Monday, November 30, 2009

November 2009 stats

So, I'm moving all this to a spreadsheet, so I won't be showing the numbers here any more. The end result for the month of November 2009 for page views on ffn are as follows:
  • Top 10er (Nov 2009)
    1. USA
    2. Australia
    3. UK
    4. Canada
    5. Ireland
    6. Germany
    7. South Korea
    8. Brazil
    9. Singapore
    10. Italy

  • Holy Crow: South Korea (double digit page-view-to-readership ratio)

  • Improved: UK, Ireland, Germany (improved ratio)
    Germany rallied at the end of the month to edge South Korea out of the 6th place position

  • Reversi: Canada (reversed a downward ratio trend to an upward one)

  • Kicking butt: South Korea, Australia, Ireland (4.0 or more page-views to readership ratio)

  • Player: USA, Australia, UK, Canada, Ireland, South Korea, Germany, Brazil, Singapore, Sweden, Poland, Italy (shows up on the top 10 any time during the month)

  • Comeback Kid: Italy (Got knocked off the list, but then returned)

There were a total of 4,057 page views from 1,475 visitors for the month of November, 2009. This was the most-read/most-readers month my stories have seen, so far, nearly doubling the second-place month both in pages viewed and readers.

So, thank you. I thank each and every one of you for reading my stories. Remember to review, too, please.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Suicide is painless? No.

My most recent chapter ("Take Me") of my story MSR has our girl so lost that she begs Rosalie to 'take her,' that is: to kill her by exsanguination, because her life is now at its lowest and has no prospects to get better. Rosalie disagrees.

It is just so, so hard, being in the position where a person thinks they have no out and things can only get worse from here ... and that nobody loves them ... and that nobody cares ... and that by committing suicide, people will actually be happier that they are gone ... because (and this has happened) somebody told them they should just kill themselves.

I'm no expert in suicide prevention, but: a couple of things.

Helen DeWitt in her novel Last Samurai offered the suicide's alternative (that actually came from Jonathan Glover, the Utilitarian) which is "before committing suicide you should change your job, leave your wife, leave the country" (ibid, p 490)

The other thing is this: you think your help others by offing yourself.  You think you're terrible.  You're not, and you're not.  The webcomic "Questionable Content" shows a daddy's little girl, the happiest child in the world, very, very damaged because she went out back one day, looking for Pa, only to see Pa put a gun to his head.  A happy man, a kind man, a good family man, a man with no secrets, but then this.  And she's been paying for it every day since.  Don't make them the excuse for your death, make them the reason to keep living one more day.

Because they need you and they love you, and they will miss you when you are gone. 

Even 18 years later. As I do.

As I state in my story, there is a special place in Hell for suicides, and you may or may not end up there, but one thing that will happen is that people who know you and love you will carry that little burden in their hearts for the rest of their lives and perhaps unto Eternity.

But you think you have to face this alone. You don't.  Your friends and family will listen.  If they won't, then there's a hotline.  And, if that doesn't work, then, please, do something, even the Glover alternative.  Why kill yourself if all you've seen of the world is the one little country in which you grew up?  Get a ticket to ride on a tall ship and go up into the crow's nest, it will (literally) lift your heart, and the price of the ticket is so much less than the price of your life.  It is.  Really.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cullen's "noble" choice?

Isn't it noble that the Cullens (and the Denali coven) choose to abstain from humans and their blood? Garrett, in his speech in BD, seems to indicate that they are doing something that really is for the betterment of all vampire society, right?
"Vampire society" -- for naturally nomadic creatures there's a weird juxtaposition of words

Wouldn't you agree?

For the most part in Twifandom, this seems to be the sentiment. "Vegetarian" vampires? How noble!

And couched in those words, it certainly seems that way — after all, the Volturi treated Carlisle as an honoured guest, ... a curiosity, but a guest, none-the-less — but let's look at it from the vampire perspective. Or, more correctly, let's transform the vampire perspective to the humanist one. Let's look at the Cullens through your eyes, if your eyes were vampire ones.

You know this doctor and his family, and they are well-bred, well-dressed, refined and educated (the kids are a little weird, what with Edward always grimacing and Alice always going off into these traces, but Rosalie is sure easy on the eyes and both Emmett and Jasper are both manly men), so you invite them over for supper. You prepare this feast, spending days in meticulous preparation to get everything just right, you invite the Cullens over, present the feast, but they just shake their heads at you, snobbishly, and say they follow and alternate lifestyle when it comes to food, and they bring out their own meals which are ...

Which are bags of vomit and horse manure (c.f. MSR, "Compulsion").

