Your Stories and Characters don’t Belong to you. Get over it!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I have seen countless actors, writers, and creators complain about fan fiction, shipping, and head-canon. Especially when it comes to character’s sexuality or gender.

For a long time LGBT+ characters and stories were banned from all forms of media and other minorities weren’t included for many terrible reasons. That meant that people had to read into the subtext of characters and stories to try and see themselves. Now it’s less illegal but still greatly lacking.

Fiction is incredibly powerful, it can change the way you think and can even the way you act.

The emotional bond we feel towards fictional characters is incredibly strong. Not the least because we project ourselves onto them and their surroundings. Between that and emotionally intense fictional events can cause a weird disconnect between reality and fiction. I’ve always described that like a fog combined with awe.

“As long as nobody’s making money from it that should be an author or creator’s, I don’t mind it. And I think it does a lot of good. It doesn’t bother me” – Neil Gaiman

As a writer, I’ve come to realize that once I release my characters into the world I no longer have control of what people think or do with them. Isn’t that amazing? To have created something that is absorbed into the daily life or identity of others. That’s fantastic. To have people love what you’ve created so much that they want to build on it and continue the story is just beautiful.

Now you may think that anything that doesn’t come from the creator’s mind is worthless and devalues the characters. I disagree completely. If your stories can bring joy to others, then you’ve helped make someone happy. If that means they want to ship two characters that you think shouldn’t be together, then don’t read it. You are not obligated to read or create fanfiction, slash, ships, head-canon, fanon, or anything else.

You do not have to right to judge, insult, or humiliate others for loving something you created so much that they want to see themselves in it or play with the world.

“I am delighted to hear that you liked the Narnian books. There is a map at the end of some of them in some editions. But why not do one yourself! And why not write stories for yourself to fill up the gaps in Narnian history? I’ve left you plenty of hints … I feel I have done all I can!” – C. S. Lewis

I look forward to finding out what people love, what people see, and what people do with my creations. To me that is a completely new form of success.

 

Later Days,

Éric

Disclaimer: I am speaking of non-commercial use and emotional bonds. I do not support or condone the infringement of someone’s intellectual property. Plagiarism is bad… Duh!

Dear Dragon – Nightmare

Dear Dragon,

I had my first nightmare with you in it and it surprised me. I don’t remember most of my dreams; those that I do don’t last long and unlike your mom’s they’re not complex.

Your Gramma told me that in her nightmares I was always a small child. Even when I was in university, her dream version of me was no older than five. I always assumed that you’d be a newborn in my dreams. I was wrong.

In my dream you were trying to get to me and making that pterodactyl screech you make when you’re annoyed. You were toddling towards me, screeching, and darkness swallowed you. Your screeching turned into your panicked scream and I couldn’t get to you.

You were hurting and terrified and try as hard as I could I couldn’t get to you. (There are tears in my eyes just remembering the dream.)

When I woke up from the dream, I thought you really were screaming but after a few seconds of panic, I could tell you were just snoring. You were getting over a cold and your nose was doing this weird whistling noise.

Most likely the dream was caused by stress and feeling like I’m not spending enough time with you. I wish I could work from home every day. You change so much and so quickly that I don’t want to miss anything.

My greatest fear is that I won’t be there for you when you need me. I can’t promise that I will, but I’ll try as hard as possible.

I love you Dragon,

Your Papa

Dear Dragon – I Miss You!

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Dear Little Dragon,

You still hate sleeping but you’re getting better at falling asleep… sometimes.

You are growing so fast in every way possible. Last week I watched you learn how to climb off the couch safely and Sunday you took your first shuffling steps. Just two little steps but they were steps. You’ll be running around soon enough.

I’ve been at work for over a month and I miss you a lot. It’s hard not being with you and watching you grow every day. I know I see you when I get home but it’s not the same.

I miss you and someday I hope I’ll be able to work from home permanently and see you every day. (You’ll probably be going to school by then.)

I miss seeing your smile when you wake up in the morning. I hope you never lose that easy smile, even if it’s just with family and close friends. Your joy is infectious and even when you’re being mischievous it makes us so happy.

I Love you little Dragon!

Your tired, sappy, and a little sad,
Papa

Dear Dragon – Your Uncle

Dear Dragon,

It’s a beautiful sunny 23rd of May and it’s your Uncle Dan’s birthday. You haven’t seen much of him yet because he’s really busy. Sometimes busy is an excuse adults use, but not in this case.

Your Uncle loves you a lot. I know he does because when I was younger, he lived in Ottawa while I lived in Val Gagné. I didn’t see him much then but when he came home, he was there for his annoying little brother. I never felt that he wanted to be somewhere else or that he was bored hanging out with me.

He was my favourite person and he would have done ridiculous stuff to make me happy.

Your Gramma told me about one time when I was very young but still older than you are now. I was sick and had to go to the hospital. She needed to get a ride from someone because she didn’t have a car. At that age I took Toutou (my teddy bear) everywhere and I brought him to the doctors with me, and of course I forgot him at the office.

I got home and took the medicine the doctor told me to and I snuggled in bed, only to realize I left poor Toutou at the hospital. I was devastated and wouldn’t go to sleep. I’m pretty sure I screamed… a lot.

