Jesmihr: The Journey of One Author to K/S
|Title:||Jesmihr: The Journey of One Author to K/S|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|Topic:||Star Trek: TOS and Kirk/Spock|
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In it, Jesmihr describes searching the internet for more Kirk and Spock stories, stumbling across slash, being initially horrified, and then very intrigued. She also recounts how she probably would have never written any fanfic for print zines as the process was too intimidating and onerous, and that it was the availability of the internet that made her both a fan and author. She concludes with her foray into writing for print zines their rewards and challenges.
I was a goner from that point on. I read online K/S insatiably. It almost didn’t matter to me at first if the story were poorly written or if it were exquisitely crafted: I was so enraptured, so captivated by the wild, glorious terrain of my new world that I couldn’t look upon any of it with dispassionate eyes. I devoured everything K/S that I could find on the Internet. When I wasn’t reading K/S, I was thinking about it. I thought about it when I drove to work. I thought about it when I grocery shopped. I thought about it when I was elated, when I was bored, when I was peevish and when I was serene.
Most of all, I thought about it in bed at night. In the dark, I’d mentally replay my favorite scenes from the K/S writers’ stories. I’d often embellish them to better suit my own fantasies, and occasionally I’d squish parts of two different stories together to create something different. I’d conjure up bits of dialogue I’d read and work the words around in my head. If the writer’s words didn’t quite ring quite true, then I’d rearrange them until they were more convincing, more real in terms of what I thought I knew about the characters. One night when I was giving up several hours of sleep to do all this, it suddenly occurred to me that the scene I was envisioning and the words I were hearing were not from anyone else’s story. They were mine—all mine. And...they weren’t half bad.“Could I...could I ever write this stuff?” I asked myself incredulously. That question kept me awake for the rest of the night.
Let me admit right now that one big reason I’m so attracted to Kirk and Spock is that they’re heroes and I’m a coward. Even had I known about the existence of print zines at this point in my life—and I had not a clue—I never would have dared to submit my first story to one of them. For one thing, the editing process would have unraveled me completely, no matter how kindly it was done. After rereading the first story I attempted, I was already cringing in shame over my own ineptitude. (“Whatever made me think I could do this? This is awful...pathetic...it’s the worst thing I’ve written since that love letter back in seventh grade.”) To have someone else point out so much as a misplaced comma in that story would have destroyed me—that’s how scared I was about the whole writing- submission idea.
But I didn’t know about print zines. I only knew about the Internet. Therefore, the sole decision I had to make was this: Do I take this thing that I’ve spent countless hours creating and tear it up, as it deserves? Or do I submit it online and walk away with my hands in my pockets, pretending nothing happened? Though tearing the story up had its advantages, so did submitting it. I needed, I thought, to get this illogical and inconvenient urge to write K/S out of my system so that I could go back to the happy, carefree days of reading it instead. Destroying the story would ensure that no one ever would see how truly bad a writer I was...but I suspected it wouldn’t purge me of the desire to produce other bad stories. Submitting it, on the other hand—throwing it out into that huge, anonymous abyss of the Internet—might be The Cure. Once I had done it—followed through on the whole story-making journey from start to finish—I might never feel the need to put myself through that torture again. That was my theory, anyway. Of course, I made a few tactical errors. First of all, I did not account for that most hallowed of online traditions: feedback. My first came via email the same day that the online zine to which I’d submitted the story came out. It was not very detailed, as I recall. I think it said something like, “I really liked your story. Thanks for writing it—I’d love to see more from you.”My. God.
The second tactical error I made—and this was a major one—is that the Internet, or at least the online K/S community, is not all that anonymous. I quickly found out about K/S groups and lists, where—wonder of wonders!—there abide multitudes of brilliant, fascinating, multifaceted, utterly entrancing women. Engrossed and inspired, I read the messages they posted, occasionally dared to chime in with my own thoughts—and soon began to understand that this part of the Internet is like the best pajama party you could ever attend, only no one has to see your ratty slippers.
My frequent lurking on the lists, meanwhile, had caused me to become aware that print zines existed. I found this interesting in the same kind of way that I find it interesting to look at photographs of the moon landings: it’s fun to think about people being there, but it isn’t somewhere I plan to go myself. I certainly wasn’t opposed to print zines—not at all. But I was happy where I was, so why make the effort to look elsewhere? Yes, it’s true: the key word here is “effort.” For someone who occasionally is willing to slave over a story for months on end, I can be shockingly lazy…. Fortunately for me, my first zine story ended up in print through almost no exertion on my part: I wrote it on a lark for a KiScon contest (which I found out about online), submitted it, and promptly moved on. I barely realized that all the KiScon stories were going to be published in a zine until my copy of it arrived in the mail.
I still love the fuss-free accessibility of the Internet, and I still turn to Google first whenever I want a “quick fix” of K/S. I do have to admit, though, that when I reread the stories I submitted online, I often ask myself: What would this story have turned out to be if I had shown it to a talented editor first? Perhaps a more pertinent question, however, would be: What will online K/S turn out to be—five or ten years from now? The Internet already offers the benefits of spontaneity, immediacy and easy access. Are there writers, readers and most especially editors out there who will work toward achieving and maintaining the same high standards that many print zines are known for?