Whoosh! Issue 50 - November 2000

WHOOSH Contributors Ponder Fandom
Page 12

How The Xenaverse Changed My Life by Carolyn McBride
How XENA, The Internet, And Whoosh! Have Changed My Life

By Carolyn McBride
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1577 words

Hard to Believe (01)
Dreams of Writing (02-04)
Did Not Mean To (05-07)
Writing and Other Things (08-12)


Hard to Believe

I spy with my little eye...

The chakram toss in COMING HOME was hard to believe too.

[01] It is hard to believe that it has been just over a year ago that I first got online and discovered the Xenaverse. What a year it has been! I discovered why the XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS phenomenon is fondly referred to as the Xenaverse. I learned that there is nothing so passionate and outspoken as a Xenite spurned, and I discovered that a campy, tongue-in-cheek television show can be addicting. The Xenaverse very definitely changed my life, and I believe it has done so in a positive way.

Dreams of Writing

[02] I dreamed of being a writer ever since I could put sentences together and form stories. Like most kids who wrote, I wrote about whatever popped into my head. I did that most of my life, and once I discovered XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS I never looked back. I found fan fiction and nearly salivated over the opportunity that had suddenly presented itself. I could write about my favorite show as I saw it and, as long as I was careful, I could do so legally! I could not believe my good fortune. I did not read much fan fiction at first. I did not have a lot of time nor the opportunity in my early online days. I wrote stories out long hand at first and then worked on them so that I could put them on disk, and then send them off to be published on the web.

[03] My first story was my first obsession. I worked on it every spare minute I had, and even when I knew that I did not have time. I must admit that there were a lot of days that the beds were not made and the dishes sat longer than they should have, but I was having a great time writing something new. In retrospect, that first story should never have been finished. Many times, I have thought of tearing it up into small shreds or sending those first words up as embers to the stars, but I suppose that like any writer I am loath to dispose of any literary act of creation. Therefore, it sits at home, lonely on the desk while waiting for me to attack it. I know I should re-work those stumbling sentences, polish the characterizations, and iron out the wimpy grammar.

[04] Real life has a habit of getting in the way when we least desire reality. In fact, fan fiction has taken on an independent life. Many find that if they read any great amount of fan fiction, that it is hard after a while to remember what we saw on the show and what was written in an epic piece of fan fiction. For me, that is how I know it was a good story. It is usually these that end up being the tales that are talked about many months after they have been introduced on the web, much like the great novels in print.

Did Not Mean To

[05] I never intended to get as involved in the Xenaverse as I did. I approached it only as an amusing pastime that would fill my spare minutes. It has filled my life. I have met many online friends because of a shared obsession over XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and I have been badly hurt over the same obsession. I met my girlfriend in the Xenaverse and wrote some tales I am very proud of because of the accessibility of the Xenaverse. I have been entertained, saddened, and moved to tears by the Xenaverse. I started an online magazine because of "the Verse". Clearly at some point, it became much more than a fun little hobby. Yet, I would not say it was an obsession. An addiction perhaps, but not an obsession.

[06] I have found that there is a multitude of online mailing lists devoted to all things XENA. There are lists devoted just to Lucy Lawless and all things related to her. Mailing lists discuss whether Joxer should have ever been developed as a character at all. There are forums that discuss poetry relating to XENA, message boards that chat endlessly about whether Lawless' pregnancy killed the show, and lists that refuse to post anything negative about the show's star.

[07] There has been a move to carry XENA merchandise online in a rush to cash in on the craze while the show is still on the air. There have been numerous articles written about the show, its making, the actors and actresses, and even all the hype that the show generates. This show far exceeded what anyone had envisioned. As talented as Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi are, I doubt that even they had any notions that XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS would surpass HERCULES in popularity. XENA has surpassed the original STAR TREK series in popularity and most-watched numbers. It has sold more articles and merchandise than many of the other shows on television today and gained such a huge cult following that the die hard fans that Lucy Lawless once dubbed as "hard core nut-balls" will keep the show alive for many years to come.

Writing and Other Things

Hmm, let's see, we need oats for Argo, bread, cheese, apples for us,
and nutbread for me!

Gabrielle used to write more than she does now.

