raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
[personal profile] igrockspock asked: Which three of your stories are you most proud of?

The Light Always Burning (6749 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Nation - Terry Pratchett
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Daphne, Mau (Nation)
Additional Tags: Epistolary
Summary:

We, the People: a thirty-year retrospective and an examination of the role of the Nation in world history, for Earth Atlantic, 7 December 2035, excerpt.


This story is – well, when it was still anonymous, it was recommended by a friend of mine with the note “the author of this has spray-painted her name on it in ten-feet sparkly letters”. I admit, it’s definitely a story heavily preoccupied with my preoccupations. It’s a story about first contact with aliens! It’s a story about history, and brown people. There is a romance in it, but it's quite subdued; it happens in and around two people busily having the most invigorating professional slanging match of their careers.

It’s one of my favourites because – well, I am afraid, a little, of becoming samey or typecast. But if this is sometimes the only story I write, then I want to write it as well as I can.


when you lay me down you'll bury only bones (6724 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Carlos/Cecil (Welcome to Night Vale)
Characters: Carlos (Welcome to Night Vale), Cecil (Welcome to Night Vale), Dana (Welcome to Night Vale), Vithya (Welcome to Night Vale)
Additional Tags: Race Bechdel, Navajo Cecil, Canon Character of Color, Federal government shutdown, is probably never going to be a canonical tag
Summary:

Dana's back. Intern Vithya is new. Cecil and Carlos are just the same, but different. Today, Night Vale is the safest place on earth.


This story is one that I come back to rather a lot; I wrote it last year in conjunction with a discussion I had with [personal profile] thingswithwings on the subject - it's about race, and queerness, and Night Vale. It’s a story that was hard to write, because unlike many of my stories, it is not hopeful: but then, it is about the one subject on which I am not hopeful. I'm proud of having written it, and unhappy it’s a story that has to be written.

the winter here is cold, and bitter (17185 words) by Raven
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Simon Illyan & Aral Vorkosigan, Aral Vorkosigan/Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan
Characters: Simon Illyan, Aral Vorkosigan, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, Alys Vorpatril, Gregor Vorbarra
Additional Tags: Spies & Secret Agents, Espionage, Winter
Summary:

Simon Illyan is loyal, loved and a perfect spy. One of these things is a lie.


I am super-proud of this one because when I wrote it, I had no idea I could write a story like this: one that’s full of relationship stuff, one that works out the lines of a friendship/romance/exercise in misplaced feudalism (between Aral Vorkosigan and Simon Illyan, hi, yes, all my kinks), but is also an unrepentant espionage caper. There are plots and plotters and sub-plots and fake-outs and meetings in dark alleys galore! It began life as a remix of [personal profile] philomytha's story, Aptitude, which definitely is a caper - and is a much happier, cheerier, more delightful story to boot! - but I think that fact is what give me a push to write something completely unlike myself. I'm working on getting better at plot, these days - I'd like to write something better and even longer and twistier than this one, but in the meantime, here it is, and I'm still pleased with it.

Still happy to take prompts, by the way!
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.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
I'm back. The wedding was a success, Singapore and Bali were wonderful. Shim and I are now as married as we're gonna be. (And it shows; on the flight back we both requested the non-veg meal option, and my nice white boy partner got given a kind of white-sauce-gooey-chicken-broccoli thing, and looked despairingly over at the sensible, homely, decent chicken-curry-with-tadka-dal they'd given me; when faced with Balinese public transport a few days ago he was heard to remark, "I miss India, where things make sense."

Quite.)

Anyway, I will tell y'all about the wedding and the subsequent meanderings across Southeast Asia when not at work just coming off a terrible head cold and fifteen hours' flying time. In the meantime, let me just tell you all what I wrote for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide. I think I might have mentioned before that I wrote five stories in four different fandoms? A couple of people did come close to guessing! Here they are:

Stand In The Place Where You Live [Parks and Recreation, for [personal profile] soupytwist]
Snapshots from the Knope presidential campaign.

