Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dragons Are Too Cool for School

By Fantasy Author Sandy Lender

During my junior and high school days, I landed pretty squarely in the geek click not because of my television preferences—my television viewing was highly regulated by the parental units—but because I joined the computer club in junior high. I joined the math club for the space of about three or four math tournaments before I realized I hated it with a passion and dropped out. Too late! I had the geek label. I took notes in class. I understood things the teachers said. I could respond to the them and sometimes make them laugh with intelligent humor.

I was doomed.

My parents didn't have oodles of disposable income for the latest fads like Strawberry Shortcake or Barbie stationery so I "made" my own with stickers on paper. The other girls saw this for what it was—poor girl’s stationery. It drew attention to my highwater pants and K-mart blouses from the previous school year. It was only seventh grade, but kids were forming their groups of monstrous, self-centered, and self-interested aristocrats. Those with—and those without.

I found an escape through the novels I read and the stories I wrote. Unfortunately, burying yourself in fantasy novels kinda buries you further in that geek category. The nice thing is there are a lot of nice characters to keep you company down there. In fact, if you take a look around, you'll find there are also a lot of nice IRL people to keep you company in that category.

As a tween or teen, it's easy to think that we're alienated or ostracized by "the cool kids" for our differences. We need to be reminded that there are always like-minded people "out there" who enjoy the same activities we enjoy and share the same mindsets we've adopted. Anne (of Green Gables fame) referred to those people as kindred spirits. I prefer that term to "click member." We're not alone in our desire to make funky stationery to fit in with the kids whose parents have oodles of disposable income. We're not alone in our wish to discuss the latest dragon heirarchy in the latest Robin Hobb novel or the newest incarnation of the Stargate universe on SyFy.

Even as an adult with a fulltime job editing magazines and writing fantasy novels, I still have my days when I feel that I've plummeted face-first into the deep end of the geek pool. Luckily, it's become fashionable to be a dragon fan. People who can drop Twilight updates and Supernatural news are en vogue.

And I love it.

I'm sure there are guilty pleasures that you all escape with or that you all think "alienate" you. What oh-so-uncool interest keeps you out of the mega-great club? Keep in mind that we're all geeks and nerds at heart. There'll be no judging here...just scaly fun.

From Sandy Lender, author of Problems On Eldora Prime, Book I of the Dragons in Space series
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win"


Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

I SO relate to everything here. Being a geek in high school myself, I, too, buried myself in Fantasy and Sci Fi--reading and writing. Now, I adore Supernatural, Being Human, Merlin, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary, V, and any other geeky show aired. Guess I'll never grow up. :)

Sandy Lender said...

I haven't had much TV-viewing time, so I lose track of when shows are on. I've missed almost all of V and Supernatural, which frustrates me, but I catch 'em when I can. I was a religious X-Files watcher! And Next Gen. And Stargate SG-1. And can I get a witness for some Firefly? Man, I loved that show!

From Sandy Lender
"Some days, you just want the dragon to win."