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Colonel Brandon, Severus Snape, and the Death of Interesting People

The problem with writing a tribute to an an actor who has passed is that it becomes increasingly difficult to separate the performer from his performances. That’s the double-edged sword of being an actor, though. You’re famous not just for being who you are, but for all the other people you have been. I can only imagine what it’s like to suffer dissociative personality disorder by proxy as you walk down the street and are recognized as someone different every time you turn a corner.

It’s because of this inevitable flux that I’ve had to start this article over and over again all morning. How do you talk about how much you’ll miss a performer without letting the characters dwarf the man who brought them to life? My only answer is that you’ve got to treat a character like a work of art, conceived by a writer but breathed into existence by the one who portrays him.

Alan Rickman, aged 69, died in London on January 14, 2016, on my birthday.

That last part is just so you’ll understand why I might be a little overly sentimental right now. It was hard, sad news to wake up to. Since the story broke my entire facebook feed has been one long continuous stream of tributes, pictures, quotes, and gifs of wands being cast into the air in tribute. There’s something miserable and yet comforting in that.

David Bowie, who also passed away this week at 69, once said, “We’d rather be scared / together than alone,” (Fun fact, that was one of my three senior yearbook quotes). So when something sad happens we often find solace in solidarity. While it pained me to see so many fans sad, it was nice to know I wasn’t going to spend the day having to pretend I wasn’t in mourning because those around me wouldn’t understand why.

So I’m going to tell you something very shocking: Severus Snape in Harry Potter wasn’t the most important role that Alan Rickman ever played.

It wasn’t Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and it wasn’t even Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest.

I know. Blasphemy. But let me try to meet my burden.

I contend that Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility was more important than Alen in Snow Cake, Metatron in Dogma, or Sheriff Nottingham in Robin Hood. Colonel Brandon was an anomaly. He was a good guy. He was the noble, unsullied hero. While his love interest, Marianne, was not immediately taken with him, he was never under suspicion of anything more terrible than being lovelorn and, at the worst, boring. No shady past dogged him, no cynicism plagued him, no snarkiness, no bitterness, no maliciousness, no murderous tendencies. He was a white hat, a phrase used to describe “the good guy,” above reproach. And while troubled and burdened with unrequited love, he was not to be pitied but rooted for.


His portrayal of Colonel Brandon was delicate, sophisticated, and all too utterly romantic with introspection. Other roles are more famous, but this role is most important because it showcases not just Rickman’s “range”, but his depth and commitment to tenderness as well. Most people can play closed off and crass, malicious or malcontent. But to be able to touch the core of a character and remain open and vulnerable enough to bring an audience to tears simultaneously with sorrow and joy is unique.

Ok… Severus Snape. I know.

I’m supposed to talk about Severus Snape – that’s what everyone’s waiting for. If I’m not going to talk about Hans Gruber, I need to talk about Severus Snape. Anton Mesmer or Rasputin simply won’t do today. A large chunk of my generation and those that followed first got to know Rickman as Snape because of the Harry Potter movies. And let me tell you, that’s not a bad place to see the man ply his craft.

Rickman’s portrayal of Snape wasn’t just great because “Snape’s the best character ever, omg.” It was because Rickman, twenty-some years older than his character, brought his history of fictional villainy into play.

Spoiler alert: Snape was technically a good guy.

While not a white hat by any means, his hat was definitely some shade of grey. But to play a white hat who is playing a black hat who is actually a grey hat who everyone thinks is actually a black hat pretending to be a white hat is…. well, it’s nuanced. Let’s put it this way, if you haven’t read or watched Harry Potter, you probably won’t have any idea what I just said. But know that it’s accurate and it’s definitely a compliment.


Rickman’s portrayal of Snape was so damned good because the character was already interesting, and Rickman was talented enough not to lose any of the original, singular complexity that J. K. Rowling created. In that way Rickman honored the character of Snape and became beloved by fans.

For eight movies he embodied the mystery of Snape and, in my opinion, never lost Snape’s thread. Perhaps it was because he was one of the few with whom Rowling shared his character’s end fate, but Rickman remained painfully true to his counterpart for a decade. Snape is iconic and Alan Rickman made him so. I’m convinced that any other actor, no matter how ingeniously talented he was, could not have done so.

