Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fandom Fluff: Keeping Secrets

Keeping Secrets

Hoosier Mama

Recently, one of the secretaries walked past me with a smirk and what can only be described as a “knowing” look in her eyes. For an eternity, she held my eyes as she slowly walked by; gazing up at me knowingly, so knowingly…

Gasp! Holy crap! She knows! And if she knows, the whole office must know! They know the true identity of Hoosier Mama and what’s worse…they know what I wrote about them. I believe the exact words used to describe my associates were: “cantankerous, opinionated pragmatists without a single romantic feeling to be found in their cold, cold hearts.”

Surely, they wouldn’t find that insulting, would they?

Well, on the bright side, TLYDF blog got 15 new readers; unfortunately, they’re all of the “let’s-make-fun-of-everybody-who-likes-Twilight” variety.

My career is over. I can’t face them, knowing they know. I better update my résumé. No, I need to remember to start calling it the more pretentious sounding, ego-boosting "curriculum vitae." Proving I know the meaning of big, Latin-y words may just get me a higher paying job.

Or… wait a minute. Maybe I’m just being incredibly paranoid.

Keeping an obsession a secret is never easy. (I have new respect for closet alcoholics and drug addicts. We could learn a lot from them. You know, like, pointers on how to act normal when we’re all anything but.)

For example, I called my mom a day late.

“Why didn’t you call Sunday night like usual?”

The truth? Oh mom…you can’t handle the truth. My mom calls Twilight “that silly vampire book that all the little girls are obsessed with.” She was disappointed to hear I had stooped so low as to read it. If she knew I read fanfiction, all that additional disappointment would cause her head to explode.

The truth? Well, mom, I’m addicted to reading stories written by fans of “that silly vampire book." In fact, Sunday night instead of calling you, I learned I was the last person in the fandom to discover the existence of Master of the Universe. (With 31,157 reviews as of this writing; its readership is massive. I swear watching author Icequeen Snowdragon’s review numbers grow is like watching the numbers displayed on the gas pump when you’re filling an empty tank …except it never clicks off.) I wasn’t about to leave my computer until all 60 highly captivating chapters were read. And re-read. Sorry mom.

So, I can’t give her the truth. While she waits patiently on the phone for my explanation for calling her a day late, I quickly come up with three somewhat plausible stories (there is a reason I read ff and don’t write it):

A. I was shopping. (Except aren’t most stores closed on Sunday night?)
B. I was shoveling snow. (Except she knows it doesn’t take us four days to shovel 6”.)
C. I… forgot?

I stupidly go with “I forgot” and cringe. My conscience has a field day scolding me:

Great, Idiot! Now your dear, sweet mother thinks you don’t hold her in high enough regard to remember her existence! You should have picked B!

I’m lousy at keeping my own secrets, and covering my own ass.

I recently took my laptop to the office to finish up a “WTF?” article. (Hey, I get two 15 minute breaks and an hour for lunch. Don’t judge.) I’m sitting in my cubicle hunkered over the screen engrossed in deciding which word better describes the scene of embarrassment my co-workers created with their former Twilight bashing, “hideous” or “heinous” when a secretary silently walks up, hovering over my shoulder. She says nonchalantly, “whatcha doin?” scaring the holy bejeesus out of me.

I jump sky-high like I’ve been shot out of a cannon, arms and legs flailing. I return to earth, my mouth making strange nonsensical stuttering noises as I fail spectacularly in my attempt to communicate to her what a completely normal person I am. In a panic, my hand fumbles with the curser (Save or minimize? Save or minimize?) before finally just slamming the contraption shut. I turn to her with a guilty-as-sin look on my face and finally answer her question with one word, “nothing”. I sound even to myself like a four-year old proclaiming innocence when caught with a hand in the cookie jar…and a face covered in crumbs.

I stupidly have no explanation ready. I endure in silence the most awkward, heart-pounding five seconds of my existence. We stare uncomfortably at my laptop, like we’re waiting for it to tell its side of the story. The moment passes, and I think she’s going to walk away and I start to breathe easier. Then the unthinkable happens. She says she’s in the market for a laptop and tries to open mine to check out the keyboard. Like a deranged lunatic, I lunge forward shouting out “no!” slapping her hands away. I palm both halves of my computer, keeping them firmly cemented together; then I bring my laptop to safety, cradling it and the secret writing it contains, tenderly against my chest.

