revisionist history, by underscored - terrifically full-on, powerful AU Last Battle story, with action galore - physical, moral, psychological, emotional and theological, as the Friends work through a lot, and achieve a lot as well. Susan-focussed, but starring everybody (though the aged Polly and Digory heroically elected not to slow down the rescue mission).
Stick In the Mud, by transposable_element - wonderful story of the great hearts in the Marsh peoples, and how they respond to the coming of Jadis's Winter - utterly Marshwiggle! (Can't say higher than that!)
And to round out the post - some good stories from round the internet. (some of them good news stories, some of them just good stories as stories.)
1. The steep road down from the Bao Loc pass, and truck driver Phan Văn Bắc glanced behind to the passenger coach coming down behind him - travelling far too fast he thought, and looked again into the rear vision mirror - and saw the driver struggling desperately, and the passengers waving, gesturing for help - the brakes had failed! and..
here's the story, but to be brief - he manoeuvred to let the back of his truck take the crashing weight of the coach, and rode them both together, jammed together, down the pass, holding both heavy vehicles on his own screamingly stretched-to-the-limit brakes. And saved the lives of everybody. Phew!
2. Probably most of you have heard this story? But I hadn't and I loved it. Of an eighty-year-old UK man with Alzheimer's - to the extent that he was getting physically and emotionally abusive to his loved wife, and not recognising his son. But his son found (I think he had advice from the local support group) that his father, a former not-terribly-successful singer and entertainer, was a hundred times more relaxed and better cognitively and everything when he drove him round in the car and encouraged him to sing all the old songs he knew. And viral video, and record deal, and all followed, but what I really, really liked was the stunning and very moving obvious love between the son and his father captured in this in-the-car video. Strenuously recommended, even if you don't like that kind of music - Quando, quando, quando - video about three minutes. :)
3. A little while ago, I posted wondering if Sir Nigel Loring had been a model for Reepicheep (no, I decided). Now I've stumbled across another possible. This isn't a good news story, because war and battles are never good, and it's definitely not news, but it's certainly a story, though I only know the slightest scrap of it.
In 1569 the north of England was ablaze with the Northern Rebellion (anti-Elizabeth, pro-Mary Stuart) and 22-year-old George Carey was part of the force fighting for Elizabeth. The fight of course went into Scotland as well (which was in other turmoil for its own reasons at the time) and Dunbar Castle ended up besieged by the English forces, including reckless, gallant (clever?) George Carey , who challenged Lord Fleming , t he commander of the castle to single combat, and won! (and was knighted for it, and it's a great way to get yourself noticed in a war, which is why I said maybe he was being clever, not being Reepicheep, but there you go.)
One of these days, when life's not so busy, I'll look up the full story - I know he won the duel, but I'm afraid I don't know if Lord Fleming then said sportingly "All right, you can have the castle."
This is also Narnia Fic Exchange time - twenty-three brand-new stories, all beautifully crafted to fit recipients' prompts, and being eagerly devoured as I write. as always, there's a terrific range of stories-wildly cracky, intricate histories, domestic vignettes,full-blown erotica... is there a detective story in there? I bet there is,somewhere! They range right through the Narnia canon, too, from pre-TMN to well post TLB. I've started reading, and will be having lots of fun catching up with all the stories in scattered bursts over the next few days. Recommended!
Otherwise, life for me is plunging into seasonal busy-ness.The rest of this month, and the two following will probably be pretty flat-out. (Shakespeare still to be shoe-horned in there somehow.) But pretty flat-out doesn't mean only work! Expect reports on concerts, - oh, and travel planned for next full moon! Which I've already arranged to be free for, to see rising! How's that for forethoughtfulness! :D
Late addition: I did see the moon, though not rising, and it was looking like the squashy balloons left after the party. The full moon we were celebrating was a calendar full moon, not an astronomical full moon! Real full moon, any day now!
I've been writing Calormene proverbs. :) and, some days later than I said I would, I've posted a new story in the Atrementus collection. This one (which is a Calormene-proverbs-for-foreigners book) isn't one of the ones whose title Lucy noticed on Tumnus's shelves, but then she only noted four - or is only recorded as having noted four - and I want to have at least seven items in the Collection, and maybe eight. I enjoyed writing it, anyway - I could have gone on for ages! (It's okay - I didn't. If anyone ever asks, though, in some dim, far-off future time... ;) )
In other Narnian news, a few of us are reading through Prince Caspian, over here. Other voices welcome!
and in domestic news, the International Year of Pulses continues to be celebrated here, most recently with a Tom Kha Tofu soup, which was highly delicious!
