Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Heavy and Light

I. It Could Be Otherwise

I am indexing a book about a survivor of the US bombing of Nagasaki in 1945, and I want to recommend to anyone who doesn't already know it the alternate-history short story "The Lucky Strike" [links to complete story], by Kim Stanley Robinson.

It imagines how one American in the bomber over Hiroshima might have altered the course of history. It's wonderful and encouraging in that it implies we could do things differently now, but it's devastating to reflect that's not how it went then (or, with some exceptions, since).
Trigger warning: may cause deep philosophical "what might have been" grief.

I draw a faint dotted line between my country dropping atomic bombs on civilians, for military purposes, and the bombings of citizens in recent days (Brussels, Istanbul), and weeks, and years....

I don't mean they're equivalent, point for point, but they're relatives of the same myths:
the one with the father god who eats his children; or the god asks the father to sacrifice his child [even if the god takes it back, the father's willingness to obey is held up as a good thing]; or the one where someone feeds a stew of someone's children to them; or the one where the mother kills her children to spite their father; and so on, and on.

II. Flailing in Fanfic

Meanwhile, I've been gone from here for entirely delightful reason: I've been playing over in fan fiction, which never attracted me before. I could say it's research, and it is, but it's much more than that.

via tumblr

And I'm not just reading either:
I've been writing the stuff myself!

It's been a trip: 
Writing hasn't made me nervous in ages, and now it does again, which is a thrill.  
I've always thought I could never write fiction, and it turns out I was wrong. (I make no claims for the quality of my fanfic, but a quantity of it does now indubitably exist.)

It helps that I'm writing about already existing characters (like Robin Hood or Merlin), but the brain work of imagining new stories is what it is: 
really different from nonfiction (blogging, journalism, personal correspondence, books for school libraries).

Though I still (and always will?) favor nonfiction, even in fiction.
 I posted a 244-word fic about a first kiss and attached endnotes 571 words long--including an explanation of what ozone smells like, in case people didn't know or didn't live in the geographical conditions they might smell it. 
(Here on the plains, it's the metallic-y odor before a rain storm, when the lightning splits the air (ozone = O3).) 
Marz commented that I put the fic in scientific.

It's a fun and frustrating challenge to write in this new way. 
How do you describe people kissing, for instance, without ending up sounding like a cliché manufacturer or a GPS?
Or without falling into inadvertent screwball comedy--evoking Laurel and Hardy when you were going for Scarlett and Rhett:

"As they drew close, the heat of passion rippled the air between them and they tilted their heads 45 degrees to get their noses out of the way...."


The Crow said...

My first kiss with another human (only kissed pillows up to that point - I'm not the only one who practiced on inanimate objects, and I know it!) I smashed my nose into his. Didn't know I should tilt my head to one side a little. We both said "OW!" and decided we wouldn't do that again. We were 9-year-olds, hiding in the coat closet at school.

Fresca said...

Hahahaha! The ickiest feeling, in my opinion, is when your teeth click. Cringe.

I recently read about girls kissing posters of pop stars---pillows are nicer... :)

Zhoen said...

I rather like the clinical/comic approach to erotica, has a touch of humanity that the overly sensual miss. Two bodies approaching... and colliding in mirth and joy.

Frex said...

ZHOEN: Oh, yes, that's good too--but it presents the same challenge:
How to write it?
Screwball sex is as difficult to write (probably more so!) than clichéd clinches.