Who Knows about Your Fandom Habit?
Some people, I know, share it with anyone who will listen. Others, their own spouses would know their usernames and have no idea why "Library of Moria" shows up so many times on wifey's Internet history.
So what's your story?
This question has been romping around in my brain for some months now. It is something that I always meant to ask but that quickly got lost in my other musings about fandom and online life. What inspired me to ask today is twofold.
First, my lovely friend and co-perv ann_arien posted a link to an article about the "slash subculture" called Frodo & Sam Get It On. Since I first stumbled into the slash community purely with a social psychological interest (I swear! but I'm not vouching for why I've stuck around >:^] ), these sorts of articles interest me.
Secondly, today is my one-year anniversary in the Tolkien fandom.
I read fanfic before this and even had a Pit of Voles account, exclusively to comment on other people's writing. But this day last year, I got my LiveJournal. I started planning SWG. I joined up a whole plethora of groups and archives to see what went on beneath the surface of this fandom, beneath the finished stories that I hungered to read. I even began to entertain the notion of publishing my own story, Another Man's Cage, at some point. And no one knew. Bobby knew, I believe, that his wife got up to reading fan fiction. But he certainly didn't know that I was becoming immersed in it, nor the sorts of things that I read, nor that I was writing a fanfic novel. Why? Was I ashamed? A little, yes. I still (foolishly) believed fan fiction to be a dirty habit, a bizarre addiction of sorts. It wasn't "real" writing and online friends weren't "real" friends.
But today, of course, things have changed. Bobby knows of my online activities, and no, he doesn't care a whit. He teases me about slash, yes, and when I plan an entire afternoon to do things like insta-drabbling, but he understands that it is a hobby for me, a non-threatening way to practice what I love (writing) with people I like. He knows most of my online friends in some sense or another; he's even talked to a few of you on YIM or through LJ. So one could say that I most definitely do not hide my dirty fanfic habit from him anymore.
Those people closest to me know a good deal about it too. Chances are, we've even discussed slash and the sorts of things that I imagine a lot of people keep hidden. Frankly, if they think less or me for my version of innocent fun online (or not so innocent), I don't care. I could be up to a lot worse, and most of what goes on in online fandoms is normal human behavior, nothing to be ashamed of. (Yes, even slash.)
At the same time, I understand why people would want to keep their online lives secret. After all, this is our own special world. It's a form of escape, and having one's husband reading one's LiveJournal or one's coworkers snickering over one's latest fanfic exploits is not ideal for many people. I understand that, and I would be lying if I didn't occasionally think of the offline friends and family on my flist before deciding that I really don't want to hide from them. But the thought does cross my mind.
So I'm very interested to hear your answers. And I would like to thank all of you for a great year. It's been more than I could have hoped for!