In other domestic news, a centipede crawled out of the plughole in the bath (over which is the shower) yesterday. I do not care for such happenings at all. :(
I'm trying to think through whether to be part of it this year. For one thing, this year has been so full of sadness and confusion that I'm not sure that I could come up with a story to meet expectations. (Which is pretty much why my current meandering Narnia story/collection is set in the time when the land is going down into the Winter.) I have enjoyed it a lot in the past, but there've also been disappointments; putting them together with my own doubts re: whether I could meet a recipient's hopes - I don't know whether to give it one more try or not.
So... to try to jump-start my Narnia feelings:
1. I'm off to see what stories have been posted recently on ao3 or ffnet. (I wonder what's waiting! :) )
2. I'm joining anyone who wants to be in it in reading through Prince Caspian, over at this site.
3. I'm going to post (in a few days' time) another in the Atrementus collection - a fairly light diversion-style one, I hope, which I've had in mind for sometime. I might post them all on ffnet, too, to see how they go.
I'd love to hear from others thinking about this.
adaese.livejournal.com has suggested a reread of Prince Caspian, over here. I don't know when, but I suppose starting pretty soon. :)
On Sunday evening in between cooking up a storm I watched a whole story's worth of 1980s Doctor Who episodes. (I said tenuously! They're both popular fantasy series. :D) It was 'Logopolis', with the Fourth Doctor, ( Read more... )
I was with a friend in a bookshop on the weekend - one which theoretically specialised in architecture books, but it also had some art books - and was having a sale! The friend I was with bought this beautiful book at a knock-down price. (Tenuous connection: lots of the pictures look very Narnian, which is to say very Pauline Baynes.
Though that's a good deal more violent than hers. Still, if I do have to attempt art again, I'll know where to turn for inspiration. :)
Well... to some better news, or cheerful things, if not exactly news:
Scotland has achieved its emissions reduction target six years early! :) Go, Scotland!
The 50,000 hectares of Yarralin Cattle Station (which had been held under leasehold from the Crown, most recently by the Hooker Corporation) has been formally handed back to its traditional Aboriginal owners.
Is a comedy sketch art? If it is, then here's art protecting nature, in an ad made by two well-known comedians for an NGO in Vietnam, to campaign for tiger protection (youtube, one minute)
Where nature starts to look like art:
I really liked these eggs, all from the same species of bird - the tawny-flanked prinia, in Africa. So beautiful, like marbled silk!
The photo is by evolutionary ecologist Martin Stevens, and I found it and the info in this Guardian article.
Beautiful, and sneaky, too! The origin of these lovely patterns lies in the habit of the Zambian cuckoo finch, doing what cuckoo finches do, i.e. laying eggs which mimicked typical prinia eggs in prinia nests - but the tawny-flanked prinia has been - and still is - fighting back, by each individual hen now laying her own special signature style of egg! The egg-forging finches can't keep up! Go, wonderful tawny-flanked prinias!
Writing news: What with one thing and another, I haven't written a thing all year, apart from some three-sentence fiction, so I've been trying to kickstart my writing by launching back into a Narnia project I started last year. ( Read more... )
For those interested in the diplomatic side of environmental matters: ( Read more... )
Fandom is bustling,too, with many challenges and fests happening - including halfamoon: 14 days of celebrating women. I'm thinking hard about what I can contribute. Recs? Meta? Maybe I'll seize a prompt. Can't let the chance go by to join the celebration, anyway!
From Ethiopia - the Lion returns. This, the dark-maned largest lion, is the kind I've preferred to write as aslan in my Narnian fanfic.
Speaking of Narnia: over on the NFFR site the Narnia LWW Reread has reached Chapter Twelve, with some very interesting meta, sources, questions, suggestions...
after last week's complex-character exertions ( :P to all those laughing!) it's back to the simple side for this week's character! 天
and in the tiny domestic triumphs department: the last of the missing socks has revealed itself! My sock-bag is now only holding pairs!
