Sunday, April 3, 2011

Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead

I can't speak for other writers, obviously, but I tend to find myself that there are bits and pieces of my own personality inherent in all the of the characters I write. Partly it's just a way of getting into their heads; I mean, I do find it ironic that one of my characters, by turns one of the most sane and insane of them all, is basically my sense of sarcasm run amok. (Hi, Morgan!!!) But then, it also comes through in other ways.

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of both my morning and my afternoon out walking. Some of those walks involved me wearing weights around my wrists; they're not particularly heavy weights, incidentally, but they are noticeable. And what they reminded me of? Was Círa DeCameiron, a character of mine who wanders in and out of various novels and short stories. Círa is an elemental of the old order, being that she was around in one form or another before the age of the four cardinal gods of my other world, but one of these gods imprisoned her in what would become the judicial city of Aran Nomese. He thought it was particularly amusing because he essentially made her into a god of death, when Círa's adoptive god-father is as pacifist as can be. But one symbol of her imprisonment are the three tone woven-metal bracelets that she always wears; gold and silver and bronze, all metals from the great mines of the North. You can't always see them, and to everyone else they don't feel or look particularly heavy -- they're in a Celtic-inspired pattern, finely wrought and very light. Except to Círa, they feel like lead weights. I think most of the time it's not obvious, but when she is actually tired they will drag on her...physically, mentally, spiritually. This is likely to become an issue in latter parts of Greywater, but first I really need to finish the first half of the damn novel...

I was thinking of Círa before the weights, mind you -- because one of my walks involved roaming around the largest park in the city, and it made me consider the details of the palace of Greywater. This is where Círa "lives" in Aran Nomese, but again it's a bad joke on Janerin's part; it's actually the deteriorating remains of a palace from the largest city of the water-god's sunken kingdom. Of course it doesn't sit properly in the earth-god's realm, not least of all because it was designed to run off massive aqueducts and be in harmony with the sea around it, but...walking amongst the tall pines in the park, wrapped in the alpaca shawl I found in my mother's closet, I thought of Círa walking in the overgrown gardens of the displaced palace. So...yeah. I have her on my mind right now. I'm not sure if that means I will really get to writing more of her novel, but we'll see.

As I said the other day, though, I also have Ryenn and Arosek on my mind. It's got to the point where I am working on getting a commission of the two of them, though I can't quite work out how I want to see them portrayed. It's not so much their appearances, because I know what they look like. I've draw both of them myself, although only Ryenn ever really came out the way I wanted him to; Arosek's a bit trickier, as while Ryenn's very much a strong and silent watchful type, Arosek's a creature of constant motion. Ryenn's beautiful because of how he is made; Arosek's beauty is much more dependant on the personality animating the person, if that makes any sense. He's nothing special just to look at, but the spirit behind his otherwise very plain and ordinary eyes? Makes him a force of nature. Whereas Ryenn is just...Ryenn, really. In my mind he's like the marble statues in the various annexes of the Louvre; beautiful, bold, and completely beyond the scope of ordinary mortals.

I did come to the conclusion while looking for reference pictures, mind you, that Ryenn reminds me somewhat of Benedict Cumberbatch. I drew that conclusion because I was looking for pictures of Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law from Sherlock Holmes, because there's a no-personal-space buddy-bromance vibe there and I thought that might give me ideas, but then I remembered Sherlock as done by the Beeb, looked up some pictures, and was amused by the fact that the physical contrast between Cumberbatch and Freeman? how I see the physical contrast between Ryenn and Arosek. It's reversed, though, in the sense Arosek, the smaller and plainer of the two, is the forefront and animating force of the pairing. So, it didn't much help except for the fact I've developed a fascination with Benedict Cumberbatch. Although I had already kind of started down that road when I watched Sherlock the last time I was in Australia. Ha.

Still, there was one reference picture I'd saved to my harddrive for god knows what reason months back that I sent the artist, along with some others, and she's latched onto it. Which pleases me, in that I have long been fascinated by this particular picture. We'll see what comes of it eventually, I suppose. In the meantime I really ought to work on writing something. Ryenn and Arosek offer me several writing opportunities; both of them have their parts to play in Greywater, which would also allow me to play with Otho and Círa. Then I could work on The Forevergirl instead, which is the sequel to The Neverboy; I am not really sure how they play into that one, but certainly from what little I've been told already by Tara, Arosek's involved in this far more deeply than I realised at first.

And then, I suppose, there's The Simple Story. This is an interesting concept, for me, and I haven't really decided how to play it. Basically it's the tale of Ryenn and Arosek's messed up attempt at living their lives, but they're not really the ones telling it. Instead it's a collection of short stories, vignettes and outright novellas that act as a sort of...complex history, I guess. It's different characters relating what they know about these historical figures, and it's come about because I tend to write short stories about those two from varying points of view. And then I realised I could draw them together into a kind of compilation. I'm still debating how to do this, but I already have several stories in progress -- there's Círa and Otho after the execution, Aleksandr telling Araben about his country's most infamous traitors, the thrice-great grand-daughter finding the pictures (and toys) in the attic of her grand old family, Kit and what he saw the day he found Ryenn in the Chamber of Mirrors beneath the palace at Greywater...yeah. And over the last two days, my long walks have yielded two more ideas -- the hedgehog story, and then the superheroes story which I will also partly blame on Regina Spektor.

...speaking of songs, there's another one I keep thinking of whenever these two come to mind. Stars, with Your Ex-Lover Is Dead. I think this is twofold; firstly it's the refrain at the beginning. When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire. And then, the first's a man talking of how he runs into an old girlfriend when they're unwittingly "introduced" by a friend of a friend. He speaks of how they catch a taxi for an awkward silent drive across the's just how it ends: and all of that time you thought I was sad/I was trying to remember your name.

Just...ouch. I suppose it doesn't help that the song also does a neat thing later, where you can take something two ways. I'm not sorry I met you/I'm not sorry it's over/I'm not sorry/There's nothing to say. You could do that last bit two ways, as I said, and the song does both: I'm not sorry it's over, there's nothing to say as opposed to I'm not sorry it's over; there's nothing to say. Ah, the little tricks grammar can play on our emotions, yes? And I keep thinking of Arosek and Ryenn in their last moments, and I wonder which way it went for each of them. I think it's also because I realised at last why they fit together so well, and yet can't ever remain anywhere near one other. They're poles, really: Ryenn is the cliché in that he's not the kind of man who loves anyone, but Arosek is his polar opposite...he's incapable of not loving someone. And that's another story I know I need to write...Anja's recognition of this. Because I know Anja saw it...Ryenn didn't know how to love Arosek his whole life. And at the end, Arosek didn't know how not to love Ryenn, despite everything that happened.

And as they say, when there's nothing left to burn...

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