Les Deux, C’est Moi

“So do you remember–” my mom said over Christmas; a sentence that usually doesn’t end well. “Do you remember when you applied to Carnegie Mellon [where I did my undergrad], you had to write some kind of essay about why you wanted to go there?”

I shifted around on the couch, my dad’s cat grumbling in my lap. “A personal statement, it’s called,” I said, impatient. “Yeah. I remember.”

My mom shook her head, leaning out of her recliner. “No, remember? You asked us to read it, what you wrote.” She waved her hand at my dad, burrowed into the couch next to me. “And we made some suggestions about some changes you could make. And you said–do you remember what you said?”

Dad tapped my wrist, squeezed, his eyes focused the iPad in his lap. Mom didn’t wait for an answer.

“You said,” she chirped, “that that’s who you were, what you wrote, and if they didn’t want you, the real you, then you didn’t want to go there.”

“Oh,” I said, nodding at the past wisdom of a younger me. “No. I didn’t remember. But that sounds right.”

My mom bobbed her head, pleased. “That’s how you still work, huh?”

I watched my dad scroll for a minute, the glow of my online CV reflected in his glasses as he read the details of my academic life for the first time. “Yeah,” I said. “I guess so.”

Now what’s funny about this is that my attitude on that front hasn’t changed; when it comes to my academic life, at least, I still operate on the “take it or leave it” principle, in part because hey, I write about porn, Christian women, and fanfic. I can’t hide that on my CV; hell, that stuff IS my CV. Nor would I want to. But it does mean that anybody that considers hiring me is going have to get past (or be entranced by?) my unconventional research interests.

As a kind friend once put it, if anyone hires me, it will be because of what I do, not in spite of it.

And then there’s the whole “I write porn/romance/erotica about beautiful, fictional men” thing, too.

Continue reading “Les Deux, C’est Moi”

The Bullshit Claim of Someone Else’s Shame

Another day, another “interviewer” trotting out fanfiction in public conversation with a star.

Oh, joy.

Today’s culprit, as you can see here, if you like, is the LA Times, who asked an actress from Downtown Abbey to, tee hee!, read erotic fanfiction about her character out loud.

How droll.

This comes on the heels of the Sherlock debacle a week or so ago, wherein Caitlin Moran used the series’ season three premiere event as a venue for–you guessed it–pulling Johnlock out of a hat and, ha hah, shoving it in the actors’ faces.

Ugh.

In the forest of WTF? that this raises, the most pressing one for me is this:

Why the hell would you do this? From a rhetorical perspective, ok, what would you as an interviewer hope to gain?

Here’s my answer:

Shame.

Look, I’m sure these cats go in thinking they’re Zaphod Beeblebrox hip because they know what fan fiction is. Hey, bloody good for you. You can read the internet! Well done.

Continue reading “The Bullshit Claim of Someone Else’s Shame”

Search Return

So you know (my ex says) they have this new search function on Facebook.

Yeah, I say sage to the phone.

So! he says. I wonder. Will people start living their lives so that they match the search norms on Facebook? Like, would you go to the beach just so that you can write a post about it and then show up in the search results for “beach trip”? Would you tailor your life so that you appeared at the top of certain searches, so that you were the most visible person planning a BBQ or choosing a preschool or going skiing or whatever?

Wow, I say. There’s a short story there. Or even a novel. Huh. I may have to quote you on that. But if I do, I’ll give you credit.

Ok, he says, uncertain. How would you cite me? As your ex?

There’s a pause, filled for me by the little cat gnawing on my knee.

Actually, he says, yeah. That’d be good. ‘Wisdom from my ex.’

It’s a very cool idea, I say. You should write a poem about it.

Eh, he says, breezy. Maybe. We’ll see.