Old School X Interview: VivWiley

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Interviews by Fans
Title: Old School X Interview: VivWiley
Interviewer: Lilydale
Interviewee: VivWiley (Viv Wiley)
Date(s): September 8, 2020
Medium: online, Tumblr
Fandom(s): The X-Files
External Links: at lilydalexf; archive link
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Old School X Interview: VivWiley was conducted by Lilydale as part of the series Old School X Interview Series.

Some Topics Discussed

  • X-Files fandom shaped who they are today
  • X-Files fandom as a community of women
  • the story, Equilibrium
  • visibility as a fanwriter with family and friends
  • finding out about X-Files fiction fandom from an article in The Washington Post

From the Interview

What do you think of when you think about your X-Files fandom experience? What did you take away from it?

First, I should say that my “fandom” experience was really limited to the fanfic for TXF. I didn’t get involved in discussions about the actors, the show runners, etc. Nor did I go to any of the conventions. But, from the fanfic experience, I remain astonished by how many smart, funny, wonderful women I met (sorry, guys, I know you were out there, but I mostly didn’t get to know you), and how many of them are still close friends. My life would be infinitely less interesting and rich without all those friendships.

I also took away from that experience a confidence in my own creativity that I didn’t previously have. I have done a great deal of professional writing throughout my career – policies, reports, protocols – but TXF fic writing allowed me to exercise a whole other part of my brain and heart. It was fun and also felt like another way of learning and building a skill set I’d lacked.

Finally, I say that it was an early exposure for me to both the good and ill that online communities can foster. There so many amazing acts of kindness and support. One of my friends organized the Beta Readers Circle, a group of volunteer fic editors who would read and help you with stories on everything from grammar to “is this character acting in character” questions. I both used and volunteered with the BRC. On the flip side, some of the discussion threads on the email lists could get a bit ugly. Forerunner to the comment threads on today’s posts. So, humanity in a nutshell, right?

'Social media didn’t really exist during the show’s original run. How were you most involved with the X-Files online (atxc, message board, email mailing list, etc.)?

I initially discovered XF fic through a Washington Post article that was trying to drum up interest in the World Wide Web (as it was then talked about). Every week, they featured a list of “hey you might find this cool/interesting” sites, and one week one of the sites they listed was the Gossamer archive. I dove in and emerged utterly hooked. I also discovered one of the early fic mailing lists (the name of which now escapes me), and from there I began sending feedback, which allowed me to start building relationships with authors, etc. I later joined other mailing lists like Scullyfic, Sparky’s Doghouse, etc. I never connected with atxc or the message boards, really.

What was it that got you hooked on the X-Files as a show?

The characters! Particularly Scully, at first. It was clear from almost the beginning that the “story arc” (or the notion that there actually was an arc) was pure fiction, but I loved the relationships between the characters, the nuances that so many of them had, and the interplay of the notion of skeptic-believer could have. And, of course, later on, Skinner was a personal favorite.

What is your relationship like now to X-Files fandom?'

In many ways I think about TXF and TXF fandom in the same way I think about fond memories from high school or college. Something that helped shape who I am today, in ways that aren’t always straight-forwardly apparent. I still don’t really get involved (or care TBH) about the lives of the actors, the politics of the show construction, etc. I keep in touch with a large number of fandom alumni, and we will still occasionally reference the show, but our real-life connections have long-since overtaken TXF as our common denominator.


Do your friends and family know about your fic and, if so, what have been their reactions?

Some friends and family know. I’m judicious in who I tell. I think people find it surprising, and of course, up until 5 years ago or so, I’d have to explain what fanfic is to most folks. Now it’s so mainstream that I think if I were to tell someone new about it they wouldn’t be that surprised.