Day 12: What makes you fannish? And by that we mean, what is it about a tv show/movie/book/band/podcast/etc that takes you from, "Yeah, I like that," to "I need MOAR!!!" Is it a character? A plotline? The pretty? Subtext that’s just screaming to be acknowledged?

In your own space, tell us what it is that gets you to cross that line into fandom.


I'm not actually sure. I know the thing that prompts me to actually create fanworks/write fic is having an OTP (or occasionally an OTC that I want to whump), but whatever it is that ignites the fire of fannishness? I just don't know. There are series (Wheel of Time, Obsidian and Blood, ASoIaF books, Pern, Star Trek, Star Wars, Gargoyles, Barbara Hambly's Benjamin January books, Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe series, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, several mystery series, various 90s cartoons about superheroes, David Eddings fantasy novels, and various other terrible fantasy novels from my adolescent and teenage years that I won't go into here except to say that the words "Dragon" "Lance," "Realms," and "Forgotten" were involved) that I've been intensely fannish about without ever engaging in/with the actual fandoms for them, and canons I've read extensive amounts of fic for without ever being fannish about the canon itself (Bleach, Gundam Wing, Teen Wolf, The Sentinel).

I don't know what particular element or elements cause the fannish obsession to kick in, but I suspect the obsession itself is something neurological or brain-chemistry related and innate, because it's something I've done since childhood. I have a decent-sized dose of what my mother's family refers to as "the bad genes" ("the bad genes" refers to the cocktail of ADHD, addiction-prone personalities, and various mood disorders that all run in the family) and displayed a lot of Autism-spectrum-like behaviors as a young child (hysterical melt-downs over sensory issues, for example). I doubt I actually have full-blown Aspergers syndrome or anything because I've outgrown some symptoms and learned to conceal/compensate for others, but there's something non-neurotypical there.

I have fannish-like attachments to certain non-fiction subjects as well as to ordinary "fannish" things. Dinosaurs/prehistoric animals in general are one of those subjects, and so is the American Civil War, WWII aircraft, David Attenborough nature documentaries, and a variety of other historical eras/things.

And I've had these obsessive fannish interests going back as far as I can remember. Every little kid goes through a dinosaur obsession phase, including me (mine's still ongoing, though). I also had a childhood period of "cetaceans/whales" fannishness, Flower Fairies fannishness, My Little Pony fannishness, Little House on the Prairie fannishness, and then, once my ability to read adult novels kicked in around age 8, I jumped right into Arthuriana/King Arthur fannishness (from Howard Pyle's Victorian-era retellings of Mallory to The Mists of Avalon), Pern, and Wheel of Time. And everything else is (fannish) history.

Oh, the hours I spent pretending to be Lessa or Jaxon (his special-snowflake white dragon's name, Ruth, was also my middle name), Mat Cauthon, Mat Cauthon's Mary Sue imaginary Daughter-of-the-Nine-Moons girlfriend because Tuon hadn't been introduced yet, various femslashy OCs in the Shannara universe, and [Mary Sue] McCloud of the Clan McSue. My best friend at the time and I had an elaborate shared universe epic that crossed over Wheel of Time, Narnia, and a half-dozen other canons plus a bunch of characters we'd completely made up, and used to effectively roleplay over the telephone with one another (or do in-person verbal RPGs using Barbies as props). Outside of and separate from that, I used to make up dramatic H/C scenes in my head for various books/movies/tv shows and tell them to myself while I lay in bed at night or (once I started doing cross-country) went running.

I added a history major on top of majoring in English in college pretty much entirely because of the aforementioned WWII and American Civil War fangirling, and my undergraduate history thesis (about Confederate blockade running) was probably about as much of a fannish endeavor as my Harry Potter fics. Ditto the term paper I wrote about the build-up of Goering's Luftwaffe (I still remember searching endlessly for some source I could cite for the fact that the ME-109 had fuel injection and the Spitfire and Hurricane's Merlin engines didn't, because I'd learned that tidbit back in 8th grade while being fannish about the Battle of Britain and couldn't remember where from). My MkII Spitfire necklace is as much a fannish accoutrement as Seanchai's 1941 Liberty Dollar (1941=the publication of the first Captain America comic). I painted the kitchen of my first apartment the same color as a particular Civil War-era military flag.

I don't become as obsessively attached and emotionally engaged in fandom since a) getting massively emotionally fucked-over by Marvel and b) going on SSRIs (partly because dialing back on the terrible emotional lows also cost me the intense emotional highs, and partly because I still can't quite let myself emotionally engage on the same level as I could before the Civil War/Secret Invasion/Siege/Fraction roller coaster of emotional scarring* came along), but hopefully someday I can get the intensity of enthusiasm back, because the general fannishness I know isn't going anywhere.


*Comics do not make a good escapist coping mechanism for depression/anxiety/bipolarness. Not superhero comics, anyway.
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