Why Slash?

By Karahkwa Ross

I recently came across a website (RatB) that had a challenge called ďUnderstanding Slash.Ē  The prompt is:  write a description of what your personal relationship with slashfic is.  It goes on to place no limits on whatís be addressed.  The question is one I see way to often for slash writers and I find myself compelled to try to answer it.

Why do I write slash?  Why would a girl raised in the Southwest (USA) with more of less traditional values and who attends a private Christian college write slash?  I donít know, but I guess that what Iím trying to find out.

I first found slash as a freshman in college.  I had a hard time finding friends so I spent a great deal of time on the Internet.  I looked astrology, chess strategies, anything so I wouldnít have to go back to my dorm room where my flaky roommate and I would pointed ignore each other until one of us went to bed.

For me fanfic was a god-spend.  I didnít have a TV and if I did there were hardly any channels.  But with fanfic, I could keep up with the series.  Sure, I read a lot of older stuff but I felt like I wasnít losing the shows I liked to watch.

Chakotay/Paris was the first fics I ever read.  In fact, it was Mona Ramsey because she was the first link of the CPSG links page.  It wasÖ incredible.  I saw characters in ways I never had before.  My entire view of Voyager changed.

Over the last three years, Iíve gone on to other fandoms and pairings, but I still come back to C/P when I want to read something.  Itís not the pairing I write, and I know itís not really the most popular, but I enjoy it and thatís what matters.

My first fic was in the Pretender.  It was a gen fic based on a challenge and I got not a single message in feedback.  I was crushed.  You donít write fanfic for worldly reasons; that is itís not about money or recognition (I donít use my real name).  You write because you love the show and you want to be a part of it.  Money and fame never come into it because they arenít options.  But feedback is like ambrosia.  Some one else recognizes your work and thinks enough of it to email you with comments.  I moved on to slash because itís what I read and because I knew people got feedback.  I was sending it, I was seeing it on the email lists I was on.  For all the work I put into a fic, I get very little back.  An e-mail here or there of feedback is enough to keep me going, especially when I know the people I spend my days would never understand why I write slash.  I hate having to warn people away from my site, when, in my mind, all Iím writing about is two people being in love and all I want is for someone to say ďMan, you really made me think that oneĒ because thatís what fanfic is to me.

So why to I write slash, specifically and almost exclusively?  Several reasons come to mind.  There are very few strong women in movies and television.  And when there are TPTB turn them into cream-puffs when a romantic interest comes along.  Even though I know I can keep them strong in my fics, I always see them at their weakness, and I feel no connection with them.  I have work harder to write slash.  Characters and plots are more developed because itís more difficult to make something plausible when we all know that it would never happen on air.  Thirdly, I enjoy it.  I get to imagine two sexy men being caring and affectionate (something that hasnít been directed at me, so far, in my life) and I can control it.  I think control is an issue.  You canít control real people, but you can characters and that can go to your head.

Iím not the kind of person you expect to see writing slash.  Iím straight (as far as I know) young woman with a background disapproves of homosexuals, and yet I canít think of anything else Iíd rather be doing.  ĎCause even though I occasionally have to deal with the ďWhyĒs and all that, every now and then I get an e-mail:  ďC/K isnít a pairing I would normally read, but it was great.  Is there any more?Ē

I don't know if I answered any great question here, or if I really should have to, but I know it feels good putting my thoughts and emotions down.  And maybe that's why I write slash.