By OUAF Staff Writer Lori Fitzgerald - @MedievalLit
A TV show changed my life.
That must sound so weird, so shallow, to people who don't understand. But if you are a Oncer, you more than understand. You feel it too, deep within you. That profound effect that usually only people or life events (or in my case, as an English Major, books) can have in altering your perception of yourself and/or the universe. It causes you to act differently, to take the road less travelled. Yeah, a TV show did that.
Before October 2011 I would have scoffed at the idea of a TV show having that much impact on me. I was never a big TV watcher. Oh, over the years I had my shows that I followed, like Buffy and X-files, but I was never as invested in them as I was in my favorite book series, never as touched emotionally or intellectually by them as I was by my well-worn Wuthering Heights, Le Morte Darthur, or my collections of T.S. Eliot or the Bard himself. But the minute the opening scene of Once Upon a Time's pilot unfolded before my eyes, I was enthralled.
By the end of the episode, and increasingly with each episode thereafter, I was hooked through the heart by the characters, the intriguing plot, and the timeless resonance of the literary themes of hope and true love and redemption.
As with many of us, "Skin Deep" in Season 1 was a real turning point for me. Rumple shattered the glass cabinet in rage and desperation on the screen, and something shattered within me.
This TV show was no longer just entertainment; it became something deeper than that. It was a book for me, a literary expression that I could not get out of my head, and I became desperate to find people who understood exactly how I felt, desperate for an outlet to talk about the show with the passion that I felt for it and the literary analysis it inspired in me.
"We will always find each other."
I found Once Upon a Fan. There were other sites as I surfed around the web, but this one had the upfront news I craved, the passion and creativity and humor in the pictures and the fanfiction that kept me coming back for more each day. And, best of all, it had people who were in love with the show, as I was (and still am). I think joining Once Upon a Fan on the website, Facebook, and Twitter is when I truly became a Oncer, a part of a real, vital fan community.
"With one breath, with one flow/ You will know/ Synchronicity." The Police
It happened fast, the changes. I posted comments on Facebook, Twitter, and the website, interacting with other Oncers and forming friendships. One of the first cast interviews was with Lee Arenberg, and I remember tweeting him and Diane Reed, the interviewer, about how impressed I was with the quality of the interview. And they both answered me! I learned that Diane was a published author, and she encouraged me to re-kindle the spark of creative fire that watching Once and reading the fanfiction had brought out in me, and I began to write my own stories again. Chris and Teresa, Oncers who began by writing fan-fiction and became staff members, also became my beta editors for my own work. And I was inspired to write my first Origins articles, after which Gareth (site founder and our fearless leader) asked me, to my utter delight, to become a Staff Writer for the fansite. To top it all off, my own novelette was published, which was an old dream come true. What a whirlwind! I made so many new, lovely, creative friends, became a published author and OUAF Staff Writer, and had the opportunity to go to Enchantacon at the Doubletree Hilton in Orlando and meet these Oncers and some of the cast (like the gracious Raphael Sbarge), as well as to be our fan panel moderator. Once Upon a Time was the crucible for all these wonderful, life-changing events, but really it was the fandom and Once Upon a Fan that inspired me even further, to take what the show was offering me and act upon my creativity. I believe that everything happens for a reason: it was truly synchronicity for me, a magical chain of events that helped me to further realize my best self, my true self, as a writer again.
Publication of my Novelette
Magic is Here! - Moderating The OUAF Panel at Enchantacon
One hundred and forty characters is simply not enough to explain why I nominate Once Upon a Fan for a Shorty Award in the #fansite category (obviously...hence this blog post). But I bet that I'm not the only one who has been affected in a positive, life-changing way by the fandom in general and Once Upon a Fan in particular. I cannot tell you enough how much I adore and admire the fansite for its dedication, its positive attitude, its enthusiasm, humor, and constant evolution. I am proud and so eternally grateful to be a staff member, for the opportunity not only to be a part of this Oncer family and the wonderful charitable works they do, but to have an outlet to express my literary-minded thoughts on the show. And, of course, to have a safe, non-judgmental place to fangirl. A lot.