One time I carried up the street to the corner a notebook, a pencil, and a chair from my table and chair set. I sat there, in front of the Jenney gas station, for an hour or so, writing down the license plate numbers of cars that passed, which direction the car was traveling in, and also making note of the time, for which purpose I had worn my Cinderella watch. My theory was that if I did this kind of thing consistently, eventually a criminal of some sort would drive by, and I would be able to provide to the police the information they needed to capture the fugitive. And thus my career as a detective would be launched.
It didn’t work. And since I didn’t have a lawyer for a dad, as Nancy Drew did, and I wasn’t related to anyone on the police force, as the Hardy Boys were, I gave up my dreams of becoming a famous sleuth. Some things work out, and some things don’t. I returned to my prior career goals of becoming a writer who would also illustrate her own books, and maybe also become a world renown pianist and composer on the side.
During one of my particularly artistic phases, I had, for some reason I can’t remember, begun to think about death. It began to trouble me a lot. One night, I was worrying so much that I couldn’t sleep, and I got up to talk to my mother about it. The problem was this: what if I got to heaven, and found out I didn’t like it? And then I’d be stuck in heaven for eternity, always and always and always, and if I didn’t like it there, I’d just have to be miserable forever.
My mother told me that heaven would be a wonderful place, accommodating the interests of all the different people there ever have been, and there would be things for anyone to be happy about. It was a very comforting thought, and I went back to bed.
I took her comments to mean that there were different areas of heaven for people of different interests. For some time thereafter, I would imagine myself walking around on top of clouds wearing a beret tilted on my head just so and an artist's smock. I'd carry my palette in my left hand, my paint brush in my right, and I'd look for a particularly beautiful scene to paint upon one of the many canvases set up on easels for my use, any time I’d like, right there in the artist section of heaven.
Yes, I was a weird kid, then a weird teenager, and I grew into a weird adult. Ask anyone.
And it’s never bothered me much. In fact, I downright like it.
So I was intrigued by the title of Seth Godin’s new short book. Godin, an entrepreneur, writer, lecturer, marketer, blogger and thinker, applies the concept of weirdness to marketing, the way of the world, life. Celebrating individual preferences and the formation of “tribes” of people clumping together around shared passions, Godin almost normalizes weirdness; happily, he stops short of actually doing so. But he does make the point that “weird” is becoming, if not the norm, than, at least, widespread; and also, that having those diverse interests and loves gives us a richer experience of life.
I’ve always favored individual preferences and passions, and people clumping together together in groups too, but I’ve never been big on marketing or entrepreneurship; nothing wrong with them – they’ve just never been my passions. Still, here I am, founder and editor of a zine with a growing readership and a growing body of contributors, each bringing a unique perspective to the mix; a tribe, so to speak.
I’m not saying our contributors are weird, but our Fall 2011 issue brings writers with distinct voices, with creations spanning a number of “categories,” with short autobiographical stories, a review, excerpts from two new books – one non-fiction and one psychological thriller/fantasy – and a wealth of poetry . So take your time exploring the issue. And, since I’ve never been much of a marketer – mass, niche or otherwise – it’d be great if you could pass the word on to friends – we’ve got a pretty interesting gang here!
~ Kate Lydon
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