She slowly backs away from me with her hands up, exactly how they teach you to escape from a crazy person. I realize my huge mistake; the gig is up. She won’t be forgetting my neurotic behavior anytime soon. Her interest is piqued, which means it’s inevitable: my secret is doomed.

One week later, the article I was working on which details a past unpleasant office experience is posted on TLYDF blog. On that same day, I catch the first secretary looking at me “knowingly”.

So, maybe I’m not simply being paranoid; maybe my super secret obsession is known to my entire office. If that is the case…does anyone know of any job openings? I have a kick-ass curriculum vitae.


  1. I don't think fanfiction is the first conclusion people come to because it's just not on most people's radar. I've told my friends I write stories and even that I post them online, but I won't let them read them or tell them what they're about beyond a vague description. One afternoon, my friend leans over the table and says, "So...are they sex stories?" So that's where people's minds go? In my case the answer is no, but I suppose for many the answer would be yes.

  2. I really thought I was the last one to find Master of the Universe. Finding a great story when it already has a lot of chapters is always bittersweet for me. One because I can keep reading until my eyes dry out but oh that is the sweet part. The bitter is realizing on man I need to be getting up in hour. With the whole Twilight fanfiction being an addiction I completely understand. I once said "My name is Adrianna and I'm a twilight fan" to a group of friends when I got outed. I can't even remember what I did before fanfiction came into my life....

    WTF is favorite! Thank you!

  3. Well, then I'm really the last one to know about this master of the universe bussines...I still don't know it but believe me, I'm going to work on that right now.

  4. Great column hun, your posts always make me laugh out loud.

    I started reading MOTU around the 31,000 reviews part too.

    Good luck with your co-workers, though I'm sure they haven't made the connection to this.

    My mum used to tell me that the best comeback was 'so?' This worked pretty good in high school when I rocked up to a non-school uniform day wearing non brand clothes, one kid came up to me and told me I wasn't cool or something like that. I remembered what my mum had said, and while I cried on the inside on the outside I was like 'so?'

    I adopted this method whenever I was caught out and someone was being all judgemental about it, just the 'so what? i don't care what you think, i like what i'm doing, it makes me happy. so there' or something like that.

    All the best hon, but i wouldn't worry about it. :P

  5. You know I forget how lucky I am to work somewhere where everyone is so accepting of social taboos like Twilight. I am a self-proclaimed twi-addict and all my co-workers know it. However, nobody (and I mean nobody) is privy to my fan fic obsession. Even my fellow twi-tards have no clue that I spend my days off reading (and sometimes writing my own) fan fic. I can relate because I would be absolutely mortified if my secret was ever discovered. Thankfully I don't work in an office and I'm the one in charge!

  6. i know how you feel. i printed a few chapters of a very good but smutty story and forgot them in the printer. needless to say, my co-workers (who are really the people i supervise, b/c i'm there BOSS!!!) found them. they never said a word until we were all at a going away party for a collegue. Then they blew up my spot! I was embarrassed but tried to play it off like they were the crazy ones who were missing out on reading really good smut. Didn't work so much. LOL

  7. OMG! Yep! I can so relate! Twice now I've had a RL friend text me because I've been MIA and have not checked in via e-mail all day.(my RL friends all live in different states and so we e-mail at least once a day). Ummm...yeah it's because I've been busy with work and then checking my Twi-Fic e-mail acct., and reading and writing and oh yeah checking Twitter. *blushes in embarrassment* Of course I can't tell her that. And I've had my mom ask me (on a weekend) "so what have you been doing?" The usual response is "oh...ummm...nothing, being lazy." I can't tell her the real response: "Oh I've just been reading/writing smut fan fiction stories." :)

    No one knows about my Twilight FF obsession. As Kenoshachick said, fanfiction is not on most people's radar and I would have to explain THAT whole concept first if I did tell people.

    (Oh and my work load at the office is often slow, so I too have stolen some time to read or write and many a time I too have almost gotten caught before I can hide or minimize the window!)


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