BEING A FAN
BEING A FAN
My earliest memory of being a fan of something goes back to when I was around 5, I read PEANUTS every day in the paper and watched Batman every day on TV. I was (and am) a fan. In September I turn 53 a week before Bouchercon (The World Mystery Convention don’tcha know) where Ruth and I will be Fan Guests of Honor. In the 48 years between I’ve become a fan of a lot of things.
I hear people talk about guilty pleasures. Let me tell you something, as long as what gives you pleasure is legal and doesn’t hurt anyone else there is nothing to feel guilty about.
I have always loved comic books and have never been embarrassed by that. I am a fan of music and a lot of bands and people who make the music. I am a fan of television shows and movies, Hell I’m a fan of food and specifically Italian and Mexican foods.
Being a fan can have a lot of different levels. I’m a fan of ABBA but the extent of that is my buying their music and listening to it. Being a casual fan is cool, you enjoy something and sometimes talk about it. I’m a fan of the Rolling Stones and have seen them love, I buy concert DVDS and all their albums, on CD and vinyl. I read superhero comics and read cozy mysteries and hard boiled crime. I like cartoons and horror movies and ScFi. I’m not ashamed of any of these things I love.
Being a fan can grow from this pretty quick. I am enough of a fan of comics that I go to comic conventions and signing events. I get the creative folks who make them to sign my books. I try to own a lot and I organize and catalog my collections.
Some fans go further and try to help promote the stuff they love. Blogs, reviews on social media, going to events.
My love of the mystery genre goes a bit further. I met Ruth at a mystery convention and we’ve never looked back. We reviewed on line, we started doing interviews. We went to a number of different conventions each year. We soon decided to start a magazine about the mystery genre and share our love of it with others. We brought in other fans who have both contributed to our magazine and also continue to remind us why we love this stuff. Eventually we got involved with the conventions we enjoy and then with some friends started one here in Milwaukee.
We love this stuff and want to be around others who do to.
I’ve yet to wear a costume to a comic convention, not because I won’t, but I’m a bit intimidated by the folks who are so creative and do it already and I just cold never decide what to do. The first couple times I saw cosplay I was kind of taken by surprise. These folks are really into it! And you know what, it’s awesome. People who in regular everyday life may be quiet have a place to let it all hang out and have a great time with other like minded people for a weekend.
NEVER be embarrassed to be a fan. Pick what level works for you and jump in. And if people around you don’t get it, find the people who do get it. Your friends can’t understand why you love Star Trek? Find some fans who do. Whatever you are into there is a group of people who dig it too. Don’t ever be afraid to find these like minded folks. The internet is full of them.
Why do I keep going to Bouchercon? Because it’s a gathering of 1800+ people who all love something I love, good mysteries. Sure, some prefer hard boiled, some like cooking cozies, some like the history of it and some are brand new to it. It doesn’t matter. We’re all here together. We are bonded by it. We are family.
I can’t even begin to list all the people we’ve met because of our being fans, there are hundreds. We’ve introduced some to others. We’ve brought people we meet into it. We’ve been to weddings because of it, we share the happy and lend support with the sad. Share the love, spread the joy of whatever you’re a fan of.
I have been beyond fortunate because I have found not just one tribe (my mystery family) but also a comic book tribe and a Lego tribe and….
Being a fan makes me happy. Sharing this fandom with other people of a like mind makes me even happier. Find your tribe. Embrace them. No fear, no regrets. Surround with people who get you and you get them.
And come the middle of September this year in New Orleans we will be spending 8 days doing just that.