The Pirate Queen is back! Narniafic by autumnia - a gorgeously zesty story (and highly political - including political philosophy - good meaty questions to consider) slotted into the time of Caspian's visit to the Lone Islands in Prince Caspian. I gave myself the pleasure of rereading it from the beginning, and enjoyed every word. :)
I also took a look at rthstewart 's Tumblr page, and found a lovely round-up of australian birds, which was a delight in itself, and also pleased me much by having as one of its tags the line "they really are dinosaurs, you know" - pleased me very much, because I've only just learned about this fabulous (but not fabulous,however much it seems so - absolutely four-square, solid-as-a-rock real) South american bird, the hoatzin:
(Pic by Thore Noernberg. I love how wildly mythological the hoatzin looks, like a phoenix. Its body-shape is rather like a peacock, but with stronger wings and less tail, so a better flyer.)
which has - the juveniles have,anyway - functioning claws on their wings!! like archaeopteryx. Yep - they really are dinosaurs.
Here's a David attenborough clip showing the claws in action. I was just gasping at how amazing they are - four clawed limbs - and feathers! and that gorgeously fierce crest!. Hoatzin. I'd never heard of them, and they are brilliant.
(I love this world! The surprises just never stop coming. :) )
extra, for no good reason: One of my favourite politicians is the absolutely straight-down-the-line terrific Shadow Trade Minister and Labor Senate Leader Penny Wong, who if all was as it ought to be, would be Prime Minister. Here she is being interviewed this morning on television (nine-and-a-bit minute clip - for politics junkies only, probably) about the TPP, amongst other things. Note how she is calm, humorous, totally across the brief and sane. (What isn't sane is how the current government is leaving her and her fellow Labor members out of the loop on these important issues. Not sane because the country can't afford to be without her talents being used to the full.)
- the wintry female-centric adventure, The Mystery of Mount Pire, starring two Queens, a Tarkheena, a Wolf and a Raven, and filled with delicious cameos and cross-references, was by edenfalling /Elizabeth Culmer - thanks again, Liz!
- the world-first (I think) story starring a much-neglected minor character from VDT (and beautifully skewering some deplorably patronising attitudes of canon characters), Clipsie the Mariner, was by transposable_element (thank you, trans!)
and another story gorgeously subverting canon dismissal of a minor character, and bringing out the wisdom of the small and earthy, was The scent of apples, by redsnake05 (thank you, Red!)
Three! I am very, very lucky! :)
As for my own contributions: I wrote two stories,one in the main collection, and one in the Madness.
( about my main collection story... )
( about my Madness story )
( about future plans )
... the 39 wonderful and staggeringly varied stories that have been posted in this year's Narnia Fic Exchange, both the "real" NFE, and the Madness session stories. I'm not halfway through reading them yet, but I can tell you that I've read some beauties! :)
and three of them were presents for me! \o/
Three unknown writers (you lovely people!) have given me:
The Mystery of Mount Pire: Lucy, Susan and Aravis together! along with two original characters, Rhyme the She-Wolf and Catchlight the Raven, adventuring together. This is a gorgeous series of snapshots, especially focussed on Aravis finding excitement and her own personal path in unfamiliar Archenland, when the team of five set out on an expedition through a cracklingly wintry landscape to a fabled mountain height where even Archenlanders dare not go! :)
Clipsie the Mariner - about the little girl among the Monopods, the courageous daughter of the Chief, whose name is mentioned but whose story, I think, has never before been told! Oh, I strongly urge you to read this - I guarantee there's a hitherto unknown, shrewdly perceptive, well worth hearing Monopod voice out there! (Take that, Coriakin!)
The scent of apples - "funny old Lilygloves", Peter called him, in Prince Caspian, but boy, does this beautifully sensual* story show a whole different side (oh, yes!) to the old, taciturn gardener, who knows the earth he moves in - and who knows when something isn't right. Bbrrrrr...!
*not the sense of sight, though, since Lilygloves is a Mole. :)
Oh, I'm so chuffed to have been given these three wonderful stories, by three wonderful and generous Mystery Writers! Thank you, Mystery People!!
And thank you snacky ! and aurilly ! :) It's very satisfying to have been part of this terrific Exchange -- thanks for making it happen!
- plums - small, sweet, red plums, but not so sweet as to forget that a plum's essential mission is delivering the tartness hit.
