About Fandom and the True Meaning of Comments

Alright, so there’s been discussions about fandom and getting back to our roots and LJ and I’m always waving my flag saying I miss the old LJ. Well, I can’t well be all loud about it and then do nothing myself keeping this journal quiet.

So, here’s my thoughts on fandom, LJ and commenting. Just so you know, it’s kind of long and kind of self-absorbed and very sappy.

In a way I think I’ve always been in fandom, even before internet and actually talking about it with other people. But the whole slash loving thing and being obsessed about characters in tv-shows started way before that. When I was a child everything was Disney, this, dear millennials, was when Disney didn’t release 50 movies a year but maybe one…

So it was all “The little mermaid” and stuff and six year old me was like meh… I was a Mattel girl, My little Pony, He-Man and of course, Transformers, Optimus Prime was my first crush, the best Christmas present I ever got was when I got a Transformer that turned into a red sports car. The worst incidentally, was when my male cousin got He-Man and Battlecat from our grandparents and I got… a Barbie in an ugly wedding dress, they didn’t even get me fucking She-Ra! Google it millenialls!

So, TV-Shows was it for me even when I was a little girl. My first slash pairing was in a book/books though, I read “Interview with a vampire” when I was maybe fourteen and I read a lot between those lines, A LOT. So Louis and Lestat was my first slash pairing, this was what 1996… so, internet hadn’t really become a household thing yet. But I was obsessed and I remember reading all the other books (up until Anne Rice got all religious and denied all the gayness and her books became all bleh…) and thinking just get it on already! It was all there, so I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just get on with it. So I started fixing that mistake myself, making up stories about them in my head and I even think I have an old journal somewhere where I wrote some of it down.

My next slash experience was a movie called Velvet Goldmine, now this movie did not get the attention it deserves. BUT I’m a bit biased since, rock and men in tights is kind of my thing. But any movie with Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale & Jonathan Rhys Myers running round in tight pants and being all hot gay(ish) rock stars deserves attention. The first time I saw it I was so awestruck I immediately rewind (yes millennials rewind) the VHS and watched it all over again. This was maybe let’s see… I was about eighteen so 2000 I think.

Then I was busy spending my times in chat-rooms and stuff, graduating and moving to London for a while.

Then suddenly TV-Shows got cool, 24 happened and more importantly for those of us not living in the US and having access to all your shows Limewire! Limewire was the shit! Limewire was a torrent service, back in the day when it took DAY’S downloading a single episode.

But, my introduction to fandom, fan fiction and LJ happened a little something like this:

One day I was channel-surfing and suddenly I was staring at the most amazing six-pack on this hot blond vampire… that’s how I found Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I became obsessed, ordered the DVD boxes, watched it all and when I was done, I was all empty. So I went online doing random searches and I found fanfiction, for about a week or two I read Spuffy then I found Spangel… hallelujah, I devoured every fic I could find!!! And with it I found LJ.

My first LJ post is October 17th 2005… Jesus, eleven years. ELEVEN!

For the first time I found people who got me, that part of me I never talked about with my friends, I knew they wouldn’t get it, I still don’t talk about fandom with people in my RL, I’m sure they wouldn’t judge me or be stupid about it, but they wouldn’t get it, so, why bother.

I posted my first fanfiction, Spangel of course, in January 2006 now… this was way back, when I was still “high” on fan fiction and things like a beta, research or figuring out if sexual positions was anatomically possible was not something I thought about and things like a plot that made sense, character development and you know, useless things like that was irrelevant.

I was just high on spangel and wanted to express it.  And the stories reflected that, seriously, if you by chance get curious and click on the links to my Spangel stories here in the sidebar… don’t expect another JADE or Fucking Kodiak… just… don’t. Most of it is bad, like bad... the last few I can still read without cringing too bad but most of it… yeah.

But, BUT, here’s the thing, back then people commented on these crappy stories that where unbetad and hastily thrown together and with no real thought behind them. But people commented and encouraged me and said they were good, most of them were probably as high of Spangel as I was but these comments, and this encouragement is what kept me writing.