So I've had this story in my head since I saw my very first episode of Parks and Rec, and [personal profile] soupytwist and I have been talking about it forever, so I really wanted to finally sit down and write it for her, but it wasn't coming together. Then, quite by chance, [personal profile] hedda62 introduced me to a song she thought I'd like - "Half-Acre", by Hem - and after I'd listened to that 65 times in a couple of days (that's... something I do, okay), it came together bit by bit. I am amazed no one guessed outright that I wrote this, it has my narrative kinks spread incriminatingly all over it - politics! science fiction! documentary format! - and while it isn't a departure for me, either in style or content, I think I'm pleased with how it came out. The hardest part was the science fiction aspect, unsurprisingly; Parks and Rec and hard SF don't really go together, but I found myself really invested in making Leslie's 2024 a real place, not just a future of slightly shinier iPhones. Runaway climate change seemed the obvious, if depressing, way forwards.

everyone says this love will change you and I ask, isn't that what love's supposed to do [Parks and Recreation, for [personal profile] doyle]
"Who hasn't had gay thoughts?"

Years ago, when it was a smallish fandom - seriously, I know - I used to run Doctor Who ficathons. I ran three of them, small enough to hand-match, and the one perk you get running hand-matched ficathons is to choose your favourite author of those who signed up to write for you. Which is how Doyle ended up writing a lovely Doctor/Rose/Jack story just for me, and why eight years later, when I realised Doyle wanted a story about Ben's gay thoughts for yuletide, I thought it might be time to return the favour. I had enormous fun writing this and again, I'm amazed no one guessed outright it was mine - people working out their own queerness in adulthood is one of my favourite things to explore in fic and Parks and Rec, with its lovely mixture of political themes and ordinary small-town life, is basically the perfect fandom to explore it in.

(What I found kind of darkly amusing about this story is that Ben is the POV character throughout, it's a tight third-person POV, and Ben spends it drunk, then delirious, then in various elevating states of hysterical, then drunk again, and tied up, turned on, kind of weirdly-subspaced, post-coital and finally, for the last 500w, reasonable, rational and in his right mind, all at the same time. I really did have a lot of fun writing it.)

Epiphany [The Middleman, for [personal profile] metonymy]
"Hey, what do I get my boss for Christmas-Epiphany-general-festival-of-expressing-love-through-capitalism-whatever?"

MIDDLEMAN YAY. I've never written Middleman fic because I just, the show is perfect, who can add to it. So this is not long, or plotty, or profound, it's just 1200w of SPARKLY SPARKLY LOVE. This stupid show.

a glass poured to air [Gentleman Bastards, for [personal profile] labellementeuse]
There comes a day months afterwards, almost enough to begin counting in years, when Locke Lamora stops in front of a mirror and says, "Lamor Acanthus."

The funny thing about this story is that it's sort of not true to what I think? With regard to the revelation in The Republic of Thieves, I fully believe that it won't turn out to be either true or complete bullshit; it'll be some elegant halfway-there method for Patience to fuck with Locke, and watching her do so will be enormous fun. But I read the novel on a plane and basically wrote this straight after, waiting for my ride in a cafe in Heathrow Terminal 4 arrivals: I just really wanted to explore the idea of what might happen if it were true. And if it is true, then that's what I love about this series - it's still epiphenomenal. Locke is still Locke, because as the narrative continues to remind us, Locke is Locke, Locke is Jean and Sabetha and Chains and the city of Camorr and what all those things made him. If the novels as a whole have a theme, it's that, surely: that there's no such thing as caste, or place in society, even in this high-fantasy setting complete with nobility and high magic. What there is, is communities built up from nothing and how they shape their people. I like that a lot, hence this story.

Things That Are Really There [Parks and Recreation/Welcome To Night Vale for [archiveofourown.org profile] grangerbutstranger]
The hooded figures tried to stop Leslie from going into the dog park.


...yes. That was a thing I did. It was a good Yuletide for me this year! I really should go and read the stories written for me a mere two weeks late. The next thing on the list.

More on the year's writing, the year as a whole, wedding no. 2, general flail, the meme answers I haven't done... at some point. Some point soon! But on the other side of sleep and some nice peaceful days of doing my actual job and hammering my to-do list until it fits on one page. Oww.

Diwali

Nov. 3rd, 2013 05:34 pm
raven: image of India on a globe (politics - india)
Happy Diwali, all. Thank you, everyone who came to the party last night - it was a lovely time - and everyone else, I hope your days and nights are full of light.

