What I Learned While Being Weird on the Internet…

My path towards the fandom of Felicia Day might be a wee bit different than most.  I knew of her more than anything, never was a fan of Buffy… suffered through one or two episodes of Supernatural before I turned away… never watched the Guild… but I was vaguely aware of this cute redheaded girl that set so many nerd boys’ hearts aflutter.

(For the record, redheads aren’t normally “my thing” ((cue astonished boos and hissing)), which no doubt helped me kinda shrug and look away.)

No, my first real experience with Ms. Day’s headspace came through a Facebook “controversy.”  She had… cut her hair!  Crime and villainy!  Treason!  Betrayal!  She looks old!!!

Because I take no end of delight in the suffering of boys on the Internet, I got curious and started digging through the web, eventually coming upon Felicia’s tumblr space where she explained why she did it.

(For the record, the idea that she was harassed to the point where she had to justify something she did to herself still makes me go cross-eyed.)

Well, it turned out… goodness… this was one smart, sassy, clever young lady.  From there, I liked her on Facebook, followed her on Twitter, wound up sharing short exchanges on her Twitch channel…

Yep.  I like damn near every other guy on the planet had fallen under her spell.  I was a fan.

So when she started promoting her memoir, I was able to suppress my normal disdain for such autobiographical material, and almost immediately bought it.

(You can buy it yourself here, for the record, though I doubt she needs the plug from me.)

Ms. Day had frequently hinted at her weird life, and to read about it was a very enlightening bit of reading, especially with how much of it resonated with me.  I felt pangs of knowing sympathy as she talked about struggling with her drafts (I scrapped and rewrote my first novel for ten years, Felicia… I know your pain).  I nodded in empathy as she wrote about the inner demons that repeatedly tried to convince her that she wasn’t any good.  I cringed when I understood how she kinda fell apart around those she admired (again, I am really sorry I got drunk and offered to comb your beard, Mookie).

I dropped my head in understanding when she revealed how little creative work from others she experienced.  Between my day job and my writing, I have precious little time for anything else.  I still have to read GRRM’s fifth book, for example.  I giggled in delight to learn she had been big on the fanfiction scene (as much as I shudder at the idea of game writing, if Casey Hudson asked me to work with Mass Effect, the only question would be which foot of mine I tripped on running at the opportunity).

I even metaphorically patted her on the shoulder as she recalled her brush-up with #GamerGate.  I had only marginally come across the edges of that “movement” and could not imagine being in their crosshairs.  I know all too well the mortifying moment when you step out in front of people and realize they were there for you.  And I especially know the strain that being creative has on your mind and body as you struggle to keep up with everything.

Too long, didn’t read version; You’re Never Weird on the Internet is a wonderful book, and is a remarkably candid window into the world of creative people and what they slog through just to bring what is in their head to life.  I would recommend it to anyone, especially those struggling with their own creative path.

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