Synchronized Reading: Fangirl Post # 2 Fan Fiction and Fandoms

Food For Thought, Random

As you know readers Miss Print and I are in the midst of a synchronized reading of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. Besides reading (of course) we also thought it would be fun to extend the reading and schedule some posts (we also decided that this will be a regular feature on both of our blogs).

So without further adieu, post # 2:

It’s no big secret that Rainbow Rowell’s leading lady for her upcoming YA novel, Cath, is a total fangirl. For those of you, dear readers, that do not know what a fangirl is, according to “a person obsessed with an element of video or electronic culture, such as a game, sci-fi movie, comic or anime, music, etc; a person obsessed with any other single subject or hobby.”

Cath is obsessed with Simon Snow – a Harry Potter-esque type book. But Cath isn’t only obsessed because the books are awesome! She’s obsessed because she’s created a Simon and Baz all of her own, she’s created a plot line all of her own, she’s created a following all of her own through FanFiction.

I’ll be honest readers, I don’t write Fan fiction. I never have, even though I’ve been very curious about it.

With the exception of the whole fan fiction writing thing, I really got Cath. I felt like a part of her was living inside of me. Why? Even though FanFiction isn’t a part of my life as it is Cath’s, I still understand the devotion, the obsession. You see readers, I am a music junkie! I love music (thought admittedly not all music – I like certain genres and I stick with it for the most part).

In other words I get fandom, and I get being a fangirl.

When I was in high school I was a HUGE fan of the band Good Charlotte. This is when they had just started out, and were still pretty unknown (to the point that when I first saw them in concert, they actually had to walk through the crowd to get to the stage). After seeing them in concert, I ran out and bought their CD, spent countless hours listening to said CD, poured over and over the lyric book, and found myself day in and day out on their website, yahoo fan groups dedicated to the band, and any other website that I felt would bring me one step closer to getting to know the band members.

A perfect (perfectly embarrassing) anecdote to stress my knowledge of fandom takes place during pep week my senior year of high school. I went to an all girl Catholic high school and every year, we had pep week – a week long event where we got to dress up, partake in very cheesy skits, and have a little bit of fun.

One of those pep days was Miss Fill in the Blank day. We were allowed to dress up as anything, so long as we had a Miss America type sash showing what we were. For example, if a girl wanted to dress up as the solar system, she would be Miss Solar System. Readers, I bet you could guess what I was dressed up that day!

Yes. I was Miss Good Charlotte. – a costume made up of jeans, a white tee-shirt that I spent hours and hours creating, writing my favorite lyrics all over the tee shirt with multicolored fabric marker. Crazy, I know. But back then, it was a lot of fun. It also felt like, for the first time, I was being myself. Not some guarded version of myself.

Beyond the Miss Good Charlotte costume, I had seen the band over 20 times in concert. I had met the guys in the band equally as much (yes, I still have the pictures tucked away as proof), scrapbooks full of concert photos, miles logged traveling back and forth to those 20 plus concerts (one was in Ohio). I had posters, pictures, guitar pics…. you name it I had it. (A very good friend even made me a Benji Madden near, complete with pink Mohawk and piercings!)

But before long I grew up and I changed. As did the band members of Good Charlotte, and as did their music. My fandom for Good Charlotte was coming to a close. It was bittersweet. I was okay letting go of the music, because honestly I wasn’t loving the newer stuff. But I wasn’t okay to let go of that part of my life. Because they were a big part of it, and like Cath I knew a part of me would be missing if I completely let that part go.

It was through that moment in my life, through that fandom that I ultimately figured out what I wanted to do: I wanted to be a rock’n’roll journalist. And the way to start was by creating my own, independent magazine, or zine.

Once I started my zine a million different opportunities opened up to me. I had the chance to write about my favorite kind of music. I had the chance to review albums before the were released. I had the opportunity to sit down and actually interview bands I look up to! Who gets to say these things? I do! And it’s all because of my fandom, my obsession with music and specific bands.

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