Diwali - image of windowsill and table with a red candelabra full of candles, and an orange lamp

This is our living room, from last night. Everything there is a gift - the candelabra and candles are from the wedding, the bookends were a gift from my colleagues, the little stone candle-holders are Diwali gifts from previous years - which seems oddly fitting. In lieu of other gifts for y'all, I offer four short stories, on the usual theme:


building normal
Deep Space Nine, Sisko, Kira, Dax et al.

increased efficiency on Deep Space Nine )


hope
Welcome to Night Vale, Cecil/Carlos.

on one of the dark days )


comparative religion
Parks and Recreation, Tom, April, Leslie, gen.

an overwhelming smell of kerosene in the Parks Department )


love in a hopeless place
Gentleman Bastards, Locke and Jean, gen(ish). No spoilers for The Republic of Thieves!

Locke can't walk )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
This story came about as a response to a discussion I was having with [personal profile] thingswithwings a while back about Night Vale, queer theory, safe spaces, race, and many other things. It's about Night Vale as the small town in the desert that can be home to everyone, in its way, which isn't enough, but is something, I guess, and that in itself goes a lot of the way to why I love this stupid show so much.

(Also, it's about the federal government shutdown. I'm super-predictable.)

fic:: when you lay me down you'll bury only bones
by Raven
7000w, Welcome To Night Vale, Cecil/Carlos, Dana and Intern Vithya. Dana's back. Intern Vithya is new. Cecil and Carlos are just the same, but different. Today, Night Vale is the safest place on earth.

this above all )
raven: (misc - inside the box)
lolol you guys I made a constructed reality vid. Really. I guess this may be an actual testament to how much I love this ridiculous show. I am going to also put this on Tumblr I think? Hence my actually sitting down to learn how to sign vids!

Anyway! Here 'tis, Welcome To Night Vale, Cecil and Dana.

[vid] we were born in a summer storm [Welcome To Night Vale]
by Raven
Listeners, I do not know where or when Dana is, but I am going to sit by this phone and wait for her call.

we were born in a summer storm from Raven on Vimeo.



music: Tom McRae, "I Ain't Scared of Lightning", from Tom McRae
content notes: some fast cutting towards the end.
password to stream: dogpark / download from mediafire, 66MB

notes, lyrics )
raven: black and white street sign: "Hobbs Lane" (quatermass - hobbs end)
A short one, written mostly yesterday afternoon.

fic:: clair de lune
by Raven
2500w, Welcome To Night Vale, Cecil/Carlos. "I really can't always tell what's going to happen," Cecil adds, as though this is some sort of moral failing.

Cecil comes back )
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Urrrgh, as you can see I am not doing well with... well, productivity. I wrote this for [personal profile] toft and [personal profile] thingswithwings, on round number eleventy million of our joint Cecil headcanons!

fic:: wear it like bones, like skin
by Raven
1400w, Welcome To Night Vale, Cecil/Carlos. In which Cecil has about a million different sparkly nail polishes, and Carlos is a terrible scientist.

Cecil's fingernails scatter light )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
More on the wedding when I've made sense of it, myself. All was lovely, however, and in the meantime this story, although it began life as a commentfic two weeks ago for [livejournal.com profile] yiskah and [personal profile] pearwaldorf, transformed inevitably into a love story.

fic:: day number one of the rest of forever
by Raven
9000w, Welcome To Night Vale, Cecil/Carlos. "Angels do exist, listeners," he says, and Carlos realises with a combination of horror and love that that's his own voice, faltering and cracked, without any of the broadcast smoothness.

In which Cecil protects his sources, and Carlos loves him.

this is where it starts )

Prompt fics

Sep. 7th, 2013 01:06 am
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
Today, I did answer some email and do some washing-up, but mostly I wrote. Only three stories, but in my defence two of them got longer than expected:

-For [personal profile] musesfool, who wanted CJ Cregg meeting Margaret Houlihan;

-For [personal profile] hedda62, who wanted something about Night Vale's actual weather, if you lift your eyes I am your brother (at the AO3; Cecil, Carlos and Dana coming home, 1200w)

-For [personal profile] forthwritten, [personal profile] marymac and [personal profile] philomytha, all who wanted stories about Nightingale from Rivers of London (!), a spell against the lonely (at the AO3, Nightingale and a queer life, 1500w).

To bed, to bed, etc.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
One more Welcome To Night Vale rec:

Second Date (2676 words) by dee
This may be the saddest thing I have read, not in Night Vale fandom, but in any fandom. But nevertheless perfectly executed, and sad in that perfectly-crafted way that makes you walk away feeling like they took a part out of you with sterilised tweezers.

