Okay, so, since I don't have time to write these things myself and have now finished the TV portion of the Buffyverse, I put out a plea for links to the following:

- Anything, ANYTHING, at all that does anything with Illyria's implied genderqueer status, especially if it involves Illyria being in a relationship with Wesley or Gunn.

- Angel/Wesley/Cordelia, S1 of Angel, when everything was all cute and domestic.

- Anything at all about Andrew's life in Rome/life as a Watcher.

- I have a fic in my head about Lorne having a thing for Wesley that will probably never get written. I don't know why it's in my head, but so it is. Has anyone else done this without being cracky about it?

- Fred/Willow

- Illyria/OC

- Wesley/Willow around the time Willow went down to LA to help out.

- I think I've found most of the good Giles/Ethan, but I'll always read that.

- Look, I actually like Kennedy. Willow/Kennedy post-series.

- Angel sort of annoys me, but if there's any Angel/Wesley fic that's not all about making them a heteronormative romance novel, I'm probably interested.

- Any fic about Wesley during the whole Lilah and Justine-in-the-closet period that's actually tethered to the realities of human flesh, emotion, and narrative (which is to say, no darkity dark dark fic for no other reason than everyone -- characters and author -- are bored).

- Giles/pretty much any of the Scoobies, as long as it skips the whole playing up the age difference thing. I'm interested in relationships that work in spite of that, not because of it.

(Also, is it just me or did Buffyverse fanfiction mostly happen before fandom got really, really porny?)
I was on this panel with Brent Allison from Gainesville State College. While, on the surface, there was not a lot of relationship between his paper, "Japanese Animation Fandom and Media Education: A Response to Media Education Literature and Classroom Practice," and mine, they certainly did intersect both on matters of authenticity (an issue he raised) and, I think, very strongly in the response from the room.

While I mentioned this in passing at the panel, it's worth reiterating I'm not an anime and manga person by default (the same goes for Western comics and animation for me); it's not a medium I respond to instinctually. However, working on this aspect of my mourning research and hearing Brent's paper along with some of the presentation from the panel before us, I feel like I have a lot more tools to approach anime and manga than I have in the past, so that was personally a very rewarding expansion for me.

Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to talk about fan responses to character death a lot -- at Gallifrey One, at the Desiring the Text conference at the University of Bristol (UK), and here on Livejournal, where I started this research really in response to what I was seeing and experiencing in the Torchwood fandom, which didn't feel new to me, so much as very, very old.

Most of the time there's a lot of anger when I talk about this topic. The Torchwood fandom isn't just still gutted by the narrative events of its third season, but large swathes of it remain in conflict -- with the show writers and producers, and with other fans who have had different responses not just to the program, but to their feelings about it.

And, of course, it's not just Torchwood fandom. Joss Whedon fans are still nursing wounds from deaths like that of Tara on Buffy, and those wounds are very real, even if I posit that they are less likely to create a ritualized mourning response because of the way Whedon structures his narrative arcs.

In fiction, death is everywhere, and given more than twenty minutes there's lots to say about tons of other properties -- some of which I was able to mention in Atlanta -- like Harry Potter, Elf Quest, Ashita no Joe (Tomorrow's Joe), Sherlock Holmes and the work of Dickens (there's a lot to say about Little Nell) to name just a few.

If you love stories fannishly and so also love characters privately and passionately and in a nearly embodied sense, chances are you know all about this type of mourning, because you've lived it, even if you've never talked about it.

But for a lot of people, this type of grief is really alien, or, if experienced, has been uncomfortable or eclipsed by non-fictional losses. When we talk about the pain of absence, there's a lot for anyone to get pissed about.

Which is to say, a lot of the time, the response I get to this work is one that is angry and in pain (Seriously, I've been on panels with yelling matches, tears, personal stories of non-fictional loss, and more. Grief is big). And that's fine, even if I'm not always as gracious, generous and supportive as I wish I knew how to be. Because my choosing to this work is also a response to my own losses (I even refer to it as "my own 1,000 cranes" in the paper I did for the Bristol conference, not afraid of sentimentality am I).

