Amanda, Damian and Martin:
Sanctuary inspired me. I have spent the majority of my life struggling with depression and the aftermath of a traumatic start to life. In 2009 I was seeing three therapists at the same time, dealing with clinical depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and just plain learning new methods of coping. I was also overloading on my classes in college and working overtime at my security job so that I could pay for my education (and that whole rent and eating thing, too). I was placed on antidepressants for the first time in my life, and I never thought they would be permanent.
What you need to know is that I used to write. All through high school and into my first few years of college, I wrote fiction and memoir to help ease my stress and relax. I started when I was twelve, writing Lord of the Rings fanfiction with my two best friends at the time. Once I started taking antidepressants, I stopped writing. It wasn’t until two years later, when I decided to stop taking the medication, that I realized I had not written one story for pleasure in over two years.
July 2011 is when I went off the medication, and July 2011 is when I discovered the little show that could. While I saw Amanda’s name on the credit list and that’s what got me interested, it was the writing and the creation of each individual story that kept me there. I am by nature a writer and a lover of stories—as a working minister who often ends up in counseling sessions, my favorite type of therapy is narrative (telling an individual’s story and changing it to take the power away from the problem). Without Damian and Martin, and Gillian and everyone else who contributed to what made that show, I may not have found my inspiration again.
Once I was back on my feet, I started writing again. I began with Sanctuary fanfiction, which rapidly turned into original fiction. By December I probably had fifty stories written, by August 2012, I had over eighty fanfic stories and one novel completed. I was writing on average 39,000 words a month, not including my school papers and reading. By October 2012, I had a publisher and more love for the written word than I ever could have imagined. Now, in August of 2013, I have one book on the market, one soon to be out, and three more written, and so many in my head bursting to come out that I can barely contain them.
The writing for Sanctuary gave me back the inspiration that depression stole from me. I got my writing mojo back and no way was I going to let it go (it is now living freely in the field of dreams with limitless boundaries and anything it could ever want or need).
I should probably also mention somewhere in here that I’m a minister in training. Next year I will be graduated with my Master’s in Divinity, and at the moment, I plan on working in the parish: creatively writing sermons, prayers, and daily devotionals that my parishioners hear every day and every week. This show allowed me to understand that creativity is not something limited to only TV scripts or novels that are written (or random fanfiction that may still be on the internet because I might be too lazy to take them down). Creativity is found in everything, but most importantly, it is found in acceptance.
I don’t come from a family or from a childhood that is readily accepted, and I rarely ever see things in the same way others do. Amanda’s touching explanation of her brother brought out the strongest message behind Sanctuary. My church recently passed a resolution accepting and uplifting all peoples. We are an open and affirming denomination, which works to strive in accepting all peoples. Specifically the resolution mentions the LGBT (et al) community, but it also mentions those who are still not accepted. I am one of these peoples.
I am the only child of a single mother who struggled to support her daughter in any venture she came across. I am the victim and survivor of incest and child molestation. I am a bisexual minister who writes lesbian fiction and erotica. I have thirteen piercings and three tattoos, and I love to dye my hair strange colors. I am the “abnormal” that society has created, and I have been inspired.
Adrian “AJ” Smith