That is funny. Admit it. That's *hilarious*. I'm sitting there in my cubicle writing stuff like this:
Dean hasn't seen a calendar in years; he knows the seasons by the movement of the sun, the feel of the earth shifting from warm to cold. The world tastes like September, and Dean remembers west Texas in flat land stretching in marker-thick strips of vivid brown and black, the yellow tops of maize waving in pre-autumn winds, threshers moving complacently through the fields with drowsy men in hats waving at the road. He remembers green and gold fields of cows placid under the sun, half-year calves running on the outskirts of the herds. He remembers these were what he saw between jobs, lives being lived that had nothing to do with creeping twilight and sleeping only behind salt circles and ritual wards.
Words, words, words
One of the things I perenially repress and encourage is my sheer love of building pictures through words. I fight it off for periods of time I like to call phases of insanity, because going too deep that way ends you with stuff like Flight, which I leave up at my website as a constant reminder never to let my passion for overwriting overcome say, writing an actual story.
*eyes it* I swear, I'd use that sucker as a teaching exercise in everything you should never do in writing. Right up there with writing about sex without once ever letting the reader know anyone was having sex and not just a really intense acid flashback.
I was thinking about how I tend to categorize writers into fairly distinct camps. These camps--or you know, groups, what have you--have less to do with fandom, skill level, ability to punctuate properly, or even style. It's--hard to explain except by this idea that there are some writers, good or bad, who write from a place I can comprehend and some from a place I can't. It's a style thing, but it's also something else entirely. It's almost like the equivalent of realizing that your light spectrum isn't theirs. It's has nothing to do with intrpretation of canon, characters, pairing, or even tone of the story, because all of them have and did and will write my OTP at one time or another. It's something they bring into the fic that's more than I didn't see it before they wrote it; it's that before they wrote it, I never knew it was there. More than even that, there is no way as my mind is shaped that I could have seen it. I guess it may have a lot to do with style, but it's more than even that. They're seeing a world I don't, and I can't, not until they show me. And they see it in a way that I never could.
I'm trying to put together a short list of writers and fic that gave me this start of shock, but putting it in words is a lot like trying to describe a visceral reaction--I can't explain my claustrophobia, just tell you it's there, and it will make me go nuts in fairly short order. I can tell you they blew my mind writing the most mundane things in such a way that I saw a brand new world, but honestly, that sounds creepily like some kind of orgasmic-religious experience.
Okay, got one. Below the cut.
basingstoke I fell across--and I mean this literally, SV was my gateway slash fandom, I *stumbled* over people reeling from gold mine to gold mine of ficness. God, those were good times.
Ley Lines - Clark/Lex, Lex/Lana. It's just--every time I read it, I keep searching for hidden code in the text. I don't mean to, but I do. I keep looking for reasons, concepts, why is this happening, and Bas never gives why or how, just is. I believe her when she writes this world--I believe it completely. I just don't know why. There's always this second where I'm teetering on the edge of understanding Lana--and I mean, yes, there are a million canon reasons Lana would go this direction adn hell, with current canon, a million more, and every one of them true. Every one of them possible. But I don't know which one Bas used, or if she used any of them. It's almost--that we don't share the same context. We both watched the same show at the same time, and I wrote some fluffy ridiculous Clark/Lex and she wrote this, and I think, I didn't see this. Why didn't I see this?
Girl - Lex/Bruce Wayne. At the time in our fandom, I think this was the first, or might have been, and God knows everyone went here eventually, even me, because this is a pairing whose time had *come*. I read it the first time wiht little interest--I was OTP to end all OTP at the time she posted this--but I read it because I was following along with a mind I didn't understand. The style was sharp and spare, and the characters I recognized, except I didn't. I felt suddenly that I'd missed something in canon, that Lex had this second life I knew nothing about, buried beneath the fluff of the show, and I was fascinated. And it was the same question, again and again--why didn't I see this? Why didn't I see this before? It's obvious, it's there, but I never would have gone here, not like she did, not so casually, not so easily.
My favorite of her for all time I can't even *find* anymore, though I have a saved copy from her lj, with Lex and a sliver of glass and this entire amazingly rich, minimalist moment beside a swimming pool with Clark that I read over and over and over. There's a whole storyline of equal goodness attached around and about it, with Lionel's second wife and a baby but--it was that scene that startled me, stopped me, that second of recognition of something I wouldn't see often, that at the time, I really still thought was something I'd be able to find often and only realized later I never would. She was seeing Smallville in a way not inconsistent with mine, not at all--but in a way I couldn't. That I never could. And when I want to see Smallville through a different lens, this is where I go.
Got another one:
Okay, anyone who has been on the net for at least a while in fandom has run across her stuff. She's dabbled across fandoms everywhere, and I mean *everywhere*. And some I liked, and some I didn't, but I always read them. Always.
