January 08, 2015
"You like misfits."
Yes, I do know how lucky I am. I grew up surrounded by artists, writers, cartoonists and comic book creators. (My dad once interviewed Stan Lee for a project.) I saved my allowance to spend at the comic book store. I kept my Archies and Mad Magazines for decades. (I never grew out of Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. Never.) Vintage superhero lunchboxes line my kitchen shelves. I wear Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman t-shirts as part of my standard uniform. My first tattoo was going to be Spiderman.
But I had no idea I'd love Guardians of the Galaxy as much as I did.
One of my friends explained why last night. "You like misfits."
"Everything you like is about misfits. The Full Monty? Misfts. Rocky Horror Picture Show? Misfits. Wrecking Crew? Misfits. The Commitments? Misfits. The Crying Game? Misfits. You don't care if it's a group or one misfit all by himself. You like them—and you like it best when everything works out for them."
Well, yes. I think she just summed up my entire personality. But I didn't realize. Guardians of the Galaxy does contains all that I crave in a story. A group of unexpected people come together and not only survive but succeed. That might not be the plot of all the misfits books and movies above, but it's spot on for Guardians.
"Aside from that," my friend continued, casually refilling my tequila, "there are mixed tapes. Mixed tapes are very important in your world. You don't go a week without wearing a mixed-tape shirt. You told me that you put together anthologies as if you're putting together a mixed tape."
It's interesting when someone sees you for who you are—and you didn't even know. I wonder if I like misfits because I always was one. A friend in school joked that if I ever hosted a party, it would be the most bizarre group of people ever. Because I hung out with a few jocks, band geeks, the nerds from the newspaper, punks, stoners, a solitary cheerleader, the boys from shop, the fabulous ladies from the makeup store.... Basically, I didn't have a clique. I slid quietly from circle to circle.
When I first wrote erotica, my books were definitely misfits. There was no shelf space for erotica in most stores. Every so often, one of my titles would land on a "human sexuality" or "gender studies" shelf. But my novels didn't fit in romance, weren't considered high-brow enough to be shelved as "fiction."
Maybe most people feel like misfits. Like we don't really belong anywhere. We're always on a quest for acceptance. And that's why situations like this sting so much.
Or maybe I'm trying too hard to analyze a movie that was simply entertaining, energetic, upbeat, and exciting. I saw it twice—the magical darkness of the movie theater exactly the same as it always was for me. Drawing me in. Taking me home.
Making me feel as if I belonged.