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[personal profile] avawatson
The first fanfic I ever read was Sailor Moon. This was back in 1996 or 1997, I was 13, 14, and 15 in those years, and fanfic came in lemon or lime flavors (I chose lemon, obviously), was downloadable in plain text files (introducing me to markups like _this_), and listed nowhere particularly central. It was difficult to find and I don't remember anything about whether it was tagged. This is likely how the two fics that stand out to me from this time got into my hands, as they were one-sided Shingo and Usagi -- a younger brother wanking to thoughts of his sister -- and infidelity trapped-in-an-elevator Rei/Mamoru sex. But the fic thing eventually died down. Cybersex and roleplay and live interactions sort of took over my interests. And eventually I took my horny middle/high school self and threw myself at real life boys instead of online sex ed and the internet variety of prurient distractions. So I promptly forgot about fic from about 8th or 9th grade until...until I was about 30, I suppose.

But I guess fanfic doesn't exactly make a fandom. When the Battlestar Galactica reboot and Lost were on, my friends and I watched that religiously: we gathered at the house with the biggest TV, made it a weekly Thing to watch and discuss. The internet was well in swing, since this was 2004 onward, but I don't know why, all the conversations I had about both shows were offline entirely. Okay, maybe I wandered into an occasional AV Club thread or something. And I wound up owning two different Lost t-shirts somehow, though I can't quite remember how that happened. I was highly invested, let's say, to the point where BSG's ending fucked me up for years. I rather wish I was kidding. I was salty for years, I'm still salty, and it ended in 2009. If that's an indication of how invested I was. And based on my level of investment, I count it as a fandom for me, although my personal experience with both didn't include much community/online interaction. Game of Thrones is very similar even now, but slightly more interconnectivity, mostly on Twitter.

But none of the above was Tumblr levels of ✧・゚: *✧・゚:* Sherlock fandom at the height of series 2 hiatus✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  investment. The thing is, I think nothing has ever been that height for me. And I think nothing will be again.

Just before I fell down the Sherlock rabbit hole in 2012, I picked up fanfic again for the first time since Sailor Moon. It was Supernatural fic, and I didn't read too much. I mainly remember one or two AUs, like Cas being a professor and Dean being a college student. Or, it might've been the other way around. The show being as long as it was (I think it was seven seasons at the time, with 24 episodes per), I often watched the show while doing other things, which was pretty easy to do with two monitors. I definitely called it popcorn TV, and that's basically what it was for me.

And then during Hurricane Sandy, I binge watched and fell in love with Doctor Who, which was in the midst of its 11th Doctor run. I started with Nine and went absolutely weak for David Tennant. I watched many a mediocre movie because of that man. And strangely, although I think I've attempted to read a DW fic here and there over the years, I honestly got into nothing, no ships, and no fic at all stands out from my attempts. I think once I tried reading Ten/Rose/Tentoo and I just wasn't into it. I just...put it down.

There's something about fandom and fannishness that pushes past the flaws in a given franchise or the quirks of the writer or the tricks of a director. Meaning, despite the flaws that I can see as a critical consumer of media, I love it anyway, and am in fact rather inexplicably...insatiable for more. Maybe the Sherlock fandom was custom-built for that, given the long hiatuses and the fic culture of producing high quality prose. 

I just haven't found anything that pushes me past that outside of Sherlock. And it feels...a little lonely. I sort of wish I could find something else, but all ventures out that I've tried have been brief, unsatisfying, or both. (Some attempts in the last couple years: Captive Prince, Rurouni Kenshin, MCU, Check Please, RPF.)

Looking back, I feel like I matured as a fic-seeking, inspired-to-write, fully fledged fan in a particular moment in time, not (apparently) to be repeated. And that if I had come into the fandom in the s3 hiatus or, god forbid, now, post-s4...I'd not spend years out of my life with this much fic, sitting with these characters in 221B, watching every movie in the lens of a johnlock AU, sparing thoughts I couldn't even really spare for this fandom. But all that also might be the case if I hadn't met my husband when I did, or any number of other Important Life Relationships.

There's something about that fannish insatiableness that's about appetite before you know you're hungry, too. It has to hit you, would-be fan, at just the right time. In an almost fateful sense, you have to be receptive to it yourself. And in that 2012-2015 period, I was. If that were to shift forward to 2015-2018, I doubt it'd be the same. What I don't know is if I'll be receptive again one day, and what will come along to fill it. Part of me can't imagine it.

July 2017

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