Personal

I’m In Love…with Fanfiction

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I stumbled into fanfiction when I was around 15. It was kind of an accident. Twilight was the most popular thing at the time, and of course I was obsessed with it. One thing led to another, and I started writing a fifth Twilight novel — starring me and all of my friends. I thought I was so clever. I thought I was the only person who could ever have come up with something so ingenious. For a while, I was convinced that my book would be published and the world would get even more Twilight goodness from me.

Of course, it didn’t take long for me to find the wonderful site fanfiction.net. There, I discovered hundreds, if not thousands, of stories continuing with the Twilight story that I loved so much. I started a few of them, and I was shocked by how good they were. Immediately, I was bummed out about how insignificant my story was compared to them. But I kept writing. I finished my Twilight fanfiction, entitled Sunlight (see how clever I was?) and it ended up being over 500 pages of pure nonsense.

It didn’t take long for me to grow out of that. Twilight was old news, and I had just discovered what was to become my brand new obsession: Supernatural. Now, I know this show isn’t very popular. Sure, it has a big fandom, but odds are, you’ve probably never seen a single episode of the show. It’s perfectly understandable. The show is on it’s 14th season, with plans for a 15th. No one has time for that. I actually gave up on the show around its 8th season. However, my love for Dean and Castiel knows no bounds.

Supernatural came into my life at a very crucial time. I was fresh out of high school, starting college with a very open-mind. I had just stumbled into many LGBT+ books that had me obsessed with learning about the topic. I thought of myself as the biggest ally. And when I read my first Dean and Castiel fic, I knew I had found something amazing. I was hooked on the spot, and I never looked back. Dean and Castiel encompassed all that I loved. Dean was often a closeted bi boy, while Castiel often struggled with his religion and sexuality. I connected with those things so much, and I didn’t even know why. (It took me a while to realize how gay I was, but don’t worry, I got there eventually).

It’s been over a decade since I’ve discovered fanfiction. Now, at 25, I wonder if I’ll ever give it up. Chances are I’ll read fanfiction for the rest of my life. Maybe it won’t always be about Dean and Castiel. Maybe it’ll be about some other crappy show with a couple that isn’t queer-baited. Maybe it’ll be about characters from a book. Who knows? For now, though, Dean and Castiel is all I care about. I have written many fics about them. And through them, I have improved my writing skills. There’s still a lot for me to learn, but I owe so much to my fics.

I am currently in the middle of reading a +400k fic. It is all I can think about. In fact, it’s what inspired this post. I had a brief moment today when it all came back to me. And I thought about all the things I love now because of fanfiction. I found the show The Office thanks to an angsty fic, and it is now my favorite show in the world. I found Bob Dylan thanks to another one, and Elvis Presley, and Alt-J, and Dead Man’s Bones. I learned about The Mothman, who is by far my favorite cryptid ever. I learned so much about angels, too. I found countless favorite songs through thoughtful playlists made by the many authors who write fics. So much of who I am as a person was shaped by fanfiction.

The best part is, I know fanfiction will be there for me when I need a pick-me-up. Every time I struggle getting back into reading, I know fanfiction is a good place to start. The stories are there, written so carefully for anyone to read. And they’re all free and easily accessible. Fanfiction is such a positive thing in my life, even when the fics tear my heart apart, like the one I’m currently reading. I love reading them. I love finding a new favorite, and then re-reading it so many times that I can almost memorize it. I love writing them, and getting those lovely comments from readers who are just as excited about the story as I am. I love knowing that my fanfiction has made others just as happy as it has made me.

For someone who struggles with feelings and dating and all things romance, nothing makes me happier than seeing my favorite couple get together. Again, and again, and again. In every scenario imaginable. In every alternate universe. In a coffee shop, or a pet store, or a concert, or a wedding. It doesn’t matter where you put them, they will fall in love, and they will get a happily ever after. And it never gets old.

This is sort of my love letter to fanfiction. I love it. I love getting lost in it. I love the community around it. It’s my happy place.

If you love fanfiction, let me know what kind you like to read!

