raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
I had a terrible couple of weeks there - migraines are terrible; pain is terrible; February lasting into March is terrible - so Galentine's Day got away from me a little, but here we are and I have finally the whole crop of stories. Here's what y'all asked for:

-For [livejournal.com profile] littlered2, who wanted something about Buffy and Faith, Faith;

-For [livejournal.com profile] radialarch, who wanted something about Dana from Welcome To Night Vale or the faceless old woman who lives in your home, almost there;

-For [personal profile] lamentables, [personal profile] musesfool and [profile] leiascully, who all wanted something Brooklyn Nine-Nine in general or Diaz/Santiago in particular, Sovereign District;

-For [personal profile] such_heights, who wanted maybe Senator Knope instituting Galentine's Day as a state holiday, where February is thirteen months long (note: this one is sad! I mean, way sadder than I expected it was going to be!);

-For [personal profile] hedda62, who wanted something about Anna and Ellen from Slings & Arrows, collateral damage;

-For [personal profile] philomytha, who wanted something about the other Lesley, Lesley May from Rivers of London, soft-serve;

-For [personal profile] soupytwist, who wanted something about BREAKFAST FOOD and naturally got something about Leslie Knope, a triptych on breakfast food; (I have decided this one is in the same universe as [personal profile] such_heights' story above, but happier!).

And that's a wrap. I am so pleased to have so many beautiful and talented women in my life; thank you all.

Meme meme

Dec. 3rd, 2013 04:35 pm
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
If you want me to talk about something, I will!

In the meantime, here are two things I was asked to talk about!

[livejournal.com profile] highfantastical asked: I would LOVE you to talk about Geoffrey and Ellen! Have your thoughts/sympathies changed with time?

Geoffrey Tennant and Ellen Fanshaw are two of the main characters of the Canadian show Slings & Arrows, which is wonderful and is one of my favourite television shows of all time. It's about Shakespeare! And small town theatre! And true love! it's beautiful. Anyway, here they are, with Oliver, the third member of their triumvirate:



Their relationship is - oh, it's terrible. It's all crying and screaming and yelling. They are both actors, they both have an operatic tendency towards melodrama, their relationship is terrible for both of their mental health but particularly Geoffrey's - in the clip above, Geoffrey is literally one day away from the psychotic break that's going to destroy his career - and when everything finally falls apart it's probably for the best.

But, here's the thing, and this is a trope I love: they're miserable without each other. Calmer, but miserable. Seven years go by and Geoffrey makes a full recovery; Ellen keeps on acting, worries about being asked to play the nurse rather than Juliet, and they're miserable. When they come back together, it takes time - it takes time, and therapy, and lots more yelling, and ridiculous fights about skulls and impotence and After Eight mints! - but oh, goodness, when they make it, they're beautiful together, they set everything alight. I love them. (And, I mean, it helps that Slings & Arrows is wonderfully written, but it also helps that Paul Gross and Martha Burns are actually married. To say they have chemistry is a lovely understatement.)

At this remove of time I worry about Oliver - I think there's some queer erasure going on there, both for him and for Geoffrey, which bothers me a lot in a show I love so much - and I say this a lot, I'm all for queering the text, I think that's a thing you should do, I came to fandom through slash and slash is part of why I remain, but Geoffrey and Ellen were the first het couple I ever saw on television whose story made me want to sit up and listen.

Er. In answer to your question. No, I do not believe my feelings about them have changed! I think I still have a lot of feelings about them! Er. Yes.

[livejournal.com profile] yiskah asked: What do you think is the common factor that draws you to the things you are fannish about?

See, I've been trying to figure this one out for years and even wrote about it quite recently, elsewhere; according to the AO3, I've written nearly two hundred stories in forty-eight different fandoms, so presumably there's got to be something there other than a continual attraction towards the new and shiny. I think what it is, is this. I've described my fandoms before as "politics and spaceships" - and what that really means is that I like stories about found families, about communities and homes.

I mean, now I come to think about it, the original SG-1 (my first fandom!) was a totally serious business show about serious business galactic exploration! Remember? They sat on Jack's roof and ordered pizza and got drunk a lot and bought Teal'c a Stetson and sang "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and never, in the end, went fishing, and I loved that; I love how the 4077th M*A*S*H was foetid and rat-infested and frightening, but they had movie nights and practical joke wars and Christmas parties, because they were a community; I love how Deep Space Nine had bars and Klingon restaurants and cocktail specials, that Garak and Bashir had lunch together every day and Odo secretly looked forward to his morning meetings with Kira and Sisko kept a baseball in his office; I love that the primary school on the Enterprise-D celebrated Captain Picard Day every year, and I love that there's a Babylon 5 gift shop. I love that Simon Illyan, at the end of everything, when he's broken and his mind is gone, can remember nothing but this: that the family Vorkosigan will carry him home. I love that Leslie Knope is running, not for president, but for city councilwoman for a town of 50,000 people, on a platform of accessibility and public service provision (and that Ben figures it out because "you've been making campaign speeches in your sleep"); I love how, in the Doctor Who universe, you ward off vampires with anything in which you have faith - so the Doctor stands his ground and holds up his head and recites the names of all his companions, one by one. I love that it's Night Vale community radio, that Sports Night was pretty much through with soccer; and that Hogwarts will always be your home.

Okay, I'm done. If you want me to talk about other things, say so!
raven: stock shot of a wall with "I love you" graffiti (stock - i love you)
This is a little early, but what the hell, I'm buzzed and mellow and I want to talk. Today is January 9th, 2011 - another day, nothing special, perhaps. Ten years ago, I was thirteen, nearly fourteen, bright and lost and looking for something; ten years ago, less six weeks, I discovered a fanfiction archive, a television show and a friend.

Ten years ago I met [personal profile] hathycol; today I am twenty-three, nearly twenty-four, and next year I'll be bridesmaid at her wedding. Here's to you, fandom: here's to everything I found, everyone I met, everyone I've loved; everything I've watched and read and seen; every alien city I've slept in among friends. Here's to you, and thanks for everything.

