Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Of the Birds and the Boys

Maia’s last blog got me thinking. After the whole putting Ken and Chip in bed together while playing Barbie at six or seven, what was my first slash? Of course, I was slashing before I knew what it was, or that there was even a word for it. I didn’t learn the word until 2004 which I assure you is a long, long, way away from my Barbie days.

So after that brief foray, I think my first slash must have come at eleven, with Jonathan Livingston Seagull. (I’ll tell you that when I read it, it was a recent release. You can do the math and see how far away my Barbie days are.) In Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the theme is love. And for me, it was all about the love between Jonathan and Fletcher. Seagulls. I know. Not even cartoon seagulls. But the scene where they part, when Fletcher vows to turn up on Jonathan’s beach again someday, still brings tears to my eyes. Their love is eternal, man. Not bound by space and time as Jonathan would say. And sorry, Sully, but Jonathan just didn’t love you like he loved Fletcher.

After that, it was Watership Down. From seagulls to rabbits. Hey, I was twelve, okay? Bigwig loved Hazel (a boy rabbit--he’s named after a tree, just go with it.). Bigwig quit the Owsla and took a chance running away with Hazel because of a secret crush. The whole thing about the girl rabbits was just a plot device. They never even thought about girls until half-way through the 500-page book. Bigwig was totally devoted to Hazel.

After someone told me there was a name for what I had been reading, writing, and inferring for so many years, I looked around online and found an actual fanfic of Hazel/Bigwig. (The emotions. No rabbit sex, thanks. It’s not like I was picturing it at twelve, either.)

I made it through a clueless adolescence wondering why I never liked it when Starsky or Hutch dated women, trying to find any little crumb in the romance novels I read. I stumbled over a hero’s gay brother in a Kat Martin book and reread every part that referred to him, even though he never got a boyfriend.

It’s funny to look back on my slashy youth and try to reconcile what I was thinking then with where my brain likes to go now. I love the new sandbox I play in, where I get to hang out with other people who like the same games I play. So tell me, who did you slash before you knew what slash was?


Maia Strong said...

You saw my blog post, so you know my answer to your question. ;) I will say I'm glad to find I wasn't the only kid who went back and reread the bits about the gay characters in various books. I should've known it wasn't just me.

This is a lovely sandbox and I'm so glad I get to play in it, too.

K.A. Mitchell said...

It is so much fun. I can't wait to see where our genre goes next. Thanks again for the inspiration, Maia.

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