Origin Stories; mine and others’

Superheroes have gone mainstream (again). The golden age comics are being rebooted in movies (sometimes a few times!), new comics are creating new superheroes, and everyday heroes are being cast (and pressured!) as Super. What is our fascination with superheroes?


Over at DIY MFA, Gabriela has a short quiz to determine your storytelling superpower (mine is The Underdog); a podcast on How to be a Learning Superhero (Ep. 88) on the MFA/DIY approach; and, generally, her site is about how to teach ourselves to become (super!) writers.

In a MOOC on Superheroes on edX, I realized that most superheroes have a genesis story founded in tragedy (Superman is sent to Earth to evade destruction of his home planet, family and entire species; Spiderman becomes a hero after the death of his uncle; and, more recently, the Shadow Hero finally becomes the hero his Chinese-American mother pushes him to become when his cowardice gets his father killed). And, although this isn’t the direction expected from What is your origin story? for this week’s prompt, I’ll take it anyway.

After my PhD and postdoc in physics, I felt disillusioned of academia; my research was beginning to feel like a lie. I left, went off the map for a few years, struggled through several first drafts of my WIP, and ultimately returned to academia in neuroscience, started studying data science and continue to write more first drafts.

Before I get to the point, another tangent: most people aren’t artists, or writers, or musicians. They’re artist/writer/musician and something else (then something else a few years later). I’d take it further and say that we are many labels, too many labels to neatly package a person, artists among the worst.

Without writing, life feels random—it is random. Some people take up pottery. I write. I write to know myself, to know others. And I’ll keep pushing past the superficial chaos until I discern the patterns of the world. I may be writing a long time.

A word of the day before I close: generativity, from psychology, expresses a lifelong urge to pass along our genes and memes. I’ll skip the kids but I want to share the rest.

What do you want to share? Why?


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