My first article for Geek Syndicate was posted on the 22nd of April 2015, and in the following year and four months I’ve somehow managed to sneak a (current) total of 32 articles, interviews, reviews and other random gibberish that pops into my brain (along with one or two videos but I’ve now decided to stop torturing you all with the combo of my face/voice).
Barry and the editorial team have yet to discover this mistake and to this day I continue writing for Geek Syndicate. I expect writing this post will expose as an imposter amongst the genuinely talented Agents and shortly after that a lynch mob will knock down my door and demand I hand over my password for the site.
You may expect someone who did their degree in Creative Writing to not be so harsh on themselves but let me tell you something; after that one mandatory Writing For Non Fiction module in my first year I strictly avoided all non-fictional classes until my dissertation year where a conflict of class schedules with my minor subject meant I had to take Writing for Display instead of something like Script to Film or Writing for Radio. To be honest I never liked non-fiction writing or journalistic writing, it wasn’t my creative bag.
So that begs the question of why did I apply to join Geek Syndicate in the first place?
I had spent years feeling like I wasn’t entirely welcome in the Geek collective; I became too anxious to be at a convention without a buffer of friends thanks to constantly experiencing an unwelcome attitude in comic book shops, when I’d tried joining discussions on-line or when I HAD attended conventions by myself. The internet wasn’t exactly a safe haven for me as far too many times I had come up against that “Oh my god, you’re A GIRL?!” reaction when getting involved with forums of message boards. Too many disheartening experiences led me to nearly totally cutting myself off from joining in on the Geekdom from about the age of 15 to 22. I kept my love of comics, superheroes, sci-fi and fantasy a secret – I even stopped reading comics for many years, only casually picking up graphic novels to read whilst standing in a high street book shop but never daring to buy them. I even cringed as I bought the books I needed to read for my Writing for Graphic Novels module in my dissertation year – I was worried what the man behind the till would say.
I’m sure you’re all finding this utterly riveting stuff (anyone… no?) but have been left wondering what this has to do with what Geek Syndicate means to me?
Well, I applied to write for Geek Syndicate at a time when over the few proceeding years I had really started to get back into the swing of things and was happily calling myself a Geek, but had yet to really feel a part of any kind of Geeky community. I still stuck to my known group of friends when attending a convention and was still scared to engage with other Geeks as a whole, I was still feeling like an outsider amongst a group of people famously ostracised by most other social groups. When I mentioned to fellow GS Agent Vix that I felt really out of touch with my creative side and hadn’t written anything more than a couple of lengthy facebook statuses in years she sent me a link on how Geek Syndicate were looking for new writers. I’d seen Vix’s articles getting shared on my FB and Twitter feeds and I’d even had to pleasure of meeting Barry at LFCC, so I knew the site and its people were both pretty great.
I didn’t expect much when I submitted two sample pieces of work, I was fully prepared to be told “Thanks, but you’re not what we’re looking for” and maybe even some disguised comment about how I wasn’t a `real geek` (whatever that means, but I’ve heard it from other sources plenty of times) Like I mentioned a few hundred words ago, non-fiction writing wasn’t really my strong point as I wouldn’t have been surprised if I got told my examples were terrible.
But Barry was amazingly positive about the two articles and had me signed up to be a writer for the site pretty quickly. I was so excited to see my first article go live (“David Bowie’s Bulge, or Why I’ll Always Love the Anti Hero”) and very quickly followed it up with an attempt at the ever popular `listicle` style of writing. For the first time in years I began writing regularly, usually spending my half an hour lunch typing away and coming up with ideas. I haven’t always been entirely successful in my writing, like the tattoo series which should have run weekly for three months but just about made it to one month. I also know that I’m not the best technical writer with my spelling and grammar errors and run on sentences (yes, I am aware I do that quite often) but that frizz of pride I get every time I see my work up on the Geek Syndicate website or tweeted about by the GS account has never gone away.
For the longest time I felt like I wasn’t part of the Geek community, that I would never be part of it, and for the longest time I had lost my creativity and love of writing. Getting to work with Geek Syndicate has not only helped me get back in touch with myself as a writer but it has also shown me that there are people out there who welcome me into their group. I am part of a community, one that doesn’t care if you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of every character from a comic book series, or that you can’t remember the name of the guest star character from a random episode of an old sci-fi TV series. This is a community of people that only cares that you enjoy something and offers you a place to express the joy you get from your favourite book, or film, comic series or podcast.
Over the last year and four months I’ve had some pretty crappy things happen in my life; I watched someone I loved deeply suffer through a terrible illness and how my family struggled when that same person passed away. I’ve been to more funerals of family members this year than I have done in my life so far, I got made redundant, couldn’t afford to stay in my own home and then couldn’t find a job for months. My new job caused me untold amounts of stress and anxiety and then I got made redundant again. But throughout all of this some of the best moments, the genuinely joyful experiences have been thanks to Geek Syndicate. I‘ve had the opportunity to do things that I never would have before, like seeing the new Star Wars film a whole week before anyone else or when Paul Rudd and Peyton Reed unexpectedly turned up at the Ant Man screening! And all through those bad times I had the support of amazing people like Barry and all the other Agents of Geek Syndicate, which meant so much to me.
I know I sometimes take forever to actually get my reviews and articles done, or send emergency emails out to the editorial team because the website has been updated and I can’t figure out how to do something like manage SEO content for my posts – sorry about me, team! – but at no point have I ever been made to feel like I wasn’t part of the Geek Syndicate family or that my screw ups and questions were a burden.
I don’t feel like I just write for a website, I feel like I’ve truly become a part of a group of wonderful people. Getting to be a part of Geek Syndicate has meant a lot to me and although I’ve only been here for a tenth of its ten-year life I do hope I’ll be writing for the team for many more years to come.
I’ve now written more than I have done in years, and not just articles for Geek Syndicate – I’m 30 pages and near 30,000 words into a story – I’ve gone out and done more things with my spare time than I have done for years and although I still prefer to be with friends when I go to conventions or events getting to wear my press pass gives me more confidence to speak to people I would never have approached before. Also, I got some free stuff too! Score one for me!
I really love being an Agent of Geek Syndicate, happy 10th Anniversary guys – here’s to many, many more years!
(By the way, I kept getting reminded of my time at university whilst writing this because the 10 year anniversary of Geek Syndicate also marks it being ten years ago that I first went to uni. That makes me feel super old…)
GS Blogger: Fia