Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Gayle F and Caren P

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Gayle F and Caren P
Interviewer: Morgan Dawn
Interviewee: Caren P & Gayle F
Date(s): February 10, 2013
Medium: audio
Fandom(s): Star Trek, and many others
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

In 2013, Caren P and Gayle F were interviewed by Morgan Dawn as part of the Media Fandom Oral History Project.

Interview length: 1:14:55.

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

Excerpts

About Becoming a Fan

Gayle F: How did I get into fandom, as fandom, as opposed to being a fan of Star Trek. I saw the first—maybe a year and a half of Star Trek when it first came out and I was a fan, but then I didn't have a television for a long time. And in the '70s, the ladies upstairs had a TV and were watching Star Trek, and I went up and watched all these re-runs of things I had never seen, and I fell in love with Spock all over again. And at the same I found a book called Star Trek Lives, and discovered there was such a thing as fandom, and wrote to Jacqueline Lichtenberg. And she gave me addresses, and I wrote to those people. And I started writing stories. I think I was writing stories before I wrote to the people, because I was in love with Spock! But—... Seventies sometime. Seventy-four or –five. 'Cause I went to a convention in '76.
Caren P: And, my family was always big on science fiction. We watched the original Outer Limits and Twilight Zone and all of those things, and Star Trek was being shown every Friday night — I believe it was Friday nights — on our TV from the year it started. So I would have been six, at the time that I was introduced to Star Trek. So it was my — probably one of the most seminal sort of touchstones for me, growing up and loving movies and TV. Being kind of a mediaphile, that has always been a foundation for me. When I was coming back from my sen— let me see, my year in England, in my junior year which would have been 1980. I came back that summer, and I was looking all over. What got me going there? I ran into a Blish book, I think in a used book store. And I had run into one of the ones I later found out was written by his wife, which started highlighting the relationship between Kirk and Spock more, sort of, than showing kind of the overall storylines. And I at that point really wasn't sure what it was that was kind of making me really focus on this, but I got back in a big way to wanting to watch Star Trek again. And reading about it. So I bought all the Blish books I ran into. Yeah, I think I read the Blish books and the New Voyages first. So I was introduced to the idea that there was fan fiction out there, and then I also bought Star Trek Lives, and I think somewhere along the line, now we're the summer after my graduation, so I was about 21, and it would have been 1982, and I went to a convention. I was living in San Francisco at the time. That was a comic convention, because I found out that there were no Star Trek conventions being run any more, at least not on the West Coast. And, it was one of those interesting things, where I was looking at some comic books that were Star Trek related, and this really wasn't what I wanted because I'm not a comic fan. And someone taps me on the shoulder, with a back pack on, and said — and I must have just had a little sign over my head — "Are you interested in, ah, K/S fanwriting? Fanfic?" She said that. So I'm looking at, you know, comics, and I said, "Yeah?" (laughter)... No [I didn't know what K/S was]. I— Well, I said— I think she said "Kirk—" She said, "K/S," and I said, "Star Trek?" but she did say, "Star Trek," and I said, "Well, what's K/S?" And she said, "Well, you know, there's Kirk Spock, relationship stuff, or the sexual relationship." (laughter) What?... I was about, yeah, 22, I think. So this is— She is fairly well known in fandom, Kathy Garbrook, in a variety of fandoms, and a funny little woman. And she pulled out — and I'm sitting next to the person who did the cover of this zine [1] — a zine called The Price and the Prize. Which has an interesting cover, and (laugh) she said, "Well, that's K/S." And I went (laugh) "How about that relationship stuff?" (laugh) So anyway I actually took away several Nomes and a couple of other zines from her, and was calling her a week later for more— and found a T'hy'la somewhere in the group — called Kathy Resch, who at that point was living in San Jose. And because of some issues she had had with people like, trolling her house, she didn't allow me to come by to pick them up, but she said, "There's actually a party at a person named Noel Silva's house, in another couple of weeks. Why don't you come and I'll bring some zines." And I was introduced to pretty much the entire fan group of Northern California at the time. And I was going to Shore Leave four months later with my first artwork, and it kind of went on from there.

