Jul. 11th, 2017

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Here’s a story about changelings: 

Mary was a beautiful baby, sweet and affectionate, but by the time she’s three she’s turned difficult and strange, with fey moods and a stubborn mouth that screams and bites but never says mama. But her mother’s well-used to hard work with little thanks, and when the village gossips wag their tongues she just shrugs, and pulls her difficult child away from their precious, perfect blossoms, before the bites draw blood. Mary’s mother doesn’t drown her in a bucket of saltwater, and she doesn’t take up the silver knife the wife of the village priest leaves out for her one Sunday brunch. 

She gives her daughter yarn, instead, and instead of a rowan stake through her inhuman heart she gives her a child’s first loom, oak and ash. She lets her vicious, uncooperative fairy daughter entertain herself with games of her own devising, in as much peace and comfort as either of them can manage.

Mary grows up strangely, as a strange child would, learning everything in all the wrong order, and biting a great deal more than she should. But she also learns to weave, and takes to it with a grand passion. Soon enough she knows more than her mother–which isn’t all that much–and is striking out into unknown territory, turning out odd new knots and weaves, patterns as complex as spiderwebs and spellrings. 

“Aren’t you clever,” her mother says, of her work, and leaves her to her wool and flax and whatnot. Mary’s not biting anymore, and she smiles more than she frowns, and that’s about as much, her mother figures, as anyone should hope for from their child. 

Mary still cries sometimes, when the other girls reject her for her strange graces, her odd slow way of talking, her restless reaching fluttering hands that have learned to spin but never to settle. The other girls call her freak, witchblood, hobgoblin.

“I don’t remember girls being quite so stupid when I was that age,” her mother says, brushing Mary’s hair smooth and steady like they’ve both learned to enjoy, smooth as a skein of silk. “Time was, you knew not to insult anyone you might need to flatter later. ‘Specially when you don’t know if they’re going to grow wings or horns or whatnot. Serve ‘em all right if you ever figure out curses.”

“I want to go back,” Mary says. “I want to go home, to where I came from, where there’s people like me. If I’m a fairy’s child I should be in fairyland, and no one would call me a freak.”

“Aye, well, I’d miss you though,” her mother says. “And I expect there’s stupid folk everywhere, even in fairyland. Cruel folk, too. You just have to make the best of things where you are, being my child instead.”

Mary learns to read well enough, in between the weaving, especially when her mother tracks down the traveling booktraders and comes home with slim, precious manuals on dyes and stains and mordants, on pigments and patterns, diagrams too arcane for her own eyes but which make her daughter’s eyes shine.

“We need an herb garden,” her daughter says, hands busy, flipping from page to page, pulling on her hair, twisting in her skirt, itching for a project. “Yarrow, and madder, and woad and weld…”

“Well, start digging,” her mother says. “Won’t do you a harm to get out of the house now’n then.”

Mary doesn’t like dirt but she’s learned determination well enough from her mother. She digs and digs, and plants what she’s given, and the first year doesn’t turn out so well but the second’s better, and by the third a cauldron’s always simmering something over the fire, and Mary’s taking in orders from girls five years older or more, turning out vivid bolts and spools and skeins of red and gold and blue, restless fingers dancing like they’ve summoned down the rainbow. Her mother figures she probably has.

“Just as well you never got the hang of curses,” she says, admiring her bright new skirts. “I like this sort of trick a lot better.”

Mary smiles, rocking back and forth on her heels, fingers already fluttering to find the next project.

She finally grows up tall and fair, if a bit stooped and squinty, and time and age seem to calm her unhappy mouth about as well as it does for human children. Word gets around she never lies or breaks a bargain, and if the first seems odd for a fairy’s child then the second one seems fit enough. The undyed stacks of taken orders grow taller, the dyed lots of filled orders grow brighter, the loom in the corner for Mary’s own creations grows stranger and more complex. Mary’s hands callus just like her mother’s, become as strong and tough and smooth as the oak and ash of her needles and frames, though they never fall still.

