Things I’ve Learned From Fangirling

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I’ve been a fangirl for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid it was The Black Stallion books, Star Trek, Star Wars, Spider-man, country music and Barbie, (weirdly most of these things are still in play!). In my 20s and 30s it was and continues to be The Office, Twilight, Marvel Comics (Daredevil in particular), YA urban fantasy books (various series), Arrow, and the Big Bang Theory. At the moment, I’m fangirling pretty hard for Shadowhunters (Malec!) and The Mortal Instruments book series its based on from author Cassandra Clare.

I’ve recently given some thought on what fangirling has meant in my life and what it has taught me. Some may view fandom as irrational behavior based in fantasy (and in some ways it is), but for many like myself I can see how some of the ridiculous things fangirls do actually carries over into reality.

Fangirls are made of some pretty tough stuff. I’ve survived some of the most heartbreaking and heart-pounding situations ever through my favorite books and movies. For example:

  • The Office: It took three seasons for Jim and Pam to get together. Every episode they didn’t find their way to one another was another little stab in the heart.
  • In Arrow: I survived Oliver “dying” in a midseason cliffhanger and the Olicity break-up (I’m still in denial on this one, though).
  • Twilight: I survived Edward breaking up with Bella in New Moon.
  • The Mortal Instruments: I survived Malec on page 511. It was so horrific we can’t even talk about it.

That means we can survive just about anything real life can throw at us. For instance, there’s nothing my students can throw at me that I can’t handle. Any time they challenge me I smirk while thinking, “Oh, please. I survived Picard getting kidnapped and turned into a Borg.”

Fangirls are incredibly empathetic. Part of the reason we get so emotionally involved and obsessed is because of our high capacity to internalize what others are feeling.

  • I cried at Jim and Pam’s wedding. And at Edward and Bella’s. (I’m sure I will at Malec’s as well. Please Cassandra Clare. Oh, please let us have this!)
  • I also cried during the last installment of Malec’s ongoing story in Tales from Shadowhunter Academy because I was overwhelmed with their happiness – they deserve it!
  • In The Mortal Instruments, I was so angry that Jace and Clary were brother and sister, that I threw the book and needed a moment to calm down.
  • In Harry Potter, I bawled so hard when Harry realized he had to die I needed an hour to get it together before I could jump back in.

Empathy, IMHO, is one of the most important traits anyone can have. It gives us the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, no matter how different they are from us. Fangirls are extraordinary practitioners of empathy!

Fangirls always have something to look forward to. This is especially true if you’re a fangirl with multiple fandoms. Let’s face it – day to day life can get monotonous. Even boring! Fangirls don’t get bored because we’re always waiting for:

  • book, movie, merchandise, tv season release dates
  • the next new episode
  • Fan events, conventions, Comicon!
  • Concert dates
  • social media updates
  • collector’s editions
  • …and about a million other things depending on the fandom

Fangirling makes you tech savvy. This is very true if you’re fangirling via social media. Over the years, a lot of my computer skills have come from fangirling.

  • The Office: I learned basic coding while posting and moderating on a message board.
  • Twilight: I learned photo cropping, editing, isolating videos, and how to create mp4 files.
  • Arrow, Shadowhunters, and Daredevil: I learned how to make gifs, screen capture videos, and “Twitter-speak.”

There’s so much more, so I may have to do another volume of my sociological analysis of being a fangirl. It’s not just for fifteen-year-olds or so-called nerds stuck in a fantasy world. It’s for anyone who loves something with everything they have and it truly does translate to real life.

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c.b.w. 2017

Haiku At The Movies

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With Spring Break well on it’s way, I did a little spring cleaning in my Draft Folder. I found a lot of junk (seriously, what was I thinking??), but I also I found a little gem. Here are a few haikus I wrote back in October for Wednesday Poetry Prompt #328: movies, (via Poetic Asides).

I.
summer moon
glinting on cars
drive-in movie

tri-city-drive-in-1993.jpg!Blog

II.
shrieking monster
fills the screen
popcorn flies

III.
water falls
a scene
in slow motion

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Now off to the closets to give them a good cleaning …

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Image: Tri City Drive-In by Hiroshi Sugimoto, WikiArt.org

Words: haiku, c.b.w. 2016

Favorite Thing Friday: Star Wars Trailer

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I know I’m a touch late, but I’ve been gushing over this trailer since it came out. Seeing as Star Wars Day was this week, it’s only fitting that the new Star Wars trailer is my favorite thing this week!

Happy Friday! May the Force be with you!

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c.b.w. 2015

Saying Goodbye to Twilight

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Tonight, I’m standing in line waiting to see the final installment of the Twilight Saga. Before spending untold hours in lines for every movie, I devoured the books with the ferocity of a teenage girl. It’s hard to explain why I am so taken with all things Twilight, but I own my guilty pleasure completely.

Breaking Dawn: Part 2 signals the end of an era. For the last four years, I’ve had a lot of fun watching the books play out on the big screen and hanging out with other Twihards. I’m going to miss it, but at the same time I’m looking forward to saying goodbye. Excuse the cliché, but all good things must come to an end. Otherwise, we’d never have room for all the new things waiting on the horizon. I’m ready to let go, but the Twilight Universe will always be something special to me.

