Erik Fuhrer
Published in
7 min readApr 14, 2023


There She Is. There They Are: On Publishing Gellar Studies, and in Homage to My Patron Saints, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Virginia Woolf

On the left, a sepia colored portrait of Virginia Woolf with hair pulled back and a fur coat featuring her head resting on her hand. On the right, a full-color image of Sarah Michelle Gellar, from the waist up, with red lipstick, short blonde hair, and a black full-sleeved shirt with her hands crossed around shoulder length.

Finally having Gellar Studies out in the world this month feels unlike any other previous publication experience. Writing the book was a haunting. I wrote it during my first year in Los Angeles and suddenly my body was a Ouija board for all the celluloid ghosts who had tidaled me through this world. The common denominator: Sarah Michelle Gellar.

True saints don’t choose us. They don’t walk on water. They don’t help us move mountains, they give us the strength to know that we are the mountain, to help us see and love the landscapes that wind within us.

The poems in Gellar Studies are a relief map of my life. Of my body. As is the below offering, in which Virginia Woolf, another patron saint, brings me through the waves, and reminds me of my own expansive waters.

When I was young, I just wanted to go maybe not to a lighthouse per se but away. To be a body on the ocean. Sometimes under. I was one year just really in love with a boy who was also a firefighter. I was in love with many things. The waves darkened over my body even though I am afraid of the water.

Yes, Lily, she is beautiful, draw a line underneath her so she doesn’t disappear. I have drawn a hundred lines across the horizon and all I see are waves. Is it unethical to light a fire so that the firefighter boy saves me? He fought fires before I knew him. I was a body in a wave. I was death among the apple trees. I was the tide rolling in. I could put out fires, I could just never start them.

She disappeared, Lily. You knew she would. You wanted to paint her into permanence. There she is.

I won’t disappear on you. Only, I will. Drawn back into my own salt. I heard vampires eat their own death shrouds. I paint on my canvas with a cross. So that I won’t bite myself too hard. I wish I could promise you forever. I wish I could walk through the fire and raise all the ghosts. Buffy. Sarah Michelle. There she is. I follow her. I follow her.

Virginia Woolf, light a lamp for me. Tell me you are coming to dinner tonight. I will never eat alone as long as these waves crash into me. They are drawing me in. Rhoda. Neville. Susan. There they are. I hold my cross in my hand. I draw a line. I draw a hundred lines to lift me.

When I was young, I felt like I wasn’t allowed indulgence. There was something too feminine about just loving something in its pure sugar. Be a man meant don’t cry. Don’t gush. Don’t let your emotions slip through that hole in your lips. Stick a cigarette in. You are James Dean. Cool. Collected. Not Kendall Hart chewing up the scenery. Only I was always running hot. Fever. I winced at the term man when it arrowed at me. Is that what you see when you see me? Let my hair spill to the fucking ground. But no, actually, layer it a bit, catch the curl, make me look beautiful. I want to look like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I want to sail on the waves with that firefighter boy. What is desire but a wave? What is a wave but a line that curves and curves and. There she is. And I am under the water again.

There she is. Woolf. Sarah. I loved a boy who was at one time a firefighter. A vampire slayer saved my life. Growing up queer in my heart, I needed someone to carry its rhythm when I could not. Woolf, Neville, Rhoda, Buffy, Helen, Cici. The waves remind me that I am part water. That I am salt. I slip from my own eye when I am also queer in my body and there is no one to hold me. There she is. In the waves.

Cut my hair like this, I say. I show the hairdresser a photo of Sarah Michelle Gellar on my phone. If you can make me look like this I’ll pay you double, I joke. I nearly did pay her double. She straightened my hair at the end, explaining that my hair is already curly while Sarah’s is straight with an added curl.

I hadn’t gotten my hair cut in 10 years. Some oak root shame from wishing I was a woman most of my life. Hair was deeply tied up in that for me. I don’t feel like a woman anymore. At least not all the time. But I am starting to feel real. Like a person. Like me. And hair is deeply tied into that feeling as well.

The hairdresser explained that to look like Sarah will take some time. But she explained how to do it. She took her time. And she never mentioned that I was holding a photo of a woman. No comment on my desire. Just affirmation. I looked in the mirror. There she is. There they are. Hello.

Sarah stars in Wolf Pack this year. Woolf. Wolf. Homonyms. Her return. I howl. I read Woolf in the bath to prepare for this reading after watching the show. Completely different W(o)olfs become one in my head. I track them both. There she is. And I am in the woods. And I am in the water. And I am drawing so many lines to connect these worlds to mine.

Hold me closer, Orlando. Dip me into the waves. You know how seashells become glass? That’s what I want to be. To glide into softness. To land in the hard pillow of myself.

Sarah walks through the fire. Woolf through the waves. And sometimes this world does not have enough light. Where is that lighthouse? Where is that flame? Maybe I don’t want the boy to put it out. Maybe I want to carry it. Put it here. Right here. Among the apple trees.

Neville. Rhoda. Break bread with me. Helen, please pull me out of this ocean. You have once already. I sit with you. Not the last supper. But the first. You are all my family now. Have been for years. The wolf sets fire to my birth certificate. Boy boy boy boy boy that’s conflagration. That’s communion. There she is. There they are.

And the waves come. And the waves come. How do you measure influence? How do you measure love? In flowers? In blood?

Tell me, how much are these flowers?

Tell me, when were you first bitten?

If I say I love you it’s just to say that I have been caught in your ocean. It’s just to say that I didn’t drown there. It’s just to say that my life is safer because you have been in the world.

Even though I don’t know you, there you are. Constant. There you are. There you are.

When a therapist asked me who was a positive example of confidence to me I asked if it was ok if I said Sarah Michelle Gellar. Asked if it was ok. Because I am afraid of the dark that spreads when I speak. Afraid of others falling into it. I don’t want to become the wave. The shadow of the I in A Room of One’s Own. Blotting out. Blotting out me. Blotting out you.

This is my brain on trauma. I loop and loop like the waves. Virginia, Sarah. Light a lamp for me. So I can see you both through this night.

In Wolf Pack Sarah plays Kristen Ramsay. Not Mrs Ramsay. Not Gordon Ramsay or David Ramsay. Ramsay. It’s just a coincidence. They are not connected. Do you know how many Ramsays are in the phone book? What is a phone book? I howl. At myself? This is my mind this is my mind. One written by Woolf. One a wolf. A Sarah. A smoke. We all dim in the fire. We all soot. Here I am drawing lines again. Here I am trying to make sense. Cutting. Collaging. Wolf. Woolf. Howl.

The universe sketches its body on the water. We all are waves inside. We all are universe.

Tell me, how does it feel to be a universe?

Sometimes I forget — my body intersected by lines. By body a graph. Somewhere there is a lost episode of Baywatch where the firefighter boy pulls me out of the waves.

Somewhere, sometime, there is a boat that took me to the lighthouse.

Somewhere there is footage of all the times I was saved from a vampire before they could tooth me.

Somewhere there is footage of me not disappearing on you.

Somewhere there is footage.

Helen, I am so sorry, you should have been the final girl. On the waves instead of frozen in them.

Too many of us end up under the waves. Do lighthouses still work? Have they ever?

Yes, there she is. Who needs a lighthouse when you have the light itself?

There she is. There I are.