i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
works in progress; hymns order (link this?)
(here for lack of a more suitable place)
xuqu/hymn series, in chronological order:
the hymn for the cigarettes - finished
the hymn for the coffee - unstarted
(the cure for evil - finished)
a hymn for the postal service - ongoing
the hymn for the alcohol - finished
the hymn for deling (berlin) - finished
a hymn for the things we didn't do - unstarted
Query: the hymn for thomas courtenay warner, hymn for the telephones.
FVIII works in progress:
Kriegszustand - Seifer/Squall)
?fade away - cadet!Squall
HP works in progress:
let me sleep (next to the mirror) - R/H, second in three short pieces about death
mal fils - klepto!Draco, gen
the school of night - Tom Riddle's Schooldays, gen
bigmouth strikes again - Percy, Oliver
waster - D/G
Utena works in progress:
roseability - Anthy
Angel Sanctuary works in progress:
the devil's trill - Asmodeus
Some of these are several years old. I am quite clearly insane. Oh, well.
i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
hymn for the postal services/guess how much I love you (link this?)
fandom: final fantasy viii.
The Planning and Communications Office - Pi and Ci Oh, they say in administration, where an acronym is always better than a word - is only a poky little room on the third floor, but it holds within it the whole world in maps. Two steps south, to open the dirty windows and let in some fresh air, and Centra is locked in cabinets on either side; turn around, and there are landmasses flat against every wall, bordered by dry stacks of oceanic topography. Star charts peel from the ceiling in flakes of black paint: the Brothers cluster is barely visible, rippled with damp and the white plaster showing underneath. We should send some cadets up to redraw the sky, let them learn to navigate for themselves and not rely on wireless position indicators, but the maps are too classified and the room is too small.
No-one comes here without authorisation and a specific reason. They check the maps on the Garden intranet instead, from the comfort of offices and learning centres, and complain when they discover that not everything is on there. In the spring, cadets take part five of the preliminary SeeD training block, which requires them to plot out an attack on a specific place. They go to the library and demand the files for wherever it is, the Galbadia desert prison or Balamb town or this tiny little mining village in Trabia which for some reason we have a cupboardful of data on, and the library girls come to Administration to send someone else up. Cracking their gum, they promise not to let anything leave their sight, and there's usually at least one page missing when the folder comes back.
Most of the cadets couldn't tell a contour line from a smudge on the paper, and they hand in incomprehensible reports where teams are expected to scale cliffs with only basic equipment or survive three weeks in the desert with no more than four litres of water between them. They are sent back down, sulking, into Elementary Geography, and when they re-take the assignment write little messages of hate on the map-margins - "fucking Cid", it says here, and Winhill has been scribbled out and replaced with "shitsville". I could look out the handwriting files and report whoever it was for defacement of Garden property and refusal to respect authority, but that seems a little cruel.
We took Advanced Military Cartography, Quistis and I, an extra-credit course that put us on the fast track to Instructor status. It gave us a free pass into the P&CO, one afternoon a week; and unsupervised, too, which meant... well, it meant what it meant, us two alone with that hide-topped writing desk whose edges always dug into the backs of my thighs. Not just that: we talked a lot, too, sharing compasses and confidences and drawing plans in the air with thin mechanical pencils. We promised to become Instructors, her and I, to make a new generation of cadets with a higher pass-rate than the deadbeats around us, a mercenary force comprised of people like us to keep the world in check and running right. I don't think she's forgiven me for giving up on my first class and working my way into administration, no matter what excuses I make for it. I had Raijin to teach, I say, back when he was uncontrollable and a liability to every wall in Garden whenever you put a weapon in his hand, and she makes this little unconvinced hmph. Besides, I say, I can have so much more of an effect on Garden infrastructure, and she knows I'm not a people person and didn't she always use to steal my notes for revision, I'm good at those at least - and I've diverted her a little, onto the 'you're not as unlikeable as you seem to think, Xu' monologue or the 'oh, and you never stole any of my notes' game, but I know I've only put the conversation off for another day.
Looking back, we got a lot more work done here than I would like to have imagined, given the circumstances, but Quistis would laugh if I told her we were too dutiful, too studious, all that time on our own with only a very slight chance of someone coming up to check on us and yet we finished our project with two weeks to spare. Dollet: Defence and Offence, it was, which is pretty ironic, really, because she's there now and I have the atlas open on her page.
