Friday, May 19, 2006

On Proprietorship

I'm wondering what people feel proprietary about?

There's bands and writers that I feel proprietary about, that seem to speak to me directly. Usually they're things I discovered as a wee lad growing up in the wilderness of Gunnedah, when I wasn't too busy fighting bears or building log cabins. Fritz Leiber comes to mind. I love the Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser stories, and I can't read them without feeling like I'm back in Gunnedah curled up by the fire, just living those stories, and yearning to be there. Fritz Leiber's "Coming Attraction" is also one of my favourite stories, I've referenced that story in more things than I'd care to admit. He's also an author who I've made sure I still have stories in reserve - so I know that there are still work of his to read.

One of the things about feeling proprietorial is the desire to share your love of said author or band (or whatever) with someone else - you want them to get it, but only as long as they don't get it more than you.

You know what I'm talking about: you tell someone that you dig a particular band and they tell you about the time they lived with the band's drummer, and actually played a couple of sets with them when they were starting out, and your story about how you lost virginity listening to their first album doesn't sound that interesting. Or you say hey "I love Leiber's stuff" and they tell you, "well you should check out that book of essays I wrote on his short fiction", and then they start quoting "Coming Attraction" and making jokes about the Gray Mouser and Ningauble that you don't get.

Yeah, I've come to terms with the fact that some people feel more passionately, rigorously, or intellectually about the things I love. But it still sucks.

Which is why I started making up things to feel proprietary about, like the band "Widget Come Lately and the Plastic Matrix"* and the author Gribben G. Muddelhen, let me tell you, you haven't lived until you've read his novel "Reginald the Loveable Stoat" or the charming novella "Three Ships Explode, One Doesn't." It wasn't easy, but with a judicious mixture of self hypnosis and some new psychotropic drugs I've actually lodged these into my memory. Yeah, try and feel more passionately about those than me, and I'll just make more stuff up and not tell you.

They're mine.

*WCLPM's series of self titled albums (1, 2 and 3) are really cool, you should check them out. But, hey, I'm sorry, you can't.

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