One of the best moments and worst moments in my short artistic career was when I read from my first book “The Passion of The Christoph” at Penny’s Open Mic and Penny herself said with a complementary tone, “Christoph Paul…wow, he really is his own genre.”
Artistically that is still one of the best compliments I’ve ever received, but the Jew-Marketing guy in me thought “Shit. I don’t even have a genre; how am I going to sell this shit and who the hell is my scene?”
Now, 5 to 10 years from now if don’t die or end up in poverty that gives me scurvy or something so I can’t write, this will be a great thing, cause original authors do win in the long run. But as a young writer, still in the short-term, it’s scary to be all alone in the book world. While readings do go well, I still don’t fit into the literary community of NYC or a lot of the indie community online of very genre specific books.
And while this sounds romantic and I come across as a sympathetic literary rebel without cause, underneath all that is just a lonely frustrating feeling of not belonging anywhere.
But at BizarroCon and really for the first time at any literary event (and I’ve gone to grad school and way too many damn readings) I felt like I belonged and just enjoyed the writers and artists around me.
This gathering (not Juagglos related) was just other writers who also didn’t fit in their communities. It was a lot writers I related to and enjoyed their company and conversation. I observed there was a strong desire to produce works that were fun and original, which can be lacking in a lot of other literature communities.
Where other groups talk about literary merit like it will cure hunger and others talk about just selling and social media, it felt good to be around writers who talked about screwed up films, cool bands, old child hood stuff, comic books, and about books that didn’t come off as smug or snobby.
My favorite critics have always been Beavis and Butthead cause they just simplified things: this is cool or this sucks. That was the mentality I got from many of the writers and though my writing could be considered a weird humor satire, the one thing I have in common with the Bizarro crowd is we are all ‘genre fuckers’. Meaning we love turn things on their head but still make a fun and entertaining piece of art.
I don’t know for sure if I’m a bizarro writer, but I am a ‘genre fucker’ in that I just like telling different type of stories in different ways–mixing things up that shouldn’t be mixed together.
Yet, as I get ready to leave, I’m starting to care less about labels but in going to BizarroCon (and will go next year unless unable) I have made some awesome writer friends and found others whose work I enjoy and inspire me.
So, if I really need a label, Bizarro sounds like a good fit.