I’ve had some folks ask me about this whole “absurdist” and “bizarro” thing since changing the direction and mood of my website. Let me take a moment to clarify what I’m doing.
On one hand, understand that the labels “absurd” and “bizarro” don’t really matter at least as labels. I don’t confine my writing in any way. If anything they’re convenient terms to help others narrow in on the type of writing that I USUALLY do. That’s not to say that I don’t have freedom to shit out an erotica novel if I’m so inclined. (Bam…double pun!) I simply had it pointed out to me by someone I trust and respect greatly that the vast majority of my stories sort of don’t care about the inconvenient constraints of reality.
But why, you may ask — some have — is that sort of writing any different from fantasy, sci-fi, etc., which also give the middle finger to reality? In once sense it’s a matter of degree. How far off reality are we talking? In fantasy — let’s say High Fantasy, with dwarves and shit — you have, well, dwarves and shit. They have families and buy things and poop. Pretty normal stuff. Same with sci-fi. The astronauts with Hal in 2001 were regular Joes in irregular situations. Bizarro has regular — though sometimes weird — Joes do weird stuff for weird reasons with weird outcomes.
Know that I’m not a fan of weird for weird’s sake, though. I have read some stories in the bizarro genre that I’ve struggled through because the weirdness just shows up for no reason at all — weird for weird’s sake. But the better stories make us think. What IF this fellow really DID ejaculate a small man with a mustache and that man always smoked and began tiling the masturbator’s body? What terrible trouble that would cause. Love it.
So there’s the real part of it. I write what I want and I tend to want weird shit going on because I’m a guy who likes to ask Why and What if. I write the stories to find out the answers.
Now for the fake of it.
Websites and blogging are married to marketing. Websites need to be found so they can be viewed. Granted, there’s a huge aspect of blogging that is strictly masturbation (points for the, now, triple masturbation reference) and/or vanity. It’s also a necessary part of marketing one’s writing career. Judge if you will, but it, like a normal business website, requires being found and read. The way all that works is via key words and key phrases. The major search engines “crawl” the Internet looking for relevant content on any subject. It looks at your website/blog title, its headlines and text and says This site is about thus and so. Then it asks how well the site covered thus and so and compares it against all other sites that address thus and so. Everybody gets a grade on how well they did and are ranked highest to lowest.
So, in my case, I asked myself what kind of writer I am. Any writer knows that one of the first questions anyone will ask them when they find out you’re a writer is what sort of writing you do. That’s a valid question when dealing with websites and blogs because that is basically what they’re going to type into the search engine when they’re looking for you — or, more accurately, writers LIKE you. Like you because, in most cases, if they already know you they won’t be searching for you.
What would someone punch into a search engine to find me? Not my name, right, because they don’t already know me. No, it’s going to be some combination of the terms “San Antonio” or “Texas” plus “author” or “writer” plus they general type of writing you’re looking for. In my case, “absurdist” and “bizarro” are as close to the mark as anything I’ve found.
So as a responsible web marketer / shameless self-promoter I hammer away at those terms in my writing website. Oh yeah, “writing website” and “writing blog” are two more terms that folks will likely use. See how I slipped those into a relevant blog post? That’s how the game is played, folks. You can’t just spam terms, you have to slip them in to your conversation as if you were, well, an author on a talk show. The more mentions you make of your title, where it’s being sold, and on what dates you’ll be where, the better your turnout for signings and the higher your sales figures.
So even if the labels don’t tell the whole story, “absurdist writer” and “bizarro writer” are good enough descriptions for my reality but they’re money for gaining the attention of Google and other major search engines.