A little while ago, as an experiment, I took one of my slash stories to a women's open mic and read it there. I didn't tell people that it was slash, or even that it was fanfic. I wanted to see if it could pass muster as original fiction.

The story was Evening, one of the few pieces of mine that would make such an attempt even remotely possible: it doesn't refer to any plot points from the show, being completely character-bound instead, and yet it doesn't mention any ultra-recognizable names. (Anything that says Mulder or Scully was right out.*) I had actually read a nonfiction bit the month before in which I had mentioned due South, Frannie, and Meg by name, so it crossed my mind to wonder if people would remember that; but I was betting that no one else at the mic would be a big enough due South fan to make the connection. So I printed it out, taking care not to leave any identifying URLs hanging around; and then I practiced and practiced reading it aloud.

Did it work? Well, yes and no. The people there that day seemed to accept the story at face value; they clapped as we always clap after every reading, and no one tapped me on the shoulder afterwards to say, "Hey, aren't those the women from that Mountie show?" I even had the gratification of seeing the woman who runs the mic nod her head in the way she does when she's satisfied with a piece. So I should have been satisfied too. And yet… I wasn't. They might be getting something out of the story, but not what I had in mind when I wrote it. I wanted to run up to people and say, "No, you don't understand! You're missing the point -- that's not all there is to it! You've got to know what Meg's been through… and what Frannie's been through… and how they are… and…"

…and all the things you can't say to an audience. The things that have to be in the piece itself, or at least in the way it's presented. So I've learned my lesson, and from now on, the only place I plan to publish my slash is on my fanfic pages (and perhaps appropriate archives also). As they say in the One Brother Restaurant, it is what it is.