The transition can be sudden, or it can be a slow and subconscious thing. However, it is not unheard of that whatever you let entertain you most, you will become.
Maybe not completely, mind you. But you will start to take on certain attributes, definitely.
In the case of various serial killers, it all started with torturing animals and with an obsession with dirty pictures. When the soft Playboy stuff didn't cut it anymore, they went to the Gurochans of their time. And...they took it to heart. It was all downhill from there.
Women complain frequently of a similar phenomenon: growing up on Disney, having no idea what love even means, but expecting everything to work out for happily ever after anyway, ignorance and logistics be damned. And then...Prince Charming isn't.
(Okay, maybe this pic is an exaggeration. But the pain of disappointment is real.)
Still others seek solace in the Nicholas Sparks genre...and then find themselves in ruins when the social issues that tear them and their lovers apart are bigger than Sparks made them out to be. And that ignoring your family has actual consequences in real life.
A few may have even wanted to be their favorite action hero. Except, being John McClane just gets you a prison sentence. Trying to be Jason Bourne? You're more likely to end up like Edward Snowden. Or, if you cross Hillary, just plain dead.
Ever since I was 11, I've wanted to write my own superhero epic. I was bored with the usual fare on TV at the time, and wondered what would happen if I started creating, rather than simply being absorbed by what was.
This led me on a very long journey, until Dozerfleet became a thing and I have an entire Megaverse with a complex structure and everything.
But along that journey, I've begun to notice that my preferred genre was playing me just as much as I was playing it.
And the effects on my life have not always been for the better. Others on my path, consider this a cautionary tale for you lives.
Simply writing about that genre can have consequences on your life, as it shapes your values:
Leading a double life
Thankfully, I don't have to worry about a secret identity. Pretty much everyone already knows who I am, or at least, has heard some twisted rumor about me. Up at college, there were complete strangers who greeted me as if I were a celebrity, and I couldn't fathom what I'd done to earn that kind of recognition. It was very, very weird. And I didn't have a single clue who most of them were.
However, grocery store receiving clerk by day and brand operator by night. Makes it hard to sleep. Lots of stress involved, and not an easy balance to maintain.
In college, it was a constant struggle to be making comics and doing homework in the same evening. It's fortunate I rarely had in-depth assignments. Most of them could be chicken scratched together, buying me time in the evening to work on comic writing. While the 2007 Ciem is...not something that's aged very well, it was an ambitious foot in the door for its time.
(Pic from the canceled 2009 webcomic Ciem 2. That's inside a real Biggby store. I was going through a Roger Rabbit phase.)
It could be a bad week. A job loss. A death in the family. Death of a friend of the family. Some weird, cryptic message you hear. A lingering thought that won't go away. An illness.
At some point, it all becomes too much. You begin to shut down, and spend months questioning everything you believe in.
I've been there. It's horrible, but not impossible to survive.
Enemies that just plain get under your skin
When you're me, you're mostly just a writer. You don't get to wear the suits, have the powers, etc. But there is that one real-life goblin, that one asshole somewhere, that could really use a punch to the face. Except, you're not qualified to literally do it and get away with it.
Maybe they threaten someone you love. Maybe they dox you. Maybe their comments on Facebook are just so harebrained, you don't know where to begin. Maybe they stole some pictures of yours and made revenge porn using Photoshop. Doesn't matter.
You stand for something, and they hate that. And they're gonna make sure you know it. They will pop up now and then, like weeds. And you have to weed them out every time you do. Stressful? Yep. But unavoidable. They may not be throwing pumpkin bombs at you; but they can achieve the same level of being a pain in the ass without it. And there will always be at least one.
Romantic leads are nothing but trouble
(It's almost this bad.)
It'd take forever to rehash my entire dating history here. But suffice to say; you can't save all of them. In fact, you're lucky if you can keep even a single one from self-destructing.
They're more likely to turn evil than to wind up stuffed in the fridge; but don't assume trying to settle down will be easy - assuming it's still even possible.
When your life starts to feel like a comic book; hold on precious to the moments you have with any romantic lead you have, while those moments last. Because chances are, they'll be out of your life soon enough. For reasons you can't control; and that they probably can't either.
They help remind you of why you do what you do; but they can also make you question it. Perhaps nobody will bring you more joy except knowing God. And nobody will bring you more pain, except maybe your rebellious baby sister.
(Although, this, unlikely as it will be for you, would also really suck!)