(I should mention that I am drunk, also in that perfect way where they took out a part of your lucidity with sterilised tweezers - I am going to be probably-forever-whatever unemployed on Thursday so I went out with my soon-to-be-former colleagues tonight and got drunk with all of them at their most affectionate, and while I will miss them a lot I refuse to admit to that so I am continuing to drink, gently and slowly so I remain precisely on this particular peak and not trough of drunk, balanced on something between desperation and melancholy and actually too drunk to string a sentence together.)

(I don't know why any of you put up with me, I am awful.)
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
For [livejournal.com profile] yiskah, who finds herself in sudden need of stories about Cecil and Carlos and their beautiful, bewildering, eldritch love!

there's probably a word for it in unmodified sumerian (1007 words) by patho
It’s weirdly flattering, in a way, that Cecil can wax rhapsodic about his very cells. Carlos can empathize: every single one of his tests has shown that Cecil is just as human as he is, and yet he’s also absolutely not. A lovely little vignette.

Some madness in love. (2181 words) by dee
That’s the thing about time in Night Vale: perfect moments last forever. Literally. Somewhere. This is a lovely, sweet little story about one of the many peculiarly Night Vale dates Cecil and Carlos go on…

Mostly void, partially stars (4981 words) by dee
There are a lot of things Cecil knows, and absolutely none of them make sense. …and this is the story, by the same author, where Carlos is the scientist and Cecil is the experiment - and it's also much more sweet than not? I dunno. This fandom, you guys.

Strange or Malevolent (1982 words) by pocky_slash
(Carlos may have had a thing for guys like that in grad school, but he's definitely over it entirely and is in no way attracted to Cecil, not at all, not even a little, that guy is weird and a stalker and kind of dangerous, no matter how cute he is. Or isn't. Because he's not.) Oh, Cecil. Oh, Carlos.

held aloft by your voice (2306 words) by radialarch
“There’s always something going on,” Cecil says. “Have you checked the Community Calendar? I think there’s a town-wide exorcism on Thursday.” Creepy as all-get-out and I love it. (And, also, it's kind of sweet and lovely!)

Names of collision in the dark (22178 words) by queerly_it_is
“Wow,” Cecil says, and Carlos grins wider, because he’d maybe been expecting another ‘Neat!’ even though Cecil’s imposed a moratorium on that word possibly for the rest of time. In which as Cecil is neither tall nor short, neither fat nor thin, he must be a switch… and it is terribly, heartbreakingly romantic. There are first dates and second dates and fifth dates and non-numbered dates that may or may not have fallen on cancelled Wednesdays, and lots of thoughtful langorous sex (glad I didn't read this one at work!) and in the end, it's a love story. With zombies.

radio is a living art (try to get the words right) (2081 words) by byzantienne
“Whisper a dangerous secret to someone you care about. Now they have the power to destroy you, but they won’t. This is what love is.” Yes. Exactly.

How I Survived My Summer Vacation, by Tamika Flynn, Age 12 3/4 (5516 words) by thingswithwings
The first book on Tamika Flynn's Summer Reading Program Sticker Chart is Lord of the Flies. Tamika is wonderful! So is this story. (nb. Is directly related to episode 28, Summer Reading Program).

run, run, fast as you-- (16525 words) by branwyn
First, Carlos tried to imagine Cecil holding a gun. It was actually very easy. That is to say, it was easy to imagine Cecil looking down at his slender, dusky hand, finding a gun in it, then dropping it like it was coated in hydrochloric acid while screeching like a frightened child. I never ever ever rec WIPs! But branywn is great, and this is awesome and very nearly finished in any case. Has a long thoughtful backstory for Carlos and a wonderfully textured Night Vale.

edited to add: nearly forgot this one! a love song for schrödinger (2220 words) by patho
“Sorry to bother you,” the angel says. Its voice is deep and musical, and makes the hair on Carlos’ arms stand on end. “Are you Cecil’s scientist?” I love this, wholly, utterly. It is frightening.

And, finally, some I've recced before:

The Observer Effect (6110 words) by thingswithwings
Cecil holds his hand all through dinner, his fingers stroking slow and soft along Carlos's palm, his knuckles, below the base of his thumb. This is the story about Night Vale municipal sex permits. It's… I just. Um. Yes.

inspired by your laugh to wait for things (4066 words) and and every map is blank (7128 words) by gyzym
It's the literal end of the world; Carlos is staring at something so cataclysmic that he can no longer fit the entire image in his brain, is, when he tries to summarize for himself what he's seeing, drawing horrified blanks punctuated with the muted sensation of exclamation marks. But what he's thinking -- crazily -- is that Cecil's voice is too intimate for radio. (Perfect, perfect, perfect!)