Canon and Fanon

GF: And I will say that reading fan stories made me like Kirk better. I much preferred the Kirk in the stories to the Kirk I saw on the screen. Although, I realize, this is anathema to many of my friends. But.

CP: Yeah, I have to say I was in the other camp. I was kind of seeing through the eyes of Spock with longing for Kirk because I was very much a Kirk girl. Which is, I think, fairly visible in my, right, in my artwork.

Getting Started, Creating Fanworks

GF: I always loved book illustrations, so I was thrilled to be able to, you know, illustrate my stories. The first thing I wrote was a very long movie script. You know, for the movie. Which, nobody, nobody— (laughter and unintelligible words from other voices)

CP: —which didn't get made!

GF: And, let's see. I forget. I sent it to Interphase, and I forget if she didn't want it, or if she wanted me to do more work on it or whatever, and then I just started writing the erotica, 'cause I found out they were doing more erotica, and got into that. And, ah— I guess I did some art first, because I got in contact with the Interphase editor, and she wanted art, so—

Morgan Dawn: Did your first artwork appear in Interphase?

GF: I don't remember now. I think so.... And then I did a Spock in the rom com, that was in Obsc'zine.

MD: O- B- S- C- Z- I- N- E?

CP: With an apostrophe. (laughter)

GF: Three? Obsc'zine 3, I think? [2]

MD: All right. So how did you get into— Did you start writing first and then do art, or do both simultaneously?

CP: For the record, I've only had one story and three poems published. A lot was in my drawer, that never saw the light of day. But I was an English major and I worshiped great writing, which is probably why I never wrote. I was 'way too intimidated by the really good writers in fandom. And I had always drawn, from the time that I was a child, and I had always drawn sort of— It was always— generally portrait work or animals. And, it was just very hit and miss, something would catch my eye, or I'd be interested in one piece. I might do a piece every five years, or something, and my skills were not very good, because I wasn't doing it regularly. And, it's— There's a fair amount of, I would say, between the Apple Macintosh computer coming on line— on the scene, and desktop publishing in general, and finding fandom, it's probably given me my career, because I'm a graphic designer now. And I never really would have had the nerve to try to pursue a fine arts career, I don't think. But honing skills in drawing for fandom, where there was actually a demand for the work that I did, made me much more— actually, take the attitude of it being sort of a vocation. And so I worked really hard to improve.

I had started with pencil drawings, basically just portrait drawings of the two of them. And let there be no question about my being interested in het at all. It was just Kirk and Spock for me from the very beginning. Or any other — god forbid — male being thrust between them! It had to be— I've always been an OTP girl. So, any fandom that I got into after that was always going to be one couple that I particularly liked, and nobody else. Unless it was to offset how much they loved each other, and— I also have to say that I kinda jumped into, when I got into fandom, my interest came back in Star Trek, obviously, when the films came out, and I was— I probably saw that same ship going round the nebula, about going around. I think I watched that movie nine times in the theater. It was like, go out for popcorn, do something during that fifteen-minute spread. But anyway, that got me very excited about being involved in something active, because the fandom had kind of been languishing before that. By the time that I got into it, it was already two films in, I think.

So the interest in that first— I think I had done — I do remember this — I had done a black and white, or a pen and ink, Spock. It was just a portrait of him in the Gol outfit. That was up at auction in Shore Leave the first year that I went to Shore Leave. And it got into a bidding war, and it went for a lot more money than I ever would have expected.

MD: Do you remember how much?

CP: Yeah, it was a hundred dollars even. But that was more money than I had ever made for anything. I mean, I'd never made any money for anything that I'd created, so—

MD: Prior to that, had you submitted any artwork to any fanzines?

CP: No zines, no, in fact.

MD: This was your first art piece.

