So I’m writing from the road today (well, Thursday evening) as I traipse around the country on one of my jaunts. I bring this up because I wore a T-shirt today (Thursday) that garnered lots of attention. First in an airport in one part of the country and then twice more in totally different settings in another part of the country.
Ah, the power of geekdom, my friends. This is the shirt I wore:
Those of you who ride with geeks and spec fic lovers know right away that it’s a riff off this. And, yeah, today’s banner.
And there are a lot of us out in the world who know and love Star Wars. So as I traveled on Thursday while wearing my shirt, I got 3 different comments about it in two states thousands of miles apart. The first was an older (mid-50s, perhaps?) woman who was standing at a sink in an airport bathroom next to me and she said, “I love your shirt. I noticed you earlier at the food court.” A shared Star Wars moment.
Then, in a totally different state after my plane landed and I rented my car and drove to meet a friend for lunch at a tapas restaurant, the waiter comes out to greet us and he says, “Great shirt. Are you going to see Rogue One?” I said, “Hell, yes. Are you?” And he was all, “Duh!” And we exchanged a high five.
Then, two hours later, I was at a Whole Foods (shut up omg quit judging they have good trail mix and coffee) and this woman who looked like she was probably in her mid-40s says, “I love your shirt. Sadly, I stopped watching the Star Wars movies with the second installments.” I told her that I had, too, but omg The Force Awakens would fix that for her. We chatted for a few more minutes about the various awesome things about Star Wars, and went our separate ways (though she waved when I walked past her aisle on my way out) and it occurred to me that there’s a weird synergy in fandoms, and a weird sense of “these are my people.” And it starts at a young age.
I don’t think I can truly explain the role that Star Wars played in my life. Yes, I was at the original during its opening run, and omg it blew me away. The initial trilogy fired my imagination back in the day and for years after that. I will say that the originals haven’t held up as well as I had hoped; I just watched them again, and in this age of CGI and special effects, the original trilogy seems quaint and dated. But it had its moments, and I thrilled to them still.
Regardless, Star Wars is a quintessential space opera, which is one of my all-time fave genres of science fiction. I write that genre myself (don’t worry — I’ll be getting my Far Seek Chronicles back on the market…hang in there!), and it’s one of the not-so-secret pleasures I have, thrilling to space banditry, adventures, conflict, awesome fight scenes, amazing worlds…when I write space opera, it’s an homage to my childhood (which apparently I haven’t left) as well as to all the pulp fiction writers who have come before and whose stories inflamed the imaginations of bunches of kids like me.
Outsiders. Geeks. Weirdos. Different — those of us who saw much more behind the mundane, who stared up at the sky at night and wondered who and what else was up there, who could unspool ass-loads of intergalactic battles in our heads all in the span of a few minutes, and who spent the time before we went to sleep imagining ourselves on the decks of the Enterprise or the Millennium Falcon.
Star Wars was a big, freaking, HELL YES to those of us who wanted to pilot those X-Wings, and who wanted to battle the Death Star. And probably a huge enabler of our continued obsession with all things spec fic and geekly.
I will admit that I’m a Star Wars purist, and did not bond at all with the second round of films, as that fellow traveler and I discussed in Whole Foods (omg stop judging). I won’t go into the reasons here, but there are many. I stopped watching them after the first two and stuck to my purist roots, and just dragged out the original trilogy when I needed a fix.
But then. Something amazing happened.
There was buzz about a new Star Wars film, and it sounded like it was, in fact, going back to its roots and drawing from the magic and characters that made it the enduring legacy it was in many geek lives.
That opened in December 2015. When I saw the trailer for the first time, people, I teared up. My little space opera soul converged with my little feminist and geek/outsider soul and all the reasons I loved the first one came flooding back. It was like going home, this new incarnation, and spending time with old friends who introduced you to some bad-ass new ones. It threw props to the originals, built on new story infrastructures, and put a woman front and center as the harbinger of a wielder of The Force. What.The.Hell. All the storylines I’d made up for years in my head about this franchise came to a kind of fruition with The Force Awakens.
So I am again part of the Star Wars fandom, though in my own way. I don’t cosplay (yet…HA!), but I dissect storylines and examine characters and consider different plots and spinoffs and follow news about it. And wait for the next film, Rogue One, which is a prequel, actually, to the advent of the Death Star (the first Star Wars) and thus far, it appears another woman is front and center here, as well, which is something my little geek space opera self has been making up in her head for years. And writing.
So nice to see it on the big screen in a fandom I’ve loved for a long-ass time.
At any rate, wearing my new fangirl shirt around opened conversations with strangers from different backgrounds, in different parts of the country. How cool is that?
And now I will throw props to the amazing people who are creating shirts for fangirls all over the place, including the one I wore. If you haven’t already, jet on over to fangirlshirts.com and check it out. Their tagline: “awesome shirts by, for and about awesome women.” They also donate proceeds of some of their shirts to great causes, and they offer ConPacks for the discerning con-goer. You can hit ’em up on Twitter (that’s how I found them — my current Wynonna Earp obsession led me to them because they do Earp shirts and shut up yes I have one): @fangirlshirts
I’m in the process of setting up an interview with them, so hopefully we’ll have that over here in the next couple of months. Stay tuned!
And if you have any kind of fangirl stuff you want to talk about, hit us up at the Contact link above. If I don’t know the fandom, I will ask you to guest blog it! WOOOO! #everybodywins
Happy Friday, all.