A Letter to All the Fandoms I’ve Loved Before

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Open Letter
Title: A Letter to All the Fandoms I’ve Loved Before
From: Carly Lane
Addressed To: various fandoms
Date(s): June 17th, 2015
Medium: online
Fandom: Star Wars, BtVS, X-Files
Topic:
External Links: [1], Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

A Letter to All the Fandoms I’ve Loved Before is an open letter written by a writer Carly Lane published on The Mary Sue in June 2015.

Excerpts

To Star Wars: You were the first love, the one I thought of as a fandom before I even knew the right word for it. As an adolescent I identified with Luke Skywalker, stuck in a small place, and I swooned over Han Solo (that dashing smuggler) but it was Princess Leia I wanted to be the most, who wasn’t afraid to stand up to Imperial agents and who withstood horrible forms of torture designed to get her to betray the Rebel Alliance. And yet she persevered, leading the way into the garbage chute to engineer her own escape when everyone else was still trying to come up with a solution. She spoke her mind without fear and refused to let herself be talked down to, and she certainly gave Han a run for his money—but she was also willing to put herself in danger in order to rescue the people she cared about.
To Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I found you a little bit later, in my teenage years, but you couldn’t have come at a better time. You were all about the perils of high school and growing up, about the monsters we face that don’t necessarily look evil on the outside, about the complicated relationships we have with family and friends and how our feelings sometimes just don’t make sense. What Would Buffy Do? became my unofficial mantra, and the Slayer herself was the one
To The X-Files: You’re the newest one on the list, but it doesn’t mean my love for you is any less. I dabbled here and there, watching random episodes without really paying attention to what made you great in the early years—and indeed, it wasn’t until Netflix released you in all your streaming glory that I finally dove in headfirst, immersing myself without a single regret. From the beginning, though, I knew I’d found a favorite in Dana Scully. From her unequivocal smarts to her undeniable strength, she was the strong female character I’d always wanted in the arsenal of my faves. She faced her fair share of opposition as a woman in her field, but she made it plain that she had earned the right to be an FBI agent and a medical doctor. She knew how to challenge Mulder without belittling his ideas, and their partnership was even stronger for it. Even in the midst of his absence, when she carried the weight of the X-Files on her shoulders, she proved her worth ten times over.
To my fandoms: you’ve all changed me, helped me develop my views on the world, given me friends I never would have met otherwise. There are so many more of you I could list (and you know who you are, Harry Potter), but at the end of the day, I don’t know where I would be without each and every one of you.

Comments

Dear Fairy Tail.

You help me smile during a very difficult time in my life. I remember coming home in tears, only to see twelve new episodes uploaded. That really helped me back then.

(Sorry felt the need to do my own.)[1]
Dear Neon Genesis Evangelion: Fuck you. No seriously, fuck. You.[2]
Dear Agent Carter;

Come back for season 2 and bring your friends.

Sincerely, Quill.[3]
Dear MST3K;

When my parents got divorced when I was sixteen, already a socially isolated, detached, and depressed loner, you kept me laughing. I will always be grateful for that.

With gratitude;

Iliya[4]
... I feel like I want to write a love letter to my fandoms now too! What a cool idea! :-D Right there with you, by the way! Star Wars was my first love. I love the Buffy/ATS verse to this day, and .... I dyed my hair red because I loved Agent Scully so much. I was a redhead for years. Fabulous article![5]
Dear Dad,

It occurs to me you got me into all of the fandoms I would write a letter to, so thanks for being awesome.

Sincerely,

Me[6]
Dear Trixie Belden Mysteries:

You gave me a teenage heroine to love who was as much of a temperamental weirdo as I was, who worried about appearance (but not too much), boys (but not too much), and her friendships. She jumped to conclusions, got mad, screwed up, and was also unapologetically enthusiastic, game for adventure, brave, and smart. You gave me her friends and siblings - the smart, quiet Brian, the loud, clever Mart, the ever-honorable Jim, the kind, intelligent Honey, the lovely, sweet Diana, and the cool, mysterious Dan. Trixie was always learning to trust her instincts and also trust her friends and their instincts as well. She learned to control her temper and to apologize when she hurt feelings. Honey learned how to stand up for herself, Mart learned when to keep his trap shut, Dan learned to trust, Brian learned to loosen up a bit, Diana learned that true friends don't care if you're rich or poor, and Jim learned how to be part of a family again. The stories may have been formulaic, but I remember incredible amounts of trivia I gleaned from the books to this day about various geographic regions, how not to fall off of a horse, and that sometimes, what looks like unicycle tracks might just be a wheelbarrow.

