Trophies prove the hunt-
Just ask any grief-stricken Warhammer fans.
But first, Tinsel returns from a hunt of her own to announce the 14th annual Dreamkeepers Halloween Fanart contest- PLUS a separate nano-wrimo Fanfiction contest.
And, by popular demand, we are introducing a new Vivid Dreamkeepers item this fall:
Thank you Drawing Board and Vivid Task Force for brainstorming flourishes- more details to be announced. Suffice to say:
Trophies dangle in your future.
You can click out now- those are the bare-bones announcements. Contests, prizes, new merchandise as Volume 5 strides closer to completion. What comes next is less direct, and perhaps more troubling.
If you’re curious about my thought of the day, I’m here to share.
I realize I probably don’t write often enough- I tend to keep myself buried in art. Planning pages, drafting the structures on the page, the motives in the minds of our characters. Losing myself in this fictional world, in the hopes that others will see fit to wander, and wonder.
Work keeps me disconnected at times, but this week I woke up and realized something horrible seems to have crept up on us.
Imagination is dead.
Nietzsche declared the cultural reality of the Death of God, and similarly in our culture, I see the death of something far more precious than God. The death of His womb- the expiration of imagination and truthful creation.
Forgive my melancholy, but in case you hadn’t noticed, Disney owns everything.
Star Wars. Muppets. Fairy Tales. Thor. Iron Man, copyright law.
And owning is not enough: They have killed their captives, and hang them on the walls of the cage as nothing more than dead trophies. For the spark of life is gone.
Every movie is a remake. We see the same characters, in the same dilemmas, ripped from the afterlife and forced through morbid self-parody again, and again, japing at the charm of their first dance.
Audiences are not permitted to disapprove.
Your voice is erased by totalitarian algorithms. (Totalgorithms?)
And not only that- you are condemned to hell for your crimes of opinion.
Because mainstream creative culture has not been gutted by greed alone. To fill that moral void, the board room cobbles for us… The holy of holies, the sacrosanct, that glimmering broom which brushes all sins under the most pure of rugs:
Repeating the Right and Good Opinions.
The key is to consume, and obey. Do as you are told. Think as you are told. Love the new remake, and swallow the proper ideological bullet-points. Or:
You will be called a bigot (old-world terminology: heretic) and the social media gods will gladly watch as lesser demons swarm in bloodlust, until you flee to a dark online forest. There the banished cower, isolated from the bright glare of the interconnected corporate cages which capture all creative potential.
Even the last stronghold, the one franchise who stood strong upon decades of brutal lore, has fallen:
Warhammer 40K has signed their soul over to Marvel- property of Disney. Next in line to have their essence, their truth, poisoned and drained away by resentful stewards, next in line for the Star Wars treatment.
I look up from my pencil and my paper, to see culture being systematically caged, creativity being crushed into looping, leering caricatures. While good authors, artists, creators, are locked on the outside, consigned to obscurity by the bloated death-star monopoly.
Liz & I started Dreamkeepers not with any grand plans. Just a simple desire to create something imaginative and new.
I’m grateful a proactive cadre of readers has stood by us, and other authors have joined Vivid Publishing. I never expected a full soundtrack to our work, tabletop games, spinoff novels, additional comics- and the professional connections with Vivid are multiplying as we grow. It’s humbling.
But it’s also something else.
Vivid blooms as the other companies fall into the Cage.
And even those companies or creators too tiny to be subsumed fall victim to the contagion of the zeitgeist, rushing to obey the Moral Compulsion:
Rip the spine from your fiction, and replace it with mandated conformist political dogma. There shall be no more truth, no more fun, no more danger… Only pandering and preaching.
The spark of imagination is thus sacrificed to corporate greed by the hand of plenty, and to ideological fervor by the hand of desire.
But then there’s Vivid.
We haven’t sold to Disney.
And we have never bent our knee even a centimeter to the social terrorism of the Cancel Cult.
All the hate they’ve hurled at us has only made us stronger. Bolder. Brighter. And more numerous. One by one, contacts and creators are joining the ranks of our plucky little coalition.
I’m beginning to think there’s a reason for all this. My creative obsession, our refusal to obey, and the loyalty of our readers. That a rose unremarkable in the garden of the past, surviving with ruby flame in the ashen wasteland of today, may hold some pivotal vitality, some key to altering the landscape.
I’m beginning to think that, when it comes to creativity, sharp is better than big. True is better than safe. And Vivid counters conformity.
I’m still putting my thoughts together. But if any of this resonates, know that I’m more committed to our story than ever before- and the picture is becoming bigger than that. New puzzle pieces, new powers, and new players are entering the frame.
We’re powerless alone- but if we join forces… I have hope.
Please share this with a friend you like, and I’ll share more as I can.