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The Ghost of Christmas Not to Be

Posted on 2006.12.02 at 11:44

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sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-01-27 19:57 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad that I saved the link you sent me for when I was grading exams. I wanted a happy break, and I got one in this delightful, incredible seasonal story. There were several moments during which I laughed out loud, most frequently because you absolutely capture Dean's voice and attitude in this story. Oh, you've got Sam's, too, no doubt, but Dean's my boy, so he makes me chuckle harder. I LOVE the reworking of a classic (several, layered classics, actually--the original, the film versions, this Supernatural retelling) that you've done, and I love, love, love the detail of Dean's "nightmare" and the horror of it, more horrific, really, than anything else they (or we, as readers and viewers) have faced. Bravo! This is just exceptionally well written!
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-01-28 22:03 (UTC) (Link)
I hope reading it out of season didn't make it difficult to get into. This was written quite some time ago, as I'm sure you noticed, so it's rather dated. Back when the resolution to most hauntings was the destruction of the earthly fetters. That law of Supernatural went wandering off at some point. And of course long before the most recent Christmas episode, about which -- Off topic. Ahem.

I'm glad you didn't find the Christmas Future nightmare too daunting. Looking at it now it seems to go on for far too long; I ended up telling a story in its own right, which may have been too big a shift. But I was writing rather stream-of-consciousness in that scene, and got rather lost in the moment.

And again, I find it hard to take credit for writing dialog when it is Ackles and Padalecki that have managed to create characters that make it easy for the reader to hear them no matter what we write.

Now, of course, as I glanced at it, I shudder at some of the writing. I'm relieved it holds up.

Thanks!
sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-01-29 16:05 (UTC) (Link)
Has anyone ever told you that you're a hard person to compliment? *grins* I'm going out on a limb here, but it seems like you have that writer/artist habit of self-deprecation, of never thinking that your work is good enough. While as a writer myself, I share this habit, I have grown more comfortable with being able to say, "Yes, this part is good," or "Wow, that was a nice turn of phrase," without thinking that I'm arrogant. I'm going out on this limb because I want you to understand that I think you have a lot of talent, and I'd hate to see you fail to thrive in this or any writing endeavor simply because you don't recognize that talent.

Now you might think I'm terribly forward or impertinent, but I hope not because I really do think your writing is excellent, and I just want you to know that.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-01-29 21:23 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, now. I'm merely a gentleman, and one should demure and blush and protest. It gets people to talk about you more.

"So enough about me; what do you think of me?"

I find myself curiously stuck on the nice turn of phrase, in fact. Not so much in the Christmas story, but in the Western. There was one particular phrase that I quite liked, and was felt I had to get all the other bits to measure up to it. (Overlooking the lessons of high and low notes, bright and dark colours et cetera.) And of course I kept wondering if that one phrase would be mentioned as a particular stand-out, but it never was, so there.

Now the problem is how to get back into the writing groove when the show is currently inspiring me to watch Grey's Ana -- okay, not even in jest. You know what I mean.

Makes me curious about the nature of fan fiction: does it only exist in response to a source? There was a really interesting discussion on Metafandom about that.

Anyway, thanks again!
sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-01-31 17:07 (UTC) (Link)
Are you really? A gentleman, I mean??? That is to say, is it possible that I, humble slasher, have stumbled across that rarest of all fanfiction writers, the MALE??? *grins* Seriously, I don't know how much you have your hand in this or other fandoms, but men are few and far between, in my experience.

I wonder about the fanfiction/show correlation often. For me, as an HP writer initially, I found it a lot more difficult to write fanfiction in that fandom once Book 7 was out. I have written a little, but it's very elegaic and doesn't so much add to fanon or canon as it does remark upon one aspect of it. Mostly, I don't write HP anymore.

If SPN were to be canceled (which I'm trying REALLY hard not to imagine), I think I'd continue to write the boys' adventures, first because I enjoy writing horror and second because I really love these characters. (And, as a not unrelated note, I don't write only slash. Many of my stories in this fandom are gen, in fact.) Something about both their individual characters and the mytharc of the show has captured my fascination far more powerfully than Harry Potter even at the height of my fanaticism with it. And it's not because the boys are so pretty... (Well, not the ONLY reason ;-) Anyway, I'd like to think that I'll keep writing in the fandom even if the show ends. But, again, I'm going to cling to that infamous river in Egypt as long as I can.

Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-01-31 18:04 (UTC) (Link)
Male. Well, yes. More or less. Perhaps my being a nun confused you. It confuses a lot of people. That's our job. www.lasisters.org

I was afraid it would be obvious from the passage in 'Strangers' where Sam and Marie-Rose are in bed. I was describing an activity from a point of view with which I have little experience.

Supernatural will, eventually, be canceled. That's just the great circle of TV life. But we would hope it will only happen after having fully told its story. Too many series don't 'finish,' they just stop. That's painful. At least Ms Rowling was able to take her readers to the end of the journey. Unlike the readers of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, tragically unfinished.

I've been chatting with Dodger Winslow about the same idea: what is it about this show, these characters, that encourages (demands) the level of devotion? It's not the writing itself, which can be pretty substandard, it's not even the Pretty. Pretty alone doesn't lend itself to fiction, I shouldn't think. Beyond the slash, anyway. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

(I keep finding new areas to suprise me. Banddom. Who knew? In my day, we just assumed Jagger and Bowie slept with everyone and Alice Cooper wasn't contemplated in those terms. Then I stumbled across Snapewives. I'm going to stop exploring for a while.)

It's that the characters (and the show) have left things undone, left gaps, room for the creative and invested to maneuver. That is only possible, points out Winslow, in shows that are imperfect, incomplete. So into those spaces we flow.

[spock]Fascinating[/spock]
sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-01-31 20:32 (UTC) (Link)
Shut up! You're an LA Sister? I have a good friend who's told me about your group! He's going to be green with envy that you and I have 'chatted.' (And here, I'm avoiding a digression to the subject of internet acquaintanceships and the nature of virtual reality.) Thank you SO much for the link. I'm having a blast looking through your site.

I laughed out loud at the Jagger/Bowie reference. It's a story I like to acquaint my students with every year, while I'm, you know, influencing them into open-mindedness and explaining all the ways in which the films 300 and Troy are not historically accurate. Of course, when I think of that particular rock superstar pairing, it makes me hot. When they hear about it, their chief reaction is, "Ew! But they're *old*!" *rolls eyes* *refuses to feel old*

The very first SPN fic that I wrote came out of the urge to write a middle American horror story about the figurative and literal death of the railroad industry. I think the fact that the brothers travel, that they have the opportunity to inhabit, briefly, so many different settings, many of them occupied by the remnants of original settlers' cultures (such as the Norse-influenced culture of the people in "Scarecrow," for example) just provides a rich palette from which we can then create stories gleaned from a wide and multivalent intertextuality. But now I'm talkin' fancy, and feel free to just slap me.

Snapewives? Hmmmm. *ponders mad googling*

And, last but certainly not least, I, for one, found the Sam/Rose coupling quite credible AND satisfying, and I am NOT a het fan, generally speaking, so you must have done an exceptionally good job :-) I went through a lot of worry when I started writing slash all those many moons ago, given that I don't possess the necessary equipment to do some of what it is that I write about. Thankfully, I have a rather large and diverse crowd of gay friends who were willing to beta the sex scenes for me until I felt confident that I wasn't suggesting anything anatomically impossible, gravitationally improbable, or just plain uncomfortable regardless of one's kinks.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-01-31 21:19 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad the Sam/Rose scene passes muster, at least. And it's not just about the mechanical aspects, as you say, we want there to be more than that.

Re Bowie/Jagger: We assumed they slept with anyone they encountered, of any gender, as the fancy struck them. This did not require illustration, or warrant much discussion, other than the fact that it obviously happened. (Even when it really hadn't.) The concept of fictionalizing it didn't occur to me at all. Till Velvet Goldmine, anyway.

Here are a few of us, reading Plastic!Sam's journal.

http://pics.livejournal.com/corvus_imbrifer/pic/0000abs2/

I had that photo taken so Anteka could have an official Most Bizarre Fan Photo Ever photo.

Are you in or around Buffalo? I noted your weather report the other day. I have a dear friend in Buffalo, what a place. Visited once, on his 30th birthday. More of a suicide watch, turning 30 in Buffalo in January. I took a bus to Niagara Falls by myself because the other friends were too cold to step outside. I have a New York work trip on the books for February, looks like I should go coat shopping this weekend.

So tell your friend hello from Sister Mary Fucking Poppins (I'm second from the left in the photo, the scary disapproving one between Sister Buffy and Sister Erotica Psychotica).

Re "just plain uncomfortable regardless of one's kinks": I had to have it explained to me by Sister Tragedy Ann and Sister Dixie Wrecked why their favorite activities, which look very uncomfortable to me, involving lots of work, props from PetCo and such, is fun. The Sisterhood has been very educational.
sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-02-02 01:00 (UTC) (Link)
Your photo is WONDERFUL! I'd actually looked you up on the website, as well, and sent a link to my friend, who is all kinds of jealous, just as I expected. He's trying to choose his brand of activism, so he was already familiar with your group.

