Carlisle, erastes: Notes on Patroclus Rising

August 19th, 2013 § 1 comment § permalink

So, I’d expected to need to write a long note about how this fic could in any way be considered “canon.” But, to my delight, it seems you all were right with me, and when the chapter 4 reviews came in, people were exclaiming about how well C&Ed fit as a prequel to canon. I imagine, then, that less explanation is necessary, but I’ll provide a little background on where I went with this.

The title of the piece is Patroclus Rising. Patroclus is a character from Homer’s The Iliad, the epic poem about the Trojan war. He is the companion to the great warrior Achilles, and it is for revenge of Patroclus that Achilles finally becomes fully drawn into the war. Many interpretations of The Iliad interpret the Achilles/Patrolcus relationship as being in the Greek pederastic tradition. While I fully acknowledge that this interpretation is a) anachronistic and b) highly debatable, it is to that interpretation of the Achilles/Patroclus bond that I meant to allude with this title.

The tradition of Greek pederasty, which, given their  classical educations, would’ve been well known to both Carlisle and Edward, is one which is not about lasting homosexual relationships, but rather was seen as part of bringing a boy into manhood. A man in his mid twenties to early thirties, the erastes, would take under his wing a young man just on the cusp of manhood, his eromenos. He would bestow the eromenos with gifts, shelter him, coddle him, and provide him with sexual pleasure in the form of fondling, fellatio, and intercrural intercourse (between the thighs). Some very sharp readers have noticed that at no time in this fic did Edward perform a sexual act beyond kissing on Carlisle; this is in keeping with the roles of the eromenos—he is the recipient of the erastes’ affection and does not necessarily return it. It was also seen as demeaning for either party to be penetrated; to do so would be to lower one’s status (part of why women were seen as being of lower status).

The second thing which helps move this toward a more canon interpretation, and why I’m comfortable calling this canon-compliant even though it assumes that Edward wasn’t telling a complete truth when he told Bella he was sexually inexperienced, has to do with the attitudes toward homosexual encounters that existed in the 1910s and 1920s. In chapter 3, Carlisle refers to “drawing the curtains,” which was a common euphemism in that age that literally describes the secrecy with which such acts were conducted. A man who had sexual encounters with another man was still very likely to marry a woman, and was also very likely to consider his homosexual experiences to not be “sex” because they did not involve a woman. To some extent, this same attitude was held by women of the age; particularly if said man was faithful to them thereafter, which helped me build Esme in these last chapters as well. To her mind, Carlisle did not intend to stay in a sexual relationship with Edward; he was merely in an all-male environment and…things happened. (Maybe this idea is where the “magic vagina that heals all a man’s wildness” trope that we see so often in fic comes from.) So, reading this in light of canon, it is my thinking that were a relationship between Edward and Carlisle to play out as it does in Patroclus, Edward wouldn’t feel himself to be lying in calling himself a virgin. To everything he knows and understands, he is one. Perhaps at some point, he might be completely truthful with Bella about what had happened, perhaps it would be considered water under the bridge.

Figuring those two pieces out took me awhile, and I hope my Ancient Literature professor is pleased that I pulled out and re-read my fourteen-year-old copy of The Iliad. But nevertheless, it was a wonderfully fun prompt to work out, and given that it created not only Patroclus but also “For a Season,” I’m pretty chuffed to have ever been asked to write it.

Many, many, many thanks to Team Carlward: capricorn75, deelovely, HeBelongsToMe, lts929, mycrookedsmile, and sleepyvalentina for the amazing, thought-provoking prompt and for their limitless patience while I worked out the details. Crazy, inestimable thanks  to my critique partner, twitina, and of course, my unending gratitude to all of you who read. The desire to read, and the gift of the time to do so is a gift a reader gives a writer. Even if the writer never sees the reader reading, if the reader never writes a fanfic review or an Amazon review, if the reader never even so much as mentions to anyone else about this thing that she enjoyed reading…the enjoyment is gift enough. After over two decades of writing only for myself, the gift of having even one person, let alone many, desire to read is one by which I am humbled and for which I will forever be deeply grateful.

Thank you.

–g

Momentum

June 4th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Sure enough, as I posted in my last blog post, the second I finished the draft of Patroclus Rising on Friday night, I turned to One Day. I’ve had this chapter in my head for over a year, and half of it written for most of that time, so the rest of it came when it was called. (Although Carlisle’s line at the end…well, I’m convinced he came up with that himself).

I *hope* that the next handful of updates to this fic should tumble pretty quickly—this chapter is really about moving to the following morning, but as it was nearing 5K already and I know I need a good 2.5-3 to hash the morning, I decided to stop Chapter 6 after the party. So, while I make no promises, Chapter 7 should follow on pretty quickly here—most of the dialogue is actually already sitting in a word doc. And then shortly thereafter we’ll hit some of the meat that I’ve been wanting to get to since I first started this fic, much of which is already on paper and just needs to be revised.

Thank you for sticking with me, and happy reading.

But, What About One Day?

May 13th, 2013 § 11 comments § permalink

So, I know we’re approaching the year mark on the last One Day update. And people have been asking where, and when, and exactly what do I mean by “soon.” 

I know it’s the story everyone loves. I love it too. As painful as it is to inhabit Carlisle and Bella in that gut-wrenching of an AU, it’s also delightful to write. For me, it’s all the things that fic should be; a piece that unearths qualities of the characters that go unexplored because of the situation they’re in in the canon, that rips the rug out from under them but keeps them as in-character as possible to allow for a story that makes sense.