CP: This was my first art piece that I was willing to show anyone, it was purchased, and then another. It was the Nome people came to me and said, "Will you allow us to publish the piece that had just been purchased by somebody else?" And then I was some kind of strange little star at this thing. Everybody, all these people— I mean, this is the thing about fandom that I love so much. I mean, I had several people that I had kind of worshiped the ground they walked on as artists, and I was— And the publishers that I thought were fabulous writers, there I was meeting all of them. They were all exclaiming how wonderful my work was, and there's this small pool of notoriety that you get when you're in fandom that's really remarkable for giving people the confidence to go on and do other things. Possibly do things professionally. So it was a wonderful experience, that first Shore Leave, and I've been to many since, but that was a really stand out for me. And, so I was primarily doing art work from then on, on commission for, either to do either for zines or to sell.

Commissions, and Technique

CP: Well, there would be two types of commissions. Someone would say, you know, I'd really love a portrait of one of the characters that I was actually doing for a sale, or more often than not, someone was saying— See, I was never a great— Someone like Suzy Lovett was always much more adept at doing illustrations of actual scenes from stories. That was never my strength. I was very good at developing character for a portrait. So I hesitated to do a lot of story illustrations, because I just— It took me a great deal of time, they usually wanted two or three per story, and I just, I didn't have the time or the inclination to do that kind of art work. So, I ended up doing a few to begin with, just portrait pieces to put in as, you know, loose leaf, not to illustrate something. And then, fairly quickly, within a year or two, people were just asking me for covers. And as soon as color came in— I had been working on color, and had been working in a particularly— kind of in a style nobody was working in— (cough) or a few people. Linda Wood was one of the few who was in Star Wars fandom at the time that I came in, had a particular style of working with colored pencil, barrel Prismacolor on cardboard. In a layering style that wasn't the usual sort of sketchy look that pencil tended to have, for most people working on it in paper. So, it was a very distinctive style, that I started emulating, and worked with a lot of different substrates, and a variety of different pencil weights, and developed a particular style that I think people really liked. So as soon as color came out, and they were willing to do color covers for zines, I was doing a lot of covers, because my— I think my style was probably better in color than a lot of other folks who were doing color at that time. There were a lot of very good artists doing black and white pencil and pen and ink, but not that many had worked in color. So, and that was about mid-80s, I guess, when people started— it got cost-effective to do color.

MD: So, speaking of style, Gayle. Ah, your style is sometimes commented as the most unique that they've ever seen in their entire lives. So what prompted you to sort of create that style, and how would you describe it?

GF: I was asked to work in pen and ink, which was not a medium in which I had done very much work at all. I liked— I did— I painted, I work with pastels, I work with watercolors, colored pencils, and I'd taken classes in various things. I'd done some etching and what not. But. Then, most of the fanzine editors wanted pen and ink because that was the least expensive medium to reproduce. So— I kind of had to teach myself the style. I loved Art Nouveau and Art Deco, and I don't know that I set out specifically to make my stuff look like that, but it just kind of evolved from drawing the characters and trying to come up with something that I felt was distinctive, and beautiful. I tended to like stylized art, so it just went in that— If I'd been working in pencil I probably would have had a whole different— I would have gone for something much more realistic. But with the pen and ink, the strong outlines and fluid line thing is what developed. We were looking today earlier at the calendars that I did, which I did in kind of a little bit more variety of style, although I was already doing a kind of Art Nouveau outline faces and what not.

Spock's Unique Appendage

MD: Well, there's often times been the commentary about a certain appendage, a certain appendage of Mr Spock, that you created a very unique look for. And would you like to talk about that?

GF: Okay. I don't remember the exact reason I picked that other than I decided I wanted Spock to have, you know, an alien cock, but I wanted it to be beautiful. And, I guess I just ran through some designs in my head, and that was a very elegant double-ridged cock that could be drawn very nicely, you know, nothing too weird or H.P. Lovecraftian. (laughter)

MD: I think that's important for erotica, yes.

GF: And it wasn't so alien that it would put people off even if it wasn't, you know, Lovecraft. So it was just, you know, it looked like of human except more interesting. I: When did you realize that it had become— I don't want to use the word "gold standard," but the "cock standard," perhaps, for Mr Spock? ... Who knows? It was several years, because there were people trying out different things. Most people gave him a human cock, for the first few years, other than Leslie Fish, and her great green anthurium.

