Blurring the Lines - Amber Benson (Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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There used to be a hard-and-fast rule. There was "them" and then there was "us." "Them" was made up of artists--the people who created TV shows, books, films, music, and visual art. "Us" was the group of people who consumed what they made. "Them" was set apart from "us" because "them" was creating material that was then disseminated, on a large scale, to "us" out there in the real world. "Us" could enjoy "them" and their work, but "us" could not contribute to the creations we loved in any appreciable fashion.  

But then something interesting happened: the Internet took over the world, and this hard-and-fast rule slowly began to disintegrate. All of a sudden, "us" was able to horn in on "them" and their creative process in a very public way--most notably in the form of fanfiction.  

fanfiction 

All lowercase letters. 

No spaces. 

No CAPS. 

I have a weird perspective on the subject.  

I am an actor, sometimes.  

And I once played a character who's a fanfiction favorite.  

I hear she/I does a whole lot of "slash-ing" . . . wait, that's not the proper use of the word. This might be better: I hear there is a lot of slash fanfiction about her/me on the internet. Which is kind of sad because this means the fanfiction version of her/me is getting a lot more action than the real me.  

Before I get started, I should clarify exactly who/what I am. If the name in the byline is unfamiliar to you, you might recognize the title of the show I appeared in, or the name of the character I played in that show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tara Maclay, respectively. 

Just FYI, I had to go online and look up whether or not the "c" in Maclay is capitalized. You would think from the amount of time I spent pretending to be this fictional character (three years), I would know how to spell her last name properly. But the truth is, there are a lot of fans out there that know way more about her than I do.  

And some of these more knowledgeable fans write fanfiction.  

I try not to read fanfiction about her/me. I think it would be awkward and I'd forever be left wondering why she/I am so much cooler on paper/the Internet than I am in real life. I am also leery of reading anything about her/me because I really don't want to read about my pretend-self doing naughty things with characters/people that I may or may not be attracted to in real life.  

When I was on Buffy (this was many, many moons ago), not looking at Buffy fanfiction was another hard-and-fast rule. People are litigious, so anything written by a fan and sent in to the writers/producers was not supposed to be read. I have retrofitted this rule to fit my own needs--mostly because of the not-wanting-to-think-about-me-doing-naughty-things-with-fictional-characters worry--so just know that when I see you at a science fiction convention and you hand me your fanfiction about Tara/me, I will smile and take it . . . but I am probably not going to read it if Tara/me is being a dirty birdy.  

I have been known to read fanfiction about other things, things I have no creative/personal stake in. I might even read the Buffy stuff you write, unless you have Tara Maclay giving cunnilingus to Counselor Troi (who is, by far, my father's favorite Star Trek Betty). If you hand me something like that then I am probably going to take a pass.  

Pause. 

I must preface all of this with a disclaimer: I have co-written (along with Christopher Golden) a few Willow/Tara comic books. There is a difference between writing these comics and writing fanfiction and it comes down to two things: the storylines for the comics are carefully vetted by Dark Horse Comics/20th Century Fox, and there is no cunnilingus in them. (Well, at least none that ended up on the page. Maybe some dirty bits were excised before the comics went to print . . . and now you'll forever wonder if I was just pulling your leg or if there really was excised cunnilingus in those comic books, right?) 

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