On the British panel show QI, series 6, episode 11, ‘Films and Fames,’ John Sessions does his excellent impression of Alan Rickman and tells a story about how a child with no filter asked Rickman why “he always played villains.” Rickman replied in his indomitable way, “I don’t play villains. I play very interesting people.”

What made this funny when it first aired but bittersweet now that Rickman has passed is that he was typecast so often as the shadowy villain, or at least “not the hero.” But Rickman’s roles were always intense, and so often our first memories of him was as an antagonist who was more interesting than the hero. In this way Rickman helped to teach us that the “villain” wasn’t always intended to be booed.

Good actors are all around. We all have a favorite performer who strikes us in some way that cannot be rivaled. But Alan Rickman was damned great in my opinion because he never shortchanged a character by going with the flow of being typecast. He never phoned it in, and because of this we don’t just lose “an actor.”

With Rickman gone we suffer the death of untold stories, of unmet interesting people. His former roles live on to pay tribute to the man who created them, but there is also sadness in knowing we won’t be meeting any more.


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Surviving the Summer Break for Once Upon a Time Fans – Ohana Means Family

This article is chock full of SPOILERS, so please read ahead at your own risk.
*spoilers* All these people are related.

Ohana is a Hawaiian concept we were introduced to in Disney’s 2002 film Lilo & Stitch. Ohana is the spirit of family, whether blood related, adopted, or implied. It means, according to the titular character Lilo, that “nobody gets left behind — or forgotten.”
Family doesn’t always look like family, but it’s still good. Yeah. Still good.

The writers of Disney’s Once Upon a Time seem to take the concept of ohana to max levels as they cultivate the characters’ family trees. I’m really intrigued by how the show addresses familial relationships because, as the youngest in my cluster of my family tree, I enjoy looking back on past generations and how they have and still affect me.

There are better, neater family trees for OUAT out there, but I thought I’d try my hand at making my own for the purposes of pre-writing organization. Straight up, y’all, I broke the family tree maker software. It couldn’t, or wouldn’t, readjust its formating to properly illustrate these complicated relationships and just glitched itself into a peaceful sleep.

So instead of boring you with a rehash worthy of — Ooh, fun fact, at least two other people have made OUAT family trees on — I’ll just bore you share with you my observations on a very prolific family tree.

I had to start somewhere, so I decided to start with someone who was just a leaf, not a branch himself. And let me tell you, there are very few “just leaves” in OUAT. Our little leaf, Henry Daniel Mills, rests under the wide canopy of a very crisscrossy and convoluted tree.
“That forest behind me? That’s my family tree!”

From Henry we have his biological parents, Emma and Neal, and his adoptive mother, Regina, all who naturally have more family of their own, plus some overlaps and redundancies. I’m pretty certain that at some point the phrase “Uncle Grandpa” is used.

Most of us already have Henry’s moms and dad and his Charming grandparents, Snow and David, squared away, I think. But it’s here that familial relationships start becoming fuzzy very quickly.

Rumple is Henry’s grandfather, but he was also briefly romantically involved with Cora, Henry’s great-great grandmother, and even more briefly with Zelena, Henry’s great aunt.
This happened…..
Then this happened. Kinda. It was pretty one-sided. Thankfully.

Henry is related to King George through his great-uncle James, brother of Charming, and also to Cora via Regina. This connects Henry to people like Jack the Giant Killer, and Princess Abigail, Jonathan the Scoundrel and Zelena again.
He’s also related to Wilmer Valderrama.

Though his step-grandmother Belle French-Gold, Henry is related to Maurice and Collete, Belle’s parents back in the Enchanted Forest, and Mo, Belle’s father in Storybrooke. This means that at one time, Henry’s grandpa beat the everlovin’ snot out of his great-grandpa. Sidenote, Rumple is over 200 years old, which means that he’s is is also older than Maurice, Henry’s great-grandpa.

But that isn’t weird because Henry’s uncle Neal is 13 years his junior. And if that’s not wacky enough, the Wizard of Oz was almost his step-dad.

“I am the least complicated character in this list, for reals.”

Included in my version of Henry’s family tree are some people who aren’t technically related to him in the traditional sense of family. But I think that when it comes to OUAT and its themes of who and what makes up a family, including these people makes sense.