This is the communications atlas, I can tell without looking at the spine. Not that that's hard - each page is covered with red lines, the whorls and swirls of the SeeD information network. From Dollet, Quistis can send her official statements by seven different base routes, to request backup from SeeDs in any Garden or to provide daily progress reports for paymasters in any town. There's an undercover team running damage control in Timber for the Deling government. Their mission is only Code F importance, so every day one of them rides the train to Galbadia Garden and then up to Dollet, to accompany any messages she will send. Customary SeeD protocol, to keep information from getting into the wrong hands: but the whole population of SeeD are the right hands, and the moment his train pulls out of the station he will be reading her communications. The situation in Dollet might have some kind of impact on his mission, and, anyway, he's curious and bored and none of the people on the train use the same Triple Triad rules he does. Everyone does it, and he will be popular when he arrives at Galbadia Garden. The couriers are the only ones who will tell you what's really going on out there, even if they have to translate it from official language. The authorities think it's a good idea to keep cadets uninformed of the outside political situation unless strictly necessary; and, speaking as a member of the authorities, it is.
There was a memo for me with her last communication, suitably dry and formal, requesting a copy of map Dollet4E90. Dollet4E90 is too classified to be trusted to the intranet, so I will have to copy it out by hand, and she knows we ran out of mapping ink just before she left and more needs to be bought from our Balamb suppliers. She knows, too, that I will have gone into town anyway yesterday, my morning off, because she has been five days away and there will have been a letter to me from her. I don't know what she's thinking, but it's probably funny to her, me taking two trips in two days for her sake. She's miles away and can still make me do this, and she knows it.
The sailors take our personal letters and bribes, smiling with faraway mocking eyes and handing them over unopened at the other end. We trust civilians more than we do our fellow SeeD: there's nothing they have to gain from our personal lives scrawled on bad-quality paper. To them, I suppose, we are just uniforms and revenue, barely indistinguishable except by accent and the regularity of our post - "haven't seen you in a while," says one to me, and I say "yeah," and that is our sole concession to polite small-talk. They have never asked me who the letters are from, a sweetheart or a sibling or something in between, and I don't think I'd know what to answer.
i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
'bigmouth strikes again' (provisional title) (link this?)
fandom: harry potter
The week the twins made the team, Percy barely spoke and, when he did, he snapped. He swept along corridors with a frown twisted over his face, and Oliver bobbed in his wake like a well-meaning moorhen, piping up little suggestions that were always drowned out. In the library, straight-backed and silent, Percy jotted down angular notes on Auric the Halfhearted, and ignored even Oliver's leg thumping anxiously against the table. Quidditch through the Ages should have afforded some comfort, so well-worn and well-known that Oliver could recite its comfortable phrases along with the slow reading voice in his head. Percy, though, caught sight of it, and said quickly, highly,
"It's such a stupid sport, honestly, I don't know why you play it. Couldn't you do something more worthwhile with your time?"
And bit his lip too fleetingly for Oliver to notice.
It was the worst moment their friendship had ever seen.
Percy never remembered how it had been resolved, with Oliver quiet and mournful and himself fractious. It seemed as if one day they woke up and fell back into the old routine of passing the jam at dinner and sitting next to one another in Charms so Oliver could copy down his notes, and that was that. They even talked about Quidditch, Oliver hesitant at first but then falling over his ideas as they tumbled out of his mouth, like always, and that amazed Percy most of all. There were plenty of people to talk to about Quidditch, the team and the reserves and anyone else in the year with an ear to spare - in the school, in fact, no matter which house; he'd seen Oliver ramble even at Slytherins. Why he picked Percy, who let in goal after goal at three-a-side in the garden at the Burrow with the gnomes cheering and Ginny stamping her foot and shouting 'foul!', was a complete mystery.
If only I could remember how we stopped arguing, Percy thought, I might learn something, something useful, and he scoured his memory until it shone bright and painful and still lacking those essential hours. All it showed him, again and again, was the twitch of resentment as Fred jumped and hung around George's neck, screaming something illegible that translated to "We're on the team! We're on the team!"