Now, you have the "turkey" and the "roast beast" on the table, you have the "red wine" out. Everything's perfect for a refined and elegant family that the Cullens, up to now, appeared to be to you. You try talking some sense into them.

Oh, no!

"We prefer this way because it doesn't hurt those poor, innocent creatures we so love!" they exclaim. And then they start eating that ... well, that stuff right in front of you. Imagine it: your guests, eating horse manure and vomit, over your protests.

I'd be willing to bet, if this was happening in front of you, you'd kind of lose your appetite, right?

I'd be willing to bet, the next time you'd think about inviting them over, you'd check with them first to see if they were still on that "diet," and, if they were, you'd probably find some conflict in your schedule.

I'd be willing to bet, if they kept this up, and they started extolling their tastes to you and your friends, you'd ask them to take their business elsewhere, and also very seriously consider calling the Department of Health and 'Human' Services, and for good measure, Homeland Security, as anybody who ate that stuff, by choice had to be off their rocker and more than likely a threat to you and yours.

Vampire 'vegetarianism' ... still a noble choice? Or, perhaps, looking at it through the eyes of a vampire, might you not possibly see this lifestyle choice as ... well,

An abomination.

Does the most recent chapter of MSR ("Lillian, Arise!") now make better sense? Those mean, mean Volturi, stamping out the Cullens like that, aren't they really just removing undesirables?

I mean, after all, you call the police to break up domestic disturbances in the next apartment over due to the "devil in a bottle." If your neighbors were really eating that kind of food, stinking up the whole building, going door to door trying to proselytize their twisted lifestyle, you would be glad to have the police cart them away, and all your neighbors would pat you on the back for a job well done.

Do you now see why the Cullens' lifestyle took so long to become apparent to Carlisle and the others? Do you now see why it hasn't caught on like wildfire with other vampires?

The amazing thing to me? That they have so many friends ... dear friends, too ... Peter and Charlotte particularly take time out of their schedule to visit them (cf. Midnight Sun). And all the support they had in BD, Book III was not only self-serving (*ahem* Stephan? Vladimir?) but from friends across the world (the Amazon, Ireland, England, Egypt (not so much)) who came to them to support their friends to allow them to continue to live this very odd lifestyle.

Vampires have a more kindly nature than what I would have imagined for creatures designed to be perfect predators.

"Kind for a vampire" ... indeed!

I'm still not going to go into a dark alley to meet one, however. Nor should you, Miss Oh-Bite-Me-Edward!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"What Would Edward Do?"

So you do know the WWJD thing ("What Would Jesus Do?"), right?
Do not go to wwjd(dot)com unless you wish to be blinded by flash and garish colours!
Well, the Twilight community has their own credo: "WWED?"

Yes: "What Would Edward Do?"

This question was brought forcefully to mind when I took my family out for sup last night instead of working, as is my wont, and my cara spoza said something along the lines of "you are a good husband."

You don't know me, so you don't know how much thought and effort my dear one had to put to be able to say that statement sincerely. So, my initial reaction was to vehemently deny what she said, and, ... to provide counterexamples. Lots of counterexamples.

But then I thought: WWED? ("What Would Edward Do?")

That's easy. And canonical.

Edward would get up from the table, lead Bella into the forest, and abandon her there, after she told him she would die without him. So he threw her, literally, to the wolves so she could commit suicide because he thought he wasn't good enough.

WWRD? ("What Would [my] Rosalie Do?")

She would throw Bella face down into the snow, in February, then (nearly) throw a tree on her and that was the warming up stage, because let the shouting commence!

And, actually, that is a kindness, compared to Rosalie in the book series. For what did she do? Plan with Jasper the best way to murder the girl after Phenomenon.

WWJD? ("What Would Jesus Do?")

I was going to say I wasn't sure, but the answer's been given as well:

"Good Teacher [...]"
"Why do you call me good?" [...]

Mark 10:17-18

So, everybody, by their examples, are telling me that I should have snapped back. Heck, Rosalie tells us that even the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale (Scarlet Letter) did his fair share of breast-beating, "Oh, I'm not good; I'm not good!"

The thing of it is, none of the above folks were looking to make nice or to make friends or to keep friends (*ahem*: Edward?). None of them were talking to somebody they wanted to spend the rest of forever with, or so they think.

None of them were addressing their (current) wife. Or BFF. Or, in my case, both.

In most of the cases listed above, the (harsh) responder wanted the sayer to think what they were saying.

Definitely not the case here. My cara spoza was giving me a compliment. She knows my goods and my bads; she's measured them, and, for all that, and all that, she decided to say this. She did think about and know what she was saying.

