Hey all! I recently did a guest post for Miriam Joy Writes, and I thought I’d post it here as well. Enjoy, and click the link if you’d like to look at Miriam’s blog.
Fictional Friends and Nonexistent Universes
Recently I have been suffering from an advanced case of what I like to call Too Much Fandom. This condition results in spending more time in a fictional universe with fictional characters than in the real world with real people. (Side effects may include daydreaming, rocking back and forth moaning about feels, crying, maniacal laughter, absentmindedness, and the general appearance of being totally insane.)
My case of Too Much Fandom was brought on by my discovery of the amazingness that is Doctor Who at the beginning of June. I haven’t begun school yet, my friends are always doing something else, I have no job or classes to go to, I’m not currently in any theater productions, and I have been procrastinating on my writing, so the only thing breaking the monotonous boredom of day after very ordinary day is watching a new episode or two with my family each night. And now I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ve started spending my time writing stories and song parodies about the show, letting it influence my sketches, fangirling over Murray Gold’s brilliant score for each season, listening to far too much Chameleon Circuit, and generally spending more time aboard the TARDIS than in my own dull life. I have fallen into a gaping void of obsession and I don’t know when—if ever—I’ll be able to climb my way back out. Which leads me to a question—when it comes to immersing oneself in fiction, how much is too much?
I think one of the greatest things about fiction is that it provides an escape from the troubles of our daily lives, a rare chance to be somewhere else. When I’ve had a bad day or am worried about something, I can just open a book and lose myself in a fantasy land. Or when I’m feeling alone I can pretend for a while that my favorite characters are real, and that they’re my friends. I think most devoted readers consider their favorite characters to be their friends, and wish that they could somehow meet them. I know I do. Stories are a way of escape and a means of healing, a way to find friends and people who understand, and that is such a wonderful, wonderful thing. Because if the world seems sad and lonely and dreadfully boring, you can be sure a fictional one will be filled with excitement and adventure.
And then there’s that point when I’m feeling dull and dreary and I open a book and think I wish I could just live in this world, or at least visit it sometime. It’s a rather silly wish, because even if I could visit one of my favorite realms, like, say, Middle Earth, I wouldn’t last a day. I have no self-defense skills and would rather spend time drawing or writing than doing actual work or going on adventures. And my dream of traveling through time and space with the Doctor is absurd, because I’m terrified of virtually everything and being onboard the TARDIS is dangerous, and like nearly all the companions I’d end up with some tragic fate during the season finale. Being in any fictional world would be much less enjoyable than I would imagine it to be, and yet I still want to visit one. That’s the magic of stories. Even though I know that stepping inside a wardrobe will never lead me to Narnia, I try anyway. I think that’s another one of the wonderful things about fiction, the way it can bring hope and spark imaginations, make us believe in worlds and people we’ve never seen.
If wanting to visit fictional worlds and meet favorite characters isn’t a bad thing, what then classifies as “too much”? Try as I might, I can’t answer this question. I would say that as long as a fictional universe doesn’t consume your life, then you’re good to go, but that’s not entirely true. Letting fictional worlds become a very major part of my life has led to more than just procrastination: friendships, a very awesome drawing of River Song’s hair, and me staying up late to re-watch the saddest parts of my favorite films and TV shows, because I truly do enjoy sobbing over my favorite stories and characters.
Overall, I think immersing oneself in fiction, unless it causes someone to do something dangerous (like jump from a 20-story building to test out a replica Iron Man suit), is one of the best things there is. It’s led to quite a lot of putting things off on my part, but also to me finding people who can truly understand me and accept me for who I am. And I think the “too much” part is relative depending on who you are. For me, there is no too much, or maybe there is, but I’m too busy enjoying myself to care. There are so many wonderful things about the world of fiction—the amazing stories and characters, the fans, meeting someone who loves a story just as much as you do, creating and writing and dreaming a universe, making shirts with fandom references written on them, crying and laughing, hugging a book because it is just so good—and I don’t want to deny myself any of it. So, with a side effect of appearing totally insane, I am going to let my case of Too Much Fandom continue. Because I love it.
I am generally dreadful at coming up with profound, thoughtful last sentences, so I will end this as I sometimes do: live long and prosper, dear readers. I hope you have a lovely day.