Response to Origin Piece

The “Hands Arts for Humans” (HA4H) livestream has started encouraging daily writing exercises. Common prompts are being shared. This has actually motivated/inspired me, so yay! See M’s Patreon or Vi’s Patreon if hand arts sound good to you. We also hang out on a Discord now.

in response to prompts on Origin Piece (art that inspired you),
from Anne West’s "Mapping the Intelligence of Artistic Work"

This is another one of those prompts where I’m probably going to go sideways on it because wow, do I not have a lot of work to trace ideas back from. I don’t expect to be able to locate myself in an artistic canon. I should probably be loaded into an artistic cannon! HEY-OOOOOOOOOO

I remember a while back, while it still existed, I submitted some writing to Elfwood. The submission form must’ve had something about influences (and maybe they meant fandom and I completely misinterpreted it?) and I remember saying something about how I thought a lot of the style was coming from Hemingway. I’d just read a couple of his works and I think the sentence structure had stuck with me. The mod who vetted the submission replied that they could see it. So I can probably point back to some of that.

I think what inspired me to work at all is more interesting, though. I used to make up narratives, or extend them, for video games. It helped that we had a Nintendo Power subscription, so there were a number of games I was exposed to as essentially still art, and depending on how detailed the article or walkthrough got, I could end up with a lot of artistic leeway. I had no idea, for example, that “UN Squadron” was based on a manga/anime series called “Area 88,” so in third grade I was writing complete nonsense about three characters flying planes for some abstract forces of good. I don’t think I even realized what the UN was. That’s freedom.

Obviously the submarine from “688 Attack Sub” (which actually is real and has a name and I don’t know if I knew or cared) needed to have its continued adventures documented in a series of comics drawn in a single color of marker or pencil on any paper at hand. I filled that niche, in exactly the way you’d expect a little boy too: with extra guns. Pew pew! I was probably six or seven at the time.

My parents are saints for preserving all that. I think they just tossed it in a box, which they then gave to me when I bought a house, but it worked. Mostly. Shia the cat immediately peed on the boxes. I didn’t understand what she meant by that and took it as criticism. I haven’t checked to see what, precisely was damaged in the process.

Anyway: what influences my modern work? Gosh I do not know. I’d like to have some of William Gibson’s style and sensibility, and his ability to have a chill or intense moment just by falling right back to dialog or monologue. I’d like to have the courage of Greg Egan to write a story about plant-aliens fighting for feminism (and occasionally being gay?) while trying to discover the science to save their world because the one next door just got hit so hard it turned into a star and oh by the way all the physics are different because the speed of light is wavelength-dependent so you are discovering along with them. It’s called “Clockwork Rocket” and it’s a wonderful beginning to a trilogy of books, called Orthogonal, and it makes me sweat just even trying to summarize the beginning of it.

I think I have stolen jokes from Mitch Hedberg, though. Miss you, Mitch. Rest in a food that starts with P.

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