Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Having discovered some free time this evening to do Daria stuff (working on interview questions, thinking about next chapter in story, thinking about what to put in this blog, etc.), I finally got to a point where I needed a break, and jotting down a little pile of random notes seemed like a good idea. This is that moment.

Earlier this year I heard a speaker talk about "getting to know your teenagers," and one point he made was that if you look in the pockets of your kids' jeans (while the kids are not in them), you will discover who your kids think they really are. Teens, said the speaker, always put something important about their identity in their pockets. I sat in the audience and thought about what I had in my pants pockets at that moment.

Daria notes. On little scraps of folded up paper. Lots of them. No different from any other time in the last few years, and no different from right now, as I sit here and type this. Daria notes in my pockets.

For ages (well, since April 2002 anyway) I have been doodling about possible fanfics to write or what to put in this blog or how to fix up my stories to look nicer or something like that, always related to Daria. The notes pile up and fill my pockets, and eventually I take a bunch of and file them if they haven't led anywhere yet, because they might later on. It's a cheap hobby as they go: I don't need to buy anything much, I've got everything I want or need, and the creative-writing side of me is very happy to have an outlet of any kind. The best part of it is that doodling like this doesn't do anything. It's just for fun. If it made money, I would come to see it as a job and lose all the fun in doing it.

(Quick note: Please don't tell me I should write professionally. You mean well, but I did that already and don't want to do it anymore. Now I can write for my own amusement, and I won't go insane with Real Life issues. I hope.)

I don't feel like such an idiot being a Daria fan because of my age/sex and how that doesn't relate to the nature of the cartoon itself. You get over things like that after you've been in a media fandom of some kind for a long time, and especially after you've worked at a fantasy/SF game company for 17 years, not counting freelance time beforehand. You learn to keep a part of your life open for play. It's your little part of the world, you don't have to apologize for it, it keeps you happy, and it seems to make a few other people happy, though these are people you've never in your life seen before or even talked to on the phone. They're just there on your computer monitor. That's okay, I admit not ever being a very social person. Everyone in my family thinks I am a nerd, and they are right and I am happy with that.

The thing is, I've gotten tired of myself in some ways and writing fanfic has not been as personally thrilling as it once was. I still like it, but I wanted more out of my life. Doing this blog came to mind as my way to pay something back to the hobby that's kept me happy. Here, I get to cheer about other people's fanfics and fan art and amusing message-board threads and essays on what X really means in Daria and hordes of travel pictures and so forth. Finding all the links for the Daria Directory, that was a hoot. I loved that. Digging up stuff from ancient (well, kinda ancient) Daria websites, finding stores that sold Daria stuff, that was fun.

In short, I don't think I will be writing much more fanfic, certainly not at the pace I once did. I do like doing it, but it takes a lot of time, and the stories don't look very good sometimes. They don't look good a lot of times. I keep thinking I should do something more . . . useful, I guess the word is. Something that pays forward. Hence, this blog, to keep people entertained (I hope), keep fans in the fandom, and bring more fans in. I am clueless if any of those goals are being met in doing this blog, but that's the idea. I'm bored with me, but not with other people, and not with this fandom. I love it and love being an active part of it. People have done dumber things than this for fun.

So there, that's done, some random thoughts about what's going on with me lately. (BTW, I am doing much better physically and mentally since getting that CPAP machine. I have no idea how I survived so long without it. If you think you might have sleep apnea, get checked!)

If you can think of anything else you'd like to see here, let me know. Feel free to wax at length on anything. And enjoy the hobby. I'm very glad that I was able to keep it fun for me. I hope this helps keep it fun for you.


the bug guy said...

That's the joy of hobbies, you get to do what you want, when you want and as you and your interests change, the hobby can change with you.

I notice my writing has slowed too, though part of that is work related. Oddly, I think part is because I'm doing less scientific writing that I was doing when I started fanfic. Fanfic gave me a outlet to unwind from the very formal and structured style required for journals. Now, I write more from joy when the mood strikes me and less from a need for release. Slower, but in some ways, perhaps enjoyable.

E. A. Smith said...

It amazes me that you were able to keep up such a pace for so long. Of course, it amazes me any time when someone is able to be so consistently creative; my own output is much more sporadic and impulsive (I write when I feel like it, so I can churn out a lot of material in a very short time, and then go for months without producing a thing). But, fanfics or no, I am very grateful for this blog; it's pretty much the only thing that's kept me even on the fringes of Daria fandom (other than Cincgreen's blog, but he doesn't update nearly as often as you do).

doggieboy said...

I hate being told that I should write for the market, and my family gets infuriated when I say that I write for pleasure.

In their eyes, it's as if I'm wasting my talent.

My wife can't even stand Daria and the idea that I write fanfic for it confuses her no end.


Anonymous said...

TAG, I find you hugely entertaining, and will continue to do so, whether it's your fanfic, this blog, or even posts about penguins. Glad you plan to stick around. (And glad the CPAP is working so well for you.)

Anonymous said...

When I was in high school, I had a ginormous wad of various keychains that I took to school every day. I eventually stopped carrying them all around (though I still have them), and these days I just have a lanyard and a watch to hold my key.

Yes, one key. One measly key.

Scissors MacGillicutty said...

As someone once said, "If you hate what you're doing, stop while you still hate it...because you were right the first time." If something isn't fun anymore, it's not fun anymore, so stop. As long as it's good, keep going.

A community is only as good as what people contribute to it. You've given not only good stuff, but lots of it.

The Angst Guy said...

I wish I knew if this blog actually brought new fans in, or kept long-time fans from leaving.

E. A. Smith said...

Like I said, it's about the only connection I still have with Daria fandom, so there's at least one instance of the latter.

KatrinaMedina said...

Your work helps keep me in the fandom (ugh) whether it's the blog or the stories or your fancination with tuxedos? was it? And I enjoy all your nerdy goodness.