My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome Daniel Ionson to talk about how his power of making nothing happen relates to After Life.
In the game of Paper-Rock-Scissors, my superpower trumps all of the Supermen, X-Men, Whatever-Men, every time… in the most boring way possible. It’s the “Non-Event Sphere.” Wherever I go, there, nothing happens.
How did I get such a plain cheese-sandwich superpower? Because the Universe and I made a pact: I decided that I was willing to forgo anything like an “adventurous life” so long as I can have an entire expanding series of multiverses in my head.
“No glamor needed,” I told the Universe. “No jackpots, no awesome train wrecks where I am miraculously unscathed, no saving a busload of urchins from a crash. Just spinning, compelling worlds in my head, please.”
The Universe shrugged and consented. So now, I have an immutable aura wherein, well… nada.
(I keep trying to hire myself out to the Secret Service. “Look, just put me in the same car/plane as the President, and the rest of you can go home.” They haven’t called me back yet.)
But I am quite content with this exchange. Creating worlds, stories and characters is vastly more interesting. Let’s be honest: The “exciting” events are those things which happen to 1% of the people, and even to those few, we’re talking about one or two actual events in their lifetimes. The rest of the time, they’re as humdrum as we are. But having entire worlds to mold? Having characters to craft and change with time? Possessing storylines that grow and flow? That’s a treasure. How could I ever be content without them?
I swim with the stories in my head; they consume me—whether I’m driving, eating or sleeping. The Non-Event sphere is a cheap price to pay for the joy of these inner worlds. I swim in them—no, I scuba-dive in them, perpetually.
I help myself in the creation process by “tuning in” with the right ambiance. My method for writing starts off with listening to the precise type of music for the setting/theme of my tale. As I wrote After Life, I flooded my eardrums with dark, ambient music (Steven Roach, Robert Rich, Lustmord), which helped me to drown my mind in the dark world I was fashioning. I also sat by candlelight, sketching out “What if X…?” and “What happens when…?” scenarios. I also go out into nature and do a lot of productive tree-staring. I adore the Fantasy genre as an escape from modernity, and uninfected nature facilitates that process.
And as an author, the joy of sharing all of those creations pushes to the edge of the spiritual. Just as I have been enriched by the tales of so many others (JRRT, Gemmell, Cornwell, [on and on and on]), I want to give the treasure of Other-worlds with 3-D characters going through compelling trials. I want to get readers attached to these creations in the same way that I am. I want readers to meander within these tales in the same way that I have walked through the forests of Lothlórien for decades.
My first published novel is After Life, where I merged three of my loves: Fantasy, horror and mystery. It is available in all E-formats at this time, with the gears creakily turning towards physical publication in January of 2014.
Daniel Ionson lives in his head (while residing in tree-filled Indiana). He has bent his mind studying epistemology, religion and metaphysics while just wanting to find a wardrobe with the magic door to take him into a primeval paradise. A high cult member of Monty Python, he sniggers at all convention. It’s only natural that he also loves and randomly throws spare change at the guys at Rifftrax (formerly, MST3K). After Life is his first published novel, and he is now creating a Fantasy septology in the world of Doohan Leathlinn.