I love this show so much, you guys. I think it's the unholy combination of a fandom that has an incredible sense of place (and of land use and planning!) mixed with Cecil and Carlos and their adorable queer romance mixed up with everything I wrote before about how you can do Night Vale fandom entirely through the medium of brown people if you want to. But in the end it's just, I just... I cannot. I love it with a kind of bone-deep ridiculousness. Goodnight, Night Vale, goodnight.
raven: subway sign in black and white, text: "Times Square / 42 Street station" (stock - times square)
Just a morose little story for a Bank Holiday weekend. As fair warning, the AO3 freeform tags for this story are "love", "loss", "race" and "you really really can't go home again".

fic:: let the rain kiss you
by Raven
3000w, Welcome To Night Vale, Carlos/Cecil. Carlos has been out of town more than a year. Back home, he has an overflowing mailbox, an influx of freshmen, a perky new research assistant, and an awful sense that somehow, somewhere, he's forgetting something.

overdue library book reminders and every mathematical combination of money off Domino's )
raven: (misc - inside the box)
So, you guys, I want to talk about Cecil (possibly Baldwin - I remain unconvinced that he has entirely the same name as his voice actor) and what he looks like. In all my stories so far, I've deliberately not given him a physical description (except in "jus sanguinis, jus soli", in which he doesn't get a physical description just so's I can avoid spoiling the plot twist), because I'm kind of delighted at the idea of a character who really has no appearance specified.

(And, also, I have kind of a headcanon - which I think was given to me by [personal profile] such_heights - that while his voice is utterly distinctive, Cecil's looks don't really register in people's minds, so they go away and describe him as "Well, he's not tall. Or short. He might have been wearing a hat.")

But, okay, this next story I'm writing, he needs to look like something. Maybe he looks different to each person (and Steve Carlsberg imagines him as white, and he hates that - someone else's headcanon that I love), and I also love this Welcome To Night Vale fan trailer, which suggests he looks like a super-cute Richard Ayoade; but mostly I'm just really happy - so, so happy - that I can just unilaterally decide that he looks like me. If you do not know what I look like, kinda like this, only not that pretty.

And maybe there aren't that many South Asians in the American Southwest. Maybe Cecil is Native, or Hispanic, or both. Maybe his mother was from Nigeria and his dad was English. Maybe he embodies Night Vale itself, brown like the sand. I love this show so much.

(I'm aware that this is where I ought, by some sort of unstated obligation, offer comment on a certain tendency for certain people to imagine Cecil as white, and what this (intelligent and interesting) graph has to say, and, ah. Stuff. I have very little to add to that debate. If I may be lazy and link to something I've said elsewhere, this is why. I don't believe in opening my presence up to debate. I am here. I am the "you" in A Story About You. I am Runner Five. And I am Cecil, too.)

In other news, today I bought a new handbag and organised the things I carry around with me, and got a new external hard drive and organised the other things I carry around with me, and now I only have to press one button for my computer to trash 125 GB. I'm saving it for when I'm in particular need of catharsis.
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
One of the remaining wedding tasks is figuring out the music. Am currently resisting the urge to replace Mendelssohn with "I knew you were trouble when you walked in".

(Getting married in five weeks! Permanently unemployed in three!)

(Look, some people juggle geese.)

Um.

Stories:

For [personal profile] cosmic_llin, five times Margaret Houlihan was really proud of herself (well-behaved women seldom make history) (also at the AO3);

For [livejournal.com profile] jennygriffee, five episodes of M*A*S*H that Cecil and Carlos watched together (this is radio nowhere)

For [personal profile] philomytha, five four times Simon Illyan nearly resigned (and then it was too late).

And "wild dreams of a new beginning", five times Carlos surprised Cecil, is on the AO3 now as well.
raven: (vorkosigan - creepy planetary conquest)
So I'm still working on the five things fics and lists, but here are the ones I've got so far:

-for [personal profile] hannah, Five best eyebrow raising scenes from the Vorkosigan saga;

-for [personal profile] soupytwist, Five times Carlos surprised Cecil (wild dreams of a new beginning);

-for [personal profile] thingswithwings, five friends Carlos makes in Night Vale (also at the AO3);

-for [personal profile] hedda62, five weather reports from Vorbarr Sultana (with apologies to Night Vale public radio);

-for [personal profile] silverhare, five favourite flights of Arthur Shappey.

