Saturday, March 30, 2019

worlds within worlds...

One of my favorite things about doing anything creative is the idea that, within this rather mundane everyday world, that can only sometimes be interesting, you can create something else that without fail is everytime.  Every Halloween season for a few years, we used to go check out this amazingness up in Detroit--what started as just a big party/masquerade with performances on a few surrounding vacant lots and became something much more, an immersive art and performance experience wrapped in the guise of a halloween party.  And truly, while there was much potential to be enjoyed in getting drunk putting on a costume, and wandering the Masonic Temple, it was also much more than some great music and performances. It created it's own world, its own characters and mythologies and no detail was spared from the tickets to the the stage sets to the figi mermaid tank that greeted you. In fact, it was like entering another world for a single night. I've missed the last few years, mostly due to money and my October's being sort of crazy,  But the handful of years I made it have cemented themselves in my mind as the most perfect blending of art, spectacle, and entertainment.  Last spring, we went to something called Satanic Panic at the SAIC ballroom that was similar, with burlesque dancers, contortionists, and other performances, a sort of smaller version, and it was cool, but not quite as tricked out.

And what do we do as writers but build worlds? I suppose this applies to poets as much as fiction writers, maybe even creative non-fiction.  Some writing may have more in common with the non-created world, may live and breathe inside it, may exist alongside it simultaneously and occasionally wander back and forth.  Things may be plucked from reality and stretched or bent into the shape, even amongst the most autobiographical work. These are perhaps the most interesting kinds of worlds, the ones that disorient you somewhere along the way, not sure where you are--in fact or fiction, and that confusion is part of the point.  Maybe this is what we mean when something seems so very delightfully meta--.I've had many an argument with my sister over the episode in season 6 of Buffy where she imagines that her entire life as a slayer has been the product of a damaged, troubled mind.  My conjecture was that it didn't matter, since the show, itself, is not reality. That our experience of the "real" world in the show is no different from the alternate world created in that episode--all a delusion made possible by the writers and producers and actors.  This is also one of the reason I love later seasons of Supernatural because they play with that so much--the fandoms, the LARPing, the fact that god is not god, but Chuck, "the prophet" --the writer of the series of books on their adventures.  That god is not a mystical being, but the writer that creates the storylines.

And indeed, as writers, we are the gods to our own little worlds.  That is probably why I get such immense satisfaction in those projects which deal more with created worlds--the dystopian, flooded world of ordinary planet.  The unhappy, haunted household of the summer house.  The troubled family of taurus.  To have created characters, plotlines, entirely from out of thin air. Even the projects based on history or folklore--like the Slender Man pieces, or my current HH Holmes project, pluck details from the actual world, but then still create an alternative reality where the normal rules do not apply--even when it comes to more autobiographical projects.

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