Happy Monday. I hope August has treated everyone well. Today’s post focuses on fanfiction.
There is some housekeeping to share around the site. Our calendar page has moved under the ‘Devotional Life’ section and can now be found here. On our ’Reading & Resources’ page a number of articles have moved off to our wiki, mostly basic information that is better suited for the wiki.
Our ’Otherfaith Mythology’ page has undergone significant change. A number of myths were moved from this site off to Archive of Our Own(Ao3), a transformative works site. We have an official Otherfaith tag there as well, under ‘Otherfaith Religion & Lore’. As I moved my fanworks of the Four+ Gods and their spirits to the site, I added commentary and background information about them. Those with new commentary are linked below.
- Ava at the Gate
- the Bone Box
- the Book Hoarder
- Calling + Consent
- Corliss & the Sea
- the Dragon-Girl
- Founding of the West
- in June, to December
- the Ophelia & the Clarene
There have also been new stories posted to Ao3. I’ve noted the author along with the stories.
- Almost Heroes by Faemon (*Note:* This story is only available when you’re logged into Ao3)
- Godhood by Elliot
- Heat by Aine
- Katniss & the Sea by Faemon
- Polarity by Faemon
- Transformation by Elliot
One reason I bring up fanfic, and why I’m moving my works onto Ao3, is to emphasize the importance that these works have within the Otherfaith. Of course more practical posts about the gods and the function of the religion are important as well. But stories are a love of mine, and I find them effective in conveying ideas. They’re also deliciously open for interpretation, more than a simple basic post on a god. Especially when spirits aren’t explicitly identified, people are left to decide which spirit it may be. And every choice, every naming, reflect something about that person and about the spirits.
Another reason I’m moving my own stories onto Ao3 is because I consider my own works fanfic of the gods. I feel that the Other People’s understandings of the gods need to be felt out through our stories, and I’m no longer comfortable establishing my own stories as the Legitimate Canon. There’s better methods to arrive at religious canon. No doubt the stories I have created and experienced influence my understandings of the Four+ Gods and that shows through in the more authoritative posts on them. I can’t disconnect it entirely. And some stories have ‘stuck’ at this point, simply because they’ve been around and I’ve been telling them and I considered them canon before I began shifting my approach to my own work.
Considering my own work fanfic has given me more freedom than I once had. There is far less pressure upon myself to get the story ‘right’ or to completely finish the story. There are many, many stories that I’ve written that haven’t seen public view due to being uncompleted or not as honed as I would prefer. Framing them as fanfic – something I consider much more ‘in process’ that other works, though this is not a viewpoint shared by other fanfic writers – enables me to consider sharing them. It eases my anxieties toward religious storytelling.
It has also changed my approach to spirit interaction and ‘otherworld journeying’ (a term which I am less fond of every day and wish to find a replacement for). That aspect of my practice has a large component of experiencing various stories about the spirits, as well as engaging with my personal spirits. There is constant tension in my explorations of Western Fairy between my honest/raw experience and resisting Spiritual Grandstanding, becoming a farce of myself or Mary Sue. I’ve chopped myself out of stories where I was a participant because I didn’t want people to confuse the spirits with me. Yet some stories are not able to be told when I chop myself out. I stick my fingers in places they shouldn’t be, seeking honey and often simply getting bit.
I was, at one point, far more open about my explorations than I am at present. It attracted attention I eventually found toxic and degrading. There was more freedom to it, an openness that I haven’t achieved again. Talking with friends has made me (re)consider the usefulness of sharing more ‘direct’ experiences with my gods and spirits, though I still wobble back and forth. Considering the stories I experience fanfiction makes them, by their nature, more personal than before. Though I still question how far my spiritual self should intersect.
Seeing other people’s writings within the context of the Otherfaith has made me more confident in sharing my own more intimate stories, though. The intersection with Self and Story is inevitable. We bleed into our writings, our sharings. There’s no getting around it.
There’s no perfect story.
Over on Drawing Stars, Jack has been writing on his gods and spirits. I recommend checking out the stories there.
…the person with the best sense of what is hurting you is you, and deities often deal in broad brush strokes. If we want to pursue healthy spirituality, we need to be active participants in our relationships with deities, tell them what we need, and let them know what hurts.
Here is an excellent piece on why internet bullies don’t know you – and all their insults are just meant to get you to shut up. Considering some recent behavior I’ve seen, I think it’s a good thing to remember. (And for people to remember that insults from our friends tend to hurt a lot worse, so try to be kind.)
Within the wider online community, we’re often able to treat each other badly because we dehumanize them, or at best devalue them. Sadly, dehumanizing is sometimes one of the few responses to someone being senselessly cruel or degrading – to treat them as human would to be acknowledge that someone that is like you is trying to hurt you. And often in our little ‘blogosphere’, that hurt tends to come down because, as the above article says, we want someone to cry and shut up. We have an incredibly inability to handle boundaries as well, sometimes mistaking those for telling someone to shut up. And sometimes we just get carried away with our online persona and forget that we make liars of ourselves in doing so.
Thank you for reading. ‘Of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist god religion. We are supported through Patreon and want to give special thanks to our patrons Jack at Drawing Stars and Leithin Cluan at Treasure in Barren Places. If you enjoy the writing here, consider becoming a patron!