In the midst of Twilight mania, I wrote my first novel and embarked on a second. The ideas were always there and so was my muse, but the inspiration of Stephanie Meyer’s journey of becoming a published author gave me the final push I needed to get writing, (along with my mother). I will always be thankful for that and I’m even more thankful that I got the opportunity to tell her how she inspired me, (see The Autograph Ninja).

As the series comes to a close, I am anxious to see what Stephanie Meyer and the cast will be up to next. Everyone involved is so talented and I wish them nothing but the best as they move on to new projects.

If I am a bit scarce throughout this weekend, it’s due to a Twilight hangover and multiple viewings. I’ll be back to normal soon enough!

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c.b.w. 2012

Memory Stubs

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When I was a kid I saved ticket stubs from concerts, sporting events, fairs, festivals, and just about anything else that needed a ticket. I loved how one look at a date and time, seat number, or movie title instantly took me back to that moment in time. Memories that were normally invisible in the back of my mind came roaring to life as I thought back on who I was with, where I sat, and how much fun I had. Each ticket stub was my own personal time machine.

While searching for film negatives in box under the bed, I came across a stack of memories I thought were gone forever. When my home was burglarized eight years ago, all my so-called valuable possessions were taken, but what killed me the most was the loss of a lockbox that I used to protect keepsakes including tickets stubs.  In particular, I was sad to lose a set Star Wars 20th Anniversary stubs, (my step-dad and I saw those movies together and I’ve always treasured that time).  Imagine my surprise, when I flipped open a small box and found a stack of movie and concert ticket stubs I thought were in my stolen lockbox.

Movie Ticket Stubs circa 1993-2003

Unfortunately, the Star Wars tickets weren’t in the bunch, but I was still thrilled to find stubs for movies I saw almost twenty years ago when it only cost  $3.75 to see an afternoon movie and $6.50 for an evening show.  As I flipped through the stack, it was amazing to know all of my memories were still inside of me, waiting to be recalled.  I saw The Mirror Has Two Faces with my sister back in 1996. The film strip broke halfway through and we had to wait forever for them fix it so we could see the end.

Then, there are the ticket stubs from movies I saw with my first serious boyfriend, BraveheartBeevis and Butthead Do America, and Twister. My best friend from high school and I went and saw The Lion King and The Hunchback of Notre Dame together. We were the only “adults” without children in the entire theater, but we watched like we were kids.

These little memories are just a fraction of what these stubs hold for me.  They are priceless and I am so thankful to have found them again.

My weird habit of saving ticket stubs continues to this day. I keep all my movie stubs on a giant bulletin board in my classroom. It has over 250 stubs from movies between 1991 and 2012, including the ticket stubs from my first date with my husband and the most recent movie we saw together (last month). My friends and family are all over this board!

Movie Ticket Stubs circa 1991-2012

Some other tickets I’ve saved over the years come from sporting events and concerts.  My surprise under-the-bed stash yielded concerts I went to in high school with my sister and best friend. We were psycho country fans, which makes the Ryman Auditorium ticket stub one of my favorites.  My dad took my sister and I to that historic stage. I’ll never forget the fun we had or the patience and kindness of my dad for letting two obsessed teenagers go nuts over our favorite celebrities.

Concert and Museum Stubs

What history and art dork wouldn’t save her museum tickets? Van Gogh Alive and the Phoenix Art Museum are fairly recent, but I remember them as being absolutely beautiful days filled with beautiful things.

While in high school, I had a best friend that was kind enough to invite me to a few awesome basketball games.  I still have every stub and I love the memories they bring of us laughing and having a great time.

Basketball, Baseball, and Football . . . Oh my!

This collection also includes a ticket stub for a hockey game (Milwaukee Admirals) that was my first ever date. Sometimes, I wonder how that guy is doing.  He was nice and we had fun, but it didn’t work out!  My baseball stubs remind me of more time spent with my step dad and my husband. I love both major and minor league baseball even if it means getting a sunburn out on the lawn seats. If I can’t have my Star Wars tickets, I can at least have these. The San Francisco Giants ticket was in the stash I thought I’d lost.

Aside from my movie stubs, my favorite ticket stubs are from NASCAR races. I am a huge fan of fast cars and Jeff Gordon, but even more so of spending time with my Dad and stepmom. Every year for almost 10 years, I’ve gone out to Indiana to visit them and catch the Brickyard 400. Whenever I see those tickets I think of our race traditions, the noise of the cars, the smell of rubber, and the rivalry of Jeff Gordon fans (me) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, (my dad). NASCAR something we do together and it means a lot to me.  I keep these tickets on the wall behind my desk at work, so I can I have a little piece of my dad and stepmom with me every day.

NASCAR Ticket Stubs

Between the newer stacks of tickets and re-discovered treasures, I’ve taken on the project of organizing my stubs into a small scrapbook.  Clearly, I’m not the only one who saves these little mementos as I found a fantastic little binder made just for saving ticket stubs!

A scrapbook just for ticket stubs!

Silly as it may be, my ticket stubs are precious collectibles. Not only do they get me into movies, concerts, museums, and stadiums, but they are souvenirs to some of my favorite memories.

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c.b.w. 2012