I’ve been meaning to write this for a long time, but it never seemed like the right moment. Why now? Well, Mihaela asked me to write about someone inspiring and that’s quite a generous topic. Who was I supposed to choose? There are so many people out there who deserve our attention and you already know of some of those who inspire me. For this article, I decided to follow a slightly different direction. I want to speak about fandoms. Ah, but not just about general aspects. I guess you already know that it’s all about fans and who/what they love, but come with me and let’s see what else we can find under that… title.
I wrote the article on fanfiction because I found Kyla‘s stories and wanted to make things a bit clearer for those who were just beginning to discover that particular side of the groups. From outside, I think that a fandom is seen only as that: a group of teenagers. But this label covers only a small part of what fandom means. I can’t speak about all the fandoms, I don’t know how things are for Supernatural fans, for instance (though I’d love to hear from you guys), but from what I’ve seen in the groups where I’m active… we come from different cultures, different backgrounds. We are of different ages and bring all kinds of expectations.
As it always happens with large groups (we are talking of anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of people), especially online, sometimes there are problems. From time to time, a troll will make its way in the fandom or pointless arguments will arise (trust me, you do NOT want to get involved in those) and you must always be careful with the information you offer. Remember: regardless of the situation, do not offer personal information easily. There is a dark side to every fandom… and not the “come to the dark side, we have cookies” kind of thing. No, I mean the kind where you’ll find people who can only be rude, who will refuse to acknowledge that they are wrong, that there’s no excuse for bullying. The good thing… they may be loud, but it’s not all that difficult to ignore them.
That aside, you will have the chance to speak with people all over the world. You’ll get support, encouragement and friendship. It can be limited to this online environment, but I know for a fact that it can easily move and grow in everyday life. I’ve been around fandoms for quite a few years, but started to pay more attention to them last year, not long after we opened eLitere. They came one after another: Tom Hiddleston and Loki (thanks to the lovely ladies from Edge and Back), Benedict Cumberbatch and Sherlock, Doctor Who, many films and books. I found so many wonderful people, extremely talented, kind… and making use of that sexy imagination of theirs. Now, don’t expect me to tell you everything because, to be honest, you won’t be able to fully understand what’s going on unless you are part of it all.
If you do join a fandom, and it’s your choice alone to join or leave it, you’ll definitely find a place where you can speak with people who love the same things you do, who are creative and passionate. I knew of Once Upon a Time since 2013 and I wasn’t interested in watching it until I came across a part of the fandom. You might disagree with me, but I think that fans do a better job in promoting a book or a show when needed. They take the time to speak about all that is beautiful in it and they do not brush off its flaws. Or maybe you want to share your thoughts about books and see what’s new in your country or abroad. Keri knows more about this. You will find what you are looking for. You might even come in contact with authors and, really, how wonderful is that?! To be friends with someone you admire, someone who has created characters you love.
When speaking of fanart, the first names which come to my mind are Hash and Retrogirl. Their work is marvelous. Oh, and they’re not the only ones whose creations you’ll enjoy. But, if you want a starting point, go to them. And then follow your own path, through tumblr and google or other fan-pages and groups. You’ll discover new takes on scenes you love and “what ifs”. It’s a great source of inspiration and there are cases where you can buy different things (I don’t know, paintings or t-shirts) made by our artists.
In fandoms, you’ll find help. More than once, these people came together and raised money for different causes… promoted cases which needed more attention. You see, being part of such a group is more than talking about how great this and that is. It’s also about bringing people together. If we find common ground, if we share our passion, imagine how much can be achieved (and right now I’m thinking about Cyndi and Nancy and their activity within different fandoms). It’s not always something big, but even the smallest change is important. Kind words, encouragement, jokes, stories, hugs… they all matter more than you can imagine. They make all of us stronger.
So, my lovelies, these are some of the people I admire. I’m also proud of the fandoms I’m part of and of the way things are handled there. My advice to anyone interested in one fandom of another is this: be respectful and have fun. I look forward to read about your own experience in fandoms. Until next time!
by Elena Atudosiei