Monday, March 31, 2014

On Kids and Fandoms

So, Brynna is officially a geek-girl. Not that she would admit it. She's not quite there yet, but I have won. I declare victory over the powers of snobbishness and stupidity.

This weekend, we went to see Divergent. (It was wonderful and I loved it. Pretty true to the book, although the second half goes a little off the rails.) If you haven't read Divergent, I cannot recommend it enough. I also cannot recommend enough that you just stop after you read it. Insurgent is fine, but Allegiant is such a disappointment.

The best part of the movie was the previews, during which Brynna turned to me once and said, "That's The Giver. I've read that," and another time and said, "Is that a book? Am I allowed to read it?" The fact that she was more excited to read the previews than watch them says something deep and true about her.

She's reading a lot of dystopian stuff right now, which I consider SciFi. That's a victory in and of itself. And she loves fantasy. Possibly more than I do. She has no patience for romance and is pulling further and further away from fluffy pink book covers.

I think she's writing Fan Fic, too. She talks about it, but she hasn't let me read any. She's never read Fan Fic, as far as I know, but she wanted to write something about Percy Jackson and so I told her that you could do that sort of thing, you just couldn't sell it and it was called Fan Fic. That was that.

All of these are sufficiently geeky things. But it's not what she loves, but how she loves it that makes her a nerdlet. And watching her take up fandoms is a truly exciting thing for me. She loves Percy Jackson and Hunger Games and Divergent and so many other wonderful things. She wants to wear their t-shirts and jewelry, write their fan fic, live in their worlds. She jumps in head first and tries to find her own place there.

She assumes that everyone knows what she's talking about as she compares meals to local district cuisine and assigns people to factions or to god parents or to Hogwarts houses.

Watching her is like magic.

And this weekend, she was talking about Divergent and books she wanted to read and I realized that things have changed. Times, they have changed. When I was a kid, I loved things the way Brynna loves things. I loved GI Joe and A Wrinkle in Time and Narnia. I loved Eerie, Indiana and Twin Peaks*.

But I didn't feel free to do what Brynna does. I didn't feel free to wander around quoting and emulating and building my identity in terms of the things that spoke to me. I didn't get that until at least high school, and probably college. College was really when I realized that you could take a room full of people with one thing in common (The X-Files) and build a community. So, that, even though I've read A Wrinkle in Time about 20 times since I was eight years old, I still consider that group of kids packed into my dorm room to watch The X-Files to be my first fandom.

I am so amazed and proud that Brynna gets to live this life now. That she can love what she loves how she loves it and no one will stand in her way.

It's a brave, new world out there. And she doesn't even know she's a pioneer.

*Which I absolutely, positively was not supposed to be watching. Sorry, mom.

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