Almost no-one could tell Fred and George apart. Percy could, because he had known them all their lives, could recognise instantly that the crowing when he stumbled on a trick floorboard in the Cockatrice corridor was George's, knew that it was Fred's body sprawled across the common-room floor as he scribbled his way through a last-minute essay. Mum never seemed to be able to, but then Mum had been known to call Percy "Charlie" when not concentrating, so she probably did really. Their friends had a pretty good success rate, but that was mostly dependent on calling them "you" or "fuckwit" and dispensing with names altogether.
Oliver never even bothered to try. In the thick of practice, he forgot everything except moves and passes, bellowed orders designated by nothing but position.
"Chaser! Left!", he shouted, and "Seeker! Out of the fucking way!"
The play became more heated, Gryffindor's main and reserve teams dipping and whirling about one another, and Percy could no longer tell who was on which side but Oliver was not on either, hovering about with one hand on his broom and the other holding a whistle to his mouth.
"Bludger!" he blared, and Percy smiled because this was the moment where Fred and George ceased to have any identity whatsoever, and suddenly it didn't seem so bad to be down on the ground and outside the shared mind of the team.
For half an hour after practice Oliver could talk about nothing except Quidditch. Percy had learnt not to press the issue of homework, since that time when McGonagall's face twitched with something that could have been disapproval or laughter and she held Oliver back for a long conversation on how you did not use the Porskoff Ploy in transfiguring leeches into hatstands, and docked the house ten points while she was at it. Instead he idly flipped the pages of the book on his lap and let Oliver's voice bubble over and around him.
"It's not the strength, it's the angle. Look." Percy looked, nodded as if Oliver had turned to him for assent. "We're going to have to make some real changes to get this team up to speed," said Oliver, and Percy was sure he was right. Although what about, he couldn't say.
"Those beaters have got to understand." A pause, and a mental realigning of cogs from Quidditch to the world beyond. "Aren't they brothers of yours?"
Percy wanted to say something about half the house being brothers of his, it seemed, and how perspicacious it was of Oliver to notice, so he said:
"So they'll listen to you."
Percy wanted to say something. So he didn't.
"Could you tell them, then? They don't seem to listen to me. They can repeat back everything I say, but it doesn't seem to sink in."
"That's often a problem," said Percy, and thought about the hex on his school robes that had taken three weeks of research to remove, all the time with Are you ever going to be a Prefect? No? Well, then, why don't you do what I tell you? in flashing curlicued script across his back. He had regretted the words as soon as he spoke them, and more and more each time someone prodded him on the shoulder and said "um, I think there's something wrong with your robes," or simply sniggered in the hallway.
"So you will, then? Thank you."
Oliver's face shone with hope and with having been scrubbed with cold water under the pumps in the changing rooms. He looked so horrendously sincere that Percy lost all heart to tell him that no, actually, he hadn't agreed, and he wasn't likely to, because Fred and George? Listen to him about Quidditch? Yeah, right. And how exactly could Percy admit that he held about as much power over his brothers as a flobberworm did over a dragon? There was no way: not to Oliver, with a trickle of either sweat or water drying on the way down from his hairline and his smile so eager his ears were twitching.
The twins were popular with everyone. Oliver wasn't: everyone tolerated him like an overfriendly puppy at a friend's house, and nor was Percy, who no-one tolerated but at least they were only rude about him behind his back most of the time. Oliver and Percy had formed a loose alliance in year seven, when Percy's broom got caught in an updraft in their first flying lesson and Oliver steered up to steady it. They'd turned aside, embarrassed, Oliver muttering "could have happened to anyone" with fervour, and then found themselves sitting next to one another at lunch and sharing vitriol about Professor Snape, who'd already given them a detention for being late when it was Madame Hooch's lesson that ran over and not their fault.
i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
roseability (link this?)
fandom: shoujo kakumei utena
It is called the observatory, but no-one watches from there. Things happen in its dark; blind people bump into one another and reach out to feel for each others' identities, and no-one sees them.
Anthy takes off her spectacles and puts one hand to the window, feeling it stick to the cool of the glass. The view is of nothing in two dimensions: an Escher-diagram school below and flat blue above, shimmering in backdrop to her skin. Tiny sparklets of white halo about her hand, and this is how she knows none of it is real.
Anthy is real. Her touch shifts and warps the colour of the world outside, and when she takes her hand away it leaves no mark.
Anthy is real, and nothing else is.
Every so often, swords slice into her abdomen. They hum and twist with mankind's hatred, and she doubles up, gasping. Afterwards, she looks to see if any of the blood that trailed dark and gobbety over her legs has pooled and dried in her bellybutton, brown and flaky on smooth soft brown, but always someone has wiped her clean and put her to bed.
