I didn’t make the first move. No, I was way too shy and insular.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t exist in total isolation. I would post my fan fics on LiveJournal under a pseudonym—back then, it was all White Collar for me—read the stories of other people (under their pseudonyms) and even make a coherent comment now and then. But I didn’t make an effort to meet anyone.
I don’t know why I didn’t reach out. I’d made fandom friends before, when I was into older shows. But this time I kept to myself. Until she reached out to me.
(Oh. Um, maybe now’s the time to mention that this is a friendship story. A bramance, not a romance. I don’t want to raise false expectations—there’s a sad lack of smut in this post.)
Our relationship began with comments. Then she asked if I wanted to chat about writing and tropes and fandom. You know, in real life.
I hesitated, but somehow came to my senses. So we connected online. Then we started critiquing each other’s stories. And then we met in person. And then she invited me to her house. And I invited her back. And she invited me again. And she kept inviting me. (Well, sometimes I invited myself.) I caught a glimpse of the elusive plot bunny at her place just last weekend.
She also introduced me to other fans. Suddenly I knew who all these people were behind their pseudonyms. And suddenly I had this whole circle of writing buddies.
This circle has sustained me through multiple fandoms, the transition to original fiction, and many a writing crisis! We’re not a formal writing group. We have no set time for meetings, no special procedure for critiquing or receiving critiques. No, we just word-war against each other, kvetch about the state of our stories, beg for last minute betas, travel from all over the country to meet up in some central hotel, or arrange special movie dates for those of us who live close enough to Manhattan.
All this, because someone extended their hand in friendship. That’s a gift I hope to pay forward.