Writing the Traditional, Jamaican Way
(Or, How a Level 12 Bureaucrat Writes a Fanfic)

We love Futurama, do we not? Yes we do. Well, I do. And we love Hermes, right? Yes we do. Well, I do. And we obviously love fanfic, otherwise we wouldn't all be here. So what do we get when we add Hermes' song at the end of "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" to fanfic theory? *Ahem* tada!

BTW, the song can be downloaded at the Futurama Outlet. I think. I transcribed the lyrics, but you need 1.0's beat to really make it work.


When I was four there was a hurricane in Kingston town,
With a foot and a half of water;
Everyone was all right, but I cried all night--
It blew my alphabet blocks out of order.

And they said: "This boy's born to be a bureaucrat,
Born to be all obsessive and snotty;"
I made my friends and relations file long applications
To get into my tenth birthday party.

Many authors are commended or singled out at an early age for some small proficiency at writing. This is usually the fawning praise of a self-esteem-enhancing teacher, but hey--everybody's got to start somewhere. Talent ain't enough, obviously, but if you've always liked writing it's a better start than someone who decided one day to write something.

This is NOT to say that people who started late in life are by nature worse writers than people who've had pen in hand since they could spell "onomatopoeia." I myself started writing in earnest at 18 and ten months, and I don't think I suck too much. I'm just saying, I think it would have been easier on me (and by extension, you) if I'd been one of those sad girls with a book full of juvenalia. I'da been more developed, I think. Damn me and my wasted time!

Wife: But something changed when my man turned pro--
Hermes: I was sorting, but I wasn't smiling…

It starts out so well…we write things for ourselves, we like them, we show them to a friend or two to positive response. Then, we make a potentially fatal decision: to go public. Amateur writing is a lot different than "professional" fanfic writing (up bup bup bup DON'T quote oxymoron on ME!). You can write all the god-awful, incredibly misspelled pieces you want on your own time, but once you post someplace people can see it you have the obligation to put out the bestest damn thing you can.

And putting out the bestest damn thing you can is HARD. And it takes FOREVER. And if you don't have wuv in your heart, well…you are gonna give up.

W: He forgot that it's not about badges and rank--
H: It's supposed to be about the filing!

If you've got problems, rekindle your love affair with your source material. Go watch your favorite episodes of your program a few times. Remind yourself why you're doing this whole bit in the first place. Then come back, and write with that wuv in your heart.

H: People! We didn't choose to be bureaucrats,
No, that's what mighty Jah made us!

If you're meant to be a writer, you'll write. You'll be the guy tapping out poetry in Morse Code in the prison camp, the hermit tracing an epic in the desert sands, the lonely college student spending all her energetic hours glued to the blearing light of a cathode-ray tube…anyway, you get my point. Nobody in her right mind would choose to be an artist--you write because you gots to.

H: We'd treat people like swine, and make them stand in line,

Oh, the glee, the raw rush of power incurred by making someone wait for your next opus! I'm a sadist, but Hell--I like being mean. Besides, it's not like you owe the audience quantity of works. The only thing you owe is quality. Quantity can go screw.

H: Even if nobody paid us.

Which nobody does. Which is why you have to really love writing if you wanna be a fanfic writer. And why we can't get sued just yet.

They say the world looks down on the bureaucrats,
They say we're anal, compulsive and weird…

Apparently, fanfic writing is looked down upon in many "normal" circles. According to a really skippy Salon.com article of a few months back, fanfic authors are considered pale friendless freaks with no imaginations of their own. That hurt my feelings, as I have reasons for being pale and freaky, none of which are related to my writing activities.

I suppose this is why I'm unable to show my work to my parents--besides not fully understanding it, they'd be more than a trifle concerned I spend so many hours fretting over the hypothetical lives of unreal people. To be fair to myself, howe'er, many of my unreal people sprang Athena-like from my head. So it's a little more acceptable, I suppose. It still smacks of fangirlism, I think, and that's why I'm embarrassed by what I do.

H: But when push comes to shove, you gotta do what you love,
Even when it's not a good idea!

So true, Hermes, so true. Just because I'm ashamed of what I write doesn't mean I'm going to stop.

H: Zoidberg!
Z: They said I probably shouldn't be a surgeon;
Professor Farnsworth: They pooh-poohed my electric frankfurter;
Leela: They said I probably shouldn't fly with just one eye;
Bender: I am Bender, please insert girder.

Gotta do what you gotta do. Bender again shows us the way, even with no brain for smart-making.

H: Everybody sing: Jamaica!
E: Jamaica!
H: Just the bureaucrats!
Bureaucrats: Jamaica!
H: Just the grade nineteens!
Morgan (eventually): Jamaica.
H: Sing me home! When push comes to shove, you gotta do what you love, Even when it's not a good idea!
Bender: I'm Bender, baby, please insert liquor!

When you satisfactorily complete a fanficcing task, it's customary policy to get wasted. And as soon as I actually finish something, wasted I shall be.