And definitely not the case for you, too. I mean, maybe your BF or GF or spouse is saying something thoughtlessly, but do you really want to tear them a new one because they just called you kind or nice or said "I love you" and you're not ready to hear that because you don't deserve it, and you know it?


Edward didn't deserve Bella's love, and he knew this, so what does he do? He up an leaves her, knowing she's a danger magnet, knowing there's danger out there, and no Mike Newton nor Jacob Black (in his current form) could possibly defend a girl with vampire scent all over her. And that's not even the point.

The point is this: she loves him, she needs him.

Edward should have manned up and said "thank you" and stayed and then grew to be the man (or vampire or whatever) that Bella saw him to be.

So WWID? ("What Would I Do?") I would do what I did do.

I said "thank you" and now I'm working on being the person my cara spoza sees me to be.

For her.

WWYD? ("What Would You Do?")

Maybe Edward would rethink his position, given the fallout of his actions was New Moon and Eclipse.

Bella's telling you she loves you, Edward ... WWYD?

Your spouse or your BF or GF or BFF is telling you something nice about you ... WWYD?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dreams and reality

Or: "geophf, why do you write this way?"

My most recent chapter of MSR has had rather a galvanizing effect on my reviewers. Was it a dream?

This, of course, has set me off. What is the nature of reality?

May I tell you something personal? I'm (kinda) Jewish.

Let me explain.

There's been this big 'debate' for more than a few years now about the Torah in Christendom about 'Creationism' particularly on the point of Genesis: did all those things literally happen?

I'm not going to argue that point, because ... nope, I'm not going to argue that point, but I am going to stand by my Jewish brethren here. They do not ask "did this really happen?" as if they are trying to score points with G-d as to who is more righteous in His eyes. No, they take the Creation Story and ask, instead, the following question: "What can we learn from this?"

The point, or a point, of the Creation Story is not whether it happened (you can argue until you are blue in the face, if that so pleases you), but what does it mean for us.

Did our heroine experience those things in reality or was it all just a dream?

Is it a dream? When you dream, do you know that you are dreaming? Are you awake right now, reading a diatribe from geophf, or are you dreaming?

"I'm awake, geophf, because I know I'm awake."

Study the epistemology of that statement and get back to me on that.

If the Hindus say that this is all Maya ... and they've been around four thousand years or more ... maybe there's something in that? If the aborigines in the outback say that this is the dreamtime, what proof does the measurement of technology have to naysay that?

Who are you; what are you; why are you.

Are you real? And what is reality?

It's so easy to compartmentalise everything into its nice little box: "Oh, Bella's dreaming" "Oh, Rosalie's calling Bella a weird name" Ever notice that every box we put reality into, there's always something that bursts the boundaries of the box? I sure do, and I'm a mathematical philosopher, so the boxes I make are air- and water-tight, but still, messy, confusing, unboxable reality has a way of making me rethink my neat little boxes I try to put reality into.

Rosalie has this problem, big-time. She has everything all planned out. Her life, her marriage, her capture of this girl, everything. What worked out exactly the way she planned it?

You know the saying: "One sure way to make G-d laugh: tell Him your plans."

So this is a dream? Why? Because you want it to be? What happens when our girl doesn't wake up from this 'dream'?

Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't: but it's not up to anybody to dictate what is reality, because it is, regardless of what we want it to be or what we think it is. That's why philosophy is so important, because when we begin to peel back the layers of what we believe to see what is really there (layer after layer), we can start to live more in harmony with the Tao: no fight-no blame.

Is this a dream?

That question doesn't matter and isn't important. What matters is this: what to do from here?

Our girl, sometimes, isn't very good at doing that. And sometimes she is.

And that's not important, really, either. What's important is this:

You've experienced something, ... reading this, or dreaming a terribly sad dream, or losing a loved one, or being diagnosed with cancer, or something small or great.

What will you learn from that? What are you going to do about it?

Wait. Who am I now?

My dear author(esse)s, you, particularly, are most likely doing something that you need to stop right now. You are engaging in a habit that is much worse than smoking or (depending on your views, more than social) drinking.

You are writing chapters from multiple first person perspectives ("Multiple POVs").

Why is multiple first person perspectives worse than smoking or drinking? Smoking rots your lungs; drinking rots your gut ... multiple POV story-writing rots your brain cells, and (perhaps worse) rots your readers' brains.

You have to stop doing this, and you must stop doing this right now.

My story RLT is told exclusively from Rosalie's point of view ("POV"). My story MSR is told exclusively from our girl's POV. It has since chapter 1, and it will until its conclusion. I do not ever switch POVs inside a story. To do so is deus ex machina, and it would take an author(ess) with much more skill than what I have to be able to pull it off.

