Fandom Snowflakes, Two of 'Em! (Days 8 and 10)
Day 8 asked us to:
In your own space, make a list of at least 3 things that you like about yourself. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
I think they do a version of this challenge every year, and I'm glad they do. Not because I like singing my own praises--it's as difficult and awkward for me as it is for anyone--but because I think it is so important to become comfortable with honesty about one's strengths and skills. Especially in fandom, which is mostly women, who are explicitly and implicitly taught not to "brag" about what we do well and to deflect praise by downplaying our success or scrambling to explain who else should share our credit.
(I do these things too. But I find that being aware of them and the differences in how men and women talk about their accomplishments often helps me to stop them between my brain and my mouth.)
- I'm a hard worker. I give my all to everything that I do (and care about): teaching, research and writing, my fandom projects. It's a family trait. You know how people will say about dogs like Border Collies that they're happiest when working? Wallses are that way too. But it's allowed me to accomplish things I'm really proud of, and so I'm happy to be that way.
- I'm pretty resourceful, and I'm not afraid to learn new things. Well, I sometimes am (I'm terrified of PHP!), but I suck it up and learn it anyway. (I still haven't learned PHP yet, but I've been looking more often in the direction of those books on my shelf, and I will learn it someday!)
- I'm really proud of how I've grown during my years in fandom. I started as a quivering mass of nerves that got sick on posting days of my novel Another Man's Cage because I was convinced that every chapter would be the one where someone would expose me as a fraud. (What does that even mean? It sounds so silly in retrospect, but I remember very clearly worrying in that particular language.) I remember the first time I was criticized publicly as a moderator and losing sleep over it. I've gained a lot of confidence, and fandom has been a huge part of that. It doesn't mean that I don't worry sometimes if a story is up to my usual standards or that it doesn't hurt to see my work or the SWG criticized in ways that are unfair (or sometimes in ways that are fair but I'd rather people not notice!), but I'm much more able now to work on moving forward rather than dwelling on the fact that a reviewer didn't like my story or someone doesn't like this year's B2MeM event or thinks my site is annoying to use or whatever.
Day 9 asked for tropes, clichés, kinks, motifs, or themes:
In your own space, share your love for a trope, cliché, kink, motif, or theme. (More than one is okay, too.) Tell us about it, tell us why you love it, give us some examples and recs. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.
What drives my writing a lot of the time is an adoration for complex characters, especially trying to understand characters who make bad or destructive choices. I wrote a blog post about this about two years ago, about why the Fëanorians appealed to me in the context of my work at the time with troubled young men. My goal is not to excuse these characters but to understand the complexity of the human mind that allows a person to commit horrible acts and still sleep at night.
I'm a sucker for stories that draw Tolkien's women out of the shadows and empower them with roles where they are allowed to influence the story. I very much believe that the dearth of women is a flaw of the legendarium that's in need of repair in a way that only creators of fanworks can accomplish.
Both of these point to probably my favorite notion in Silmfic: that of The Silmarillion as a historical text and subject to all the complexities and biases posed by historical texts. This idea results in stories that don't take the texts at their word--as "canon," that inviolable concept that sometimes constrains our creativity--but look critically at how in-universe writers would have depicted the history of the early ages of Arda and considered what they would have left out, gotten wrong, or straight-up lied about. And then writes those stories. This is what I try to do in my work and love to read in the work of others.
This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!