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16 June 2011 @ 04:48 pm
[Poll] Sharing the Love  
So, recently I've had a few conversations that have indicated to me just how much fandom and the rest of my life are integrated. The first one was at preschool drop-off time a few weeks ago. Ms. Carro, the earthling's main (and much-loved) preschool teacher came up to me and said, "So, this is awkward, but do you keep a blog?"

I said, "Uh, yes," probably with a but I really hope you aren't reading it expression on my face.

She explained to me that at an SCA event that weekend, a friend of a friend had come up and said, "You're Ms. Carro? You must know this kid I read about online! I mean, how many preschool teachers are there named Ms. Carro?" She described the earthling, and Ms. Carro, who could identify all of her students in the dark, with ear plugs in, from fifty feet away, correctly named the earthling.

My reaction to this was an instinctive flinch. But it wasn't because my fannish activities had been exposed to the world; it was because I like people to stay in their boxes. If they start out in the preschool box, I want them to stay there. If they start out in the internet box, I want them to stay there. Box-hopping makes me twitchy.

Then we had dinner out with my sister and her family, at which we learned that:
  1. My sister and her older son, Z, had read my Doctor Who x Lady Gaga's Bad Romance video (the true sign of a Yuletide fandom - there's no easy way to describe it, let alone a convenient acronym) Yuletide story.
  2. To prepare themselves, they watched the Lady Gaga video. (Of course they needed no additional Doctor Who background; in retrospect, I should have asked my sister for a canon beta for that story. She could have provided it for basically any Doctor you care to name. It's ironic, really, that I am the person in the family who has written DW fan fiction.)
  3. My sister's younger son, A, came into the room while they were watching the video, and was stricken immediately with a severe case of Lady Gaga love. He has now watched far more of her videos than I have (although my sister, ever appropriate, nixed Alejandro as perhaps a little too explicit for the pre-teen set, which was amusing to me since I had to really think to remember the bits she thought were too much for A), and is deep in the throes of early fannishness.
My sister blames me for turning her younger son into a Lady Gaga fan. I hold that I am blameless, because it is not like she had to watch that video. (Actual feedback from Z: "I didn't understand the video at all until I read your story." I have a hard time believing he understands the video now, since it makes no sense. But I guess for Z all things make sense through the lens of Doctor Who.) No one was making her! Also, she should know by now that A has a gift for sensing when people are consuming media they would rather not share with him. She should have sent him outside, ideally to a distant city, before pressing play. In short: HER FAULT. Not mine.

But after I had worked out exactly how I was not at all to blame, I started to consider this. I mean, I got feedback from family members on both my stories from last Yuletide. (My mother gave me feedback on the other story, based on Evanescence's Call Me When You're Sober video. This year, at signup time, someone please tell me not to sign up for so many video fandoms, okay? Please?) My son's preschool teacher apparently hangs out with someone who knows someone who reads my LJ or DW and is on the earthling filter, which stretches credibility, but there you go.

My fannish life is inextricable from my real life, is my point. My friends know! My family knows! Apparently now the preschool people do, too! So my question is: how are things in your life? Do you talk about fan fiction at the dinner table? Can you imagine no more horrible fate?

Obviously, there is a poll; the last time I did a poll like this, it was in 2004, so I'm curious to see how things have changed. Also, of course, feel free to tell stories in the comments. (And even if you are totally unfannish, please answer the last question. This has been a topic of debate in my household!)

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.
joyce: iantojoyce on June 17th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
She explained to me that at an SCA event that weekend

This is definitely the "it could be worse" sentence. :) If you're going to be outed as being in fandom and having a blog to someone, someone who is in the SCA is probably not awful. :)

Also, I am amused by the fact that there's 36 comments over on Dreamwidth, and I'm first here, which... uh... never happens. You should do a poll to see how many folks on Dreamwidth are there because of the fannish stuff, but they also enjoy reading about the Earthling, and how many of us LJ folks are here for the Earthling, but also enjoy the fannish stuff. (thefourthvine's journalling, Venn diagram style. :) )

Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on June 17th, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
My family knows in a general way (though not about the porn); they find it weird but they don't poke. My ex once systematically read all the rated:adult tag on my fic journal and I kind of wanted to kill him. There are all kinds of experiences in my life.
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: momskids sofaamilyn on June 17th, 2011 01:25 am (UTC)
Errrr..."non-fannish circle"? What does that even MEAN?

