Greetings! I’m Jillian James, though almost everyone calls me Jilly. I’ve known Karin for a couple years now. We met through fandom, as we are both writers of fanfiction, and participate in the same fandom community.
I’ll get to the writing part in a bit… I’ve always been drawn to creative pursuits, but I’m bit like the Goldilocks of crafts and creativity; it’s just not quite right.
Let’s start with crochet…
Me: How long is this chain supposed to be exactly?
Mom: You need it to be about sixty inches (called from the other room)
Mom: Why? How long did you make it?
Me: I used the whole skein.
Mom: What?!? *runs in* Oh my god, why did you do that?
Me: Well, I assumed I was going to do something with it when I was done!
Mom: You are, you were supposed to— Wait, why is this so tight? There’s no way to put the hook back through.
Me: What do you mean ‘put the hook back through’? Why the hell would I do that?
Mom: You are so hopeless.
Friend: So, what do you think?
Me: It’s a hat.
Friend: Yeah. Aren’t you proud of yourself. You made something.
Me: It’s a hat. I hate hats. Why did we make a hat?
Friend: *gives me the evil eye* You are such a pain. Let me show you how to use the serger and we can make that cover for your scanner.
Me: *after ten minutes of trying to learn how the thread the damn thing* What nutter invented this?! It’s crazy! I refuse! No… I’m taking a stand! The scanner will just have to be dusty!!
Friend: *after watching me for twenty minutes* What are you doing?
Me: Making jump rings.
Friend: Making them?
Me: Yeah, you coil the wire around the thingy with this doohickey and then cut them into individual rings.
Friend: How many do you have?
Me: about a thousand
Me: To make stuff.
Friend: Like what?
Me: *pauses to think* chainmail?
Friend: That’s ridiculous. I thought you were doing that knotted jewelry with hemp.
Me: I got blisters.
Friend: Right. And what are you going to do with chainmail?
Me: Just you wait and see!
(five minutes into “weaving” the chainmail bracelet…)
Me: This is horrible.
Friend: Maybe you should have tried it before you made a thousand jump rings?
Me: Shut up.
Me: Oh my god! I got paint on me! I have to do my laundry.
Me: You want me to draw with CHARCOAL? Are you kidding? It’s dirty.
Me: (after trying pastels) What fresh dirty hell is this?
Me: That… is never happening again.
Friend: I thought you understood what a life drawing class was?
Me: Oh, I understood just fine. I don’t care about the naked, I care that she was on her hands and knees with her ass to me for most of the class. I mean, seriously. She picked that pose. If I want to draw an asshole, I can stay at home and consult the internet.
Teacher: Ms. James, did you hear that?
Me: Well, no. I’m pretty sure I went into a coma during the discussion about exposure.
Teacher: That was the first ten minutes of class.
Me: That was only ten minutes in? Holy crap, dude… it felt like an eternity.
Sis: Are you ready to take some photos?
Me: Are you kidding? I’m already done.
Sis: We’ve been here for five minutes!
Sis: What if you didn’t get the right shot?
Me: Are we speaking the same language?
Blood. ‘Nuff said.
Okay, to be fair, I have done some lovely cross stitch projects over the years, but I don’t really enjoy it. It requires too much concentration, yet doesn’t keep my mind at all occupied. I tried embroidery… same deal but more needle pokes for some reason. I’ve thought about trying quilting, but it seems like it’d be more of the same with sewing machine trauma tacked on.
I’ve taken up some coloring lately… My favorite work was a very adult coloring page I did over the holidays. Probably my favorite because it traumatized my dad every time he walked in the room and read the page. He’d huff and roll his eyes and look at me like he couldn’t figure out where he went wrong. Of course, this might have been a bit of payback for him pouring Dr. Pepper into my Frappuccino. Some things require revenge. #DefiledCoffee
As a kid, I had a really active imagination and was always making up stories. I started writing them down when I was a teenager, and even wrote a romance novel when I was about 15 or so (It was terrible. Trust me on this.) Work and life got in the way of creative pursuits, but I kept writing in my head, making up stories, and sometimes writing down notes so I wouldn’t forget the really good bits.
In 1998, I fell headlong into writing when I discovered fanfiction. I was struggling a lot with connecting to the characters in the stories I was reading at the time. It could have been the books I was choosing, or just my own mindset. But there were these stories available for FREE filled with characters I knew already, going on new adventures, or fixing things I hated in the show. And I happened to stumble into a fandom where the writing quality was generally quite exceptional.
It didn’t take long before I decided to try my hand at it… and I’ve never looked back. It had always been in my head, but I discovered that this was my creative outlet. It clicked for me when nothing else ever really had.
It’s been well over two million words of fiction now (under two different pennames and the streams will NEVER cross), and it’s in my bones that I’m a writer. While I love fanfiction, and don’t see myself ever giving that up, I decided this year that I’m ready to write works with my own characters. I don’t know if they’ll ever be accepted for publication, but it kind of doesn’t matter. This is what I do, this is what I love, and really, it’s for me.
Bonus: I don’t have to get dirty.
You can my find my fanfiction under this penname on my website. There are also examples of my digital art floating around over there.