Hey there. This is interesting.
My name is Benjamin Cook, and with my girlfriend and partner Chloe Mansfield, I run the Youtube channel Tale Foundry. Full disclosure, I don’t know if you can really consider me a member of the community. I’ve poked my head in here now and again, but the majority of what I do is just kind of flung across the whole wide spectrum of genre in no discernible arc. You might call my taste eclectic. I wouldn’t, because it would make me feel pretentious. But you might, if you wanted to.
In part, the wide breadth of my oeuvre comes from the nature of the show I produce. We put together these little three-part miniseries where we pick out an author, a genre, a franchise—anything to do with fiction, honestly—and then mine it for material over the course of two videos. The third video in each series is an original short story that I write based on what we discuss in the first two. It’s a good old mess of attention-diverting, eyeball-crossing, brain-wracking fun.
Still, no matter how wide my wanderings through other literary domains, I always find myself drawn back to horror. I think it’s where I live, in the end. Which is weird, because I’m a really, really squeamish dude.
Here’re a few horror stories I’ve written for Tale Foundry:
We actually did a miniseries in 2016 about Creepypasta, but it was really reductive and analytical. I didn’t get to talk at all about my relationship with the genre.
Creepypasta, to me, is a wave. It started about an inch high at the center of the ocean of content that is the internet, looking like a whole lot of dogs with human teeth and “send this message to 10 people or die” copypasta. Then it began to gather momentum, and became a ten-foot swell full of pale dudes in suits and not-sleeping. Now it’s a full-on tsunami, crashing on the banks of modern media through feature-length films, devoted youtube communities, and thriving forums.
It’s a genre. You can’t argue that away. Barnes and Noble doesn’t sell it under that title on shelves, but there’s a style of story that fits better under “creepypasta” than any other monicker. And I got to watch that happen. Usually it feels like genres are the weird, over-dressed children of corporations and academies. A category only gets to exist if it will move product.
To me, creepypasta is the affirmation that curiosity and interest are enough on their own to transform the zeitgeist. Genre and form aren’t defined by best-sellers and cream-of-the-crop-once-in-a-generation authors. Anyone with the tools to create can create change. That’s something you really need to be reminded of now and again when you make your living writing and analyzing fiction.
Keep doing what you’re doing here. People will always criticize spheres that give a real platform to amateurs, but this is an incredible thing.
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