Monday Musings: A Coming Out

May 17th, 2010 § 14 comments

On April 23, I gave myself the freedom to do something unusual.

I let myself be a Twilight fan.

Creation Entertainment, AKA The Official Twilight Convention came more or less to my backyard, a 10-minute jaunt over the Potomac. I found out about this almost a year ago, but I thought maybe I would avoid it. But when I found out that Peter was going to be there, I thought, “Maybe I should go.”

I was sufficiently ambivalent about it that I still put off buying tickets until the very last minute, and I didn’t really advertise in fandom that I was going to go, although I thankfully found out via Twitter that some other writers would be there (CullenBabe86, IngenueFic, Izzzyy, and TrixieTropical.) Nevertheless, as the day approached I let myself go a little bit more out. I bought a t-shirt (this is partially for Comic-Con, as well) which has the words “Team Carlisle” spelled out in international phonetic alphabet, and I went ahead with something I’d been planning to do—get printed copies of Ithaca.

Now, this was something I was already doing for my beta readers and my dad. But along the way, I thought…gosh. I could print one for Peter.

And I freaked out about it. The thing is, no one in the world of Twilight would be more pleased to get a copy than Peter, probably. I suspect he’s one of the few, if any, people who actually think as deeply and as constantly about the character of Carlisle Cullen than I do. And while Peter is attractive, I don’t think of him as Carlisle, nor am I really a fan of Peter himself, although I admire his work. I more view us as two people who are fans of the same fictional character.

But there’s a lot of stigma attached to fan work and its connection to the actors, and there’s a lot of feeling that the people in fandom who want to get their work into the actors’ hands somehow think there’s a direct connection between their fanfiction and the actors’ zippers. Now, I don’t know how true that actually is, but fearing that stigma, I really agonized over whether I should just be a normal fan and have Peter autograph a photo for me, or if I should give him something I thought he’d really like.

I went with the latter, and I’m glad I did.

The event itself was terribly fun. I met all the aforementioned people, as well as some new friends who happened to be seated near me. The fans there represented the whole range of Twilight fan ages. There were women in their fifties who came alone, women in their thirties who brought their mothers, young girls who wore Twilight bangles and Team Edward t-shirts. We played trivia. We screamed at the Eclipse trailer. We listened to the ladies from The Lexicon talk about their trips to Forks. We were just fans, sharing something we all enjoyed.

And we listened to Peter. He’s a rambler—you ask him a question and he runs off talking for ten minutes and then remembers he was supposed to be answering a question. He talks about his family a lot, which is so refreshing in this age of high-profile divorces. Perhaps it’s me projecting my reading of his character onto him, but I find it hard to see Peter as anything other than a husband and father. He takes those roles very seriously, and it’s wonderful. He loves talking to his fans, and he’s very earnest in person.

I chose not to buy photo-op tickets—they were expensive, and would have been in addition to my $25 autograph, so I opted out. Around 7, they started running autographs, with the “gold pass” holders first. There were several hundred of those folks. I didn’t get in to see Peter until almost 9:30, by which time he looked so haggard I kind of wanted to tell him to forget my autograph and go get some sleep.

When I got up there, he looked up at me from the table, nodded slightly and said, “I like your hair.” (I have a super-short style.) I thanked him, and had him sign my copy of Ithaca on the half-title page, since only authors get to sign the title. And then I handed him his copy, and said, “You know how you’re always saying that Carlisle didn’t get enough face time in the stories? At the moment, I’ve pretty much devoted my life to changing that.” I explained what the story was, why I was giving it to him, and the extent to which I research the character he plays.

And he lit up. There is no other way to describe what happened right then. He asked me more about it, what the book was about, what kinds of things I look at in Carlisle’s character. Then he insisted on a photo (which weren’t supposed to be taken, since they cost extra money), and also wouldn’t let me go until I had pointed out exactly where I’d autographed his copy, which still, almost a month later, makes me smile—I went in to get an autograph from Peter, and he insisted on having mine.

We talk a lot in this fandom about the distinction between being a “fan,” and we look down on those who “fangirl.” For some reason the term “Big Name Author” has become popular in our fandom where “Big Name Fan” is used in others, because people feel so strongly that they aren’t really associated with Twilight per se—call them a big name, but don’t call them a fan, please.

