My middle school diary—polka dotted, protected by a lock and hidden somewhere in my room—is one of my most cherished keepsakes. Through it, I can relive all the school dance “DRAMA!!,” remember how totally unfair my Algebra 1 teacher was, and recall in extreme detail specific episodes from the 10th season of the television show Degrassi.
Apparently, this long running Canadian teen ensemble drama had become my utmost priority by the end of eighth grade because that’s when I stopped cataloguing encounters with my crush and started dedicating entire entries to theorizing about what would happen on next week’s episode. I also wrote extensively about my favorite character, Eli, the resident goth boy with a heart of (somewhat) gold. In my thirteen year old eyes , he was the definition of perfection with his love of literature, his cool jacket, his swooping hair, and the attention he paid to a quiet blue eyed girl who I definitely did not see as myself. Nope, not at all.
Aside from the fact that (for better or worse, but probably worse) “my type” is still modeled off Eli to this day, Degrassi helped me come into my own as a writer by introducing me to the world of fan-fiction. As my diary would suggest, I couldn’t get enough of the show. When would Eli and Clare finally get together? Would everyone find out that Anya faked her pregnancy? Why hadn’t Mr. Simpson left the halls of Degrassi High since 1986!?
So to the Internet I went, like any young millennial lady with access to her family’s desktop computer would, where I found the holy grail for people like me: fanfiction.net. I was drawn in by the visually uninteresting though easily navigable interface, speed-reading through romantic one-shots and multi-chapter AUs. (For those not hip to the fan fiction lingo, that means stand alone stories of an amorous nature and longer tales that take place outside the confines of the Degrassi universe).
As a gal who loved creative writing and also projecting her romantic fantasies onto dark haired Canadian boys, I signed up for my own account and began writing. I’m not going to give too much away because I’d like to keep some of my dignity intact, but I will say this: My first story involved super powers obtained from a lightning strike, teleporting to the Grand Canyon, a Leonardo DaVinci secret society and currently has 1,788 views. I was shocked to find this out, and even more so when I saw someone had left a review that deemed my story “AWEASOME.” My second story involved amnesia, a fake girlfriend, a dangerous cult and has fewer views but one commenter noted that they had tears in their eyes after reading it. I’m not saying I was famous or anything, but seven whole people had my superhero story tagged as a “favorite.”
Unfortunately for my loyal, devoted fan base, I never published the final few chapters of either story. I moved on to other subject matter, including a particular Nickelodeon show and a particular Peter Jackson film franchise. I also at one point wrote fan-fiction about my US History class, but that’s an entirely different story. But perhaps, since I have recovered the password for my fanfiction.net account in research for this article, I could make a comeback. After all, I recently watched most of the latest season of Degrassi in one long, wild night so I’m well equipped to dive back into the world of youth dating, adolescent issues, and Toronto. Or maybe I’ll leave this fan-fiction as an artifact of my past—my dirty, dirty Degrassi obsessed past—and move on with my life.
That’s probably the better call.
Image via Sarah Clapp.