A quiet day, today. Colleen and I went to Manchester with [livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma; we went to Afflecks, and sighed for our rapidly-receding days as teenage goths; we went to Forbidden Planet, and bought doughnuts and drank coffee and talked about everything and nothing. I bought a coat. Tali and I made fun of Colleen's passion for Cardassians; we made hen party plans and cackled with laughter. Colleen and I got through a bottle of mellow wine over dinner, and I am happy, so very happy. Perhaps I don't say this as much as I should, but here it is, anyway: fandom is no longer as important to me as it once was. It's no longer my only passion, the only thing I really care about. But that's because when it was, when it shaped my ideas about community and storytelling and what gives people value, it drew out my talents, and it gave me the strength of that community. I care about other things now - like social justice, law, my career and relationships - because I am what fandom made me, because it made me grow up feeling like I could contribute to what I care about. That I can shine as bright as I see everyone else shine.

And I still care about stories. I always will.

[livejournal.com profile] fandom_stocking went live today. I had lots of very sweet greetings, but some people have been especially kind: [livejournal.com profile] thistlerose wrote me a sweet ficlet, Unpathed Waters, Undreamed Shores, about McCoy and Spock, whom I adore, and if that weren't enough, she also made some very pretty icons. And [personal profile] icepixie made me a vidlet, Sea-Changed, which is Slings & Arrows, Geoffrey and performance and evolution and applause, and it made me cry while simultaneously being very happy. Oh, it's lovely.

It has been a beautiful ten years; the next ten will be different in their own way, but I am so happy to have grown up here.
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
I am so, so, so, tired but I HAVE GOT MY US VISA FUCK YEAH.

(Coincidentally, my debit card for a US-based account came today as well, so, fingers crossed on the whole admin front.)

Seriously, though, that was painful. I gathered together all the data over the last six weeks - my name, my mother's maiden name, any time I have visited the US in the last five years (for this I actually sat and read most of my own LJ), my educational history, whether or not I was ever a Nazi, etc., etc. - and booked the interview after several attempts, a great deal of swearing and a £40 phone bill. And then [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong kindly put me up (and put up with me, an entirely different thing) last night, and I set out at seven this morning to overcome strife and the US embassy (which is still officially known as the United States embassy to the Court of St. James's, a fact which inordinately delights me).

God, the building's ugly, isn't it? It's this horrible blocky monstrosity in the middle of Grosvenor Square, of all places, and just to add the final horrible touch, it's got a gold-painted bald eagle statue on the roof. But I got there before eight and started queuing, and took solace in the fact the sun was out and that I was not, as the leaflet puts it, "standing in inclement weather". I had to queue up twice, before they told me I couldn't come in because I had a calculator and a key fob, both of which are prohibited electronics. So then I had to run out to a nearby left-luggage place (which is actually a pharmacy; when I deposited my stuff they were looking somewhat harried because of a woman with four suitcases shouting at them because they wouldn't store all her stuff for free) and then run back again, and then when I'd got in and taken a number and queued up again, they said my photographs, which they'd previously said were fine, were... not.

So I ran out to the same pharmacy to get more - extortionately expensive - pictures, and ran back again, and this time they said they'd take my paperwork but I'd have to wait for an interview. So I sat down and waited, and they did call me up to the desk - but as I got there, the consular person said, I'm sorry, ma'am, but would you mind terribly if we let the person behind you go first, instead? And I was all set to stamp my feet - the Indian High Commission has given me a default setting for dealing with consular service providers, which is "extremely belligerent" - but then I realised the person behind me had a forest's worth of paperwork in one hand and a newborn baby in the other. And then I felt very bad for thinking I had it bad.

So I sat down again. And then, the actual interview was a breeze. "What are you studying at Cornell?" asked the chap.

"Law," I said.

"Sounds great. Here."

Papers, signed, sealed, delivered. I was impressed. My passport will be returned to me by courier in three to five working days, and I am advised to call the Foreign Office if it isn't.

In conclusion: I've got my visa, and can stop HAVING KITTENS. I was quite amused by some aspects of the whole procedure; I was warned that there would be armed guards, X-ray scanners, really extreme security, and while there was that level of security, the security people were British. They were police officers and they were British. I went in and out of the embassy four separate times over two hours, and during that time I never saw a single one of them do anything other than gossip and drink tea out of enormous mugs. They were very cheering. And when I finished, finally, and walked past in the direction of the Tube, they all grinned cheerfully and waved.

Afterwards I got a train back up, walked home, was horrified to discover it was still only 3pm. At least I'll sleep tonight.

I really should try and do a bit of work before bed, and maybe finish a fic. But to finish with something else entirely: wintercreek on DW has podficced one of my stories. Lonely Hearts, a yuletide treat I wrote for [livejournal.com profile] petronelle in 2008, and one of my favourites of my Slings & Arrows stories. I won't say this is a rec, because hey, I wrote the story, but the recording is marvellously expressive and made me chuckle.

That's it. I need sleep.
raven: (firefly - kaylee)
Okay, so. I'm too late for More Joy Day, but today I am much more joyful. Have some of the things that are making me joyful:

-Via a lot of people, most recently [livejournal.com profile] sebastienne, but, srsly. The estimable Oxford contingent of Thames Valley police have been caught toboganning down Boars Hill on their riot shields. Is it just me or does this go some way to restoring one's faith in humanity?

-Also via a lot of people, [livejournal.com profile] festivids is open for business. Now, I am not a vid sort of a person, usually; I mean, I like them, but I lack the vid-watching nous, I think. I tend to watch and then go "oooh, pretty". Yay, profound. But! I have recs anyway.

tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, Slings & Arrows. Okay. Some amazing person made a Slings & Arrows vid to "Unity Mitford" by the Indelicates. And it wasn't even for me. Like. Someone made a vid of my very favourite obscure Canadian show to an obscure song by one of my favourite obscure British bands. Yay! And, it's a good vid! It really gets Geoffrey, Ellen and Oliver. I like it a lot.

