, they are obviously mouth breathing morons as it is. But, even when we don’t like those people, what they say can sting. It’s upsetting that these folks can rule over us, or at least believe they can.
That last sentence is the entire point here. They believe that they can rule over us. They have some sense that society has given them free reign to throw out the unusual, to abandon what’s different than the norm.
It comes back to something I tell my children all the time, especially when someone might think that the choices they make are odd. I tell them, “nothing great in this world was ever done by those considered ‘normal’.”
If you are “normal”, if you are an automaton, then your world is going to have just one view. Your palette will have its limited selection of colors. Your story will be gray, and you will be content to walk with your normal brethren until the end arrives. There is nothing wrong with that, per se. Frankly, you wouldn’t have the unusual if you didn’t have a normal way to compare it to.
Without the odd and unusual ideas out there, we would have never left the caves. We’d be standing there, club in hand, waiting to pop the next mammuthus primigenius in the head.
It takes those strange folks out there, with odd ideas of fantastical things, to really change the world. Scientists, artists, authors, folks from all different walks of life who simply believed differently than those around them. Those odd people created the very world we live in, because they dared to put those strange ideas out there for all the world to see.
Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Asimov, the list of names goes on and on of people who wrote stories of the fantastic, influencing generations after them to make their ideas a reality. Tesla, certainly gifted with a flair for the strange, used his ideas to bring about technologies that we take for granted now. Artists like Whelan, Berkey, and many others paint things that never existed, and yet influence today’s scientists to make them come true.
That billion-dollar movie that came out this year? Something about “avenging” and green monsters and demigods? That was created by those folks in the comics world that had unusual ideas about the world, and it paid off for them.
We giggle, laugh, and even turn our nose up at the unusual folks in our world. We should stop and think about how our world would be without them. What we might do without their glorious visions, and their bravery to make it so.
It would be a cold, gray world, populated not with “those” kinds of people, but with everyone else who lack the life’s blood of the unusual creations that make us who we are.