There were no buses in Val Gagné and she couldn’t get a ride. Dan rode his bike all the way to the hospital and back. It was twenty or more kilometres one way.

He was my hero and that’s just one of the many things he’s done since.

So you may not see him as often as you see your other Aunts and Uncles, but he loves you, would do anything for you, and is a lot of fun to be around. Kinda like me, but cooler.

Love you lots baby Dragon,

Your Papa

Valentines Day

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Today is the day of love, lovers, or overpriced chocolate.

I’ve never been a big fan of this so-called holiday. It’s a day that glorifies showing love by monetary excess or grand gestures and that’s not what love is about.

Love is about the little moments, the smiles and laughter shared between people. It’s not about spending exorbitant amounts of money on stuff or food.

Today I’ll be celebrating by hugging my wife and we’ll be going to see The Lego Batman movie.

If Valentine’s Day has you down, why not call a parent, grandparent, child, or friend and tell them you love them (Only if you do, I don’t want you lying to people).

No matter how you spend this day, remember that it’s not the size of the gesture but the love behind it.

*Important Reminder: Tomorrow (February 15th) is half-price chocolate day.*

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Later Days,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Your Gramma

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Dear Dragon,

It’s the first of December and that means that Christmas is just around the corner. We’ve been listening to holiday music for the past three weeks and other than “Last Christmas” I’m still loving it.

There are all kinds of reasons I love the holidays, the snow, the presents, sappy movies/tv, spending time with family and friends, but most of all, it’s a time that most people feel more hopeful.

I hope you grow up with the kind of holidays that your Mum and I had. Our parents went out of their way to make it a loving and wonderful time.

As much as I love this time, I’m always a little sad. It reminds me of your Gramma. She loved this time of year, she’d get as excited as a child. I can still picture her with her santa mug of coffee and a mischievous grin.

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It wasn’t an easy season for her. She wanted to give me everything the other kids had but couldn’t afford it. I was still spoiled (especially by your Uncle Dan) but I remember the pain on her face when we received food boxes. It hurt her pride but she knew she needed to accept it.

No matter what happened, she made sure it was a great day filled with laughter and family.

She’s been gone for eight years now and when she died I took custody of an old box. It was packed in 1996 and says not to open until 2016. I remember packing it with some of my favourite toys, although I don’t remember the toys.

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I’m a little conflicted about the box. I want to open it, but I also want to open it with you when you’re old enough to appreciate it… to appreciate her. I’ll decide at the last minute.

She would have loved you sooooooooo much,
Your happy and sad Papa

A Letter to President Elect Donald Trump and His Followers

Congratulations on your win.

Now that you’ve managed to win the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidency, you have four years of power to shape your country into the place you’ve always wanted.

President Elect Trump said a lot of things on the campaign trail that were a little extreme. It’s an election, things happen, candidates get excited and things are said.

You now have a choice; you can double down on the hate or you can make America great again. You need to be an example, because whether you like it or not, you’re a beacon that all other countries look towards.

Make America great again, make it the land of the free, the land of opportunity, and the land of hope. Rebuild your crumbling infrastructure, your roads, dams, monuments, water systems; they all need desperate attention.

Don’t “Make” America great again, “Build” it back to greatness. That means more than just a frivolous wall. That means building your cities, your economy, and your people.

The LGBTQ+ community, the POC community, and the women are terrified that the hateful and downright monstrous things that were said during the campaign will lead to legislation, violence, and hate towards them. With good reason, as it’s already happened.

Change it Mr. Trump. You’re the President Elect now, it’s your responsibility to build up your people. ALL your people. The way you act over the next four years will decide if history call you a monster, a clown, or a decent President. It’s your choice.

To everyone who didn’t vote for Trump and who are terrified and/or angry; it’s okay to feel frustrated, it’s okay to be sad, those are natural reactions. Once you’re ready to come out of your grief, you’ll have the hardest job possible. You’ll have to show the other side that it’s possible to work with them despite disagreeing. It’s not fair, but you’ll have the be the ones to be better.

America and President Elect Trump, the world is watching. Be the best you possibly can and show us that there is more to your presidency than fear and hate.

Good luck!

Éric

Dear Dragon – Joy

Dear Dragon,

The other day I was changing you and you wriggled, as you always do, and smiled the entire time. You seemed to be having the time of your life, just being changed.

There was joy in your eyes I hadn’t seen yet. You’re starting to get more emotion, not just expression. It’s wonderful to see.

As I watched your joyful wriggling, I started to cry (Yeah I’ve been tearing up a lot lately). Your joy was pure and innocent and I know will be short lived. I’m not saying you won’t feel that pure happiness again, but right now and for a little while you’ll love, and joy recklessly.

Someday someone whose heart has been broken or has shriveled will tell you that you’re too innocent or that your enthusiasm is weakness. Let me be utterly clear: THEY ARE WRONG!

Enthusiasm and joy are our most wonderful emotions and they’re important. Joy, enthusiasm, and happiness are not always the wriggling bliss of an infant being changed. It can be found in a good cry, a tender moment, a beautiful view, a painful realization, or a moving experience.

