Is that you? Is that me? Can we even begin to pull ourselves out of our mundane, sometimes annoying, habitual existence to dress ourselves in some sort of tight-fitting ( maybe even a little claustrophobic?) costume so that we can feel slightly special?
Is it possible that instead of creating fictional characters when we write, we can (even momentarily) reach levels of heroic strength within ourselves in the real world?
I was supposed to be sticking to my post-graduate reading/writing deadlines for the night and yet I found myself meandering over to old episodes of The Flash (Season 1) which I’ve already watched like a gazillion (or maybe gamizillion – can someone please make that an official word already) times. Procrastination is my thing. I think it’s very much a writer’s thing. When given boundless time to write, we procrastinate. When given a chest-tightening deadline, we procrastinate. It’s what we do! However, while sitting on my bed and enjoying the sights of Barry Allen -please dear God make a version of him actually exist in this world and I swear I’ll change my mind about marriage as an evil societal stricture!-
I had a sudden flash (see what I did there? lol) of inspiration. Yes, we are being overloaded with comic book heroes and villains…to the point that it’s becoming mainstream to be a comic book fan. It’s sad really. Because those of us that like having our little nerdy ‘cool club’ have to now debate the comic book truth versus the Hollywood blockbuster to the local airhead at the hair salon who thinks she’s an expert on Lois Lane’s character after watching a really bad Amy Adams interpretation. Or how you have to punch a guy in the face when he says Fox from Wanted is his favorite comic book honey but he doesn’t seem to understand that the real Fox isn’t Angie flavored, she’s black and equally hot.
Anyway, my point…the comic book influx (true to original material or not) can be a source of inspiration. We now have a pool of television series, movies and other avenues of reinterpretation that are entering the lives of everyday folk. What does this mean? It allows you to find what’s unique and different about yourself (mutant like even) and lets you roll with it. As a writer, this can be useful. We often tend to restrict ourselves (whether writing academically or not) and I think it’s important for people to pinpoint their strengths, then cultivate that as best they can. Writing is a dramatic performance (according to Henning, Gravett & van Rensburg in Finding Your Way in Academic Writing, 2005) in which we lay out our thoughts similar to actors who act them out on a stage. And in writing or performing our thoughts in this way, we make sense of our knowledge, and even ourselves as writers.But to ‘perform’ we need to face our inner demons that spew out fear, insecurity and lack. We need to be able to overcome adversities and any mental or physical challenges that life throws at us. I have less than a year to complete my thesis, do the necessary prep work for the PhD program I want to pursue and build up my freelance client base (as a copywriter) so that I can do the adulting’ and earn an income that doesn’t make me cry when I walk into a bookstore and see the giant spike in book prices. And many of you out there have even more on your plate. You may have family attachments, physical ailments, money issues, depression, abusive relationships…loads of things that are consuming your time and keeping you from being successful. I say…you can do it! Whatever it is that you want to. Whether you’re a writer, or not. Your superpower may be small, or it may be grand, just find it.
Whenever I’m in a writing lull, I think back to a Flash episode where Cisco Ramon celebrates his superhero friend’s achievement by fist punching in the air and yelling “Super sonic punch baby!”. And yes…I repeat that to myself occasionally (I’m weird like that) because it reminds me that nothing is impossible within our meagre selves. We can, if we push ourselves, achieve so much more. So the next time you’re banging your head against your writing desk, sure about your complete lack of abilities…think of your favorite superhero and how they wouldn’t give up…
and neither should you.
I’ve included a clip of my infamous Cisco Ramon motto for those of you who are not-Flash friendly :