The last few weeks have been an interesting time for me. I haven’t posted on my blog since I sent out query letters for my thesis. I also haven’t blogged to express my excitement over the fact that I sent out four queries and had four requests to see more within the space of a week. First, that made me feel pretty good about my query letter. Second, that forced me to finish my thesis edits, and finish them fast. It was a wonderfully exciting thing, and it scares me to death. So much so that I still haven’t emailed my thesis committee about defending the piece of writing that I’ve already sent to agents.
Things are changing my life. I have a full-time job. It’s not one I particularly love, and I get two or three applications out to jobs I would love every week. I still haven’t found a balance in working that forty hours and then wanting to come home and be creative. I’m trying to start a new project, one I think will be a lot of fun to write, and can’t quite find the inspiration I’m looking for. My roommate is moving to Texas in three weeks, and I’m left with getting myself a new roommate after having shared quarters with her for over two years.
As times change, I find myself clinging to stories more, and familiar ones. I’ve recently found myself reattaching to Stargate: SG1. It’s been my favorite science fiction series for a long time, and it’s bothered me that I’d never watched it all the way to the end. I’m on the seventh of ten seasons right now, and enjoying the back half of the show’s run more than I thought I would. I always thought the changes that took place would sour my perception of the show, but they haven’t.
One of the things I’ve always loved about the series is they are good practitioners of the come late, leave early principle. An episode rarely starts at the beginning of a story, it starts at the point of conflict. It rarely ends with a wrap up, but when the conflict is resolved. They are true episodes in that way. It also invites a certain level of intimacy with the world. The show expects you to understand what is going on, and treats you like an active participant in Stargate Command. I like that.
And then there’s a show that will give its final bow this coming Friday that breaks this rule every single week and yet I still find myself strongly attached to it. Another show—like SG1—that’s had a ten-year run and experienced a network change halfway through. Yes, I’m talking about Smallville.
I came to Smallville late. In high school when it was the cool thing to watch, I couldn’t care less. Once I rediscovered Lois & Clark, I tried to give it a go at the beginning of the fifth season and failed. It was Sarah Reck who urged me to watch an episode 2/3 of the way through the sixth season that finally attached me to the show. Smallville is pretty terrible at the come late, leave early concept. Every episode starts by reminding the watcher about an overarching conflict, then establishes a fake line of conflict, runs the credits, establishes the REAL line of conflict, resolves the conflict ten minutes before the episode is over, and gives ten minutes of wrap-up (or added tension to the overarching conflict given at the beginning of the episode). Mercifully in recent seasons they’ve ditched the sappy love song at the end of every episode. As much as the episode structure drives me insane, I’m going to be very sad to see it go next week.
But it’s not the show I’m going to miss. It’s going to be Tom Welling’s and Erica Durance’s embodiment of two characters that will be forever stuck in a cycle of being re-imagined and re-imagined again. Lois Lane and Clark Kent aren’t going anywhere. They’re still married in the comic books universe. Henry Cavill and Amy Adams will be on the big screen next year. But it’s the end of a ten-year run that brought Clark from being a freshman in high school to Superman. That’s quite an end.
The whole point of this post is things change, and I see my times of change reflected in stories. SG1 has been off the air for almost five years now, and yet I’m still watching. I’ll still be watching Smallville after next week. Life changes, but the past isn’t forgotten.
My life is in need of a change. One part of me wants to do anything it takes to break into publishing. Another part of me says a second graduate degree in archaeology or museum studies sounds perfect. Another part of me says that credential could come in really handy.
But right now, I wait and see what the agents have to say…and defend my thesis. Then I can weigh and pray about the best path for me.
…and find myself a new fandom to cling to.