Gninegnine on June 17th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
...I was wondering the EXACT same thing! I'm filling the poll out while skypeing with my sister and both of us are like "wait, what is this non-fannish circle of which you speak?" So confused! ^_-
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: fanwearamilyn on June 17th, 2011 01:56 am (UTC)
I know!! Right? What means this "non-fannish circle"? :-)
lacking in glittertawg on June 17th, 2011 01:34 am (UTC)
I have such mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, I hate having to justify my interest in fandom. I've had people (who have found out that I'm in fandom from sources that are not me) say "why don't you just write original fic? You know, something with value" and just the anguish it causes in me that someone can miss the point so much. There's definitely a stigma to my interests that I don't want to have to deal with at work, or at uni, or even from some of my close friends.

On the other hand, I went to a con last weekend that was essentially a fangirl sleepover and... I loved it so much. I was heart broken when I left because sometimes it feels like I'm the only fangirl in my city, and there are so many jokes that I can't share with my friends because they don't or won't know the groundwork and... I'm actually considering putting an ad in the paper "local fangirl seeks like minded individual. Ideal interests include slash, fanmixes, and tumblr".
bleedtobluebleedtoblue on June 17th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
"Do you talk about fan fiction at the dinner table? Can you imagine no more horrible fate?

I keep my fannish life as separate from my non-fannish life as possible, there has been some cross contamination.

I should be clear, I am not ashamed of my fannish activities, but I enjoy having something that my family and the majority of my friends do not know about.
corvis_corvaxcorvis_corvax on June 17th, 2011 02:41 am (UTC)
I Have really no friends who are not fannish. My best friends, those whom I would call if I got a flat tyre at 3am, are my old gaming group. My current job, and my last job, (neither of which are/were particularly fannish) I got through fannish contacts. On my current project 3 out of 4 co-workers are in fandom to some level.
Of course I'm in San Diego, 175-thousand of us show up around the end of July and dump about 15 or 16 million dollars into the local economy every year, probably the only city in the world where the mayor has made public statements about a con. If you aren't in fandom here there's something wrong with you.
melpemone: SherlockBBC: Watson - Fresh Perspectivemelpemone on June 17th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
Wow, you're so calm. My mother once found out my online pseudonym (and promptly told all her online friends about her impressively internet savvy daughter, maybe you've met her?), and I promptly changed that name and went under severe lockdown. This was years ago and I'm still flocked and it still gives me the horrors. I love my fannish existence and I'm not ashamed of being this much of a dork, but I just don't think I want to be known that well to relatives and colleagues. *shudder*
chicken soup for the Slytherin's soulmontglanechess on June 17th, 2011 02:46 am (UTC)
I find my ficcish life fairly integrated--my fiance totally knows, in fact, I helped get him hooked on several epic fics (um, hi Journeyverse). I tend to bring it up a lot with people who ask what I'm into. It's sometimes a little awkward and sometimes I have to explain what fic is, but I generally don't mind sharing with good acquaintances and friends. But usually people just say 'oh' and I add something like 'the books were boring me so I found better plots in fics' and they occasionally start telling me what parts of, say, Harry Potter annoyed them too.