CP: Somebody had a jewel. They were like little stones or something, jewel things that would secrete fluid. I can't remember who did that one. But you're pretty much— Maybe three different models I remember. I don't know if you got in there first, or people just thought it was the best one.

GF: I think everybody, everybody liked it because it was elegant...

CP: And it became the standard for writers, too. Nobody really did 'em any other way from about the mid-'80s on.

MD: Would you want— Do you think that was just the lack of imagination, or "Hey, this is such a great concept, let's run with it."

GF: It suited him. It went with the ears so nicely. (laugh)

CP: I have a bit of a theory about that, because it kind of harkens back to something we were talking about a little earlier about building on, the creative community building on itself. We had our canon, and we knew what these guys looked like with their clothes on. And we would want to have something that made it uniquely— fan, that was, you know, it was our Spock. And by having something that was physically distinctive that a fan had created, by perpetuating that, it is part of the community we created. You know, it was basically a fan version of Spock that we all embraced, that was slightly distinctive from canon, but could still be attached to the Leonard Nimoy that we knew. (laughter)

Vidding

GF: —I was vidding [in the 80s]. But I only did one Trek, because at that time I had been looking— I mean, I love Trek, but so many people were drawn to the optimism of Star Trek, and that was never particularly a draw for me. I mean, I didn't dislike it, but I liked darker, edgier, and I was kind of wishing that there was something out there that could pull me in that had some of the elements that Star Trek did, but was darker. And I discovered Blake’s 7, and went head over heels into that for about— It was at least five years, maybe a decade... I had— Before that I had, yeah, 'cause Vice, Miami Vice. I never wrote any Miami Vice, but I did read a lot of it. And noth— And then again kind of with Starsky and Hutch, I never quite got to the point of writing it, but I read a lot of it. So, Blake’s 7 was the next thing that I wrote. And it was much harder to illustrate because that style didn't work. Y'know, my pen and ink style didn't work as well for Blake’s 7. It was too pretty.
GF: And then I did vidding and I did huge amounts of Blake‘s 7. I only did two Star Trek. I would have done more Trek if I'd, you know, had— I didn't have the tapes and stuff for it at that point. And then I got into La Femme Nikita because as it turned out one of the reasons that I liked male/male pairings so much— Oh, I— Wiseguy. Wiseguy was in there.
CP:... I went through a whole variety of fandoms doing art work. Minimal writing. Good friend of mine for a number of years was Mary Van Deusen, and I used to go out— I lived in the East Coast for a couple of years— and we got really close. And she had a— was doing her probably biggest, most voluminous amount of vidding at the time that I was out there, so I kind of had tried to mess around with doing videotaping when we had VHS to VHS, early. We're talking late '80s, really, really remedial equipment. And she actually worked for IBM research as a videographer, and was using not quite digital technologies, but they were early Avid machines that were much, much more accurate than you could get in a commercial VCR at that time. So we would go— I would go up and spend 48 hours with no sleep, just, you know, we'd come up with something and go through, and that really appealed to me. I think it's probably you'll find a lot of people who are visual, who want to do vidding. Because it's such— there's so much visual component to making choices about where you're going to cut, the whole editing process.... there is a part of me that, you know, is harkening back to wanting to be a writer, but I never was. And so I loved that multi-layered, let's create something visually beautiful in terms of the movement of something going with the movement of the music. You have to have cuts in and out that are going to mimic or give patterns, so there's this whole visual pastiche, which is really rich, that you can do with video— with song vids. But, then, how many different ways can you tell the story? That's maybe nonlinear, or, you know, jumping around by, you know, thematic idea. And then, now I look at stuff people are doing with all of the techniques and ability digital, and it's just amazing. I mean, you know, they might as well be doing this professionally. So many of them are just amazing. But I haven't worked with any of the on-line digital technology, so that— I left that behind in the '90s.
CP: And I would say that my learning curve software had to be— I was using it for learning the latest in what I was doing for a living, and I— To some extent. I mean, there were definitely a couple of fandoms that I would just have loved to've— Because I was seeing some, just such cool techniques that people were using, that were making them so much more sophisticated than what we could do. We have, Gayle and I have both sat on panels in the last couple of years, about early vidding versus, you know, what the technology availability is now. And there's a certain amount of envy in me, that I didn't have these things and was learning them when I had the time to devote to them. So I could certainly put the time aside but it isn't, you know. I'm a passive fan, pretty much, now. And I was one of those people— I was a huge zine lover. I had five hundred zines, I think, at one point. Mostly Star Trek. I collected very small numbers of some of the other fandoms, but I had a spectacular collection of stuff that nobody had, for Star Trek. So I was an early, I mean, I was a late comer to the idea of on-line stories. Which has a very, very different philosophy to what we were doing with zines, at least initially. And now, I don't buy zines at all any more. I'm one of those terrible people that's completely on-line.

