I started going to the dojo when I was in sixth grade. It was a very masculine environment; there weren’t a lot of other girls there but the male senseis who ran the place were great guys and they genuinely loved having female students because we were such a rarity.
Now back in sixth grade I was tinier even than what I am now, and now I’m only 5’2. Then I was probably even under 5’0. I mean I was a squirt of a kid. But I loved to fight; I loved to be in the ring, I loved the adrenaline rush and I loved having punches hurled at me. It was fun for me. Our dojo did full-contact sparring, which was pretty brutal. These were the only rules:
you must wear a mouth guard and gloves
no hits below the belt
That’s pretty much it.
Anyway every Thursday was Fight Night, where all we did was spar each other. And on my First Night Sensei Diven—who has since passed, bless his soul—paired me up with this really cocky and assholish brown belt to show me the ropes a little. This brown belt kid was bigger than me by a lot; he must have been at least six feet and twice my weight. But man was I excited to get into the ring! I had a fight boiling in my blood.
Now, Sensei Diven was not a stupid man and he hated high-ranking kids that showed a bad attitude. This kid had a bad attitude. So he must have seen the evil gleam in my eye from a mile away and decided it was time for a little improvisation.
Anyway, Sensei yelled, “Start!” and I leapt into fight stance and the other kid didn’t even put his hands up. He was laughing at me, sneering, the whole nine yards. “I’ll give you a free one.” he joked, and he slapped his side. “You barely weigh 100 pounds and you’re a girl. So go ahead, little girl. Hit me.”
And I hit him. I cocked my leg up as high as it would go and roundhouse kicked him right in the ribs with all of my might and all of the contempt I felt for his stupid cocky face which was covered in ugly-ass freckles and his nasty-ass braces. And I heard a crack. Like a real snap! sound. And the kid has a look of surprise on his face like it was nobody’s business, and then he goes right to the floor like a sack of potatoes.
Now, Sensei Diven leisurely strolls over from the group of black belts who are laughing their asses off at me, the tiny little white belt, sending my Goliath to the floor. I mean they’re laughing so hard they look like they’re about to pee themselves. They think it’s a game. And in his great booming voice he hollers:
“Brown Belt! Why are you on the floor? Do you not see this white belt has been assigned to fight you?”
And meanwhile he is just crying. I broke one of his ribs.
And Sensei Diven just squats down next to this poor kid and whispers, “Don’t you know that women are made of pain?”
Fandom is focus. Fandom is obsession. Fandom is insatiable consumption. Fandom is sitting for hours in front of a TV screen a movie screen a computer screen with a comic book a novel on your lap. Fandom is eyestrain and carpal tunnel syndrome and not enough exercise and staying up way, way past your bedtime.
Fandom is people you don’t tell your mother you’re meeting. Fandom is people in the closet, people out and proud, people in costumes, people in T-shirts with slogans only fifty others would understand. Fandom is a loud dinner conversation scaring the waiter and every table nearby.
Fandom is you in Germany and me in the US and him in Australia and her in Japan. Fandom is a sofabed in New York, a roadtrip to Oxnard, a friend behind a face in London. Fandom talks past timezones and accents and backgrounds. Fandom is conversation. Communication. Contact.
Fandom is drama. Fandom is melodrama. Fandom is high school. Fandom is Snacky’s law and Godwin’s law and Murphy’s law. Fandom is smarter than you. Fandom is stupider than you. Fandom is five arguments over and over and over again. Fandom is the first time you’ve ever had them.
Fandom is female. Fandom is male. Fandom lets female play at being male. Fandom bends gender, straight, gay, prude, promiscuous. Fandom is fantasy. Fandom doesn’t care about norms or taboos or boundaries. Fandom cares too much about norms and taboos and boundaries. Fandom is not real life. Fandom is closer than real life. Fandom knows what you’re really like in the bedroom. Fandom is how you would never, could never be in the bedroom.
Fandom is shipping, never shipping, het, slash, gen, none of the above, more than the above. Fandom is love for characters you didn’t create. Fandom is recreating the characters you didn’t create. Fandom is appropriation, subversion, dissention. Fandom is adoration, extrapolation, imitation. Fandom is dissection, criticism, interpretation. Fandom is changing, experimenting, attempting.
Fandom is creating. Fandom is drawing, painting, vidding: nine seasons in four minutes of love. Fandom is words, language, authoring. Fandom is essays, stories, betas, parodies, filks, zines, usenet posts, blog posts, message board posts, emails, chats, petitions, wank, concrit, feedback, recs. Fandom is writing for the first time since you were twelve. Fandom is finally calling yourself a writer.
Fandom is signal and response. Fandom is a stranger moving you to tears, anger, laughter. Fandom is you moving a stranger to speak.
Fandom is distraction. Fandom is endangering your job, your grades, your relationships, your bank account. Fandom gets no work done. Fandom is too much work. Fandom was/is just a phase. Fandom could never be just a phase. Fandom is where you found a friend, a sister, a kindred spirit. Fandom is where you found a talent, a love, a reason.
Although not much has really happened within the last week and a bit (except gaining another interview from the lovely Kristin) I still feel as though I should keep you all up to date.
As it currently stands, there is roughly 2:30 hours’ worth of interview footage. This is an accumulation of several of the GISHWHES winners, several attendees of Asylum 8, Doug Inman (the master of ceremonies for many Rogue Event conventions) and a couple of sent in interviews. There is also around 30 minutes of footage which includes the attendees of A8 queuing, viewing the closing ceremony, dancing/singing at the evening parties, people in cosplay etc…
Hopefully over the summer, I’ll get more interviews sent to me. However, if I don’t, when I return to uni in September, I’m going to be putting up posters advertising what I’m doing and asking for interviewees, as well as interviewing friends and lectures. (One of my lecturers in particular actually wrote a chapter in TV Goes to Hell: An Unofficial Road Map of Supernatural, so he’s got to be interviewed at some point!) I will also (fingers crossed) be going to Asylum 9 and a local sci-fi con to get more convention footage.
For those of you interested, my plan is to gain as much footage as possible between now and December and then begin editing and general post production stuff in February. (Why the two month gap you might be asking? Welp, in December, there’s my 21st, Christmas and new year’s but also a lot of my first semester deadlines are going to be due in December and January. As much as I’d like to work on this documentary as much as I can, I’ve got to focus on my other work too.)
Aaaaaand… That about covers it for now. Until next time!