Fan Fiction Matters To Me
Fan fiction is my blessing in my life. It informs many aspects of my life, too. I have been a fan of many fictional things, ranging from the Star Wars Expanded Universe and the Lord of the Rings, to classic cartoons like He-Man, She-Ra and Voltron, to old, classic games like Ultima, King's Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry, and Police Quest. But a lot of fans mean that they simply enjoy a movie, show, cartoon, game or book, or saw it once, or played it several times, when they say that they're a fan of it. I go farther than that. As a person who follows the fantasy philosophy of J.R.R. Tolkien, where fantasy and other fiction is practical and spiritual escapism for the mind and soul, as well as a Christian who's interested in mythology, fiction feels more real to me than this humdrum world of war, science and so-called "rationalism" does. So for me, being a fan means that I spend more time thinking about the characters and scenarios in that show, movie, book, etc. than I do about the affairs of the world. That's what I am; I'm a nerd, and I'm not ashamed of it.
The fictional things I watch or read feel more real to me than this world so full of hate and pollution. I've seen many different ones of them. As a child, I watched characters like He-Man and She-Ra and their allies heroically save the day from Skeletor and Hordak with their physical prowess, as well as She-Ra and the Great Rebellion's gift for strategy. Growing up, I watched the heroes of the original Star Wars trilogy overcome the Galactic Empire, and I read about how Bilbo and Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee bore the Ring of Doom to its destruction at Mount Doom while their friends staged a dramatic distraction from the Dark Lord's true peril. I also read about the adventures in Narnia with Aslan and the Seven Friends of Narnia, and how they defeated evil and lived forever in a heaven-like country belonging to Aslan. I even played fantasy video games like King's Quest, where a royal family went on quests to save their kingdom or each other, Space Quest, where a bumbling janitor named Roger Wilco traveled throughout the galaxy of Earnon, unwittingly saving it from many evil forces in humorous adventures, Police Quest, a realistic but still fictional game, where a cop named Sonny Bonds upheld the law in the fictional town of Lytton while tracking down deadly drug dealing criminals, and Ultima, a story that involved winning the games through adherence to a set of moral Virtues and becoming the champion known as the Avatar. I didn't play Leisure Suit Larry, because I wasn't the right age for it, but very recently I've seen YouTube videos for some of the games about that swinging loser, Larry Laffer. More recently, I've become enamored of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and I'm reliving some of my old interests as a child and teenager.
One might think that I have it all after I've said all this. However, I have a problem with many fandoms, and that's that the canon often makes results that I disagree with or disapprove of, or they don't do a certain kind of story or scenario that I would've liked to have seen or read. Well, that's where fan fiction comes in. I have Asperger's Syndrome, which sometimes makes it difficult for me to enjoy certain outcomes in the stories I read and watch. But fan fiction is like a kind of therapy for me in this case, because I can make up my own ideas of things that could've taken place in the canon continuity, but didn't. You might say that fan fiction, other people's fan fiction as well as my own, answers to my weakness for undesirable outcomes in fiction, channeling my inner darkness into a ray of light and hope in my life.
Yes, fan fiction, writing stories using another author's world or characters. Don't judge me for it; like I said above, I'm a nerd, and I like being one. Putting characters that I take a liking to in new situations, paying story-like tributes to them, and writing amateur poetry for people and places in other worlds is the best way I know of to get to know them better and have a deeper appreciation of them, too. If someone brings up something like the Chronicles of Narnia or She-Ra or Star Wars or the Silmarillion or Ultima, I'll be very excited internally while trying not to look ridiculous in front of my family or the common people.
Perhaps it's because of my concern for their welfare in a story that I have a lot of compassion for many fictional characters, sometimes even for characters whom I don't particularly like. I know that not all outcomes can by happy ones (I'm not living in that type of dream world), but I do like to see as many people that I love to have a chance for either a good ending or an ending where a character leaves a good legacy. I know it sounds foolish, having as much compassion for fictional characters as for the real people around me, especially since I'm a Christian, but that is how God designed me, I believe, and while I don't enjoy having Asperger's Syndrome, I'm sure that he made me a lover of fiction for a reason.
Being a fan means a lot to me. It's part of my personal identity. Some people play sports, some write poetry, some perform in plays and movies, and some play board and card games, and that's great for them. But as for me, I like to get excited, concerned, and sometimes even a little emotional over fictional characters and situations. Characters like Ahsoka Tano, Barriss Offee, Aravis, Emeth, Princess Adora, Princess Alurra, Óin the Dwarf, Gimli the Dwarf, Varda Elbereth, Alexander, Cassima, Rosella, Roger Wilco, R.W. Jr., Beatrice Wankmeister, the Star Confederation, Larry Laffer, Passionate Patti, Officer Sonny Bonds, Marie Wilkans Bonds, Officer Keith Robinson, and the Companions of the Avatar make me feel deeply on a daily basis just as much as contemporary charitable people, President Obama, Malcolm X, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Katherina Von Bora, victims of criminals, and domestic animals do, not to mention the people I interact with on a daily basis. It's because I feel like I'm actually interacting with fictional characters that way. Characters are my friends, and so are the fan fictions that they are written in, whether I wrote them myself or someone else did, and they help me get through the tough times, and they are there to help me enjoy the good times even more.
"…The made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones… Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only one. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one… Four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world…" – Puddleglum, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Silver Chair
"To have compassion for a character is no different from having compassion for another human being." – Tom Hiddleston, actor
"Exalt She-Ra's Great Rebellion or He-Man's Heroic Warriors. Make minor Star Wars characters, like Dexter Jettster and Satine Kryze, more interesting in fresh, new stories. Stage new adventures with the Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves as they each strive in their own way to bring peace and prosperity to Middle-earth, or make a quaint little ode to the Narnians and their Earthling friends. Find an original way for the Avatar and his companions to follow or represent the Eight Virtues. Romance Queen Cassima as King Alexander, be a bumbling example to Xenon or the Star Confederacy as Roger Wilco, make mini-sagas about Earnon, Larry or Lytton, and defeat dope with the men in blue, write about criminal minds, or get into the weirdest predicaments as Larry Laffer. Whatever you write about, give it your all, and you'll be proud of your favorite characters." - Me