I can’t remember how this keeps coming up, but recently I’ve said on more than one occasion that while I am an SF/F fan I rarely participate in fandom.
Partly it’s my addictive nature — if I ever decided to be really into Harry/Ron slashfic I would be INTO it and it would never stop. Same with anything else. There are lots of television shows, movies, books, etc., that I love. I could very easily love them so much that I fell into fandom and never crawled out. Of course, nothing in my life would ever get done as I would be up to all hours reading fanfic.
Another part of it is that I encountered actual fandom late in life for a geek of my generation. I’ve loved Star Trek since I was wee and always read a lot of kidlit that had fantasy elements, but rarely had chances to actually be with large groups of people who shared any of these passions. Early attempts at such were unsuccessful for various reasons (when I was 13 my friend invited me to join a Klingon “ship” but then I fell out with that friend). It wasn’t until I was in college that I met other fans, and the people at NYU’s Sci-Fi Club were rather snobby about certain kinds of fandom, anyway.
Last part is that the moment I truly found my “tribe” was when I joined the Del Rey Writing Workshop (now the Online Writing Workshop/OWW). These were people who loved SF/F but were also aiming to write it professionally. Coming into the community from that angle is really different than coming at it from the fannish angle, a thing which I did not understand until much later.
I also have to admit that a little of that snobbyness about fen and fandom carried over from Sci-Fi Club (though you wouldn’t think people in a SCI-FI club could talk. It’s SF, duh!). I didn’t read or have much desire to write fanfiction, had never heard of vidding until the last 2 years or so, and I have actually uttered the phrase: what in the holy hell is a Fan Mix?
I mentioned that I admitted to having written one piece of fanfiction during the Authorial Intent panel at WisCon and that I did it because I was so annoyed by Stargate SG-1‘s body swerve of the whole Christianity/Jesus issue in the SG universe. For a long time I’ve maintained that this fic is the only outward show of fannishness I have, but then Monday night I realized that this is not strictly true.
I have committed fannishness on multiple occasions.
I was only at the vidding panel at WisCon for a little bit, but I was so, so impressed by the vids on display. “I wouldn’t even know where to begin doing something like that!” I’ve said many times. Vidders are damned impressive — especially those who’ve been doing this before the advent of widely available digital versions of shows and movies. But Monday night at WisCon it finally hit me that I’d made a vid once. Two vids, in fact! They were made with still images, but were nonetheless vids:
I think the reason I didn’t realize until recently that these were vids is that I didn’t realize that during 2005 and 2006 I was part of a fnadom. But I was! Newspaper comics fandom, to be precise.
I was an avid reader of The Comics Curmudgeon, a blog all about the comic strips you see in daily papers. I don’t know how I stumbled onto the site but I was completely hooked within minutes. I spent many hours going through the archives and laughing my ass off. The site is still there, still funny, and still a major part of the fandom1.
It doesn’t end there. As I was re-tagging my music recently I found a folder called FanMixes which contained downloads from an LJ community dedicated to such. And then I remembered that one of these mixes was mine.
(click on the second one to see readable text — it’s the track list.)
And yes, those are characters from Jem & the Holograms. If I was going to be in one fandom forever, it would probably be that one. Incidentally, Kimber/Stormer was my first ship, spontaneously generated from watching the episodes as an adult (for the first time in over 10 years) and going: “Wait… this whole episode is totally about them falling in love!”
But again, at the time I did not see myself as doing something fannish, just putting together a list of songs about the imagined lesbian relationship of two children’s cartoon characters OKAY YES I KNOW.
So the end of all this is my admission that I am sometimes fannish and there’s not a damn thing wrong with it. I had a ton of fun making those vids and that fanmix and writing that fanfiction. I don’t know that I will ever engage in these kinds of activities in the future, but I am not discounting it. Hell, if I thought I could edit video worth a damn I would get started making a Doctor Who vid right now that utilized Dennis Leary’s song “Asshole”.
- The videos linked above are from the summer of 2006 when a storyline on Mary Worth became the blog’s obsession because it was completely hilarious and fucked up and so weird for Mary Worth. (I think there was some new writer who was trying to draw in young, hip people. hahaha) Mary’s boyfriend went off to work for Doctors Without Borders for a few months and a new guy moves into her exclusive condo community: Aldo Kelrast. Very, very quickly one of the commenters pointed out that Kelrast was Stalker spelled backward and Josh, the blog’s proprietor, declared that the Aldo storyline was going to be AWESOME. I had my doubts, but the man knew what he was talking about. Aldo stalked Mary until she got her self-righteous friends to confront him, intervention-style, which caused his alcoholism to resurface which caused him to drink and drive himself off a cliff. Now, alcoholism is not funny, and I think the strip was trying to make a point about it… but all ti did was make us all go: ALDO, NO!! I hated Mary Worth and her evil friends so much after that I left the fandom to recover. I am serious. [↩]