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I've been thinking a lot about fanfiction lately, partly because my revisiting of Anne Rice books from my adolescence always brings middle school back to the surface, also because Anne Rice inspires me in general, also because Shivawn constantly talks to herself on Facebook about Overwatch and fanfic and it kinda makes me feel encouraged to indulge. I think as I got older I dismissed fanfiction as something ~from my past~ that I didn't need anymore, but I've still always been able to defend it as a creative exercise. Somehow I still felt a disconnect between encouraging and defending it for OTHER PEOPLE while not writing it myself. I'm sure it also has to do with the fact that I haven't been inspired by a fandom that I wanted to write about in a long time.

I say all that to say that thinking about fanfiction inevitably makes me think about MY OWN fanfiction, which, circa 2000-2004 was primarily about professional wrestling and Kane and The Undertaker. And before I even knew what fanfiction was, I was sort of writing a version of it already with the RP stories I used to write with Alex, because we had taken so much inspiration from the Undertaker comics and our characters were basically modeled after his daughters. I remember when I was a foolish little thirteen year old that most of my original work was embarrassing Anne Rice knockoff, but it was all centered around the RP universe that Alex and I had created and used to live in. At the time they all seemed like super profound ideas, but I know now that they weren't. I sometimes try to return to them and it never feels quite right. I try to wrestle them into being something better than they were, or I try to figure out how to Twilight-ize them FOR PROFIT. I don't feel like I have the spark for it.

The past couple years I've felt especially motivated to turn them into SOMETHING, somehow. Alex died in 2013. I poured all my anguish about it into other stories, and that's been fine. But I keep thinking how the real way to confront it would be to revive these characters, these sisters, and find a way to work them through. It would be my way of making a tribute to her as well as a way to have a conversation with myself about how annihilated I felt after she died, and the lightning speed regression I felt when it happened. We had kept casually in touch on social media and everything. We exchanged Facebook comments the day before she died. But it didn't matter by the time it happened. It didn't matter that she'd become an acquaintance because once she was gone, it wasn't my twenty-five-year-old self that went into shock and mourning. I was thirteen again. When I was standing, freezing and shivering, in the cemetery and staring at her casket I wasn't thinking that she was a Facebook friend, I was thinking "This was my fucking best friend in the world once, that's her dead body in a box," and the affection I had felt for her in peak BFF time was right there under my skin. And I kept trying to tone the grief down, and trying to figure out if my behavior was somehow attention-seeking or dramatic. But it felt so real, and even being honest with myself, I can't downplay the impact she had on me, and the person I became, and how crucial it had been to meet her when I did.

So having all this middle school garbage close to the surface between Anne Rice and fanfiction and Alex has my brain really keyed up. I'm a dysfunctional dumpster fire on my best days, so it's not unlike me to create grand schemes in my mind and not follow through with them. It's my biggest dream in life that one day I'll be healthy and motivated enough to finish a creative project. Right now I'm trying to keep my focus in one place: the current project is Reread The Vampires Chronicles in Time for the Atlantis Book and I'm enjoying it a lot. I keep wondering if it's unproductive, but I think it's probably a good use of time. I think I'm getting quality of life out of it. I tend to put too much weight into PRODUCING and not CONSUMING; maybe it's good to take a respite from the creative grind while also absorbing some new inspiration. I hope to surface from this undertaking feeling refreshed and excited to MAKE THINGS. But maybe in another month when I'm done with all this, maybe I can really start to iron out all this Alex stuff. I think somehow all these roads have lead to whatever phantom project I ultimately have in mind. It's all connected somehow. When I think about fanfiction and think about the spooky weird stories I used to write about The Undertaker, I still get that weird fuzzy warm feeling, that same excitement, and I remember how mysterious and fascinating the idea of FANFICTION was when I first discovered it. I think the key is in there somewhere. I might be ready to return to it, not just to have fan-indulgence, but also to push through and find something bigger.

December 2016

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