As a nerd, the main stories I love the most are Harry Potter, Doctor Who, A Song of Ice and Fire, and anything by Octavia Butler. As I’ve said before, Harry Potter was the first fandom I’ve ever belonged to, and was the first story I really connected to. I’ve been a Potterhead since I began reading the books 15 years ago, and I feel like my identification with that story has strengthened rather than lessened in the progressing years.
The others are a bit different and are a part of what I like to refer to as the resurrection of my nerdiness. They all point back to a very specific year in my life: 2013. In 2013 I was a second semester sophomore/first semester junior in college. I had recently declared my major and the majority of my classes were lower division English classes that I was taking in order to fulfill the requirements. While I liked those classes—since they were in my chosen major—there was very little time for doing the things I loved to do. I wasn’t as heavily into television as I am now, really only watching The Office and Scandal, and spending most of my time reading and writing papers for school.
While finally declaring my major—as with everyone—helped me focus my college studies for the rest of my time there, it was also a big step for me because it was when I had officially admitted that what I wanted was to become a writer. 2013 was also the year I began writing the first story I intended—and still intend—to finish and get published. However, school is still school and while I liked taking classes that were interesting and I felt helpful to me, I was craving something to take my mind off of academia, to bring me back into a world I hadn’t truly been in since the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 two years before.
I think it’s also important to say that Robyn was a big part of this resurrection. We’d discovered that we were extremely similar back when I was still in high school and once she’d moved up to the Bay, we were hanging out more often. Most of the time, the books and shows I would check out were by her suggestion.
March of 2013 was the premiere of Game of Thrones Season 3. I’d been seeing all of these billboards everywhere advertising that it was back, hearing people get excited for the return of the show. One day, I was in a bookstore and found A Game of Thrones, Book 1 of the series the show was adapted from. I’d vaguely remembered that Robyn had said I would like it and sat down to read the prologue. The minute I’d finished, I knew I had to buy the book. And so began my descent into the Song of Ice and Fire fandom.
The summer of 2013 was equal parts catching up on Game of Thrones (the books and show), babysitting my sister, and starting my first serious manuscript. And then I had to go back to school, back to discussions and papers and reading to learn. Though I had had a sort of awakening, it had to be put on pause while I focused on getting my work done.
Then November came, the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who, and Robyn came to our house and took over the television to watch the marathon, the biopic about the creation of the show, and the 50th Anniversary Special. Though the semester wasn’t fully over, I was soon drawn to Doctor Who. There was something refreshing and familiar about being excited about another sci-fi/fantasy story, and though it was in a different medium from Harry Potter, though similar to Game of Thrones, the excitement I felt was similar. Once I was on winter break, I devoured the show in weeks, often live-texting my reactions to Robyn.
At the same time, I was reading as many Octavia Butler books as I could get my hands on. Right at the end of the semester, one of my professors had my class reading Kindred. It was the first book I had read in college that felt like it was written for someone like me. Even though it was for class, I identified with Butler and Kindred so heavily that I immediately went and read a bunch of her books. And so my winter of 2013 was equal parts Doctor Who and Octavia Butler.
I tweeted at one point that Harry Potter feels like coming home to me while Doctor Who feels like comfort and validation of my nerdy identity outside of home. I still think this is true, though I would add Game of Thrones and Octavia Butler to that as well. Those three worlds came to me in a time when I wasn’t fully able to express myself the way I wanted to. I was just beginning to truly embrace myself as a nerd again and being able to find these things allowed for me to now nerd out about Comic Book Movies, Orphan Black, Firefly, and plenty of other things. And the next summer, of 2014, saw me reading science fiction only by black women and attempting for the first time to have a blog (the first incarnation of this one here). While there were other things that went on in 2013, it will definitely be marked down for me as the year my nerdiness was resurrected.