Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Chronology of Geekery

The other day I attended the #geektastic chat on Twitter to celebrate the paperback release of the Geektastic anthology, and it was a great chat--just tons of book people geeking out over geeky stuff together.

One of my tweets was, how many people trace their own life history based on what they were obsessed with at the time? I know I do. The stuff I loved is what shaped me as a writer and a person. (Even when, in hindsight, it's a bit embarrassing.)

So, here, with years approximate, is my life history via geekery.

Age 5-8: Scrooge McDuck. I loved Duck Tales so much because I identified with this wealthy, miserly, entrepreneurial good-at-heart duck. I even spent a huge chunk of my birthday money one year on an expensive collection of Carl Barks comics. Why, you may ask? I can only presume I had some past life as a railroad baron or something, and I wasn't quite over it.

Age 6-7: I actually had two different Scrooge McDuck phases that bookended my obsession with Zoobilee Zoo, particularly Bravo Fox, the arrogant homosexual theatrical fox. Okay, I mean, the show never said he was homosexual, but in hindsight... I was a bossy, hammy child, so it makes a little more sense I would identify with Bravo.
Age 9-10: For a little while I moved on to Back to the Future. In this case (yeah, I never wanted to be girls unless they were mermaids, I always wanted to be strange old men) all my pretend games were Back to the Future, and I was always Doc Brown. This is the obsession I'll admit that I least understand in my adult life.
Age 10-11: I loved the Xanth books by Piers Anthony like crazy, especially Jonathan the Zombie Master, who has an awesome bittersweet romance in Castle Roogna. It still holds up, if you ask me. I totally wrote fan fic about Jonathan, and even sent Piers a letter begging him to put Jonathan in more books. His response seemed a little confused as to why I cared so much.
Age 11-12: The Nightmare Before Christmas. This mingled nicely with my obsession with Jonathan the Zombie Master. At this point, I was mostly beyond fan fic and pretend games of other people's worlds, so I created my very OWN world, with a main character called Jonathan the Dungeon Master, and a skeleton dude who looked exactly like Jack. Because I was just that creative.

Age 11-14: Did I say I was over fan fic? Nevermind! I was still writing Final Fantasy IV fan fic. I also created three Final Fantasy IV board games (because for a while, I couldn't afford the game itself) and a Final Fantasy newspaper, comics, soundtracks taped off the game before I knew they really made them in Japan...I was like a little home-based DIY Final Fantasy industry. I say it left off at 14 because I think that's when the fan fic stopped, but I'll probably love the game to pieces forever.
Age 12-14: I can no longer remember when I first stumbled on Elfquest comics, but I went nuts for them, and abandoned Jonathan the Zombie...I mean, DUNGEON! Master and replaced him with some scantily clad elves with bad dialogue and strong cheekbones. Elfquest was wonderful and creative, but perhaps not the best thing to mimic.
Age 13-15: Elfquest love led me to some general comic book love, especially the X-Men, especially Nightcrawler...surprisingly, I don't think I ever ripped off his character. I mean, really, this is surprising.
Age 14-20: The first time I ever saw Sailor Moon was like, discovering a new religion or something, at the time. It was so different and amazing, and of course, I was soon sucked in to general anime fandom, my favorite series ultimately turning out to be Fushigi Yuugi. There was cosplay, my whole art style changed, I started studying Japanese and still haven't stopped, and I was helping to run Anime Festival Orlando for several years in my early twenties, but the really obsessive part had died down by then, so I won't count it.

Age 18-22: Before I got together with my partner Dade, almost all the music I listened to was video game and anime music. But Electric Light Orchestra turned out to be sort of like a gateway drug. For some reason--maybe because ELO is the music used for the Daicon animation from Japan--a lot of anime fans love ELO, including Dade. I started listening to ELO and Queen but what really turned me into a music geek was my discovery of David Bowie. And listening to Bowie led me to Bowie's contemporaries (Roxy Music!), the people who influenced Bowie (60s British mod groups!) and the people Bowie influenced. BTW, fashion obsession and music obsession went hand in hand.

