I’d dabbled in short fiction, and writing seems to run in the family, but I kind of trace my real start in writing to another source.
In the ’90s, Nick at Night began airing The Monkees. My sisters and I got hooked on the absurdity pretty quickly right before I started high school. (What can I say? We were the target audience, 30 years too late.) Over the next couple years, I met and saw two members of the Monkees in concerts (three different events)—Peter Tork and Davy Jones.
Almost year ago, I got text messages from two of my sisters within seconds, basically saying the same thing:
I’m so sorry about Davy Jones!
That was how I found out he’d died. He had a heart attack at 66. For some odd reason, the youngest of the Monkees was the first to go.
One of my favorite Monkees’ songs actually sung by Davy, plus a classic first season romp. Sigh. Second season hair was so much better
It was a sad surprise, even if it’s not completely unheard of (I mean, Peter Tork, the oldest of the Monkees, hit 70 just two weeks before). It hit me that night as I saw a clip from the old TV show that he was really gone. But let’s be serious here: he wasn’t a close personal friend, and I’m not going to mourn him like one. His death didn’t make me face my own mortality, or give me a sobering wake up call, or anything else. It was a sad note.
But two weeks later, I remembered what I owe to Davy Jones.
When my sisters and I started watching The Monkees, I liked the show so much, I had to write about it. Yes, it’s true—I came to writing through fanfiction. Monkees fanfic. (Is this as shameful as I think it sounds?) And though Davy himself wasn’t the biggest reason for my doing that, he was part of the ensemble. He was part of the reason I started to write.
Davy and me (holding records?), in 1998. And yes, that extra hand on my waist is Davy’s. I’m 15, he’s 52. Is that skeevy? Oh well.
So thank you, Davy Jones.
The fanfiction trend continued through high school, including both the Monkees and Star Wars. Fanfiction also helped me find some of my first writing friends and partners, Susan and Sarah. They didn’t know one another; I worked with both of them. We co-wrote some of our short stories, or just wrote in the same universes, swapped stories, and generally fed one another’s writing muses.
A few other friends from high school were also really supportive of my writing—Kim, who read my fanfic and still encouraged me to write ;), and Erin, who is now also a writer. Thank you all .
What do you think? Is fanfiction (and Monkees fanfiction) a bad way to get into writing? How did you first find writing friends?