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Personal

Pansexual and Bipolar

I’ve recently realized that there are two very big things about me that I can choose to share with the people around me. This occurred to me because I recently got a second job, which means I have many more coworkers than I had before. I’m a very open person. I like to share, sometimes overshare. At my first job, my full-time job, I have one close friend. She knows everything about my life — including the fact that I am pansexual and bipolar. I’ve shared these things with her because she makes me feel safe and she has never judged me. But it also dawned on me that she is my only coworker who knows these facts about me.

Maybe it’s normal not to share such personal things with coworkers. But should these things be shared with all my friends? The thing about me is, I’ve always labeled everyone I share more than one conversation with, a friend. My therapist recently made me see that many of these people are mere acquaintances, and not friends. I still haven’t fallen out of the habit of calling these people friends, but I’m trying.

But I’m also not sure when it’s safe to share these things about my sexuality and mental health. They’re huge things. To me, at least. And they aren’t things I’m ashamed of. I know who I am, and I’ve accepted it. I’m an honest person. I hate lying. And not sharing who I am with people often makes me feel like a liar. But I would hate to go up to a person and tell them I’m pansexual and bipolar, and have them see me differently.

You might ask, why do these things matter? Nobody should care.

Well, I care. I care because I want to talk about my sexuality. I want to talk about my past crushes on guys and girls. I want to say when I like a girl, as much as when I like a guy, or anyone else. And my mental health matters to me. I want others to be aware of it because it affects the way I act sometimes. I have bad days and good days, and I’m still learning how to be okay. I want people to understand why certain things take more time for me to adjust to.

I wish it were easier to share these things with people. I wish I didn’t have to “come out” all the time. I wish I could just be myself all the time.

But for now, I’ll just keep these things to myself. And you guys.

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Personal, Uncategorized, Writing Projects

Writing Update: Listening to My Gut

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It’s been a long time since I’ve talked about my writing. With it being NaNoWriMo  and me semi attempting to do that, I figured why not write about my writing? Especially since I have no book reviews to post because of it.

So I have started a new project about an all women magical pirate crew. It’s a story that’s been in head for about a year though I’ve never worked on it before this month. I always wanted to practice writing more, do research, make outlines and aesthetics and character profiles. And then I got an idea for it and said fuck it. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out the first page because I didn’t have my computer at the time.

I didn’t know anything about my story other than what I mentioned here. I decided my character’s name and the plot right there on the spot, and the first time in a long time I had fun while writing. Before I couldn’t help being overwhelmed with anxiety about word choice and what people would think and outlines and profiles and research. But I was actually making it all up on the spot and loving the story and not thinking about anyone reading except myself and making me happy.

After that, I decided to continue with it. I got a navy blue notebook with a gold whale on it (I love matching notebooks with the story) and I decided to continue handwriting. I usually struggle a lot with typing on the computer, but I usually still use that as a main writing source with only sometimes using a notebook for a particularly hard scene. A computer is simply the proper way to write a book right? Not this time. I decided to go with my gut and continued handwriting everything.

No other story has flowed out so easily for me. I wrote out ten pages in a single day. I’ve never been that productive ever. Typically I can get maybe five hundred words in a day which I would guess would be a page and a half in handwriting. 

It has been amazing how shedding the conventional writing advice (using a computer, character profiles, outlines) has actually helped me. The outline especially surprises me. I have always needed an outline before. But even with no knowledge about this world doesn’t stop me. If I don’t know a name for a place I put [City Name] and continue on like that. 

I’m curious about how others have dealt with this if they’ve even dealt with it at all. Do any of you have trouble with going against the norm to find out your own path? How do you deal with it? This seems like such a small struggle, but actually listening to myself and what works for me has been my hardest hurdle in writing (and life honestly). 

 

Personal

When did I know I was gay?

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In honor of pride month, I wanted to talk about a topic I’m very curious about. Back in college, I wrote an essay for my creative nonfiction class, where I mentioned my sexuality. My professor was unhappy with me leaving out a big detail regarding the topic. During workshop, she asked, “When did you know you were gay?” and requested that my answer be added to my revised essay.

I wanna preface this by saying that I’m using gay as an umbrella term. I identify as pansexual. I’ve seen many debates about the legitimacy of pansexuality as an identity separate from bisexuality. I’m not here to make a statement about my identity. I’m pansexual, and that’s it.

Now back to my class. My professor asked a very pointed question about a topic that I wasn’t very used to discussing. When I told one of my queer friend about it, she rolled her eyes and said, “You should have asked her: when did you know you were straight?” And we just laughed it off.