Most stories on FFN and Twilighted have POV switching all over the place. Within chapters, between chapters ... everywhere. Ever notice anything about those stories? I'm not going to pull any punches here, ladies and (at least one) gentlemen (and do I ever?). They are, to the very last one, utter crap.

I will not ever do that to you in MSR. I did not do that in RLT. I will never do that. Ever

If you are reading MSR, then you are reading from the girl's POV. That is the one sure thing you can take away from my story. And, as you can see, the reader does need that anchor, because MSR is a confusing, messy ride for our protagonist. To switch POVs? What's the point?

There is no point, there never is any point to switching POVs other than the author(ess)'s complete lack of skill or laziness or both.

If you are switching POVs inside a chapter of your stories, I have one thing I beg of you: DON'T! You will instantly become a much better writer simply by eliminating that prop that so many amateurs lean on.

"But, geophf, I need to get into the heads of more than just the main character in my story and there's no getting around it," you cry. "How can I do that without Multiple POVs?"

Let me tell you about a particularly interesting device: it's called the third person perspective. It allows you, the author(ess), to do that, insofar as you don't use it to dip into the first person trope, skipping along from character to character. It's only been around for as long as the first novel has ever been published, centuries ago. You may wish to give that a try.

Think about it.

And that's the thing, isn't it? Most stories are not well-thought out. Most stories have no plan, other than the 'plan' of the author(ess) saying excitedly to h(er/im)self: "Ooh! I wonder what happens next?"

Yes, yes, I know: you are writing for the love of it. Yes, you are writing for fun. "Get a life, geophf! It's just fan-fiction."

So, if you are doing those things, then write something that people love, and write something that people "have fun" reading ("have fun" meaning "enjoy" ... meaning laugh or cry or learn or whatever).

"Oh," you rebut, "I can write from multiple POVs because Steph wrote from multiple POVs in BD!"

No, she didn't. BD is three books: the first book is from human Bella's POV, the second book is from Jacob's POV, and the third book is from vamp Bella's POV. Sorry, even Steph obeys this rule.

"Oh," you try again, "your own story 13ways is told from multiple POVs! Hypocrite!"

No. 13ways is a collection of character studies. Each chapter is its own story; each chapter is told exclusively from one and only one character's perspective. Yes, taken together, they weave a story of the Denali coven, but each story has its own, oftentimes conflicting, perspective of what's going on in that family and why. This is intentional and spelled out in its apologia. This "multiply POVs" story, as you call it, uses this prop intentionally to make you think, to make you walk away from the story and say "Aha! That's why Irina is like that in BD!" Other stories that use multiple POVs? Read them (or save yourself the rotting braincells, and don't read them), what have you learned when you walk away from them?

You walk away from them wondering: "Ooh! I wonder if Edward and Bella will 'kiss'?" [or whoever and whoever]

And given this is Twilight fan-fiction, is there any wonderment at all in your wondering?

Yes, it's fun to wonder 'what happens next?' But Twilight, itself, goes deeper than just that or only that. Twilight builds a universe of believable, credible, deeply-researched characters in a realistic setting, and that edifice is entirely constructed, in the first four books, through the simple, sweet, insightful eyes of a seventeen year old plain old ordinary brown-brown girl.

Remember the wonder you experience as you read those books?

You can create that sense of wonder in the readers of your own stories.

So do that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

So why did Rosalie want to kill Bella?

In the canon there is this piece of 'fan-fiction' called "Midnight Sun," and it takes Twilight and tells it from Edward's perspective.

It is a treasure-trove of Twiverse information. I would call it essential reading for all fan-fiction author(esse)s, and you can take my word on that to the bank because I nevah! descend to hyperbole!


*ahem* Hanywey.

Anyway, in the outfall from "Phenomenon" chapter (when Edward impossibly (for a human) saves Bella from the van) when the Cullens have the family meeting to determine what to do now, Jasper is bound and determined to murder Bella, and ...

And Rosalie not only "supports" Jasper, but if he welches on his promise, then she more than willing to murder Bella in her sleep. And what is the reasons she gives for her cold-blooded plan?
  1. She wants to finish high school.

  2. And they've only just moved (back) to Forks, and doesn't want to be inconvenienced with another move so soon.

Now, I'm all for accepting statements at face value, but I think there's something (much) deeper going on with Rosalie's sudden and poorly explained hatred of this newcomer and threat to the happy vampire family that Rosalie so happens to be co-located with.


Well, let's examine her given reasons:
  1. She wants to finish high school?

    Rosalie has existed for more than 80 years, and she has been in and out of high school AND college probably more than 8 times (she starts high school by transferring in to at the very lowest 10th grade). So she's upset that Bella is going to break up her already broken record (*ahem* Emmett, remember those students you killed by accident 35 years ago?)?

