May 5th, 2003

elijah

Spike and Riley, sitting in a tree.

My god, I'm tired. I slept poorly and this morning managed the neat trick of folding my waking fantasies into my unconscious dreams. Dreamed of Spike and Riley in some sort of weird tree-top land, where the ground was made entirely of shifting leaves, or perhaps some kind of sponge, with a huge subterranean forest below them. They got on a train and closed themselves up in one of those tiny sleeper compartments and began kissing as the train rattled along. I think they were in the circus. Eventually they reached a tiny Swiss town and got out and stood on a wooden station platform as people bustled around them, dragging luggage. The sky was very blue and there were mountains surrounding the station, and there wasn't really a town at all, just a lot of emptiness. "I think I left the jar at the office," Riley said. But that was never really explained, and then I woke up.

In retrospect, it had a very Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade feel to it, as if Nazis and blonde spies were going to motor down from the castle at any moment to collect them for a mission. I think this would make a good story. Yes. Yes, I do. Shut up. I can hear you. But I have no skills at historical storytelling, so that's right out. But Riley. He'd make a great American spy, posing as a German soldier. That earnest face, that easy affable air that says, "I'm a good Nazi," but in truth could hide all sorts of devious tricks. Spike of course is the real Nazi, wooed to the side of truth, justice, and the American way of life. The gay American way of life. Not to America itself, though--not until after the war. Meanwhile, there should be trips to the opera and dim cafes, and frolicking in the countryside, and perhaps weekends in a Swiss chalet, with down bedding and crackling fires. And lots of angst and secret meetings and ruthless murders and rescues. I have not put enough of these things in Noir, come to think of it. I am bad and wrong.

And I am bored, and again with the tired.
elijah

pro and fan-fiction

Was thinking on the way home about those little Riley/Spike WWII scenes in my head, and about the difference between writing pro and fan-fiction. I am not going to write such a story even as fan-fiction because I'd be sure to get bogged down in historical research and by the time I got done--god knows how many months later--I'd probably be disgusted with every single line of the story because it felt inauthentic.

How much worse then, to imagine writing something like that for publication. I'd probably spend years writing and researching it, and at the end I'd be like, "Okay, why the fuck did I write a gay Nazi spy romance set sixty years before I was even born?" The very idea is politically suspect and in fact rather ludicrous. Can you say, Kiss of the Spider Woman?

I don't even get, to start with, how people can write historically without years of preparation. I guess that's what some people have--immersion in historical studies of a period which creates confidence that their writing has accuracy of detail. But me, personally, I feel enough like a faker now that any attempt to write outside what I know would probably rip me into little pieces.

Except I don't know a whole lot. Which goes back to the question of why I don't write pro fiction: because I have no sense of authenticity even as a human being. If I tried to write a book about a thirtyish woman living in Seattle, I'd still feel like I was missing the truth, because my own life is not representative. It's lame. It's far easier to make up shit in the Buffyverse than to try to capture real life. Because I don't know what that is.

Another cool thing about fan-fiction is that you have a set of readers who care already about the characters and what you do to them. Whereas every original novel is a learning curve, a crap shoot. Like, if I tried to write an original novel about a group of friends in California who battle evil and then one day evil takes over their town and demons subjugate them, etc etc--Noir--what's the point, really? I'd just be writing one more book to compete against thousands of other fantasy and sci-fi books out there, and I don't even know why I'd be writing.

I'm not big on religion, but to make an analogy, it's like Buffy and gang are gods and goddesses, their canon is the Bible, their metaphysics is a belief system, their adventures are our myths, and the ritual of weekly watching is our communal celebration--if you have all this, why would you go off and create your own fringe religion, with some made-up god to worship?

That analogy goes back to the feeling I've held for years, that television shows are often like Homeric myths--folk tales shared and circulated by people within a culture, with culture heroes and the bardic retelling of stories, each author reworking canon with her own unique voice, giving it her imprint.

Of course, that's a failed analogy because what if Joss had never thought up Buffy and made it happen? Then Star Trek would be the only one true universe, Kirk the only god...scary thought. And I have nothing against original works. I love original works. I just apparently can't figure out how to write them.

Yadda yadda. I should be making dinner, but it seems so much effort to chop things and cook them and eat.


elijah

Big Eden

Just watched this movie again--jeez. I can't remember the last time I cried so much, but in a good way. So much heartbreaking tenderness and love between people, all sorts of people. I wish I could really believe that's how human beings really are, and that all small towns are Big Edens. That's how I'd like the world to be.

That movie is like a washing machine--cleanses the heart and the spirit. I feel like you could shove a homophobe in at one end, and he'd come out squeaky clean and enlightened at the other end. It's just so good-hearted. How could anyone begrudge those guys a chance for love?

I can't remember if that's the second or third time I've seen it--I might have seen it twice in the theater--but for the first time I understood Pike's tribal story as it related to the film itself, and went ahhhhh! Greatness.