[08] Writing fan fiction has given me the courage to develop my writing skills. It has given me a forum to explore who I am as both a person and a writer. I have two unfinished novels waiting to be completed while I hone my craft on the stories I have written for the Xenaverse, and the discoveries I have made about myself since I have found XENA are truly astounding to me.

[09] I was forced to admit some truths to myself after watching only two episodes of XENA, and one of them concerned my sexuality. I began to realize very quickly that I was not watching the show for its originality alone, but for its two stars. The more I watched the show, the more I began to realize that Lucy Lawless and Renee O'Connor had captivated me, and it was then that I looked in the proverbial mirror and had to accept who I was. Perhaps because of the large number of Xenites that are gay, I found acceptance from most quarters and found my tales and me welcome. I sometimes have to remind myself that the whole world is not as accepting as the Xenaverse is, as much as we would like it to be.

[10] Writing fan fiction has done something else for my writing as well. It has given me a following, however small. I cannot describe adequately enough the thrill I still get when I get an email from someone who asks when my next story will be finished. "When will the next story in your Dark Heart series be done?" "Will you be writing another story for the Shades of Immortality series?" "I've read everything of yours that I could find on the web, and I want more."

[11] In my entire lifetime, I could not have imagined that these kinds of questions and comments would be asked of me. Without fan fiction, I do not think that they ever would have been. I have begun to find the courage to try my pen at freelance writing and although so far all I have written about is fan fiction, I can at least write what I know with some degree of comfort. Without the Xenaverse, I may never have found the inspiration to try my hand at freelance writing.

[12] Writing fan fiction has improved my mind, educated me, and given me strength and courage where I thought I had none. Writing has begun to define who I am, who I would like to be, and who I can yet become if I try hard enough. Until I found the Xenaverse, I was only playing at the craft of writing. Now I feel as though I have found my niche in life. My life is forever changed by finding the Xenaverse and eventually by my writing fan fiction. It has brought me a small degree of recognition, my soul mate, great joy, and some heartache as well. I will always be grateful for the fact that I will never be the same. My thanks to writing fan fiction.


Carolyn McBride, "Machinations of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction, The" WHOOSH #46 (July 2000)


Carolyn McBride Carolyn McBride
A tropical plant maintenance tech and writer, I find my passions stirred by my soul mate, a good story, Celtic music, and Corona beer. I am Canadian, and mother to two boys. My greatest dream? To retire to Ireland where I can write, live out the rest of my days surrounded by the people I love, and a whole pack of dogs.
Favorite episode:I have to pick just one? Either IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL (72/404) or BETWEEN THE LINES (83/415)
Favorite line:"Think of yourselves as lines in the mendhi, separate but forever connected." BETWEEN THE LINES (83/415)
First episode seen:RETURN OF CALLISTO (29/202), I think
Least favorite episode:LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/407)

By Candi Raxter
50th Issue Project
Content copyright © 2000 held by author
Edition copyright © 2000 held by Whoosh!
1076 words

Fandom (01-02)
WHOOSH (05-06)
Writing (05-06)
Growth (07-10)



Xena? XENA! It's ok, you're not going to be IN Married With

Fan fever can get ugly.

[01] I never really caught fan fever before. Okay, I admit I did get into the Monkees as a six-year-old, but the minute TIGER BEAT strayed to other teen idols, it was over for me. Over the years I have enjoyed several television shows, but I do not remember clamoring for more information than TV GUIDE could provide. Then came XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS (XWP).

[02] For the first season, I only watched when I was home and when I remembered it was on. Then as I began to get more involved, I wanted to catch up on what I had missed. So I tried the Internet. First, I found the official forum. I thought that was cool, but I was not into the fan fiction, which seemed to become more plentiful there with time. Then, through the forum, I heard about WHOOSH. That was shortly followed by a loud SSCHLUK! and I was sucked into Fandom.


[03] WHOOSH's episode guides had everything I wanted: cast lists, synopses, commentaries, transcripts, and various types of trivia. On top of that, there were articles that I found interesting and intriguing.