She never thanks him in the morning, because he would smile and say "Whatever for?", and she hates it when he pretends these things are not happening. In the evening she follows the tracks of his shoes on the shining floor and returns the favour, tucking the sheet around his body and staying when his hand touches hers. He never stays for her, but she will do it for him. There are rules which say that he cannot even help her up when she falls over - they both know there are rules - but there are no rules for her.
She does as she will; and words may snap at her heels but they never quite bite. They are not hers, they belong in the unreal world she is not part of. Every term is a fetter that she can always walk out of, unsubstantial as air, a hallucination of theirs that cannot touch her with its flickering threats and shadows. No matter what they call her, she is she and always she.
With him there are no words. Even though he lives in them, lives by them and through them and with them, he must shut the connections of brain and mouth in order to truly taste the salt from her pores. They slide without sound on cotton sheets that never rasp, meet palm to palm and hip to hip and exhale breathless silence. Their eyes reflect but never echo.
"Prince" is only a word, and "Brother", because they have been closer than anything since a time before siblings were invented. They have been closer than anything since a time before time was invented, and every evening she goes to him. The school marks a week's passing, but Anthy knows that it has been only a day, and that the midday Saturday she leaves when she enters the Observatory elevator will be a long close night.
i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
the hymn for deling (berlin), cont. (link this?)
fandom: ffviii; continued from here.
That night I clung to you - I must have bruised imprints into your shoulder of my clumsy fingers - and you stared worried at me. I thought I should lose you to this shining nation which spread its arms wide and smiled, that I had to drown out the calls of your motherland with my own. What claim did I have on you that she could not better?
You said love is not claiming, or at least you looked it at me in the curve of an eyebrow and the warm pressure of your hand on my back suddenly, and behind the door of our room you smiled into my mouth and shut the gilt out of your sight.
Galbadian girls wear their thick winter coats open to show the short skirts beneath, shimmer into thin tights to hide the goosepimpling of their thighs, pull long boots up to their calves and tread surely on the black ice. You muttered about the cold and pulled a pair of trousers out of your bag, stole one of my jumpers because mine, you said, were warmer, slipped sideways and knocked me down, laughing as you helped me up. In cafes, steam rose around your face and made the ends of your hair curl forward, and every time you brushed them back they fell down again until you huffed into your tea that you were never cutting it this short again. The waitress brought warmed cakes for us, and you frowned slightly at me when I watched her hips swerve away, blushed when I grinned at you and never quite managed to kick my leg under the table.
You would approve of the waitress here: she sniffs at my accent when she takes my order and sneers at me as much as she can without risking a loss of tip. Amazing, really, to find a waitress like her left, when every other Galbadian smiles and beams and scrapes and almost reach out to touch the goldmine of my skincolour and my alien attitudes. I am a wonder, to them, in a world where few want to visit Deling anymore, where the reparations of having made war on everyone else are slowly being paid in lack of tourist revenue. This winter, this Hynelight, the streets will be noticeably empty, lacking the hundreds of boys and girls who signed up for the glory of the Greater Galbadia and of the sorceress and never came home, lacking the foriegners and their easy smiles and ready money.
We were them, once, no matter that we were SeeD and therefore as much at home as foriegn everywhere: we were the teenagers who wanted to see a proper Hynelight and knew exactly where to go and what to save up for. Hynelight is never real in Balamb, after all, just a festival like any other. There, it is no more than an excuse for fake snow sprayed in the windows of the weapon shops and fireworks shooting up from ships in the harbour, for huge meals in restaurants, for a Winter Ball we have to find partners and get our uniforms cleaned for, for the prices of toys pushed up to more gil than they could ever have been worth. They blend into one another after a while, the Balamb Hynelights, forgettable even without the help of the GF.
Deling knows how to celebrate Hynelight better than anywhere else. Deling makes Hynelight an industry. Somewhere on the outskirts, maybe toward the mountains, alongside belching smokestacks of oil and coal and steel factories, perfect Hynelights are produced and roll out in train cars to the city.
