Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rosalie: a study in contrasts

Some thoughts on reading "Secondhand Rose" by giselle-lx

The Cullens are a wonderfully interesting dynamic of seven people so very different from each other that a family is... so easy to look at from the outside and take for granted: 'Oh, they're the Cullens,' but on the inside, it's a lot of work, all the time, and everybody has to play the game or it all just falls apart. Emmett appears to be the most easy-going of the lot, but he also has the toughest job, being Rosalie's punching bag, and all. This story got into the mind of Rosalie, and saw her and Emmett, and her just stopping, disengaging, and looking away, even in the midst of a conversation or love-making or anything.  She has more than just anger: she has wisdom. So easy just to see her as hating Edward, but understanding him for what he is? "He's a boy"? It's hard for me to come to grips with that in myself: it's hard for me to understand people for who they are, as I so often judge them for who they are not. Rosalie actually shows compassion for Edward, and I tipped my metaphorical hat to her.

"Brava, Rose. Brava," I whispered.

Now, me calling Rosalie Lillian Hale 'Rose' ... well, she'd casually rip my face off in her affronted fury. You gave her heart, but you did not make her one ounce less than who she is: hard, broken, angry, imposed upon by the world, and hating it and everything in it with all her might.

Rosalie is the kind of person that gives me hope. I hope I can be such a person: that can be broken, but still carry on, to be angry, but still understanding. To be weak, but okay with the weakness enough that it doesn't incapacitate me. I wish I could be a person strong enough to be Rosalie. I wish the readers of my stories find enough strength in my Rose to be better persons, themselves, as I wish to be a better person, having read Rose doing just that.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"Fan Fiction": the stigma

Twenty-five reasons to share with your friends as to why YA/Young Adult fiction (and, consequently, fan fiction) matters.

The Greatest Thing ...

siDEADde, World-famous authoress of the World-famous Twilight fan-fiction Lunière (I'm not being indulgent in either claim, both are statements of fact), has started writing a new story, and with a vengeance ... That's nearly three and a half years after silence from her (with a very brief Hollows cameo).

The greatest thing you'll ever learn ...

That's the title of her new story.

I took three years off myself from MSR, ... some readers are probably scared right now, after more than a month of silence from me, that I'm about to take another walkabout.

You see, to write is to know, to know is to love, to publish is to share that love.

To be read, as a writer, is to be loved.

The greatest thing. siDEADde knows this, better than me, in fact.

But to love and to be loved ... is that the easiest thing in the World? Sometimes. Sometimes when the chapter flows, for both the reader and the writer, and the love is so thick in the air that people start looking at the mutual admiration society and grumbling, loudly, that a room should be got for all this display.

But sometimes it isn't. Sometimes you put your heart out there, as a writer, and you risk everything, writing it, but that's just the start of the nightmare, because then you have to work up the courage to select "publish chapter," and then you have to wait, and to wait, and to wait for those reviews, and they come, filled with understanding and love, and you cry so hard with the relief that people understood what you wrote and instead of crucifying you, they honor your bravery and courage.

And sometimes the reviews come, and they are angry with you. And they hate you. And, worse, they misunderstand you. And worse, they attack your characters. Your babies.

And sometimes, the reviews don't come at all. And your 'number one fan,' you know them, writers, right? That one person who says and does everything devotedly, and swears they'll buy your books when you publish 'fer realz, yo,' and will be with you to the end.

Your number one fan. She grows distant. Then silent.

Then she's gone.

And it happens over and over and over again. A self-proclaimed number one fan, comes, burns with zeal, then burns out and is gone.

And so a new number one fan shows up, burning, ...

What do you do, dear writer? How much hurt can you take from how many people demanding even more than everything you poured out onto the page? How much can you take before you scream 'FUCK OFF!' at a young girl who printed out your story so she can get your autograph?

But this is her first time at being a number one fan, ever, even if she is your twentieth, isn't it? And even if she is your twentieth number one fan, ...

She's still a person, looking for the greatest thing, and she read your story, and she found it.

What are you going to do?