Online Fiction, Zines

MD: What was different about the philosophy, initially, for internet, or on-line fiction, that you remember.

CP: Well, here's the thing. I think that this has changed a lot with, currently, because everything is on-line. But at the time, I still remember we would have some people who had discovered conventions, and one of the things was this absolute, rabid about anonymity, number one. They never want to have— contact with you only as a name, and not sure they actually want to meet you, in this strange sort of, you know, anonymous presence that they wanted to project.

Early on — I'm not a fan of works-in-progress — I mean, I come from an academic background, so the idea that you'd throw something up that you wrote that nobody even looked at before, and you may finish it and you may not, really offended my academic sensibilities. Where you write a story, go have someone edit it, and someone that illustrates it you're actually creating this beautiful archival work that, you know, can live on, that has value in and of itself as a tangible product. I love that aspect of what zines were about. However, having said that — oh, and also, the fact that, um, there just seemed to be a little bit of friction, at least initially, about those two models of paying for something, as opposed to it all being free — but I just felt it was very footloose and fancy-free and the quality of the writing suffered because they were not taking the steps they needed to to have a good editor, and— I will say that that's almost, in every case of the fandoms that I'm reading now, not the case any more. I mean they're, most people, the good writers, very diligent about having betas look at their work. I love the big bang idea where you'll have, or the mini-bang where you'll have a piece of art work which is inspiring a story, or a story inspiring art work, even if they are photo-manips as opposed to original art work. And we can get into the whole question of on-line art work versus. That's a whole 'nother interview. And the fact that, actually, it's democratized the ability for people to do art work— Much, a lot more artists available now for art work than ever could have been before, because photo-manips have become so popular. So, I am now in that camp of thinking that you actually if anything have more creative potential, putting, you know, vids, art work, playlists and stories all together as these sort of— They can be tied together, they can be separate, and— And huge big deal that the authors actually get the feedback that they deserve because you have— I don't like LiveJournal, but places like that, certainly you have have a, you know, instant gratification for the authors to keep them going, to get feedback on what they liked and what they didn't. Which, you know, I mean an author for a zine might get a couple of reviews in a letterzine that came out, and that was primarily before email or anything on the internet... So, I changed my position a lot on that. But I was originally very much a zine person. What's happened, though, is I've become kind of this lurker. I don't— I write reviews— I'm terrible. I say, "Oh, I think it's great that they get the feedback." I don't write them as much as I should. But I really admire what the community has done together as a group.

Female Characters, Slash

GF:... I still enjoy homoerotic stuff, but one of the main reasons that I was so drawn to it is there were no decent female characters. There was nobody that I wanted to be, out there, until, like, the '90s. '80s or '90s. I mean, I love Scully. I didn't— Because I didn't like Mulder that much, I didn't become a big X-Files fan, but I really liked Scully. And then La Femme Nikita, and from then on there've been lots and lots of women, and I intend— I don't tend to do them in erotic relationships with the exception of Nikita and Michael. I tend to like them as solitary warriors. Oh, Olivia from Special Victims Unit and the woman in Cold Case. And I didn't end up writing any fiction about these people, but my desire for slash, while it did not go away, because I still have favorite slash couples, the intensity of the desire for that, along with never again finding— Well, Supernatural, I got very into Supernatural for about a year. But reading. I never had any ideas about writing it that I didn't feel somebody had already done better. Anyway. One of the reasons was they started really interesting strong women characters. Yay! Yay!