I included Robin because he’s part of Regina’s happy ending, and Henry is undeniably at the crux of Regina’s happiness. Robin, despite his soap opera-style romances, is a family man, and, if given the opportunity, would make an honest woman out of Regina one day, becoming Henry’s step-father in the process.

But before any of that, Robin Hood has his own shrubbery when it comes to organizing his current area of Henry’s family tree. As of the end of Season 4 he: has his own child, Roland, with the now-confirmed deceased Marian; is with Regina; and is having a baby with Zelena.

Which kinda makes Cora his adjuct mother-in-law TWICE. *shudder* So right now, Henry may be slated to have a little step-brother and a new little step-sibling. And we all know that in Disneylore, step-siblings work out SO well.

Then I included Hook, not just because of his relationship with Emma, but because of his adamant and heartfelt intention to make Baelfire his family, plans he made with Milah before her death.
“I shall bring death to your family. I will kill everything you love. So! Are you hungry?”

Hook’s greatest enemies were Peter Pan, who was Malcolm, and Rumplestiltskin, who was Malcolm’s son. And Hook ended up raising Rumple’s son, Baelfire, who ended up being Neal, who is Henry’s dad. (Which, if Season 5 goes the way I hope, Killian will be Henry’s dad too, adding to the connecting lines that go off the paper and on to the back of the page) This also connects Henry to Peter Pan, meaning Henry’s great-grandfather stole the boy’s heart to save himself. And it also makes it super poignant that Hook put aside his feud with Rumple in order to save Henry from Pan after Neal died. It wasn’t about letting go of a past grievance; it was about protecting family.

Hook, who was both enemy and ally to the Lost Boys, whose father abandoned him and his brother, who takes in Bae who was abandoned, ends up “caring for the heart” of Emma, the orphan, and for her son, Henry, who was also given up once. And, thanks to his time in Neverland and being frozen with Cora during the first curse, Hook is about 200 years old, making Henry’s mom’s boyfriend older than Henry’s grandparents.

Henry is also tangentially related to the Darlings though Baelfire, who was welcomed into their family and showed them love and loyalty by trading himself to save John and Michael. And John and Michael were very nearly Henry’s adoptive fathers according to Season3, episode 9!
I think we figured out how to use “uncle grandpa” in a sentence.

I would also argue that, because of his relationship with Emma, which she puts on par with family, not romance, August is a kind of surrogate uncle to Henry as well, or would be if he wasn’t a little kid any… Wait, no, he’s an adult now… Or… Hold on. Does anyone remember if August is even alive anymore? Regardless, that kind of makes Henry related to Marco a little too!
“Henry, I’m a writer myself, and even I don’t understand half of this. Don’t think too hard about it.”

And interestingly enough Henry is also connected to Ingrid the Snow Queen who was Emma’s closest thing to a mother while in the foster care system. This means that Henry is marginally related to Anna and Elsa, who are nieces to Ingrid.
“I’m… I’m probably not the best role model for the kid, tbh.”

I get the feeling Mary Margaret really wants to make Henry a scrapbook, but that she’d actually need to cut down half the Enchanted Forest to do it. Also, I’m pretty sure the only people Henry isn’t related to are the fairies. But we still another season, so who knows!

Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind, or forgotten. Family can also mean that the reason Henry eats family dinners at Granny’s so often is because it’s the only place in town that has enough chairs.
“You’re going to have to sit at the counter, Cinderella.”

Trying to piece together this family was a challenge, but lots of fun.
JK, cut this shizz down.

It was definitely the most challenging of all the OUAT articles I’ve attempted. I think next week I’m gonna talk about shoes again.

Now you tell us, what are your favorite family relationships in OUAT?

Who came as the most surprising or most confusing family relationship to you?

Who in OUAT do you think exemplifies the spirit of ohana best?

ABC. “Images,” June 15, 2015. Television.
Individual image credits provided in the alt text.

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Surviving the Summer Break from Once Upon a Time: Cosplay on the Cheap!

It’s been four weeks since Once Upon a Time closed out season four and I’m still breathing. SOMEHOW. It’s probably because I have already watched seasons one, two, and three all the way through (and then some), twice. I’m on my second trip through season four as we speak. Don’t you dare tell me I don’t know how to live my life to its fullest!

I’ve been trying to keep busy, trying to keep my mind off the Sadness of Summer Break (which is my new band name, omg!). And I’ve put the fanfic down this last week to reconnect with another fandom passion: COSPLAY!!!!!!!

