So hi there. You've been having a rough time of it lately, so I thought a little letter might be nice.
400 stories, huh? Amazing! Had me looking back and sifting faded memories. You always were a creative, oddball child, full of drawings and little creatures made in modeling clay and daydreaming through school. But words took longer, that first summer of daycare while the folks worked, that crush on the counselor you absolutely did not recognize at the time, the upheaval of adolescence knocking at your bones.
That was when the river of words that has come to define you started, like the lyrics from the Indigo Girls 'Ghost': 'And the Mississippi's mighty, but it starts in Minnesota. At a place that you could walk across, with five steps down.' Somewhere, in that dusty old crate buried in the basement full of paper and dust, that terrible first story should be there on its weird green paper. At first it was just crazy scenarios based on real life… sort of, but then there was that crazy show back in 83, remember? The Tomorrow People. How that weird British program reached you in the suburbs on Los Angeles I'll never know, but it did, and you fell in love with the pretty blonde lady named Carol. It's a shock to even remember that, honestly, names have always been tough.
Then there was Han and Leia from The Empire Strikes back and Beverly and Will from the Star Trek The Next Generation and certainly more that have slipped my mind. Yep, all of them hetero couples, but it was all you knew. It wasn't time yet to realize the men barely mattered, but it was the only way you knew how to love women then. Eventually heteronormity was stripped violently when you and that friend figured it out together.
Like a lot of queer women, you found Fandom through Xena, even though you came in late to it and didn't stick around for very long. It was a glorious springboard to other things. Again, details slip my mind, but the second giant fandom leap came with Stargate SG1. A buddy had been a fan since it was in its infancy, but you didn't have cable then and could only listen to a pal wax on about the hot redheaded doctor. Yes, yes, I know. That fetish feels a little weird sometimes, but deal with it. We're all destined to look for bits of our parents in our lovers. Deal.
(In the midst of all this, you didn't even realize you were learning the bones of creating really good characters, did you? When your pal Jason dragged you off to the local uni for a game of DnD at 19, that was the start of it. For ten years, the glory of RPing over dice and paper and fueled with pure imagination, you learned not just to imagine characters and stories, but how to craft them.)
Through SG1, you found places where Fandom was coalescing into something more coherent, into bulletin boards and web domains that would be the true foundations of modern Fandom. That was 1999, because you found that web group only a week before the first Gatecon in Vancouver and got to listen to the gang squee on and on about that, helping you fall more in love, not just with the shows and pairings you love, but the community of fans who loved them too.
That first group was also the catalyst where your own work became not just something you loved to do, but something you loved to experience.
Meeting A. Magiluna Stormwriter aka Ariestess was a godsend that has lasted nearly 20 years now. Something about listening to her talk about how she approached writing twigged something in your brain and your writing took on a level that brought you to where you are now. Sure, it took almost 20 years to get there, but it was worth the wait. There's a reason you reassure younger writers to patience and persistence!
Other fandom loves came and went, some more prolific than others --and most of them thankfully now stored at AO3-- and you've had a variety of fandom friends over the years. All of them mattered, even as they never seem to stay, except Ariestess of course. Such is life. They all had an impact on you and they always will.
You mourn now how fractured Fandom has become, simply for the missed opportunities of meeting people. But there's always a few who stumble into your path and walk with you as companions for as long as they can. The collaborators and commenters, the ones who you can play with and laugh with and who encourage. All of them are so valuable to keep everyone's energies up and revel in the joy of falling in love with the characters who touch us.
And the stories keep coming.
My memory may not be the greatest --thank you for that dyslexia-- but I remember saying once to my mother, "I worry if I don't keep writing, my head will explode." She of course just looked at me and sighed in that way confused parents do when their children baffle them, but it's true. Wild creativity is all that I am, my joy and legacy and the engine that drives me. It always has been, since I was that bitty kid obsessed with reading and making little creatures out of clay and trying to draw what was in my mind.
So there we go. I hope these memories are a beacon to the good, pure energy in your soul that makes for such fine storytelling, no matter how the story is told.
Chin up, you.