[04] As I became interested in other television shows, I always looked for sites like WHOOSH but nothing measured up. Sometimes I would find an episode guide I liked, such as The Complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide (http://www.buffyguide.com) [Note 01] or The Screening Room at The Sanctuary (http://sanctuary.digitalspace.net/screening/screeningrm.htm) [Note 02]. Alternatively, I would find like-minded people to discuss and write about a show, as at Heyn's Hussies Message Board (http://pub19.ezboard.com/bheynshussies) [Note 03]. I have found myself more involved in specific television shows than ever before.


[05] Writing for WHOOSH also represented a change in my life. I never liked to write. I was the "Queen of the Run-Ons". I fought my way through required English classes, then through papers in college and graduate school because I felt I could not write. I often felt I had great thoughts but I could not communicate them in writing. Then I ended up in a job that required me to write occasionally.

[06] My writing for work gave me the confidence to try writing for WHOOSH, and to share my article with my Harvard- educated boss. Now I try to write when I have something to say, and I am sad if I do not have a place to share it.


[07] My exposure to XENA and WHOOSH has also opened my eyes to things I might not have found otherwise. As I mentioned in one of my articles, I now know much more about Greek mythology than I did before. I read the real stuff now, having been exposed to it on XENA, HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, and other shows I watch.

[08] I read the book TOUGH GIRLS [Note 04] after reading about it in WHOOSH (http://whoosh.org/issue41/iinness.html). I watched ARMY OF DARKNESS (AOD) after reading a WHOOSH commentary comparing the two Autolycii from END OF THE BEGINNING (HTLJ 56/319) with the Good Ash/Evil Ash from AOD (http://whoosh.org/epguide/herk/h319_56_end.html). I appreciated Hong Kong action films much more.

[09] I also realized that watching Canadian-filmed/produced television is like a broader version of watching HTLJ/XWP. You start to see the same actor in many roles and get to learn who they are. Or you see actors traveling to appear in shows filmed in New Zealand, Australia, Los Angeles, Vancouver, or Toronto. I often find myself scouring my local video store for Kiwi, Aussie, or Canadian releases that are not there.

[10] Most of all I have accepted being a fan and I am willing to let the world know. I no longer let preconceived notions keep me from looking into things, for example, Hong Kong action films. I explore what makes things I like tick, for example Greek mythology. I use the written word to share my voice.


Note 01:
The Complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide
The actual episode guides are very good and are on par with WHOOSH.
Return to article

Note 02:
The Screening Room at The Sanctuary
The Sanctuary is dedicated to the television show ANGEL and The Screening Room is their episode guide. They seem to have used the Complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide (http://www.buffyguide.com) as their model. No need to say more.
Return to article

Note 03:
Heyn's Hussies Message Board (currently housed at ezboard)
Heyn's Hussies/Christopher's Rogues is a sight devoted to Christopher Heyn, assistant to the Executive Consultant on LA FEMME NIKITA. The main attraction is the message board. There is a lot of stimulating conversation on NIKITA, often of the caliber of WHOOSH articles. Since those working on the show, especially Chris, often visit the site, there is a ban on fan fiction.
Return to article

Note 04:
Inness, Sherrie A. "Tough Girls: Women Warriors and Wonder Women in Popular Culture" (1999, University of Pennsylvania Press).
I would have read this book anyway but I may not have found it on my own.
Return to article


Candi Raxter, "My Gods, What Did They Do To You?" WHOOSH #31 (April 1999)

Candi Raxter, "Gabrielle and Non-Staff Techniques" WHOOSH #32 (May 1999)


Candi Raxter Candi Raxter
Candi has BFA in Theater Arts and MA in Dramatic Arts both specializing in Costume Design. Unfortunately, she has found no need for wardrobe tarts where she lives. In the meantime, she uses her research skills as research consultant for a law firm and any obsession she dives into.
Favorite episode:THE GREATER GOOD (21/121), ONE AGAINST AN ARMY (59/313), LOCKED UP TIED DOWN (75/407)
Favorite line:Thalassa: "What would you know about loss?" Gabrielle: "A few things". LOCKED UP TIED DOWN (75/407); Gabrielle: "Xena, I don't believe in your vision. I can't afford to. Now either I prove you wrong, and we go on from here, or I prove you right, and we die. Either way, I will not continue like this." PAST IMPERFECT (77/409)
First episode seen:CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104)
Least favorite episode:GABRIELLE'S HOPE (51/305) and the Dahak/Hope story line.

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