Sunday, March 31, 2013

F#13: Fandom

I am a geek at heart.  I love aliens, space ships, wizards, elves, and magic.  When I was younger, this was something I kept sort-of-secret, mostly because teenage girls who like Star Wars do not get a lot of dates.  (I actually didn't get a lot of dates anyway, so maybe I should have embraced this earlier.)

Now, as an adult, I don't care.  I wear my Star Wars and Doctor Who shirts to work; I drink out of my TARDIS coffee mug.  I participate in Renaissance Faires (another post).  Fandoms have brought me a lot of joy, and a lot of people, so I am not ashamed of myself anymore.  At least not for this.

I entered into the Star Wars fandom between seventh and eighth grade.  This was when the SciFi channel first got its footing, and they would air the Original Trilogy (then, of course, just the Star Wars movies).  I was visiting my cousin in Canada, and a friend of hers had taped them all.  I remember the commercial breaks feature Billy Dee Williams and Carrie Fisher.  Of course, the tape cut off about twenty minutes into Return of the Jedi, so when I got back home at the end of the summer, I begged my mom to rent it so I could find out what happened.  My mom would share with me that, as a tyke, I was terrified of the Ewoks, and that I burst into tears when my first grade gym teacher dressed up as Darth Vader for Halloween.  (Oh, if only we'd all known how my love affair with Darth Vader would proceed.)  After that summer, I was reading the books, getting magazines in the mail, and then there was the Special Editions, and then the promise of the Prequels. There was live-action role-playing online; my teenage bedroom was covered with Han, Leia, and Luke.  I strayed away from the books, and now I am waiting with everyone else to see what Disney has in store for us.

High School saw the development of three fandoms: The X-Files, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star of the Guardians.  The first two were shows I would watch with my mother, and the obsession never reached Star Wars level, I did set my schedules by both shows through high school and college.  The last on the list is a series of books, written by Margaret Weis.  A high school friend introduced me to them, and told me if I didn't read them, she would never forgive me.  Another love affair began, and this one ended up with a tattoo when I was twenty-three.  (Last year, I met Weis at a gaming convention in Boston.  I was all tongue-tied and fan-girl the first time I saw her, but managed to collect my thoughts enough to get a picture with her.  The exact words out of my mouth were, I believe, "I have a tattoo of Star of the Guardians on my back.")  The books are no longer available in print, but they do have digital copies available.  Which is a good thing, as my physical copies are pretty beat up.  I let a lot of people borrow those books over the years.

Harry Potter I got into when I was in college, but only after having seen the first two movies.  The first four books were out when I started reading those, but I still remember the anxiety between five and six, and then six and seven. I had not suffered as other fans had suffered, but getting The Deathly Hallows was an emotional event.

As an adult, I've branched out some more.  The same friend who threatened to disown me over the Weis books worked her evil magic again with a still-growing series by George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire.  At least with Star of the Guardians, all four books are out.  Martin is still working on his epic, so I must wait patiently with the rest of the world to see what will happen in Westeros.  HBO gives us Game of Thrones for a few months a year, but I want to know what's NEW, not what has already happened.

My adult-self has also come to embrace Doctor Who.  When the show first started airing in the States, I gave it a go, but wasn't in love with it.  I must not have been in the right head space for it at the time.  Once my fiance and I started dating, and he started watching it, I gave it another go.  This time, I fell in love.  I am half a season behind, as BBC is not a pay-for-stream service, and I am dying to know what happens with Amy and Rory (spoilers!).

There are other series that I enjoy, but not with the same fervor of those listed above.  I was on the Downton Abbey wagon about six months before everyone else in the States; we just finished re-watching (for me, at least) The West Wing, in preparation for season two of The Newsroom this summer.  And, of course, there is the oh-so-trashy True Blood, which is just a train wreck I can't look away from.

All of these things, which made me such an outcast when I was in middle school and high school, have now brought me to some of the best people and experiences I have ever had.  It's still hard to explain some of these fandoms to the people at work, but my students have a surprisingly good grasp on them, which makes my job a little bit more enjoyable.  I now let my geek flag fly whenever I can, and I like to see just who it attracts.

1 comment:

  1. I am happy for you that you fly your geek flag whenever you can. I think we were probably all a little ashamed of something in high school. For me, it was Elvis. Although, by the time I was a junior I was mature enough not to care too much what people thought of me. :-)