Monday, March 27, 2017

I Find My Favorites in Clichés I Hate

I love Gotham. The Batman spinoff, reboot, prequel or whatever you want to call it is a television series featuring the city of Gotham in the time from when Bruce Wayne’s parents are put down up to… hopefully he becomes the full-blown Batman.

Now, for me to say I love Gotham is quite a feat in itself. For one thing, I don’t like anything. I mean, I appreciate a lot, finding quality in many of the things that don’t particularly bring be joy, but when it comes to something that makes me excited, obsessive, and invested? There’s not a lot.

This has been made a great deal worse in the last few years due to my life’s choices resulting me in an unhappy situation. A bad relationship combined with constant moving, lack of financial security, and a tendency to keep to myself instead of socializing, I found a huge amount of stress and depression that prevented me from being happy period. For a time, I could not find anything that would excite me enough to take my mind off things. I couldn’t even focus long enough to create.

But even still. Since November when I finally signed a lease in New York City, little pleasures have been coming back. I noticed as I took a four hour flight that I was laughing and enjoyingmovies for the first time since… forever? Things have been picking up. I liked Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  and got into Galivant pretty well, but I still have struggled to find an intense love for anything.

The reason why it’s Gotham is actually pretty shocking to me.

For me, the Batman world begins and ends with Batman the Animated Series. Everything I learned about Bruce Wayne, I learned from that show. Justice League had some effect, but for the most part, I consider the vast majority of Gotham-based creations to be non-canon.

One of the reasons I never got that into superheroes was due to my obsession with continuity. The world had to have a consistent set of rules, the storylines needed to remain true. If I “saw” it, I didn’t want it to be contradicted at a later time by some reboot. I like information to go into a pile of truth and not have to willfully ignore my disbelief when some writer changes his mind.

It’s for that reason that I don’t like the vast majority of books that aren’t written by the original author. I read them with one foot out the door. Anything you say is now speculation by an outsider, and I don’t trust it.

Why is Gotham different?

I gave it a chance after looking over my then-boyfriend’s shoulder as he watched it, and decided half-hearted to add it to my Netflix list along with all the other superhero shows. Batman was my first superhero love—Storyline-wise. The playboy, brooding billionaire never did it for me. During my first impression on Gotham, I didn’t like how they portrayed Selina Kyle, didn’t like how they were changing the mythos, didn’t want to enjoy it.

But I was enamored with Penguin. From the second he came on screen, his character was interesting, motivated, and filled with emotions. He was not my favorite villain as a child, but he carried the show for me now.

What’s interesting is that this is not the first time this has happened. One of my favorite books of all time is The Prize Winner, a memoir about a mom from the 1950s who earned her impoverished family’s financial security through winning poems in contests.

I don’t like memoirs. Or the 1950s.

I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but normally can’t stand urban fantasy.

I like Game of Thrones despite hating sad endings, political intrigue, multiple viewpoints, grotesque violence, male-oriented sex scenes, and sword wielding princesses who are bound and determined to fight being a lady.

People ask me why I spend so much time reading books that I don’t like, and the truth is because I don’t trust my first impression.

And it’s not just me. While watching Say Yes to the Dress, a dress consultant said, “When a woman comes in and tells you she doesn’t want a mermaid silhouette, she’s going to choose a mermaid silhouette.”

We often find gems in places that we wouldn’t normally show up.

My point is, it’s important to write what you want without worrying to much about the “red flags” you’re creating. Sure, you need to be savvy about how you’re deterring readers, but just because someone says, “I don’t like that kind of book,” doesn’t mean your book can’t be good.

Take it from a reader who can’t stand change, doesn’t like new things, and will write something off before she even gives it a chance: sometimes it’s valuable to write something that people claim they don’t like.

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