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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Fan Art, Fan Fic

During my senior year of high school and into my college years, I found myself an outlet in which to escape the stresses of term papers, exams and the social pressures that come with a higher education. I found TV's The X-Files.

I can't even tell you any more exactly what it was about the show that dragged me into it. Was it the whole conspiracy of hiding the truth about extraterrestrials? Was it the thrill of things making me jump when I least expected it? Or perhaps it was the sexual tension between the show's two lead characters. Whatever it was, it became my little safe haven of "insanity" within the confines of the sane world I was striving to succeed within.

My interest in the show soon brought me to trying my hand out at fan art and, ultimately, fan fiction. I took photos of the actors, screen captures of episodes and the show's logo to create (what I thought was) brilliant works of art. I built a web site to display my creations to all who shared my "addiction" to the show. I later tried my hand at writing fan fiction -- stories based on the show manipulating the characters the way I wanted to see them act and react.

Sometimes I would wonder if I was just wasting my time doing these frivolous acts. These works of visual and written art would only ever be appreciated by a relatively small community of people. Those outside of the community would probably laugh at me for doing these things. However, they kept my mind active and my mood upbeat, therefore, I continued to perfect my skills.

I've long ago left behind my fan art and fan fiction days. My beloved show came to an end, and life no longer gave me the freedom to indulge myself in these things. However, I came to realize those "frivolous acts" were not wasted time.

For one thing, though my art I made friends. I made many friends all across the world with which I stay in close contact still today. More importantly, my skills in fan art using Photoshop quickly paid off though a job at a newspaper, and my fan web site developed into doing a few sites professionally. My fan fiction taught me ways to better understand my audience and helped me learn more about how to write in general.

Things we love to do are never frivolous. For one thing, it makes you happy and gives you an escape from the world we live in today. Secondly, you never know when the things you do might just pay off in the future though the knowledge you gain.

Dare to be "silly" and to "waste time." Sometimes wasted time is really just an education in disguise.


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