Every Star You Chase, Red Dwarf. Basically, this is, hey, you guys, someone made a vid for Red Dwarf! A funny, silly little vid which is made all the more funny and silly for being made to a mash-up of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" with "Every Breath You Take" by the Police. I mean. Really.

All For Swinging You Around, Little Mosque on the Prairie. Hey, you guys, someone made a vid for Little Mosque on the Prairie! It's awesome!

(Also, if you have never seen Little Mosque, you should. It's about a small fictional town in Ontario and its Muslim community, and its wider community, and it sounds like it's going to be Serious Social Commentary and then it turns out to be a delightful light comedy with the not-oft-repeated-enough message that hey, brown people are Political and Important but also kind of silly, kind of adorable, kind of pathetic, kind of human too.)

Aaaaand, finally. Past and Present, Chak De! India. You guys. You guys, I keep waaaailing at this vid. In the good way! But I keep watching it, and the perfect rhythmic cuts, and the movement, and the motion, and the women who look like me, and more movement and more motion, and women who look like me being strong and beautiful, and seriously, tears are not the appropriate response to a happy-making vid to a Feist song. And yet. Please watch this, if you don't watch any of the others and you have no idea what Chak De! India even is. It fills with me this stupid, pure, joy.

About Chak De! India. I saw it on a plane one time. I think I need to watch it again. But, in brief, it is a film about the Indian women's hockey team. (What is India's national sport? Clue: it's not cricket, and it starts with F and ends with "-ield hockey".) And that's all wrong as a summary, because it doesn't really get what I love about it, and the vid: it's about women, not changing the world, but changing their bit of it. It also has Shah Rukh Khan in it, but nothing in life is perfect.

-On a similar topic, I was asking a couple of days ago whether there is a Hindu-type equivalent to [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts. [livejournal.com profile] kismeteve pointed me at [livejournal.com profile] purnima_fic. "Purnima" means "full moon", and is in fact the first proper grown-up word I learned to say. (I remember being very proud. Puuuur-neeee-maaa.)

So, anyway, yes, it's a good idea - a general fic community with focus on South Asian characters, and currently running a Holi challenge. I like this idea a lot - Parvati and Padma playing Holi at Hogwarts, anyone? - but I'm sort of thinking an actual gift exchange, like [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts or [livejournal.com profile] yuletide might be more fun. I don't know; I might wait for Diwali and run it myself. Maybe. Possibly. And it would be Hindu-themed, rather than South Asian-themed, if I did that, but that's not the worst idea ever.

(Re: Holi. Traditionally celebrated in spring, with music, dancing and throwing paint at each other. Never being in India at the appropriate time, I have played it once in my life, during a cold grey Oxford spring. I ended up looking like this.)

Also, speaking of [livejournal.com profile] purimgifts, I have more or less decided to sign up. Thank you all for your thoughts on the matter, the other day, especially the people who offered to check for fail, I appreciate it.

Possibly it would be in the spirit of more joy to go and do some work, in the anticipation of joy when there is no work left to be done. This is what I tell myself.
raven: cartoon image of bleary-looking woman with dark hair (nemi - sleeeeepy)
Seriously, what is it like to be able to sleep at night? I'm genuinely interested in knowing. What do you do with all that spare time?

(On a related note, this story made me FURIOUS, quite possibly irrationally, but still, how dare they basically imply that depression is your fault for going to bed too late. If you just went to bed early you'd be happier! It's essentially "early to bed, early to rise....", isn't it, and the people who say that are always heading for justifiable homicide. I'm maybe just cranky, but it's six degrees below, I have no heating, I cannot use the kitchen because the fuses have all gone so none of the lights are working, and I can't sleeeep, waaah.)

Anyway, a brief note: I want to make a post about various new-year things, but before that, a quick and final [livejournal.com profile] yuletide note. I wrote these:

Advent (Connie Willis' Oxford time-travel universe) for [livejournal.com profile] scintilla10
This was my assignment, and it was hard work, but in the end I was pleased with it. (Especially with the pun in the title, because I'm a dork like that.) My recipient wanted a story about Verity, but I had read Doomsday Book much more recently than To Say Nothing of the Dog, and the finished product had something of a sense of gloom. Interestingly, last year's story was also a story about Verity, and although I do try not to repeat myself, I can't resist writing all my stories in the same universe. Once again, [livejournal.com profile] shimgray sorted out the plot holes for me very nicely indeed.

Oh, and! It has a cameo by [livejournal.com profile] absinthe_shadow in it. I was trying desperately not to make it too obvious, but finally bowed to the inevitable, asked her permission and wrote her in.

Prawn Crackers (dinnerladies) for [livejournal.com profile] lilka
dinnerladies is not actually a fandom of mine - in the sense that, I love the show very much and think it's wonderfully written, but I've never wanted fic for it. Only, a few weeks ago I went over to see [livejournal.com profile] lilka, we had a lovely evening drinking wine and watching the Christmas episodes, and when I saw her request drift past I couldn't help myself.

(Also, a little of this story may have been drawn from life. Just a little.)

Boy Trouble (Discworld) for [livejournal.com profile] duckgirlie
This one was the definition of a last-minute treat. I wrote it the night before the deadline, the hour before, even - I wish I'd had time to make it longer, actually! - and enjoyed myself far too much in the writing. On a serious note, it was fun to write the "ordinary" Discworld women (i.e., the ones who don't have the benefit of being able to do magic), and show up their small human awesomnesses, and on a truly frivolous note, I had great fun with the jokes. I had a vague sense that the joke in the first paragraphs isn't translating very well - if it helps, British hen parties traditionally involve L-plates. No one knows why.

Ingenué (Slings & Arrows) for beautifulside
Again, I wish this one was longer. I had as much again written, and it was becoming a story of sorts, about returning and going home and other overdramatic themes like that - but then it was the night before the deadline and I didn't want to scrap it, so I rescued these 500 words and realised I liked them by themselvs, after all. I do love Kate. And Geoffrey, but that goes without saying.

