The Need For Make Believe

It may not look like it, but that’s Iceland and Hatsune Miku in the picture to the right.  Oh, sure, it looks like a couple of girls in funny, costumes, but trust me on who they are.  I know, because I spend the day with them, and I’m familiar with their back story.

Yesterday was a day spent at a local anime con, and while I wasn’t all that much in a hurry to go–mostly because I had a lot of editing to do, and being there was going to take away from that time–I went, mostly because my daughter wanted me to go.

While I walked around a bit, and mingled with the otaku crowds–and even spoke with a few old friends that I hadn’t seen in a few years–I mostly found a place to sit, plug in my computer, and chat a bit while I snapped pictures with my phone and uploaded said pictures to my Facebook page.  And I wasn’t being a creeper; the one time I snapped a picture of someone else, I asked if I could take her picture.  There is a certain decorum one should maintain when you are at a con, and people–particularly woman–are in costume.

Otherwise you should stay home and leave the people having fun alone.

There was a time when I had my own anime fandom.  I like to tell my daughter I’m “Old School,” which is a way of saying, “None of the stuff I watch has been around for decades.”  But I’ve worn by share of crazy tee shirts, and sat through my share of films that, back in the day–aka, twenty years ago–were subtitled by fans because that was the only way you could see that stuff that, at the time, wasn’t suppose to be seen outside of Japan.

The only time I’ve every gotten into costume goes back even farther:  1984, to be precise.  It was at a Doctor Who convention in Chicago, and I decided to dress up at the Forth Doctor, complete with a twenty-one foot scarf.  It’s unfortunate that no pictures of this event exist any longer–the ex-wife has them all, I believe–but somewhere there is a picture of me mugging to the camera while I stand next to a Dalek a couple of guys made in there high school auto shop.  Good times, let me tell you.

Since I don’t have that picture, I’ll have to give you something else, which is likely to be a bit frightening.  So here you go:  me as Hatsune Miku.  Kawaii!  You’re welcome.

I wish my earrings had been longer . . .

There is nothing wrong with getting up in costume–or, as the kids called it, cosplay–and having a good time.  Make believe is what I do for a part-time living, remember?  Maybe I’m not getting into a costume every time I write, but I am getting into there heads.  In a way, I have to be my characters so I can deal with them, deal with how they are suppose to be feeling, and help them figure out where they’re headed within the context of the story.

You have to get inside their skin, put on their clothes, and walk in their shoes.  When I read a story, I can tell when someone has gotten into the mind of their character, and when they are just “writing them out.”  And I’m not talking about Mary Sueing someone; I mean when you have sat and thought about what the character is suppose to do, how they are suppose to feel, knowing their dreams and aspirations, their fears and flaws.  Particularly those last two, because what is a real character if they have no fears, no flaws?  I’ll tell you who they are:  someone named Mary Sue.  Please, you may love the ground I walk upon.

Getting in touch with an inner child is important when you write.  Neil Gaiman said it best:  “Growing up is highly overrated.  Just be an author.”  Think about how much fun it was pretending you were someone else, and channel that feeling into something that brings a feeling of wonder to some place inside yourself that hasn’t been touched in a while.  Sometimes you gotta break out the imagination.  Some times you gotta remember what it was like trying to wear mom’s high heels.  As a famous doctor once said, “There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.

As for getting the mind limber and going to different places . . . Miku-chan (not me, the one at the very top) had reddish hair under that wig, and she said she wanted people to call her Pepper Potts–who, as we know, is the only thing that allows that drunk Tony Stark to do the things a normal person does–though I’m sure a fifth of Crown Royal helps.  Thinking ahead, I told her she should keep her hair color, and come to the con next year as Rescue, wearing her own powered armor suit.

If you look at the picture to the right, you can see just how fetching an Iron Pepper would look.  Who cares if it’s gonna be a lot of work to put it together, because if you show up at a con looking like that, you’re going to rock.

So let that cosplay flag fly.  Use it in your daily life, because we don’t have as much fun as we should, and if you aren’t having fun day-to-day, then what’s the point.  And let it come out and play when you feel the need to create something that’s going to entertain others–even if that “other” is only you.

And you know what?  I look good in a wig.  I don’t know about the blue hair, though.  Maybe something in a red, then I can say, “I wear ginger now . . . gingers are cool.”

Catchy line.  I should use that more often.