Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Chi1013
|Interviews by Fans|
|Title:||Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Chi1013|
|Date(s):||April 26, 2012|
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This interview was transcribed in 2013.
For more information about the origins of this interview, where it is housed, contact information, suggestions regarding future interviewee candidates, and how to become volunteer interviewer, see the Media Fandom Oral History Project page.
Some Topics Discussed
- her fannish beginnings
- online fandom in 1997-98
- her start in Everquest and Early Edition
- meeting a friend online and then visiting her
- the origins of her online name
- her interest and experiences in World of Warcraft
- her fannish reading interests, saving fiction onto disks and hard drives
- pundit fic
- the Magnificent Seven story she and a friend will probably never publish as it would probably get flamed
- her vidding
- her opinions on fandom in the open
Excerpts[first getting online]:
[finding "Cabin X"]:... my dad had gotten AOL, back when the internet was still very small [laughs]. And so I was going on under--it was me and my brother and my dad, and we had one name that we were all going under, and I still remember, it was KittD, and it was the name of our cat and the initial of my last name. And so I started going on the internet from there. I really liked a lot of t.v. shows, you know, I liked, like some of the, more, um, younger stuff like Power Rangers I really liked, and Sailor Moon; I was watching that when it was on. And then there was some other shows, you know, and I was (sigh, oh God), I think I was like seven, 6th or 7th grade, and then 8th grade or so I got really into Star Trek: Voyager and I really like the idea of Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres getting together because I was like, oh, man, like, this would be great if they could be together, and I really liked The X-Files, because at that time The X-Files was also, you know, starting to pick up.
[meeting a good friend]:I started going to the chat rooms for these t.v. shows and found, of all the things, I found a group of fans who like Star Trek: Voyager, who were Paris and Torres fans--and there were also X-Files fans. They called it “Cabin X”. There were a whole series of cabins, the way that they had it set up, and then “Cabin X” was the one for those fans who also liked X-Files. And so then I found out all about, like, fandom and that way I had all these groups of people, and I found out about fan fiction slowly through that. And then I started to read X-Files fan fiction and sort of just kind of got in that way and then realized, oh, look at all these--this stuff that’s being written, look at all these people that like these things. Because you know, in my neighborhood, there really wasn’t a lot of people who liked the shows as much as I did, you know, so it was nice to be able to spend... I’d get a few hours on the computer on the internet because, you know, my brother and I had to share, and it’s expensive, we’re paying for the time. So I would be able to talk with these people for a little bit and then I would read what I could during that time, until I got my own laptop or computer and was able to save a whole bunch of stuff on, you know those floppy, the, ah, the little diskettes?
[fannish platforms]:[A girl my age] had written an Early Edition fic, and I really liked it and I sent her feedback, and she had, like, a quote to another show or something, on the bottom of her tag, and we started talking and realized we had a lot of shows in common. So we started instant messaging each other. She lived in California and I was in Pennsylvania. And we found out that we were literally the same age, just about, she might have been--she might be a year older than me, or she’s a year younger, it’s like, we’re about the same. And so we really started talking and then we exchanged numbers, we started calling each other sometimes, and eventually when I was still in high school, I think I was still in high school--I don’t even know how my parents allowed me to do it....They talked to her, they talked to her parents, and I was able to go out and visit her for the first time, which was really cool, you know, because here I am, this, like, teenage girl, with this new internet--new fangled internet thing, well I mean, it was still really new when you think about it. Going to California on my own--you know, and she lives in a small town where I had to fly in to a town that was six hours south of her....And--spending like a week with her and her family... and you know, we’ve been friends since. I’ve been out there twice, she’s come out here once, we still talk regularly, we text, you know--I’ll call her, she’ll call me as things go on, you know. I’ve had really good luck with meeting people on the internet.