I'd like to apologise, also: I really, really appreciate (and, indeed, encourage!) the feedback I've got on these stories on AO3. But I just can't reply to comments right now - I am trying to take a bunch of exams and apply to grad school simultaneously this week, which is sort of why I'm awake at 4.58am - and so in lieu, I am just saying thank you here. Thank you all.

Onwards and upwards, I guess. I do wish I could sleep.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
I'm back in England, enormously sleep-deprived, Hong Kong was wonderful, have seen beautiful things, fragrant harbours and eclipses, was travelling for some godawful number of hours anyway before my flight was unexpectedly diverted through Bangkok, ended up in Dubai in eerie four am desert morning with muezzin calling through empty airport, I haven't slept in thirty-six hours, can you tell.

Anyway, quick-hit: for [livejournal.com profile] remixredux09, I wrote Counterpoint (Ecstasy, Fury, Revolution!) [PG-13, Slings & Arrows, Geoffrey & ensemble], for [livejournal.com profile] iamsab. Thanks, guys, for saying such lovely things about it - I will answer comments tomorrow when I don't have a brain somewhere on the other side of the planet.

(Oh, and! [livejournal.com profile] gamesiplay: I got your parcel! Having departed California, it mouldered in the English rain for days in the mailbox. But I got everything dry and thank you, thank you so much! I have City Lights stickers and postcards and books!

It may also amuse you to hear that I went through immigration finally in England this morning and was held back at the counter. So, you went to the US in 2008, they said. San Francisco, that's nice. They didn't take out your green form from your passport, did they. No, I said. Ring the US embassay tomorrow, said the very nice people, they think you're still there. Oh dear.)

That's it. I go to commune with my bed. Oh, my bed, my bed, I go to smoosh it and love it and write it sonnets on heart-shaped pink paper.
raven: black and wite Kaylee, against the background of her parasol in colour (firefly - kaylee's parasol)
New Year's Eve. I was drunk, mostly. For one thing, the Mousehole is full of life - [livejournal.com profile] foreverdirt and [livejournal.com profile] vampire_kitten are visiting, and the day seemed to pass in a whirl of terrible jokes, sexual subtext-and-text, and pizza, oh god, so much pizza - and I had meant to do some work, and failed entirely at that. And then the evening part of the Eve, during which I sat in the corner of the Turf and drank rum, hot mulled wine and then rum again, and watched the old year mull and die through the glass. And kissed at midnight, and walked home in the freezing cold air. Perfect.

[livejournal.com profile] yuletide! The reveal has happened. Here's what I wrote:

The Amazing Adventures of Hat Guy and the Girl Who Stole His Hat, xkcd.
Yeah. Er... yeah. Guys: thank you. Thank you for reading this silly little story, thank you for reccing it and commenting on it with such enthusiasm. I was kind of blown away by the response to it - so many people, including Randall Munroe, told me they liked it, and it made my Christmas and possibly my life. Thank you.

Also - people telling me that xkcd fic was an awesome idea, I totally agree with you, and I take no credit! [livejournal.com profile] numinicious asked for it, I merely provided.

Other things:

Lonely Hearts, Slings & Arrows.
This was the quickest of quick jobs - I wrote this as a treat the night before I went up to Edinburgh and posted it in the morning - and, I have a sneaking suspicion, my favourite, merely because I find it entirely too much fun to write about Geoffrey being crazy and Anna being placatory. It helps that I love them far too much, but still.

Mercy Shall Follow Me, Lord Peter Wimsey.
Another quick treat, this one, and perhaps the hardest one to write. I'm not sure a real Sayers fan would quite approve of it - I'm not sure I have the voice - but I liked it well enough to post.

Dancing Like The Living, Garth Nix - Abhorsen.
This one began life as an abandoned half-story I wrote as an NYR fic in 2006, and never posted because I didn't like it. And then a request flashed by that fitted it with bizarre exactitude, so I spent a few hours tidying and rewriting and making it cleaner, and adding other small bits, and suchlike. Not something I would've done for a "real" Yuletide story, but I thought it would make a nice additional treat for someone.

Wings of Desire, Merlin.
I like wingfic, so sue me.

And, finally! My real assigned story, the one that I wrote in a three-day burst the week before the deadline:

Yes, Virginia, Connie Willis - To Say Nothing of the Dog.
This, I think, is the story that was the hardest one to write, technically speaking. Connie Willis does have this delightful madcap style that is great fun to read and a nightmare to try and emulate. And more than that, I didn't have a plot. And then one night the key part - the idea of Ned and Verity in first-century Palestine - clicked, and the rest was, well, not easy, but easier. It helped that [livejournal.com profile] shimgray decided early on that there ought to be two random Scandinavians in the story, and one of them ought to be called Ingeborg, despite the fact it's a girls' name. He also helped with other bits and bobs of the plot, being possibly the only person who could see the entire thing in his head in one go (I certainly couldn't). And it also helped that once again, I had the chance to write a story set in Oxford, and more notably, the University of Oxford, a city and institution with which I am passing familiar, whether or not it's 2057. (Last year, I wrote a His Dark Materials story called "Christingle", also set in Oxford and also with a sense of place as possibly its only redeeming feature.)

[livejournal.com profile] nos4a2no9 and [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2 betaed it, for which I am very grateful - thank you, guys, and I'm sorry for what I do to ellipses - and I think I was pleased with the result, although I did fret about the seams still showing.

And that was that. In conclusion: I love [livejournal.com profile] yuletide. Writing-wise, it redeemed my 2008, adding 10,000 words to the yearly count in the last two weeks of December. I think it's a given I'll be doing it next year, somehow. And: [livejournal.com profile] absinthe_shadow, [livejournal.com profile] icepixie, [livejournal.com profile] forthwritten, [livejournal.com profile] ressie_noldo: I owe you all ficlets/drabbles. What would you like?
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
For [livejournal.com profile] brewsternorth, who asked for: Due South, "second star to the right and straight on till morning".

straight on till morning )

For [livejournal.com profile] isiscolo, a brief ficlet on the topic of Slings & Arrows, Anna, and a moose.

interlude, 400 words.

