Guilty Pleasures

We all have them, but what exactly is a guilty pleasure? Lets check out Wiki:

Guilty pleasure

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes. Fashion, video games, music,[1] movies[2], and junk food can be examples of guilty pleasures.[3]

For me, the key words have always been “embarrassing tastes”. Things that others tease me about. Things I might tease others about. Strange taste in music, movies, books, and candies. Nothing and no one is safe from the guilty pleasure.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my guilty pleasures in particular. I have been teased and ridiculed numerously for this strange not-so-secret of mine. To be perfectly honest, its never even gotten close to deterring me. Its Fan-fiction. I love reading fan-fiction; the good, the bad and the ugly.

To me its like modern day prospecting. Damn hard work, digging and chiseling away, elbow deep in what might very well be poo. There are a few gems, some glimmers of gold, but most of it is garbage and dirt.  The difference between other fan-fiction readers and myself is I “secretly” love the garbage and dirt as well.

There’s always something to learn. Sometimes its just a look inside the imagination of a sixteen year old girl; sometimes its a look inside the imagination of a sociopath. Sometimes its just a puzzle. I could read a passage that comes off really creepy and be confused by the fact that its supposed to be a sweet, happy, romantic story scene. My goal is to find out what went wrong. Now I’ve seen their mistake and filed it away and I didn’t have to make it myself. I’ve learned from their experience.

Most of the time its far simpler than that. I enjoy looking at things in a way that doesn’t necessarily have to make sense. Waff (warm and fuzzy feelings) ficlets are like little literary pick me ups. I don’t have to read through hundreds of pages to understand the background. I’m familiar with the characters and the setting so the author can get straight to the meaty insides. Instant gratification to whatever experience I’m looking for can be found.

There are lots of blanks left in poorly written stories. Imagine it like comparing the FF7 graphics to FF10 graphics. There are fewer polygons in FF7s graphics, more room for your imagination to interpret what they’re supposed to look like. Its like a creative exorcise. I find myself thinking, “Why did she do it this way, if she’d done this and that instead, it would have been so much better.” (Maybe I’m really an editor at heart.) A lot of the problems are similar, often enough the “original” characters are too similar, but everyone has a different interpretation or view about little variances. Fan-fiction is a study in the butterfly effect and that I find truly fascinating.

Now, not every experience experience is a delightful puzzle box waiting to be smashed. Some of the fics out there really do make your eyes bleed and your guts rot, but like they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Sometimes you walk away from the experience harrowed, disgusted, confused and not really sure why you can’t stop crying, but most of the time, I walk away from it laughing. Every once in a while, I find one that really makes me happy and was completely worth the effort of digging through all the crap. (And lets face it, most of the truly abhorrent garbage can be spotted before you’re in too deep.)

It generally means I spend a lot of time sighing exasperatedly, snorting in indignation and cackling maniacally while I read. I also pace a lot as my imagination takes over their story and fixes it, improves upon it, or completely dissects it. I walk and pace until I get cramps in my legs and my hips hurt from the movement. That, despite what it looks like, is all the thrill of the hunt for me. There’s nothing more satisfying than immersing myself in a creative work.

So, no matter how much I’m teased, my dirty little obsession isn’t going away any time soon. It won’t stop me from hiding the screen when I’m caught reading something embarrassing, (Snape/Hermione, Twilight anything, Kagome/Sesshoumaru, the list goes on and on.) Its still embarrassing to be caught indulging in something so silly.

I’d like to have a big discussion about Fan-fiction. The good, the bad, the strange. People are interested in all sorts of different things. There is so much variety out there. What interests you? Now, I’m off to find the perfect fan-fiction to compliment the evening.

P.S. I know that “Twilight anything” will come as a shock to many of you who know me, I’m not exactly an advocate of sparkle fairies, but I’d like to write an entire blog post devoted to my stance on Twilight and how Twilight fan-fiction is a fascinating (sometimes disheartening) study into TwiCulture. This, of course, means I’ve started to read some Twilight fan-fiction. Its lead to some interesting discoveries, lots of laughter, and a few happy surprises.

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