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the end of a fannish era

I've been volunteering with the Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards for longer than I've been on LJ. I've had to take a few breaks, for personal reasons, but for the most part it's been my online home more than anywhere else.

I used the past tense just now because that particular awards is ending. It's a bittersweet moment, to be sure, but today I'm focusing on the good memories of how much joy I got out of the awards. I really grew as a writer and as a person through that event, and I also made some of my best friends through those award. I know several people on my flist have been reacting to this news and I haven't commented, not because I don't care but because (as Legolas said) "for me the grief is too near." I really appreciate all of the email thank-yous I've received these last few days and will try to reply as soon as I can. I'm teaching summer school so I'm pretty busy in my offline life, and I'm also dealing with a hurt hand that makes it painful to type for too long at a stretch.

(It's actually quite bitter for me; but today I'm focusing on the sweet.)

A little while ago I made the last official MEFA announcements, thanking some of our volunteers and also talking about what the awards mean to me. It ended up being quite personal. I thought some of you might enjoy reading it:

http://mefas.livejournal.com/309993.html

Every year, I usually post stories that are MEFA-eligible which I invite people to nominate if they want to. I started this as a public service to people who read my work, since I don't always post my fiction in the same archives. And it kind of became a yearly tradition. Even though there's no MEFA this year, I'd still like to do a run-down of my recent work.

  1. biography of Sauron, written for the Silmarillion Writers Guild
  2. Nor By Jerusalem: a vignette looking at Caranthir's thoughts on the journey to Middle-earth.
  3. This Year, Next Year, Sometime, Never: Elanor Gamgee remembers her childhood, on the night before her wedding.
  4. *With the Blood of Patriots: After Pelennor Fields, Faramir and Aragorn remember the fallen.
  5. Profiles in Courage: An essay re-examining Lobelia Sackville-Baggins's actions during the Shire's occupation.
  6. *But Have Not Love: Maedhros and Maglor, just after the sack of Doriath.
  7. *Not Because We Are Angels: Life must have been quite grim for Ar-Zimraphel in the years before Numenor's fall.
  8. We Still Remember, We Who Dwell: As penance for the previous piece (unusually angsty for me), I wrote something lighter. Maglor reunites with Elrond at Arwen's wedding.
  9. Finding God(s) in Middle-earth: I examine several incidents from The Silmarillion and speculate about how they might have shaped Gondorians' views on religion and the supernatural.
  10. *Like the Heathen Kings of Old: The aftermath of Denethor's pyre. Because when writing the previous essay, I was struck by a certain similarity between Denethor's pyre and the human sacrifice that occurred on Numenor.
  11. Beginnings: A moment shared between Curunir [Saruman] and Feanor, before either came to Middle-earth.
  12. The Point of the Sword: A Dunedain Ranger walks into a bar... (Swordspoint/LOTR crossover)
I also found a draft I'd written but never finished working with a beta on, with Bilbo learning about the Battle of Greenfields. I can't even remember who the beta was. Maybe it's time to polish that off?

Nearly all of these were written for Dawn's Back to Middle-earth Month. Thank you, dawn_felagund for organizing that!

(Stories with asterisks have graphic violence and themes that some people may find upsetting. Or attractive. In any case, you've been forewarned.)

(Edited to fix typo in Dawn's username.)  

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
just_ann_now
Jul. 4th, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
Not much to say so here's a hug.
marta_bee
Jul. 5th, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
Hugs are always, always-always welcome. Thanks, hon.

You said you sent me something at melayton@gmail.com, but I can't find it. I'll check my spam folder later, though. Looking forward to it!
just_ann_now
Jul. 5th, 2012 02:07 pm (UTC)
I've checked, and no typos on my end, so please keep looking!
elliska
Jul. 5th, 2012 01:22 am (UTC)
But Have Not Love was going to be my first choice to nominate this year if someone didn't beat me to it. Not Because We Are Angels was my backup nomination.

I was so busy last year that I didn't get to write any reviews for the MEFAs and I felt bad about that because I am a terrible reviewer all year long and try to make up for it at the MEFAs. Maybe this year, I'll take the list of stories I made that I wanted to nom and at least go to their archives and write my reviews.