I don't understand the moose )

More coming.
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
For some reason best known to itself, iTunes wants me to listen to Christmas music. I don't understand. Also, I hate Christmas. (That said, the Sarah McLachlan version of "The First Noel" is actually lovely; full of rising piano notes that do, indeed, remind me very much of last December.)

Anyway. I have finished making all the training contract applications I'm ever going to make and just in time, my industrial-strength painkillers are running out - I finished the last lot off at five o'clock this morning, having been woken up by a spike inside my head - and so, I return to matters fannish after a long time away. A lot of the time that I was in San Francisco, [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2 and I watched fannish television, because, for the first ever, we could. And naturally, this involved a lot of Slings & Arrows, because she introduced me to it in the first place, and well, it's... itself. The problem with it, as I keep saying, is that it ruins you for television. Just... all television. It's not perfect by any means - we were talking about how the last season leaves lots of hanging threads; how the ingenues and their boyfriends can get samey; how it's a little too heteronormative for a show set in a theatre - but... so close. And the first six episodes, as a self-contained unit, are perfect. The writing, the characters, the nutty black humour, the way it's critical and wry in its treatment of madness and redemption, but it lifts you up with it.

(It also, specifically, ruins you for Due South. You try and watch it, and you end up sitting there going, "But he's so clean! Why is he so well-scrubbed? Why does he not look like a HOMELESS PERSON?" And it is not as if Due South is not the most bizarre thing that has ever been on television, honestly. Quite apart from the fact it's a show set in America made by British people and Canadians, it's, welll... yeah. There's a bit in it, in the episode with the pirate ship, where they have to create a diversion. It's a cop buddy show. If I were writing a cop buddy show, how would I write in a diversion? I don't know, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have Paul Gross decide apropos of nothing to launch into several choruses of "Barrett's Privateers".

And, later! Later, there are the episodes featuring the show's very own metaphysics. I explained to someone once, "That tunnel there? That represents the phase space between life and death."

Phase space between life and death. It's a show about people who fight crime. I say again, bizarre.)

(We also tried to watch Chasing Rainbows, which is an eighties mini-series featuring a very young Paul Gross hamming it up horribly and trying to put on an American accent and the acting is terrible and the script is terrible and the pacing is terrible and the music is terrible and everyone looks blue. And it is, as a consequence, ridiculously funny. We were sitting there giggling occasionally until there's a bit where he's asked where he's from and he tells the Prince of Wales, "Montreal. Which is in Quebec."

It's in Quebec, guys. Montreal is in Quebec. I have never before been reduced to hysteria by this fact.)

Anyway! Enough parenthesis. I promised recs.

Better A Fallen Rocket, Slings & Arrows, by [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2.
I betaed this one, in between spending a week on the author's sofa, so I am a little biased. But not much. This is a long, hypnotic, frightening story about Geoffrey Tennant going mad, and it's also a story about Oliver, and a story about the crawlspace beneath a stage, and about the layers and unravelling of madness, and about what's left of God's purpose when you take away God. I am actually not quite able to do justice to it in a one-paragraph rec. Go and read it, and take in the enormous scope and sweep of what she does with these characters and themes, and then go and cry because you'll never write anything as good.

Pawn Their Experience and a A Foolish Wit, Slings & Arrows, by [livejournal.com profile] petronelle.
[livejournal.com profile] petronelle is a one-woman fic-writing machine, and all of her stuff is good, but these two are my favourites. "Pawn Their Experience" is about Geoffrey and Oliver, picking up the thing in canon where there is a big gay backstory that we never got to see, and doing it with poignance and setting out the characters' cluelessness very well. "A Foolish Wit" is a story about Sloan. The guy with the motorbike, yes. He has his own ghost. He says "fuck" a lot. I love it far too much.

untitled wee ficlet by [livejournal.com profile] rillarilla, still S&A.
An old one that I never got around to reccing. Claire's gone away to better things. It's short and packs a hell of a well-written punch.

Other things, let me see. The first trailer for Half-Blood Prince, which looks - gasp - good. cut for spoilers, such as they are )

And, lastly, one from [livejournal.com profile] rs_games, which is ridiculously good fun.

Horoscopes and How They Caused The Plague of Frogs [currently anonymous]
Remus gets a job as astrologer for the Quibbler. Lunacy (and sex) ensue. Not immaculately written, but I can forgive it much; it's long and silly and full of very funny touches.

Back to my very exciting day of eating coconut cake and moaning about the spike in my head. And, hopefully, editing 10,000 words of fic of my own, what is wrong with me, etc.
raven: Geoffrey Tennant with his head in his hands (s&a - siiiiiiiiigh)
I was going to babble about how the end of this term cannot come soon enough but, argh, enough.

Instead, have Geoffrey and Anna and Bolivian folk singers. I love the Bolivian folk singers, they make my day better.

raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
It has now been raining for twelve hours. It's beautiful, in a glad-I'm-not-out-in-it way; of course, for much of my day, that was not true.

I dreamed last night that I was rolling off a hill, and woke up to note that a) my mattress has a dip in it and b) the fire alarm was going off. It's really loud. It's really, really loud. I jumped out of bed, realised I was only wearing a Boston Red Sox t-shirt, bounced back into bed, found pyjamas, could not find shoes, decided I might burn to death if I went to Ben's room to find my shoes, ran into the kitchen, found flatmates in various states of undress, traipsed downstairs barefoot through rainwater.

Yeah, all things considered, it was a great start to the day. (A drill, of course; Balliol's lugubrious domestic bursar was on hand to tell us we were not on an outing to the seaside, could people try not to amble.) And possibly because I was standing outside on a cold autumn morning not wearing very much, I now have the variant of freshers' flu that everyone I know seems to have - it involves woe, eating a lot of sugar and sounding like Billie Holiday) and so decided I was entirely justified in going back to bed between lectures.