“Do you ever wonder what your real daughter would be like?” the priest’s wife asks, once.

Mary’s mother snorts. “She wouldn’t be worth a damn at weaving,” she says. “Lord knows I never was. No, I’ll keep what I’ve been given and thank the givers kindly. It was a fair enough trade for me. Good day, ma’am.”

Mary brings her mother sweet chamomile tea, that night, and a warm shawl in all the colors of a garden, and a hairbrush. In the morning, the priest’s son comes round, with payment for his mother’s pretty new dress and a shy smile just for Mary. He thinks her hair is nice, and her hands are even nicer, vibrant in their strength and skill and endless motion.  

They all live happily ever after.


Here’s another story: 

Keep reading
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I was cruising through the net, following the cold trail of one of the periodic “Is or is not Fanfic the Ultimate Literary Evil?” arguments that crop up regularly, and I’m now bursting to make a point that I never see made by fic defenders.

We’re all familiar with the normal defenses of fic: it’s done out of love, it’s training, it’s for fun. Those are all good and valid defenses!

But they miss something. They damn with faint praise. Because the thing is, when you commit this particular Ultimate Literary Evil you’ve now told a story. And stories are powerful. The fact that it wasn’t in an original world or with original characters doesn’t necessarily make it less powerful to any given reader.

I would never have made this argument a few years ago. A few years ago I hadn’t received messages from people who were deeply touched by something I wrote in fanfic. So what if it’s only two or three or four people, and I used someone else’s world and characters? For those two or three or four people, I wrote something fucking important. You cannot tell me that isn’t a valid use of my time and expect me to feel chastened. I don’t buy it. I won’t feel ashamed. I will laugh when you call something that touches other people ‘literary masturbation.’ Apparently you’re not too up on your sex terminology.

Someone could argue that if I’d managed the same thing with original characters in an original world, it could’ve touched more people. They might be right! On the other hand, it might never have been accepted for publication, or found a market if self published, and more importantly I would never have written it because I didn’t realize I could write. The story wouldn’t have happened. Instead, thanks to fanfic being a thing, it did. And for two or three or four people it mattered. When we talk about defending fanfic, can we occasionally talk about that?

I once had an active serviceman who told me that my FF7 and FF8 fic helped get him through the war. That’ll humble you. People have told me my fanfic helped get them through long nights, through grief, through hard times. It was a solace to people who needed solace. And because it was fanfic, it was easier to reach the people who needed it. They knew those people already. That world was dear to them already. They were being comforted by friends, not strangers.

Stories are like swords. Even if you’ve borrowed the sword, even if you didn’t forge it yourself from ore and fire, it’s still your body and your skill that makes use of it. It can still draw blood, it can strike down things that attack you, it can still defend something you hold dear. Don’t get me wrong, a sword you’ve made yourself is powerful. You know it down to its very molecules, are intimate with its heft and its reach. It is part of your own arm. But that can make you hesitate to use it sometimes, if you’re afraid that swinging it too recklessly will notch the blade. Is it strong enough, you think. Will it stand this? I worked so hard to make it. A blade you snatched up because you needed a weapon in your hand is not prey to such fears. You will use it to beat against your foes until it either saves you or it shatters.

But whether you made that sword yourself or picked it up from someone who fell on the field, the fight you fight with it is always yours.

Literary critics who sneer at fanfic are so infuriatingly shortsighted, because they all totally ignore how their precious literature, as in individual stories that are created, disseminated, and protected as commercial products, are a totally modern industrial capitalist thing and honestly not how humans have ever done it before like a couple centuries ago. Plus like, who benefits most from literature? Same dudes who benefit most from capitalism: the people in power, the people with privilege. There’s a reason literary canon is composed of fucking white straight dudes who write about white straight dudes fucking. 