Fan Casting

GF: Almost all of my professional books — I had four romances and I now have a mystery — were cast. Either with — I had fan characters that I loved — or with favorite actors, because I just— I've loved movies ever since I was a little girl, and I actually just did a blog post about this. I kind of made some interesting discoveries. Because I felt kind of guilty about this. "It's not really creative to use actors," you know. I would have characters, usually minor characters, but, it would just pop out of my head, and they would, you know, start walking about in the book, and I went, "Okay, that's that." But, it was just more fun, for me, to cast my favorite actors. And usually a favorite actor in a role that I liked, but it would immediately evolve. You put 'em in a different situation, and they become somebody like that, but different in this way and that.... And then I wanted certain qualities. I wanted— I did two characters based on Avon from Blake’s 7 but one was the hero of the first romance who ended up being— Well, he was a smart guy. Though I had to work on that, I got to the middle of the book and I thought, "My hero's a ninny! How did that happen? I based him on somebody smart!" (laughter) But he was, he had a lot of paranoia and distrust and didn't understand himself very well, though he was very smart about other people, generally. But he was nicer, he was just, he was different. And then I used an Avon-ic character for the villain in my next book, and although he also had— he had paranoia, but he was very self-aware. I think he was far more self-aware than Avon ever was, and far more ruthless. You know.

Multifannish, and The Forbidden

CP: So, I was probably devoted to Star Trek for all of two years before I started jumping ship and doing other things. I— To this day, the last two conventions I have gone to are Star Trek conventions and not any other kind of fandom. So, my interest is always gonna be there, but I am a fan slut. I go all over the place. I've had a number of— I've drawn in— I haven't counted them. Probably about a dozen different fandoms over the years. I have not done a piece of artwork— Actually, it wasn't that long ago— I did one for— Did I do it for KiScon, or did I just do it for Closetcon? Anyway, within the last couple of years.

CP: —I just don't. I know. The interesting thing is— I have to say, 'cause most of the time when I was very fertile, and doing fanfic, ah fanwriting, or drawing rather, I worked in the print industry as a production worker, not in creative stuff. And, interestingly enough, even though it uses an entirely different set of, sort of creative muscles by using hand, y'know, work with pencils and all of that, the creative effort that I put into my work now — being a graphic designer — it kinda taps out the— I wanna have a finished piece for these things, but the desire to sit down and actually draw is not there the way it used to be.

MD: When you were drawing your art, I mean, were you always, were you sequentially a fan, or were you a multiple, a fan of multiple shows?

CP: I would always have one that I was most passionate about at any give time, but I would have folks from other fandoms asking for work, so I would often be doing multiple fandoms at the same time. Not necessarily all that focused on those fandoms. I mean, I did a Sentinel cover, and I was, like, only marginally interested in Sentinel, but I thought, "Ooh, I like Blair. Let me try his face in something different, y'know?" So I did a lot of fanfic, I mean fan drawing in one-offs or two-offs in fandoms that I was interested in and I liked reading, but I wasn't really really active. And my real, major fandoms were Star Trek, Blakes 7, Starsky and Hutch. I didn't draw a lot in Starsky and Hutch, but I was pretty passionate about the fandom for— that was my second one. I was a teenager watching Starsky and Hutch, and I was madly in love with Paul Michael Glaser. I still am, to this day. He's cute even in his 60s, or whatever he is. And so I— it was a natural progression for me. But I do have to say the typical couple — and unlike Gayle, while I have gotten into some het relationships, I have loved X-Files — there had to be qualities about the woman, or the relationship set-up, that mimicked that forbidden gay thing. And that seems to be one of the things that I find so compelling about the male/male slash is— Now, it's gonna be really interesting going into the future, when it's pretty much like, ho-hum, you know anybody can be gay and there's no stigma to it any more. Part of what I found so interesting was, working with— It didn't have to be societal stigma, although it often was in a lot of these fandoms. Kirk/Spock it was more likely to be the reticence of the two people and their own cultural issues, that kept them apart. So if there was a male/female pairing that I was interested in, it had to have some element of that. There was gonna be something forbidden about them getting together. And I also like a Byronic hero, almost in every single case. I've got to have somebody who's a little sort of sociopathic, like Sherlock, who is my current— (laughter) My current love. So—

