After seeing the hypnosis panels in Too Cool To Be Forgotten, I was completely and pleasantly surprised at the honesty creator, Alex Robinson depicted in the sequence. It seemed to mostly show an honest portrayal of the hypnosis process, which is often no so typical for fiction projects. Well, needless to say (and for the two post I have already done on this) I am intrigued. Was Alex another hypnotist with a day job as a graphic novelist? Was he a closet hobbyist? Imagine my surprise when he sent back his answers to my questions.
Without further ado - my questions with Alex Robinson.
Q: What was your inspiration for creating Too Cool to Be Forgotten?
A: My 20-year high school reunion was coming up so that time of my life was on mind even more than usual. I thought it might be a good opportunity to do a story about it, and try and wrestle with my experiences and feelings about that time. I also happen to love time travel stories so it seemed a natural excuse to try my hand at that, too, but I didn’t want it to be a typical time travel story, I wanted it almost to be more of an emotional time travel story.
One thing in my mind as I was doing the story was that I also wanted it to sort of be a metaphor for the process of therapy. I will admit to having spent some time on the couch, and I think it’s fascinating that many times you’re dealing with things that happened long in the past. You’re powerless to change the fact that things happened but you can change the way you think or feel about them. Also, a lot of times what gets you to therapy is not necessarily what you wind up dealing with: you could go because you’re having problems at your job but when you dig around your psyche you find out that you’re actually angry at your parents or whatever. I don’t want to give anything away about the story but the protagonist, Andy Wicks, has a similar experience.
So given that, the sort of twin purposes I had in mind, I wanted Andy’s time travel experience to be less technologically oriented, and hypnotism seemed like a good way of handling that.
Q: Have you ever been hypnotized by a hypnotist and if so what did you experience?
Was the hypnosis portion of the book based on your own experiences (and if so please elaborate)?
A: I’ve never been hypnotized–at least not that I can remember (haha, a little hypnotism humor there!). I have thought about it, in the therapy context I mentioned before but never really pursued it. I will admit to some skepticism about the idea in that the mind is a staggeringly complex thing, and all the stories you hear about recovered-memories being closer to suggested-memories and all that.
Q: What sort of research did you do for the hypnosis portion of the book?
A: I’m embarrassed to tell you that I did no research. I had a very casual familiarity–I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “knowledge”–I’d picked up from TV shows or documentaries or whatnot but to me it was more of a plot device than anything else. Since there was the fantasy element of time travel I didn’t think it was too important to try and make the hypnotism realistic–of course, if I had known that actual hypnotists might be paying attention I might’ve paid closer attention! Basically, I tried to portray it more as a kind of medical procedure rather than something like stage hypnotism, which I guess could’ve worked, too, for the story purposes.
Q: Are you a hypnotist?
I have been known to put some people into altered states of consciousness when I ramble on but I don’t think I can legally call myself a hypnotist.
Q: Do you use hypnosis for any of your creative pursuits?
I have not, though it’s an intriguing idea. As I said, I think the mind is an amazingly powerful and complex thing, and the idea of being able to somehow tap into some unknown potential or improve yourself is exciting. But I’m somewhat wary in the same way I’m wary about people’s claims about LSD, how it will change you somehow and I’d be worried I wouldn’t be able to “go back”–if that makes any sense.