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01/05/2002 Entry: "And Now, The Painful Crowbar Metaphor."

WARNING: Badly-trained literary pyrotechnician on staff. Do not attempt these metaphors at home.

With all due apologies.
Every work of fiction is, let us say, a treasure chest. Complete and self-contained, more attractive or less depending on the skill with which it was wrought, containing treasures like characters and settings and items within. And, further, only a limited number of people own keys to the treasure chest; the author of the book or the developer of the game, say. Occasionally, the author will unlock the chest and add another handful of treasures: new characters, new places, new things. And then he will lock it again.

You, as a fanartist/fanficcer, do not have a key. What you have is a crowbar.

You circle the treasure chest with your crowbar, and you look for a place to insert it. Some treasure chests are harder to rip open than others, but somewhere on the treasure chest, there will be a place where you can, somehow, lever it open and add something to the contents within.

Some of you are very skilled with your crowbars and can lever the chest open with no damage, leaving an offering inside that is indistinguishable from the original contents as humanly possible. Some of you, unfortunately, just smash the chest open and lay dried dog turds in the rubble.

Now. My point, assuming I have one.

There is a very real difference between spotting a place to insert the crowbar and actually inserting it. Knowing when to insert your crowbar and when not to is one of the marks of a talented fanartist/fanficcer.
One of the other marks is knowing what to leave inside the treasure chest once you've pried it open.
No specifics here. What is an appropriate opening and what is an appropriate offering is entirely up to you, to the fandoms in which you circulate, and to the people that you are trying to impress. Take up your crowbar and do with it as you see fit, and don't let anyone else tell you what to do with it.

And, just to make this metaphor even more convoluted and stupid, let's take a look at that crowbar itself.
Maybe your crowbar is just a series of dumb jokes.
Maybe your crowbar is a conversation you had with a friend that began with 'what if?'
Maybe your crowbar is your identification with one of the characters.
Maybe your crowbar is your crush on one of the characters.
Maybe your crowbar is musefic, or soulbondage.
Maybe your crowbar is a song call that's too wrong and yet too right to be ignored.
Maybe your crowbar is an old idea that the new characters can be slotted into.
Maybe your crowbar is the little voices in your head.
Heck, maybe your crowbar is the little leprechaun that tells you to burn things.

And you know what? Every single one of those crowbars is equally legitimate. Who am I to say that using your muses to pry open a treasure chest is any less efficient than telling the treasure chest dumb jokes until it falls apart?
No one, that's who. If keeping muses as pets locked up in an imaginary mansion allows you to create the beautiful art and fic that I drool over, then by god you keep that mansion and renovate it every year and don't mind me, I'll just be smashing one of the back windows and throwing extra people in, in the hopes that they'll eventually get let out your front door as art or fic.
Of course, overextending the metaphor, that brings up the possibility that you have sex with your crowbar. At least, mentally. And, uh, I don't want to go there. So.

Abandoning this metaphor entirely and running the hell away before it explodes, I must admit to a sneaking fondness for the sheer energy and love that drives all fanart and fanfic, even the worst, the dog-turd kind. I love you all, you know that? I love you immensely. Even if you can't spell worth a damn or you use lens flare.
Here's your crowbar. Have fun!

Replies: add your comment: currently 9 comments

I [heart] you, Moo.

And you know, for some reason, the X treasure chest is extremely susceptible to Technomancy's dumb jokes. Someone should research this phenomenon.

Posted by Ashlea @ 01/05/2002 02:18 PM EST

...wow.

How is it that you know exactly which metaphor to use? That idea has just been beating my brain to pulp from the inside, and I couldn't get it on paper. Go figure.

Posted by Moonshine @ 01/05/2002 08:42 PM EST

You know, I was loving this rant right up until the last sex-with-crowbar remark. Now I'm just resoundly cursing my graphic and, above all, logical minded imagination. Curse you ;).

Posted by Lex @ 01/05/2002 11:48 PM EST

I'm glad someone loves me TwT.

Seriously, this is brilliant. It's nice to know that someone finally realizes what fandom is and appreciates what fans do, despite how stupid and wrong a lot of it is. It takes just as much effort to butcher something as to glorify it, dammit.

Posted by Lea @ 01/06/2002 12:54 AM EST

Nice non-rant...thing... So what happened to viciously hating those saps from a while back who write musefic? Well, whether I'm confused or not, this one made sense. :)

Posted by StB @ 01/06/2002 04:05 PM EST

I've taken over the vicious muse-hating! HA!

...and you know, inserting the crowbar into the treasure chest sounds like a thinly-veiled euphamism for sex.

Just like the original inserting-the-lever one sounded like buttsex.

Posted by Ed @ 01/06/2002 05:36 PM EST

Easy, StB: I'm a big fat hypocrite!

Or, to be slightly kinder to myself and plagiarize shamelessly, 'I am large. I contain multitudes.'

Nah. Actually, I don't hate hate anyone. Sometimes I'm just up too late, on too much caffeine, and prone to exaggerate wildly to make a humorous point. Or, to be more precise, to make a point that my at-the-time completely-insane brain thinks is funny.
And, frankly, I have such a deep and abiding love and respect for anyone willing to take the time and make the commitment to fandom that it overrides any irritation I might have nicely. When I'm sane.

And Ed: of course it sounds like sex. Did you expect anything different from me? From me?

Posted by Mooncalf @ 01/06/2002 10:23 PM EST

I personally use 'hate' as short for 'think really really sucks and wish would go far away and perhaps get a non-life-altering but uncomfortable venereal disease'.

See, if I had to say that every time I wanted to express my displeasure I'd be out of displeasure by the time I got done.

...and no, blatant sex metaphor is just what I've come to expect!

Posted by Ed @ 01/06/2002 10:55 PM EST

After Ed's comment about the phrase 'inserting the crowbar', I now look at Moo's remark about 'what is an appropriate opening' in a whole new light.

Damn. Lex isn't the only one with a graphic imagination... :o\

Posted by JohnnyBoy @ 01/08/2002 05:47 AM EST

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