Recently, I’ve been seeing tweets about queer people sharing stories about the moment when they knew they were gay (or not straight). I don’t really know what to do with all of these stories, because I’ve never given much thought to a specific time when something clicked in me and I thought, “Hey, I’m not actually straight. I think I like everyone!” My journey to coming out was a bit different.

What I’m trying to say is, there is no one specific moment when everything changed for me. It happened gradually. Mostly because I’m clueless to most things, including myself. As a kid, I found my girl friends attractive. I never paid much attention to it, though, because I found boys just as attractive, and that was all that mattered. As I got older, I found myself getting all sorts of “girl crushes,” which I believed to be totally normal for a straight girl.

And then came the day I watched Black Swan. If you’ve seen the movie, maybe you’ll remember the scene between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman having sex. I certainly do. The moment I saw it, I was very, very shocked. I had never seen two women getting it on, and let me tell you, it was doing funny things to me. I remember being unable to stop thinking about it for days. I kept bringing it up with my friends, but pretending I’d hated that part of the movie. I wanted to know their thoughts on it, but they were clearly not as fazed by it as I was.

I guess if I wanted to pinpoint a pivotal moment in my coming-out journey, it would have to be seeing Black Swan. But it was until many years later that I finally accepted my sexuality, and wholly embraced it.

In high school, I had come to the conclusion that I could probably fall in love with anyone, regardless of their gender. Because gender didn’t seem to factor in my ability to fall for people. But I still didn’t consider myself anything but straight. I figured every straight person in the world felt the same way as I did. See what I mean about being clueless?

I was in college when I had my first crush on a girl who wasn’t a celebrity. In other words, a real girl. It started out slowly. I was so confused as to why I was so drawn to her until the day I came out to her, after knowing she was queer too, and realized I liked her. After that moment, I just kept coming out to people. Because, why not?

I didn’t know that pansexual was a term, but Nicole brought it to my attention. After a lot of reading up on it, I grew attached to the term. Now I don’t know what I would do without it. I feel comfortable using that label. It feels right. It fits me.

So, to answer the title of this post: I guess I always knew I was gay. It just took me a while to figure it out. I used to feel bad about not having a specific moment when things clicked and I just knew. But I don’t care anymore. I’m pansexual. I’m gay. I’m happy to be part of the LGBT+ community. I’m here and I’m queer.

Do you guys have a specific moment when you knew you were gay, or is that a silly question? Let me know! I’d love to hear your stories.

Happy Pride!

Personal

Cassandra Clare Is Attending NTTBF and I Am Not Happy About It

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I know from the controversial title of this post, people will judge me, maybe even want to attack me. But before you do, hear me out.

Although I’m a huge fan of Young Adult novels, I’ve never read any of Cassandra Clare’s books. I’ve never been intrigued by them, though I’ve seen a few episodes of Shadowhunters, and it was pretty decent. But that is neither here nor there.

I happen to know a lot about Cassandra Clare’s past because Nicole and I did extensive research about it for our podcast episode: Spilling the Tea About Cassandra Clare, if you want to hear a more thorough explanation.

In our research, we learned that Cassandra Clare has allegedly plagiarized in both fanfiction and her original novels, has cyberbullied people to extreme lengths, has refused to take criticism, has had an obsession with incest, and has overall done her fair share of shady stuff. Again, we talk in detail about all of this in our podcast, so I won’t take the time to explain it here.

I am writing this today because I am very upset by Cassandra Clare’s attendance this year at the North Texas Teen Book Festival. I’ve been attending since the first year it started in 2015. I’ve gotten the chance to see amazing panels, and have met many of my favorite authors throughout the years. I’ve loved each and every experience, and I plan to attend this year and continue attending in the future.

However, upon searching for information about this year’s festival, which will be held on April 21, 2018, I saw a tweet from their official twitter account.

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I immediately showed this to Nicole because I couldn’t believe my eyes. Let me preface this by saying that I realize this is a free event, and most of their gains come from book sales. I know that book sales are extremely important for these authors, because many of them aren’t very well known, and this event is great exposure.