So for me it's part conversation starter, part secret hobby. In conclusion, fanfic is definitely a topic at my dinner table!
Mificmific on June 17th, 2011 03:28 am (UTC)
This is an issue for me as unlike some people above, I have no non-virtual friends who are fans. Probably because I'm from an older age-group, although I have tried to corrupt recruit a few of them - with a total lack of success so far. >:(
I usually give my closest circle of RL friends a mix CD for Xmas, but last Xmas I gave them a collection of (mostly) gen podfic I'd recorded - admittedly one was slightly risqe (but it was funny!). I tentatively asked one of them what she thought of it recently and she hadn't even loaded the mp3s onto her iPhone. I've regaled these friends with various accounts of fannish activities and honestly, at best I think they humor me, and at worst I think they see me as skeevy and a bit embarrassing.
Back when I was first immersed in all this and, honestly, went slightly hypomanic across that spring, in retrospect, I blabbed on excitedly about fannish writing to a colleague (who also wrote as a hobby) at a work party. I felt crap about it later and have been able to avoid him ever since - very much a lapse of judgement and TMI event.
So overall it's not brilliant, because fannish activities and creativity take up a lot of my spare time, and I can't see that changing. Sad that I can't really share it with RL friends, and I live on a part of the globe where there aren't any cons for my main fandoms.
Jy: misc - prayereviljy on June 17th, 2011 03:38 am (UTC)
I blur the line between internet/fandom and real life a lot but I still think the choice to actually cross that line should be mine not someone's who reads my journal.

Neither my fanish activities nor my sexual orientation are a secret but it's also not a conversation opener (in most cases anyway) and yes I'm putting these two things in one box. Work is really the only place where I made the choice to not be completely open... about the fact that I write slash. I've no problems letting our staff know that I'm bisexual but the most anyone knows about my fanish activities (or so I think) is that I "write". I've made the experience that apparently there's a big difference between knowing the boss' daughter/your boss is bisexual and knowing that she writes about men having sex. What makes it different? I've no idea.

My mother complains that all my stories are in English (I'd translate it to German if I could but I'm not able to cross the language barrier with my own stories), my father ignores it because he doesn't understand it (like many other things in life), my older brother goes back and forth between being proud (and asking BDSM advice) and thinking I'm a satanist (don't ask, no one knows the answer to that one) and the rest of my family knows but couldn't care less 'cause watching something is the most fanish they could ever get. Most of my friends I met either through Fandom or they at least already knew about it before meeting me. Significant other... I simply don't have one, haven't one for years but Fandom is an important part of who I am and acceptance of that (among other things) is a deal breaker for me.
Still Waiting For My Jetpack: sibling love (b&k)azewewish on June 17th, 2011 03:55 am (UTC)
No one at work knows about my LJ, but everyone in my family does. Hell, my mom gives me plot bunnies. *g*
Noelia: [lev] parker :: up to no goodnoelia_g on June 17th, 2011 06:21 am (UTC)
It's not the first thing I tell everyone I meet, but I'm fairly open about fandom... I wouldn't give everyone my username and/or links unless I'm kind of sure of them, though, especially not anyone from work/studies.

On the other hand, I'm writing my thesis on fanvids and I've done presentations/essays on fanfiction. Pretty much everyone I know at my Uni knows what I'm into ;)
zabira on June 17th, 2011 10:10 am (UTC)
i really try to make an effort to be candid about this with EVERYONE, as i do with most things in my life. really don't like the closet for ANYTHING, to be honest. it's not comfortable for me. and, these days, it's so prevalent in our culture, it's getting pretty easy to explain to people. most of my friends and family know.

my parents were probably the most hilarious of the reactions, in two very different ways. my dad was on board RIGHT AWAY and immediately made the comparison between us and the "groups of women who would write for each other in the 19th century" (as he put it). he seemed perfectly comfortable with the WHOLE thing and we had many conversations about it, where he expressed curiosity about the gift economy, whether or not anyone in fandom chose to publish professionally, and other questions that touched on the stuff that interested him (mainly not the tv shows, but the social science and economic aspects of it).