Everything is always your fault
Even when it isn't. If it isn't you blaming yourself for what you had no control over, then it's someone else trying to shift the blame to you, even if you had nothing to do with it. The "it" could be anything.
It's one thing when it happens on a page to Spider-Man. It's quite another when you feel like Spider-Man, knowing you're just some hobbyist who spends his days unloading a truck.
Insatiable Good Samaritan syndrome
Without going into a super huge amount of detail, much of which I've covered elsewhere, let's just say that I've done my share of chasing after vandals and trying to help truly pathetic souls get themselves out of ditches - before they did something else stupid and got themselves in jail for "crimes" in which they were the only victim.
The chasing after vandals may yield some clues you can give to police. But suffice to say, unless you're really in shape, those chases will just leave you as one thing: tired.
Unless they're armed lunatics, who might kill you for fun, most criminals don't want to fight or kill. They don't want to get caught, plain and simple. So they flee. And they get good at learning to get away fast.
As for the self-harming idiot in the ditch? You might get them out. Maybe. But chances are, someone else spotted them too. Rather than help, that other decided to call the cops. You do what you can. But when officers show up and the man you rescued reeks of alcohol...someone's going to jail.
Maybe not you, thankfully. But the victim you rescued? They merely traded one pickle for another when they let you save them. And unless you're rich enough to post their bail, all you can do is pray they don't tick off the wrong bad guy while they are in the big house.
But the minute someone is crying for help, or the minute some jackass does something jackass-ish and thinks they're gonna clean get away with it, that urge is always there to jump in and change the outcome. Just be careful - this thinking can get you killed. Don't try it if you live near Detroit or Flint. In those towns, it's always a trap!
You can afford almost anything...except a reliable therapist
They either don't exist, or they are too expensive. Better hope your grandmother is the kind that never gives up on you, or you will exhaust your non-divine anchors pretty quickly.
My folks tried to get me in a program once, hoping it'd allow me to overcome job hunt anxiety and also make better connections, so I could find a better job. The place they sent me to...like adults in kindergarten still. I'm amazed they weren't all issued straight jackets. I was the most coherent member there...even more so than my group leader!
And after one of the other participants (they didn't wanna call them "patients," since the place didn't have an official medical license) got romantically involved with me...things went south in a matter of months.
I couldn't get away from that place fast enough. My folks thought it was like a job fair. I wanted to use it as a dating service, to end my plague of loneliness. It was neither. It was a nuthouse, minus the official designation. Moreover, I got no refunds, and half the sessions were canceled on account of bad weather. Waste of time, and money.
Life imitates art
This one is probably the creepiest way the genre has poured over into my real life. Sometimes, when I write stuff, it comes true.
When Hillary nearly started us on a path to war with Russia, it was announced that China was also "preparing for the worst." At the same time, there are ISIS camps all across the US, courtesy of Obama rendering our immigration policies to, in Biden's words, "a bunch of malarkey."
In 2012, I predicted that if a war broke out on US soil by 2018, it'd be between China and ISIS. That almost happened this year!
I also predicted that gays and Muslims would come into conflict over the Cake-gate. They did. In Canada, no less. And, in a rare move, the government there sided with the Muslims - the group more likely to endanger the public! (Apparently, doing the more common sense thing would be "offensive." But I gave up on Canada making sense a long time ago.)
I predicted in 2004 that the homosexualist fanatics in America, unsatisfied that the democratic process wasn't turning America into Sodom fast enough, would resort to extortion, racketeering, and even domestic terrorism to achieve its goals - all with a weak-knee president's blessing!
From Sweet Cakes by Melissa to Charlie Rodgers to the bombing of the Janczewski family garage, my predictions all came true. I predicted also that a seemingly sent-by-God fireball would destroy one of their places. A few years later, a gay nightclub inexplicably went up in a fireball.
I never officially published that story, so who in the hell orchestrated its coming to life???
Perhaps the creepiest case of my writings coming true, was when I wrote in 2007 about someone performing "One Quiet Moment" by the a capella group Glad live during a Christmas-related church service. At the same time she was performing the song in the comic, I wrote that there was a massacre happening on a college campus several miles away.
One Christmas Day service many years later, and I performed it live. And...there was a college massacre happening in Texas around the exact same time. When I got home and found out how similar the real alignment of events was to what I wrote in a comic years earlier...it was chilling.
It's supposed to be a refreshing and emotional take on the Nativity, unpolluted by modern commercialism. And now, I cannot listen to it without thinking about school shootings.
So, brave GaG adventurers, have your favorite genres messed with your life? If so, feel free to share below exactly how.