Every month the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts to provide an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom. These posts express each individual’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy.
macgyvershe|eagle wings is a senior fan bird (73 years) who is a self-taught, multimedia artist, fanfic writer and illustrator; poet and all round ‘sleepy time gal’ (as their dad called them). macgyvershe considers themselves queer though they’re still trying to determine what pronouns to use. She/her were all that was ever allowed in their youth. Today, macgyvershe|eagle wings talks about getting into fandom and creating fanworks.
How did you first find out about fandom and fanworks?
In the 60’s I fell in love with Illya Kuryakin, a Russian agent on the TV program The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — the original TV program. Writing little ficlets about him in my spare time. I’ve always been artistic and loved to write since I could hold a pencil. There was no internet then. Shocking right, how did people live without the internet??
As I got older I learned of Comic Art conventions and fanzines. These were fan produced spiral bound fan magazines. I wrote stories and illustrated in many zines. Unfortunately during a move to Canada which I really regret, I lost all the copies of zines that I had. Usually if you contributed to a zine with a story or illo’s (illustrations) you got a free zine.
My many fandoms: Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1960’s), MacGyver, Stargate SG-1, Beauty and the Beast (the Ron Perlman version), Star Trek, Star Wars, Forever Knight (ran a fan club for Nigel Bennett, visited the set in Canada, ran two charity auction for the program), Sherlock Holmes (BBC, Ritchie), MCU – Dr Strange (I’ve written a WidowStrange story), Spiderman, Loki, Full Metal Alchemist, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (There’s more anime when I can remember them). Memory gets fuzzy now. I’m going to have to go back into my brain for further archaeological digs to find everything. >:o)
How did you begin doing fanwork?
My parents couldn’t afford to purchase toys for my sister and I, when we were young, so we made our own. It set me up for creating very early. To my way of thinking the world is full of ideas. Those cracks in the asphalt, well, that could be a dragon couldn’t it? The way those leaves move and rustle in the wind — could that be a winged being, fluttering around? Sure thing! Open yourself to your environment.
For me, creating is an integral part of my life. It’s something I’ve always done. Teachers and other mentors have seen that artistic side of me and nurtured it. Age, arthritis and diabetes has set me back a bit from my artistic pursuits. Yet I still find wonder and thrills in being a creator of something that no one else has ever seen.
How has fandom changed since you started?
Ancient fandom; life before the techie times — one thing I remember well, you had a better memory then. Telephone numbers, how to get from point a to b; all that stuff had to be in your brain. All the time. >;o)
What was fandom like way back then? Well, it had all of the drawbacks with very few perks. Connecting was difficult. Snail mail, land lines (do you even know what a land line is?) were your main means of interacting with your fellow fans.
Fanzines were wonderful. People going to office supply places. Purchasing spiral bind combs. Copying pages and pages of stories and illo’s (illustrations), then putting all that together. It was time consuming, tedious work that produced a heavy, fan produced magazine — sometimes all for one fandom, more often a smorgasbord of stories from many creators.
Conventions were the nexus of communications. Vendors, artists and other fans populated conventions selling their wares. As with all human nature there were dicks as well as Dickens in fandom then as now. Networking was imperative way back then.
When did I start writing fan fiction online? I first tried FanFiction.net, I think that was what it was called. It wasn’t the best site to work with. I’m not a techie type so everything has to be simple. Then I found AO3. It was so much more easy for me to traverse and I loved reading the other authors I found there. I’ve got to say I’m still not a great user. I could really use a manual on how to tag stories.
Knowing that some people are concerned about the content of stories on AO3, I say read the tags. There are stories that I don’t want to read, so I always read the tags that warn me of content and stay well away from stuff that I might not enjoy.
What gets you started on a new project and is there any process you follow?
Where do your ideas come from people ask me? I have to confess that my brain is always generating thoughts and snippets of ideas. I work on many projects at the same time. So if I feel blocked or can’t figure out how to make something work, I just put one project down and move on to another. It works for me. I’m not sure it’s for everyone. Organization isn’t my strong suit. My mantra is to enjoy what I’m doing and if I’m stuck, all I have to do is let my brain percolate on the problem and it always finds the answer. Or something that works.
Sometimes other creators will inspire me. I loved beautifulfiction’s Sherlock stories and when she wrote her CatLock stories I was just blown away. I did a CatLock doll for her. It was a three foot tall anthropomorphic cat man. Jinglebellfic wrote a quirky MerLock story that I loved. I made her a MerLock doll which took about a month or so to make. I’ve also made dolls for people I’ve never met. I sent a CatLock doll to a person in India. She lived in a small village that was undergoing a long bout of rainy weather. A month and a half went by and we both thought that the doll had been lost in the mail, but then he showed up and she was thrilled.
I always carry a steno book and a small blank book. When I have a few moments I open to a blank page write snippets of stories, a poem; maybe sketches of Day of the Dead characters (I’m Basque, Apache, Spanish, Aztec) or ideas for dolls.
When I tell people I make dolls they think I do cutesy little frilly female dolls. Not so much. Many of my dolls are male or gender neutral. Don’t get me wrong, I can do female dolls. Yet, I do Dark Elves, Spider Sisters, as well as a Mermaid Shark. Which is a mermaid with a shark fin and tail rather than the typical dolphin like tail.
How did you hear about the OTW and what do you see its role as?
The Organization for Transformative Works is a fan run organization that continues to incorporate fandoms into its massive collection on AO3. You can find all types of fanworks there: Book literature, Celebrities and Real People, Music and Bands, Theater, Video Games, Anime and Manga, Cartoons and Comics and Graphic Novels, Movies, Other Media, TV shows, Uncategorized Fandoms. I mean peeps, what more could you ask for?? If you are into a fandom or want to find a new fan related thing to get into — AO3 is the place to look.
What fandom things have inspired you the most?
When I first came across AO3, I found Verity Burns. Her Sherlock stories were and are classic fan fiction. Some would say better than many of the books available in book stores. Though she wrote only a handful of stories and podfics of her stories. I was mesmerized. She was such a great writer and her podfics were beautifully produced with nuanced characters. She was phenomenal.
Instead of saying, ‘wow, I’ll never be able to do the things she has done’ I set her as my North Star. I don’t have the life experiences, education or writing chops that she has. What I do have is my life experiences, my education and my writing chops. Different than hers and that is a good thing. So I write what I love to write. I’m more of a script writer, that’s my jazz. Looking to Verity to see what is possible, striving to be the best that I can be, as I feel she did.
Enjoying your creations; even when others give you negativity; is the way to go. You have to find the joy in creation. The playfulness in being a creator. That is all that matters in the long run. If others like (love) your stuff, that’s just the cherry on the whipped cream topping of your Rocky Road ice cream.
I’m going to go to AO3 right now and download more photos of fan art. So I’ll see you there.
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