“Kayfabe” in Better Than IRL  (Fiction & Feeling, 2020)

“I told her about how much I hated high school, hated having to make friends with other kids my age after playing on an all-girls baseball team shattered my self-esteem and confidence. Typical angsty teen stuff–probably fuelled by listening to too much My Chemical Romance and Hole–but that was my entire world. I shared the deepest of secrets with Amanda, the secrets that only felt safe shared digitally, with no faces, no voices.”

“Kayfabe” is a creative non-fiction story about writing WWE fan fiction and being catfished online as a pre-teen.

Better Than IRL is a collection of true stories about finding your people on the untamed internet. This wild version of the internet existed in a time before algorithms, corporations, and terms of service made anything more than an emoji hard to come by. A time when the internet was still new, and huge, and unruly. No one knew quite what to do with it, but we built our little corners and made lasting connections.

With 23 essays written by pioneers and participants from online communities, hailing from Canada, South Africa, India, USA, Singapore, UK, Liberia, Australia, and the Philippines, this paperback looks at how this specific time on the internet changed us, and how we can take the elements that made it so much better than IRL with us into the future.