Like a Car
Opening Comments by Nicki Lynch
When I first got my car, it turned over and started the first time I stepped on the pedal and turned the key. As it got older, my car refused to start on the first crank, but usually would start on the second or third try. As time went on, my car decided that the summer was the pits and would often refuse to start for five minutes, while in the winter, it would only take a try or two. Currently, I have to go through a ritual to make it start that would do a beginning religion proud. But, on rare occasions, my car will still start on the first crank.
When we first started going to conventions and fandom was new and shiny to us, it was exciting. The people seemed full of life, funny and, most of all, friendly. We were one big happy family and we all had the same roots. As the years went by, the flaws in the people we saw continually at cons became more apparent and the common roots and sense of comradeship eroded. Now cons seems to be groups of people who meet at a specific time and place, but don't really know or interact with each other. The common bond of fandom is missing and the common history and comradeship is gone.
However, like any car, the old feeling is there every now and then. I became aware of this when we attended our first Corflu in Cincinnati earlier this year. It was a small con and we didn't personally know all the people there, but they were people we had heard of, in relation to fanzines, or had read about, for years. And they were as nice and interesting as fans had been when we first started going to cons.
The programming at Corflu IV was sparse, but, as the line goes in the Tracy and Hepburn movie Pat and Mike, "It was choice." The main programming on Saturday was a live fanzine, something that we had never seen before, but obviously not a fannish first. It was wonderful!
Then, that evening, the consuite sparkled with talk... about fanzines! Not who was dating who, politics, or petty disagreements, but fanzines as I'd never heard talk about before! I didn't agree with all that was said that night; I don't believe in a narrow definition of a fanzine, but it was interesting to hear people seriously discussing fanzines as if they actually read them and were interested in them.
Maybe this is unique to Southern fandom, but fanzines are rarely a topic of conversation. Yes, it is grudgingly admitted that they do exist, but Southern fandom exists for cons and parties, much like Southern colleges exist for sports. So, to hear fanzines talked about as a vital part of fandom was great!
Which leads me back to my car. Every now and then, the old car starts like new, as if it were fresh off the lot and ready to conquer the roads. And that is how Corflu makes me feel. I feel new and fresh, that the thing that interests me in fandom -- fanzines and communicating with other people -- is still around and sti1l a part of fandom. I suppose that's why we decided to keep on doing Mimosa, to communicate with people and keep the tradition and interest alive for us and those who read this.
Illustration by Julie Scott