SO, i thought my mom knew all about it TOO, and casually mentioned it at the dinner table one day. she proceeded to FREAK THE FUCK OUT about the porn aspect of it, and started shrieking about "how could i DO such a thing? and to PUBLISH it where EVERYONE can see????" *facepalm* it's like she doesn't even KNOW ME. (keep in mind that i'm 35 and don't live with them, so the impact to her of my porn-writing habits should really be nil.)

my dad pointed out that the first amendment protected my RIGHT to do so, and as for the rest, there was no HARM in it, but it took her DAYS to calm down. she's read my PG-rated fic, but i can tell it ALL kind of freaks her out, because she's passive agressively negative about it as much as possible. AHAHAHAHAHA, OH WELL.
obacht! hier passiert noch was!y_ctrl on June 17th, 2011 12:43 pm (UTC)
i don't write ff (anymore) myself and don't read a lot anymore either, but in my experience, people (i'm talking about good friends here, because i woulnd't wanna tell family/work people about it - although it probably depends on the job!) just reacted with disinterest and the obligatory "ok, you're STRANGE" facial expression whenever i talked about my fannish pursuits, if they weren't in fandom themselves.
i don't usually tell everyone about it, but i really wasn't able to restrain myself from joining a kirk/spock group on facebook, for everyone to see. people don't seem to care/notice at all though.
i guess people are quite oblivious to things they don't understand/know.
Various Things: Don't askfred_god_of on June 17th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
I used to have pretty much no one who I talked fic with in real life, my brother is a big geek and used to read/write fic but hates slash and has pretty much stopped reading fic so i don't talk to him about it much. I have really geeky friends who D&D but don't really like fic and through them I met my current roommate who is super geeky and now we sit in our apartment and send each other links for Supernatural fic and giggle about porn, but when our other non geeky roommate asked what I was reading we had to have a super awkward conversation that I wish we could have just avoided.
I once sent a Sherlock Au with women in airships to my friend and managed to not notice all the gay sex in it. Next time I saw her she said "So that was a good story but there was an awful lot of sodomy and I had to stop partway through." she still picks on me for that ;)
delectable tea, or deadly poison?: [misc] perfect momentsgenarti on June 17th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
My immediate family knows, because they are all giant dorks in their own ways. My mother knows the most, because she's the most curious; she asks me earnest anthropologist-esque questions about my online RP, and tries to keep track of my online friends, and tells me I am her "internet success story" and wonders aloud how her life would have been different if she'd had access to that kind of network of "fellow oddballs" as a kid.

That said, I definitely do some verbal editing. I don't show her my fic, even though most of it's totally gen. I don't tell her about a lot of fandom cliches or jargon or pitfalls. (There is SO MUCH I have learned from fandom that my parents never get to learn ever.) For many years, my parents knew I had an LJ and that I would appreciate it if they never tried to read it please; when I studied abroad in college, I set up a second journal to cross-post life updates to so I could keep my main journal free of relatives. Now, I wouldn't mind if they read it, I think, but I'm also in no hurry to encourage them to do so.

Nearly all my close friends know, or can guess, because I live in Boston, City Of Geeks (tm) and because frankly a lot of my close friends are people I met on the internet anyway. Both of my housemates are among that number, so yes, we do indeed discuss fan fiction at the dinner table.

For family friends, though, or acquaintances and friends who don't give off geeky vibes or talk about conventions and stuff, I opt for the vagued-up version. I'll mention talking to friends on the internet; I'll mention "writing" without specifics, if I think the conversation is not likely to turn to requests to read it or questions about publication status. I mention traveling to see friends, and sometimes things like "Yeah, several of us are traveling from various places to meet up here for the weekend!" and will frequently imply that these are college friends, rather than that this meet-up is taking place at a convention where we will be wearing silly costumes.

I've only ever told one co-worker about it -- she's only moderately geeky, but an open-minded person and a good friend -- and even so, I have kept it vague. She knows I write things, she knows I go to conventions and read science fiction and enjoy costume-making, but she also knows about other hobbies like dance. Basically, I try to give her the information that will allow me to chat about how my weekend went, but not so much information that I would have to actually explain anything unfamiliar.