[gaming fandom]:I never really got into Usenet, or Usenext. I did Yahoo groups. That was how we kept in touch with a lot of groups and how I do with “Tribal Forces”, and--the old “Cabin X” list is now defunct, though I still have some really good friends. I keep in touch with about three people from that list. I am on Live Journal and Dreamwidth. I used to use it a lot more heavily, I don’t use it as much anymore. I’m more on Twitter at this point. I don’t use Tumblr because it’s kind of odd. I never really looked into it, it’s a little confusing for me right now, and I’m happy with Twitter and I use Facebook to an extent but I don’t put a lot of fannish stuff on there. I put some stuff, but nothing too explicit, since I am a slasher and my family is on Facebook...But Twitter, you know, I have some family on there, but I don’t really care as much there, because they’re not--I don’t think they’re really going to check it anyway. They’re posting their own things with family and stuff. It’s people that I don’t really care if-- they already know that I’m odd [laughs], I’m like the black sheep in terms of what I like. We have a lot of girls in my family, and so they’re more like, “girly girl” and I’m like, “meh”.
[slash goggles and such]:I’m actually--well, that’s the thing, I’m not actually in those fandoms as much. I’ll keep up with some of the news, and Warcraft, you know, it’s a little easier with Warcraft because when you’re in a guild, you’re with that--it’s like that social group, you know. And you switch, but most of the time you start some wank or some wank has started with you, you stay with that group of people, so if you’re really good friends with another guild you stay with them, but in terms of like... I really don’t read a lot of fan fiction or go on AO3 for, video games. I’ve read a little bit for Uncharted, but it’s not very continuous and when I played Warcraft, I’m playing to complete an objective, so there’s no real... I mean, I love the story and I love the lore, but it’s not something that’s as important to me in terms of fanfic as like t.v. shows because the story’s always evolving in a way. It’s harder I think in video games because they’re so contained. So you play the game--I don’t play Mass Effect, which everybody says that I should, and that’s something I think you could have a little more--but I did play Dragon Age and there’s a lot of fic out for Dragon Age, but I played the character so in a sense I’ve lived out my story, so I don’t need to read anything else because I basically was a “Mary Sue” and inserted myself in! [laughs] So I fulfilled what I needed, whereas with--I mean, I don’t write “Mary Sues” normally, but with t.v. shows, I guess because you’re always learning something new about the character and it’s there every week, except for hiatus times... which is when I really start reading. It’s easier, in a way, and it’s always there, because once you finish a video game, you’re kind of done; you really don’t play it anymore. You know, like World of Warcraft is something you can keep creating characters, but it’s the same. You’re doing all the same kinds of quests, especially if you’re always playing, like, alliance, you’re always playing Horde it doesn’t matter what you start, you end up in the same places. So you’re doing the same quest, whereas with t.v. shows, you might re-watch the shows, but every time there’s a new episode you learn something new. You know, oh, this character had a drug addiction, or, oh, this character likes chocolate. I mean it’s like, let me write a fic about that, you know?
[smarm]:I still read a few Sentinel fics, but not a lot. I mean a lot of the stuff that I find now is slash and, yes, they’re slashy, but with them--it’s hard, because when I first started reading fic for them it was gen for them, I didn’t really know what slash was. I kind of learned about it from X-Files and from The Sentinel, and I was kind of like, what is this slash thing? And I got really into smarm, what was called smarm for them, which most people, like just about everybody now calls h/c, like hurt/comfort. I got really heavily into that for a while in high school and I guess it was sort of that stepping stone before I would allow myself to go to slash. And it wasn’t until like right around college that I started to read slash more often, Stargate, I think. SG-1 is where I started, where I think you’ll see more of the slash fic that I got Jack and Daniel, and I kind of just went from there. Then I started to see slash pairings everywhere. But by then Sentinel was done and it was always smarm for me. So I have some slash fic that I like, and that I will read, but for the most part, I try to read some of the slash stuff now and I’m like, I can’t because I always read gen for them.
