I’ve always been a nerd.
But, I’m not sure what the first official sign was… it may have been the fact I’d barely sleep Friday nights so I could make sure I woke my dad up in time (meaning about 4am) so we could watch Pirates of the Dark Water. OR it could have been that I loved Star Wars so much that when I was three my Dad made his own “kid friendly” version for me on Beta. OR that when I was a teenager one of the only reason’s I’d do my homework was so I wouldn’t be grounded from the TV so I could keep up with the super late night re-runs of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on network TV Friday’s and Saturday’s with my Dad. (side note: it seems like my Dad is a key player in all this)
Bottom line: I’ve always been a nerd.
And not even just within “nerd culture”, but with everything. I used to beg my Mom and Dad to let me go to the library and find the oldest, most obscure movie musicals and then attempt to learn the music and dances. I used to come up with the most intricate and elaborate stories and ideas, make my sister and friends act them out and obsess over the little details of everything. I loved make believe but when logic wasn’t present or couldn’t be traced I got –errr get- angry (seriously though why would I marry that imaginary Prince? We just met, I don’t know what he likes for dinner, or what his future hopes and dreams are or if he’ll be ok with me going to college instead of having babies!!). Sometimes it’s a wonder I had friends at all (thanks friends!) because I would get caught up in the weirdest of details or ideas or thoughts.
So, not only was a nerd, I was weird. For a long time I tried to hide it. I tried to be “cool” and miserably failed. I would try to talk about “cool/normal things” or be into the “cool things” but eventually I’d just ended up going into long lectures at bars (possibly to a total stranger who just bought me a drink) raging over the ludicrous character journey of Anakin and Padmé and how our culture’s obsession with unattainable romance has officially wrecked the greatest franchise ever(!!!). Or ruin everything by giving an in-depth song analysis of “Bottoms Up” -or any other pop song the DJ played.
… yeah, the cool thing didn’t really work…
I didn’t really ever feel like I fit in anywhere. I studied theatre but have an insane fear of auditioning, and would much rather have done all the book work than gotten out on a stage in front of people. My husband and most of our friends work in tech, so they’re pretty cool and we’re into a lot of the same things, but for totally different reasons: I fall asleep during battle sequences and live for cut scenes… they’re the opposite. As a teacher I couldn’t go along with the standards because they drove me crazy since I felt like they just made me skipped over all the details and intricacies. I love my friends but whenever “relationship” or “love” stuff comes up I just about break out into hives or I start to try and make sense of it all by rationalizing it (turns out trying to rationalize The Notebook is not a good way to bond).
It felt like wherever I went I was like Ron Weasley in the Muggle world: kind of able to blend in but sure to quickly do something outrageous to show my true colors (and then end up crying and/or having someone yell at me).
I wanted my theatre friends to see how brilliant Life is strange was, and wanted my nerd friends to see how incredibly interesting Spring Awakening was. I have yet to have such luck.
And then two things happened within basically 24 hours of each other.
I went to a directing internship interview and within 5 minutes had the person interviewing say to me: “you really like figuring out the puzzle pieces of plays, don’t you? (I nodded) Then you don’t really want to be a director, you want to be a dramaturg”. I protested! I was sure I knew what I wanted in life! He simply asked me to just think about it and if I didn’t want a dramaturgy internship to let him know.
I spent the next day hemming and hawing over it while re-watching the end of Game of Thrones season 3 (for maybe the 10th time) in preparation for Season 4 beginning the next day. And then all of a sudden it all hit me- OH MY GOSH!! ALL GAME OF THRONES IS IS A GIANT EXERCISE IN EXPERT DRAMATURGY, NO WONDER I’M OBSESSED. And the next thought I had was, OMG lots of people I know actually watch this show, but don’t really watch it- well, ok they watch it but they don’t search for the pieces of the puzzle like GRRM intended- maybe I should write a blog. I love this stuff, and the times I talk to people that love it like I do, I don’t feel like Ron about to do something stupid, I feel like Ron the moment he met Harry and instantly felt at home (and I usually have to hold myself back from saying “will you be my best friend?!”).
Obviously, GOT Season 4 happened a while ago… it’s just taken me this long to actually finally work up the courage to do it.
So just as much as Ron needs Hermoine to help him figure out how to fit in the Muggle world, Hermione needs Ron just as much to stop and take in the awe of what’s around them. And while this analogy isn’t perfect- I really should have used Newt Scamander and Jacob Kowalski- it’s what I hope to do with this blog. I hope to open up the magic and intrigue hidden within our everyday lives. I hope to demystify “nerd culture”- mostly because I think we should stop silo-ing everything all the time. I don’t believe that TV and Movies are just here for entertainments sake. They’re here to teach us, to challenge us, and to inspire us. I think we can learn more about humans and society, where we are and where we’re going if we look at fantasy/sci-fi/other pop culture . Game of Thrones is about way more than boobs and blood and battles (if you think that’s all, you haven’t been paying attention). The Marvel Universe is- or at least was- about way more than spaceships and superpowers and supped up gadgets. If anything, I hope to find ways to even the playing field so everyone- “nerd” or the coolest of the cool- feels welcome. So that everyone can see the fascinating hidden opportunities pop culture has to teach us more about ourselves and our world.
If anything, hopefully this blog can be a Muggle’s guide the Nerd World.
Until next time,
P.S. woah, that guy at the internship interview was right… that dramaturgy internship was one of the best things I’ve done for my career- thanks Intiman and Andrew!