Can We Talk?

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Title: Can We Talk?
Publisher: Neon Rainbow Press
Editor(s): Cinda Gillilan
Type: letterzine
Date(s): mid-1990s
Frequency: bi-monthly
Fandom: multifandom
Language: English
External Links:
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Can We Talk was a private letterzine Cinda Gillilan did to gather info fan opinions on a wide variety of topics.

It was done specifically for her dissertation, and the fans who participated knew that was what it was for.

Topics included why do you write fan fic, how does fan fic impact the rest of your mundane life, gen versus slash fic, the attraction of slash fic, why particular characters are more popular that others, why Native American characters are popular but African American and other characters of color are less popular, etc.

The letterzine's content was slash-friendly.

There were least four issues.

See List of Letterzines.

Issue 1

Til never forget the day my very first zine arrived. I opened it and started reading and I couldn't stop! I couldn't believe there were actually people out there writing the same kinds of stories I'd been penning since I was in high school! It was like I'd been lost and finally found my way home. I was amazingly happy.
One of the best things about fandom is the fact that anyone can write with any show and there will be people out there to read it -- especially now with the internet. I think the range of stories is pretty amazing. I mean where else can you find missing scenes? And I love hurt/comfort stories, but even the stories that are like the episodes are a good read. We have more diversity than cable!
My ex-husband was a decent man, but he was so "traditional" -- wouldn't talk, thought he should make all the important decisions, judgmental, etc. After a few years it was driving me nuts. Thank goodness I had my fan friends to fall back on. If it wasn't for them I never would have had the courage to file for divorce. I even lived with another fan for a couple of months until I got back on my feet. And then I had to face the whole dating scene again -- YUCK! I don't fit the stereotype of the "beautiful" woman (skinny, big tits, long hair -- you know, the ones we see on TV all the time) so I said the hell with it and went to conventions instead! But here's the funny thing, I met a woman at MediaWest who's an UNCLE fan. We discovered that we live close by. She ended up introducing me to my second husband! (We're both big Star Wars fans.) We've been married for five years and he's great -- not at all like the Ex. He's into comics and SW, so he understands where I'm coming from.
As soon as I leave home, heading for a con, I'm 100% fan. I guess that's why, when I write up a con report, I include a description of any adventures I encounter getting to the con itself. And I've read other fans who do the same thing. It's like the trip is a way to leave the mundane world behind and become a fan. I don't have to worry about anything in the mundane world for a whole weekend. I'm a CNN-junkie and I don't even turn the news on when I'm at a con. But I watch my favorite series with friends and have a blast!
I think the thing I love most about writing fan fic is the way it makes me feel. Have you ever been writing and suddenly found yourself kind of swept away? It's like all of a sudden you're there and you're watching the characters act and you're writing it all down. And if you get something wrong, the characters let you know! It's like stepping into their world. I lose all track of time and it's a rush I feel like I've just taken a really good rollercoaster ride. But while I'm in that "zone" it is like being in a different world. It's feels kind of, I don't know, spiritual? I mean it's profound — not in terms of something like world peace, but for me, personally it's very profound. Mundanes would probably think I'm nuts, but I don't care, it's a great feeling. Sort of like being at con, late at night, tossing around story ideas, having a blast with my best friends. It's my world.

