Dare to be Weird

Tell us about a book, artwork, or lab experiment that changed the way you see the world. What was it about the work that affected you? How did your world become different?

Dare to be weird.

It’s a simple philosophy, really. Writing-wise, I’ve never been content with clichés, and I try to avoid sappy at all cost. I yearn to craft unique plots and make people see things in new ways—I dare to be weird. I was never able to put a name to my philosophy, though, until I read Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

In Going Bovine, the protagonist, Cameron, is diagnosed with mad cow disease and is told he has only a short time to live. All seems dismal until an angel appears and tells him to head to Disney World to find a cure. A madcap adventure soon unfolds, filled with dwarves, garden gnomes, jazz singers, and happiness cults.

A subject like this could go wrong in so many ways. It could have been too outlandish or irreverent. The main character could have come across as depressing or annoying. But none of this happened. Libba Bray was able to turn this bizarre plotline into a novel that virtually turns its own pages. As I read, the story had me in stitches one moment, and on the verge of tears the next. I was in awe of how Bray could bring so much humanity to such an eccentric story. No matter how zany the characters, their actions always came from a human place.

Libba Bray helped me to hone my “dare to be weird”...

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