Disclaimer. This is off the top of my head and not vetted. It’s just what I’m thinking about i my ever rambling mind. Recently PBS Idea Channel did an episode called The Future of Fandom. Go watch it. I’ll wait.
The idea is that fandom will align with the fandom’s member’s world-view to the point that politics and fandoms might just go hand in hand. I would argue this isn’t 100% since I’m counted in two fandoms where I’ve met large groups of people whose politics are diametrically opposed to my own. The Idea Channel’s video asking if fandom can exist without politics, and if fandom might someday create politics, led me back to the idea of content creation and exposure.
In 1990-something I went to a college anthropology class where the guy who sat next to me confessed something: he was writing a book. It’s all on the DL, right? That’s crazy. Shout it proud. I spouted ‘90s pop knowledge, geek underground, anime, Creed and Offspring lyrics like a fountain, and he couldn’t talk to me about anything but classes because he only read non-fiction. He didn’t want to contaminate himself and run the risk of using someone else’s ideas in his own novel. I get that.
Recently I read Janet Evonovich’s non-fiction, How I Write. Let’s add that to Stephen King’s On Writing and his opening to The Gunslinger all of which talk about relaxing or being better able to relax with movies, maybe a novel, etc. We necessarily absorb what’s around us. We breathe the air and see signes on the side of the road and in the grocery stores in spite of ourselves. I don’t read books about mining asteroids. I can’t. I read the cover blurb of one and nearly exploded with the need to get my own story out because I wrote it in 2012 and I’m still editing it in 2014 and it’s driving me to run-on sentences to get this out into the world because I’m still going through CPs and beta readers and ARRRG!!
The end result is this. I personally believe that a content creator (game designer, writer, singer, artist, dancer) is a product of their culture, experience and media exposure as a whole. We cannot separate the creator from their environment, but the creator can choose most of the content they absorb. I, for example, avoid many websites. Many. Many websites. There are whole dark corners and light bright spaces of the internet that I avoid, just as there are many, many books that I don’t read, despite the amount of time I spend in bookstores on a per week basis, all because I do not want to be exposed to that content.
I don’t avoid everything, and I actively seek alternate viewpoints at times, but I do not want to be “contaminated” with other people’s asteroid stories when I have so much non-fiction on the topic available.
Additionally, if you avoid other people’s works, will you know what’s selling, what a magazine you’re submitting to “feels” like, or give your mind to wander and unwind creatively?
What do you search out or avoid? And remember, if you want to be a fan, go ahead. I welcome you to my worlds.