Today I found out a book review I did is going to be featured in an upcoming fanzine. I was emailed an advance copy of the zine. I was very impressed with everyone’s work. There is no love like fan love. When I was growing up, the worst thing you could do was to act like you loved anything too much. Sarcastic and aloof, blank eyes and a sneer were the coolest poses. Even if you were unexpectedly caught liking something, you had to keep up appearances by pretending to be trying it on casually. You couldn’t know too many details, like the names of key cast members or plot details, unless it was something popular like Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbeaan, or Tim Burton films. Then it was perfectly okay to sing every song from the soundtrack at lunch or something. In any case, since I have grown up it has been both a sigh of relief and a culture shock to be embraced by active fan communities for things I love, like LGBTQ romance novels, the tv series “Queer as Folk,” the late and beloved actor River Phoenix, and, in the case of this fanzine the writer V.C. Andrews.
When I got a message saying my writing had been selected, I was wildly excited, but this euphoria was like colorful makeup put on to disguise the fact that I was actually afraid that nothing would come of it. The zine would never get off the ground, or my entry wouldn’t be credited with my name if it was. Worst case scenarioes that felt more plausible than someone actually liking my writing that much, and the love and brave expression of that love being openly expressed by fans amounting to tangible effort.
Well, today when I actually got a Facebook message that my advance copy of the zine was waiting in my inbox, I felt something different. Not giddy, but not exactly underwhelmed. I told my family, they congratulated me genuinely and enthusiastically, but it felt natural to me in a way that hearing about the zine when I thought it wouldn’t happen didn’t . I realized that when you are doing what you love and things come out as you’ve wished, hoped ,and worked for, it makes you too happy even to cheer. Too happy to brag about on Facebook or text anyone about, so happy but so calm because it is a kind of gravity, and we thank the Earth for continuing to spin by walking everywhere we usually go. I procrastinate and get self conscious about writing, but lo and behold it is what I am doing right now.