In other news - entire day in court, and achieved precisely zilch. Sigh. Although counsel was very nice, and was the first person to join the dots together and offer fortnight-in-advance congratulations on my qualification! So that was nice. (I mean - I am super-conflicted, and to be honest kind of depressed about the whole thing, but, hell. It was nice of him.)
raven: (vorkosigan - creepy planetary conquest)
So Nine Worlds was - and is, as they're running for definite in 2014 - a massive, multifandom mult-track multi-everything fan-run con in London, only not London, actually, but Heathrow, and it was wonderful, but I am so tired I am falling over so please have some edited highlights:

-Night Vale cosplay! [personal profile] such_heights did a wonderful Cecil with a bowtie and stuck-on third eye, and I suppose I could've done Carlos if I'd thought of it earlier but I went to the fancy-dress shop near work and bought a hooded cape and practised looming at people, and then on Friday afternoon I made a sign reading: "DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE DOG PARK PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE DOG PARK say nothing and drink to forget" and we went round the con like that. And it was amazing! We got there on Friday and got ourselves registered and went up to the queer high-tea drop-in (there was a queer track, a fanfic track, a geek feminism track, inter lots of alia, I was totally spoiled for choice), and people kept on recognising us and coming to talk to us, and then they did a fanfic cupcake drop-in also and the organisers had got Night Vale tea from Adagio. (It tastes nice, but I refuse to know what's in it. It's Night Vale tea, come on.) [personal profile] such_heights and I made super-excited simultaneous noises. We met another Cecil over the weekend - T., the organiser of the queer track, who had fab purple headphones - and I'm almost sure I saw a third at one of my panels, but couldn't catch up with them in time to make happy noises.

(Also, you know why I could've done Carlos happily and comfortably, if I'd got myself a lab coat and a confused expression? Because he's brown. I love that and I love writing him and I love everything about this.)

-Fanvidding panel and show were awesome, but getting home on Friday night afterwards was a nightmare - the Piccadilly Line was part-closed, and we had to make this stop-motion journey being thrown off the train every few stops and getting on another one, and we got back round about half one and left the house again at half eight, which was not so much of a highlight but actually it was kind of fun? A lot of the weekend felt like a school field trip, like grabbing your friends and going on an adventure. And here is a small thing I find relaxing - sitting outside, getting some fresh air, and watching a sequence of 747s landing in front of me.

(Actually, the venue was basically the only bum note of the whole con for me - the two con hotels were great, but in kind of a food desert and really difficult to access by public transport or by driving. Part of me did wonder if it would've been easier to take the car, but by this afternoon I was very far from fit to drive so perhaps not.)

-Saturday, I went to some great panels ("Heroes v. villains" on the literature track was surprisingly witty and delightful) and one very disappointing one; hung around lobbyconning for hours and hours, which was just fab, drank expensive airport-prices coffee, used the word "transformative" a lot; hung out with [personal profile] such_heights some more and had thoughtful conversations about life, then hung out with her and [personal profile] silly_cleo planning our femslash panel in the late-evening sunlight at an outdoor table at McDonald's. It was ridiculous and wonderful. I had a free hotel room for Saturday night courtesy of the Doctor Who track, and we all piled in there for some of the afternoon, and someone, I forget who, noted that you do feel guilty, paying your con membership and then hanging around with your friends and not going to panels - but, I dunno, I think room parties and lobbycon are as important, if not more so, than structured con programming. I guess I think all that talking, and laughing, and continuing panel discussions, and lying sleepily on top of the bedcovers talking about your wedding with someone who loves you enough to fly 8000 miles roundtrip to attend, and giggling about Tumblr memes in a deserted Piccadilly Line carriage at 1am, and love, and overpriced coffee, are - wait for it - transformative. And also, formative - constitutive of self, and the metaphorical ground from which you do the less fun stuff you have to do, in life.

(I really love the word "transformative".)

-Lashings of Ginger Beer Time did a short set, which I loved, and then it was queer rock geek disco time. (The first song they played was "20th Century Boy" - that made me happy. I'm told someone, when I left the dancefloor to find a drink and a bathroom, asked my friends if I was on something.

I leave this without comment.)

