Star Wars wasn’t my fandom.
Oh, I saw most of the movies. I watched Episodes IV – VI with my father and brother when they were re-released in theaters when I was in high school. I had watched A New Hope at some point in my childhood and…
…it didn’t go well. It scared the ever-loving snot out of me, to the point where I avoided most space-centric fiction unless somebody else happened to be involved. My father and childhood best friend both liked Star Trek, so I got a fair amount of exposure to that particular corner of nerd. Other than that? Space was not my friend.
Not until Firefly. However, I would argue that Firefly was more of a western anyway. But that’s neither here nor there for the purpose of what I’m doing today.
So no, Star Wars wasn’t mine, and as such, Carrie Fisher wasn’t mine. I re-watched Episode IV last week with my husband and a friend and while I enjoyed the experience a great deal, I believe that Rogue One will be the Star Wars movie of my heart. If there is a scrappy female to thank for me getting into the franchise this late in the game, well, that honor goes to Jyn Erso. Anyway, after my viewing of EpIV last week, I was in awe of Leia and her completely unimpressed attitude at her supposed rescuers. She’s resourceful and tough, and I wish that I had grown up with her the way that some of my best friends did. I went home that night and purchased Fisher’s memoirs (all three volumes).
Then I learned about her marvelous writing career beyond her personal accounts (which are marvelous). Her work as a script doctor. Her unabashed transparency about her own mental demons and struggles. Wow, I thought. Carrie Fisher is pretty damned awesome.
Tragically, 2016 attacked and swept Fisher away just as I was starting to truly understand how fantastic she is. I am saddened at her death, and I wish that I could claim her as a role model the way that so many of my peers in fandom do.
I am excited and pleased to announce that I have enrolled in my first proper fiction writing class.
I am also nervous and might throw up.
The class is led by two women with strong voices in the science fiction / fantasy community. I admire both of them a great deal.
NO PRESSURE, CASEY.
Fun fact! When you’re attempting to build your online persona, you have to keep tweaking it until you get what you want out there for the whole world to see. Another fun fact: sometimes you make missteps. This is why I’ve trashed two posts of mine from this space. I didn’t like the tone of the second half of the series, so I trashed the entire two-part set. I don’t believe in deleting problematic material. One of my literary heroes, Georgia Mason from Mira Grant‘s Newsflesh series, values the truth above all things. I am not ashamed to admit that I do occasionally ask myself “What would Georgia do?” when it comes to dealing with how I present myself in this particular space. It’s tough! When I’m writing for Speculative Chic, it’s not so much pressure. I have an amazing group of peers and a fantastic editor that keeps things rolling. Here? It’s just me. Hell, I can’t even settle on a proper title for my solo blog just yet. This is why the placeholder title. Eventually I will figure out how to do this.
As I mentioned above, I’m building my online persona right now. I’ve been using the Internets for years, like most of my age group, but this is the first time that I’m stepping out into the spotlight and attempting to do something with it. I’m not hiding behind childish screen names any longer. I’m presenting myself. It’s not easy to figure out what to put out there and what to hold back. The two posts that I talked about trashing in the earlier paragraph were trashed because they contained an attitude that I didn’t really want to put out there. I don’t want to be seen as a complainer or a whiner. I want to be able to complain about important things. I want, if that day should come, for my complaints to be about valid things that I have enough clout to speak about and stand behind. I don’t want to fuss about petty crap that nobody really cares about. It’s a learning process. I know that there are going to be times when I’m going to be unhappy with something and I’m going to be tempted to take to this spot and vent about it. It’s hard to tamp down those urges. I cut my blogging teeth on LiveJournal when I was in college. That was entirely different from what I intend to do with this space. This isn’t a venue for my friends to observe the often humorous and pathetic tales of young adult woe. This is a blog that may someday serve as early examples of what I hope will be an accomplished writing career. I know that when I enter the publishing arena that it will be mostly on me to sell my brand, whether I self-publish or go for the traditional route. I have to start somewhere; this is my somewhere.
Another fun fact: when I’m working on nonfiction pieces, I can’t really listen to new music. I need something that will drown out the world so that I can focus, but it also has to be something that I can ignore. This, for me, boils down to music that I grew up with. I am amused at my own playlist for nonfiction. It includes, among other things, Queen’s entire Kind of Magic album, selections from the likes of Amy Grant and *NSYNC, and an early album by the man behind Enigma. In college I had an entire CD that was just for listening to when I was writing papers. I would swap between that and the aforementioned Queen album anytime I had work that I really needed to do. *NSYNC was added to the list because it was weirdly calming to me when I was first in college. I started experiencing actual stress in my freshman year. I got stomachaches and everything. *NSYNC’s first album, strangely, helped ease the stress. It was the only thing I could listen to that actually seemed to help me feel better. I do not know why this is. I didn’t ever actually have anything against *NSYNC, really. I just considered myself to have better musical taste than that when I was an all-knowing seventeen year old. I openly laughed at “I Want You Back” when I heard it for the first time. Joke’s on me. Guess what’s blasting in my headphones right now? Yeah. Ha ha. But it works, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
I would say something witty and a little self-deprecating right now, but I don’t think that’s the best way to go about saying this. So I’m just going to say it:
I’ve been sick. I had to take some time off from most of the things that I usually do. Internet usage was one of those things. Unfortunately this particular illness flare came about at the same time that I was trying to begin building my page here. It also lasted for a really, really long time, SO MUCH LONGER than I thought it would. But I’m getting over it and I’m trying to take back my life. Go me!
