Meet the Conductor

When I was a little girl, I lived in my imagination. Effectively an only child, I spent large amounts of time creating worlds for myself. A princess, an elf, a kitten, an astronaut, a ballerina; wherever I was and whatever I was doing, I would embroider with my imagination. Back then, science fiction to me was Star Trek, and most of my little friends were just as imaginative as I was. Playing pretend was de rigueur and it seemed any ordinary game could be embellished.

Awwwww.

Awwwww.

I had a phalanx of imaginary friends, whom I would talk to by the hour. I believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy until I was almost ten. I believed without question, even as my more sophisticated friends began to doubt. I had proof—carrots left out for the Easter Bunny always turned up in the morning with large, clear tooth marks that could only be explained by the presence of a giant rabbit (or my mother’s slightly gap-toothed grin).

What? I'm fucking Tinkerbelle. You got a problem with that?

What? I’m fucking Tinkerbelle. You got a problem with that?

When I was older, my best friend and I created an elaborate fantasy that we called The Game. It was essentially LARPing Mary-Sue fanfiction, although none of those terms existed at the time. We were shockingly beautiful, stunningly charismatic, heartbreakingly dramatic women, instead of awkward gangly tweens. For years, our imaginary selves with their melodramatic names and tempestuous lives existed in tandem with the painful, embarrassing and difficult years of Junior High. Living in different towns, we’d write back and forth to each other in character—gasping, girlish letters that I’ve kept over the years, pulling out from time to time just for a laugh (or a cringe). Not surprisingly, although she was a year younger than me, she outgrew The Game far sooner.

I wonder if it would have been easier if Mary Sue had been a trope then.

I wonder if it would have been easier if Mary Sue had been a trope then.

By high school, I was channeling the my imagination into writing. I wrote long and involved stories; first on a persnickety, hard to use typewriter, and later on our first computer—an Apple IIc, which used five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy disks and had no hard drive. I started my first novel then, wrote several screenplays and published three issues of an underground newspaper, which most of the other students found a little too quirky to enjoy. The internet effectively didn’t exist in my small town, so there weren’t many ways for me to publish. I didn’t even discover online fandom until after I graduated from college.

AND THEN WE FOUND OUT THAT IT SUUUUUUUCKED

Campout and premier of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Even as sheltered and imaginative as I was, I was always quite firmly aware of the line between fantasy and reality. This blog is about my blundering across that divide, of more than five years spent lost on the other side of reality. In a dark and lonely hour, I reached for help—and grasped the hand of someone who made me believe he existed on the fantastical other side of what is and can be. At times he had others who believed with me. When one by one they broke free, his living fiction was mine to bear.

Notice a theme developing?

Line Party for the premier of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

It took losing everything in my life – my family, my friends, all but two suitcases of belongings, three cars and my entire identity – to finally break free. With tremendous family support (and extensive therapy) I found my back to the everyday world, to reality and happiness. These are my stories.

And this is my reality.

And this is my reality.

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