Issue 2

I think one of the things I really like about fandom is the fact that there's no men there — or very few. It's nice to be in a place with just women. We get along well together, we share, help each other... it's really cooperative, but not really all that competitive. Sure, there's some competition, and people do disagree and sometimes they have falling-outs, people are people, but on the whole things seem to work themselves out and everyone gets support. It makes me feel good about myself... and it's the only place I know where I get positive feedback for my writing.
Fandom is the one true love in my life. I'm single and I'm happy that way. I don't need a husband, just a steady dose of conventions and zines to keep me happy. My best friends are fans and most everything I do outside of work is fan-related, and there's nothing wrong with that It really pisses me off when mundanes I know come down hard on me, but think it's okay if someone spends all their spare time working in their church, or coaching little league, or doing some other kind of hobby. Fandom's my hobby. It's where my friends are. I just wish all the different aspects of my life were as fun as fandom. But when I bring fandom into them they get better.
When I was just reading zines I bad time to do other things, but once I started writing stories on a regular basis it got to be hard to keep up with other things I did, like Girl Scouts. I was so glad when [my daughter] finally got older and found things that didn't require a lot of my spare time. That's when I decided to give editing a try. Man-oh-man, if I knew then what I know now about how much time that takes I might have reconsidered — but I doubt it. The more involved I got, the more fandom took over my life, and the happier I got. Now fandom is what shapes nearly everything else I do. [My husband] thinks I'm a little nuts, but he supports me, thank God. And he's doing a lot more around the house now, too. He has to, or it wouldn't get done!... I think it's brought us [my husband and I] closer in some ways. And it's made [my daughter] realize she can aspire to most things.
When I first got involved in fandom, I thought it would be just a hobby for me, but over a short period of time it grew into a way of life. I mean, I plan vacation time around it, I read zines, I write, and now I'm editing my own zines. I take my fan-stuff to work, I watch TV with an eye toward stories, even my pets are named for fannish reason. Fandom, the stories, the series, the people I've met, all permeate my life. I can't take fandom out of my life now. It is my way of life. Hey, it's my religion!
You know, it really makes me mad when I see spots on the news that deal with fans. First off, they're always Star Trek fans, and they always show the people who are dressed up in costume... and they always talk about how dedicated we are -- read that: Stupid fanatics with nothing better to do. Please! Why don't they treat the guys who wait all night for sports tickets, who paint themselves and act like idiots, or who pretend to own "fantasy" baseball teams the same way?
At Media West the people who work at the hotel know us and it's a real blast We can go into the restaurant and it's safe. I mean, almost everyone in there is another fan, and the staff knows we're fans. They play along and ask questions and generally have as much fun as we do — at least they look like they do. And I think fans are more generous with tips, too. I mean, we know what it's like to have to work for a living and we're there having a great time and those poor people are working to make it a great weekend for us and we appreciate it. It's like the whole hotel is ours, and I guess it is since we fill it up. But the staff seems to be really relaxed with us. Though it's also fun to watch new employees get weirded out, too <grin>
When I'm at a con I do and say things with my roomies that I'd never do anyplace else! We're all relaxed, unrestrained. People walk around naked in the room, we have pillow fights, we wear TV-related clothes and buttons. It's a big shot of fun. When I'm at a con I'm not a student, a worker, an anything. Fm just me, having a damned good time with other ladies who are having as much fun as I am.
Fandom is a very powerful thing in my life. It's the only place I know where I can really be myself and do the things I really love. And when I'm at a con I know it's safe. Even where there's mundanes in the hotel I know they won't know me. I can wear what I want, carry my zines around, and not worry about what they might think. I can't do that back home. It's a rush.
I've been in fandom for a long time, and I've only run into a few people who wot "bad news." I mean, I've never had a fan bounce a check on me, or not come through on a promise. For the most part, fans are the nicest bunch of people you could meet. They really do go out of their way to help, and they're very generous; And regardless of who or what they are in the real world, in fandom people get treated with respect. I mean, even new writers and artists whose work just does stack up against some of the big names still get published because editors feel like everyone deserves a chance to tell their stories.
My biological family was really messed up, and I don't have anything to do with them anymore. But my fan-family is one that I've picked over the years. My best friends are fans. They're family and I'm closer to them than to anyone I've ever known. I know these people will still be there for me years down the road. Even if we diverge in our fannish interests, well always be friends. That's the greatest gift fandom has given me.
Fandom is the only place I feel like I can really express myself in a way that isn't controlled by someone else's agenda. In fandom I speak with my 'own" voice, and what I have to say is respected, even if someone disagrees with me — at least no one's told me to shut up, or that what I'm saying is stupid — yet! And I don't think they will either. Fans are good people, at least in my limited experience:-) And you know the other thing that fandom provides is a place to work out some of the "Big Questions." For me anyway. Seeing how fandom works allows me to remember that that's the way the world should work. It inspires me to get off my ass and go do something to make the world a better place. Sometimes I get really mad that I don't have more time to do the kinds of things I'd like to — mentor, more environmental work and the like — but I try, which is a helluva lot more than most people I know.
I remember what it was like to receive my very first zine. To open the cover and start reading and feel my insides quiver. My heart started racing, my chest got tight, and I knew I wasn't alone any more. I bad just found other people who were just like me. It was like coming home. I carried that zine around with me for weeks! And I must have read it twenty times. One time I just started crying I was so happy.
All my life TV has been my friend. I rode the outlaw trail with Heyes and Curry, I busted bad guys with Starsky and Hutch, I flew through the flack with the men of the Black Sheep squadron, and I explored the stars with the crew of the Enterprise. I knew these people. They didn't just live on my TV screen, they lived in my head and in my heart. I learned loyalty and bravery, friendship and tolerance. I learned the lessons I refused to accept from my parents. And I wrote stories. When I finally found fandom I knew I'd come home. I'd finally found the others who were like me. Fandom is a special place. It really is magical, and in the mundane world, that's hard to find. Fandom isn't perfect, but it's as close to perfect as I've been able to find. Fandom is about friends. Fandom is a world where people share and help each other. It's where I feel really alive and happy. I slip fandom on like a favorite old shirt, and it helps me get through my days, a shield against the mundane. I don't think TV characters are real, but fandom is real. And the possibilities we write about are real. If we're lucky, someday the "real" world will look a little more like fandom. If we're lucky.

Issue 3

Issue 4

I didn't see slash in Counterstrike until the end of episode "All in the Game" when Stone and Peter exchange these really meaningful glances. Peter and Stone are standing shoulder to shoulder and they're talking with Addington and Peter's ex-wife. Stone gives Peter that cocked eyebrow look and right there I knew I'd found another slash couple. And when Clair [the ex-wife] says she can see that Peter had "both hands full" with his new partners [Stone and Gabrielle] I could've died! It was perfect — slash on a silver platter.
If you watch Ironhorse, he's always touching Blackwood — a hand on the shoulder as he walks by, a slap to the back, etc. And if you watch Harrison's expressions when this happens, he's really pleased. Harrison basks in Paul's shows of affection, and in the later episodes Harrison in rum touches Ironhorse a lot more than in the early episodes. That doesn't happen with Norton or Suzanne. As sow as I noticed the touching I starting thinking that maybe I could write slash with them.
Finding slash in Starsky and Hutch is really easy, the guys are always touching each other! You get more bugs, hands on shoulders, heads cradled in laps, and arms wrapped around shoulders in this show than any other one I can think of. Not to mention all that care and concern they show for each other. It's a slash writer's paradise. When I watch a new show I don't go into it looking for slash. Slash is either there or it's not. Different shows have different slash potentials, with some it's easier to see it and with some it's impossible, at least for me. I'm sure some slash fans see slash in series where I don't.