Fairies - The first oddbeat thing I can remember being obsessed with is fairies; when I was a kid I had a set of books that were hand-me-downs from my cousin and the one for beginning readers had a whole section of poems about fairies and pixies and such. Two of my favorite movies were Thumbelina and Fern Gully and my favorite book was Lynne Reid Banks' The Fairy Rebel. My best friend and I made up an elaborate game for our classmates around the premise that there were fairies living in the woods beside our school playground and a series of tasks had to be completed to save them - basically, at the age of eight I was already a fantasy writer in training. Unfortunately, our ongoing story came to an end when we came back to school one Monday and the tree where the fairies lived had been struck by lightning overnight.
Titanic - It sounds strange to call a tragic historical disaster a fandom, but hear me out! In December 1997, my friend's parents dropped us off at a G-rated move so they could see Titanic. After about 15 minutes of Flubber or something, my friend and I were in the back row of Titanic feeling like the baddest 12-year-old chicks in town. We were found out when her parents found us sobbing as the credits rolled. I became obsessed not only with Leonardo Di Caprio (you'll always be my first love, Leo), but with the ship, its wreckage, and explorer Robert Ballard. I was so psyched to find out my sister-in-law shares my love of all things Titanic - we went to see the movie together when it was released in 3D, and she and I forced our family to endure the Titanic Museum Exhibition on our vacation to Tennessee.
Arthurian Legend/Medieval Everything - My mom can attest that medieval lore was one of my first fandoms; when I was three and four all I wanted to draw was castles. When I was in eighth grade, two things led to my medieval obsession: the TV movie Merlin and Brian Jacques' Redwall books (I can thank my local librarian for that literary gateway drug). In the early days of AOL, I stumbled upon a chat-based RPG about a castle, and started writing stories a character named Duchess Isabella (my name from Spanish class, super creative obviously) who was basically a Mary Sue version of Morgan Le Fay who used dark magic to save unicorns and such. I'm sure our stories were horrible, but I had found a community of people who loved the thing I loved, and 5 years later I'd be studying Edmund Spenser and Geoffery Chaucer in college. My trip to Ireland to study literature was a dream come true because I got to see actual medieval things, real ruins of castles and The Book of Kells, and I'm still obsessed with all things medieval.
Star Wars - I resisted Star Wars - when I was a kiddo, my dad kept trying to convince me to watch the trilogy via his battered set of VHS tapes and I refused every time because it was a "boy movie" (there were no horses, so he couldn't trick me into watching it the way he did his favorite Westerns). When I saw some of the cool guys in my class playing with Star Wars action figures, one of which was shaped like AN ADORABLE BEAR, I was like, okay, Dad, let's do this thing. The next three weekends held probably three of the most significant Friday nights of my life! With the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999, my gang of online medieval writing geeks realized we all loved Star Wars and AOL created a spin-off universe for us to play in. I created a science fiction character that I still love and write about. This year, watching The Force Awakens, I couldn't help but feel like my dad was there with me.
Harry Potter - The fandom that is closest to my heart. My first year of college, I made one of my best friends in the whole world through our mutual love of Harry Potter. Not only is it practically my religion, HP has made being a geek cool. This week, when one of my coworkers recommended a book to me and another teacher said, "Is there a wand in it?" I am definitely the resident genre fiction expert on the eighth grade English hallway and I love nurturing my baby geeks by putting Harry Potter, Redwall, Ender's Game, and comic books into their hands.
What were your first fandoms and obsessions?