Fanfiction is a modern expression of the oral tradition—for the rest of us, by the rest of us, about the rest of us—and I think that’s fucking wonderful and speaks to a need that absolutely isn’t being met by the publishing industry. The need to come together as a close community, I think, and take the characters of our mythology and tell them getting drunk and married and tricked and left behind and sent to war and comforted and found again and learning the lessons that every generation learns over and over. It’s wonderful. I love it. I’m always going to love it. 

Stories are fractal by nature. Even when there’s just one version in print, you have it multiplied by every reader’s experience of it in light of who they are, what they like, what they want. And then many people will put themselves in the place of the protagonist, or another character, and spend a lot of time thinking about what they’d do in that character’s place. Or adjusting happenings so they like the results better.

That’s not fic yet, but it is a story.

But the best stories grow. This can happen in the language of capitalism—a remake of a classic movie, a series of books focusing on what happened afterwards or before—or it can happen in the language of humanity. Children playing with sticks as lightsabers, Jedi Princess Leia saving Alderaan by dueling Vader; a father reading his kids The Hobbit as a bedtime story as an interactive, “what would you like to happen next?” way so that the dwarves win the wargs over with doggie biscuits that they had in their pockets and ride to Erebor on giant wolves, people writing and sharing their ideas for deleted outtake scenes from Star Trek and slow-build fierce and tender romance with startling bursts of hot sex between Hawkeye and Agent Coulson.

A story at its most successful is a fully developed fractal, retold a million times and a million ways, with stories based on stories based on stories. Fanfic of fanfic of fanfic. Stories based on headcanons, stories based on prompts, stories that put the Guardians of the Galaxy in a coffee-shop AU and stories where the Transformers are planet-wandering nomads and stories where characters from one story are placed into a world from another. Stories that could be canon, stories that are the farthest thing from canon, stories that are plausible, stories that would never happen, stories that give depth to a character or explore the consequences of one different plot event or rewrite the whole thing from scratch.

This is what stories are supposed to be.

This is what stories are.

Fandom and fan creations are a communal act. They do not disguise how they are influenced by each other. They revel in it.

Literature was once a communal act, too. Film as well. It’s only once we decided to extend and expand the idea of copyright and turn stories into primarily vehicles for profit that we rejected this communal structure. The literary canon shouldn’t be all dead white men. They didn’t build the novel. They didn’t build theater. They took what was already there and said “This is mine now,” and we believed them.

Creativity is communal. There is no such thing as the lone genius on a mountaintop. Ideas are passed around, handed back and forth, growing all the time. Fandom is what human creativity looks like in its normal form. Fandom is like this because humans are like this.

We didn’t just borrow the sword. We remade it because we saw in it the potential for something better. And we did that together, all of us.

Fan fic is real literature. I have read fan fics for free that are written better than books I have paid for! That is why it is important for me to leave kudos and comments on anything I like. I want to encourage these aspiring writers to keep going. : )
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Well, some way…gee, let me think…

Of course it did. It was a risky move, and one in which he put Bill in a situation she expressed discomfort at being put in and which all her fears came to pass and more.

Yes, Bill pulls through. Yes, Missy’s intent was pure. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t consequences. Of course there were. Everything’s different now. As the story told us from the first scene, this event is the death of this Doctor. What’s more, it puts Bill through a ton of trauma, ditches Nardole, and sends Missy to a very dark fate.

But, the thing is, why should it have to bite him? Why should characters have to be punished for hoping and for believing in other people? Sure, that can happen in real life, but that’s not the ethos of Doctor Who, generally, and certainly not the ethos of this era. Like Moffat said, he believes in happy endings, Doctor Who doesn’t need to join the many miserable stories in the world. And as Sarah Dollard said about Face the Raven, “I really hope no one comes away from ep10 thinking that Clara’s death was punishment for hubris. Clara’s confidence wasn’t excessive, it was brilliant. She was brilliant. The tragedy of Clara’s death isn’t that she overreached. After all, she saved Risgy, didn’t she? No, the tragedy of her death is that even the bravest and cleverest of humans are breakable, and the Doctor is not.” And, in the end, Clara is triumphant. She takes control of her story again. That’s Doctor Who. Not realistic, but aspirational.

