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Peculiarity as a Writing Philosophy

I don’t know what kind of comedic, late night TV show these people are trying to imitate, but they must be imitating something because what they are attempting to do is impossible to believe. These people are stereotypes, and I am terrified of them.

One of them is huge, with dark tattoos on every inch of his visible skin. The skin that is not visible is encompassed by black jeans, a black tank top, and a pack of cigarettes that hides the huge scar I saw earlier on his middle finger. His female companion is not that much different. These two people are members of what is called “The Anarchist, Cross-country, Propagandist Puppet Troup” and they are about to perform Hansel and Gretel for a very confused and interested crowd.

The third and final person in this puppet troop is my strange friend, Avery,* which should have been a warning to the way this entire evening would turn out. Avery is a drop-out, and their goal is to become a hairstylist. If it were not for their feminine, angular face and slim body, you would have no idea whether they is male or female. Oh- and the last thing- Avery likes to be referred to by the pronoun “they,” despite its plural usage, so that they is free from specifying themself as a boy or a girl.

Adapting to this amount of peculiarity (and complete creepiness) in my life has led me to one simple rule: as long as my chances of being fatally injured are under 35%, I can enter into whatever strange situation I like and not feel obligated to extract myself. Peculiar situations are what fuel my desire for creation, and I cannot write without some amount of bizarre material to work of off. People are attracted to craziness, even to something they consider outrageous, disgusting, or ridiculous. That’s why overly adventurous types are in top demand in any profession involving creative, written work. Any writer willing to put themselves in a situation that is foreign to them immediately increases their chance of success. Daring writers are the bridge between the eccentric and the usual, and it is their job to bring the abnormal to those who are unwilling to go out and seek the unusual themselves.

The puppet show begins. Despite the actual puppets, which are huge, stuffed, movable animals and weird adaptations of personified fruit, the plot line remains on-track until the two lost children we’ve come to know and love are kidnapped by a creepy looking man with a banana head. From here, the story becomes an allegory to prison reform and a criticism of the American ballot system. Hansel is locked in a cage, and the townspeople outside are left to vote on the size of his prison cell. Mr. Banana Head explains that Hansel will not receive the chance to return home unless the option is presented to the voters on the monthly ballot. The story ends with the children breaking out of their confinement and continuing their lives as juveniles on the run from the law.

After the show, I talk to the puppeteers about what their main points truly are. Prisons, they say, should be abolished. Communities should take more localized steps in the area surrounding them to make sure all people grow up to be law-abiding and compassionate. Ballots, they also claim, are merely the government’s way of making people feel as though they actually have a choice in politics. These ideas, of course, are extreme. The people presenting these ideas, although stereotypical in looks, are very kind. While I may not agree with the message they are promoting, their presentation still leaves me with a lot of questions. Do prisons effectively deal with crimes? Are there problems with the American Prison System that need to be addressed? Is the fact that the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world a good reflection or a bad reflection on us? What would the world be like if there was no prison system?

With my works of fiction, I seek to answer the questions that are unlikely to be explained by reality in the foreseeable future. As for the questions above, writers may be the only ones who hold the answers. Writing a fiction novel may be the only way to ever find out.

*Name has been changed




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