Let me take you back in time.
The year is somewhere around 1986. I’m in High School and having a rough time of it.
Aside from my loose bundle of friends, I often found solace and escape in books and comics.
About this time, I saw “My Favorite Year” for the first time. To this day, it’s one of my favorite movies. For being labelled as a comedy, it had a surprising impact on me, although, at the time, I couldn’t have articulated why.
Here is an exchange from my favorite scene:
Alan Swann: Those are movies, damn you! Look at me! I’m flesh and blood, life-size, no larger! I’m not that silly God-damned hero! I never was!
Benjy Stone: To *me* you were! Whoever you were in those movies, those silly goddamn heroes meant a lot to *me*! What does it matter if it was an illusion? It worked! So don’t tell me this is you life-size. I can’t use you life-size. I need Alan Swanns as big as I can get them!
That struck home.
Now, I’m not going to get into the weeds about what, if anything, an author (or any artist, really) “Owes” their readers. That’s not the point here.
The point, which I couldn’t articulate then, is that I identified with Benjy Stone, probably much more than the filmmakers intended.
I, too, needed Alan Swanns as big as I could get them. I needed them often, and I found them in books, comics, television, movies, and music.
Let me take you ahead in time a bit, to a show called “Firefly.”
Now there are a ton of great lines throughout the entire run of the show, but the ones I want to focus on now are from an exchange between Kaylee and Simon:
Kaylee: See! You’re doing it right now! What’s so damn important about being proper? It don’t mean nothing out here in the black.
Simon: It means more out here. It’s all I have.
Right now, we’re living in some very dark times. There is uncertainty, fear, rage, and hatered damned near everywhere you look.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the middle of it all. I’ve been feeling it and I have seen more than one artist question whether what they do is even important anymore. Whether, in the face of what is going on, in the face of so much suffering, if anything, any one person can do, matters.
I say that it matters more, now, than it ever has before.
All art will shine just that much brighter out in the black.
It matters so much.
My words are all I have. I write stories to entertain, to maybe give someone a place to escape, to shed a bit of light into the black and, with it, hope?
So, please keep making what you make. Do what you can do. We all need your stories, your art.
I promise I’ll do the same.
And it will be ok.
Time: 2:28 pm-ish
Music: Blind Guardian – The Bard’s Song (In the Forest)