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Thursday! 3-18: You've Got to Be Weird, A Little
I am a little weird.
Okay, that’s not exactly true. I’m a lot weird but most times you’ll never know it, because I’m a grown adult who knows the value of getting along with other people in general1. However, I am at heart an odd man. You probably aren’t surprised by this. Certainly, if you’ve been a devoted subscriber to Thursday! for more than a month or two, you’ll have noticed2.
Enough about me, though. How about you? Are you weird? I bet you are, because you’re an artist and artists are, deep in our hearts, weird. You might not consider yourself weird, but you are. You have to be. The very act of artistic creation is weird and only those of us who can dip into that weirdness can create art worth a plugged nickel. Don’t believe me? Look at it this way. If you write fiction, you create entire, functioning human beings and breathe them into at least a temporary existence. You place those newly-enlivened people (or animals or alien creatures or vast horrors) in locations you have also created, either from memory or from new whole cloth. Then you have those beings do things — not things you force them to do but things they as actual beings would do were they actual beings, which they (at least for a while) are! You perform a similar miracle as a visual artist or a musician. You conjure a new reality from inside yourself that can exist on its own for some period of time.
Now, you may quibble with my use of the words “reality” and “create” but they are accurate. Creation is powerful, which is why Stephen King wrote in On Writing, “[Y]ou must not come lightly to the blank page.” The power in it is also why it must belong to us weirdos.
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Why? Well, weirdos know that we’re messing about with dangerous stuff. We know how keenly art can influence the emotions because our emotions are so often tangled by art. We know how easily a few choice world can change a chunk of the world because it’s happened to us, in our hearts and our heads. We don’t have the considerable luxury of normalcy — of the certainty that what is today will be tomorrow. We’ve imagined all sorts of tomorrows and know how wonderful and terrible they can be, if the weirdos don’t create honest and true art. Who wants a world run by the bland and corporate? We’re getting that now, in a lot of ways, and it’s not helping us3. Who wants a world run by those with fire-seared consciences? We see that now as well and we are far from better off for it4. No. We weirdos need to be out there creating and sharing and inventing and spreading our inventions, lighting those little flying sticks of dynamite and flinging them into the world.
Not as acts of destruction, though. We aren’t foolish anarchists. We don’t do the work of the Destroyer. We create because our creations can bring people together who might not come together any other way. We create because the world really does need our weirdness to stay fresh and interesting.
I’m a weirdo. I’m also a poet and a writer and a few other things. How about you?
What I Wrote Last Week
Fancy a story or poem? Read all you want at JimmieWrites.
ONE LAST THING! Down under the footnotes is a little empty heart. I’d like it a lot if you’d click on it. There’s no guarantee it’ll do anything besides turn all red and happy, but you never know, right? Maybe Substack will tell more people about Thursday! if we all click the heart. Let’s see.
Which does appear to be an increasing problem the past decade or so. I’ve run across far too many people who have no interest in functioning as a human being among other human beings of equal value. They believe they are the only real person in the world and may do as they please, whenever and wherever they please. These people make me long for the days when other people could use coercive social pressure (i.e. a firm punch in the snoot) to enforce a base level of decent public behavior.
Did the name of the newsletter not clue you in quite enough??
That’d be your blight of social media right there. And your bland Hollywood fare.
Speech conformity, enforced by those who are dead-certain they are the right people to determine what is permissible. Laws “for the common good”. Public safety enforced by those with little contact with the public. We can go on, but Thursday! isn’t the best place for all that.