Those five, six comments I got on every story gave me such a sense of fulfillment and made me think maybe I could write. I’ve never seen my writing as anywhere near the quality of professional writers, I still don’t and I don’t think most people who write fanfiction does. But all that feedback, made me think maybe I wasn’t horrible at it and it gave me the confidence of trying to write real stories, with actual plots.

I think my final year or two being an active writer in the Spangel fandom started me on the track to really finding my voice, looking over my last three Spangel stories I can see it taking shape.

I never thought I’d become active in another fandom (I know, it’s hilariously naive) but around 2009-2010 I just, I lost the passion for Spangel, now don’t get me wrong, they were my first OTP and they will always be my main paring but it had been 5-6 years since Buffy and Angel ended and without trying to insult anyone here, the fanfiction being written was mostly not very good and the glory days’ where just over. I still get cravings and re-read all of those old favorites… but I know I’ll probably never write Spangel again.

I never thought I’d write in another fandom and I NEVER in a million years though I’d be writing RPS. RPS was very controversial in the Spangel fandom and I’d never seen the point but then SPN happened and I loved reading RPS and I couldn’t do Winchest, I pass no judgment on anyone, really I don’t if you like it, GOOD FOR YOU!!! But it just wasn’t for me.

So I started writing this story where Dean is unhappy in heaven and starts a dysfunctional relationship with Michael and Lucifer… it made sense back then, ok! LOL!!!

But of course it was crap and I realized I couldn’t write Sam & Dean. So I pretty much gave up the whole idea, but somehow I ended up in a discussion with who used to be a spangel girl like me and we were talking plots and she said I should do a J2 story. I think I said that it would never happen, and then one day I opened a blank page and I wrote “Jensen Ackles doesn’t exist”  and I was like huh? Why? and then my brain went into overdrive.

For almost two years I had these characters in the back of my head, I’d never written an AU and it was so liberating, basically you just borrow two bodies, their names and a few mannerisms and then you can do whatever the hell you want, forget about canon or staying true to character or anything.

JADE was the first story I ever really, really obsessed about, gave a lot of thought and put in a lot of research. Still, when I posted it in April of 2011, I thought I was going to be laughed out of the fandom, I never, never, could have imagined the reception it got. Up until that point I think maybe I got five six comments on a story, now they just flooded in and people were saying the most amazing things, about my story.

People where so emotional about it, and what’s more, people, not only thought I was a good writer but they thought I was funny, I mean, in RL I’m the most unfunny person ever, honestly! I can’t tell a joke for the life of me, I’m the person who can take a hilarious situation and make it dull when I try to retell it, I’m that person who gets the pity laughs when I try to be funny but now, people thought my writing was funny, I was so overwhelmed and so confused.

In all honesty I have a slightly dysfunctional relationship with JADE, I love it because it opened a whole new world for me in regards to my writing and the reception it got and the comments people left me made me believe that, just maybe, I was able to write an interesting story without leaning too much on the actual characters of a TV-Show, that I could create characters and environments that was interesting, even if I took them away from the TV-Show universe. But on the other hand, I don’t love JADE nearly as much as the readers seem to, but that might have something to do with me knowing just how despicable those characters are, trust me people, there’s nothing fluffy about them.

I wrote Coral, the sequel it took almost two more years, I had a suspicion it wouldn’t be anywhere near as well received and it wasn’t. I didn’t get any bad comments or anything it just didn’t reach people the same way JADE did. The comments I did get was hilarious though and it made me happy knowing there where people with the same twisted, dark humor as I have out there. I didn’t really have fun writing it, it enjoyed exploring these despicable people but it was a damn labor of love.  What it did make me realize is that, when a story is done, it’s done, no matter how much people ask for more, if I have to fight to find the characters, if they are not there floating around in my head poking me with sticks saying “I want to do this!!! Make it happen!!!”  it’s over, so Coral taught me a lot about my writing.

I’d actually already started Scrapbooking when I posted Coral in April 2013, but then two really, really crappy years happened and I wasn’t in fandom, I didn’t write, didn’t read, I was just gone, I did however read all the old comments on my stories. When I thought I was going to fall down and never get back up I read those comments, I read them over and over and it made me feel so much better.