But come on, we’re talking about Cassandra Clare, who has created a huge fandom and has a movie and a TV show inspired by her books. She is the biggest author at this festival. At first, her attendance didn’t faze me at all. I was happy for the fans that would get to meet their favorite author, like I’ve done for many years.

But this is absolutely ridiculous. No other author at this festival has ever demanded that their readers buy a specific book to have signed by them. Not one. Not even Holly Black, who is very close friends with Cassandra Clare, and who I think is just as popular.

My anger stems from the fact that the majority of readers are not rich. Most of us can’t afford one copy of a book, let alone two. Requiring for her readers to purchase one of those three very expensive books — even though chances are they already own them — in order to even get in the signing line, is ABSURD.

There is no logical explanation for why Cassandra Clare would have these demands, aside from greed. The majority of these fans are teens. They are attending a free book event in the hopes of meeting their favorite author. They’ve probably bought all of her books from all of her series, which are A LOT. And for her to demand that they buy these extra copies as a requirement for her to sign them is just awful.

I really doubt the reason behind this demand is that her book sales are dwindling, because I don’t see that happening. This is nothing but greed.

Personal, Uncategorized

Getting Through the Rough Times

I’ve heard people say, “This book/movie/show got me through a rough time.” I’ve never understood that saying. I am currently going through a lot of depression myself. A lot. I mean, I sleep all afternoon, I refuse to see my friends or leave my house. I don’t have any energy. I don’t even know how I’m writing this down because writing is the last thing I want to do. I’ve tried reading books, but I can’t get into them. Not even Restore Me, and The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, which were two of my most anticipated releases of this year. I can’t read anything. I just can’t.

Same for TV shows. I’ve stopped watching all of my shows. All I do is play The Office (which I’ve seen at least twenty times) in the background as I fall asleep. I don’t want to see any movies. I’m in that state where nothing, absolutely nothing, makes me happy. And thinking back on it, I don’t think I’ve ever had something I can look back to and say “This thing got me through a rough time.” Nothing at all. When I’m down like this, nothing helps. It’s something I have to deal with until it eventually diminishes, or I die.

I just find it interesting to see so many people getting through rough times when they find something they love. I don’t think I’ve loved anything in a long time. So long, in fact, I can’t remember the feeling. I can’t remember what it felt when I was obsessed with Supernatural and all I wanted to do was live within the fandom. I can’t remember the love I felt for Misha Collins, all those times I met him. I can’t remember how it felt to have a crush — on anyone. I feel completely numb.

Recently, I finished Queer Eye on Netflix. The show was beautiful, and it was something I was clinging to for dear life. I spread out the episodes over a week, so I would have something to come back to. I felt myself getting worse, so I needed that lifeline. But as soon as I finished the season, I was gone. There was no bringing me back to the world of the living. I was a zombie, basically. That’s where I am right now. I don’t count Queer Eye as one of the things that got me through a rough time, because it felt more like it threw me into the rough time. I made myself dependent on some show, and when it ended, I felt lost.

I keep wondering, where are these incredible, magical things that can get me through the rough times? Do they even exist? Or are they just another lie?

Personal

Hope Nation Launch Party

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Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration edited by Rose Brock and written by a load of different authors that will be published on February 27, 2018. Today at the South Irving Library they held a launch party with Rose Brock, Angie Thomas, Julie Murphy, and Ally Carter.

We haven’t been to many events involving books. A lot doesn’t happen here. So when we heard about this launch we knew we had to be there. I bought Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give and Isis bought a copy of Hope Nation. A lot of people showed up. I mean, a lot. They had to open up a back room in order to fit everyone. They had cupcakes, cookies, strawberries, and lemonade out for everybody who wanted some. 

Brock, Thomas, Murphy, and Carter were so nice. They started about what hope means to them and talked about their stories in the anthology. It got quite personal, and I think every one of them cried a little during it. Then they opened up to a couple questions which got a little political, and a lot liberal. Which is refreshing living in Texas let me tell ya.

We were lucky enough to get pretty close to the front of the line when the signing started. It went by pretty quick. Each of them were really nice like I said before, and we even got to get a picture with Angie and Julie. We actually had the same creative writing teacher as Julie at TCC, and we got to tell her that. She thought it was cool, and told us that was where she met her husband.

The day was really fun, and we’re excited for the upcoming book event at the North Texas Teen Book Festival in April.