In this next installment of Mostly Mary’s “Meet The Fans” interview series, we take a peek into the past and chat with Adrienne M., founder of the RememberLaura LiveJournal community. Created shortly after the final episode of Battlestar Galactica aired, the community brought fans together with the tagline “coping with Laura’s death by celebrating her life”, and quickly became an active forum for fans of Laura Roslin and Mary McDonnell to interact, get to know one another, and engage in discussions/activities ranging from emotional and serious to absolutely ridiculous. Adrienne talks to us about what inspired the community, what it meant to her and to the fans who participated, how tremendously it impacted her life, and, of course, mall zombies.
Hi, Adrienne! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
I’m very happy to take this trip back in time with you.
We’re here to talk about the RememberLaura community, but it’s been awhile since that particular chapter of fandom has been active, so let’s start by letting people to get to know you a little bit! Can you briefly tell us a little bit about yourself and your life outside of fandom?
Is there life outside of fandom? When Battlestar Galactica ended and the couple years of fandom excitement afterward subsided, my life calmed down a lot. I’ve settled into suburbia with my two kids and my new wife and have been focusing a lot on myself and my family. As much as fandom was a social and therapeutic aspect of my life, it was also a distraction from things I needed to deal with.
So when and how did you first became a fan of Mary/Laura? The RememberLaura community opened in March 2009, so was it around then? What drew you to Laura in particular?
So, Dasha K. was my friend from The X-Files fandom and she forced me to start watching BSG in January 2009. Obviously, I marathoned the whole series so I could catch up and live watch in season 4.5. I came in pretty late and felt like a newbie, but I truly identified with Laura’s arc from the miniseries onward. I’d been through a traumatic marriage end in 2008, so that’s why I fell so deeply for a character who had her own trauma and was forced to make drastic, immediate changes in her life and decisions that some people would not be happy with. Mary played it so realistically that I immediately identified with it. And I was professedly obsessed with her, Laura, and where she was headed.
Adrienne (left) with fellow professedly obsessed fan Erin.
RememberLaura was originally created as something of a therapy group after Battlestar ended, a way for fans to celebrate the character and mourn her and the show. Did you have any real expectations or hopes for the community when you first created it? What was the thought process?
I opened the community a few days after the series finale in March 2009 as a way to cope with Laura’s death. I was bereft, and I’d found that many others were too. Tears for days. Months. This was a big deal. To me, it felt like something inside me had died. And maybe it had, and I needed to mourn. She’d been symbolic of my newfound freedom and hope. But when she died, I knew I would have to continue on my own. This community was a way of not being alone.
Header image of the RememberLaura community page, made by zaleti
The community became very active very quickly, and remained so for a long time, so it certainly seems like it helped fulfill a need or at the very least a desire among Laura fans. What do you think it was, exactly, that the community offered? Why do you think that it seemed to resonate so deeply with fans at that time?
What the community did for those who became involved was beyond my wildest dreams. Everyone there was intricately involved in developing a safe space for hope, companionship, and friendship. I think fandom provides opportunities for these spaces, but those are often wrought with conflict and argument. This space had none of it. We wouldn’t allow it. And it was refreshing and beautiful. You had hundreds of people who banded together to make sense of the show and its impact on them. I hate to make it sound so grandiose, but it was unique and rare.
As the moderator, you were – at least initially – responsible for making daily posts to the community. What sort of content did you try to include?
I tried to keep it lively and engaging, and I’m pretty sure I posted daily for two whole years before it started to die down. I wanted to provide what people wanted, from discussion and meta to music and stupid fandom crack. And fanfic, of course. Most people wanted everything and anything they could find. We didn’t want to give up this show and this incredible woman it had brought into our lives.
Considering that the community was originally created to mourn Laura Roslin, it’s not surprising that there was serious discussion and lots of angsting over the character, but on the other hand, there was a lot of cracky and generally funny content as well. Are there any discussions, activities, etc. that stand out in your mind as being particularly memorable?