We checked in at the Galbadia Hotel when we arrived - only the best for us and our saved-up cadet and SeeD allowances from the past year - and the receptionist looked down at our reservation number and sighed. He was sorry - so very sorry, ladies, I don't know how to tell you this - but, even though we booked early, there were no rooms with twin beds available, and would we mind taking a room with a double bed instead? There would be an appropriate cut of the charges, of course, maybe a free meal in the restaurant, and I could not look at you but felt the air quiver between us as you tried not to laugh. I supposed that would have to do, and he smiled another apology and shook the fair hair from his forehead.
You bounced on the bed, slightly, and I knew that was as much excitement as you were going to let show and went back to unpacking.
The insides of our bags were identical to one another, SeeD handbook on the left and weapon concealed on the right, with clothes neatly folded in the middle. I must have learnt to pack according to protocol when I was very young, because all I can remember is teaching others how to do it, first you and then, in my brief tenure as Instructor, a troupe of earnest young mini-cadets who were nothing like you.
Perhaps I never taught you, perhaps we barely knew each other then, but I have this image of the concentration on your face as you painstakingly shook out a shirt and tried again, calculating the angle along which the sleeve should lie with a wrinkle of your forehead, smoothing the wrinkle and the fold and smiling up at me with satisfaction. And I - I would have been ten, then, or eleven, self-important and severe but warming to the look on your face - I applauded you, perhaps took your hand in mine to go fetch a reward for your hard work from the woman in the cafeteria who always calls the cadets "little darlings". When we got back to the room, I must have made you do it again, though. After all, you have to repeat these things over to get them right.
I have repeated you over and over, trying to get you right. The angle of lamplight between your arm and your side as you rested your hand in my hair, the roll of your vertebrae beneath my mouth as you arched your back with the tiniest of sighs, your lip plush from unconscious biting. The pattern of your breaths, slow and measured when awake and slightly syncopated in sleep, and your feet poking out from the covers in the cold morning and tangled between my legs for warmth when you woke up.
I think I may still have you wrong.
In the days we went sight-seeing, wrapped up and tilting our heads to the occasional sun. We sat on park benches and overheard the speakers from their crowd-surrounded wooden crates, breathing into our scarves and raising amused eyes at each cheer. They are so innocent, we thought, world-weary already from endless lessons on the history of wars and which political situations we might find ourselves taking part in, and we are so wise. Earnest young men in crisply ironed shirts sprayed spittle-flecked slogans at one another across tables, hot with pride in their homeland. They thought their words might move mountains, might make nations into states and themselves into heroes, and I thought about filing a report and handing it in to Cid. Deling's Galbadia is no threat, I would have said, nothing but theories and hollow ideals in the minds and mouths of the powerless, but you sneaked a gloved hand over your mouth and I put my pen away.
A good thing I did: you know as well as I do how much I hate to admit to my mistakes.
i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
the ballad of xu and quistis (link this?)
(a little spoileriffic for FFVIII and my hymns series fics both written and unwritten)
I've been twitching, recently, at the similar format taken by fags and booze and delingberlin, fretting that in the hymns series I'm writing Xu into a rut out of which she never shall return. I have been: I am no longer. It Has All Become Clear. Like an epiphiany, only slightly less sudden and with less talking donkeys.
This is the thing: Xu and Quistis are doomed. Not in the Romeo and Juliet way, not by society as a whole or by their own overriding jealousies and personal quirks, not by the evil machinations of an outside ojousama: they're just not going to work. Quistis and Xu are just your average vaguely creepy teenage couple, so in love their collective heart would break until the point where they're really not and maybe just maybe they've started growing out of one another. They get over it; they move on; Quistis crushes embarrassingly on Squall and Xu sleeps her way through a small portion of Balamb's female population; they become (eventually) adults and stay friends.
Which would make the series, Xu-tinged as it is, a little pointless and disturbing, Xu reminiscing over a relationship she's well beyond and over and which isn't going to come back ever. The joy of it is that it doesn't. This is the point where I'd start waffling over how the series appears to have a life of its own outside me the writer and how Xu must have intended it that way (I'm sure she'd like me to think that), except I know me and my incredible ability to rationalise literally anything, and therefore am more than a little sceptical.