Hide? Hide from the hurt for three-plus years, and then not publish again, ever, because the hope, the terrible hope, hurts too much? And the fear is crippling?

You, dear writer (ahem: 'me, dear writer') have a gift. And you've shared that gift, and you have fucking rocked people's worlds, so much so that there is now somebody breathing, who would've killed themselves, but they read your story, and hoped. And lived. And shared that story with herself, and couldn't believe it, that somebody else in the world knew her, and understood, and wrote their love on a page, and gave it to her for her to read.  And maybe she shared it with a friend. And maybe she shared it back with you, tentatively, fearfully, tremblingly, in a review she wrote: 'oh god im peeing ur story so good update soon god i love it [backspacing over 'i love u' because she doesn't want you to think she's weird or anything like that].'

And when you replied (you do reply to your reviews, don't you?) she peed herself again when she saw in her inbox 'review reply from geophf' or 'siDEADde' or 'Eowyn77' or whomever. And when you didn't snap her head off, but thanked her, politely, for her review? She just died and went to heaven, and god (you) wasn't mean and nasty and so haughty, but was actually nice?


It's the greatest thing, isn't it?

It isn't always the easiest thing. Sometimes it's easier to run, and to be harried by the demons inside, screaming at you so loudly you can't even hear yourself think most times, calling you a chickenshit for not writing what you know you should, what you have to, just to touch one other soul in the world, to share your heart, one more time, even if that means it gets torn out and trampled into the dirt, because that one more chapter and story will do something for somebody, somebody you'll never have known otherwise, who needed these words, your words to make it through this impossible day.

So what do we do? We write, we read, we cry, and then maybe even we sigh and get on with our day, and the world is a little bit tiny better place for you and for me.

I write. I don't particularly like it. I do love it, however, and what it does for you. I do love you, even though I'll've never met you in person, ITRW. I write, you read. We love, and are loved.

The greatest thing.

MSR's Visitors, June 2013

"... but, of course," I thought to myself, "I have 2.5K visitors from the U.S., then the always faithful Canadians, the UK, and Australia follow, and then ..."

And that's when I caught myself. 'Of course...' I have 2.5K visitors to my site from my country? from any country?

Who else can say that?

And that's when I became grateful.

I'm grateful to all the people who come to my site, read something, then go about their lives, and then, faithfully, return, again and again, and read something else, something more.

And 'of course' I have the bulk of my visitors from the English-speaking world. Of course. But why would I have visitors from anywhere in the world at all?

Let me say that again, and savor it: I have visitors from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia.

I've never been to the U.K. (I shall rectify that). I've never been to Australia ... I've been to 'little Australia,' ... Hawaii, and seen the people, seen how differently they carry themselves from people from the U.S. ... it was a very pleasant shock to me to see people who, outwardly, look so much the same as me and my friends in the military stationed there, but inwardly, are so different that they were like an entirely different race, an entirely different species of people. Before cell phones existed, two young girls approached me and asked me if the pay-phone was working. I held it to my ear, heard the dial tone, and told them everything was fine, they could place their call home.

Australia and the U.S. are so different from each other that we have to ask each other if working phones are working, as we can't even hear each other's dial tones and know what it means.

And I have readers, ... lots of readers, in Australia.

And then, ... the other countries, ... the countries where English isn't even the primary language. Let me reel them off for you (let me reel them off for me).

Germany, the Philippines, France, Egypt, Mexico, India, (now back to English) New Zealand, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Spain, China, Portugal, Denmark, Singapore, Israel, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine*, Switzerland*, Hungary, Czech Revar, Morocco, U.A.E., Malaysia, Indonesia*, Iceland, Comoros*, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela*, Korea, Norway, Colombia*, Hong Kong*, Netherland Antilles*, Argentina*, Guatemala*, Virgin Island, U.S.*, Russian Fed*, Austria*

All those countries! Most of which, more than 90% of which I have never (yet) been to, and, being as that I'm now an old man, past my mid-life, I can fairly say most of which I will never see, unless I change my life and who I am and be a person to go see them.