I don’t cosplay everything I love. I simply can’t. The amount of time, energy, and money that goes into researching, designing, procuring, buying, and assembling a costume can be absolutely draining. I used to average about six decent cosplays a year before I had a kid. Now I’m very happy if my homemade “Stark Industries” t-shirt doesn’t have mashed banana on it.

So any day that I make it out of my pyjamas, I try to casual cosplay a little bit. Sometimes it’s a Black Sabbath tee shirt and kale juice; some days it’s a Gryffindor scarf and hat. But it makes me feel better to have a little bit of my heroes with me when I venture out into the world. With my social anxiety and depression, any courage and strength they can lend me is much appreciated.

Most of us can’t go to work or school or out to get coffee in full regalia. It’s hard to convince your boss, or even your friends and family, that this is an acceptable look on Casual Friday. Sometimes not even a Tee Fury shirt is appropriate for where your day takes you.

So you’ve got to introduce the word “understated” into your cosplay vocabulary. Also “subtle,” “influenced,” and “inspired” are useful, too. When I do my twice-monthly treasure hunt at my favorite off-price department store or thrift shop, I go in with one question: “Who am I shopping for today?” That question has a hundred answers. Hermione? Which version, canon or fanfic? Rogue? ‘90s or more current? Kaylee? Cute and frilly, or greasy mechanic?

Lately, of course, I’ve been one-track-minded on Once Upon a Time. Does this sweater look like Mary Margaret would have it in her closet? Would August carry this bag? Do these shoes look like Mr. Gold would wear them? (Yes, I secretly-not-so-secretly cosplay my patient husband, too.) If it fits and it’s priced nicely, it’s coming home with me.

So in the spirit of my shopping adventures and my love of cosplaying, I’d like to share with you the method to my madness. When I want to wear something my favorite characters wear, I don’t always look for replicas. Cosplay on the cheap means saving on money and effort. A quick trip to one’s favorite discount shop can provide amazing results. Today we’re going to use Payless Shoe Source as an example of how to find “inspired” footwear for our Once Upon a Time casual cosplays.

Regina Mills
Mara Block Heel Tall Boot
$27 on clearance

Look at this thing. This is Regina Mills’ @$$ kicking boot! Sleek, sexy, and stylish, this boot would work with or without the leggings autumn in Maine demands. P.S.: they are perfect for kissing and groveling tears easily wipe clean.© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved
The Evil Queen
Hype Platform Pump
$19 on clearance

Don’t let the simplicity of this pump fool you. This is a 5 1/2 inch platform for a royal foot. Its rich, velvety faux suede compliments both silks and furs. And the 2 1/2 inch toe box rise keeps all your hems out of the filthy peasant mud.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Mary Margaret
Camila Bow Flat
$24.99 on sale

It’s just darling! Innocent and sweet, this flat with grosgrain bow accent will compliment any twin set, so long as the top button is fastened. This shoe is available up to size 13, which means you can look adorable no matter how much your feet swell during your mysterious pregnancy from that year you can’t remember.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Snow White
Wenly Desert Wedge
$69.99 regular price

Fit for a princess who doesn’t mind hoofing it once in a while, this wedge boot, or w00t!, will compliment your royal travel leathers or your feather-trimmed maternity frock. They’re so versatile and comfortable that they’ll make you forget the woman wearing them once stepped on both a baby’s rattle and a mother’s hopes and dreams.
© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Emma (the Bail Bondsperson)
Luxe Glitter Platform Pump

Perfect for a night on the town, or just jazzing up your stakeout! These glittery pumps will dispel any lingering doubt in your mark’s date’s mind that you’re there for anything but a good time. Little does he know, the reinforced 5 1/2 inch wrapped heels will withstand a foot pursuit over multiple surfaces.
Emma (the Savior)
Raven Tall Boot
$18.00 on clearance from $49.99

Compliments everything in your Storybrooke wardrobe from your rarely-used sheriff’s jacket to your gigantic sweater-beanie combo set. Cozy yet durable, these tall, slouchy boots keep you prepared for the inevitable field trip into the woods, but see you safely back to dinner with the family. The side zipper makes pulling these bad boys off at the end of a long day and crashing on the sofa a quick affair. These boots also travel well through portals, up beanstalks, and back in time.