And the rest of the day was spent reading about the Cuban missile crisis, sitting in my alcove and watching the rain. Things I have learned today:

-The CIA once tried to assassinate Castro by means of exploding molluscs;

-According to the OED, "reconceptualise" is not a word, and neither is "preroration", thank you kindly;

-Khrushchev and Castro were on first-name terms (I found an oddly endearing picture of them hugging and grinning up at the camera);

-On the first day of the Cuban missle crisis, global nuclear war was nearly caused by a member of the grizzly family;

(Which would that mean humanity's closing stage direction would have been "exit, pursued by a bear", and that makes me far too happy in a very morbid way);

-Stalin's exact (okay, translated) words when the Nazis arrived in Moscow in 1941 were, "Lenin gave us paradise and we fucked it up!";

-Most of the Russian troops in Cuba had never seen palm trees before;

-Mao and Khrushchev had at least one conversation in a swimming pool;

-one of my flatmates had, until this point, been under the impression I was a historian. Oh, dear.

I'm liking this topic - at least, I would be if I were not having to read and write about the Cuban missle crisis and the Vietnam War for the one essay - mainly because it feels immediate, somehow. I mean, I may not remember 1989 very well if at all, but I was alive. The Cold War was happening then. Maria, my flatmate, my friend, who is the same age as me within six weeks or so, grew up as a citizen of the USSR. That, probably, more than anything, makes the concept relevant. And certainly, reading about boys playing with their toys, when the boys are major world leaders and the toys hundred-megaton hydrogen bombs, is disconcerting in the extreme.

Unfortunately for me, I need to drag myself out of bed tomorrow and read ridiculous amounts on Vietnam, then write the essay, rather than doing anything fun that was planned.

Anyway, my life is very dull, let me show you it. I was helping cook dinner last night when [livejournal.com profile] lizziwig waved a utensil about and said happily, "In Soviet Russia, garlic presses YOU!"

Over the resultant hysteria, [livejournal.com profile] jacinthsong expressed a desire to not be friends with us any more, which seems perfectly understandable given the circumstances.

And the night before that, I hefted my laptop out with me with the thought that maybe I'd get people to watch one episode of Slings & Arrows.

Maybe one episode, you understand. Approximately four hours later [livejournal.com profile] lizziwig and [livejournal.com profile] foulds and I had got through about three gallons of tea and all of the first season. Ah, the sweet smell of vindication in the morning, but I have been telling everyone I know to watch this show for a reason. And that takes the number of people I've pimped into it up to five, so I've been a good fangirl this year.

I love that show, though, I really do. I mean, I like Due South - it's slashy, charming, endlessly crack-addled fun, and the fic is great - but Slings & Arrows is, I think, much the better show. As [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2 put it once, it would be a good show even if it were not a show about Geoffrey Tennant, but it is a show about Geoffrey Tennant, and, well. As fictional characters go, he's a good one. Re-watching it, it's the details that stick out: the skull; the utter, utter greatness of Anna and her Bolivians; Geoffrey on the floor reciting Jack's lines alongside him; the random bits of nudity; the swans.

My fic, for whoever was asking, is under my fic tag. Of the last nine stories, seven are S&A in some capacity. Oh dear.

Enough babble. Sleep.
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
One last story before I go. Unbetaed, brief.

fic:: summer move forward and leave your heat anchored in dust
by Raven
PG, Slings & Arrows, gen. Geoffrey and Anna, and coming home.

the way the wind drops reminds her of Bolivia )
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
So, I have this really strong urge to write Fraser/RayK apocalypfic.

Please to be stopping of me now.

IN THE MEANTIME. Yet another reason I loved Berlin so much.

Fic:: Four Ways that Darren Nichols Failed at Germany and One Possible, Partial Success
PGish, Slings & Arrows, gen.

A joint project by [livejournal.com profile] loneraven and [livejournal.com profile] the_acrobat, composed in part in a café near Potsdamer Platz over pizza and sandwiches which definitely did not contain Leber.

( all geniuses have to suffer for their art )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
This is not, as may be very clear, my original AMSF story, which is a lot longer than this, and also a lot less, er, finished. Last night I changed prompts, changed fandoms and wrote this in one fittingly crazy go.

Fic:: Listening Their Fear
by Raven
R, Slings & Arrows, het, Geoffrey/Ellen. For [livejournal.com profile] hawkfromhandsaw.

45. “Respect the delicate ecology of your delusions.”
--Tony Kushner


birds sing, trees grow, Geoffrey Tennant goes mad )
raven: Paul Gross as Geoffrey Tennant holding up his hand against a blue background (s&a - feeling a little crazy)
The Slings & Arrows ficathon list is almost complete - I'm still waiting on three stories, but it might be a while before they appear, so, I'm just going to rec my favourites now. (Which isn't to say there's been a bad story in the ficathon, because there hasn't been a single one. It's all great and worth reading.) Anyway, ones I liked particularly:

The One Without Any Shakespeare by [livejournal.com profile] jenoofer.
Dreadful title, lovely fic. It's just a moment in the empty theatre, with Anna being enlisted to help with Geoffrey's blocking, and she's remembering a young, bouncy, pre-breakdown Geoffrey whom she nursed a fangirl crush on, and it's sweet and wonderfully wistful.

More Fools Than Wise by [livejournal.com profile] simplystars.
This is Geoffrey's Hamlet and Geoffrey's Hamlet, and a lot of what came in between. It's haunting and sad and ultimately, hopeful.

Now Heaven Hath All by [livejournal.com profile] nos4a2no9.
This is... well. It's a universe in which Geoffrey Tennant exists, and so does Benton Fraser, and so does Due South. It's fun and wacky and deeply weird and oh, bloody hell, go and read it.

Sever themselves and madly sweep the sky by [livejournal.com profile] jadelennox.
Nahum is awesome. Anna is awesome. Ellen, of all people, is awesome. Geoffrey and Darren stand in a corridor and talk about curling. LOVE.