    Um, no.

  2. She's only just moved into Forks, WA and she wants to stay?

    Okay. Forks, WA? Been there? I've lived there. Not there, specifically, but smalltown USA (Moodus, CT, if you must know). A town of comparable size and industry. Do you know what people say when you ask where they come from? If they come from smalltown USA, they either say nothing, or they say "you haven't heard of it, but it's near [some city that it's nowhere near to because it's so far in the styx]," or they say "I come from smalltown, USA." The emphasis is on the come from because they left that life behind.

    Okay. You're from smalltown. You love smalltown. You've been to Town once and hated it. You are going to rip off my face for my insults.

    But one things you aren't ... is Rosalie. She came from Town: Rochester, NY. You know, where they have cars, right? And stores that aren't run by your neighbor and aren't the only stores in town? And they have more people than either cows or trees or both?

    Rosalie in Forks, WA? Sure, out of necessity. Rosalie LIKING Forks, WA? Maybe if you replace the town "Forks, WA" with "NYC" we could have a conversation where we both weren't laughing at the sheer lunacy of it, but Forks, WA?

    Um, no.

Offing a girl for either or both reasons Rosalie gives? Possible, plausible, even, I suppose, but not the reasons Rosalie wants to off this girl.

What is the real reason Rosalie wants to kill this stupid little doe-eyed human who's seen too much for her own good? Yes, Bella is a threat to the Cullens, and therefor Rosalie's comfort (you DO NOT mess with what is Rosalie's), and both are good enough for most people to accept that Rosalie would be more than happy to off Bella. After all, it was good enough for Jasper. She's broken the Rule, she dies. End of story.

But for Rosalie, it goes much, much deeper than that.


She's built up this little castle around herself. She has her Cullen family and her Emmett, even, lulled into this sense of security about her: "Oh, that's just Rosalie, the dumb, bitchy blond, so we can ignore her."

If Edward gets too inquisitive with her mind, she can think about brushing her hair, and he tunes her right out. She is, after all, his oldest sister, and knows how to play Edward like a fiddle. Just because he can read minds does not mean he sees into the soul. He 'knows' Rosalie, so he probes no further. Edward is no threat to Rosalie.

If Emmett gets too "Hey, babe, what's happening? Is something bothering you?" She knows exactly what to do. Emmett is all surface (c.f.: Midnight Sun), what he believes, he says, and he sees everything simply. Rosalie's unhappy? What's up with that?

Nothing, after she takes him on a little ride, because now he's floating on bliss, and Rosalie looks happy, so she must be happy.

The other family members are less of an issue that either Edward or Emmett. There are just too many people in that family with too many issues for her to become the focus of attention.

Rosalie may have wanted, and got, the admiration of every man at the ball when she was human, but here, as a vampire, she's ignored, and that exactly how she wants it. If she's left alone, she can't get hurt again.

But then along comes that little meddling human, and she sees right through Edward. In fact, Rosalie was sure Edward was so asexual, he wasn't even interested in men ... I mean, he and Carlisle had plenty of chances for something to happen, but zilch came out of that. And if Edward wasn't interested in Rosalie, then Edward wasn't interested in anybody.

But Bella just blinks her big brown eyes at Edward and he turns into playdough in her fragile little human hands, and, Edward, being Edward, has never shared anything with anybody. WHICH IS FINE WITH ROSALIE, because Edward's a big jerk anyway, rejecting Rosalie like he did.


But he told that human everything and I mean everything! I mean, not even Mommy Esmé has dragged so many words out of him in the last 50 years! And the little human did it just by looking at him.

And he can't read her mind. She's a complete void to him. Inscrutable.

So what if her power is something more than her blandness and blankness.

What if she can see into the soul, like that foolish boy Edward cannot?

And if she looks at me? And what if she sees what she sees of my soul.

I know what she'll see, because I recoil from it every second that I have a quiet moment, alone and to myself. That's why I'm always with Emmett or somebody, even if its that cad Edward.

I've never had to directly confront myself, but if that little human looks at me, and blinks her big doe eyes, and says: "Rosalie ..." with her chin quivering like that and with tears leaking out of her eyes, as they do not leak out of mine?

If she sees me for what I really am, she'll ... she'll ...

She'll know. And she'll pity me. And she'll tell the Cullens. And then they'll know.

She must die. Right now. She knows too much already. But she can't know me, because that'll mean that I'll have to know me, and that cannot ever happen.

I've got this comfortable existence with family members I can push around and manage, I can't have this whole façade threatened.

Bella Swan must die.

