i thank the lord for the people i have found, or: a little more to do about fanfiction

A year ago today, I published my first piece of fanfiction since (probably) middle school. And oh, I AGONIZED over the task of actually writing the damn thing: I would sit on my couch in the dark at night, sipping on sweet fucking Shiraz, and listening to the same love songs over and over and over again, desperate for inspiration. The stakes felt so HIGH. Just reading Good Omens fanfiction was already doing so much for my feeble little heart and I wanted to participate so very badly.

I wanted to be a part of the story. (I usually do.)

If you follow this blog, I’ve made no great mystery of the fact that this has been a VERY DIFFICULT YEAR. Starting just before this time last year… Damn. Again, I know I’ve talked about this a lot, but what a ride it’s been, my friends.

And, strangely, nerdily enough, it’s really been fandom that’s helped keep me afloat. It’s reading stories of an angel and a demon beating the odds after centuries and falling into one another’s arms over and over and over again…

I talk a lot in this blog about hope. (I mean, it’s in the damn title.) The Good Omens fandom has given me such profound hope. These people are kind and creative and supportive and talented and delightfully strange. I’m proud to count myself among their ranks. I’m proud to be their friend. They have made me a better writer and a happier person. I think I used to think writing fanfiction must be such a lonely hobby… and, for me, it used to be. Sitting in the dark with my Shiraz and longing to be a part of something beautiful.

My stories these days feel like love letters to myself and to my friends. I want to tell stories about love and hope and bravery. I want to make someone’s day a little better and brighter with my soft words. In this way, I believe, writing fic has led me to wanting to go to grad school. Writing feels like it was this dormant superpower, this silly little thing I did just for me. But something about fanfiction has really forced me to contend with how good reading makes me feel and if I can ever possibly do that for someone else…?

I mean, damn.

I need to be working on my grad school statements of purpose today (I’ll get there, I promise) and what I keep coming back to is this feeling of: Well, I want to get better at writing so I can get better at helping people. I used to think I had no way to help. I used to think I had no way to contribute to the goodness of the world.

But we can.

Dead Poet’s Society, always, forever: “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.”

When I was scared and lonely and needed stories of queer joy, I found them in fanfiction. When I was scared and lonely and needed to laugh, I found it within the Sunday night Zoom calls with my fandom friends. When I didn’t know how to feel my own feelings or speak my own truths, I tried putting them in Aziraphale’s and Crowley’s mouths, and, honestly, it really helped me work through some shit. Fanfiction helped me to not doubt the validity or the enormity of my own emotions.

I wanted to be a part of the story. And so I am. Once upon a time, there was a writer named Way and they wrote silly stories and they had wonderful friends.

I don’t know where Way goes next, but I know they carry the lessons of this deeply nerdy year with them in their back pocket.

As I always put in the end notes of my Ao3 pieces: “Thanks so much for reading!”

(Thank you. Truly.)

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