Part 1 – Heroes
2016 was the year when I discovered that I am my own hero.
Undeniable fact, empirically verified by many others, arrived at by a lateral process of elimination. You always have that thought, that you’re somehow different, that things are that little bit more difficult for you than others, harder in some way or another. Finding out this was real has been a life-changer for me, and something that I have been seeking for 6 long pain-filled years.
From a young age I have been drawn to a special kind of hero.
Superman. A little bit, but not much.
The typical superheros held no lure for me, although the anti-heroes of Western cinema, like Fight Club’s Tyler Durden, interested me with their nihilism and alternative viewpoints. Still not up there as ‘heroes’, someone to emulate, admire and draw strength from, though.
Miles Vorkosigan is the earliest example that I can remember, a chance book gift from my mother, purchased from where is anyone’s guess. He is the protagonist of a space opera series called Memory, written by Lois McMaster Bujold. Admiral Miles Naismith Vorkosigan was born short, hunchbacked, with brittle bones and a serious inferiority complex. I liked him and drew parallels with him instantly. Couldn’t have told you why back when I was 12.
Elric of Melnibone, star of Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories. The heir apparent, an albino prince born with defective blood that means he is tired all the time and often pained, living day to day semi-normally thanks to a variety of strong herbal concoctions.
Now: Sylvia Plath. One of the greatest poets of the 20th century. A visionary, an artist, someone who saw into the interstices that make up what we term ‘existence’. Her writing has long been a source of perverse comfort to me, expressing what I am unable to in succinct, precise lines of wonderful poetry. Mad as a hatter, and committed suicide by putting her head in an oven. Even more of a hero than in life.
H.P. Lovecraft. The seminal horror writer and poet, a man who was incredibly well known in his time for prolific correspondence. After he died he became far more famous for his many horror stories, notably those concerning the occult and old gods from beyond our conceivable dimensions. A sickly child, he struggled with ill health all his life and spent much of his time in bed. A hero the likes of which may never be seen again.
The list goes on, could be extended very, very far. Stephen King, Roger Zelazny, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jack Kerouac, Katie Jane Garside (check her out, her music is super unique). You get the picture.
Next: Part 2 – The Long Search Ends