And if Jasper doesn't man up and do it because he's wrapped around Alice's ... fingers, then I'll do the job myself.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Royce got what's comin' to him

I get this occasionally from reviewers.

"Oh, Rosalie is this real [something], she deserved to be raped."
"Oh, Bella is so annoying, I hope Rosalie just up and kills her."
"Oh, Royce was a real [something else], he got what he deserved."

Um. May I respectfully disagree?

Let's just take Royce as an example, for, after all: he's pure evil, so there's nothing more to say.


As to Royce deserving what he got, or deserving more than what he got, well ...

I would never wish to have my daughters raped nor murdered, although some reviewers do wish this on my surrogate daughters Rosalie and Bella, but ...

Did he deserve what he got? Sure, and then some.

But, if we got what we deserved ... instead of mercy or kindness or clemency ... which we don't deserve ...?

And who was truly punished? Who was truly twisted by the meting out of justice upon Royce? Is a vindictive action a cleansing one or a damning one? Are revenge and jealousy and hatred admirable traits?

If a friend of yours had a child and she was hurt deeply by someone, would you feel that, when she tortured the boy for eight hours and then murdered him, that now it's all good? Justice served, Oklahoma!-style? (That musical had to be one of the most twisted things I have ever seen ... "Jud falls on his knife," indeed! Maybe he received more than a little help as he fell, perhaps?)

And the girl? With blood on her hands? She's happy now?

I don't know. I do hope there isn't a big-old score card, because I'd be in serious trouble.

It's easy ... too easy ... to say these things should be visited on other people, but before you wish ill on another, look in the mirror first, and then, second, check the score card ... not the tally by Royce's name, but the one by your own name.

Still casting that stone?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hate Edward much, geophf?

So you've read my tirade about Hateful Edward.

So, geophf, do you hate Edward?

No. If you see all the invective I heap on Edward, you see that it is prefaced with "let me play the devil's advocate."

I am not speaking out of both sides of my mouth: I stand by and believe my position. I do not hate Edward, but I do think the "Edward" image does damage to girls and boys both. And not because he's some impossible ideal ... quite the opposite, in fact.

But I also acknowledge that he does behave (as best as he can, given his disabilities) "in a [more] gentleman-like manner" to Bella.

No. I don't hate Edward. But I'm Charlie, cleaning my shot gun, and Bella is my daughter, and I expect him to respect her, and I think he is quite capable of doing that very simple thing by stopping and listening to her. And I think he needs to work (a lot) on that.

Fixated much, geophf?

So, what's your problem, geophf? Why are you championing Rosalie? Like, where did you get this whole MSR idea, anyway? I mean, really!

Okay. You asked.

We lost our Rose Marie. She was one month in the womb, and then she was gone.

And I wonder.

Can she hope? Her fate is now in her unformed hands, and in God's hands.

And that is so hard for me. Can she hope? Can she hope to choose for happiness, when she didn't have a life on which to base a choice? When she may not know what happiness is to choose it?

Can Rosalie hope? No, she can't, according to her in "Heaven and Hell": she's been judged, so she cannot enter Heaven. And what is Hope if Heaven appears lost to one?

Rosalie believes she cannot hope to hope ... not any more ... not for herself. But can't she?

Rose Marie is not Rosalie, and Rosalie is not Rose Marie, but both are faced with the same question, and I ask it for both of them: is it possible for those beyond the reach of hope to reach for that unreachable hope and actually obtain it ... and actually hope?

And then there's Bella. A girl that has everything Rosalie/Rose Marie doesn't: life, tears, sleep, hope. But Bella doesn't have it, either ... she, too, is so lost. She, too, needs love, needs it so desperately. Do those who live ... can they hope in this hopeless world, even though it's not a hopeless world, and all you have to do is look for hope, see it, to then find it?

MSR is a story about Hope. It is a very sad story, for me, because the characters don't even know why they are groaning: but they are ... and they hope ... they hope that they can hope. Can they?

I guess we'll need to find out.

The Emmett Comment

I get this on occasion, and I believe it's a topic worth discussing.

Did Rosalie really say that? Did she really say that she would gladly sacrifice anything to regain her humanity ... even Emmett?


Did she mean that?

Yes, of course.

Because why? Because she will never be able to make that trade. But if you said: "Okay Rosalie, kill these 100 children and burn Emmett and you get your humanity back," then will she do that?

Nope. In actuality, she would sacrifice her humanity for her Emmett. But she said the opposite ... why? People say things.

We all say things that are wrong, stupid, and, upon reflection, things we shouldn't have said and things we wish we didn't. Rosalie made this mistake. Have I ever made this mistake?

Oh, yes.

Have you?