I work in Buffalo and live in Lockport, NY, which is northeast of the City of Buffalo and due east of Niagara Falls. And believe me, I understand your feelings about Buffalo in January. I'm rather acclimated, of course, though I did escape for five years for grad. school, but even so, the weather is no picnic, the driving sucks (and not in an "Oh-yes-harder" sort of way), and the atmosphere of rust-belt-chic wears thin when there isn't any foliage to hide it. Still, it does have its high points, though I'm not sure you got to see any of them.

As for kinks, without exposing you to too much information, let me just say that I'm pretty adventurous. But I didn't know that blood doesn't make a good lubricant for anal penetration until someone explained it to me, for example, so that sort of advice was much appreciated. And I believe there was a long discussion about the sort of pain one can endure where sharp objects are involved, but I suppose that is largely a matter of personal taste, too.

I do remember one friend, who hadn't ever read any fanfic before, being scandalized by my repeated use of the word "cock." He felt it was unnecessarily crude. That sort of baffled me, since I'd been, at that point, fairly inured to even the most...exotic...fanfictions, and "cock" certainly wasn't what I'd have called an expletive, even, by then. However, I took his advice into consideration. Since then, I've moved away from the most explicit blow-by-blows, if you'll pardon the pun, and moved into a more...not abstract. Perhaps evocative erotic style? Well, anyway, I'm nattering on, and you're likely well past your limit of that sort of thing, so I'll stop.

Anyway, another thing I really loved about "Gilead" was the auditory imagery involving Dean and his two lady friends. It had me laughing even while I was imagining all sorts of possibilities. I like it when an author lets me use my imagination to that end. ;-)
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-02-02 03:58 (UTC) (Link)
I need better pictures. The other skinny bitches are all camera whores and I really need one good portrait. Tell your friend I'm mary@lasisters.org should he want to say hello. There's a New York house,
http://radicalfaeries.net/radicalfaeries/sisters.htm
but I don't know any of them personally. I'll be in New York later this month, I'll look up a contact.

And you reminded me, I called Greg in Buffalo on his birthday this year and he never called back. Harrumph.

Re comments on Kroki-Refur's page: you liked that episode? Really? Oh, dear, oh, dear.

Re writing: Well, yes, it seems more likely that the reader will be able to create more intense imagery on his or her own, so just providing the proper fertile ground (so to speak) would be better than trying to describe something that might be outside the reader's own experience. The clinical details are often not important, unless one is writing in the particular genre that is about exactly that. I like the psychological aspects more anyway.

The most explicit descriptions, and the use of particular words, can be a 'stop' for a lot of readers, as you say. By forcing ourselves (authors) to come up with alternatives, it pushes past our comfort zones, and makes for creativity. Or many trips to the thesaurus. (The result is the proof of which it was.)

And we want to coax the reader gently and comfortably into new areas, to extend their imagination, stretch their boundaries, without forcing. So patience, control, attentiveness and plenty of lubrication are best employed when to get someone to try something new.

Don't you think?
sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-02-02 04:34 (UTC) (Link)
You know, your questions about coaxing the reader are interesting because I think that fanfiction, in general, makes us lazy as writers. Well, perhaps I shouldn't be so general. It can make us lazy, insofar as a lot of the world-building has been done for us. That's the joy of fanfiction--taking established characters with which our readers are already familiar and creating new situations in which they can play. That's not to say that we don't stretch them or use our imaginations; obviously, your stories are excellent examples of that stretching. I'm commenting mostly on the idea of audience, here. I think we expect that our audience already knows the shorthand, so to speak. When they read "Dean," they already have a picture, a character, that we don't need to flesh out fully, or rather, that we can flesh out more fully than the show allows. We can put Dean in uncomfortable situations and see how he'll react. We can, for example, as I've recently done, dump him in the middle of a post-apocalypse wasteland with no one but his dead brother to talk to.

But, appreciating the metaphor of your last comment about coaxing our readers into new territory, I do understand what you're saying, and I don't entirely disagree. It's just that my perspective may be a little different. I'm not especially careful of my readers. I'm not delicate, and I'm most definitely dark. I think I expect them to like it or leave it, and that's okay by me. Too, I expect them to have a certain familiarity with canon and fanon tropes, I guess, and it occurs to me that I mostly write for people who are immersed in fandom and fanfiction in the same way that I am, which probably necessarily limits my audience. *ponders*

Obviously, when I write original fic, I'm at least marginally more concerned for keeping the reader up with me. But that's an issue for another thread, I suspect.

