November 6th, 2003

default, pepper

A moment of peculiar anger

The other day I read Postvixen's journal entry which said, in part, "I have terrible nostalgia for Albedo and for furry comics and fanzines from that era. In my subconscious mind, they're something far, far greater than their parts. Maybe someday I can express what it was about their nature that made furry seem so appealing to me, then. [...] Carla Speed McNeil's Finder is closer to the perfect expression of what drew me to furry fandom -- which is a damn shame, because it's not really furry. Let's face it, furry never really produced its Sandman, much less its Invisibles, and it's looking less and less likely that it will."

This floated in about the time I'd adopted an air I guess I'd described as resigned amusement to things like the recent C.S.I. episode, and somewhat less amusement toward things like the "Eat All Furries" LiveJournal group, which, like most such things, occasionally goes out of its way collectively to assure readers that they don't hate what they mock, then goes on, also collectively, to assert things about "most" furries that make the occasional embarrassing mainstream coverage seem positively flattering. (Did you know that most of us are aging pedophiles constantly cruising chat rooms for sex with teenage boys? Shocked me, since I've been involved with the fandom for going on fifteen years now and have yet to meet a single one. But it must be true, right? I read it on the internet!)

So, these thoughts struck with an odd combination of melancholia and determination. Furry was about art and writing and reading and creating with animal characters, telling stories for adults and for children and all ages in between. That's the core. Furry stories get their power by standing mimesis on its head. Just as science fiction is often the best genre to explore questions of spirituality, non-human characters are often the best to explore questions of what being human means.

And there's no reason why it has to be "was" instead of "is." I'm tired of worrying that I'm going to be lumped in with a largely mythical fetish group that has sex in mascot outfits, or that people are going to come across sordid artwork with cartoon animals and lump my writing in with that. (If they decide my writing is sordid on its own merits, that's another matter.) It's not a religion and it's not a fetish and it's not a lifestyle and people may bring all sorts of their own baggage to it just like they do to any endeavor, and because any group of people with common interests will form a loose confederation, it's saddled with the advantages and blessed with the disadvantages of any subculture. The community, such as it is, of furry fans isn't much different than the community of goths or geeks or ravers or the high school chess club.

I'm not the comic fan I once was; I suppose I'm waiting for the furry answer to The Stars My Destination or Neuromancer, a Charles De Lint, a John Crowley, a Hemingway, a Faulkner. Part of me wonders whether it's too late; part of me wonders if it's more likely to happen now than a decade ago--there's more writing in the fandom going on, and more paying markets specifically focused on anthropomorphic animal stories and novels, than at any time before. Part of me wonders if I'm just way behind schedule on writing it.

But I suppose I'm left with a parallel question to Postvixen's. Put into words, my feelings sound like a cry to take back furry fandom, but take it back from who, exactly?