Fanfiction. Fanart. I miss you.
I somehow became a part of the "real world." I thought it would be a quick flirtation, something to make me attractive to real guys, and I'd be back with the next big movie release, piece of fiction, or TV show. But Sherlock, House, Thor, and the Avengers later, and nothing has caught my eye. I wonder what happened.
I mean, a boyfriend probably had something to do with it. He's a very realistic sort of guy. And I'm the type that doesn't believe that there's a need to force my will onto other people. And so, inevitably, over the last three years, I have bended to accommodate him.
And it's not to say that he doesn't give me my free space, or allow me my pursuits. But his realistic, practical view of the world has informed mine. The energy that I used to spend on struggling to reconcile two characters with one another was now spent on reconciling myself with him.
This is the first time in a year that he's gone on a business trip and I haven't tagged along. After my events tonight, I bought groceries, went home, turned on my favorite podcast, and began writing.
I was about 300 words into a new story about a frog that drives a rickshaw around San Francisco when I puttered out. My usual stamina for these things. Even when I was writing fanfiction, the most I could manage was 800 words before I puttered out, and that was if I was lucky. But it was interesting that *this* was the activity that I turned to the moment he was gone. Did I do it to assuage my loneliness—to immerse myself in the routine and memories that used to form some of my most treasured social interactions, or did I do it because I was finally "free" of my "normal life?"
Now, don't get me wrong. My boyfriend knows full well about my "sordid" past, as do all my ex-boyfriends. Writing fanfiction is never something I've hid from people—nor is it something I'm ashamed of. In fact, I wish I kept writing it if only to be able to proudly announce to people that I'm a part of some kind of alternative culture.
But I wonder where it went. I guess we only have so much energy in our lives to devote to these kinds of passions, and it's so hard for me to muster up the energy to create things when I'm busy—well, trying to make my relationship work. Just run it, come up with new ideas to stimulate it, turn my imagination in the direction of what neat and creative sexy things to do and what I need to wear to the next social event in order to make the best impression and help both our causes as people whose jobs depends on our reputation and network. And the rest of my energy goes toward work.
It's been such a long time since I updated. My life has gotten better, I think. I'm healthier: I pay attention to what I'm eating, and I walk everywhere. I call my parents more. I pay my bills on time and am a (mostly) responsible citizen. I'm a dutiful and loving and creative girlfriend, and a team player and gung-ho contributor at work. I pay for my mother's vacations and try to get my kid sister internship opportunities and help friends with side projects and side businesses. I wrote a short story for a friend's zine, and I was proud of it. But it was nowhere near the length of anything I used to write, or the depth.
My drawing skills have suffered without the nightly guidance of dr_oil and the watchmenpchat. My fanfiction portfolio has mostly suffered without daily readings of etherati and thyme and everyone else. I don't feel like I have a special, secret life anymore; my life these days is all in the public view, in what I do at work, where I go for dinner, which friends I hang out with. All recorded on Facebook for advertisers to track. Even Livejournal wants me to link my Twitter—no thanks. I miss my private life, but an investment in private life feels like cheating my real life and the people who need me or want me or are used to having me around.
I used to love these secret, make-believe men, and pour such energy into them. I made them come to life in strange poses and bad anatomy and florid prose. They were of my own making and they were bent to our will.
And then I found a real, unpredictable man, and he is lovely in all the ways that a real character is—at times hilariously obtuse, at other times disarmingly perceptive. Sometimes completely receptive to love, his mood as pliant as sheepskin. Sometimes acerbic, cutting me to the quick.
I have a real man now, and he doesn't read like any of these men from the past do. And maybe there's no difference, because I still impose my will on him, but sometimes he doesn't confirm, he still wants to do his own thing. I tried so hard to reconcile Cobb and Arthur, but they had their own minds, and never actually got together, convincingly, in my universes.
So I guess the difference here is that — my real man is the only one who can break my heart. And that's a risk that I live with every day. What surprises me is that I'm willing to live with it. There was such comfort in these make-believe men and my love for them and my control over them.
I guess that it's only when my boyfriend is traveling that this feeling comes out—that I miss them dearly, good old Rorschach and Dan and Cobb and Arthur, and what they meant for my creative capabilities. How they helped me become a confident writer and storyteller and erstwhile storyboarder, and how they reassured me that I was a capable, creative being who delivered product after product that people loved and enjoyed. I still go back to my reviews now and then, smiling loads. A colleague's accolade doesn't ring as true to me as a review on a fic I wrote.
Fanfiction, I miss you. But I think you'll always be here for me. Because, and here's the clincher—you *are* a part of me. That immutable part of my nerdy, silly, creative, imaginative self that loves the idea of two ideas reconciling despite the odds. And I haven't read you for so long, or written you for so long, but I think about you every day. And there might come a time where I'll need you, and I'll come back (probably in tears), and you won't judge me, and you won't hate me, and you'll let me love you in a way that other people won't, or can't.
Fanfiction, I am so glad you exist. I can't wait for the moment when my kids discover you.