In the last month and a bit, the Universe has informed me in the clearest terms imaginable that I need more silly in my life, and that I can and should balance it with my generally awesome Real Life as a teacher/writer/scholar/administrator/ etc. Hence the reviving of my old Alter(?) ego “Camille”, and my presence on Tumblr and Fandomlenses. However, things have changed in my relationship with fandom–or at least Monkee fandom.
You see, the old cure for my geek girl blues, for 25 years, used to be the Monkees. While I’ve always had many fandoms, the standard Monty Python and Douglas Adams and such that have served as the Laughing Cure for many Gen X geek girls, They were always my old standby. If the newer wittier joys I’d found couldn’t do the trick, then…It was time for the Thermonuclear Device. I’ve had to deal with some doozies on the Life Trauma front over the years, particularly between ages 5 and 13, but there was no pain in my life that couldn’t be cleared with 28 minutes of Monkees (2 eps if it was a really bad day). I only needed to pull my box sets off the shelf, hit go, and I’d be smiling like a maniac before the first Kellogg’s commercial. I haven’t needed them much in my life in the last 10 years, being all “grown up” and successful and happy and everything, but it’s always been nice to know they’re on the bookshelf in the library in case of emergency. Even the night I feared they’d lost their potency, that horrid night of February 29 when I walked in the door, made a beeline for the DVD player and shoved in Success Story, I was giggling by the time they started romping around LAX.
I could tell the giggle had changed, but I figured that it would pass. After all, Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy was and would always be the funniest thing I would ever read, even though the trilogy had prematurely ended at volume 5.* In fairness, I suspect the giggle truly would have lost it’s wistful note in time had it not been for what happened on May 12. I can still laugh, and smile, and suspect that many of my Sunday nights from now on will feature some livestream Monkee viewing/snarking with the girls from Psychojello. But there’s a new shade of grey that’s been introduced to the one place that I thought my Real Life could never invade.
It’s ironic. I’m going to wind up going to more Monkee stuff in the next year or so than I have in the previous 11. While I simply couldn’t justify tickets or time for Nez’s UK tour (Curse you, Ph.D!), I think he will play a date or two here, and I will drop everything to go anywhere in the continental US to see him. I’m going to SSB in September, and I’ve just about talked myself into going to the Con next march. But it’s different. It’s not motivated out of silliness or fangirlness, though I suspect I will get my Squee on at one or more of those events, if for no other reason than that Anissa would have wanted me to. Now, my going is motivated out of the fuller and more mature realization of what those men have meant to me in my life as a geek, writer, and “Monkees normal” healthy adult, and that there may not be many more chances to say thank you. They’ve changed, I’ve changed, and what they mean to me has changed. It’s the nature of life, but I think I’ve been mourning and letting go of that aspect of my younger self at the same time I’ve been mourning and letting go of Anissa.
However, all that left me with a problem, as some streams I never expected to cross are now knotted and entwined. This month I’ve needed Silly in a way I haven’t in a very long time, but the old cure has lost some of its potency. I can giggle at the episodes and swoon a bit over the old pics that circulate around Tumblr, but there’s a note to it that seems hollow—not forced, exactly, but like I’m laughing harder to ward off a new shadow that has crept in. To that end, I’ve been auditioning new fandoms. I’m getting more deeply into Sherlockiana (I’ve been a fan of the ACD stories since forever and LOVE Cumberbatch), but that fandom’s different—more cerebral. I need a dash of absurdism in my fan life to balance out my brain and spark my own creative juices.
I’ve wanted to get into Doctor Who for years, but…I was too intimidated by the size of the canon, and kept finding excuses even though I suspected that I’d love it. No time, remember? There were always more important things to do in the real world than giggle. But today, after I finished some class reading, I followed the advice of a beginners guide I found on Reddit and fired up the first ep of Eccleston on netflix. By the time Rose set foot in the TARDIS for the first time, I was GONE. I think it might be the most visceral and immediate fan reaction I’ve had to something since Princess Gwen honored poor Peter’s spine. I giggled, I swooned, I goggled at the absurdism, and I knew I had found my new Silly, complete with one of the most massive canons in all of fandom.
As a returnee to Monkee fandom for the first time since 2002, I’ve been watching the proceedings on Tumblr with a bit of bemusement. Maybe I’m too much of a canon purist and have too much RL knowledge and affection for the guys as they are to really get into the “slash” thing, or maybe it’s the simple fact that as a geek girl married to the geek boy of my dreams, I’m just not at that phase in my life.
However…I am now ready to admit the very real possibility that (TV) Mike Nesmith is a Time Lord. It would explain a hell of a lot, wouldn’t it?**
*Though I’ll be honest–Mostly Harmless didn’t do much for me, to put it politely…
**watch this space–once I get myself a little more educated in Who Canon I will be delving more deeply into this hypothesis–possibly episode by episode…