Love forever,

Sara[7]
Does anyone feel like they have a fandom that's stuck in time? I left X-Files after season 6 but my memories of the early days are so positive that I'm not sure whether it's because I was too young to notice or get the negative stuff (people being creepy, just like there are creepy people now) or because it was in the earlier internet days before people truly took to extreme harassment.[8]
Dear Sailor Moon, Thanks for letting me know that I don't have to discard everything feminine in order to be a strong person. A good chunk of my childhood was defined by the fear that if I was ever photographed with a barbie doll, no one would hire me in my desired field.[9]
Dear Gilmore Girls, thank you for making me feel less alone when I was the kid who loved reading and weird music, TV and films, who dreamed about university and seeing the world. Because of you, I knew there were more like me and one day I would find them.[10]
Dear Warehouse 13,

Thank you for so much. Thank you for a place of endless wonder, a dysfunctional family of misfit toys that still love each other, a world where women can be heroes and engineers, where men can be men (or even a man child) without being douchebags, and where danger and terrible things don't make people bitter cynics.

I'll even forgive you for season five.[11]
Dear Comics, Thank you for keeping the topshelf stuff in the back, so that the rubes are intimidated away by the spandex-clad juicers sipping mojitos in the front and the rest of us can drink with Tommy Monaghan, John Constantine, Jesse Custer, wax existentially with Morpheus, and, to a lesser extent, smoke with Bigby and Spider.[12]
Dear Red Dwarf

You were my first foray into Geekdom having watched you from about the age of 2 (seriously I used to pretend to be Cat in nursery). Thank you for supplying me with a quote for every occasion and for still being funny all these years later. Thank you Robert Llewellyn for presenting Scrapheap Challenge.

I would probably never have watched that show as a kid if it wasn't for my love of you as Kryten. And thanks must also go to Craig Charles for taking over presenting Robot Wars and treating the show with respect unlike Jeremy Clarkson.[13]
Dear Lisa Simpson and Daria

You were my role models as a child and I will always be thankful for your inspiration, your brains and your sharp wit.

And I no longer need to watch your shows because I have become you.

My mother is not grateful for that development.[14]
In addition to ones already mentioned for reasons already stated...

Dear Roswell, Thanks for helping me realize that human/alien ships are a trope that I REALLY, REALLY like.

Dear Lois & Clark, Thanks for being all around adorable and cementing my love of superheroes. (Also, see above.)

Dear Twilight,

Yeah, I honestly don't know what I was thinking. Let's just pretend that never happened, k?[15]
Doing more since I forgot at the time!!

Dear Muppets;

Thank you for showing that humor doesn't have to be mean spirited, low brow, or crude. Yours is the standard of what comedy should be.

Dear Peanuts;

Thanks for still giving me someone to relate to as Charlie Brown and that even though things can be bad, it's not the end of the world. And you can find good times even when things are bad.

Dear Strong Bad (and everyone else at Homestarrunner;

How do you type with boxing glov- wait. Thanks for being self-aware and saucesome. Your humor still holds up when other crude Newgrounds garbage is long since forgotten. Long may the Strongbadian flag fly![16]
Dear The Legend Of Korra, Thank you for korrasmi,Lin and Suyin Beifong,Kya,Bumi ,Tenzin,older Toph,Ming Hua,Zaheer,kuvira and the development of of the Avatar world.You taught me compassion and growth.[17]
I love these, I keep coming back to read new ones. I didn't want to make my own because it's so hard to choose without going on and on. I'll try to keep this short.

Dear Books: I love you so hard. Sorry we weren't as close for a few years a while back but I'm glad you are such a big part of my life now. There are favorite series and authors I could name, but you know who you are. ;)

Dear Buffy (and other Whedonverse shows but mainly Buffy), X-Files, Harry Potter, The Simpsons, LOTR/Hobbit, Wii games, (I'm probably forgetting something):

Thank you for making me finally realize that I am nerdy and PROUD, and for forming who I am and who I want to be as a person. Thank you for giving me something to identify with at times when I've felt like I don't fit in anywhere and realizing I don't want to fit in anywhere, I can just be me, take it or leave it. Thank you for giving me so much to be excited about and feel good about when things have been hard.[18]
Dear Jedi Academy Trilogy,

Yeah, I know, not many like you and some of your plot points were a little convoluted but you were a wonderful introduction to a much larger world for a 10 year old girl. You were a brilliant, exciting escapade into the deeper realms of Star Wars.