Mr. Gold
Gavin Dress Oxford
$34.99 on sale

Whether walking from property to property collecting rent, or just sitting in a bin at a TSA checkpoint, these dress oxfords are classically styled. The reinforced toe box is ideal for kicking scoundrels who hit on your amnesiac girlfriend both in the stomach and in the kidneys. The breathable man-made materials resist blood stains without pre-treatment. Customizable inserts are available to compensate for limp.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Rumpelstiltskin (pre-Dark One)
Freebord Driver Slip-On
$29.99 on sale

These slip-ons feature authentic-looking leather-type materials and rustic hand stitching to let the soldiers know you are indeed the poorest of the poor. Insides are lined with the softest padding, making your abscondment into the night virtually silent. For maximum accuracy, purchase in two different sizes to accommodate swollen and broken lame foot.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Robyn Flat Slide – Camo

Check out these sweet kinda-Birkenstocks! Not only are they ridiculously out of step with modern fashions, but they feature a forest motif that is reminiscent of Sherwood Forest. The inside has a pre-molded toe area that reduces the need to grip these shoes, which means you can walk from some unspecified point on the coast of Maine to New York without fatigue.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Marian (Sherwood Forest)
Bryne Woven Lace Up
$25.00 on clearance from $69.00

Kick unwanted sexual advances to the curb with these rugged-yet-feminine woven lace ups. The fine artisan detailing adds a luxurious touch; your friends will never guess you can’t pay the taxes on your tavern!
© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

David Nolan

Durango II Fleece Hiker

Don’t get caught running from an angry giant in anything less than this fleece-lined hiking boot. Good for working in the mines or playing deputy sheriff, this boot will see you though yet another unpredictable day. Thinsulate lining keeps feet warm in temperatures as low as -22ºF, ideal for Maine winters – or when pesky Snow Queens erect ice walls around the town borders.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved
David (the Shepherd)
Snowboard Moc Slipper
$19.99 on sale

If your meager existence relies solely on your ability to eek out a living planting on your farm, shepherding in the meadow, and mucking out stalls, then you need a comfortable, reliable, versatile shoe that may or may not have belonged to your father before he left for town that one time. #awkward  Handmade by your mom, lined with the softest of your own flock’s wool, this slip-on comes in drab grey to reflect the hopelessness of your plight.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Belle (French)
Kilty Penny Loafer Pump
$10.00 on clearance from $39.99

This new twist on the old penny loafer takes your “sexy Storybrooke librarian” cosplay to the next level! Its timeless style compliments even the most modern wardrobe. The thick 3 1/2 inch heel is sturdy and will hold strong whether you’re running from a filthy pirate hell-bend on revenge, or need a little extra boost as you reach for that forgotten tome on the highest shelf.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Women’s Brown Paisley Gretchen Clog

This is THE clog to get kidnapped in! Fashioned from the riding chaps scavenged off one of the many discarded corpses left lying around in the dungeon, these clogs are fancy enough to be worn inside your rich employer’s home as you avoid any kind of actual work, but comfortable enough to be worn into town to fetch hay, or out in the clearing as you take in the wash. They can withstand multiple scrubbings, but most importantly, their slip-resistant bottoms keep you steady and well out of the puddles of blood you have chance cause to wade through.

© 2014 Payless Shoesource Inc. All Rights reserved

Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to add a little cosplay into your own daily wardrobe. You don’t have to break the bank to sport the look of your favorite hero or villain!

We’d love for you to share some of your finds in the comments below.

What kind of casual cosplay do you sneak into your everyday look?



Payless Shoesource Inc. “Images, et all.” 2014.

Stuart Weitzman Women’s Hojas Evening Pump. Stuart Weitzman. 2014.

Promotional image/logo for the ABC television series Once Upon a Time (TV series). ABC. October 2, 2012.

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How to Survive the Summer Break: A Guide for Once Upon a Time Fans – An Ode to Fanfic

When I find myself in times of Summer,
writing fanfic sets me free
Typing words of drabble, let it be
Sitting in my room of darkness,
the cursor blinks in front of me
Slashing all the pairings, let it be

Ugh, are you kidding me? It’s only June?

I’ve been spending any free time I have (mostly the hours between 10pm and 4am) delving back into the world of writing fanfiction. I’ve got a nice little Hook/Emma story simmering over in Google Docs. Besides watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix and hulu+, writing fanfic has been the only thing that’s kept me half sane in regards to surviving the long days between now and Season 5.

