Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Litotease

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Litotease
Interviewer: Abigail De Kosnik
Interviewee: Litotease
Date(s): June 12, 2012
Medium: audio, print transcript
External Links: Fiction Oral History Project with Litotease (in two parts)
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Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Litotease was conducted in 2012 by Abigail De Kosnik and archived at the University of Iowa Libraries.

This interview's medium is audio, and it has a written 76-page transcript.

It was part of the series: Fan Fiction Oral History Project also referred to as "a Fiction and Internet Memory Research Project," "the Fiction and Internet Memory Program," and "Fan Fiction and Internet Memory."

The interviews conducted for this project were used for the book by Abigail De Kosnik called Rogue Archives: Digital Cultural Memory and Media Fandom.

Some Topics Discussed


I'm a lifelong sci-fi fan. I wanted to be Will Robinson when I grew up, when I was little... And my first crush in my whole entire life was Mr. Spock, and I was so madly in love. And I was ten and sneaking out into the hall, when I was supposed to be in bed, so that I could watch, you know, from the cracked door.
I love stories that are about two people who don't fit. Or who are broken in some way. And they find each other and they fit. And I don't care whether it's happy curtain fic, or whether it's dark fic, or whether it's Supernatural and fraternal incest and "We're so sick and twisted, but it works for us." I blame all of this on being an only. I'm an only child. I'm all, Where's my other half? Oh, where's my playmate? I read an amazing article from a marriage counselor once who was saying everybody is broken. Everybody is neurotic. There really aren't any "healthy" people. There are just people who have complementary neuroses. That's what you're looking for in life—somebody whose neuroses complement rather than conflict with yours. And I love stories that are about that. Ray K and Fraser, they should not fit. They should not fit. And they do. So, almost any canon that has that kind of—. I want the loner to find another loner and they're best friends for forever. In a romantic way. That's what I like.
... my first few years in fandom, I really felt like an archeologist moving through a dead city, kind of looking at the remains— The stories and the conversations that happened around the stories and the comments that were made on the stories. Nobody was still writing. Stories were years old when I found them— ... And the comments were years old when I found them.
I've always read and I read Le Guinn and Heinlein and Louisa May Alcott and Jane Eyre. Oh, I remember loving that book so much. And the first stories I tripped across felt like they were written at that level of writing. Well, I now know that Francesca's — what — she's a professor of literature or something. There are, you know ... Astolat is a professional writer of young adult stuff. I tripped over them. I didn't trip over the twelve-year-old writing Mary Sue fanfic. I tripped over Francesca and Astolat, at the very beginning. So, just the world building was phenomenal. The characterizations were true. One of the most amazing things about Francesca as a writer is that she can write the characters one way, like, Of course, that's exactly how they are. And then, just to play, she will switch them.

One of the things that I struggle with in fandom already is that I don't function in Internet time. : I mean somebody says something challenging or that I'm not sure I agree with, and I want to think it over and look at how I'm feeling. And there are things I have to do in my life, and then by the time I'm ready to answer, it's three days later. And in Internet time, that's an Ice Age. Everybody's moved on to something else. That discussion is over. We've had three more in the meantime. So, I just kind of have laughed and accepted that that's true. And I like the novel-length fics. And I don't tweet because 160 characters isn't enough for me. And Tumblr is kind of [like] that. I mean, even the

vidding aspect of Tumblr is different. Lots of the vidders don't say who they are. I've no idea who the vidder is that made this. And they're editing the music down to a minute and a half. [The length of vid I'm used to] is like three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half minutes, time to tell a story. So I can look at Tumblr and go "Oh my God, that's awesome," but it's not a place I want to live. It doesn't serve my need to crawl into something and stay there for a little while.
I feel like when Metafandom shut down, that was the beginning of the end of fandom on LiveJournal. Because that was how I got to know people and what discussions were going on, and different opinions, and who had what, and it was a way of connecting with the fan community at large.... Our shared issues... And now there's no way. I have no idea. You know? If somebody's writing a Panic! at the Disco fandom, I have no idea. I have no way of knowing that they are commenting on an issue or how we want to deconstruct this, or ... I don't know. They're out there in a vacuum.... [snipped] Because I am so socially phobic, it was a way for me to learn who's an idiot and who's not, who will talk respectfully to somebody with a different opinion and who will dog pile, and whose thinking is more along the lines of mine and whose isn't, but I could have an interesting discussion with them. So, it was a way to learn about other people in this invisible community.
"Is this a bookstore, or is it a library?" ... Those of us who treat fandom like a library — going into someone's website and opening their stories — is like checking out a book... And you read it, and you're happy to have read it, and you're grateful that the story's out there, and you take it back to the library. If it's a bookstore, you have to pay for that somehow. And the currency in fandom is comments. Is feedback... So there is a segment of fandom who feels like you're cheating—you're not paying if you don't leave comments. [snipped] : And that I don't want to get involved in the flame wars. I don't want the drama. I just want to come and read and read. And then people were saying that you have to leave comments, because it's not nice to just, you know, lurk. Lurkers are not always welcome in fandom. And yet, I think we're the biggest part.
Denise and Mark crafted the most inclusive statement [for Dreamwidth ]. God, it's not their statement of intent, not their terms of service—somewhere in there, they were talking about "Everybody—everybody is welcome here. I don't care what hair color you are, if you have hair. Whether you're pagan, whether you're Christian, whether you sleep with fuzzies. It doesn't matter. You have a place here." And the fact that all of their documentation was crafted with that end in mind, with "This needs to be a place where, to the best of our ability, everybody will be safe here, and welcome. Neurodiversity is a feature, not a bug." And I wanted them to [succeed] just because of that. : It was like, These people are awesome. That's the world I want to live in. [snipped] One of the things about Dreamwidth that's different about LiveJournal—although I think that LiveJournal's changing some in response to Dreamwidth—but there wasn't the sense of needing to be friends with somebody before you friended them, because we don't call it "friending." You subscribe to someone. You add them to your reading circle. You ... So, the sense of being able to read somebody interesting and add them without feeling like I was being presupposing about our relationship.... because of the terminology difference and because Dreamwidth did the division thing. I can ... The posting access is separate from following, whereas on LiveJournal they're the same. If I add you to my friends list, you have access to my posts. On Dreamwidth, that's separate. Somebody can follow me without having access to my locked posts. I can— yeah, they're different. It's different. Sorry. I'm not articulating well what the difference is, but because of the split it doesn't feel like it has to be so mutual. It's okay to just be a subscriber.

It's so sad. If one looks at LiveJournal or online fan fics from the library view, which is what I tend to do, it's like the library just throwing out a book. You know? "It got broken, we're not going to replace it," or "we don't want to carry that one anymore." Somebody getting bored. Somebody deciding they don't want to play in fandom anymore. Which is fine and that's a valid decision, but in the material world, you write a book, you publish it, [and if] you decide you don't want to do that anymore, the book is still there. In the online world it's not. You can just make it go away. And I think that's part of why I'm feeling less attached to fandom right now, also, is because of how

much of the things that I loved and want to go back and revisit—and it's just gone. It's just gone. It's not there. So, I feel like a lot of people are packing their marbles up and going home. Or their lives have shifted and they don't care anymore. Which is fine, but leave my story, dang it! It's a story. And stories are for everybody. They should be for everybody and they should be forever.