Spending a lot of time around grief is pretty exhausting. I've been doing it for over a year, and it's taken me on one hell of a trip (including to the UK twice). It has forced me to mourn fictional characters that matter to me both more publicly and more privately than I would wish and to find commonalities with people I'd, quite frankly, rather just argue with in fandom.

Often, when I present on this topic, it's really heated, and it leaves me drained and uncertain of the value (but not the relevance) of this work. Dragon*Con, however, was an entirely different experience.

The audience was generous and curious, provided a perspective through manga, anime and comics, that framed a lot of new and exciting questions (how do we emotionally respond to comics that are constantly retconning and resetting? are we mourning a fictional lover or friend or are we mourning the self?) and also helped to further confirm a lot of the arguments I've been working with.

More than anything though, I felt a sense of eagerness and relief from the audience, and really felt we could have gone for far more time than the slot we had allowed. Unfortunately, I also had to run to another panel right after.

If you're here because you were at the panel (or not) and want to talk about this topic more in comments here, please feel free. If you have particular feelings about how you'd like to access more material on this subject (i.e., book? website? academically focused? pop-culture-y? travel-log of visiting sites of fictional grief? etc), I would love to hear it. In addition, I am always grateful to hear more personal tales of mourning for the fictional. While I do not necessarily feel an obligation to request permission to quote people discussing such issues publicly on the Internet, since I am soliciting your input directly here, I will say that I will not quote or paraphrase anything you say in comments to this post without your explicit permission, and I'll drop you a note if I ever need it.

In addition, if you're curious about the work that's coming out of the Bristol conference, please visit The Society of Friends of the Text. You can also get more information on the Dragon*Con Comics and Popular Arts Conference that put this panel together and its parent, The Institute for Comics Studies. A big thank you to Dragon*Con Anime and Manga Track for giving us the time and space necessary for this panel.

Thanks for attending the panel and/or for reading along here. The Dragon*Con panel was one of the most lovely experiences I've had since I've started working on this project, and I am truly full of gratitude for it.


Aug. 29th, 2010 12:01 pm
  • Brief, as it's Sunday, and you got a few links from me last night too. This included me jumping the gun on a thing. Sorry to get my over-excitedness on you. If you have any questions, please address it with me privately.

  • You do no want to know how many moths decided to come into our flat last night. Ugh ugh ugh ugh. Fuckers.

  • Yay, finished the edit for HackGender.

  • Hey, so a friend of mine is a CART provider, and has a cool blog about it, that's interesting from a few perspectives -- including disability access, being a sole proprietor in New York, and neat technology stuff. It occurs to me that with my readership, a large number of you may very well care about at least one of those three things. So hey, check it out.

  • Advocating for people with disabilities in Syria.

  • Black and (mostly Orthodox) Jewish.

  • Rounnd 1 of bidding in the [livejournal.com profile] help_pakistan auction ends today.

  • I still cannot find just a handful of links I find adequately discusses the many problems with the Beck rally: from intense racism to the apocalyptic delusions that rule of law has fled in the US and Marxist homosexuals are rampaging through the streets stealing everyone's guns.

  • Folks, voting for [livejournal.com profile] writerinadrawer Round 10 -- the round that decides the winner -- closes tonight. More votes are needed. Check it out. It's just three little stories and some opinions. You can do it!

  • So, the Buffy finale.... Read more... )
  • sundries

    Jul. 31st, 2010 08:23 am
  • I have, for the last two nights, been sleeping with an eye mask on. Our bedroom gets a lot of light from neighboring buildings (our "fake moonlight," we call it) and a lot of sun early in the mornings. I am sleeping much more deeply and for many more hours than I have in the past, and this is exciting. On the other hand, I no longer wake up gradually, but in pitch blackness am completely freaked out by my alarm every momrning. WE'll see how long this experiment lasts.

  • Some work today, then a friend's bday thingy.

  • Current auctions at [livejournal.com profile] graduate_maria are now closed. I will be doing all the auction close business for those auctions in a bit. Then! Tomorrow, I will post some new items (signed books, a beautiful scarf, etc.) and open those, as well as everything that has yet to receive bids to bidding. Unless you are an auction winner or the sponsor of an auction that has been won, please refrain from commenting over there today for my sanity.