I will never forget zaleti’s fanfic about Bill Adama and Laura Roslin fighting mall zombies. It spawned so much creativity (fanmixes, icons, art). And I believe that all came from a discussion thread about Laura Roslin and Michelle Obama killing zombies in a mall with an axe. The creative hivemind is a powerful and awesome thing. I also found our discussion threads about loss very powerful. There was a lot of vulnerability in our community and that breeds friendship.
The cover of the “Laura vs. the Mall Zombies” fanmix, compiled by the RememberLaura community
At Mary’s first Dragon*Con appearance in 2009, the first – and only – official “RememberLaura” meet-up was arranged. What was it like to have so many members of the community together in person?
I personally handed Mary an invitation to the event at the Westin and I think she missed out by not attending. It was brilliant. It was unbelievable to see everyone together. And I think our community provided at least nine Laura cosplayers at the Colonial Fleet Party. And I provided one Elosha with a disco stick. I hold that whole weekend close to my heart, maybe even closer now than before. Sometimes you don’t realize how great a thing was until you look back on it years later.
Fans and friends gathered in the Westin hotel for the RememberLaura party at Dragon*Con.
The community did eventually begin to die down as LiveJournal as a platform became less active and fans began to come come to terms with the end of the show/character and moved on. You handed over the reins at the beginning of 2013 – what finally prompted that decision? Was it difficult?
I had support from friends who knew I needed to focus more on my personal life, and they encouraged me when I no longer had the time or passion the community deserved. But I handed it over to defyingnormalcy and knew it was in good hands. I’m grateful that she took it over and continued engagement for a long while. But people did leave LJ in droves, and it died down. I think it’s sad because the more popular fandom spaces now don’t provide for community nearly as easily.
Even as the community disbanded and interests diverged, a lot of the people who had been part of it remained close. Have you kept in touch with many of the people you met through that community?
A good percentage of my friends on Facebook were added after Dragon*Con in 2009 and I still love every one of them. I’m not kidding.
RememberLaura community members meeting for the first time at Dragon*Con in 2009.
There’s one person in particular that you met through the community that we know you’ve kept in very close contact with – can you tell us that story?
I’m happy to say that I’m married to i_am_davnee. We’ve been married for three years. We met through RememberLaura and then connected on MSN Messenger. Most people don’t know that at first, I tried to set her up with another fandom friend, but that didn’t work out. I was happy about that because when I saw her picture (and passed it on to my friend) I was secretly hoping it didn’t work out because I wanted to get to know davnee better. And what a beautiful person she is–inside and out–and she has changed my life in indescribable ways. I’m incredibly lucky. I’d call her the Bill to my Laura, but she doesn’t smash model ships when she’s angry.
Speaking a little more generically now – besides Laura/Battlestar, what is your favorite Mary project, and who is your favorite Mary character?
Besides Laura?? I’m very fond of Stands With A Fist and Dances with Wolves. I like her determination and beauty and I admire her strength. She reminds me a lot of young me and of my daughter now. I will forever love a survivor story. I also appreciate the awareness Mary has raised for the needs of the Lakota people in the many years since. It speaks to the generosity of her character.
You’ve been actively involved in fandom for a long time. What are some of the other fandoms that you’ve been passionate about? In what ways, if any, have those experiences been comparable to or different from the BSG/Mary fandom?
The X-Files has always been and will always be my #1 fandom. I’ve fallen back into it again with the new revival miniseries coming up. Like the BSG fandom, my focus is on community and companionship with other fans so we can find common threads in life experiences. It’s harder to find now because everything’s so fast and in-your-face that it’s a real task to keep up. But there is still a lot of humanity on the Internet if you look for it.
Finally, is there anything you’d like to add that we haven’t touched on?
Nope, this has been thorough and fun. 🙂
Thanks so much for chatting with us!