- lychees - fresh! still on the twig
- watermelon - well, watermelon!
- mangoes - which drop free from the tree next door! :)
- and lastly... pineapple! this time, very little ones - just about fist-sized, once peeled (I bought nine!)
Meanwhile, in the kitchen... the floods have gone,and the mysterious well has been utterly transformed; instead of a well, we now have hidden under the floor a neatly tiled (around the edges) miniature Roman bath, and leading from it, an open channel cut down through the floor tiles, with two pipes in it, running away to underneath the sink. Which will be covered over like the bath, they say, with all due dispatch - but I have a gloomy feeling that the covering and retiling is going to wait until they can find tiles to match, the tiles which formerly ran along that bit of the floor having been used to tile the hidden Roman bath, of course. What chance will there be, of tiles to match for a decades-old house? I wait excitedly to find out!
Links, links.... here's two from australia, of very different life-forms:
a video of a joey koala, emerging from its mother's pouch.
and some still photos of an ethereally blue bioluminescent bloom in Tasmania. I especially like the one where someone has walked away across the sand leaving glowing blue footsteps.
Syrena_of_the_lake has curated a second collection of stories from rthstewart's 3SF - this time it's the Wings But No Feet (Dragon!Sherlock) collection - so far six stories are up, and I think about the same number still to come.
When I put up the two for Kangarooverse, by the way, I deleted them from my own 3SF post, which left me two chapters short in what was billed as a six-chapter collection. So I added two more, offering a reason why Susan might have been thought to be no good at schoolwork. (Chapters 5 & 6)
There was this story which begins by being about a not-exactly plagiarism,but ends in mulling the possibility that tumblr is changing the mode of self-expression from private individual creation to a more collective, curatorial form. (The idle thoughts I had were about whether this wasn't more akin to the old commonplace book method.)
Then there was the Owl as stealth warrior and I wondered about writing some more Narnia, with a story about Peter in the North, giving the Owl Shortfeather a much more active role than just messenger. (That link talks about a wingspan of nearly six feet! attacks with razor-sharp talons!)
and there was the death of a man in the Northern Territory, who will be much missed. I'm sorry I lost those stray thoughts - in sum, a great story-teller, a sharp analyst of people and situations, a valuable doer of things, and not a scrap of malice in him.
From the same source, a tiny glimpse of more traditional indigenous story-telling, in contemporary life.
and that's it from the Lost Post! :)
Not in total review - but in terms of fannishness and writing.
From January to May, more or less, I wrote the last seven chapters of The Ivory Merchants - that took about 36,000 words.Then I wrote two Narnia Fic Exchange 2014 stories - a "real" one, "the marks of that which once hath been", which was about quasi-sisterly relationships, and the possibility of redemption (or of a fresh start, rather) and the damage good people can do -
and a pinch-hit, To hold back the night ,which was an Everybody Lives, Last Battle AU. They were about 19,000 words between them,
and I later added a chapter to a pre-existing Doctor Whoish story, Give and Take, which was about the relationship which Donna Noble and Mercy Hartigan build for themselves - that added a further couple of thousand words... so all up, I posted about 57,000 words through the year.
Oh, and I posted a poem! A Narnian re-imagining of an Horatian ode about how the return of Spring implies the inevitability of death.
I very much missed the NarniaFanFictionRevolution community on Livejournal, which melted away somewhere around the end of 2013. I miss the sense of community there, and the fun of the weekly challenges. Songsmith valiantly opened up a separate forum to fill the gap left by the NFFR's passing, and I've enjoyed the discussion there so far, especially the meta,and the mutual support about writing - and it's pushed me to consider what things I might possibly tackle in 2015, which is cheerful!
And I've tried to expand the base from which I can write fanfiction. (Lots of the stories I know well don't feel like they lend themselves to fanfic, for various reasons.) So I've been watching Classic Who (very enjoyable!) and Farscape (possible) and Firefly (too many unbending archetypes) and reading Vorkosigan (great worldbuilding and premises; loved Ethan of Athos, especially, so far; was deeply startled and saddened by [redacted]'s death). Oh, and I'm looking forward to some deep Tolkiening early in the year, sitting at the feet of more learned others! :)
( Lengthy thoughts on Lilith, with spoilers. )
And have also been considering various aspects of Narnia with transposable_element, on a 2013 DW thread here.The talk was getting rather squashed up, so I relocated the discussion here, on the very , very quiet NFFR_Forum board. Currently - did Lewis make Peter too good? All discussers welcome!
