Welcome to Night Vale has long passed the point where it needs any introduction, with the spinoff book deal just one of the many developments around the hugely popular, slightly unsettling podcast series bringing news and wackiness from America’s spookiest community. Now, series co-creator Jeffrey Cranor has shared some of the secrets of his success on Boing Boing, as part of the recent series of creativity-focused guest posts commissioned by Cory Doctorow from some of his favorite creative peers. And Jeffrey Cranor’s recipe for success is summarized under two heads: Integrity and love.
Love in this case, or at least one aspect of it, is LGBT love. Cranor says:
I’m pretty positive the catalyst was the culmination of the romance between Carlos the scientist and Cecil Palmer, the radio host/narrator on Welcome to Night Vale. We receive a lot of feedback from the LGBTQ community about representation on our show, and we’re happy people have these characters and stories have meant so much to so many. Very few other media storytellers have gay main characters in shows not specifically created for a gay audience.
Doctor Who and Torchwood‘s Captain Jack Harkness is another instance of the same, and seems to have added to the success of the revived series and its spinoff, without being purely a token figure for LGBT awareness.
But the love that Cranor is really talking about is far more directly linked to creativity: “Make art. Make art with people you love. Respect the art you make.”
That may not be the easy solution to the aspirants hoping for Night Vale-type success that Cranor mentions in his article, but it certainly sounds like a recipe for both integrity – and happiness.
In the words of Night Vale:
“We are a patient, but resilient little city! We have big dreams— sometimes scary, unforgettable dreams that repeat on the same date every year and are shared by every person in town— but we make those big dreams come true!”