Thanks for the list Marta. I'll go enjoy some of these again!
marta_bee
Jul. 5th, 2012 01:39 am (UTC)
I write first and foremost for myself; it's playtime where I get to take the Big Ides (TM) I study and try to tease them out a bit in fandom. So reviews matter less to me than I think they do to a lot of people. But of course it's always really nice I'm being read and people I respect like my fic. One of the silver-linings of the last few weeks: I can write more fic. Better headspace and more time for it, I hope.

It was good to compile the list because it helped me feel good - tangible proof of parts of me I liked. I hope you enjoy rereading them!
dwimordene_2011
Jul. 5th, 2012 12:25 pm (UTC)
The fun thing about lists like this is always discovering just how much you've written, and what more you want to write.

Enjoy the freer time to write fic, Marta! It is well deserved time, and I know exactly what you mean about fanfic as playtime for the Big Ideas. :-D Essays may be a part of the basis for earning bread, but fandom is where the ideas get to be more real for many more people.
lin4gondor
Jul. 5th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
I'm glad you posted this list! It's so helpful -- I always find something I missed reading. I just read "We Still Remember, We Who Dwell" and it was lovely!

I like these lists of yours and I am going to follow your example, and make a list of my own fics I thought might be worth nominating this year. I actually wrote quite a bit but I was very bad about posting in my LJ, so not everyone knows it's out there.

I see in one of your comments that you see a silver lining -- I do as well. I was pushing myself to finish a WIP so that it could compete this year as a finished work. I am actually relieved to have that particular stress removed, though I may not like the reason behind the removal. ;-) More time to write and less stress to do it in can't be a bad thing, though.
gwynnyd
Jul. 5th, 2012 02:31 am (UTC)
Definite {{{hugs}}}}. I almost dare not admit that I have nearly 200 unread messages in my MEFA inbox as life went sideways for me and I put off reading them for a bit too long, I guess.

Very sad that some people can only tear down and not build. {{{hugs{{{ to the whole team.

hhimring
Jul. 5th, 2012 06:18 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for the list! I was trying to keep up with your B2MeM contributions at first as you wrote them, but as I was taking part myself, I lost track at some point.

I just read your story about Feanor and Curunir--very interesting! And moving as well.

As for the rest, I hope that in time the sweet will outlast the bitter, but it is easy to understand that now the grief must be too near.

I hope your hand gets less painful soon!
altariel
Jul. 5th, 2012 07:03 am (UTC)
HUGS.
lindahoyland
Jul. 5th, 2012 07:32 am (UTC)
I like it that you posted your links. I'm thinking of posting what I would have nominated in the hope the authors might get more readers.

I am so very sorry over all that has happened. Hope your hand is soon better,
Hugs
dwimordene_2011
Jul. 5th, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
I also found a draft I'd written but never finished working with a beta on, with Bilbo learning about the Battle of Greenfields. I can't even remember who the beta was. Maybe it's time to polish that off?

Yes, please!
engarian
Jul. 5th, 2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
I have to say, Marta, that even though the MEFAs are changing into something else, your efforts there over the years have been most sincerely appreciated. At least by me and, I'm quite sure, by others who have read stories there, voted there, and had stories nominated. It was an immense undertaking when you took over it, and you left solid foundations to build the next structure on. Bravo!

Thanks for the links to your stories. I remember reading them during B2ME and loved them then, it was a pleasure to revisit those I had really enjoyed again.

- Erulisse (one L)
dkpalaska
Jul. 5th, 2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
I haven't been able to participate in the MEFAs (or the fandom in general) for a while because of RL, but I think it was a top-notch, excellent, and fairly-run awards program. The administration and other volunteers worked so hard and held together a program that would have done a top-notch corporation proud. Truly, it was smooth, polished, and professional in every year in which I participated.

I'm sorry to see it go, but from the bit of reading I've been doing it seems that it was quite likely its time. I'm amazed at how long it's survived and thrived in such an intelligent, diverse, and highly-opinionated fandom! RL has to have priority, and anything volunteer-oriented should be rewarding overall, not draining overall.

I hope those involved with the maintenance and running of the MEFAs will look back on all their efforts with pride, because I think they made the fandom better.

Denise
fallingtowers
Jul. 6th, 2012 01:10 pm (UTC)
I haven't participated in the MEFAs for a long, long time, but I have always admired - even if only from afar - all the effort and enthusiasm you put into it.

*hugs*
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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