When it comes to promoting visionary fiction, I sometimes feel like Don Quixote, cherishing magical hopes and taking on missions I’m not equipped to handle. I begin to wonder if I’m no more than a delusional dreamer, fighting windmills and sheep.
Then, as so often happens in life, along comes a reminder that being idealistic and impractical may not be quixotic after all.
The value of dark horses
During the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, for example, Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves, and two re-united Beatles proved the value of dark horses, following one’s arrow, and attempting something new.
- Katy Perry, the daughter of Pentecostal pastors and an artist who has traversed music genres as diverse as Country Gospel and Italian Opera, emerged to prominence with her pop and trap combo, “Dark Horse,” a creepy departure from her usually candy-coated, bubbly themes. Of her current success, she says, “I feel like my secret magic trick that separates me from a lot of my peers is the bravery to be vulnerable and truthful and honest.”
- Kacey Musgraves stole the Grammy spotlight by winning Country Album of the Year and Best Country Song with “Follow Your Arrow,” a song about smoking weed and gay romance and not playing by the same old rules. How’s that for piercing a genre with a blunt point? “I don’t want to be constrained by boxes or genres,” Musgraves says. “When it’s good music, I don’t think genres matter.”
- Ultimate genre busters, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, did it up big at the Grammies with their performance of “Queenie Eye” from Paul’s latest album New, about being nervous and doing it anyway and going back for more. Says Paul, “I think people who create and write, it actually does flow–just flows–from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down. It’s simple.”
Throwing in a new trick
Another event that emphasized the value of taking risks and attempting something new took place last week during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. American snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg won the first ever Olympic gold medal in men’s snowboard slopestyle by throwing in a new trick. Besides the usual jetting, whirling, and flipping of his sport, this “crazy” guy formerly known as “second-run sage,” helicoptered through 4 1/2 rotations, while grabbing his board and flexing it behind his back. “Never even tried it before,” he said. “Never, ever tried it in my life.”
Oh, and by the way, like genres, these tricks now have recognizable names: Cab Double Cork 1260 with a Holy Crail grab and Back 1620 Japan Air. “I kind of do random stuff all the time, never make a plan up,” Kotsenburg said. “I had no idea I was even going to do a 1620 in my run until three minutes before I dropped. It’s kind of what I’m all about.”
These timely examples of genre busters are mind-blowing reminders that the writing and promotion of visionary fiction, like singing and snowboarding, is about crossing lines, breaking barriers, and saying no to rules and regulations that have lost their meaning.
Promoting visionary fiction a quixotic quest? Nah. More like helicoptering through 4 1/2 rotations, while grabbing my board and flexing it behind my back.