make-believe

Darkness Visible

It was, unfortunately, inevitable that my current enjoyment of–or near obsession with–Supernatural (note: only on season 2, pleasedonotspoilerme, I’ve already had quite enough of that already and it’s getting harder to dodge the bullets) would surface here sooner or later.

Initially, I was a little skeptical about it: after all, two pretty boys chasing ghosts? Umm. But, credit to them, after a slightly wobbly start it won me over. Technically, it had me at “Let’s send that son of a bitch screaming back to Hell”. It appeals to the same bit of me that felt the urge to spend hours hunched over demonology texts in the Folklore section of my college library when I was an undergraduate. (Yes, before you ask. I did. A lot of hours. My book request & borrowing record was quite the document by the time I was through.)

Anyway, there I was, having the traditional girly “Which Winchester’s better?” argument online (bonus points to the opponents who said, “Why can’t I have both?” and, “Their dad.” Thinking outside the box: I like it) to which, by the way, the correct answer can only ever be “Dean“.

And it struck me that there’s a very good reason for this–thus far (again, season 2, no spoilers please) he’s the Damaged One. Sam’s all very well, but he’s too floppy-haired and goody-goody at this point to be of any interest whatsoever.

To paraphrase Meredith Grey, it’s all about being dark and twisty.

When it comes to fiction, I like dark & twisty, preferably when they come with paired with “damaged”. I’ve always admired actors who seem to throw themselves into the bad-guy roles, and I’m always a little jealous of someone who has both the talent and the opportunity to lose themselves so completely in a character like that. I’d make clear that in reality, I’ve had more than my share of dark, twisty and damaged, and simply can’t be doing with it–but in those instances of “let’s pretend”, it’s irresistible.

And then, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that it’s not all that different to what writers do–there’s that brilliant quote from Jonathan Nolan about needing a whole load of therapy to get the Joker out of his head. Writers, just like actors, bury themselves under people who can be the opposite of everything they stand for, who do and say things the writer could never stand to, and who–fundamentally–aren’t real. They’re the voices in the head made flesh, and it’s the job of a writer to pull them out of the void and give them shape.

Just for a while, it’s a chance to try out someone else’s thoughts, beliefs… their whole lives–and then, when the time’s right, to step away and return to your own.

And when you get right down to it, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.

Dark & twisty all the way.