I wanted to qualify the "cock" discussion by noting that it was my first fanfiction, my first slash of any kind, and the first significant writing I'd done in a decade. I feel for some reason like I should defend it in that regard, at least. It's an ugly and misshapen child, but it's my own, and I'll own it. I'll ever be grateful for it, and even for the passionate arguments it manifested in my group of reading friends, because it was what launched me on my current path as a writer. Anyway, all of that is just to say that I'm certainly capable of using a thesaurus effectively and have since done so.

What I quickly learned as a slash writer and fan was that I didn't particularly care if there were lots of sex in my stories or in the stories that I was reading. What I wanted was the possibility of sex. Grown-ups who meet each other and find each other attractive often end up in bed together. (Or the Quidditch shed. Or a jumper on an alien planet. Or the backseat of a '67 Impala. Or whatever.) I like my stories (both the ones that I read and the ones that I write) to have that potential. I don't at all mind if that's not where they go, and in fact, I discovered that I rather like writing canon Sam and Dean, though I do write Wincest, as well. The stories that most irk me are those in which there's not even a nod at the fact that they're *brothers*. I think someone--at least Dean--has to recognize that and get around or over it. It doesn't have to be a six-page angst-fest, though. Just, you know, a moment of, "Well, but we're brothers, dude."

As for "Malleus Maleficarum," I take it that you didn't like it? Can I ask why? (I feel like I'd be better off finding out your objections than attempting to explain why I liked it. I will tell you that some of it has to do with the fact that I'm Wiccan and some of it with the fact that I identify powerfully with Dean in several ways.)

(More next comment)
sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-02-02 04:34 (UTC) (Link)
(And here's the rest):
My friend has been considering joining the Radical Faeries! He's been chatting with a few from the New York chapter online at...I can't remember the name of the site. But I will be sure to give him your contact info, and thank you so much for that. He's young (a former student of mine) and very much searching right now. But he's smart and passionate, and I'd love for him to find a sound direction for all that energy.

Alright, well, this has certainly gone on long enough. I know I've talked too long when I hit the comment buffer. Thanks for the very engaging discussion! I'm enjoying this immensely.
Corvus Imbrifer
corvus_imbrifer at 2008-02-02 04:54 (UTC) (Link)
Re the Radical Faeries: Those dear hippies. You'll note that the New York Sisters are associated with the Radical Faeries. The founding members of the order, in San Francisco, were of that ilk, and still are. Less of a presence here in Los Angeles, sadly.

Re The Episode: Oh, so it's not crystal-wearing cat-owning Willow+Tara-loving Wiccans, it's Satanist Old World Wiccans that are the problem? That's nice. Why bother being all PC about it? They're killing people, who cares what the labels are. Considering the heapings of sex-negativity that follows (emasculated Dean, skanky Ruby, whore witches, etc) one wonders why they bothered?

This leads to a serious gap in the logic when it comes to the utterly absurd argument in the hotel (preceded by the equally absurd confrontation on the road) because Sam has never made any noise about 'the sanctity of life,' only that situations like the Benders weren't there gig. (And Dean said that.) They have never had any qualms going after mortals that use magic to do evil, the show has just conveniently avoided having them do the killing when it's clear cut. (Mrs Roy, Max, the screenwriter). How that argument applies to Madison is illogical, particularly if it doesn't apply to Sam. And the issue was not supposed to be about what they do or don't do, it's about whether they feel bad about it. They've been firmly on the side of '
the end justifies the means' their entire lives, so it's a straw man argument. If the show wants me to believe the dire circumstances have

Ruby admitted, with Sam standing right there, that she isn't going to save Dean. So why did Sam stop Dean from shooting her? (Begging the question of why Dean didn't shoot her before the Impala came to a full stop.) Per the conversation in the motel room, Sam has already given up? That's nonsense. (Meanwhile, another conversation in the road with a demon and the Colt and stupid insults that don't stick because they don't make sense and yelling SHUT UP (no, you shut up) and it was good the first time, cute the second time when it was Sandy and by the way Sam murdered an innocent right there, so where's the beef? Ruby doesn't know about that? Really?

See, now you've pushed my buttons. I am a serious analyst when it comes to throughlines and logic, and this season has been dreadful on that front. Dean's behavior has been very badly conceived, Sam's invisible, the Demon King story is stupid, Bela is beneath contempt, and Cassidy CAN'T ACT.

