Fri 31 Oct 2008
Wotcher. Got a few different bits and pieces for you, this time.
First up, I was delighted to see a certain giant monster make a topical appearance in the current issue of one of my favourite magazines, namely Private Eye. Their ‘In the City’ column traditionally examines shady goings-on in London’s financial district. So imagine my surprise, when….
HEE HEE HEE!
Next up, here’s a question from Matthew – yep, the same Matthew who made the awesome Chinj pic from the previous post! – who really got me thinking when he asked:
After finishing The Black Tattoo and studying Hinduism, I wondered if the Dragon, the Brotherhood and the Scourge had any links with the three Hindu gods Brahman, Vishnu and Shiva, ie Brahma – the Dragon; Vishnu – the Brotherhood; Shiva – the Scourge. I was just wondering and thought I would point it out.
Um, to be honest with you, Matthew, the short answer is ‘no’. Hinduism had no direct influence on Black Tat – or none that I was conscious of, at least. While I’m familiar with some bits and pieces of Hindu mythology and theology, by the sounds of it you know more about it than me! But I’m sure I was influenced unconsciously by it – as I am in everything I write, by everything in the world around me.
Nothing that anyone writes or creates can ever be completely original. Whatever you do will be influenced by things that have been done before – including the things you’ve experienced or read about, the things you learned from, let alone archetypes, standard elements of a creative work such as, for stories like Black Tat, heroes and villains.
For a long time, when I was younger, that fact used to bother me. The impossibility of making something that was completely new was very frustrating. Sometimes it even seemed like if I couldn’t be completely original then it just wasn’t worth the bother of creating anything. But then I changed my mind.
Everyone has influences – a vast, bubbling mixture, some elements of which an individual won’t even be aware of. While you can (and should, I think) add to the mixture – expand your influences, by experiencing and discovering and finding out about as much as you can – there’s no subtracting from your influences or getting away from them. There’s no going back.
But here’s the thing: it’s the mixture that makes us different – the particular combination that gives a creative work, or even a person, their own special style and flavour.
The expression of that mixture in a way that excites me – and, I hope, other people! – is what I chase after in my stories.
I wish you the best of luck in chasing yours.
Lastly, while we’re talking about Black Tat, here’s something very cool that arrived in the post this week. It’s another edition, this time published in German!
As you can see, like the US paperback, my German publishers Blanvalet have gone for the classic black on white look first developed by the design team at Random House Children’s Books UK (yay!) – isolating the figure of Charlie [actually posed by Mr P's son, Ian, fyi!] from John Jude Palecar‘s awesome painting. But that red sticker on the front is a cheeky new twist! If you can’t read it, it says “‘Kotzende Fledermause? Ich bin begeistert!’Neil Gaiman“. For a translation of that quote – and the story of how I got it! – check out this interview. Hee hee hee HEE!
Meanwhile, on the same day as my copies arrived (how’s this for speed…?) the first comment from Germany came in on the Black Tat Guestbook. If you’re reading this, Vanessa, thank you very much indeed for your kind (and beautifully expressed) words!
Floof. A longish post this time, but it’s deliberate. Fact is, I’m about to go intermittent on you again while I return to PHASE THREE, so I wanted to leave you with a decent meaty chunk to chew on while I’m off back down the story-mine. As ever with a first draft, there’s a lot of work to be done. But I’m doing what I love, so I’m not complaining! Hope you’re doing the same.
Comments? Suggestions? Questions? Me and THE WEBSPHINX would love to hear from you! Drop us a line at the Tim, Defender of the Earth Guestbook for current or Tim stuff, or The Black Tattoo Guestbook for Black Tat stuff. First (or demon-!) names only, please. ;)