That sort of thing is why, after four years (and let’s not kid ourselves, various frustrations I’ve had with being in the Twilight fandom), I still  am immensely proud of having written, and still enjoy writing fic. It’s very different from writing something that’s wholly your own, and as far as I’m concerned, that difference is exactly what makes it so worth my time to do.

In 20…10? Has it been that long since Eclipse was released? I volunteered myself for The Fandom Gives Back: Eclipse. I auctioned off the rights to a prompt for two short stories.

But 2011 and 2012, as it turned out, would be the years the fandom turned in on itself. I wrote a post on tumblr about it awhile back, but I found 2012 an extremely difficult year to get myself to write anything. One thing I do that I really enjoy aside from writing and my academic work is that I’m a bookseller. Which means I’ve spent the last year with a lot of pulled-to-publish fanfiction in my face. (It also means I get the gleeful joy of being able to be certain that a couple of titles keep coming off the shelves in my store and being shipped back to their publisher, but that doesn’t always make up for it.) So with all that frustration inhabiting not only my online world, but also the place I spend 20-30 hours a week, I just found that Twific wasn’t something I felt much like doing.

As a result, it’s taken me a longer time than I am happy with to fulfill obligations that, even with all that has intervened, I am still excited to fulfill. I was finally able to put the finishing strokes on Stregoni, to nail Alice’s voice to my satisfaction and get Present Perfect out for consumption, and now, I’m working on the last 1/3 or so of Patroclus Rising, which, when complete, will undergo a good revision and then be posted.

At that point, I will be free of things I’ve promised other people I’d do, and things which, having been so postponed for so long,  make me feel a little crummy. Which is really silly, by the way, particularly in the case of Patroclus, as the people who bid on it are almost to a one close friends of mine, and if I said, “Hey, I’m not going to do it,” they’d all understand. But the truth is, I took it on because I enjoy writing prompts—they stretch me as a writer, and much of my best fic in Twidom has come from prompts for some thing or another. So it’s more the agreements I’ve made with me that I want to uphold—the agreement that I’d accept a challenge and turn out something I’m proud of in response. That I want to do…and if I happen to delight the people who were so gracious as to make a donation in my honor for the privilege of choosing that prompt, well, even more awesome.

One Day, though…One Day is my respite.  As I said, it’s my reminder of all the reasons I enjoy writing fic, and all the things that fic can be when it’s not being…well, all the things that make me mad about how other people seem to want to use it. So when Patroclus is posted, One Day will be my only WIP, and will likely be my last fanfic for Twilight (although I will never say never…these characters touched fire in me and if I feel I want to write more about them, I damn well will).  But I find that in order to maintain a clear head and a joyous heart, I’ve had to pull back almost entirely from the communal aspects of the Twilight fandom, and at that point, I become little better than the writer who is posting things expecting hordes of fans without truly being a fan herself. I would prefer to be a part of things. But when my best friend pinpointed within about two weeks the day when I deleted most of my fandom social media presence and said she could tell because I’ve been so much happier and more myself since then…well,  that says something pretty important, and I’m listening to her.

One Day will probably never post with anything close to a regular update schedule, but I hope to not leave multiple months between chapters once it is my only fic going. At this time, I’m going to choose to keep it off FFnet, and I will probably never post it there unless for some reason I ever have to delete gisellelx.com (but even then, I own gisellelx.wordpress.com, and could port this whole blog there.)

One Day is my private joy, but it’s a little private piece of me I’m happy to let my friends peer in at. Thanks for being patient while I get the more public me squared away.

Stregoni Benefici, Epilogue: Chapter notes.

February 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

By way of a note for this chapter, I leave you with this: the progression of chapter titles through this fic.

The 1667 titles
Infant Lowly
Sarah’s Son
Spectator at Tyburn
Suitor
Layman
Intended
Improper
Tempest
Beloved
William’s Son
Carlisle

The 1789 titles
The Young One
Shy
The Student
Friend
The Fourth Brother
Englishman
Taoist
Doctor
Stregone Benefico

The 1918 titles
Cheater of Death
Motherless Child
Psalmist
Infantry man
Night Watchman
Invisible Man
Miracle Worker
Savior
Sire
Father

Yes. There has been a method to this madness. :)

Thank you so much for reading.

Sempiternam Requiem: Notes to Stregoni Benefici, Chapter 26.

December 15th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

(I posted this to my tumblr last night, but I think it bears repeating as the notes to this chapter.)

I always find myself amused by what I feel the urge to listen to while I’m editing or writing a particular chapter or scene. I don’t have a set “soundtrack” to anything, and  one gift I always ask for are iTunes gift cards so that I always have a balance ready to purchase exactly the song I want for any particular moment of writing.

When I sat down to edit chapter 26,  I knew I needed to listen to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s setting of “Pie Jesu.” sung by a boy soprano. It’s a beautiful piece, and something told me this was the piece for this chapter. So I dug around on iTunes until I found a setting I liked, and then put it on one-song repeat.

I had never in my life looked up the meaning of the Latin in this piece, until the moment when I knew *this* was the song I needed to hear as I worked on this chapter. I just knew that I liked it, and that I needed it to do these edits.

This is the translation:

Lord Jesus
Who takes on the sins of the world
Give them rest

Lamb of God
Who takes on the sins of the world
Give them rest
Everlasting rest

Call me a crazy author, but I think the urge to listen to that was Carlisle. Telling me exactly what he wanted to say to Edward in his turning.

(It was also eerily appropriate given the tragedy in Connecticut yesterday, and these words certainly apply there, as well.)

I posted this one without sending it to my beta to stay on track with getting SB up in December, but she is never undeserving of my thanks. Openhome sits on my shoulder even when I’m self-editing, going, “You’ve already said that three times, move along.”

Happy reading.

 

Pie Jesu: