By Mike McMahan, LPC
You may have seen the artwork of Butcher Billy, as it’s been making the rounds on social media lately. The folks over at Laughing Squid brought this to my attention and it’s both inspiring and a bit scary.
First, the scary. These songs are extremely creepy when considered through this perspective. Except, of course, “Every Breath You Take,” which has always been pretty creepy. Butcher Billy did an outstanding job of invoking the look of King’s classic covers. This retro horror is all over the place these days, most prominently on Netflix’s heavily-hyped Stranger Things (which, to be fair, completely delivers on the hype). I’m thinking we’ll see more of this look.
Second, the inspiring. Looking at these covers is a good reminder of something we’ve talked about frequently, which is that a story can change in the retelling. All it took to render these lyrics as an ode to stalking and obsession was some new fonts and artwork to recall classic horror book covers. That’s literally it. No offense to Mr. Billy, who did a fine job executing these. My point is that meaning can shift very quickly with a few strokes (or words).
What has been the book cover of your life lately? It seems you’d have to start with genre. Have you been trying to figure things out (mystery)? Do you have a new love in your life (romance)? Are you dreaming of what your life will be like when you complete a current challenge (fantasy)?
Now comes the hard part. What would happen to the story if you changed the genre. What if you shifted from romance to Western? Perhaps your love affair would all of a sudden seem like a showdown. High Noon stuff. Would you be thinking of a make-or-break with your partner? Is this “the one?” Are you willing to lay it all on the line and tell this person exactly how you feel?
What if your life shifted from a fantasy to a mystery? Perhaps you’re looking at a challenge and just figuring out a way to get through it. You’re going to put your head down and fight, fight, fight. But maybe you should think about this. What have you used to solve problems before, besides just elbow grease? Why are you using your current approach? Is there something that might be more effective and allow a different ending? Who knows, maybe this is a mash-up of two genres, something that has been all the rage for some time know, as we confront a creative era in which, seemingly, “everything has been done.” The good news is that everything hasn’t been done in your life. Your story may be well underway, but you can always change the tone and the outcome. Slap a new cover on there and find out what your life is about now.
Mike McMahan, LPC is a psychotherapist based in San Antonio, Tx.
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Therapy Goes POP
Perspectives on therapy and mental health as viewed through the lens of popular culture