I will, as I often do let you in on the secret: while I know lots of people who worried they “wouldn’t get Steampunk right” or “wouldn’t be Steampunk enough”, the truth is, if you appreciate or do Steampunk things, you are a Steampunk.
Ta-da! That’s it – that’s really it; that is the thing, and the whole of the thing. Sure, the more you do, or the more interesting or original or exciting the things you do are, the more you are likely to get noticed. But that’s true and pretty much anything. In the world of grandmothers who sit around and knit, the person who knits a scarf with seven legs and polkadots is going to grab attention. But that doesn’t mean that the person whose quietly making small baby mitten is not a “real knitter” or something.
Sometimes, the things we do can choose whether or not they want to be competitive. I will gladly stand around and argue cheerfully for three or four hours about who the best rock guitarists of all time are. And if you are some kind of rock music superstar, you can expect judgment. And hopefully, you have all of the various consolations of being a superstar to help you deal with that level of conflict. (I’m not sure what those consolations are, but my understanding is that they include the ability to rock and roll all day, and party every night. That seems weird to me; I can understand not having time to sleep, but wouldn’t this also rule out time for tea?)
But as a guitarist, I’m not terribly interested in worrying whether someone else is a “real guitarist”. I just want people to play music, and I want to hear it. If I don’t like their music, I will listen something else. If I do like it, I love to hear more. That’s the reasonable, normal, healthy way to approach these things.
So how can you be a “real” Steampunk? Here are some thoughts:
- Wear anything that fits your sense of Steampunk aesthetics.
- If you don’t yet have a sense of Steampunk aesthetics, don’t be shy about looking at what other people are doing and seeing if doing something similar would feel fulfilling to you.
- If you drink, you could consider drinking absinthe. If you haven’t had absinthe before, I can assure you it is very much a worthwhile experience.
- Listen Steampunk music. Don’t worry who thinks the music is steampunk or not. Go to your favorite medium, being YouTube or iTunes or Pandora, and just punch in “Steampunk music” and see what happens.
- Go to Steampunk events!
- Support steampunk creators by buying the things on Etsy and in person!
- Check out the steampunk books section of your library or bookstore!
Do what feels right to you. If you think something is steampunk, go with it. We’d love to have you with us, and we’d love to see what you do!