[her start in slash]:Smarm was basically extreme hurt/comfort. But it was the comfort aspect. It didn’t have to be--it was almost always Blair, but Jim got his fair share too, where something would happen to one of the characters, something horrific, whether it was mental or physical, even a cold. You know? It didn’t actually have to be horrific, it just had to be--something happens. They’re having a bad day, they’d get blinded, I don’t know, it was something like that and then, it was the comfort aspect. Then that comfort was the smarm and it was just about (how) the other would take care of the one who had the problem. And it was that sort of close relationship. It was brothers, not by blood, but by heart, if you will. I just remembered, oh my God, I remember this one fic that never ended. It was the smarm that never ended, it was called “Beach” and it was by Kitty and Martha, I think. I think the website’s still up, it’s called Smarm Sanctuary. It got up to, I think, eighty parts. It was this never-ending smarm-like, fest... this story, I don’t even remember everything that happened--I think they spent thirty chapters just in the shower where Blair is cleaning Jim from this horrible thing that happened. I don’t even think we ever found out what it was-- I don’t remember! And I would read and be like: this is amazing! Because, you know, I’m in my hormonal teenage angst phase, so the smarm really worked for me because it was that--you know, I want a friend like that. I want someone who would do that for me. It was the emotional connect. [It's not porn.] There was no sex.... They were friends, and they were brothers. They were not lovers, but they were like--not mind lovers, but you know. It was that emotion--they had that emotional connection... It was absolutely the platonic soul mates, it really was. And that’s a great way to describe smarm, which is now h/c. I think you only see some of the old school, like, Sentinel fans call it smarm, because smarm means something completely different, it’s actually... I didn’t even know what the word meant, I thought it was a made up word and then I looked it up, because I think I saw it in one of the SAT books or something and I was like, I don’t think this means what I think it means!...So I looked it up and I’m like--this is actually a really derogatory word! You know, like smarm has a negative connotation to it. And I always associated it with positive things, you know that emotional... I mean horrible things happen to the person usually. I can still name off some of the big smarm writers that I remember reading, you know, like... [laughs] oh my God, [laughs] I can’t believe I remember that! You know, that was big for me in high school. It was really big!
[the fic she might never publish]:I saw this thing on--oh God, I think it was Francesca’s site. I can’t believe I remember all these names!... I was going through one of the archives, I think it was like A-52 Prospect, it wasn’t the Cascade Library because that’s gen, but there was another one. And I saw this thing and it had a slash next to the name, between the names, and I was like, huh. I clicked on it and I started reading it and I was like, oh my God, I think this is a sex fic!... And I already knew about sex fic ‘cause I kind of got my sex ed from Mulder and Scully fic, so I knew, yes. I was on Gossamer, I would look up the NC-17 fics, I learned about het sex from there, you know. I mean I had a sex ed course, but I went to Catholic school. So in our sex ed course, I was kinda like: Hah! I know all about this because I read!... so I was like hiding all this stuff too. At the time, I think Skinner was starting to have a bigger part in the show, and you know, Krycek was starting to have a bigger part in the show, so I would see some of it on X-Files, but I would skip over it, because I was like, oh--if that’s how it really was, if this slash means the same thing that Mulder slash Scully means, I don’t think I want to read it. And then Jim and Blair came along and I got really into smarm for them, and there was some fic that I read, I think it was Alyjude and Francesca, and I was like, well let me just check it out and I read it, and I was like, okay. And I’m watching and I was like, okay, I guess I can kind of see it and I was reading it. I stayed in gen for a very long time, and I don’t think it was until I was reading a little Stargate, and I watched Stargate, SG-1, not from the beginning. I started like kind of in second or third season, and then I started catching the early episodes--because I really liked the movie. I loved the movie. And I was like, oh, this could be fun! And Jack and Daniel are flirting like mad! What’s going on here? And then I started to read, and I think that’s where I really started to read the slash stuff.