All those things I said about sticking together in last week’s entry? Yeah, I’m a total hypocrite who can’t take her own advice. What did I say? I said that we’ve got to distract ourselves, we’ve got to stay positive and busy if we wanted to make it to the fall. Did I do that?

Regina knows what’s up. She’s let herself get carried away by sadness, let herself become embittered against a world that just refuses to stop spinning in the midst of my her pain. Regina and me, we’re like sisters.

Eh, on second thought, nevermind.

The thing is, this is the price of magic. It always has been for me. And if you’re the type who happily, recklessly, willingly, gives into the abandon of fandom, then you understand that the yearning and the angst is totally worth the magical squees and sparkles. Except…
It does. It really does. And that price can be rough. These characters, to whom we grow attached, who touch us emotionally and intellectually, who make us laugh and give us hope, or who thoroughly infuriate us to the point of throwing things at the screen or launching a book across the room, become part of our lives. For some of us, they are characters who come into our lives for an hour at a time, or a dozen pages here and there, and they affect us for the length of the interaction. And for some others, like me, they are people who stick with us for decades, if not our whole lives. No matter how deeply each of us individually relates to these fictional folks, one thing is for sure: they have a power over us. This is why hiatuses, summer breaks, cancellations, even seasons or books that don’t meet our expectations, affect us so.

Something that has always helped me get through the rough times has been fanfiction, or fanfic, the act (some say the art) of writing out one’s own versions of already established stories. To the uninitiated it can be a confusing concept. “What’s the point of writing something you can’t sell?” “Why write stories about something that’s over?” “Who reads this stuff?” “Don’t you have anything better to do that write stories that belong to someone else?” These are all frustrating things that some people say about those who write fanfic for fun, entertainment, and (my personal favorite) therapy. But they’re understandable reactions. Fanfic is what happens when passion can’t be contained. And, naturally, not everyone has the same amount of passion for the same things.!!%3F!


There are two kinds of people.

Fanfic is great because it’s based on an already established template of characters, settings, and history, and provides us with plenty of directions to go forward. Or we can scrap all that, go AU (alternate universe) or OOC (out of character) and write whatever we want. We get to just jump in and play! No messy pages and pages of character notes, no dithering over history, no having to start from scratch to get to the good parts. It’s all of the payoff without having to lay the groundwork.

Fanfic can also range from a few lines to novel-length works spanning hundreds of chapters. Stories can be influenced by cannon events (facts established by the original show or book), by some song the author heard that morning on the drive to work, by other stories, and by real life events. But really, fanfic can go in any direction, take the characters anywhere, and fulfill the wishes and wants of fans.

Of course, sometimes those wishes and wants are… Well, let’s just say they’re not always in line with the mainstream. Fanfic lives primarily on the internet, and, like most things that reside here, it can range anywhere from rudimentary and bland to complex and *sigh* somewhat disturbing.
But fanfic means freedom, and that freedom is different for everyone. While one end of the spectrum may not be for everyone, the fair majority of fanfic readers and writers have very open minds. Fanfic, whether simple, silly, serious, or scary, coexists on the web and defies judgement. It explores new possibilities, analyzes working theories, dissects relationships, and helps us relive the moments that affect us the most.

And on those days when it feels like the next season or the next book is hundreds of years away, fanfic can bridge the gap between where we’ve been and where we’re going. It can help us bide the time, which, when it comes to survival, can make the difference between giving up and soldiering on.

Fanfic is cheaper than therapy, and you can do it anywhere. You can write it on your phone, in a notebook, on the computer, or even on a napkin. You can write on your break, take voice notes in the car, or stay up until the sunrise getting those last lines of dialogue perfected. And you can read endless stories, too. People are publishing new ideas every single day. While you might hit the occasional end to your niche interests, the characters you like rarely have an end.

But it’s important to remember that fanfic is like Lay’s potato chips: you can’t eat just one. Unless you accidentally start on a story that is absolutely against your moral fiber, you’ll probably get hooked. Just be careful if you have to work the next morning. Stronger people than you have fallen into the pit.

So in the meantime, as we burn ourselves out on watching the last four season on repeat, waiting for Once Upon a Time to return this fall, we can rest easy knowing that there are more stories out there for us to read. And when we tire of those, we can write our own!

