We (Still) Need Superheroes

Deathofsuperman

I “created” my first superhero when I was five years old. His name was Captain Hank, and he possessed super-human strength, speed, and couldn’t age. That was all, basically.

Then, of course, I had to “invent” some villains, and then some other superheroes to aid Hank in his fight against evil.

To some, the concept of superheroes acts simply as a metaphor for greatness. It can be easily understood by almost anyone, regardless of age, education, culture, and so on. I never actually agreed with this definition.

I believe the concept itself is so primordial that most of us actually miss the point: superheroes are characters who possess certain abilities and traits that make them better than normal people in many ways. But they also have flaws and weaknesses, and they make mistakes.

As fictional characters, they simply connect with one of our most impossible desires: we want to belong. Most superheroes are outcasts. And their struggle to fit in is what really appeals to us. But then they put on a mask, and everything changes.

They become much more. Continue reading

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The Writer: Chapter 19

Less than six months after I got published, I won the Pulitzer. Actually… I’m just kidding. I sold, well, I really didn’t sell many books.

I know what you’re thinking right now. What a waste of time and energy. But I don’t regret it. The calling is for you to write stories. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. Success is something that comes as a bonus, if you’re lucky enough.

But still, there were times when I thought that I could have made things differently; I could have tried to write a new book, a better one. But I didn’t. I guess that I had exhausted my patience and courage. Continue reading

The Writer: Chapter 16

I have this strange custom. Every morning I like to go to the park and sit on the same bench and just gaze at the sun. For as long as I can, until my neck starts aching or my head starts hurting. If someone else is sitting on the bench, I stroll around the park until they leave.
One winter morning, something happened.
A woman was standing in the middle of the frozen lake, her feet struggling to keep her body balanced. It’s been so long since that moment that I forgot what she looked like. But I remember that she had a beautiful smile.
She was in love, that I am sure of.

Continue reading

[Short Story] Strangers

Some say life resembles a highway. We travel so fast because we don’t want to live in the here and now, because we feel that the future is going to be better than we can imagine. We travel on a highway that’s slowly sinking under the horizon, with no maps, trying to get to a place we can’t be sure exists. On each side of this road, there are trees and endless fields – a barren wasteland melting under the sun or shivering beneath a silvery moon. We don’t have time to stop, we don’t have time to think.

At 100 miles per hour, you’re entire being collapses into a reflex.

The only way we can realize what’s going on is for us to crash into others. A painful process, in which there’s a lot of damage to be made, but a necessary one nonetheless. Continue reading

[Short Story] Love at First Sight

He enters the waiting room, sees all the other patients eagerly waiting to be called into the doctor’s office. They all nod in that peculiar manner; they are here because of necessity, rather than choice. He sits on the only available chair and takes out his cell phone. It’s so warm inside that he has to struggle not to yawn.

But then he looks up and sees her.

It’s always such a shock to see someone beautiful in places you wouldn’t expect to see anything of importance.

At first, he doesn’t give much thought into it. His eyes keep darting around the room, scanning the austere furniture and white walls. Waves of heat scratch their way out of his chest. He can feel it in his blood, he can feel his body hot as a furnace. He runs his tongue across his upper lip.

A certain photograph grabs his attention; a black and white photograph of a public phone’s handset hanging inside the booth. The more he stares at it the more it seems that the handset is oscillating, spiraling on its metallic chord. So he glances back at her.

His mind is drowning in a mesmerizing and ridiculous dream… in which the passage of time is irrelevant. Continue reading

The Writer: Chapter 6

Do you know what the saddest thing about you is?

No one is going to remember you. Fifty years from now, when you’re long gone, when all the pictures of you and your family have decayed like old bones in a cemetery, you’ll be less than nothing.

It will be as if you never even existed.

So what’s the purpose of it all? Why should you pretend to be the good guy, why are you trying to bring judgment upon the world, when the world itself doesn’t want you, doesn’t need you, and most certainly is going to forget you the moment you die? Why would anyone want to be nothing? Continue reading

[Short Story] Beautiful Ghosts

They say you’ll live forever if a writer falls in love with you.

Tell this to the right girl and she’s yours. Of course, it might take a while to find her, and it obviously helps if you’re somewhat famous.

But I don’t tell them that I’d only write about them if they’d break my heart. Because that’s how I put the pieces back together. I don’t tell them that I stopped loving a long time ago.

It’s not that I don’t want to, I simply can’t. That bizarre mechanism that allows people to feel as if someone else is a part of who they are, as if they’ve found something they’ve always felt was missing… well, that mechanism’s broken for me. Continue reading