Whenever I catch myself romanticizing the values which the previous centuries nurtured and held in high esteem, I remind myself of one thing (well, two, but the latter is the civil rights movement, which is a story for another time). The former is another kind of freedom. The other day I asked Laini Taylor (via Twitter) to confirm that the color of Karou's eyes was, in fact, black. Laini Taylor graciously did so about five seconds later. I then sat in wondrous awe for about thirty minutes, before going back to my art.

In other words, I love the internet. I'm not particularly fond of trolls (though some can be diverting to a truly unexpected degree), nor am I familiar with all aspects of the World Wide Web. But I love the free exchange of unmitigated information. I love the global effort of coming together and closing the virtual distance where the physical distance is too great to close in the similar way. As a reader, I am repeatedly boxed into a "book sniffing, old-world-loving, technology repellent librarian figure" by the outside world, as if books and technology could never possibly coexist in the same universe. And while I do occasionally smell books and dream of the old world, I am by no means a stranger to technology, nor do computers cower/explode at the mere sight of me. This blog is one proof. My other hobby - digital art - is another.

The internet has greatly expanded our options where giving back to the literary world is concerned. Apart from the money we the readers invest into the industry by buying books, there is a plethora of ways at our disposal to show the authors how appreciated their work is without having to invest a dime (provided that you have a computer, and I'm going to go ahead and assume that you do, if you're reading this virtual article exulting in the joys of the internet). Earlier this spring, some book-bloggers and book-vloggers have come together to organize Author Appreciation Day, when they encouraged everyone to drop their favorite author(s) a line to let them know just how very appreciated their work is. Social media sites have become an Author Appreciation Network in their own right all year round. Nor has fanmail decreased with the introduction of technology. It's easier than ever to write three pages' worth of praise and shower an author with it now that said praise can reach the author instantaneously, at no cost at all.

It's a whole new world out there, my friends.

But the mode of appreciation which has arguably benefited from the internet the most is fanart - that wondrous, joyous act of deriving creativity from creativity, of being inspired by an author's inspiration. Fanart is no longer an attachment to a physical letter, a drawing compact enough to fit into an envelope (where the act of folding it in halves breaks our little, creative hearts). Fanart has gone digital. Or rather, fanart has arrived to the internet. In essence, it is digital, it is traditional, it is musical (Harry and the Potters, anyone?), it exists in all shapes and sizes. But it is all available for the world to see, should the artist so desire. And even if the creator of said art isn't comfortable with sharing their fanart with the world, it is still ridiculously easy to share it exclusively with the author who inspired it. DeviantArt is a veritable goldmine of fanart, which ranges from amateur stick figures to elaborate, detailed, professional artwork. And deviantArt also happens to be my home away from home. Not that it's the only place online to find excellent fanart. There is hardly a place online where there is none. Believe me, I have looked.

So honor the authors who inspire you. Put a smile on their face by drawing them an entertaining stick figure rendition of their work. Try your hand at making a more elaborate piece of your favorite scenes. Pay homage to your favorite characters on pen and paper, or with the mouse and a graphics tablet. Anything goes. It's a whole new world out there, my friends. And technology and fanart of the literary variety are no longer antonymous terms.