No Place Like Home by [livejournal.com profile] cjmarlowe.
Certain circumstances conspire to bring Ellen and Geoffrey back to New Burbage. Certain other circumstnaces - there are Munchkins - conspire to make it so Geoffrey is the sane epicentre around which everything revolves. Lunatic and sweet and fun, and has the show's morbid sense of humour.

I Would Rather Be Anywhere Else Than Here Today by [livejournal.com profile] spuffyduds.
It's canonical that Oliver loves Geoffrey and has done for a very long time. I hadn't seen a fic, though, that made much of this point. And here it is, and I shall believe that this is canon from now on. This is just so lovely. It gives us Oliver in a bar, telling and re-telling his doomed love story, and we get to see Geoffrey as "that lovely boy", a young, insanely talented, glitter-bedecked Peaseblossom, and you get why Oliver falls so hard. And the writing is perfect - Geoffrey's so bouncy, so young, and Oliver so desperate, and just, yes.

Private Audiences by [livejournal.com profile] rillarilla.
This is the story that was written for me, and it is - argh, I did something marvellous in a past life to deserve this. It's structured around five performances of five Shakespeare plays, and the single person for whom each is performed, and taken together, the whole thing is stunning. Not for nothing are the main characters in the show Geoffrey, Oliver and Ellen, and [livejournal.com profile] rillarilla maps out their relationship, all the ways in which they love and hate each other, to perfection. It's all the details - a lovely image of Geoffrey laughing before Hamlet opens, Ellen's fury and how she acts on it, an explanation for why Geoffrey carries razorblades in his pocket (that was my prompt!), and, finally, an ending that is just full of love. Beautiful. And, as yet, I am the only person to have commented, and this is a tragedy. Go, read this.

At Every Corner Have Them Kiss by [livejournal.com profile] troyswann.

“And it’s perfectly acceptable for a grown man to cry when he’s been stomping across the known world on a broken ankle, with a crazy German in tow and no big pills at all to take the edge off, while all that he loves in the world is being systematically dismantled by the prince of darkness.”

Together with the previous, this is my favourite of the ficathon. It's done in mixed-media, the prose interspersed with postcards, emails, memos and beautiful costume drawings by [livejournal.com profile] j_s_cavalcante, and that just adds to the experience, because damn, this is good. [livejournal.com profile] troyswann gives us Geoffrey in 2011, with a little grey in his curls, telling the story of the Theatre Sans Argent Ensemble's performance of The Plantagenets. Darren is directing. Maria and Anna are noticeably harrassed. Ellen is quietly glaring, and Geoffrey, bless his wee heart, is adrift in France with an ankle cast, painkillers the size of Weetabix and a muscly German named Hans.

And that's all before the vomit and severed heads. It should be crack. But somehow, it isn't. It's so engaging and so very funny, the large cast of OCs are well-realised and totally believable, and under all the hilarity you get this lovely sense of Geoffrey as being happy and successful if still not quite sane and it gives you - well, me - the warm fuzzies. It's a delight. Go and read it.

In fact, given that a lot of the characters are OCs anyway and the whole thing crackles, go and read if you've never seen a single episode of canon. It's that good.

Also, when I start carping about why I volunteer to run ficathons, direct me at this post, 'cause this is exactly why I do it.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
So, up until now, I've been saying that Due South is the television equivalent of a nice cuddly blanket and a mug of dark hot chocolate. It's just... comforting. It's so sweet, and gentle, and not much happens, and they take a break from murder cases to do weird interludes involving ghosts and curling and the geography of Canada, not necessarily at the same time, and I love Diefenbaker a whole lot, because I did, at one point, own a mute German Shepherd with a passion for junk food. (He was a lovely dog; fiercely loyal, and tended to growl at people who looked at me funny, but otherwise mute.) And Fraser and both versions of Ray are just a delight. So, yes, hot chocolate, and I've been downloading random episodes and keeping them for term-time, when I usually am in my greatest need of televisual security blankets.

But then, watching random episodes, I got to "Victoria's Secret" and couldn't. stop. crying. Argh. It's... argh. The snow, the candles, the music - Sarah McLachlan! just go ahead and slay me! - and the poetry, and against this terribly romantic background they rip each apart, don't they, they fuck and fight and betray, and it's beautifully done and not only do I cry watching it, I cry when listening to Sarah McLachlan. Basically I spend a lot of time crying. And if I weren't quite dead enough, the canon has what canon never has, a fanficcish epilogue - a whole episode where they acknowledge they fucked their characters' heads around, and make them deal. And oh, I do like it - I love it's done realistically, how Fraser is tired and desperately unhappy, and relying on painkillers (!!! holy angst, Batman!), and as well as that, he's cruel, too. Much love for characterisation.

And I am reliably informed that absolutely everyone, upon watching it, needs to write their very own fic to, I don't know, get their ya-yas out. (And there's a turn of phrase I've never used before. Wow.) So maybe I have to go and do that, once this ficathon craziness is over. I just read [livejournal.com profile] troyswann's lovely fic, Dysmas, and.... ahhhhh. So painful, but so beautifully done.

And I'm sort of glad I saw Slings & Arrows first - otherwise I get the feeling I'd have found bits of it, especially the bit in season one where Geoffrey says, breathily, "It was like having sex in public", very traumatising.

Talking of Slings & Arrows (when I am not, lately? I am a fangirl), I had a weird moment this week, reading the Daily Mail (er, there were extenuating circumstances and please not to be killing me now) and more specifically, their TV pages. They were talking about Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and being, naturally, rude about Aaron Sorkin (they're the Daily Mail, of course they hate Aaron Sorkin) and about how there's an episode on this week that was written by, of all people, Mark McKinney. And then it goes on to suggest the show would've been better if all of it had been written by McKinney, based on the evidence of - wait for it! - Slings & Arrows.

Er, what? Someone in the UK apart from me and the flist is watching it, despite the fact it's not on television and/or Region 2 DVD? And that someone writes for the Daily Mail? I find this deeply, deeply weird.