Sleepers (With Feet) - Paris/Torres. I found this on Katie Redshoes' totally awesome trek and x-files site, and I was OTP, so I read this one first and went huh. Huh. It was Voyager, yes, and not inconsistent with what I knew of canon, but so completely, totally differnet I was riveted. There were small, shadowed places that hadn't been there before, quiet and peaceful and sweet and sharply edged. Voyager was suddenly this lonely ship in the vastness of space, which yes, it had been all along, but I'd never seen it like this. A great deal of this is Jane's style, but it's also her ability to see where I can't, how I can't.
Comme si de rien n'était - Picard/Paris. That's not all, but that's enough. Enterprise, the shiny ship that's shadowed oddly--not darkly, not so differnet except how she looks into it, this strange teenage pilot and his friends, sleek and glittery and razor edged bitterness, and how she brings it to Picard and uses it to cut him in ways he never could have expected. That I never expected, even with the damn pairing code right there. She went a place I didn't expect, though in retrospect I should have, it was there all along--I just didnt' see it. I couldn't see it.
...Is A Boy Forever - Paris/others. Okay, just because I'm here, this.
The music is undefinable. It has the ragged edge of four-century old Soviet industrial art, mixed with a compelling beat and radiating waves of bass through his body. It's good enough to eat, almost, that sound. He could live on it. He dances on the edge of dehydration and exhaustion in a city that was destroyed by Mongol hordes and Christian knights and Black Death and Nazi bombs and nuclear fire and was raised again. Kiev feels, at this moment, like him, the was he feels. You can't take it or him apart.
He dances alone because he's still seventeen and he knows he's beautiful and he doesn't give a shit about anything else. He wants everyone to look at him. Very likely they are. See a blond boy perched on an industrial catwalk in an east Kiev ramshackle factory block, dressed in black and silver, moving like water and fascinated by the lights while the hands of the crowd ghost his body from a distance.
Tom turns, extends his arms above his head and runs one hand down the opposite forearm in a slow, sensual stretch. Standing suddenly opposite him is a Bajoran in brown rebel leathers. The Bajoran boy isn't dancing. There's New Zealand light glancing off his earring. He's irritated, he gestures at Tom, mouths traitor. But Tom only thinks to himself that the Bajoran is angry because they were arrested, and he'll understand later that it wasn't Tom's fault. As if he could have read the minds of Starfleet. Getting arrested was a goddamned accident, nothing more. The other part of Tom's brain says that the Maquis boy does not belong at the Kiev rave, but that information gets lost in the music and the dream and does not repeat itself.
His hands are painted silver and the music comes in black waves. He should be getting ready now to drop onto the towering antique speakers and dance with that girl from Nairobi with the tribal scars on her cheekbones, the one he slept with later and she showed him the sun rising over the Kenyan highlands when he woke.
If nothing else, reading that reminds me that I have so far to go in painting words into pictures that can never be forgotten.
Synchronized Misconceptions I don't even know how to explain this one. I just don't. Rodney confuses me, Sheppard is a blank walled enigma of--something--and he's not the Sheppard I've written, I've watched, I've read in more fics than I can count before and since. But he is, this mix of impressions by a Rodney that's on the very edge of what I understand. I never would have seen this story, I never could have written it. I never would have followed the path of this fic or anticipated it because my mind doens't work that way. But this one, I just--God. I re-read it half a dozen times, looking for the patterns and the meaning and came up with something new every time, something I'd never seen before.
Isolation - this one usually falls into a completely different category of fic for me--the rarely found non-con with everyone consenting. But moving beyond that, it was the way she viewed John, so brittle that he's not shattering only because he can't, it's not in him to know how, but besides that--I recognized it, and felt it, this pull of recognition of something I wouldn't ever see again, not in this way. This differently shadowed cave in this strange Lost Boys world that was nothing like what I watched yet is in every way.
And I'm tossing this one out because this author completely knocked me over, because I thought I knew her and totally did not.
Still Water by Rachel Sabotini. I still have no idea how to go about reading this fic. It's--they find Ancient baths. There's some people arguing silently. There's sex. I know them because I've seen them in canon, but this one fic, she took them and made Atlantis feel *different*. With different shadows and differnet feelings and differnet people that are exactly the same. I've read this one more times than I can count and I still surface from it bewildered and a little high and smiling because I didn't expect anything there though I should have. She showed them to me as characters I knew and realized I didn't know that well at all.
Okay, done with the confusing aspects.
When I think of Jane St. Clair's Tom Paris in Kiev, I sometimes think of John Sheppard in America. Seventeenish, after Rodney brought him back and brought him up and couldn't let him go. Awkwardly antisocial and still filled with memories he only finds in his dreams of alien skies and worlds his feet have never stepped foot on. Of people that are growing to be more memory than reality when Atlantis went silent one horrified day and Rodney broke down in his office when John came home from classes.
When they told Rodney that the gate wouldn't engage and Atlantis was lost to them.
I think John took it badly.