-Today was the day of ALL THE PANELS. Somehow, I don't know how, I got scheduled to be on five panels between 9.30am and 4.30pm. (This is where I sit still and am grateful for [personal profile] happydork and [personal profile] such_heights, who between them got me checked out, got me coffee, got me painkillers, and walked blithely into an afternoon panel to give me a pasty, among myriad other small kindnesses) Of the panels, the first one was "What makes a fandom?" for the books track and it wasn't quite worth missing out on giving the lovely hotel breakfast its due - everyone concerned was hungover.

The second panel was the Chicks Unravel Time panel, with [personal profile] shinyjenni and Una, and it was wonderful wonderful wonderful. It was so nice to read, and speak, in front of an audience just brimming with love and enthusiasm and insightful critique of Doctor Who and women in sci-fi and feminism generally and just, awesome things. It was like going somewhere you've never been and finding all your friends there waiting for you. And that was followed by the femslash panel for the fanfic track, which I'm still not sure I was the most logical choice for, but being on that panel was just a total joy, also: more insightful thoughts and productive discussion and people just being really happy and excited and passionate about queer female visibility, sexuality and lives. I loved it.

My third panel of the day was entitled "Is Doctor Who thunderingly racist?" and I was the only non-white person on the panel. I had been vaguely, then definitely, upset about this for quite some time. [personal profile] happydork offered very generously to sit in the front row and ask encouraging questions. I sat down with trepidation.

....and then it was awesome? I just... I still can't quite believe it, but it was awesome! The audience were sharp as whips, incisive, angry then productive, thoughtful and celebratory. They wanted to talk about Doctor Who as a colonialist narrative. They wanted to talk about Martha's story and its intersections with race and class. They wanted to break down Doctor Who in its historical contexts, and built it up again as a constitutive myth of Britishness. They wanted to take about its responsibilities in interrogating racism. I sat there and talked a lot and listened a lot and thought for a while I might cry from relief, then got over it. When I went out [personal profile] such_heights was waiting for me with the margarita I had demanded she bring me so I could weep into it; instead I drank it in happy celebration and wove my way upstairs.

(The last panel of the day was "Is fanfic literature?" which was good, and had a fluid exchange of ideas, but aaargh, I was so tired by then, with my empty martini glass and my bacon pasty.)

-At the end of the panel, I went back down to the dealers' room and went to speak to one of the artists selling her art at one of the long tables; I'd enjoyed speaking to her so much on Friday that I popped in when I could to keep her company, as she couldn't leave her stall to attend much of the programming. I bought a print off her, because she's a beautiful artist, and I'm a sucker for haunting line-art of corvids fluttering into paper distance. And as a kind of final benediction from a wonderful weekend, she gave me this.

I am very pleased with the world, and the small spaces I fit into in it, tonight.
raven: text: "shut absolutely up" (cabin pressure - shut up)
This story is not a terribly surprising one, if you know me. With thanks to [personal profile] thingswithwings for the notion of things moving around where they ought not, and to [personal profile] forthwritten for proofreading and gluten-free spaghetti.

fic: jus sanguinis, jus soli
by Raven
4500w, Welcome To Night Vale, Cecil/Carlos. Night Vale, Carlos has decided, is like deserts everywhere: vast and unknowable, with bad cell phone reception. Also, there are angels.

living in Night Vale feels like this all the time )
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)
For various reasons, my mental health can be summarised right now as "on a knife edge'. This has been compounded by the fact Shim has gone to Hong Kong. (Not, I hasten to add, because I drove him to it.) He is off doing his sort of fandom for the next ten days or so, and I am home alone in a city livid with thunder. (Today, at work, I had one of those strange moments of contentment: the weather had darkened the day so my daylight bulb was the brightest thing in the room, and I went in to see my supervisor and found him on the floor looking for a lost consent order, everything shadowed by the storm.)

(A combination of aforementioned mental health and twenty-eight episodes of Welcome To Night Vale is what's done this to my prose style. I do apologise.)

Anyway. This weekend I am going to Nine Worlds in London, and I'm currently signed up to speak on four panels: fanfic myths; Chicks Unravel Time; Doctor Who and racism; is fanfic literature, also what makes a book a fandom?; and queer female visibility in fandom.

Shit, that's five panels. Anyway! So I am sorta kinda excited about it only not really, and it's probably because I'm depressed and nowt to do with anything else. So... please tell me if you're going? Please tell me if you're doing a panel I should be going to? Please tell me reasons why I should be excited about this, because I know they're out there, I'm just not... out there.