I slowly started to write again the summer of 2015, I had updated the master posts on JADE and Coral and posted them at AO3, by chance had read them and she found an old post where I was looking for a beta for Scrapbooking, she contacted me and asked if I still needed I beta and I though, yeah, I think I can write now. My mother’s chemo and radiation treatments where over and the doctor told us we’d won.

On the evening of August 11th 2015 I was sitting alone in a house in the country and I was in a really weird emotional state. I didn’t know then what was creeping around in my body, I know now, but I didn’t then, and I wrote the fight scene in Scrapbooking. I was exhausted, but I was obsessed and I kept thinking I have to finish this scene tonight, I have to finish it! and I was stressed about it because the clock was ticking away nearing midnight and, honest to god, I was thinking “you have to finish this now and go to sleep, you have to be up again in just a few hours”. I finished it about fifteen minutes past midnight and went to bed.

At three in the morning on August 12th my mother’s boyfriend called me screaming hysterically into the phone  and then a doctor told me my mother was dying.

I thought my mother dying would undo those few tentative steps I’d taken to rejoin fandom and start writing again. It did the opposite, I honestly don’t know what I would have done with myself if I hadn’t had Scrapbooking to write those first few months.

Now, a week before the one year anniversary of my mother’s death I can honestly say I don’t really remember much of the past year, at least not the first six months. I know the only time I felt anything other than soul crushing grief is when I wrote Scrapbooking, that’s probably why it’s so outrageously ridiculous at times, a lot of those really silly scene where added during re-writes, because I needed silly and ridiculously happy ever after. That story got me through those long nightshifts at my old job where everything was dark and quiet and if I hadn’t had that story I would have been alone, awake at night with only my grief.

The reaction on Scrapbooking was like someone injecting me with happy, I hadn’t been really happy for almost three years, I hadn’t really laughed for I don’t know how long but peoples joy at my ridiculous story made me laugh, in the middle of packing up my mother’s apartment, putting clothes that still smelled like her, warmth and patchouli, in black plastic bags, meeting with lawyers, and sorting through her diaries, deleting her Facebook and just ending her, your comments made me laugh.

And through your comments and through I found my way into the SPN fandom, I’d written in it but I’d never been a part of it the way I was in the Spangel fandom. Now I have a Twitter and I know people in the SPN fandom. It’s so much fun!

And then I wrote Fucking Kodiak, Alaska. If Scrapbooking was what made me survive the first months after my mother’s death, Fucking Kodiak, is me. It’s me deciding who I am without her here, it’s me making a choice to leave Stockholm and move to a tiny little shithole island in the middle of the Baltic sea (it’s lovely really, but it’s country not big city) it’s me leaving a secure job and for the first time ever not having a stable income and in part living on savings. It’s about me, deciding to survive my mother’s death, making difficult and very scary choices to be able to make that happen, it’s about me relearning how to be a whole person with half of me gone.

So understand, with that much of me in that story, please understand how much your comments means to me. I’m honestly bawling my eye’s out writing this, but I need you to understand how much a comment means. What a life saver they can be. It’s not just about an ego boost or even about a thank you for the work I’ve put in to a story. When something I write makes you happy and you express that happy in a comment, some of that emotion, that joy, that happiness, transfers into me. I get happy because I make you happy.

Being happy is not something to be taken for granted and sometimes you need a little help. Your comments brought some happiness into my life, when most of it was pitch black and suffering.

This has turned into a sappy novel, but I’d like the say one last thing about comments.

I posted my first fanfiction in January 2006, Sexshop.com Part 1, it was absolute crap! Honestly it’s right there in my sidebar if you don’t believe me, hell, read it, and then read Fucking Kodiak, they’re posted with about 10 years between them, read them both and you’ll see the power of comments. I would never ever have thought I could write if it hadn’t been for you and your comments. Hell, most day’s I still think my writing is crap and I close my computer and I say “Enough, I’m not going to write anymore, everything I write is fucking rubbish!” No really, I honestly do! And then, I open the computer and I read your comments on JADE, Coral, Scrapbooking and Fucking Kodiak and I think, maybe I’ll just write a little more…

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