K/S Press Interview with Kathy Resch

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Interviews by Fans
Title: K/S Press Interview with Kathy Resch
Interviewer: Lyrastar
Interviewee: Kathy Resch
Date(s): November 2005
Medium: print, email subscription
Fandom(s): slash, Star Trek
External Links:
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Kathy Resch was interviewed by Lyrastar in The K/S Press #110.

Some Other Interviews

Some Excerpts

I’m going to count Thataway as my first K/S story, even though it’s technically pre-K/S. I wrote it in 1980, a short time after the release of ST:TMP. I recently reread it, and it was interesting to see how I had them “dance around” the central question. In early 1980, I wasn’t quite ready to go the final step and write a sex scene—even an implied one. I needed to “ease into it,” as it were. But it didn’t take me very long to take that next step. I followed up with a true K/S novella, Within the Prism, which I published in T’hy’la #1.
There’s no story I regret writing. I do regret that I didn’t wait to develop my writing skills before I tackled something as ambitious as Beyond the Barrier (California K/S, 1984). I was going for Big Themes, but I didn’t have the writing ability to achieve my goal. How do you write a story that deliberately doesn’t resolve the unresolvable? I wanted to tackle what is clearly a key part of Spock’s personality: his ability to make crucial decisions and take radical actions without bothering to inform Kirk of his plans. There are so many trust issues to explore, so many possibilities for pain and misunderstanding arising from this aspect of his personality. When I wrote this story, I was thinking specifically of two incidents: Talos IV, and Spock’s spacewalk to mindmeld with V’ger. The later movies add further evidence about this aspect of Spock’s character. Two examples: Spock’s dive into the whale tank in ST4, and his negotiations with the Klingons in ST6. Assuming a long-standing relationship between Kirk and Spock, how would Kirk deal with the emotional fallout of Spock’s ability to unilaterally make important decisions, decisions that effect both of them? Kirk is the Captain, after all, and yet Spock continually decides on a course of action without consulting him—and gets away with it. I recently re-read Beyond the Barrier, and, if I were to write it today, I would probably keep the plot intact. I would also keep the same ending. What I would do is expand the emotional scenes between the two men. The ending needs to be lengthened; there needs to be more conversation, more discussion, more nuance and subtlety. I would still leave the issues unresolved—because that was my entire point of writing the story. These men are who they are—and there are issues they will always have to deal with because of their strong personalities.
I’ve learned that the way different writers see and portray them are astonishingly varied. I’ve been amazed by how people can seize upon one tiny aspect of canon and extrapolate huge aspects of their personalities and prior experiences from just one snippet of information... Every time I write a new story, I discover something new about them. Additionally, my view of them has been enriched and changed by all the fan fiction I’ve ever read—both stories I’ve enjoyed and stories I’ve disagreed with. I’m going to digress and say how astonishingly fortunate we are in this fandom to have so much canon that covers so many different stages of their lives: from young men, to men in crisis, to older men who have found their way in life, and, again, might possibly in danger of also veering off the path. That gives us, as writers, an enormous amount to play with.
My grandfather, among many other things, had been a newspaper publisher in Missouri in the 1930s. He owned a Victorian era printing press, which he passed along to my father. My father, a minister, used to print up his church bulletins on this press. Because of this family history, I was aware of the power of being able to print and distribute something yourself. My grandfather had self-published “positive thinking” pamphlets during the height of the Depression; my father had self-published a poetry book. So the idea of being your own publisher came naturally to me. When I read about fanzines in Star Trek Lives (1975), I just knew that was something I wanted to do. So I bought a little mimeograph machine and did my first fanzine (all of 20 pages long), in 1975.
Five years ago, I would have said zines were an endangered lifeform. I was convinced the future of fandom is on the web—and for new fandoms, that’s probably true. But oddly enough, the internet is proving in many cases to be more ephemeral than paper. Archives have disappeared overnight (example, “The Complete Kingdom of Slash,” which vanished in August of 2005). Authors leave fandom and their personal web pages get taken down, as well. A zine, on the other hand, exists as a separate object, not dependent on its author/publisher for its continued existence. So I think I’ll stop predicting what’s going to happen in fandom. I’m no good at making predictions anyway. I worked in several Silicon Valley electronic firms throughout the 80s, right at Ground Zero of the computer revolution, and I would never have invested in Microsoft. So there you go.
I do occasionally like a rough story—both as a writer and a reader. Dark Fire gave me an opportunity to do both. Readers who enjoy these kinds of stories can thus get an entire zine on this theme. It also allows people who don’t like these kinds of stories to avoid them without the fear they’re missing out on something they would like to read. Second, there are a lot of people who left K/S fandom in the early 90s because of the perception that K/S fiction had become too sugary-sweet; that writers were limited in what were considered acceptable storylines versus what were not. (This, of course, is not the case. And other fandoms have their own “accepted” ways of doing things as well.) There are also a lot of people in other fandoms who have never checked out K/S because of this long-standing perception. I wanted Dark Fire to break through these preconceptions, and judging from the success I’ve had at selling it at various slash/fanzine conventions, I think I’ve succeeded.
There are certain issues which are perennials, in this and every other fandom. One common unresolvable issue is the “feminization” of one character—where one character is made to be far weaker and more fragile than he appeared on screen. The controversy over “We’re not gay, we just love each other,” also shows up in every fandom I’ve ever been in. I’m sure there are plenty of other unresolvable issues. As to why these issues can’t be resolved, it’s because each of us takes from fandom and gives back to fandom concepts filtered through our own worldview. There are certain people who are attracted to certain character portrayals, and other people who loathe these very same characterizations. People will never agree on anything—and that’s just as well. I’m all in favor of diverse opinions. Even if I don’t agree with a particular story/characterization, it generally makes me think out my reasons for “why”—and sometimes can inspire me to write a story of my own on the same subject.
We went from a tiny minority in Trek fandom to pretty much the whole thing (at least as far as print fanzines are concerned). Stories became more educated in the actual mechanics of gay sex. The “fannish” conversation has moved in a number of directions over the years. For example, slave stories used to be enormously popular; you don’t see as many of them anymore, and when you do there are different issues which are being explored. As to what I’d like to change in our fandom in the future, I would like to see even closer connections between print and net fans. I think that’s happening, and I feel this is a good direction for all of us.
Kirk and Spock are both larger than life, complex and flawed and heroic. I started watching Trek in 1966, and very shortly after I started making up stories about them in my head. They’ve been in my head every since then, and I find both reading and writing K/S brings me into a world which is very much “home” to me.

Reactions

Kathy Resch – a name I’ve long known in fandom is brought to life! I found your self-examination of your earlier stories so revealing and refreshing. We all grow and change in our views and understanding of the characters. In a way, I’d love to see you make the modifications you mention, but in another way, I would hate to see anything of your stories change. I so empathize with your method of becoming immersed in a story as you write, and it is evident in the finished product. What an amazing journey through K/S your life has been. I hope this is only the beginning! It’s interesting you trace your love of writing to your grandfather’s roots. Thank you so much for the incredible contribution you make to K/S. [1]

References

  1. from The K/S Press #111