The epiphiany is essentially me just remembering my thoughts on FFVIII as a whole, and the fact that since I started playing it I've been obsessed with the GF and the loss of memory therefrom. To my mind, at least, the fact that the GF's side-effects have become well-known does not mean Garden will stop using them: okay, so a little memory is being lost along the way, but the GF is essential in the fight against the Sorceress(es). Nothing else enables SeeD to junction magic and boost their power to such incredible extents - I would assume that the Galbadian and Esthari armies had some other way of their own, but you had to junction for Laguna Ward and Kiros, didn't you? Even if there were some other way the G-army used under Edea/Ultimecia, I feel pretty safe in assuming that the Gardens would decide (upon solemn reflection, of course) to keep with the old system.
Quistis' use of the GF has already ensured an almost-total wipe of her memories of childhood, despite Irvine's best efforts during the game. Who's to say that as she continues to use the GF in her SeeD career she won't lose more and more - and Xu also - and that an early and unimportant relationship might be among the first to go? The Hymns series documents something that by the time they are, say, twenty-five might as well never have happened for all they can remember it.
Xu does not want to forget. Like any good administrator, she has more than a little of the anal-retentive to her, and when she becomes aware that every moment junctioned loses an equivalent moment or several of her past - and what's more, she has to stay junctioned to keep the career she's always wanted - she cannot do anything but note down as much as she can remember. It's like being told one morning that tomorrow you will wake up with Alzheimers, and suddenly realising that already you can't remember the conversation that led up to your first kiss: trying to reactivate the neurons that lead to every memory you treasure. Xu is a soldier, and this is her line of defence against the attrition of the GF, retreading the ground and shoring it up against the little encroachments.
And that is the point of "hymn for the postal service/guess how much I love you", perhaps the last in the series (although I still can't find copies of ...thomas courtney warner and ...things we didn't do - the latter of which I really want, because boy do I love that song). ...postal service is all about writing to try and seal your memory - not so much as it was as as you want to remember it. And writing ...postal service will, I know, completely wreck me.
This you must understand: I have to write everything down, I have to write it all for you. Most of it I never send, because there are only so many old and worn-out stories of a me and you which never eventually worked that you can rehear from me, and I am probably testing the bounds of your patience with each of the few remembrances I send you. Most of it lies in folders in my office, folders I will hide in our old secret places that only you and I can find, that only you and I will remember years from now.
I cannot let this be taken away from us with everything else. Even though we destroyed it between us with our own hands and our own words and our own lack of action and speech, even though it has been broken and will never be fixed and I'm not sure I would ever want it to be; despite all this, it was ours, and it existed, and I will not let myself forget.
edit: postal service is no longer to be the chronologically-last in the series; that dubious honour goes to 'hymn for the things we didn't do'.
i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
we be pimpin, yo! (fictalk: the cult of the new) (link this?)
I appear to be inadvertantly pimping Spriggan at people. Go me! It's good, honest, shounen Indiana Jones fun, bless it. The mother complexes are all my invention.
This - tangentially - is one of the things that amuses me about the fic/ficsnip below (on which status, more later): my family, whenever we're all together for a meal, have this habit of talking about the Oedipus complex or Kleinian versus Winnicottian theory of child development ('no, see, it's the oral then the anal, then the phallic stage'), for divers reasons best left unexplained (we're wilfully difficult/dysfunctional that way: I saw 'the royal tenenbaums' with my brother and 'medea' - the PPP version - with my mother). This means that my version of Yu is straight outta psychoanalytical theory, in my opinion: rereading it, I end up going 'could the maldeveloped Oedipus be any more obvious? Yu is vaginaman!' and so on. This is my feminisation yaoi, yo.
But this is not so much the point. The point is: to my mind, that down there is finit: there's nothing remains to be said. Yu, Mother, Jean, Dreams, Sex, Blood, Sibling Jealousy. I actually have issues with the whole dream idea, because in my experience dreams are /never/ memories: however, Spriggan canon has the dream-as-flashback issue, so I'm allowed to use it even though it twitches me. Seriously, who has flashback dreams? Dreams are disturbing, ugly things, but they're never complete memories and there's always a touch of rampant surrealism to them (last night I dreamed that a grey horse I know savaged a yellow sausage dog, picked it up and threw it down and I could do nothing. Sausage dogs don't come in that colour, and Laddie's not that strong. Nothing I dream has ever happened before - at least, not to me.) I have thoughts on the whole dream thing for a possible Ginnyfic, which would entail giving in to HP (the Snicket thing doesn't count: it is entirely unserious) rather than just beta'ing for it, so I'm trying to ignore them.
Today I am tangential: don't mind me.