That’s how it works. There are real, tangible, harrowing consequences to the events in World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls. But that doesn’t you need a great big poetic punishment, no more than Clara did. For trying to save lives and for believing in people, why on earth would people need to be punished? No, it’s far more powerful if, through tears and love and perserverance through the darkest hour, striving to be good and kind, there’s the hope of a little triumph.
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Jul. 11th, 2017 02:31 am
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We start with a slow pan down to Gotham as Oracle narrates

“Ask your average person who Gotham’s most famous citizen is, and you’ll get the same response every time: Bruce Wayne. Everybody’s heard of Bruce Wayne. You’ve probably heard his name a million times before. But there are some things that the average citizen doesn’t know about him. See, to the people of Gotham, Bruce Wayne is a rich kid who never grew up. They think he’s a buffoon, an airhead, a moron. But the truth is…”

*Batman bursts out of a window, screaming, on fire*

*record scratch, freeze frame*

“…they aren’t entirely wrong about that.”


This is then followed by a series of clips from interviews with various Gotham citizens, all of whom give humorously ironic descriptions of Bruce Wayne’s idiocy:

“Bruce Wayne? I hear the guy gets through a super-car every month! Replaces every one, just like that!”

*Cut to shot of the Batmobile flipping end-over-end after slamming into one of Bane’s APCs*

“Wayne? Please! The guy would probably have accidentally killed himself years ago if he didn’t have that butler to babysit him!”
*Cut to Alfred physically restraining Bruce from going out to fight Scarecrow while having a broken arm, a concussion, and the flu,*

“I bet he throws away cash like it grows on trees!”

*Cut to Batman shouting “Hey, Lucius! Ask R&D to make some kryptonite/Nth metal alloy baterangs! Y’know, just in case!”

“I’m almost jealous. Super rich and he gets to hang out with gorgeous women across the world? Sign me up!”

*Cut to Bruce being slammed face first into a wall repeatedly by Lady Shiva.*

@smut-smut-in-the-butt this seems like something you’d be interested in

This is the Batman I long for.
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miscommunication as a plot device makes me angry

if you just talked to each other but no

on the one hand i agree with this but on the other hand one of my coworkers rented an alpaca from a petting zoo and brought it to work because my boss said she wanted an alpaca sweater but the guy didn’t hear her say sweater and didn’t want to upset her by asking why the fuck she’d want an alpaca

I think that highlights a good genre difference: miscommunication in drama is frustrating, overused, and just kinda shit. Miscommunication in comedy is fucking hilarious.
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@ any goyim who are flipping out over trump’s Poland speech

jews have been telling you from Day 1 how dangerous trump’s nationalism is. DAY ONE. he hired far right people and there were records suggesting his dad was a fucking klu klux klan member. and ya’ll are shocked, just shocked.

no. you all wouldn’t be shocked if you had just listened to us from the fucking beginning. 

@optimistic-pessimisms In the speech trump mentions the pope, a nation under G-d, and so many other things that makes it clear that while he references the Warsaw uprising, he understands nothing about Jews in Poland. he’s celebrating the Christians in charge and Jews are a relic of the past to him. He erases the fact that poles were extremely willing to cooperate with Germany and that the polish home army was protecting poles, not necessarily Jews. He doesn’t understand the warsaw uprising or the pogroms. He’s talking about white Christians banding together against the “other.”

Everything always has to be about fucking Jews apparently

There are currently about 7500 Jews in Poland, that’s about 0,02%, two hundreths of a percent of the population. Not really the most important topic.

In the 1930s Jews were about 10% of the Polish population.  I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED.

Poles: *Aid in the murder of 3,000,000 Polish Jews (90% of all Jews in Poland)*

Jews: *Ask Poles to recognize their crimes and make amends*

Poles: Why does everything have to be about the fucking Jews? Who cares about Jews, anyway? There are hardly any of you here.
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