Or at least one of the biggest annual fannish events, Yuletide. For those unfamiliar, Anna Wilson describes it as follows in her paper: “Yuletide, an annual fan fiction gift exchange that has been running since 2003, is a festival for “rare and obscure fandoms” (http://archiveofourown.org/collections/yuletide). Participants fill out a form indicating the rare fandoms that they are willing to write for and are assigned a recipient; they then write a story tailored to this recipient’s request and upload it to a central archive (previously a dedicated archive, now the Archive of Our Own) where it is made public on December 25. They also fill out a form indicating the rare fandoms for which they would like to receive fan fiction and can give a number of further details about the kind of story they would like; participants often supplement these brief request forms with Yuletide letters, hosted publicly on their LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, Tumblr, or other social media space, which their assigned writer can seek out in order to glean details with which to write the best possible gift for their recipient. Thus each participant usually writes a story for one person and receives a story from another. ” (You can read more on Fanlore.)
Kristina Busse states that “(it) showcases the central quality that distinguishes a fan-created Lizzie who runs off with Mr. Darcy against her parents’ wishes from, say, Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary (1995) (…).”
Shannon K. Farley talks about how “Yuletide in particular and fandom, in general, are their own subcultures, their own systems, and they have their own norms for both the writing and the reception of their literature. When a story is written for Yuletide, it is written as a gift, with a specific recipient in mind.”
If Yuletide indeed shows the central quality of our fannish subcultures, then maybe it is time to stop the wank for a few days and join together in a melody about queering our culture, made famous by Judy Garland.
- Busse, Kristina 2017. “Fandom’s Ephemeral Traces.” In Framing Fan Fiction: Literary and Social Practices in Fan Fiction Communities. University of Iowa Press https://muse.jhu.edu/book/55237
- Farley, Shannon K. 2016. “Versions of Homer: Translation, Fan Fiction, and Other Transformative Rewriting.” In “The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work,” edited by Ika Willis, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 21. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2016.0673.
- Wilson, Anna. 2016. “The Role of Affect in Fan Fiction.” In “The Classical Canon and/as Transformative Work,” edited by Ika Willis, special issue, Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 21. https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2016.0684.
Make the Yuletide gay and a fannish new year!