Any time you can transform hundreds of hours of binge-watching your favorite TV show into a paid byline, life is grand.
Last week, my essay about Buffy–edit, my word-geeking about the greatest show to ever feminism–was published at Salon. I’ve never been published at Salon before. I’ve never had work published anywhere with as much reach. The fact that I hit such a milestone on the hem of one of Buffy’s still-fabulous leather trenches is delicious.
But honest to god, it was just so fun to write. I love Buffy more than most things. Writing the essay was about celebrating the show’s 20th anniversary, not about making astute critical analysis that no one has ever made before (the show is still widely popular after ending 13 years ago. Everything’s been said). It was about giving voice to the teenage me that wanted so badly for these characters to be real, to maybe even be one of them. That fan girl is still here, still wants to be seen and heard, still rocks the Docs and tries to navigate the angst as best she can. Her hero is Buffy Summers.
I address it in the essay, but one of my favorite things about Buffy the Vampire Slayer also happens to be one of my favorite things about Pearl Jam, my other obsession: empathy for adolescence. Buffy is powerful, but she just wants to be “normal.” And the deeper into the show you get, the less you cringe at her desire to get dolled up and go to a dance, doodle hearts around her undead boyfriend’s name + hers, or have one real date without being called away to stake something. The less frequently you fall back on that socially conditioned idea that young women are frivolous, self-involved, ineffectual airheads. The more you realize who the real narcissists of the world usually are.
One thing I didn’t talk about in my essay is how much attitude I have about any non-Buffyverse vampirism. Vampires do not get glittery in the sun; they burn! To death! They are creatures of the goddamn night!
But sometimes people disagree with me. An invaluable reminder to myself during the Salon publication experience: don’t read the comments on your work and don’t feed the trolls. I scrolled below my bio right after my piece went live and the first comment I saw was “Articles like this are the reason Trump won.” (That actually made me laugh really hard.)
But speaking of. We could use a hero like Buffy now more than ever. The election of 45 feels like the mayor’s ascension at the end of season 3. Anyway. Write what you know and love, right? If the apocalypse comes, beep me.