Notes on “Strange Fruit” [spoilers]

July 26th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

Sometimes, a story idea will sit with me for years before I really get my arms around it, and that’s the case with this story. I confess, I don’t even know if this is something I believe “happened” according to my headcanon, or if it is a “what if” sort of AU, but I knew I wanted to write a scene where these two laid eyes on each other, before Alice, before Edward, before Esme. That they would glimpse each other at their respective lowests, and that something about that glimpse would change them both (because even though in the end, not much about how this interaction alters Carlisle ended up in this piece, in my head, it was a profound moment for him, also). And I knew that I felt strongly pulled to explore that moment happening over a lynching (this idea started one day mid-2011 while I was listening to a spiritual and sort of evolved from there).

I’ve always viewed Carlisle and Jasper as having a special kinship, having lived such deeply lonely lives in the era before the Cullen family began to come together. And I’ve always imagined that kinship to be a very quiet one, one that is expressed in glances and emotions felt and perceived rather than any long conversations. I last got to really play with this in Chapter 9 of Ithaca is Gorges, which I wrote four years ago—I haven’t taken the time to revisit them since.

But it’s a tough tone to strike; to be able to be sensitive to the horror of the situation I put them in here, and yet to also convey what this means to two vampires, both of whom were raised in different eras and whose compassion for the situation is radically different. And I wanted to explore the way that in some ways, they’re indifferent to what’s going on, but they’re indifferent for two entirely different reasons—one because he’s struggling with being sensitive to the act of killing, and the other because secrecy keeps him bound.

In my head, I couldn’t quite get this right, so I never laid it down, even though every four months or so, I would think about it again and try to hammer it out. And then in one moment, it clicked (or at least, I hope it did!), and out came the draft. I intended to make it a 1,000-worder, but I needed a tiny bit more to get it all the way there.

Thank you for reading.

Stregoni Behind the Scenes

July 2nd, 2012 § 4 comments § permalink

When I started writing Stregoni Benefici, I wanted desperately to have a ten-chapter buffer. I made it to three, if you count the prologue. With the help of June Camp NaNoWriMo (I won! By the skin of my teeth, and these last 7,000 words are crap, let me tell you), I’ve finally gotten ten chapters up on SB, which puts me in clear striking distance of the end. I’m finishing chapter 24, and then there will be 25, 26, 27, and 28, and a short epilogue.

I haven’t decided yet whether I will finish out to 28 before beginning to post again. Of course there’s a part of me that wants to get to showing people the rest of this RIGHT NOW but there’s also the part of me that loves cohesion and wants to make sure that every piece fits together perfectly at the end of this fic.

Of course, with 50,000 new words in SB, most of them laid down very fast, there’s a lot of work to be done on the editorial side. I hope to start posting in the next week or so, and then will maintain a regular posting schedule if it kills me.

In the meantime, for your amusement, here’s a compilation of editorial notes from SB. During a NaNo, forward momentum is of utmost importance, so often, when I need to look something up or take more time deciding something, I throw myself a note to go back in for it later.

Isn’t it the insane who are known for talking to themselves?

Here’s a peek into my head…

 

Stregoni Benefici: The Draft Notes

(brackets are the notes, outside the brackets are text that the note refers to.)

» Read the rest of this entry «

An American Remembrance

April 20th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

On April 20th, when I was a junior in high school, I got out of my last class early, and I drove down the street to go visit my elementary school. I was standing in the classroom with my eighth-grade US History teacher talking about college and beyond, and  getting my teaching certificate. Then my old math teacher walked in with this stunned look on his face. We were two hours ahead of Colorado time, and the news was just starting to reach us on the east coast of what had happened an hour before–two student gunmen had opened fire on their classmates in a high school in Littleton, Colorado.

I was old enough and sure enough of my path to becoming an educator that I identified with the shock and pain on my teachers’ faces; I was young enough and wrapped up enough in what at times seemed to be the insurmountable trials of adolescence that I could almost understand why kids my own age might be driven to do such a thing.

The face of American education changed that day. Students became people to fear. Teachers in almost every grade started having to look at the troubled kid not as someone to help, but as someone who might need to be put behind bars. And yet, in the face of that, many also stepped back and said, “Where are we failing?” Ther didn’t ask “How did we manage to let two kids get in here with guns?” but instead “How did we manage to let two kids get so lost that they felt they needed them?”  They said they weren’t going to walk away because there might be a Dylan or an Eric, but that they were going to teach so that the Dylans and Erics would never feel driven to do such a thing.

I’m not teaching the level I thought I would be teaching–in college, I fell in love with a subject that isn’t taught in high schools, and so I’m training to teach undergraduates. But as far as I’m concerned, the way to honor every life lost on this day in 1999 is to teach–with passion, with dedication, with empathy. Whenever I mark this day, I always think about standing there in the best possible place I could’ve gotten that news–in a classroom where I had felt nurtured and encouraged, and with two of my teachers.

The piece linked here, “An American Elegy” is written by Frank Ticheli, one of the best composers for modern American concert band, and I had the privelege of performing it in college. It was written as an elegy for all the lives lost at Columbine. The trumpet solo at 7:32 is traditionally performed out of sight of the audience–either in a balcony over their heads or behind a door, and it is meant to stand for the voices of the students and teacher who lost their lives that day. I write to it often. It’s moving, and glorious, and all the things a remembrance should be.

Take a second and listen. And remember.

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