The Least Weird Guy In The Room

By Serdar Yegulalp on 2021-08-21 12:00:00 No comments

One of the most humbling, and also clarifying, discoveries of my life was that while I liked weird stuff (not exclusively, but as part of my stuff diet), I myself wasn't that weird. Not nearly as weird as some of the other folks I knew who liked weird stuff, and definitely not nearly as weird as some of the people who made weird stuff. At the end of the day, I just wasn't that freaky, and if I was honest with myself, I knew it. I only thought I was weird because for too long I hadn't had much of a standard to compare to.

Smartening up about this helped me get far closer to understanding what I was all about, and what I wanted to do with my life, than almost any other revelation I'd ever had. Whenever I'd strived for weirdness, it was the striving more than anything else that stood out. I could see the striving in far starker contrast than with other people who naturally exuded weird. They weren't doing this for attention; they couldn't help themselves. William S. Burroughs, one of the figures I originally looked towards for inspiration, didn't give a hoot-and-a-toot about whether or not anyone knew about him or what he was doing; if anything, he actively refused the attention, because it ran contrary to his own self-imposed missions.

What helped even more was knowing that I didn't have to be weird myself to be a curious and creative person. For too long I'd associated genuine curiosity and creativity with aberrance, because too many of the examples offered me in that vein were aberrants, and somewhere along the way I'd gotten it stuck in my head that it was the weirdoes who had the most to offer there. I later found out that didn't always hold. Just because someone is eccentric or nonconformist doesn't make them an original or interesting thinker. Sometimes their eccentricities and nonconformities were just superficial gestures in those directions. And aberrance was no absolute guarantee of creativity; in fact it sometimes stifled it, since you spent more energy being compulsively weird than actually making anything of substance.

I had a conversation some time ago with a fellow writer who noted that their proclivities didn't lead in the same direction as anyone else in terms of subject matter or plot or what have you. They were "wired weird", as they put it. I thought that by itself was fine, as long as it was sincere and not something that came from the need to seem more outré-than-thou. Something I have struggled with entirely too long myself.

Tags: William S. Burroughs creativity creators