Ah, my friends. How long did you think it would take me to write about The X-Files? If you guessed the second blog post, you win the alien/human hybrid award! For most of you, as with most rational adults, the title of this post means nothing. When I google SRA, something called Sequence Read Archive comes up, which I can most assuredly tell you, reader, is not what those letters mean to me. S is for Story, R is for Romance, and A is for Angst. That’s right, I’m talking about fan-fiction; a realm on the internet most people are blissfully unaware of. Aside from my mother introducing me to Stephen King at a questionably young age, my love for stories began when I was in eighth grade and discovered X-Files fan-fiction. Logging in on a dial-up modem with the AOL username FoxScully7 (a name I still use to this day) I would delve into the world of fan-written stories that revolved around The X-files universe. How does one, at the tender age of 14, wind up spending their weekends reading about aliens, government secrets, and an occasional smut-fest in a basement office? Well, to quote the amazing Samuel L. Jackson, “Hold onto your butts.”
...teenage angst, a desire to be independent, and a fascination with the unknown were all combined into one glorious show...
When I was in seventh grade, my dear friend Michelle Phillips introduced me to The X-files during a sleepover. As with many other things in my life, it only took one episode and I was hooked. I was already a fan of sci-fi and horror (again, thank you mom), so you could say that my love for this TV show was inevitable. It was perfect timing in my life: teenage angst, a desire to be independent, and a fascination with the unknown were all combined into one glorious show. Of course, it helped that David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are both physically attractive in their own right. Their on-screen chemistry captivated my hormonal heart and never let it go. My parents would take me to Blockbuster on Friday nights and I would rent two episodes on tape to watch to catch up with the current storyline. I’d illegally record reruns on Fox and buy the three tape box sets when they were released. Dana Scully introduced to me a woman who was an equal match for her male counterpart. She was beautiful while wearing padded shoulders, she was a better shot than Mulder, and she was a scientist/doctor as well as an FBI agent. In fact, there is a phenomenon that is today known as ‘The Scully Effect.’ A survey done in 2018 revealed that, of women familiar with the character of Dana Scully, 50 percent said that her character increased their interest in STEM and 43 percent said that they’d considered working in a STEM-related field.
It was also around this time that my love for red hair began. Scully had red hair and she was a boss. I’ve died my hair red fairly consistently for most of my adult life. Of course, it’s not only because of Scully’s hair, but all my favorite boss ladies have red hair. Lucille Ball (duh), Red (Orange Is the New Black), Jean Grey/Phoenix (X-Men), Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Avengers), and Amy Pond (Dr. Who). I love my natural, dark brown hair – don’t get me wrong! But there is something so sassy and empowering about having red hair that I don’t see myself stopping the color treatments anytime soon. Plus, my love for UGA and UGA football makes me love the color that much more.
I am what’s known as a ‘shipper’
OK, so back to the topic (see, that was the ADHD kicking in). The X-Files was, and will always be, my favorite TV show. Discovering fan-made stories made the characters and their universe so much richer. It was also a way to develop and grow as a reader/writer. When anyone can post stories anonymously online, you get the myriad of good, bad, and ugly. It was easy to read what someone else wrote and take away what you liked about their writing style and what you didn’t. For example, I hate it when an author uses ‘for’ too much (ha! See what I did there?). Sentences like: “Mulder was worried, for it was unlike Scully to be late” just make me cringe inside. If that is how you like to write and what you like to read, then that’s great! It’s just not my thing. You know when you read something and you get the impression that the writer is using words and phrases to just sound like they’re an author? Like people who use the word “myriad”…
Then there was the love story of Mulder and Scully. I am what’s known as a ‘shipper’, which means I was always rooting for them to end up in a relationship. The Mulder and Scully love story is better than Romeo and Juliet (don’t tell Ben). Mulder is smart, passionate, impulsive, single-minded, and driven. Scully is fiercely independent and also smart, driven, and determined. Scully doesn’t need anyone else to make her happy or complete. Mulder only needs to find the answers and reveal the truth - nothing else matters. The fact that they end up together (don’t get me started on the later seasons) and have so much trust in each other is a testament to overcoming obstacles despite themselves and something that I can relate to and attest to as part of my own life.
...why should we feel guilty for liking what we like? Let your Freak Flag fly!
And now we’ve come full circle. I take my fan-fiction SRA. I like stories (none of this two-paragraph stuff for me), a little love/romance, and some angst thrown in there for good measure. There are tons of other categories and I’ve dabbled in some of each. I may have also written a “fic” or two in my younger and more vulnerable years (credit to F. Scott Fitzgerald). Some may call this a guilty pleasure, but I disagree. Ben has started calling guilty pleasures just pleasures, because why should we feel guilty for liking what we like? I get that it’s not mainstream and possibly very geeky, but I still enjoy perusing archived adventures of my two favorite fictional characters. So, fellow readers, in the words of my esteemed colleague and SLP Holly, let your Freak Flag fly! Read some fan-fiction (did you know that Fifty Shades of Gray began as Twilight fan-fic? None of that sentence should exist, but it does!). Write a story and share it with a stranger on the internet. Like what you like without guilt. That said, here’s a picture of me with my sister and Dad at The X-Files Expo in Atlanta in 1998. You’re welcome.