[the show that pushed her over into serious slashdom]:We did another [story] where we flirted with the slash idea because I was a slasher at that point. It was for Mag 7 and we had to have Ezra and Vin go undercover as a couple. And of course everybody is--you know, they’re bugged because the guy who they’re going after is--they’re basically playing themselves undercover as a gay couple. You know, if I look at it now, it’s kind of offensive! And as I think about it now, I don’t think we can ever post this because it would get flamed, because, really, you know--we had the backbone to say “We’re not gay, we’re not gay!”, but they’re having all these issues where they’re like, everything that they start talking about, like they get stuck in a closet at one point and they’re like--“No, don’t move that way!” “Stop doing that, it sounds dirty”, because that’s how we wanted it to be. But they were very uncomfortable about it. We never made them gay in the thing, because I was still kind of like “I’ll never write a slash fic”.
[her experiences in vidding]:And Beckett and McKay were so fucking cute together. And I wrote my first slash fic from them. And I started doing a lot more of--I vidded for quite some time, and I did a lot of Beckett/McKay vids. I’ve done a few vids. I did a Numb3rs vid once. That was not slash. They’re brothers. Ugh. It’s kinda squicky. I have read some Sam/Dave fics, I’m not gonna lie. I do have some saved. I did go through an RPS phase. I’m not gonna lie about that, I’ll admit it, where I was reading. But for the most part I tend to stay away from that anyway. I did some vidding. I still do some writing. I wrote a “Leverage”, an NCIS crossover that I’m actually proud of, and on the kink meme for Sherlock, I did a very dark, dark fic for Sherlock, very triggery about suicide. I was like, where did this come from and why am I writing it? I know, I was like, I don’t understand! I wrote it in a night, and--it was hard, because I couldn’t really have any of my friends beta it, because -- you know it was so triggery....
[her thoughts about fandom in the open]:Oh, jeez, it was early 2000s. I still try to do a little bit of vidding. I have a few. I have one or two projects. I have one project that’s unfinished that I’d really like to finish. I get vidding ideas still, it’s just that I don’t really have--I got some new programs that I want to try out but I haven’t had a chance to sit down and do it, so I sit down and I look at it and I’m like, oh my God, where do I start? I have like five or six Stargate videos under my belt, most of which I can’t even find. I think, actually, one of my friends has my old vid folder because it got lost in a computer crash. I think I’ve done one or two Supernatural videos. I’ve done two Numb3rs videos. I have a few--one or two House videos... one House video. I want to do a Sherlock video; I have it all planned out. I think it would be epic. I think it would be really good. I listened to Vida la Vida like fifty million times; it’s all written out. I have a Psych vid that I’d really like to do. You know, I was using Windows Movie Maker for a long time, and that’s very limited. But it was easy, so it was okay. A lot of the times I would get inspiration when I’m driving. So I would literally be driving in the car and suddenly the idea and the pictures would pop into my head and I would start screaming out loud like--Oh my God, I could put this here! This is so perfect! Holy! I’m like, literal tears are in my eyes because I’m so excited!
I guess --it’s hard--for me fandom was always that--we were talking about this earlier, like “dirty little secret”, and it’s become a big thing. And I don’t mind fandom coming out more into [sic] the woodwork, but for me, when fans go and talk to the characters or to the--to the actors, jeez!... When they talk to the actors about fanfic and slash fic in general, please don’t do that! If you’re ever there.... If you’re ever at a con -- are you listening to this? It squicks out actors and they get upset and it’s not cool. So please don’t be the one to talk about fan fiction! Because we will boo you! We don’t like that! Because it’s like--for a lot of people I think fan fiction is their outlet and to air out their laundry--I mean, if the actor wants to find out about fan fiction they can Google their character, that’s not hard. It’s out there, you can find it, they can find it, anything. But when you’re at a con, and the actor is in front of you, just think.... Would you--now think about this. If you weren’t in fandom, okay, and you had fanfic being written about you, would you want to know about it? Would you want to know what people thought about the size of your penis? Or your vagina? Well, not the size, but you know what I mean! So, I don’t know. It’s just something about that. That’s the one thing that pisses me off, and I’m kinda old school about that. I am.