Fandom [n]: a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.
But what is fandom really?
I was nine when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published, and for the first time in my life I found myself wrapped up in a world that captivated me, not only during the times I was reading, but in nearly every aspect of my life. For the first time, I found myself wanting
to read, wanting
to talk about my ideas for the next books, wanting
to know what was going to happen so badly that I would spend bus rides with my new 'Harry Potter' friends writing "Harry Potter - Book Two" in a notebook (Hello fanfiction!). Harry Potter lead me into a wonderful, beautifully twisted world that I had yet to even comprehend.
By the time I was fourteen, I had discovered the beauty of Lord of the Rings (and by that I mean Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd
). It was Lord of the Rings that lead me to my first venture into real
fanfiction and RPF. I found livejournal, and therefore... I found slash fiction. The people around me, writing with me and reading my fiction (God, I apologize to them now that I've looked back at my first ventures into NC-17 works), didn't care how old I was, didn't care that I had never had boyfriend and had barely decided who the hell I even was. They loved that every inch of my bedroom walls were covered with pictures of the LotR guys, found it awesome that I was learning to speak Elvish and had the extended editions memorized. I had phone conversations with friends in London, Germany, California, Costa Rica
... sorry Mom for those phone bills
, and many of them I am still friends with and close with today.
It was then, a few years into the fandom of Lord of the Rings, that I realized what a fandom could
be. The group of friends I had was such a mix; I was the youngest at 15 and the oldest one of us was in her late fifties, but it didn't matter. What did matter was l
ove, mostly, and connection to a group of people that truly understood you
. Race, age, gender, personality didn't, because at the end of the day, it was the one thing that brought you together that made you special, made you worth knowing, and your differences were what just made everything that much better.
Fandom is friendship.
Unfortunately, life happened, and slowly as I started to get older and got a boyfriend who I focused the majority of my time on, fandom seemed to slip into the background. My walls were replaced with pictures of me and my husband, my family, though I still have a giant boot box with every single picture I clipped from countless magazines with anything
Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Pirates of the Caribbean related.
But even though I wasn't writing, wasn't active on the sites I used to be, the people
were still there. Some of my longest friendships came from the people I met and found on LJ... Twelve years and still going!! wopt70
, and of course, my Peregrin Took manic_padagirl
Really, Fandom is family.
A little over a year ago, I found myself swept back into the world of fandom thanks to Supernatural. And although the SPN family has been going strong for years
, I was swept into this fandom family with open arms. I started writing again, started spending way more hours than I will ever admit watching Con Videos and extras on the ten DVD sets I just HAD TO HAVE
. I had friends from LotR like pippin1983
who were a few steps ahead of me and showed me just what they loved about the SPN fandom and gave me a great group of people to look up that they'd made friends with. Fandom is a family that is ever changing, ever growing.
Slowly, fandom has found it's way intertwined into my adult life and I have found a part of me that I hadn't even realized I'd been missing. A support system, a group of amazing people that I never would have had the chance to meet or know if it wasn't for
fandom. We're connected by a similar interest, but we're all different and it's amazing to watch those differences come together and make something beautiful, be it a fic or art collaboration, a conversation, a fantastic Fandom Fest idea like this one right here.
To know that you can talk to a group of people about your random fetishes and ideas for the kinkiest fanfiction you could possibly imagine and then, in the same conversation, get real and talk about what shit show is going on in your life... That's real. And that is something that many people don't have the luxury of being a part of.
Fandom is truth. Fandom is life. Fandom is home.
So what is fandom? Fandom is everything worth being a part of. And I am so very lucky to know each and every one of you. It doesn't matter if we talk in passing or if we're close enough to be on facebook or texting. It doesn't matter if you only read my fiction or if I only read yours. You're important to me, and you're a part of this crazy, beautiful family that I am. Everyone I have come across has helped to shape me int the person that I am today, from giving me advice or sharing life experiences, listening and helping me grow as a writer/artist/person.
I love you, all of you. And I am so, so blessed to know you.