Basically, my general approach, I think, is that these are all legitimate hobbies and I am willing to talk about them as such, but:

a) I don't want to infodump at people, and
b) so far as any hobby fannish or otherwise goes, I would rather drop a vague reference to it and move back to common ground (unless the other person seems to also be playing the refer-to-fannishness-obliquely game, in which case I'll spiral into a little more specificity), because common ground is generally more interesting and doesn't carry so much risk of boring the other person, and
c) oh my god I do not want to show my LJ and/or writing and/or cosplay to the other person unless I know they're fannish enough to understand the context already. It's not even about embarrassment; it's about not wanting to play intercultural mediator and be socially 'on' unless I'm going into a conversation expecting to be doing that.
mesurexit on June 18th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
I'm pretty open about the fannishness and having friends I met online, not so much about the slash aspect of it. A few friends know. One person who doesn't really know is my bethtetht bethtetht fwend, who knows basically every single other random thing that swims across my psyche, and that's because he's a gay man and I feel a bit uncomfortably fetishistic being like, "HEY O---, ROMANCE BETWEEN MEN IS HAWT AND I ENJOY READING ABOUT IT QUITE A LOT." The fact that he doesn't know bugs me, though, because there is nothing else that I self-censor when I'm talking to him, and I hope that at some point we'll have that conversation.
Sarapanisdead on June 22nd, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
I recognized your kid on Ravelry while searching for baby hats the other day, and I'm not even on your flist.
kensiegkensieg on June 26th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
I discuss slash with my husband but not often. We used to call it husband abuse. Now he's calmer about it as long as I'm not detailed about it. He even said that he thought Gibbs/Fornell(NCIS, it's his favorite show) were definitely an item.
My Patron Deity is That of Fandomprettypriestess on July 5th, 2011 04:38 am (UTC)
This is my first comment but I've totally been lurking for a while
I try to keep fandom out of my real life because I've found that not many people really... I dunno, it's not just that they don't get the appeal so much as they don't understand... I dunno. Any of it. Fanfiction at the dinner table is a truly terrifying idea.

My sister is an exception because she reads fanfic, too, though we still don't talk about it much because we're inevitably stuck on different fantoms and different pairings.

The other exception is my boyfriend; it's hard to hide something as big as fandom for long, I suppose, but he actually knew about it before we met. A previous girlfriend had been into slash, but being young and new to fandom, she gave a bad first impression and some of our few disagreements stem from the fact that I can't just make him understand why fandom is so special to me.
kudilukudilu on December 30th, 2011 06:10 am (UTC)
ok, mostly commenting (on an older post at that) to say - there's an earthling filter? is this limited people you know irl?

as for the crossover thing - well, i was raised by a pair of tabletop gamers who did SCA. they both still tabletop, and are in a couple of different MMOs now. My mom reads fanfiction, mostly stuff i recommend (she's not into actual smut, but can handle some sexybits). One of the major repeating events in my life is the local gaming convention, which i do publications layout for. in high school, i hung out with the gamers and nerds and anime fans and singers. i think my life is pretty intertwined. :)
on the other hand, i'll be turning 29 in less than 2 months, and i don't have a child yet. so i don't know how much this will change when it comes to people-having-to-do-with-my-child.
tried to eat the safe banana: Earthling black and whitethefourthvine on December 30th, 2011 07:34 am (UTC)
Indeed there is an earthling filter! It is opt-in; it's open to anyone who wants to read lengthy posts about my child (and who is not a spambot; I know it's exclusionary, but I do have a strict humanoids-only policy for that filter).

on the other hand, i'll be turning 29 in less than 2 months, and i don't have a child yet. so i don't know how much this will change when it comes to people-having-to-do-with-my-child.

It turns out Ms. Carro has not shared her knowledge with anyone at the school, or at least that is the conclusion I draw from the earthling's current teacher's utter bewilderment at the phrase "internet aunties" (I was trying to explain why someone from Oregon would donate toys to his classroom), so it hasn't actually been that weird. So, my verdict: people-having-to-do-with-my-child aren't all that different than other people in this sense.

Although I am still happier when people STAY IN THEIR BOXES OMG.