There were a lot of really wonderful things from that day. I made some new friends; people I knew already from online, and people I’d never met before. I learned a lot about Twilight—how much effort goes in to a lot of things that we scoff at (I even got new insight into Carlisle’s awful scarves). And most importantly, I let myself enjoy it. I put away for a second what fandom would think, this distant relationship we’re supposed to have with the canon, the way we’re supposed to look down our noses at the screaming “fangirls.” Because I was able to do that, to relax enough to say, “You know what, I’m going to give him this book, even though people will think it’s weird and fangirly,” I’m pretty sure I made Peter’s day.  He may never read the book, and if he does, I doubt I’ll ever hear from him. But in that moment, seeing his face, hearing his excitement that someone cared that much about the person he puts a lot of effort into becoming—it was worth it all. And I had a wonderful, refreshing, reviving time that reminded me why I do this in the first place.

Hi, my name is Jess, and I’m a Twilight fan.

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§ 14 Responses to Monday Musings: A Coming Out"

  • Kayla Griffith says:

    Hello, Jess. Welcome to the session, 😉
    I am so very jealous of you, and I know JUST how you feel. I finally gave in to go to the Twilight Convention in Minneapolis, and my inner fan did backflips. Unfortunately, they cancelled it for a Los Angeles gig and rescheduled it when it is almost impossible for me to go. So, thank you for proudly being a fan, and thank you for sharing your experience.

    • giselle says:

      Aww, what a bummer! Stupid LA gig and getting the “trio.” I actually think these little ones are way more fun–although I felt TERRIBLE for Peter, when 20% of his questions were, “What is Rob like? What’s it like to work with Rob?” And that was *after* they were filtered…sigh. I hope the impossibility lifts and you get a chance to go.

  • Azucena says:

    Add me to the list, I am a Twilight FanFic Fan and I am proud to be in the company of these amazing women! We are together and we love to be here.
    loves and Beijos

  • arfalcon says:

    I love that you went with your gut and gave Peter your book. How great that he’s such a down-to-earth person, obviously recognized that time and love went into your work and wanted to talk to you about it.

    I’d be surprised if he doesn’t read it!

    • giselle says:

      Heh, well, we’ll see if he does. Even if he does, I don’t expect to hear from him. It would be hard–he’d have to go through his agent or something, I’m sure. He couldn’t just up and send me an e-mail. But the note in it said, “If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.” And that’s all I want.

  • scarlett71177 says:

    ZOMG! This is epic awesome! I’m sooo stoked for you! Do we get to see the pictures from the day?

    I’m so stoked you ENJOYED it! That’s the most important thing, and I’m glad you were out and proud! 😉

    • giselle says:

      Ha ha…I debated. Ping me on gchat. I’ve got them. The one of me and Peter turned out incredibly well.

  • manywords says:

    I am so bummed I didn’t go! I came *thiiiiiis* close to going to that con. I live up in Frederick, so it was really close to me, too.

    I’m glad you had so much fun and I’m glad you gave Peter the book. It’s a WONDERFUL book and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.

    • giselle says:

      Aww, you should’ve! And if you’re in Fredrick, we should have coffee some time. I get up there every time I drive to my folks. The con was a lot of fun. Sorry we missed you!

  • farkle says:

    Peter does really seem the most interesting person of the cast, and the most authentic. I love watching interviews of him with his wife. I’m so glad you had the balls to give him a copy of Ithaca, that’s brilliant.

    Even if the Twilight cast ever came near me (not likely) I don’t think I could ever approach one of the actors, even for an autograph. I’m just too shy.

    • giselle says:

      It was funny, really. Peter is just so utterly unremarkable in person that while I was a little nervous about the whole, “My god, I’m giving him my fic, he’s going to think I’m insane” part, actually meeting him was very…meh. I feel like I could sit and have a cup of coffee with him very easily. He’s just a very sweet, sweet man.

  • meljurgens says:

    That is so awesome! I’m reading “Ithaca is Gorges” right now (finally) at the recommendation of a friend, and it’s in fact only the second piece of FF I’ve tried–I’m really picky.
    Anyway, I have just been thinking, as I’m reading it, “Man–Peter would probably LOVE this.” I am a fan of his (follow on Twitter, watch Nurse Jackie, etc.). I also admire so much how genuinely he behaves–consistently–toward his fans, and how immersed he is in the character. AND he loves the books and doesn’t just think of them as “chick lit.”
    I also appreciate how openly and fully he adores his wife and daughters–I’m sure he’s a good girl daddy. I am so glad you gave it to him! Can’t wait to finish reading “Ithaca.”

    • giselle says:

      Yay! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. And “genuine” is so exactly how I would describe Peter. He is just really down-to-earth and real. He loves his girls (all four of them!) so much, and that is just inspiring to see in the days of internet craziness. His copy of IiG included a note from me to that effect–talking about what a great example he sets. Enjoy the rest of IiG

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