Anyway! I babble. I always babble. I am still in a bouncy, happy, life-is-kinda-chaotic-but-I-have-passed-my-DRIVING-TEST sort of way. God, it's so freeing. Today I took great pleasure in throwing out my L-plates and driving through the rain, listening to Sarah McLachlan, hitting national speed limit amid the hayricks all the way up to Ormskirk. (I would've dropped unexpectedly in on [livejournal.com profile] hathy_col, but she's in Venice!) But, yeah, freedom! It's not my car, but, never mind, I don't care. Just the thought that I could actually get myself a car someday is sort of freeing.

And my driving test was an exercise in comedy, too, not that I thought so at the time. First of all it was at ridiculous o'clock in the morning, and all the way there it was raining in that horrible, intermittent way that made me think about windscreen wipers in a vaguely freaked-out way, but just as I got to the test centre, it brightened up. I cheered up with it, and managed to stay calm as they went through bonnet checks and an incredibly casual eyesight test, and even stayed calm when I got in the car and got asked immediately to do a reverse park. I very nearly fucked it up, but didn't, was a tiny bit rattled, set off and stalled on the very first junction I got to.

Okay, I thought, I've failed. And that's a very calming thought, isn't it? So I drove merrily through the town and along the coast road with the sea breeze buffeting in from the west, and it's a straight road, knock the volume up and hit the horizon kind of thing, and I was calm, calm. And then we got to the little roads again and he asked me to reverse around a corner into a side-road. I can do this, I thought. So I did. I got halfway round when a car came into the junction, so I stopped and waited for it to come round me. And waited. And waited.

And waited. And he didn't move, and I didn't move, and in the end I turned to the examiner and said desperately, "I'm gonna hit him. I don't wanna hit him."

The examiner said, "Put the car in neutral and put the handbrake on." And I did, but you know, they say the moment the examiner intervenes, tells you to do something, you've failed. So I moped on the steering wheel for a moment, and then sat up all at once as my wing mirrors revealed my examiner and the man in the stopped car having some sort of wildly-gesticulated slanging match. After a moment he came back, yelling, thickly Irish, "She's on her TEST! And you could get a BUS through there! Drive on, dear."

So I did. Feeling quite depressed, I did, we got back to the test centre seemingly five minutes later and he said, "I'm pleased to tell you you've passed."

I said, "You're KIDDING, right?"

"Sign here."

I signed. I had eight faults. And now I have a pink driving license and can legally drive in twenty-five countries and I'm feeling very good about life. My parents are pleased and somewhat peeved, because neither of them passed first time. (Pedar claims he would've done had his examiner not had a heart attack mid-test - he gave him first aid, drove him to the hospital, by all accounts saved his life, and still failed.)

Tomorrow I'm going to Formby Library, because my life is just that exciting, and taking out their entire selection of books on feminism, which is three books. I miss the Bodleian.

G'night, all.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
A pinch-hit story for [livejournal.com profile] macadamanaity in my Slings & Arrows ficathon. She wanted a minor Due South crossover element and no Geoffrey angsting. I failed significantly on both counts. I did try, honestly!

Fic:: Under A Blackened Sky
by Raven
PG-13, Slings & Arrows/Due South, gen. Geoffrey and Benton Fraser.

it started when Geoffrey spat on a stranger )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Fic! Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] rosariotijeras for looking it over, and also, er, I feel the need to apologise to [livejournal.com profile] slasheuse, whose wonderful outdoor production of AMND was just that - wonderful - and while it gave me the idea for this story, its problems are all its own.

Anyway. For my darling [livejournal.com profile] the_acrobat as part of my Slings & Arrows ficathon.

Fic:: That Little Western Flower
by Raven
PG-13, Slings & Arrows, het, Geoffrey/Ellen.

I'll put a girdle about the earth in forty minutes. )
raven: Tenth Doctor and Martha hugging (doctor who - hug)
My Slings & Arrows ficathon story is exactly 2400 words of mess. It contains the line: "it all seemed like a clear progression of events that had begun with Anna running into his office mid-sentence and, like the best nightmares, wasn’t over yet", and it has struck me that this does, in fact, describe the story as a whole. It's a big ol' mess. It currently has six sections, one of which is only two paragraphs long and none of which begin and end where they're supposed to, and it needs two more, both of which I don't know how to write because I don't know what's happening in them. And it also needs a dream-sequence which I haven't written yet because I poached the dialogue from it to put into another section, and just, aaaargh.

And does anyone else have that issue where you set out to write a story in the past tense and it falls into the present tense if you're not conscious of it all the way through? I wish there was some handy internet tool which would just put the whole thing into present for me, and back into past, so I could actually see how it reads, but right now I'm trying to cure myself of my addiction to the present tense because I think it's my easy way out, you know? I don't like the and then he did this and then she did that style of telling a story straight, usually; I like texture to language, something beyond utilitarian prose. But it's so easy to do that in the present tense - you have to work at it when it isn't happening right now, when it's done and dusted and you're trying to breathe life in the ashes.

And this may or may not be irrational, but - aargh. Maybe because past tense is good for plotty, comic stories, and present good for plotless meanderings, and this story is rapidly changing from the former to the latter and becoming flatter and more generic with each passing word?

ARGH.

My [livejournal.com profile] hawkfromhandsaw story is 1437 words of slightly less mess - it makes sense, though I don't like it, and it is the first section of a coherent story. And I know what's going to happen! I know it's in present tense and is going to stay that way, because, hello, time-distorting effect of madness. I know a handful of metaphors I like and will probably use, and I know what I'm aiming at - the punchline, so to speak. But I have no idea how to get from beginning to end. And, apparently, no impetus to do so - the story just sits there, taunting me in ahahaha-I-am-1437-words-long-and-I-have-BEATEN-you fashion.

I'm having my arse kicked by a Word doc, guys. Two of them, in fact. Please to be giving me a pep talk. With lots of pep. And maybe an injunction to stop watching television and do some work would be good too.

Where "work" refers not to fic-writing but to one or more of a) LSAT practise tests, b) actual paid employment or c) actually getting my arse out of the house and passing my fucking driving test.

I fail at life. Lots of pep. Please.

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