And the starred countries? Those are the countries that had only one visitor, one time. That means, if you're reading this, and you're from one of those countries, you, and you alone, represented your entire country as a visitor to my site.

You. You from the Ukrain, Switzerland, Indonesia, Comoros, Venezuela, Colombia, Hong Kong, Netherland Antilles, Argentina, Guatemala, the Virgin Islands (U.S.), the Russian Federation (?!? the entire Russian Federation!!!), or Austria ... you are the single person in your whole country that got the name of your country mentioned in this post, so I could honor your country, and you.

Thank you.

And I've missed a ton of single persons from other countries who came, alone, but several times over the course of the month of June 2013, so they were recorded as not one visitor, but multiple visits, so you could've been from Hungary, for example, or Iceland, or Ireland, or Sweden, or Morocco, or from a host of other countries that had 2 or 10 or however many visitors more than one, but you, and you alone, placed your country on the above list of 'Countries who had readers visit my site in June 2013.'

Thank you. Because of you, your entire country has been noticed, mentioned, and honored.

Do you know how important you, and you alone, are just by reading my stories? That you are actually doing something? That you are actually reading (and reading in English at that!) and taking in and thinking and being, but then also representing yourself, of course, but also your whole nation, your entire people? Did you know that?

Thank you, people from here, right in my home town, whom I know and whom I don't, and thank you, people from around the entire globe, those of you whom I know, because you've PMed me or, bravely, reviewed my stories.

Thank you.

I would've never known you otherwise. But I wrote, and you came, and you read.

I hear you as you read my words, and understand them and take them into your heart, or don't understand them and struggle with them.

You know me, in the writing of these words. I know you, in the reading of them. I see you.

And I love you.


Monday, July 1, 2013

People are people so why should it be ...?

Rosalie and Lizzie. Lizzie and Rosalie.

The archetypical odd couple ... but aren't we all? And I mean 'we all' meaning every single one of us.

Both girls can, and do, so easily hurt each other, and what's worse is that they both want what's the best for the other, and they both see that they are the worst, themselves, and the worse for each other.

Ick. Icky, icky, ick!

The saving grace? Besides nothing, is they are both so pig-headed, and they keep demanding of each other that they don't give up on themselves, and they're stuck all alone in a cabin in the woods, so they have to make things work, because there aren't many other options ... you just can't glower across the room at each other can think mean thoughts. I mean, you can, but that gets silly after about five minutes, and that leaves 23 hours and 55 more minutes to get over it and do something less stupid.

Actually, all of human relations would be a whole lot better, I think, if more people started to realize this. "Hey, I can either be pissed at this (pissy) person, or I can try to make this work instead of glowering or avoiding!"

Hey! Imagine that!

Sometimes I'm okay at doing that, sometimes ... not so much.

My hat's off to both girls, both Lizzie and Rosalie. They are doing everything wrong, and all the time, at that, but Rosalie is a well of (impatient and angry) patience ... each hour she doesn't just outright kill Lizzie is a (not-so-small) victory, it seems, and Lizzie is ... well, if I were in her shoes, I don't think I'd've lasted half a day, but she keeps trying, and failing, and getting beat down for failing (?!?) and keeps trying to pick herself up so she can at least try to fail again. And she does this even though she knows she's in for heaps of trouble, but she just keeps trying.

Would I do that, in her shoes? Would anybody? Day after day, hour after hour with super-angry Rosalie who has some Serious Issues that she's wearing right on her sleeve?

They just keep going at each other and for each other, and when they go with each other ... now, that will be a sight to behold, and perhaps, when they do do that, it won't be major, nor surprising, nor Earth-shattering, ... maybe they'll just do it, and not even realize it, and maybe they will, and maybe they'll be amazed, and maybe they'll be just fine with it, and that's all.

They have worked so, so hard, fighting each other, every step of the way, so maybe when they push together, instead of push against each other, maybe they'll just say 'Oh, so that's how easy it is!'

Maybe. I guess we'll just have to ride with them, on their journey, and see for ourselves ... discover what 'this' will be, right along with them as they discover it, too.

If they don't screw it up first.