Saturday, August 17, 2013

Too Quirky For A Mainstream Hit?

The problem with this question is that the most amazing things suddenly become mainstream hits. And as an author you can't count on bottling
the magic, you can't predict the magic and you might go nuts trying to follow the magic IF your goal is to become "mainstream."

So what's the definition of mainstream anyway? Streams come in all sizes, from the Mississippi to the tiny little brook in the cow pasture that dries up in the summer and returns when the snow melts. (I happen to be partial to the Nile myself LOL, and of course the mother of all mainstreams is the Amazon but that leads us down a totally different stream of consciousness....)

Mainstream seems to have something to do with the "common current thought of the majority"...."the new trend"..."popular culture disseminated by the mass media"....whoa, getting heavy duty there with the Google results. See the impossibility of chasing the chimera? By the time you get there, wherever there is, mainstream may well have shifted, or be shifting and you're left on a sandbar, high and dry. "Popular" anything, especially disseminated by the ratings-chasing mass media, gets old fast, sending the audience searching for fresh adventures.

Mainstream to me kind of implies safe, accepted, not too dangerous, probably very enjoyable, repeatable, lots of room for many boats, regulated, conforming....umm, I like the Mark Twain Riverboat ride at Disneyland, which goes in a nice safe circle, right down the mainstream of The Scenic Rivers of America. We ride it every time we go, usually at sunset. We enjoy the ride, we know what we're going to get and we duly receive that pleasure with Disney efficiency and smiles. Nothing wrong with that!

But I also enjoy the feeling I get when I try something totally new, something offbeat or quirky. The Disney "Soaring Over California" ride fit the definition for me - I felt like I'd enjoyed the genuine experience of flying, like a bird or an angel (or a vampire or a were-something-avian, ok?). The experience was novel and fresh and "wow." I wanted more of that! (Sort of like the first time I ate nutella actually...). I had no idea the ride was going to affect me that way until I tried it. My family tried to talk me out of the first time we stood in line because I do have a fear of heights, but apparently that fear turns off when I think I'm doing the flying myself. Who knew?

So circling back to words, I write what I enjoy writing and what flows from my Muse (you knew I'd work her into the post somewhere, right?) and I hope with all my heart that Readers will enjoy my books, which currently are either set in Ancient Egypt or in the science fictional far future, so not exactly today's mainstream...but you never know! Someday that "popular culture disseminated by the mass media" might come knocking at my door LOL.

(I wanted to post a video of the Soarin ride but have no desire to upset The Mouse on Word Whores' dime, so I'll just say you can find it all over youtube if you're curious. )

Photos of Tennessee River from DNDonovan

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