Never been to a con but I've found lots of warmth and a sense of belonging in many parts of fandom. Nothing like a friendly place invested with team spirit to call your own. I was thinking this morning how in previous fandoms I've felt I had a definite niche, as fan or writer. Bleach, a wildly growing fandom, has had me on wobbly feet sometimes about where my place is (or should be). In RL and in fandom, I'm generally a floater--I get along with most divisions--but there are times I don't feel fully accepted in one group or I feel out-of-touch with another (as in not "getting" the lexicon, understanding the attitudes). Bleach is a fandom where I've floated a lot.
Among IshiHime fans, I encounter some who think yaoi is gross and they squint at my bukake orgy fic. Among yaoi fans I encounter some who think het is gross and I'm sure they wouldn't look twice at my fluffy domestic comedies. There are attempts among intelligent fans to be civil about "bisexual" fans but there's also some antagonism and some (understandably) jumpy attitudes; I've survived and/or read about some nasty yaoi/het confrontations in other fandoms so I "get" that but still chafe at it. I'm reminded of my pre-marriage years as a bisexual person active in the GLBT communities where the lesbians didn't quite trust the bi's because they believed we were "experimenting" and would turn to the patriarchal territory of marriages upon graduation, forever to ignore their plight as a legitimately disenfranchised minority....
Hmph... excuse me there... started welling up with bitterness... ANYWAY...
In fandom, there's also the role of appreciator versus maker of things to be appreciated. How much does one take an audience into consideration when writing fics; how much is the-hell-with-it-I-make-what-I-want? There are some class acts out there who are professional and/or serious art students and there are the young scribblers or dilettants like me. Sometimes I want to critique stories with a fraction of the enthusiasm I used to (it was my job once, teaching Creative Writing)but there's the matter of some writers not wanting to be critiqued and how do you know? There are just as many complaining that they never get reviews.
RPGs--completely foreign territory to me.
And among all the divisions of fans, I see the struggle of groups to steal the product away from the originator and remake it in their own images. A noble struggle--the appropriation of text and story is the highest purpose of all fandom, imv. It's just when the ship battles start that I wonder what the hell is wrong with everyone. I duck a good deal of the time but when I stick my neck out during a scuffle to offer an opinion, my head gets blown off. I only have so many heads.
Do you feel anonymous and unrecognized? Do people gush over your work and make you feel embarrassed because you just want to be an ordinary fan? Do you feel like you lurk and don't contribute to fan discussions enough? How close are you to friends in fandom? Where do you belong?
Do you feel you've found a niche in the Bleach fandom?
Give me your thoughts. Mine are amorphous right now, but I'd check "still looking" in this poll.