Everybody casts this "She'd sacrifice Emmett" stone at Rosalie. But nobody ever analyzes her statement. Not only at face value, but at Venice value. One pound of flesh, please, Rosalie.

And nobody ever looks in the mirror when they cast that stone. Rosalie lives in a glass house. Well, well, well: looky there! Rosalie has feet of clay. Huh! Record every word you ever said, have every newspaper publish it ... read the newspapers 50 years from now. Oops! Did I really say that?!?

Are you still Holier than Rosalie?

I think Rosalie, in fact, is a whole Hale of a lot Holier than most people in the whole world, and, yes, she does have a mote in her eye, but the people casting stones? They have the frikken redwood forest-sized beams blinding them to their own fault.

"Oh, Rosalie's not perfect."

She sure isn't. My story portrays her sympathetically, but definitely (and defiantly) very much not perfect, but ...

A Rosalie's a Rosalie, for a' that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009



That's what she is. She's a stand on her own feet kind of girl. She just needs to remember that. Rosalie does, too. Rosalie, at first, treated her as a thing, as a problem, and Bella felt that, and her confidence went away in Rosalie's presence. Now Rosalie is (unconsciously) saying "I need you." Even if that need is to answer a phone call from Isle Esme and to become Bella's champion. Even if that need is to watch the baby while Edward and Bella have a little sweetie time. And that need of Rosalie's is the light of the sun, opening the flower of Bella's confidence again.

That's Bella, too: she very much depends on what others think of her. The first day at Forks high, when everybody was like: "Who's this out-of-town girl?" She shrank down to a nothing wallflower. It was only when she established in her mind her place in her new vampire family that she began to be herself again. Pre-visit to the Cullen mansion, Bella was a scared little mouse of a girl, not knowing what shirt to wear. But when Esme looked at Bella, and said: "You are brave; I love you; You are my daughter." and Alice handed Bella her BFF creds, then nothing in the world could shake her: not high school, not James, not overbearing Edward driving her away from the baseball field to nowhere. Nothing. She had love, support and a place in her new family, and her feet were firmly planted on that solid foundation.

Sure, Bella shouldn't depend on others for her confidence ... if she weren't Bella. But she is, and intrinsic to her is the comfort of others. Bella is not just Bella or only Bella, she is part of a family, the central part, the part that makes sure everybody is okay and shining and in front being the hero. That is her happiness: if you are happy, she's happy. If not, she won't be happy until she finds a way to restore your happiness.

AND she's not (too) annoying about it either, which is a plus (*ahem* Alice). She's not bubbly like Alice, but she's not aloof and righteous like Rosalie, she's Bella, and just as essential as both Alice AND (CRUCIALLY) Rosalie, in the ineffable, intangible way that she is vital to the family's well-being.

On Saccharin Endings

"Oh, hi, Edward," says Rosalie, "I was gonna off Bella here, but everythings A-O-K now, so you can date her and I'm sure we can talk the Volturi into ignoring the Rule because this is Bella who is the heroine of the story, so everything always turns out fine for her no matter what. You know, the consequence-free endings of all those disney flicks starting with Little Mermaid where the heroine keeps making wrong choices but is rewarded with a happy ending because that's just the way things are to keep the population controlled and docile: 'oh, keep being irresponsible in all aspects of your life, because a handsome vampire prince named Edward will sweep you away from the mess that you've made ... someday ... so it's all good.'"

Edward: "Urk. Well, okay, Rosalie ... I was gonna shred you for speaking the truth and for looking at Bella funny, but good thing the author wrote in this deus ex machina so I could 'save the day.' Hey, Bella, c'mere so I can sweep you off your feet."

Bella: "Um, I've talked to you all of two times and I'm supposed to fall head over heels for you for what reason again?"

Rosalie and Edward: "Shaddap! You're introducing realism into the fairy tale plot. You're the damsel in distress (not at all like the Shannon Hale damsels), so you're supposed to accept the feet sweeping with gratitude!"

Bella: "So, how do you guys speak in unison perfectly like that?"

Rosalie: "I'm not a guy."

I love happy endings. Ya know ... credible happy endings. And they are so easy to write: all you have to do is to make the characters own up to the choices they've made ... ya know: responsibility and all that?

I don't watch many movies these days at all.

"Bite me, Edward!"

"Oh, I so want to be a vamp, and be swept away from this boring, depressing, uncertain, scary life!"

You know what you are now is what you will be forever, right?

And vampires are in eternity. Eternity is unforgiving, unrelenting, inescapable.

That's what it is to be a vampire. You just can't shut down, ... ever. People get to do that every single day, by the blessing of sleep. Vampires? No. How do they cope?

