Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Childhood Dreams Become Artist's Fodder

Overdue for a post... as is custom. But I must have some traditions, mustn't I? Anyway, I've been laid up sick for a week (not in a fun 'oh I get to be 'sick' and stay home and write' kind of way, but in a 'occasionally surfacing to consciousness, then submerging again' kind of way) and since I've been able to cling to humanity long enough to string a few thoughts together, I've been writing madly on yet another new project, one that I already love dearly.

I'm not entirely sure what this project is going to look like once I'm finally facing it at close range. It's like a massive stag moving back and forth through thick fog. But I know the project more intimately in other ways. I know the characters in it, the things that drive them, the things that haunt them. I know where it's going, and I'll learn what it looks like on the way.

All of this ties into the fact that while I was sick, I saw the latest Transformers movie (Edge of Extinction, or Age of Extinction or some such...) and - I know, I know, stop rolling your eyes! So much of the recent 'live action movies' are terrible, but some parts of them are actually pretty wonderful. While I have an undying hatred of the 'token hot bimbo with no intelligent reason to be there' and the 'token hot guy who's supposed to be witty' (I'm not even able to quantify my hatred of Shia Labeouf. I mean, plagiarizing your apology for plagiarizing something else? I can't even.) and all the other random story devices that Michael Bay has made up because, Bay does what Bay wants, I really do think he got the souls of the Transformers themselves well represented. It's something I'm willing to debate, anyway, with anyone who wants to. Also, the music in those movies is awesome.

So, anyway, the whole point is that I'd never seen the most recent movie, so I watched it. Like four times. Because, you know, I'm sick on the couch, and they just kept playing it, so I kept watching it. I cannot remember a time when I didn't love the Transformers. I've been with them since the very beginning, and I maintain a certain devotion to them even in less than perfect manifestations. I, personally, rather liked the newer looks given to them in the more recent incarnations, because they're viably realistic. Even if there are parts of these movies I don't care for, the Transformers themselves give life to all the daydreams I thrived on as a kid. They make me go out and look at the stars at night and wonder what might be up there. Consider things like the idea of a non-human entity having more humanity than humanity generally does, and how being alive has more to do with actions than it does with having a heartbeat.

Which leads me to new ideas, new themes, new stories.

My happy obsession at the moment is this revisitation of longstanding childhood dreams involving the Transformers, and associated themes. But they're only one remnant of my childhood dreams that provide me with fodder for stories and characters. So often as people grow up they leave behind influences that, at the time, meant a great deal to them, even shaped how they viewed the world. Let's face it, not many guys will say 'I went into the Marines because it was the closest thing to being He-Man that I could find.' But how many engineers really wanted to find out if you could built a glider out of three pieces of bamboo, a trash bag and a garden rake, like MacGyver, how many conservationists wanted to be like Jana of The Jungle and run with the animals. Adult underestimate the influences of childhood dreams, even as they're utilizing those very things in their careers.

I prefer to embrace my childhood dreams, feeding them and loving them.