  • Voting for [livejournal.com profile] writerinadrawer round 4.07 is now open.

  • Some of your answers yesterday about the naming of the Oxford comma were hilarious, but everyone largely agreed that the winner came from [livejournal.com profile] roy_batty.

  • I've neglected to mention that Anne Rice has left organized Christianity because of what she deems its anti-gay, anti-feminist stance. Now, as you all know, some Christian churches fit that description and some don't, but I note this here largely because when I read The Vampire Lestat at twelve, on a dare, my father threatened to have me exorcised, and it was with great glee he reported Rice's conversion to me. I'll surely be hearing about this soon.

  • Possibly only funny to a certain subset of TW fen: I have an audition next week for a radiotheater-style stage production using material by Lovecraft. I would very much like to book this. ETA: Dammit, dammit, dammit, the show schedule is nearly impossible for me. I could probably make it work, but it might be epically stressful. Currently undecided about what to do.

  • The Boy Scouts are trying to rebuild their image. Actually, the Girl Scouts are doing a lot of thinking about theirs too.

  • New York City and the private garage menace.

  • Last night on Angel and Buffy: Read more... )

  • I smell burnt toast.
  • sundries

    Jul. 22nd, 2010 09:41 am
  • I have, perhaps, neglected to mention The Piano in the Hallway. It's on the landing of the floor below us. It's clearly a vintage upright that I'd put at around 1930 based on the cabinetry on it. It's gorgeous; it's also in rough shape and needs, at minimum refinishing.

    Here's the thing: I don't know if someone is getting rid of it or if it's living in the hall while they do some renovations. I do know I've heard someone in the apartment it's near playing, and perhaps teaching, in the past. And it seems gauche to ring their bell and say "hey, is The Piano in the Hall up for grabs?"

    Also, I'm afraid it has bedbugs. Really. They love little wooden crevices. Additionally, we have nowhere to put it. But I'm still intrigued.

    This morning as I was leaving for work, there was a woman who clearly lives in the apartment right next to the one from which the piano was emitted (these two doors are adjacent to each other at about a 120-degree angle) complaining, loudly (in Spanish, so I only caught about 70% of what she said) to the super that she can barely get in and out of her apartment due to The Piano in the Hallway and Something Must Be Done.

    She's absolutely right, even if a piano is less grievous than the hideous mattress that lived in the hall last week or the ongoing situation with the severed doll heads that pop up periodically or that one time someone spilled a can of red paint down the stairs.

    But it's a piano, as the super told her. And no one knows what to do about it or who to ask or if it's there for the taking or if it has bedbugs or what.

  • Rokeby House, a crumbling mansion on the Hudson is home to artists, Astor and Livingston descendants, and their friends. The people living there largely don't venture into the front rooms, left as a shrine to earlier generations. This is a weird/magical one folks.

  • Cool word thing about Welsh and recycling. via [livejournal.com profile] adammaker.

  • A feminist Victorian-era sex survey has been rediscovered. via [livejournal.com profile] justpat.

  • Drugging kids to give parents a break (or for amusement or punishment) is abuse. Um... no, really?

  • Phaal is a super-hot curry with ten types of peppers in it. Cooks wear protective masks while making it at Brick Lane Curry House in New York, and the dish is attracting rowdy tables that high-five each other for eating it. Time to watch going out for an English again, ne?

  • Jesus christ, [livejournal.com profile] newyorkers is now the most useless community ever! Someone set up an intro post, this was helpful until some selfish special snowflake posted her intro not in comments. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.

  • Other lives: [livejournal.com profile] coyotegoth found an old pic of me at the Deathly Hallows book release party at Books of Wonder, entertaining some random kid whose parents came up to me and declared "Snape is his favorite." I don't recall why I happened to have Lucius's cane in those shots.

  • Last night on Angel and Buffy - Wesley is all dub-con and the Watchers' headquarters blows up. Read more... )
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