Ahem. Scuse me. I'll stop, you get the picture. I'm happy that people are happy, but I do think part of Kroki's genius is making a little bit of squee plaster over a lot of huge gaping problems.
(Anonymous) at 2008-02-02 23:03 (UTC) (Link)
I can tell that I pushed some buttons! *grins* But I enjoy your analysis. I had noticed that Show seemed to be happily forgetting all about the "rule" about exorcising demon-possessed humans rather than just killing them with their nifty new gun. I remember Bobby's horror at the fact that Dean didn't even *know* the difference between a demon and a demon-possessed human in "Devil's Trap" (which implies that there IS a difference, which rather upsets Ruby's neat theory, too...and that doesn't even get into the fact that if Casey was right about Lucifer as a hegemonic figure, then there MUST be demons that were never human to begin with, insofar as all the sources on Lucifer tell us that he's a fallen angel, and angels were never human to begin with, either, and that's per "Houses of the Holy," not to mention millennia of sources). They are rather muddying their own cosmology at this point, aren't they? Anyway, I'd also noticed that Dean didn't batt an eyelash when he discovered that Sam had killed the Crossroads Demon, or at least, he wasn't upset that Sam had killed the HOST of said demon; rather, his concerns were more pragmatic, re: the deal. I also noted that while Dean was a little put off by Sam's neat dispatch of Casey, it wasn't really because Casey was a demon-possessed human so much as it was that he'd learned to sort of like her in the time they were trapped in the cellar.

So having said all of that, yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the way that they're screwing with their own mythos, and I can certainly understand how frustrating that would be to you, as you are interested in plotting that is logical and not self-contradictory.

On the other hand, I can't work up much indignation about the misogyny, which might sound sort of strange coming from a woman. As a woman, I long ago embraced Dean's fundamental disrespect for women except as sex objects, and I've been enjoying those moments when Dean finds himself on the receiving end of such objectification, which is one of the reasons that I actually like Bela. Oh, her character is contrived, and the whole "lost little girl being tough to get by" thing has been done to death, absolutely. But that she is constantly at Dean, constantly picking at his intelligence, skills, etc.? That I like. It's one of the reasons I like Missouri and Ellen so much, too. It's just that with the latter two, there's no sexual tension, whereas with Bela, there's a little Mr. and Mrs. Smith going on.

sylvanwitch
sylvanwitch at 2008-02-02 23:03 (UTC) (Link)
I can tell that I pushed some buttons! *grins* But I enjoy your analysis. I had noticed that Show seemed to be happily forgetting all about the "rule" about exorcising demon-possessed humans rather than just killing them with their nifty new gun. I remember Bobby's horror at the fact that Dean didn't even *know* the difference between a demon and a demon-possessed human in "Devil's Trap" (which implies that there IS a difference, which rather upsets Ruby's neat theory, too...and that doesn't even get into the fact that if Casey was right about Lucifer as a hegemonic figure, then there MUST be demons that were never human to begin with, insofar as all the sources on Lucifer tell us that he's a fallen angel, and angels were never human to begin with, either, and that's per "Houses of the Holy," not to mention millennia of sources). They are rather muddying their own cosmology at this point, aren't they? Anyway, I'd also noticed that Dean didn't batt an eyelash when he discovered that Sam had killed the Crossroads Demon, or at least, he wasn't upset that Sam had killed the HOST of said demon; rather, his concerns were more pragmatic, re: the deal. I also noted that while Dean was a little put off by Sam's neat dispatch of Casey, it wasn't really because Casey was a demon-possessed human so much as it was that he'd learned to sort of like her in the time they were trapped in the cellar.

So having said all of that, yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the way that they're screwing with their own mythos, and I can certainly understand how frustrating that would be to you, as you are interested in plotting that is logical and not self-contradictory.

On the other hand, I can't work up much indignation about the misogyny, which might sound sort of strange coming from a woman. As a woman, I long ago embraced Dean's fundamental disrespect for women except as sex objects, and I've been enjoying those moments when Dean finds himself on the receiving end of such objectification, which is one of the reasons that I actually like Bela. Oh, her character is contrived, and the whole "lost little girl being tough to get by" thing has been done to death, absolutely. But that she is constantly at Dean, constantly picking at his intelligence, skills, etc.? That I like. It's one of the reasons I like Missouri and Ellen so much, too. It's just that with the latter two, there's no sexual tension, whereas with Bela, there's a little Mr. and Mrs. Smith going on.

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