My weakness as a writer is, in my opinion, that I don't have enough to say. I'm writing this play, at the moment, and maybe it's because I have to do the points of view of six different people, maybe it's because of the narrow brief I'm working to (Love, marriage, sex, death: when I was fourteen, we had to chant 'sex and death' in English Lit, because that was in the opinion of our teacher what every piece of literature was about.), but I am basically recycling ideas that I've had for fic characters for things for them to say. This implies - to me at least - that I'm seriously limited. I have nothing new to add. And what's the point of writing if you're not expressing something new?
Of course, this is a play, and plays - we learnt in English Lit, I love English Lit as a subject just for the sheer amounts of knowledge it brings in - can't express truly new ideas. For a play to succeed in bringing across an idea, it has to be telling the audience something they've already heard. The germ of the idea has to be in the audience's mind first: the play can only help it grow. It was Arthur Miller, I think, who said that, and much as I cannot stand Miller's characterisation of women, he's incredibly articulate on the theory of playwriting, and he's an adept at interweaving social theory into his plays. Even if he is a little didactic on occasion, and a bit too much of an idealist. Tangent.
It's a modern syndrome, this belief that you have to say something new, have to be original. Medieval literature is quite the opposite. This is commonly linked to the growing secularisation, rationalisation, protestantisation, of Western society. Not considering originality is tied up in how you perceive knowledge, how you perceive God. All knowledge - all good knowledge - is from God, and therefore perfect. Being perfect, it cannot be improved upon, it cannot be bested: it is Truth, commonly and divinely accepted, and to go against it would be false and irreligious. The 'moral' Pagan philosophers were those who found God's Truth but never God: thus they may go into Limbo, thus Dante's inferno may be dependent on a Virgil-guide. The medieval focus is on how you get it across, on rhetoric and assimilation, integration of ideas: the content is a given, the framework is to be perfected.
Luther, by denying Catholic dogma, denies the existence of an Established Holy Truth which is not in the bible - denies Limbo and the Moral Pagan Philosophers within it - and thus starts the evolution toward a dependence on originality. You can ignore Jerome and the rest of the canon theologists, too: you can make your own religious structure and beliefs, the only church which was truly True the long-gone Church Of The Apostles which no-one remembers and therefore could be anything you make of it. It's a long and slow process, of course - the Laudians of the seventeenth century refused the Roman Catholic tradition only to replace it with an Anglican Tradition, with the Early English Church of Bede and Hilda and the Dream Of The Rood - but the Enlightenment, the long-term success of the French Revolution, are what cements it. The French Revolution is the first revolution which does not entirely roll around back upon itself (the original meaning of revolution, like the English Revolution's regicide only to bring in another king in less than twenty years), even though they had the Bourbon Kings and the Emperors Napoleon: it is the first proof that the world does not fall apart when something new happens.
And thus the cult of the new, the cult of Year Zero, begins.
This is, however, a simplification.
There is a stock story, a story that exists in more than one form in more than one culture. There is a flood: one family survive to repopulate the world.
The bible gives it to you with moral additions, the theologians explain that the story exists in many cultures because it is God's Eternal and Immutable truth: however, our version is the most correct. The flood happens because God wants to punish us. The family which survive is that of Noah, the only good man, because God can be merciful.
A morality play tells you nothing new. Noah is told to build an ark, Noah builds it, Noah gets in it, everyone dies but Noah and his wife and his sons and their wives who float forty days and nights and lodge on Mount Sinai.
The morality play adds spice, adds a few little things to make it seem more interesting. Noah's wife complains: she doesn't want to leave her friends behind, she doesn't believe Noah (Noah's wife is a shrew). Some animals - mythical ones, unicorns and basilisks - are left behind, by mistake.
Still, it is only the modern version that is allowed to overturn the original story. Julian Barnes, A History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters: There was a fourth son, and more than one ark to hold all the animals. They took more than one pair of each animal and feasted on them. They left some animals behind on purpose, because they didn't like them. Noah and his wife were equally nasty pieces of work.
The only version that is trying to be original, that is /flaunting/ its originality, is the modern one: everything else evolves from the root story, adds nothing but peripherals. Non-tangent.