Most vamps don't last a year without going nuts. That's one of the reasons why there are only hundreds of vamps in the world, and that population is pretty stable.

But now, with millions of girls screaming "Oh, bite me, Edward" the population may be on a rise. Which, unfortunately, will bring on the Bree crisis ("Oh, why didn't they tell me that being a vamp was like this?") and a major clean-up effort on the Volturi's part.

Oh, being a human is just so hard, trudging day after day through the same old unromantic unfun things of life!

But being a vampire isn't that ... except you don't get to sleep and now you have to deal with all your problems and mistakes ... forever?

AND you've murdered the ones you love because the confusion of being a newborn drove you toward the familiar and then the bloodlust kicked in.

Yeah, being a human sucks ... just ask a vampire ... hmn, wait: what, again, do Edward and Rosalie always say? "If I could trade anything to regain my humanity, I would."

Hm. So being a human sucks, but being a vampire is worse?

And, this is your 27th time through high school, because you're trying to fit in as a vamp?

I remember high school. I'm sure most of the twifans saying "Bite me Edward" are IN high school. And they want to be a vamp so they stay in high school, automatically in the excluded group (vamps don't socialize), forever?

There are just so many dimensions of being a vamp, and so many of them require strength and speed and a strong will because so many of them are just so terribly sad and boring and mortifyingly embarrassing.

But "Bite me, Edward!"

Okay, GF, have fun being forever stuck exactly as you are right now ... without being able to sleep ... with unquenchable bloodlust ... without having any friends again, forever ... with having to move to a new different part of the country (and eventually world) every few years ... with having rival vamp gangs targeting you, my dear, as easy pickings for one to shred ... without being able to go to the mall because of no Alice and the possibility of daylight making everybody stop and stare at you, the freak.

Oh, and you abstain from human blood? How noble. You just made yourself an enemy of every vamp in existence, and you've just signed up to drink excrement forever.

Oh, you decide to target humans for food? Bloodsucking leach. You just made yourself werewolf bait.

And where are you going to get money, since you can't work a job? So you're going to live your vamp life as a homeless person now, are you? "Oh, I'm going to trade stocks forever and be rich." Hm. You know how to trade stocks successfully now, do you? You have that discipline? You know, that discipline to clean your room, to do your homework, and to relate to your family and friends ... that is, you have the discipline to live your life happily and responsibly now, because what you are now is what you will be in Eternity. You are unhappy now (that's why you want to be a vamp, right), and you become a vampire? You'll be unhappy forever.

Fun being a vamp, isn't it.

October 2009 Story Stats

So, is kind enough to provide authors with statistics on their stories (page views, unique page views, and sources by country). I find it interesting that my readership has an international flavour. Here are the countries of origin of my readership (format: Country, Page Views, Page Viewers -- sorry for the formatting ... a table view messes up the blog layout something fierce):

October 2009 Readership stats for geophf/ffn

USA 1150 372
UK 248 61
Brazil 88 19
Canada 65 33
Australia 61 24 up 3
Ireland 36 10
Sweden 33 8
Mexico 29 22
Israel 22 14
Italy 22 19
Belgium 20 6
Denmark 19 7
Germany 16 13
argentina 14 5 up 3
philippines 11 4
greece 11 3
france 9 5
spain 9 3
Poland 8 5 up 3
costa rica 8 2
south africa 7 1
new zealand 7 4
Lithuania 4 1
netherlands 4 4 up 1
Singapore 4 4
croatia 3 2 up 6
trinidad 3 2
indonesia 2 1 up 2
india 2 2 up 5
russia 2 1 up 14
romania 2 2 up 1
peru 2 1 up 2
colombia 2 1 up 1
tanzania 2 2
bahrain 2 1
vietnam 1 1
turkey 1 1 up 1
switzerland 1 1
hungary 1 1
finland 1 1 up 6
bahamas 1 1 up 6
brunei 1 1 up 3
norway 1 1 up 2
estonia 1 1 up 4
dominican 1 1
malaysai 1 1

totals: 1938 675

The "up x" column is a little self-study I did over the last few days of the month. Apparently, the Russian became interested in my story.

The moral of this story is this: do you wish your country to go up in the rating? Read more pages of MSR or another story on my ffn profile, that's how fewer Brazilians managed to edge out the more numerous readers from Canada and Australia (who also made an end of the month come-back) to claim one of the top three spots on the readership list. You could put your country there.

I wonder if I would have more (or any, for that matter) Korean readers if they knew MSR's Book III companion piece was entitled Rhee (이): Lady Didyme's Handmaid.

Thank you to all the readers from all the countries that found something in my stories interesting enough to stop to read them.