I am Cindy, currently living in Tampa. Both my Dad and husband were military (US Air Force) so I have travelled and lived in some other places, but the Southern US is home, for me.
I watched the show when it originally aired, and completely loved it. I am a huge fan of the classics, (art, literature, music, architecture, some) and one of my favorite 'games' to play with the show was to say what piece of music was being played or try to remember what poem was being quoted/written by whom before the show told you or the credits rolled. (I love Shakespeare. I was blessed with a a good teacher. Coincidentally, her name was Catherine.) It was in the 'pre-internet' days when my classic poetry and Shakespeare were all in books, and my music collection was on LP's! I adored how richly and deeply the show was drawn, and it quickly became 'must see' tv for me, back in the day. I also like to write, but it is a thing I do for pleasure.
After the show was cancelled, a long time passes, life happens, and I settle down to marry and have kids, not thinking very much about the show again, other than to know I loved it dearly and had several episodes stored on VHS tapes. Jobs come and go, and life does the same, and I am a dinosaur in the computer age, and my husband slowly introduces me to the age of technology and the internet. I hate my cell phone. I don't own an e book, though my teenagers each own a Kindle. I like the tactile feel of a hard bound book. I just do. My family teases me about my digital incompetence. That's okay. They're heathens. (smile)
On a lark and a whim, as much as anything else, one day I type "Beauty and the Beast" into the search bar, end up needing to moderate the search, because I'm getting hits for the Disney movie and the CW series mixed in with what I'm trying to find, and then, there it all is. Places like CABB and Tunnel Tales, and the Steam Tunnels, and "An Ever Fixed Mark" and I'm leap frogging my way, and following links from place to place, as I try to 'explore' this odd little world, this fandom world, where the Bluebird still sings, and every dream is still possible.
I all but tumble and stumble into the beautiful reams of fan fiction people have been writing for years and putting up there to share out of the goodness of their hearts. I got lost for weeks and weeks, reading, realizing, searching for more... It was like finding the home you didn't realize you'd lost, in a way. Like finding the show you knew you did lose. And there it was again, and it wasn't 'cancelled.' It not only still lived, it lived in every single incarnation and direction imaginable. Catherine didn't die. They got married and had kids. No, Catherine did die. It's Diana he loves, now. He's the son of an alien. He's the son of a prince. There are others like him. No, there aren't. Winslow is still alive. Maybe Ellie, too. Margaret still has something to teach me. Even if the only thing she teaches me is that Jacob should have married Mary. Well, then.
It's all possible. it's all good, if it's written well, and sometimes even if it isn't. It's there. It's there. It just wasn't, before. It was like they started airing the episodes again, and each new bit of fiction and art was a new week. Don't worry. The show didn't get cancelled. It went on for years. It's going on, still. It was a marvelous feeling.
I'd never belonged to a fandom. I'm not sure that I 'belong' to this one, since I haven't really contributed to it enough, yet, and am still learning my way as I go, to a large degree. But I am certain that the show was a good thing, and it has surely drawn many very interesting, kind and intelligent people into its fold.
As an unabashed romantic, the show resonated deeply, with me. I have watched all seasons but write mostly for what I now understand is the "Classic" or "She Never Died" model. (See, I did not even know there were such 'divisions' of things until I started reading, or that they could be a point of contention, for some folks.) To me, it's all good, and the more there is, the better it is. I don't dislike Diana as a character. She's well drawn and fascinating, in her way. So was Elliot, Paracelsus, Laura, Devin, and Gabriel, all in their different ways. To me, that was the point. But the romantic in me tends to play in the universe we were offered more of. There's just more stable ground beneath your feet, to walk around and explore in S1 and S2. So I play there, mostly.
Reading what other people wrote, and watching how they explored everything got me writing for pleasure again, a thing I had not done in a long time. It was just to answer the question "Can I do this?" for myself.
I think some of the talent level out there is jaw droppingly good. And even when it is maybe average, in some way, there is heart in it. You can see the place the authors and artists out there are trying to reach. You can tell there was something inside them, (be it as small as a blindingly fast vignette or a long, muli-chapter story arc) that was just dying to get out, to be born. I applaud every one of them for that. It takes courage to be brave enough to put yourself out there, and 'show yourself.' Much easier to stay a bit hidden, yes? But we go with Courage, and we go with Care, when we can. Vincent would have told us to do that. Bless the people who can, and do. They have created/ are creating something amazing, and many are doing it without a guidepost or a clear road to travel on. The show has been gone, for decades. We "build" on each other, then, when we build.
After understanding such a thing existed, I could not wait for WFOL to come. 2014 was my first year. I hope to enjoy many more, with all of you.
I like all the fan fiction, and will read from every season. From the standard and classic to the 'what happens if...' from the Alternate Universe stuff to the episode expansions. From the soft and G rated to the X to the 'let's push the envelope and see what happens if we do this.' It's all a big experiment, to me. One that has kept the dream alive, as the saying seems to go.
The welcoming kindness of many has kept me coming back. I am glad I am here. I am glad you are, too.
Very big hugs,