I want to say something new, when I write, almost automatically: I want to make the audience think, I want to make the audience question, I want to never repeat myself. I'm not sure that I can. If Yu's an undeveloped Oedipus, I only notice it because I /know/ about it: I don't know whether he'd have been written like that if I didn't have so many conversations about Freud and post-Freud. If I repeat myself between fic and play, steal a bit of LPHilde and a bit of OCCharlie for a couple of characters because it rings true for both of them, it's entirely possible that no-one but me will notice: they come out different in the different versions. They aren't the same, even if they share a reaction. I can only write from my own experience and my own imagination. It's embarrasing to realise that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy, but I can only live more and, hopefully, expand my philosophy to fit the rest of heaven and earth in. The question is: is there, really, anything new under the sun?
i'm gonna make myself go blind tonight.
sow a little tenderness (link this?)
I don't own the characters - I think Bandai does, but whoever it is it isn't me. This is non-profit fanfiction, for entertainment purposes only, but it's still my intellectual property, not to say copyright. So ner.
Some dreams scare you only when you wake up and realise you were not scared at all. You have not been panting and frantic as you run, you have not felt the scrabble of bark shedding from trees under your hands or clutched the kickback of your gun into your chest. You have been standing in the centre of the camp, and your parents were there. Your father has wrapped an arm about your mother's shoulders, resting his head just to the side of hers, and their legs are entwined behind them. She has turned her head to the side to avoid being face-down in the grass and dirt, and his body is a shelter over hers. They are asleep, and you must not wake them.
When you were younger you thought people were made of blood: after all, every time you scratched the surface that was what you found. Parents made children by mixing their blood together, pouring it into a sac of skin. There was a woman in the camp who was pregnant: you imagined the texture of the bump to be like a water-balloon, that if it was poked too hard it might burst and the contents flood out. It seemed very dangerous for her to be around people with tools, people preparing food with knives, people who might trip and in an accident split it open. You kept a watch over her to make sure she was safe, but she seemed very good at keeping the bump from harm and your mother asked you if you were leaving her for that other woman and smiled. Besides, you yourself were clumsy, and it would have been the worst thing to destroy exactly what you had set out to protect.
In the dream, your parents are still lying in their heap. The blood from the bulletholes in your father's back seeps through his clothes and drips down into the wound on your mother's neck. It interspills from twin heart to twin heart, trickling from her shoulder along his embracing arm. The mess the bruises make of his face looks like a swelling contentment that he and she may still share their blood, give and take, at rest, in love.
The first time you saw Jean get badly hurt you took the knife from your pack and gashed the same length of open wound into your own arm, holding the two cuts together with your awkward head on Jean's shoulder. Jean, who was fourteen, was baffled at the time, but then said "Like blood brothers, yes?" and twisted his body so the healing arms could be in alignment. You had never heard of a blood brother before - there was nothing like that at Cosmos - but if Jean took it for granted then it had to be all right. This was Jean, after all, whose first words to you had been "you pronounce it jhahn, not 'jeen', okay?", and who called you Ominae "because that's your first name, right?", and you had liked him straight away just for trying. You know now how children are made, now, another thing they never taught you at Cosmos but Dr Meisel explained with a stutter and a "this isn't really my area of expertise, but", and you knew that you were too old to snigger, so you stopped yourself. Still, blood brothers sounds like just brothers to you, people with the same blood forming them and part of them inadvertently, and that is not quite what you want.
You dream that you are happy for your parents, but there is a gun in your hand which tells you to be jealous. They are perfect without you, their comingling blood birthing a sibling to rival you. It shakes angry in your hand, and before you can stop it it blasts the blood out of their beating bodies and scatters it over the ground. They come to rest again, bloodless and disjointed at your feet. The air is silent and calm and the gunshots do not echo.
Sometimes, when Jean is asleep and you yourself nearly so, you imagine the stickiness on your stomach to be blood, imagine that Jean's dead weight is the weight of your father's body sheltering your mother and that Jean's snores are the rumble of the trucks arriving. This time they will not be able to take you away to Cosmos, held as you are under Jean's sleep-heavy arms, but will pass on and leave you with the heat of his blood pouring into your veins in comfort. There are bruises forming on your shoulderblades, you think, bruises which are just burst blood vessels along the surface, from the dig of his fingers. He tries to control himself in everything else, you know, and he apologises in the mornings when he can feel them thrum against his skin, but you have never minded. When his body shudders and twists above yours, you don't dream.
Those dreams are generally worse than the ones in which you kill living people.