Author Archives: T.Z. Barry

Born Vegetarian? The Evolutionary Psychology Behind Not Eating Meat

I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life. No one in my family or anyone I knew was vegetarian; it was something I came to on my own. When I was a child, people would often ask me why I didn’t eat meat, as if there was some moment or reason that precipitated it, but I never had an answer. Today I can name a whole host of reasons to be a vegetarian—ethical, health-related, and environmental—but I wasn’t aware of those benefits of vegetarianism when I was four years old. Yet as far back as I can remember, I’ve had an instinctual disgust toward meat. It was as though I was born a vegetarian. But is that possible? Are certain people natural vegetarians?

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Good Art and the Posthumous Success of H.P. Lovecraft

When writing fiction, you can either write for now or forever. To become a successful bestseller you need to appeal to the masses, and the masses are, by definition, average. That is average intelligence, average creativity, average originality, average in taste and interests, etcetera. The masses don’t like the most creative, innovative, transgressive, and artistic works of art—and they never will. There’s only ever a small subset of the population with refined enough taste to find and appreciate the diamonds in the rough and discover a truly creative artist—someone like H.P. Lovecraft—during their lifetime.

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Why Are so Many Creative People Anxious and/or Depressed?

Introducing Kafka by R. Crumb

Consciousness, or what makes humans human, is inherently tied to imagination. Imagination allows you to predict possible futures before they happen—be it what a predator such as a tiger will do (harm you), what a rock could turn into (a tool), or what a seed could become if you plant it (food). That type of future-thinking birthed agriculture and civilization, and it all stemmed from imagination—imagining what not yet is but could be. No other species can do that (that we know of).

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Kafka and the Starving Artist

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The Hunger Artist” is one of Franz Kafka’s most well-known short stories. It’s about a man who is a hunger artist—that is, he sits in a cage and fasts for upwards of forty days as crowds walk by to watch and admire his feat. The story is often viewed as an allegory, though interpretations vary. In my opinion, Kafka’s story of the hunger artist is a metaphor for Kafka’s own life as a “starving artist.”

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The New Star Wars Trilogy That Could Have Been

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With the conclusion of the latest Star Wars trilogy, and supposedly the end of the Skywalker saga, I’ve been thinking about the series as a whole and its legacy. I liked each movie in the new trilogy upon first watching them. They were all enjoyable and exciting in-theater experiences with seemingly had everything you’d want in a Star Wars story: the Force, the Dark Side, lightsabers, space battles, aliens, planets, robots, Jedi, Sith, old masters, young apprentices, new characters, old characters, science fiction concepts, and more. I truly had a great time watching each movie the first time around, but it was only upon later reflection that I realized the parts didn’t quite add up to the whole. The acting, writing, and direction were all top-notch, especially compared to episodes 1-3, but the problem with this new trilogy, and the one area where the prequels were superior, is perhaps the most important part of all: story. Continue reading

The Big Five and INTP

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A couple of years ago I wrote about how I was an INFJ according to the Meyers-Briggs personality type indicator, but it turns out I might actually be an INTP. Back then I took several MBTI tests and got INFJ more times than not (though there was some variation). Now when I take the test, more times than not, I am an INTP (though again there is some variation, sometimes getting INTJ). The more I read about INTPs, the more that type seems to fit me. One thing is clear, however: every time I take the test, then and now, I am always firmly IN (Introverted and iNtuitive), it’s only the last two letters (thinking/feeling and perceiving/judging) that vary. Continue reading

On Abandoned Drafts

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As a fiction writer I’ve developed the habit of starting first drafts of projects, particularly with short stories, then hitting a wall at some point in the middle, either from boredom or difficulty, then decide to pause and pursue another project. In most cases, I would not start a “new” project, but would go back to work on editing another story, as I have dozens of works in progress that need editing and rewriting. I’ve said in the past that I don’t enjoy rewriting because I find it boring and drudgery, but it’s also much easier and less cognitively intensive than writing a first draft, so it’s a nice respite after facing difficulty in the first draft on another project. Continue reading

Is a Work of Art Ever Finished?

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Whenever I re-read something I wrote, I always find things to edit and change, whether it’s actual mistakes or just rewording sentences to make them more clear and readable. Yet when I last left the work, I thought it was perfect—not actually perfect, as there’s no such thing as “perfect” in art, but as close to perfect as I could make it. However, every time I re-read anything I previously thought was perfect, I always find things to change. Why is that? Did I miss those things before? Or Is my idea of perfection changing? Continue reading

What Movies Can Do That Books Cannot

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Film is the most popular art form today because it is the art form that most resembles real life. In the future, that medium may become virtual reality (VR) and ultimately full-world simulations. But for now, movies are the most visceral medium because they look and sound like real life. Continue reading