Bowie and friends, btw, was really my last great obsession. At 23, I started following what became my career, and while I still find new stuff to love, I don't seem to need fandom like I used to. I guess because I've found a place in the world. I don't know if it's like this for everyone, but fandoms really helped me find out who I was, and filled gaps and needs in my life--for friends, for confidence, for permission to be or do certain things in my inner or outer life. It was amazing, fun, and sometimes deliciously painful to love something SO MUCH. I think we learn more from the things we geek out over than we sometimes give ourselves credit for. So...geek on! Or something.

Maybe later I'll post a few fan fic snippets. ;)

What is your geek chronology?


  1. Hah, you got sucked into Sailor Moon about the same time I did. Oh, middle school...

    I tend to float through fandoms pretty quickly, so my geek chronology is a lot more vague and harder to define than yours, I think. In elementary school it was Voltron (they had the tapes at the nearby Blockbuster and I would check them out to rewatch about once a week), My Little Ponies, and Carebears (which is where, I'm pretty sure, I started writing fanfic, though I didn't know what it was at the time).

    Middle school, like I said, I was first introduced to Sailor Moon and by extension anime, but the one I was *really* obsessed with was Ronin Warriors-- heck, I still adore it, in all its cheesy 80's glory. (Fushigi Yuugi was awesome, too!) I was really, really into anime up until-- middle of college, I guess, so 20, at which point I took over as president of the anime club at our school and my interest consequently took a nosedive.

    Also during middle school (and, I won't lie, part of high school) was Power Rangers... yes, I have the tastes of a 12 year-old boy, I know... but it was really the show that introduced me to fandom and fanfic as a phenomenon. I even have an entry in my diary from the time going "wow, I found this site! and people post STORIES there! it's awesome!" It's definitely the first fandom I ever actively wrote fic for, although thankfully those Mary-Sue-infested waters have been lost to the mists of time.

    After anime I went more into American sci-fi stuff, especially the various Stargates, which is where I was until earlier this year or thereabouts-- in my free time this summer I seem to have rediscovered anime. It's still fun, although I'm not as much into the fandom itself, or "anime" as a genre, as I used to be.

    You should totally post your fanfic! :D


  2. This is a most impressive chronology, Jackie! And, uh, did I mention we have a DeLorean? We could have completely geeked out over BTTF.

  3. Heh. Wow. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has had "fandom periods" in her life. Most involved anime and manga, yes -- oh, and Harry Potter too. (I discovered Sailor Moon when I was five, and that was my first full-blown obsession -- after my Disney-movie obsessions from my toddler years, of course.)

    The more I'm growing older, though, the more I can just like things for the sake of liking and/or admiring them. I don't need to get involved the whole nine yards with everything as I used to since I now devote myself to creating my own worlds, characters, and stories. It was a natural -- and fitting -- transition.

    And I would love to read fanfic snippets on this blog!~

  4. Spark_force: That was enormously entertaining. Oh man, and the early days of discovering the internet...internet and anime kind of go hand in hand for me, because everything I liked prior to that was in a void, but I saw Sailor Moon and got AOL at almost the same time and it was mind-blowing to discover other people writing fan fic and other geeks to talk to...

    Holly: You have a DeLorean? OMG. That is SO cool. I have met many people with DeLorean lust but never someone who actually owned one!

    JSavant: Yeah, if Harry Potter had come around when I'd been younger I bet I would've geeked out for it more...things do change the more you focus on your own creations, and they grow more established and more resilient to outside influences.

  5. Aaaaah! Fushigi Yugi is the best! Who's your favorite? Mine was always Hotohori.

  6. Mine was Chichiri, and then Hotohori second. OMG I feel like I want to break out the DVDs just from saying their names.

    I'm really liking the new Genbu Kaiden manga, too.