Also, because, what the hell, here are a couple of Night Vale fics I adored today:

and every map is blank, by [archiveofourown.org profile] gyzym.
In which Carlos shows Cecil a mountain; also they watch Mythbusters; also Khoshekh the floating cat responds to panic attacks; also there's the literal end of the world. Beautiful, a little haunting and totally absurd, just like the podcast.

The Observer Effect, by [personal profile] thingswithwings.
And here's Carlos, with his shirt off and his dick hard, squirming underneath the sweetest strangest man he's ever met and about to have an orgasm in company for the first time in eight years, caught without his sex permit.

As someone who finds paperwork viscerally transformative, I relate.
raven: black and wite Kaylee, against the background of her parasol in colour (firefly - kaylee's parasol)
I took a couple of days off at the end of last week and went to Oxford to see the lovely [livejournal.com profile] troyswann, whom I have known for years and years and years and is visiting our fair shores, and also [personal profile] catwalksalone and [twitter.com profile] elbee512 and it was just totally delightful and did my heart good. Sal, whom I have known since I was seventeen, is just the best. I don’t know what we talked about, only, I think we talked about a lot of things, including fandom, and Shakespeare, and weddings, and driving distances in Canada and how they can be calculated with reference to the curvature of the Earth; but I had such a wonderful time. Cat and Elizabeth are also wonderful people whom I had not met before! We talked about Sports Night quite a lot. And we went for cream tea at Queen’s Lane, only with not quite enough cream, and in my case, not enough jam. Also, the little greasy spoon on St Giles, where we went for breakfast, is much nicer than I remember and does lovely cinnamon rolls. I don’t know how this account turned into a litany of the food I ate, but it was all so joyful that the cream and jam seem the easiest way to express it. And you all know this already but Sal is the best: she is just as good a storyteller in person as she is on the page. She told me a lot of stories and I went to many distant places while she told them.

Also, Oxford – Oxford in high July, with all the buildings looking so beautiful they might as well be made out of crystallised honey, complete with blossom on the tree outside the university church, and an air of respectable desertion around Exam Schools. We did a long circuit from Christ Church Meadow, along the riverbank and the university parks, round the back of the Botanic Garden and up onto Magdalen Bridge a bit along from Hilda’s, and everything was so perfectly green and still. I love Oxford, still, probably forever; Sal turned to me as we walked up the High in the light curving towards dusk and said, “Well, this does not suck.”

Yes. Exactly.

In the morning I drove home in thirty-degree temperatures in my car that has no air-conditioning, and in which you can’t open the windows because the car sort of rocks from side to side, and dissolved on the couch for twelve hours, and then on Saturday I had a hen party.

You see I didn’t actually want a hen party, but. [profile] hathy_col, who is not my bridesmaid (I don’t have any) but has taken on all the responsibilities with none of the fun bits, organised everything and told me where to turn up, and predictably, I was very wrong to have had any doubts. Although it rained, and the place we were originally going to was closed for a private party without telling anyone, somehow or other we ended up in a cocktail bar somewhere near Covent Garden, with a very long menu, and a sheet of paper on which were scribbled all of the drinks being subjected to happy hour. It was great. [livejournal.com profile] tau_sigma had a wonderful purple top hat with a feather in it. Maria turned up in the middle of the evening to tell me that she had been ten days on shift, and she’d left the baby at home, and she wanted cocktails (which were all long, sticky and tasted a little of cream and banana, which is basically all I want out of life). I was a bit worried that I was the only person who knew everyone, but I went away for a minute and came back to a table eagerly discussing the ins and outs of Vulcan sex, and [personal profile] such_heights and [personal profile] happydork talking about Vulcan babies. I had forgotten to eat lunch and got really quite drunk.

I don’t know who initialised the tradition of toasting me with each round of drinks, but it was a great idea and there were a lot of drinks. I think some of them were sweet and heartfelt and about my future happiness in married life; one was definitely me toasting my wonderful, passionate and fascinating friends; there was also, “To Iona! May her betrayal never be inevitable!” and my personal favourite: “To Iona! ...there is no Iona. Welcome... to Night Vale.”

Which brings us neatly on to:

Welcome to Night Vale )

In conclusion, I love Welcome to Night Vale in a fittingly devoted and slightly scary way, all hail the great glow cloud. If anyone has a ficlet they wish written, please say so, I might just write it.

(Although, not the fic where the jet airliner that materialises in the high school gym is owned and operated by MJN Air, CEO Carolyn Knapp-Shappey, because apparently SOMEONE ALREADY WROTE THAT.

I mean.

Fandom.)

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