And I received a brilliant story, Concerning the Daily Maintenance of a Large Country House, written by the lovely, generous and clever-as-all-get-out writer, WingedFlight. As I've said here previously, this story not only opens up the whole Narnia concept (why should these four children be so special? people ask. Oh-ho, says WingedFlight.) but also gave two wonderful, and amazingly economical, character-sketches, including one of the best literary housekeepers of all time. What none of us knew about Mrs Macready! :D
In the Madness Round, I received a lovely story, Lost and Found, by Transposable_Element, a detailed and moving look at the Archenland royal family facing the loss - through miscarriage, illness and kidnapping - of their children, over years, and also working to use their grief to give to other children.
And also was one of five recipients for a sombre, reflective story by edenfalling, How the Skeleton Aches, which looked at the last stages before WW2, and how to respond to the times, through the eyes of Digory and Polly.
It was terrific to read all of these, and to feel somehow associated with them; thank you so much, wonderful writers!
And then there's the stories I wrote. :)
I wrote two, an assigned one, and a pinch-hit.
My assignment was for metonomia, who asked for "a story from any viewpoint on the lady of the green kirtle, especially perhaps an au that could include more of the star's daughter/rilian's mother."
Done! I thought, and leaped in to write "...the marks of that which once hath been", as a story about the relationship between them, which I imagined as beginning after an attempt (by persons unknown - in the story the attempt killed them) to summon up Jadis in the last years before the Telmarine incursions; I imagined the summoned-up Jadis as reincarnate, reborn, fresh, with another chance at life.
My recipient hasn't been around to read or comment, which takes some of the fun out of it, but I'm not unhappy with the story in itself. I think I maybe trimmed too much, trying to get under 10,000 words, and should have kept more words, and made some things clearer (for example, the importance of what happened offstage in the three days between the first and second meetings of the two) but overall it got most of the way to where I wanted it to go. I wanted it to be very clear on the energy and passion in female friendships, and the potential for good, and the damage that can happen when they get on a wrong track. And I wanted the ways that 'good' people can do harm to be as clear as the ways 'bad' people can do harm, and how they can tangle up. Much as this paragraph is getting tangled, so I'll skip on to the pinch-hit. :)
This was the first time I've done a pinch-hit, and it terrified me! I was assigned aurilly who prompted that "Tirian's the best, and I would like Jill to have some fun. Her two adventures were both so depressing and then she died, wtf. I loved their dynamic in TLB. I ship them.... Anyone else you like can appear as long as the focus is on their relationship. Could be that he visits our world. Or maybe they succeeded in averting the apocalypse and she (and Eustace, if you want) stay in Narnia to help Tirian pull everything back together. Please assume Jill was 17/18 during TLB and Tirian 20/21 so it isn’t squicky."
I spent possibly a day in a gibbering panic, wondering how to avert the apocalypse, and then found an idea, and wrote like the wind for about three days in a row on To hold back the night. (Thursday is my totally-free day. :D and long may it stay so!) And tinkered as long as I possibly could, and squeaked in under deadline! Thanks to WingedFlight the parts which scraped a bit were smoothed out, and my recipient was happy. :) I wish I could have written more, but time -- and respect for the readers' patience -- constrained me to stop where I did. But I do know more of the story (including what Aslan said about it later), and maybe one of these days... (that's a joke -- the number of stories that are in the wunna-these-days bucket is legion).
Saying it again -- the stories in this collection were stunning. Thanks all; it was an exhilarating experience. And I still have most of the Madness Round to read! (happy anticipation!)
I'm rereading Bleak House in bits and pieces at the moment, and just the other day came across a passage describing tourists going over a stately home, exactly as they do (offstage) in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and as referenced in the NFE story. I loved the synchronicity! And was much amused at Dickens' depiction of how bored the Bleak House tourists were:
"As is usually the case with people who go over houses, Mr. Guppy and his friend are dead beat before they have well begun. They straggle about in wrong places, look at wrong things, don't care for the right things, gape when more rooms are opened, exhibit profound depression of spirits, and are clearly knocked up. In each successive chamber that they enter, Mrs. Rouncewell, who is as upright as the house itself, rests apart in a window-seat or other such nook and listens with stately approval to Rosa's exposition."