I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, but be enthusiastic, never feel bad for your passions, love things people consider weird or childish, and most of all, enjoy and feel everything that happens.

Closing yourself down to the wonders of emotions and excitement lessens the experiences of life. I know that sounds trite, especially when it hurts.

Always try to keep a little of the child-like innocent joy. Trust me, it’s worth it. I spent years trying to be an adult and suppress those emotions. I count those as years lost.

Feel deeply, be enthusiastic, and know that I love you unconditionally.

Your Sappy Papa

Dear Dragon – 1 Month

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Dear Dragon,

You’ve been home for a month now. You have a name, a decorated room, and more clothes than you’ll ever wear.

Your routine is pretty much to sleep in the mornings, giggle/gurgle in the afternoons, fuss in the evenings, and fall asleep by 11. A routine you’ll likely return to in post-secondary.

We still occasionally forget you exist or have waves of panic that someone was foolish enough to leave us with a child. The feeling is getting less and less common.

If I had to sum up the past month, I’d say it would be fatigue and love, punctuated by small bouts of panic and helplessness. I suppose that applies to you as much as to us.

At a month, you’ve already mastered smiling, puppy dog eyes, and a heart-wrenching whimper.

I both can’t wait and dread you growing up. I’m trying to enjoy the little moments.

By the way, you’re a fantastic cuddler and I really hope that doesn’t change.

You’ve had a constant parade of people who want to meet you. Everyone loves you and wants to be near you. You’re going to grow up loved by so many people. You have your family (Me, Mum, Grannie, Grand-dad, Great-Grand-dad, Oncle Dan, Aunt Amy, Aunt Lindsay, and Modryb Sonia), your massive list of extended family and family friends, the ever-growing geeky community in Ottawa, and Ottawa’s wonderful speculative fiction family.

As loved as I hope you feel, your mother and I feel it just as much. Our families and friends are great. We’re lucky to have found so many awesome people to surround ourselves with.

This is a little disjointed, but it reflects the past month. It’s been interesting, terrifying, and absolutely wonderful. You fill me with love and wonder every time I see you or hear your little noises.

Your tired and loving Papa

Facebook Quiz Thing – My Better Half & Me

Hello Imaginary Friends,

Still no Dragon sightings. I’m starting to think she’s going to wait to be induced.

I’m doing my best to relax and hang out with Jen as much as possible while we wait.

Tuesday no matter what you’ll get a great new story but today you get a sappy facebook quiz thing.

Later Days,

Éric

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My Better Half & Me

1. What are your nicknames?

I call her Pumpkin and she calls me Teddy Bear. (We also use sweetie, baby, and hey you)

2. How long have you been together?

11 years in December

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating?

We met on our first date and started going steady after a few weeks

4. Who asked who out?

I clicked “Woo” on her profile thinking it was the equivalent to “Like” on facebook but instead it sent her a message. She replied with something along the lines of, “You’ll need more than a woo if you want to chat.”

I think I’m the first one to suggest a date.

5. Whose siblings do you see the most?

We see Lindsay the most. Dan is really busy; and Derek and Jessica are far away.

6. Do you have any children together?

Not yet… any moment now.

7. What about pets?

Nope. I’m allergic.

8. Did you go to the same school?

Only for University and even then she was in different faculties.

9. Who is the most sensitive?

We’re both pretty sensitive. I’m not sure.

10. Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Does our in-laws house count?

If not it’s definitely Asian Stars. Such good food.

11. Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Florida. Unless you count our yearly trips to Middle Earth.

12. Who has the craziest exes?

No comment. (It’s probably me.)

13. Who has the worst temper?

We both have pretty intense tempers. Thankfully we both burn off our anger quickly.

14. Who does the cooking?

Me. I love to cook and Jen loves to let me.

15. Who is more social?

I think she’s more social. I’m sort of standoffish. I’m always in awe of her in a group, she can make friends anywhere.

16. Who is the most stubborn?

Jen’s a little more stubborn but not by much.

17. Who hogs the bed?

We have a king sized bed so that neither of us try to hog it.

18. Who wakes up earlier?

Pre-pregnancy it was always me. Work on weekdays and reading on weekends.

19. Where was your first date?

We met at the Rideau Centre and went to Chapters where she ignored me for a while. Followed by the Highlander pub and ending at Oh So Good desserts.

I walked her home that night.

20. Do you get flowers often?

No. They die too quickly.

21. How long did it take to get serious?

A few weeks.

22. Who eats more?

Me.

23. Who sings better?

Jen has a beautiful voice.

24. Who does the laundry?

We alternate, depending on when we run out of underwear.

25. Who’s better with the computer?

If we’re talking tech, it’s me. If we’re talking typing and social media, it’s Jen.

26. Who drives when you are together?

Jen. I don’t have my licence.

27. Who picks where you eat?

Normally I give Jen 3 options and she picks one.

28. Who wears the pants?

We both do.

29. Who has the better sense of humor?

Jen laughs at my jokes so neither…

30. Who eats more sweets?

We both love our baked goods and sweets.