Dear Courtship of Princess Leia,

No. This was not something I needed to read and now you are stuck in my brain.[19]
Dear Avatar

You were my first fandom, thank you for being part of my childhood. You had great characters, great story and gorgeous animation. You managed to get across the damage war can do (psychological, environmental, cultural) even without the ability to show grisly violence. I think getting across how awful war is to kids is more important now than ever as those who lived through WWII grow fewer. You had fully rounded female characters who were badass. And 12 year old me really appreciated that (you'd be surprised at how few girls there can be in shows not specifically designed "for girls" or maybe you wouldn't, you were pretty smart). Oh and your fight scenes they were so much fun to watch. I never really liked watching the fight scenes in other cartoons, I found them tedious and boring. But not yours, despite being a cartoon they felt so real. It felt like bending was totally possible (I may have after an episode ended stood on our terrace pretending to waterbend). Anyway thanks

P.S You had the greatest finale of any TV show ever[20]
Dear Star Trek: TNG and your edgier sibling DS9,

Thank you for teaching me that there was nothing wrong with being the smart weird kid, or being interested in the larger ideas of the world. Thank you for showing me the importance of being into whatever I was into, no matter what anyone else liked or thought. You were my gateway into science fiction and general nerd-com and I'll always appreciate it.

Dear Gargoyles,

Thank you for getting me into Shakespeare and literature in general. Thanks for showing me cartoons could be edgy, dark, and interesting, (even if they came from Disney!), and that stories heavy reliant on magic and fantasy was still relatable. As my avatar/username show, I'm still really, really into you, even in my 30s.[21]
Dear Anne McCaffrey, From the moment I picked up The White Dragon, not realizing it was the third in a trilogy, I have lived in your fantasy and science fiction. It used to be a yearly rite for me to read each and every book I owned by you, getting more difficult the more I owned (that number now is around 80, some of the newest and some of the oldest are still missing). Menolly, Lessa, The Rowan, Acorna all taught me that I could be the hero of my story, be strong, smart and competent and loved. Though your collaborations I was introduced to other women in science fiction and fantasy and for that I will always be grateful.

DEAR FARSCAPE, I can't say enough about how this show had changed me. You've inspired me more than anything, allowed me to embrace my geekdom. You've taught me that what it means to truly embrace the weird, and also the heart. It's what storytelling can be. You're my everything. I love beyond hope. Look up, and see the wonders I have seen.

Lady Dame[22]
Dear Runaways: You were the first comic I read to even try to articulate how badly it sucks to grow up in a home with an angry, alcoholic guardian, and your message of how we don't have to turn out like our parents helped me stay in the 12-step program and ACoA. I wish you were being rebooted by someone who cared about fans like me instead of someone who thought that putting your name on their project would help sell more issues...[23]
Dear Discworld:

...I can't even articulate the words...

Just thank you for everything. Though your creator may have passed on to entertain those who weren't lucky enough to be alive when you were being written, you yourself aten't dead, nor will you be.

The Turtle Moves,

Shoe[24]
Dear MST3K and Dark Shadows.

You helped me make it through my horrible secondary school years, with the help of a dodgy VCR and an inability to sleep.

Dear Discworld.

Thank you for being there with characters I feel closer to than my own friends and family. Who I can turn to when I feel down.[25]

References

  1. comment by LadySeychelles, accessed March 10, 2017
  2. comment by Important Film Maker, accessed March 10, 2017
  3. comment by Quill, accessed March 10, 2017
  4. comment by Iliya, accessed March 10, 2017
  5. comment by Sara Goodwin, accessed March 10, 2017
  6. comment by HeyHelga, accessed March 10, 2017
  7. comment by Sara Goodwin, accessed March 10, 2017
  8. comment by dianec, accessed March 10, 2017
  9. comment by Killemalla, accessed March 10, 2017
  10. comment by LarissaP, accessed March 10, 2017
  11. comment by That Which Dreams, accessed March 10, 2017
  12. comment by Adam Blackhat, accessed March 10, 2017
  13. comment by Idril, accessed March 10, 2017
  14. comment by The Themysciran, accessed March 10, 2017
  15. comment by aeonish, accessed March 10, 2017
  16. comment by A Thousand Names, accessed March 10, 2017
  17. comment by Rogue Legacy, accessed March 10, 2017
  18. comment by Thursday Next, accessed March 10, 2017
  19. comment by Pernoda, accessed March 10, 2017
  20. comment by Kelisi, accessed March 10, 2017
  21. comment by Janine Renard, accessed March 10, 2017
  22. comment by Lady Dame, accessed March 10, 2017
  23. comment by Tyto The Magnificent, accessed March 10, 2017
  24. comment by MisterShoebox, accessed March 10, 2017
  25. comment by Colette, accessed March 10, 2017