Some fanfic confuses us.

Some fanfic freaks us out.
But all of it can remind us of what it was that made us fall in love with the original stories to begin with.
Because in the end, we all like happy endings.

I hope that if you have never read fanfic before you won’t hesitate to open up your search engine and enter your favorite show or book and add “fanfic” to the end if it. You might be insanely surprised to see what’s out there.

Hope it tides you over til the fall!

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How to Survive the Summer Break: A Guide for Once Upon a Time Fans – Part 1

Hi, I’m Julie. And I’m a Oncerholic.

Ever since the Season 4 finale two weeks ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the folks in Storybrooke, and the Enchanted Forest, and all the realms in between.  Now let me put all my cards on the table: I take some fictional stories way too seriously in some people’s opinion. I’m a geek, I’m a shipper, I’m a trivia nut, and I’m a cosplayer. When I get into something I. GET. INTO. SOMETHING. But that’s ok. Emma said so.


I’m kinda emotionally wonky right now.


It’s bad enough that I’m a CaptainSwan shipper, but I’m also so wrapped up in everyone else! Ugh, it’s like my family went on vacation to Paris and left me behind.


I do take comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one who feels like this. Thankfully the internet has given me a place to lay my head.

Screenshot 2015-05-22 at 4.14.22 PM
It’s a little-known website. Not much traffic. You might have heard of it. But probably not.

It’s made me realize that the stress and sadness of doing without Once Upon a Time can be made easier on all of us if we stick together and keep ourselves occupied in the interim.

I’ve come up with a list of activities we can do together to take comfort in the solidarity of our love and yearning for OUAT. Hopefully these projects and ideas will carry us through this wasteland of a summer til we arrive on that special Sunday night this fall at 8/7 Central. Or at least occupy us til the end of the week. And since we don’t have an episode to recap every Sunday, I’ll be posting sneak-peeks, rumors, news, and OUAT related tidbits to tide us over. And also probably fanfic.

Please let me tell you.

Here are ten activities that I hope you find as fun as I did!

1. Bake some apple turnovers. Poison optional.

Is this the most pointless gif you’ve ever seen?

2. Sword fight with your own easy-to-make DIY swords!

3. Spend a day without modern conveniences to commune with your friends in the other realms. No lights, no running water. No drive thru. No CARS! No TVs, DVDs, CDs —


4. Eat Like a Pirate Day! Salted meat, black bread, prawns, and RUM. Oh, don’t forget the limes! Don’t wanna get scurvy!
5. COSPLAY LIKE A BOSS. That’s me and my husband at the Central Coast Comic Con in Ventura, CA.  I was actually pregnant. I thoroughly regret not getting picture of our baby in a hollowed out tree later.

I only made this list so I could post this picture. Not gonna lie.

6. Impersonate your half-sister’s boyfriend’s dead wife! No, no, don’t do that, actually.

7. Make yourself a heart in a box. If you’re extra talented, put a pulsing LED light inside to make it glow.
8. Ask your grandparents or the nearest hipster if they have any old Polaroid cameras and film lying around. Work a little magic of your own! I have absolutely done this, and it works, and it’s awesome!
9. Hold a Once Upon a Time Party. This is by far my favorite set of food, decorations, and favors. Forget searching Pinterest, this blog had the most achievable ideas.
10. Get cholera.  Just kidding. The Enchanted Forest has been referred to more than once as a place where everything tries to kill you. In honor of the crappy health care of that realm, take your vitamins.

No, for reals, even your mom will kill you.


Between the Summer break and mid-season hiatus, it’s a wonder we don’t go nuts waiting!


It’s okay to be mad. This is a rough time we’re going through.


Some days it will seem like all you want to do is destroy stuff.

Other days, even the most hopeful amongst us will give zero effs.
Just remember to stick together. In times of hardship, friends are invaluable.
Maybe have a drink with a fellow Oncer to pass the time and commiserate.
And in the end, keep a smile on your face and remember the good times. There are more waiting for us in Season 5.lanaouat

What are some things you’ll do to pass the time and ease the pain while you wait for September to roll back around?

What story line are you looking forward to most for Season 5?

Here are some poorly organized citations for marginal legality. 

  1. All of this belongs to ABC
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