I am beyond excited about Paranorman. Not only is it stop-motion (be still my heart!), it’s about a weird kid who sees ghosts, is outcast by his classmates, and basically has to save the town. Awesome.
Laika and Focus Features have done an AMAZING job promoting Paranorman, from posting videos of the cast and crew talking about the making of and their own experiences being weird, to sending out 49 or so Blithe Hollow Cemetery boxes were the recipient can DIG UP their very own zombie. You can check out the trailer here.
The #weirdwins campaign has encouraged me to share some of my early childhood weirdness. I guess it’s no surprise that I was a strange kid. I was always a bookworm, I kept to myself, but it was middle school where the weirdness came in full force.
I was such a weird kid, at one point I managed to accidentally convince my friends I was schizophrenic.
I was 13 when I started reading Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles and getting into the dark side of literature. I loved ghost stories, monsters, crime; all the things most kids my age avoided like the plague. I had the added curse of being born a writer and the middle school years brought the creative torrent down faster than I could handle. I had stories floating around in my head, characters popping in for chats, and I had no idea how to deal with it other than writing. When I couldn’t write, I talked.
And I talked in “voices.”
Unable to talk about the characters, I let them talk for me. In the cafeteria, they’d comment on the poor fare, or the latest class assignment. They were not strictly female characters either. I didn’t see anything wrong with talking about it. I was excited about the worlds in my mind and the stories I could write or had read and cherished.
I’m honestly surprised no one sent me to counselling.
It wasn’t until years later, when I could say, “Oh, I’m writer” and knew what it meant to create lives in my head and my friends understood that I was not–in fact–mentally ill that they told me they thought I had a serious mental disorder. Even at 23, this is a bit embarrassing.
Now the characters largely stay in my head, and I have other writer friends who understand and accept that sometimes, I just have to be someone else. We laugh. Like attracts like, weird attracts weird. I own my weirdness now, proudly and with reckless abandon. Growing up weird doesn’t make you an outcast; being afraid to be who your are does.
“You don’t become a hero by being normal.”