Monday, November 28, 2011
If I Could Turn Back Time
The first time I walked into the Raphael room at the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington, I just about had a fit because it was huge, empty, and beautiful. I have a thing for grand stately rooms, particularly when I feel like I have it to myself (you may note in entry before this one, there is a picture of the larger temple at Abu Simbel with no people in front of it; I took that, and my good god it was amazing to be able to do so). The next time I saw the Raphael room I figured it wouldn't get any better than the first hit, so to speak. HOW WRONG I WAS. They'd installed what you see above: a giant couch. That's not even the half of it. You could walk into this room, kick off your shoes, and loll around in the presence of masterpieces.
There's a reason why I'm babbling on about this, believe it or not, but I'll get to it in a minute. The entry is really supposed to point out that I've "finished" NaNo, or at least I've achieved some of what I set out to do. I have first drafts of Hibernaculum and Greywater finished, I have a random beautiful and terrifying scene between Ryenn and Arosek written, I have a roughly 7k short story about SPARKLY EVIL BLOOD FAE, and as of today I have 50k on the manuscript of Kaverlen Falls, which I just started last week. I'm hoping to finish a draft of the 6k short story The Blacksmith's Daughter tomorrow, and...the official wordcount so far is 154,256.
I'm still having something of a crisis. I just don't know if I'm a good writer. It's a mental thing, as in I'm a complete mentalist, but now that I have spent almost six weeks in Australia writing my heart, eyes, and wrists out, I'm terrified there's nothing to show for it. Which is blatant lies judging by the prodigious output I've managed, but then I tend to bury my head in my hands and wail BUT IT'S ALL CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAP an awful lot. [rolls eyes] I don't know.
Speaking of crap, my mother forced me to go see the latest Twilight movie with her the other day; I already felt ill before we got there, and the patented SPINNY CAMERA ANGLES OF DOOM meant halfway through the damn thing I had to dig into my purse and find two paracetamol and five mg of prochlorperazine. And I still felt so ill I had to keep my eyes closed for ten minutes. I didn't even eat my popcorn, and I have an eating disorder. (Maybe I should just spend my life locked in a room with Stephanie Meyer. I can almost guarantee I'd never want to eat again if all I had for stimulation was her books and those damn movies.) At one stage in the movie I even facepalmed. I literally facepalmed. Here, have a visual aid:
And I don't even like Star Trek, either. (DENNY CRANE!) I don't even remember what it was that made me do it. There were a lot of things that upset me about that movie. Principally, though, I was deeply disturbed by the power balance in Bella and Edward's relationship. I could only stomach it by entertaining the private theory that Bella is in fact an anguisette (thank you for the sanity switch, Jacqueline Carey). Because otherwise I'd just have to go with my initial gut feeling, which was that Bella is a good and dutiful housewife-to-be who marries at eighteen, justifies her husband's violence against her with "he can't help himself" and "it's proof of how much he loves me" and when her unborn baby threatens the mental health of her friends and family and also her own life, she justifies allowing herself to die by the thought her worth as a wife is only to act as a human incubator.
Also, there was a huge-ass fight between vampires and werewolves and NO BLOOD WAS SHED WHATSOEVER. I miss Alucard. I miss him a lot. ...I guess I just like my abominations Eldritch, not Edward.
The thing is, though, that I really ought to be careful what I complain about. I readily admit I can't and won't ever understand Twilight. But I will open myself to mockery by admitting the other day I noticed a movie about to play on FoxTel and promptly recorded it. And later watched it while kicking my feet in glee. I know most people pan the damn thing, but in my opinion it's so bad it's hilarious. ...sorry. ^_~
But I think I'm in a melancholy mood anyway because I finally finished reading the full text of the old story I had been writing all those years ago with an older friend, and...while I was wincing at the writing at the beginning, by the end I was utterly absorbed in the world we had created and the story we were weaving to the point I couldn't work out who wrote what. It's also been so long since I paid any lasting attention to the characters or the story that I'd forgotten so much of what we had written and what we had planned, and now that I am at the end of it...the sense of loss is immense. Not just for the story itself, but for the friendship that created it. I ache to read more of it, as much as I ache to write to my old friend and see where life has taken her now.
I thought of the V&A above for several reasons. I mean, museums are places of memory. You walk in the door and you are taken back to places that existed long ago -- so long ago, in some cases, that we can't even be quite sure they did exist. We can guess, but we're never going to know what those lives were like. There's a terrible sadness, in that. And I get a similar sadness from unfinished stories, especially one like this. So much potential, just rotting away on my harddrive. It feels like a betrayal, that even I forgot them. Part of me just wants to turn around and write to my old friend and beg her to tell me that she didn't forget, because if we both did...it seems so unfair.
But then, I also thought of the V&A because of that giant couch. It's not the first whimsical thing I've found in a London museum; I was most enchanted by the Super Fun Happy Slide! installation I discovered one dreary December at the Tate Modern, but then you expect that kind of malarkey at the Tate Modern. Not so at Victoria's digs. I love that museum for many reasons, and I walk in there feeling like it's one of the great and airy palaces of my imagination, stately and elegant and real. And then...I find a giant couch in my favourite room.
The emperor of the story I forgot, he came to his royal title at the age of eighteen after having been raised a commoner. It was always a running joke in the writing process that Dion would one day do something daft like fill the Emperor's Bathchambers with rainbow bubbles and a thousand rubber duckies, or that he'd draw a hopscotch grid on the approach to the Shining Throne and refuse to hold court unless all assembled gave him a round. He's the kind of person who'd insist on beanbags for state assemblies. TAnd this room, in this beautiful and elegant museum...had a giant couch specifically designed for lolling. Dion would have loved this room.
I wish I hadn't forgotten. In some ways, though, I almost wish I hadn't remembered.