Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When Fiction Comes To Life

Fiction Really Did Come to Life!

Ever stop to think of all the great benefits of reading slash? I’m sure you’ve considered the obvious…… enjoyment, pleasure, relaxation, escape… Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine it also bringing friendship, meeting amazing people, satisfaction in knowing there are others like you, and making a positive impact on the world. But that is exactly what I found when fiction really did come to life during a recent weekend in Chicago.

It all started with Over the Top by Starfish422 when a community of fans developed on the Twilighted forums, and continued with its sequel Deep Dish where we fans fell for Jack (a friend of Jasper and Edward) and for Jacey. So much so, we all decided to meet together and walk the streets that they did in their story. It was really about meeting each other and seeing the sights we’d all read about, but Jack and Jacey were there in spirit.

The idea snowballed from an innocent, “we should all get together in Chicago over a deep dish pizza”, to “what weekend works for everyone”, followed by “how does this house look?” And before we knew it, house, airline, and even Amtrak reservations were in place. We were really doing this! A gmail group was formed with the committed attendees, and everyone pitched in with ideas, and helping each other with questions, answers, etc.

And it all came together with ten of us in Chicago on September 30. Many of us had never met the others in person, and we all came from different countries, states, ages, professions, etc., with this one thing in common. The first fun part was hearing all the stories that were told back home about what we were doing. My personal favorite was the “Book Club” story. I really got a good chuckle at hearing how someone was teased about meeting a group of strangers on the internet and was lured to a strange place… funny how that concern had never crossed our minds.

The first night we went to Pizzeria Due for the authentic original Chicago deep dish pizza. We had to, it was in the name! We had a long wait, but they finally called for the “Starfish” group, and we got our Deep Dish pizza… one with meat for Jacey, and vegetarian for Jack.

The next morning we met up with Definitely Staying and participated in the Chicago Aids Run/Walk. We had already had the date for our weekend picked out when we learned about the walk, and the significance was not at all lost on us, we had to participate! I don’t believe in coincidences, that was meant to be! The walk took us along Lake Michigan – Jack and Jacey had been there!

Afterwards we went to Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean”, a place where Jack and Jacey had visited a couple of times. We found it to be a very popular place in Chicago, with many interesting sites nearby, including the Art Institute of Chicago, where Jacey went to school.

Saturday night it was time to hit the town, Boystown that is! (Boystown is the gay neighborhood of Chicago) We started with an amazing dinner at “Jack’s”. How cool is it to have a restaurant with that name?! Afterwards we took a walk to find the apartment where Jack lived, and even told some of the locals exactly why we were there. We then ended up at the gay bar “Spin”. Without knowing there was one in Chicago, Starfish had placed Jasper and Edward in a made up gay bar named “Spin” in Seattle. When the sequel took the story to Chicago, she was surprised to find out there was a real bar with that name right there in Boystown! We had a great time there, watching the show, dancing, and meeting more of the locals…. We even saw a guy who could easily have been a younger Jacey who even had a similar hairstyle!

It was surprisingly hard to have the weekend come to an end. We had had so much fun, and really liked being together. One person said it best “You know, I really like all of you”. How true that was, there we were, very different people with the one thing in common, and yet we meshed together very well. Everyone got along, everyone pitched in, and you just couldn’t ask for a more congenial group of people. We are more than just a group of fanfiction readers, we are friends. We found real pleasure in spending time and having fun with like-minded people, and we had even contributed to a very worthy cause in our Aids walk. I’ve always said that slash fanfiction is changing hearts and changing minds, and it was so awesome to see that up close.

Not everyone had a chance to go visit Jacey’s apartment on their way home, but hey, we had to save something for our next meeting!

Spending the weekend from out of town were ArcadianMaggie, BeCullen, Ejsantry, Jagr9563, Lastof10, LovelyPenguin, Mcsc2008, Melooza, Mycrookedsmile, and Starfish422. Locals DefinitelyStaying joined in the Aids Walk/Run, and OnTheTurningAway joined for the night in Boystown.

So…. if you have not read those stories, what are you waiting for??

It is not too late if you would like to support the Aids cause, and every single little bit helps, please visit the website:

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