Oh, very clever, Dickens! :D
But who is Mrs Rouncewell? ( Why, she's the stately housekeeper! )
And putting that together with the story made for another wonderful dimension to the NFE story - that it woke me to the realisation that Mrs Macready is one of a long line of literary Stately Housekeepers, who showed respectable visitors, preferably with a note of introduction, over the great country houses of Britain (before it all went commercial, after WW2, when anyone who could buy a ticket could get in).
To be honest, I can't actually name others in the long line, though of course there's
( the housekeeper at Pemberley. )
But I'm sure they're out there. And I am delighted that, thanks to the NFE story, I now see Mrs Macready in a whole new light.
(Meanwhile, for those who want the real, non-fictional ancestry of Mrs Macready, Stately Housekeeper,there's this. )
And the one I got is just brilliant, no kidding. It's Concerning the Daily Maintenance of a Large Country House, and it's truly an absolute joy. And light-hearted, and fun, and gorgeously characterised protagonists, and clever as all-get-out, and beautifully written... Oh, and canon-compliant, too! I am smiling a lot right now, just thinking about it all over again. :)
And all the prompts are open now, too, for a Madness Round - open until... (looks at calendar) Sunday,for anyone who feels like it to write a story,and post - no length requirements, no beta requirement. :D I am loving this -- fic-feast!!!
But it was the Vikings we went to see, and they - the exhibition is flabbergasting (though there were some excruciatingly bad design faults with the layout, and even some problems with text. (I quibbled with the translation of "völva/völur" as "sorceress", for example. And some labels were not helpful at all, or had typos.)
But rivetting stuff - of course there were hoards and astonishingly beautiful gold pieces (talk about clothing as statement! :D there was some jewellery as Major Major Statement, including brooches and torques and chains too big to be worn (as it seemed, but I suppose they were worn, for all that.) and swords as you've probably seen on the posters, with the iron all corroded away and the silver hilt still strong, and relics of warboats, including a steering-oar - just the size of it made my shoulders feel how great was the strength which would be needed to haul against it in a strong sea, and how - oh, you'd need three men hauling on it, I think. So much - the amount of economic resources that were needed for such a warship, too.... oh, stacks of stuff (but bad layout, British Museum! bottle-necking guaranteed!)
Well, so much for the general impression. What I really, really liked was the scraps of text, with all they showed about the crossings of the world by the vikings and others, especially from the Islamic world. From a 1000AD runestone:
They journeyed boldly
Went for gold
fed the eagle
out in the east
and died in the South
in Saracen land...
And that the Arab writers called the Vikings (with whom they had trade and diplomatic dealings) the Rus, linking up to the people later called Russians - and there were such enticing sources for the snippets of text, too! Meadows of Gold and Mines of Precious Gems, by the trader and traveller Mas Mas'udi So much that I haven't yet even tasted!
And also, as an added treat - surely this is a source for a scene in Prince Caspian:
The gods played board games in the meadows
they made merry.
Afterwards there will be found
wondrous golden gaming pieces in the grass
those which in ancient days they had owned...
from the Völuspá , c.1270.
One more for my collection of Narnian source-scenes! :D
Also... just by chance, this project is seeking crowd-funding, and it reminded me of 'The Ivory Merchants'; not only does it deal with elephants pressed into use for war,any monies to spare after expenses etc will go to an "elephant orphanage project in Zambia that rescues parentless elephants and prepares them for a return into the wild." So I couldn't resist linking to it. :)
... and now time is up, here in a borrowed library, and I have no time for attaching photographs, and I won't be back online for days, so if anyone comments, please forgive my silence over the weekend, at least. :)
So... it's not the chapter that's not going to happen, it's this scrap, which I wrote months ago. Since I wrote it, the story has moved on past where it would have fitted; the right place and time just didn't ever seem to present themselves. So... here's something that's now not part of 'The Ivory Merchants': ( Edmund meets Aslan in Telmar )
But now, it just doesn't fit. Edmund's come as close to an encounter with Aslan as he's likely to (in this story) so this will have to stay as an orphaned scrap. And if I'm lucky I might get up to about a third of the way through writing the chapter today.