What, you may ask, have I been doing in the meantime? (You probably aren’t, we just got acquainted and all of that.) In between sleeping a lot and working not much at all, I managed to read a few things that I really loved. Here’s a bit about a couple of them. (PS: links will open in new tabs/windows.)
Borderline by Mishell Baker is one of the best things that I’ve read this year. It’s a strong contender for most enjoyable piece of fiction, certainly. It was refreshing to read an urban fantasy that bucks so many of the trends of the genre. From Baker’s website: “A year ago, Millie lost her legs and her filmmaking career in a failed suicide attempt. Just when she’s sure the credits have rolled on her life story, she gets a second chance with the Arcadia Project: a secret organization that polices the traffic to and from a parallel reality filled with creatures straight out of myth and fairy tales.” Millie also lives with borderline personality disorder, which is an extremely misunderstood psychological condition. Baker skillfully weaves her tale around a set of characters who aren’t always likeable, but who are compelling nonetheless. I can’t wait for the sequel, Phantom Pains, to be released next March.
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley is easily the best nonfiction that I’ve read in a long, long time. Not all of the material is new, if you’ve followed Hurley’s online presence in any sort of capacity. Having it all collected in one handy, llama-covered volume is excellent either way. Hurley is insightful, straightforward and powerful in her call to arms to geeks and feminists of all flavors. I would recommend this volume to anyone who considers themselves a part of any of the above mentioned camps. Pick it up. Read it. Re-read it. Give it to your friends. Read it yet another time. And then pick up your sword and get to it.
Vive la revolution.
There is a part of myself that wonders what I’m doing starting up my private spot before my friends and I actually launch our group project, [REDACTED], but there’s a larger part of myself that wants to go ahead and get started keeping a regular blog again. I used to do this fairly steadily back in the salad days of the LiveJournal.
Man, LiveJournal was the best, back when it was good. All of those little icons and the “current music” line, as if we were all listening to music all of the friggin’ time. I don’t know about you? But I always tried to make sure to list something that would end up being acceptable. It didn’t matter what might actually be on at the time. Golden Girls reruns? Nope. Hanson’s latest cd? Nope. I wouldn’t cop to it. If you consulted my journal, I was always listening to the Strokes or the White Stripes or something. It was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that I be Cool On The Internet when I was in my early twenties. God knows why. I’m not even sure why that is right now.
And the agony of choosing the Right picture to correctly illustrate my post! I even sprang for the permanent account when it came available. I was SO SURE that LiveJournal would never go away, and the idea of being able to have SO MANY PROFILE PICTURES was just so tempting and wonderful that I did it. I followed so many different icon makers and communities. When the perfect picture came available, I thrilled to be able to use it. Sometimes I’d write a post JUST TO SHOW OFF THE NEW ICON.
Then I started making icons myself. PhotoShop was the very best of distractions. I never got much attention for what I made, but I was happy with it. I probably would have gotten much better with all of those skills if my computer hadn’t, you know, crashed just after I finished college. Oh well. The past is in the past, and all of that.
So here I am today, bravely starting my own little corner of the great and mighty internet yet again. I’ve done this before – haven’t so many of us? – but this time it feels a little different. I want this to work. I miss having a venue for the voice that never quite went away. I don’t know if I’ll ever attract followers, but I might. It doesn’t matter right now. I used to find comfort in sounding my barbaric yawp over the rooftops. Maybe I can do so again.
Once upon a time there was a girl. This is something that you’ve heard before, no doubt. But this is different. So just listen.
So this girl, she had an unhappy childhood. But didn’t all of us, in some fashion? She had few friends because she was so very different from the other children that surrounded her. But, again, weren’t all of us? The years flew by, her mother flew the coop, and this poor girl was left alone, time and time again.
Then came college.
The girl made some wonderful friends in college. She finally felt accepted and delighted in having friends who FINALLY GOT HER. Unfortunately, over the years, many of those friends drifted on to their own lives and the girl lost touch with many of them. One friend remained steadfast and loyal, despite the time and distance that shoved them apart. The girl moved frequently, acquired a husband, several canines, and a lot of books. (Like, a LOT.) The girl and her friend stayed in touch through the magical wonder of the internet.
One day, the girl and the friend decided to take in a convention. That convention served to re-cement the friendship that the pair had shared. They carried on merrily from that point, chatting often and making plans to visit and talk even more than previously.
Then one day came an opportunity for much snark and mockery. The girl and the loyal friend did snark and mock to their black little hearts’ content. The loyal friend introduced the girl to one of HER friends. The friend’s friend also thrilled in mockery and snarkery.
Something beautiful was created from that.
This blog is not that thing. This blog was created as a companion piece to that beautiful thing, and also to serve as a launching point for the girl. The girl decided that it was time to grow up and take herself seriously. If she didn’t, she reasoned, how could she expect anyone else to?