Looking Back and Second Thoughts

MD:... So, in terms of overall fandom, if you had to do it all again, would there be anything you would change, in what you've done in fandom? Either participating more or less, or "I wish I hadn't done that." GF: Used a pseudonym. CP: Okay.

GF: Yeah. It was really, really disorienting to put out my first historical romance to an audience that is basically pretty conservative in a lot of ways. And to, you know, "Also by this author on Amazon dot com, the Cosmic Fuck series." All right.
CP: Forty years. Yeah. Good god. And I have to say, I mean I always sort of thought of it, as much as I was passionate about it, that it was just kind of this other thing that I was doing. And— I mean, I could say that I could be doing this tomorrow if I was really committed enough, but there are a number of other areas I would have liked to have dabbled in more. I would like probably to try to get more serious about writing things. I really do regret that I didn't put the time and energy into doing, learning the digital technologies for fan vids, but I just don't see myself probably doing that at this point. Yeah, I mean, I think I really admired folks who— and this I may still do, I don't know, an on-line zine of some kind. We've actually talked about this as a possibility. I so admire Gayle, Connie Faddis, Laurie Huff, probably the two names that come to, the three names that come to mind, of people who were artists, writers, and editors, who produced these gems, that I think of as still probably the most beautiful zines that ever came out. And they had the incredible multi-, you know, -level talents. And I always thought, you know, they're— you do bring an esthetic, if you do all of those things, or have at least some grounding in all of those areas, that most people don't. They'll have one area that they work in, or another. And I also love collaborative, I mean the little bit that I've done of collaborative I really love. So it's almost like, okay, I've sorta taken a step back for— when I was active, from '83 to— It was about between ten and fifteen years. It was probably late '90s that I stopped really doing any artwork of any note. Mid to late '90s. And I'm still active, in that I know people in fandom, I still go to an occasional con, but I'm not creating any more. And I sort of feel like there— It would be— It would have been cool if I had been participating all through all of those years.

CP: We have been one of the fore-runners — and I think there are a number you can point your finger at — through the ability of the internet to democratize creative effort, to take hold of creative works and say, "We claim some ownership of this." You know. "We love what you created, so we want to create, ourselves." And have the creative community as a whole look at that, and go, "That's really cool. That's fine." And in my view, I would like to see those people who are exceptionally good at doing that, get recognition and be able to go on and do other things with that, beyond being considered just, you know, the fan girls and fan boys out there consuming

MD: Or even worse the pirates or thieves.

CP: Or the pirates or the thieves, right. And I think that there's now already been kind of a sea change in terms of it— Shades of Grey being that kind of interesting tipping point, where you've got someone who is sort of derivative fanwriter becoming, yeah, let's not use that example as a good one, but there you go. I mean, that person's making money out of being a fan. So, it's an interesting— I mean, I'm not saying that them making the money part is the part of focus on, but the fact that there is some recognition for the validity of what we're going, and the folks who are doing the archiving and doing the studying and using this amazing tool that we have with the internet, have really created something that I think we can all be incredibly— or revealed something we can all be incredibly proud of having a piece of, rather than being a little bit ashamed of it.

References

  1. Caren P is talking about how, in this interview, she is sitting next to Gayle F, the artist who did the front of The Price and The Prize.
  2. Actually, all three issues.