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In physical space, I made out like a bandit courtesy of my family and friends. And in virtual space, I got an awesome story!

You get a lifetime: It takes Wendy about a day to find out. (2,500 words)

[ETA post-reveal: written by [livejournal.com profile] zombieboyband!]

This is a Mysterious Skin story set just after the end of the movie, dealing with Wendy and Neil and their complicated friendship. It's also a little about their joint friendship with Eric, and Eric's friendship with Brian, and how Brian and Neil finally meeting and talking has shaken things up.

I warn you that the movie is about potential trigger warning ), and the story obvious touches on that, albeit indirectly. But it's sharp and clear-eyed and angry and sad, and somehow ends on a note of tentative hope rather than the lacerating revelations that close the film.

Go read it. It's beautiful.


ETA: And here are some of [livejournal.com profile] zombieboyband's thoughts about Yuletide, after the reveal.
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Dear Yuletide Writer,

Hi, and thank you in advance for writing a story for me! I'm pretty easy to please -- unless you write a story that's only a long sex scene, I'll be thrilled just to get a fic in one of the fandoms I asked for. *grin* But I realize that's not terribly helpful, so here's the (very!) long version. (I am sorry for the tl;dr, but I like to talk about things I love and I figure more details are better than fewer.)


General Information )

Okay. On to specific fandoms.


The Lions of Al-Rassan )

Lucifer )

The Dispossessed )

Mysterious Skin - TRIGGER WARNING )

And that is that.
edenfalling: circular blue mosaic depicting stylized waves (ocean mosaic)
1. If you worked as a secretary at "the local grain company" in Kansas in the late 1980s, would your company be likely to have a computer? If so, what kind and what would its capabilities be? If not, what office technology would you have instead?

I ask because I was only about six or seven year old at the time in question (and also, I grew up about 25 miles from Manhattan), and I am therefore very, very unclear on the intermediate steps in office technology between, say, typewriter-with-carbon-paper and PC-hooked-to-internet. Internal networks like I think IBM used to do are a complete mystery to me, and I don't know if a modestly sized grain company would either have been interested in or been able to afford such a system anyway.

(This is in reference to the Mysterious Skin fic I am trying to write for Femgenficathon. The character in question is Avalyn Friesen, and the setting is the rural vicinity of Hutchinson, which is about 40 miles northwest of Wichita.)


2. I have been thinking, once again, that I really should go back to college (by which I mean, take one or two online courses a semester for several years) and finish a degree in something, if only so that I have my trained monkey certification and can thus get a foot in the door at better jobs should I feel inclined to look for a new position. The thing is, I associate college with the worst years of my life -- the years in which my depression and all my related maladaptive thought patterns jumped out and beat me up repeatedly, once I was away from my accustomed support networks -- and I have a reflexive mental/emotional flinch reaction whenever the idea of returning to that comes up. Also, I hate, hate, hate the reminder of how many courses I screwed up or just failed utterly because I was unable to attend classes or complete the assigned work.

It would, I think, be less distressing if the inability had been because the classes were hard. No. This was because I was unable to do much of anything for several weeks every month or three, and then did not have the tools to climb out of the resulting hole, nor even the tools to convince myself that I was worthy of so much as attempting to climb out of the hole. And that is not a state of mind I want to touch with a ten foot pole... but I kind of have to at least brush against it in passing, if I want to get copies of my transcripts and talk to admissions people about how many courses I need to do to get a degree and swear to them that no really, I'm better now, I promise.

(...Okay, organic chemistry genuinely was hard -- I just cannot visualize complicated stereoisomers to save my life, and now you know why I decided to major in German literature instead of chemistry -- but everything else was easy. Which was quite possibly part of the problem. Easy things don't feel meaningful.)

Anyway, I talked about this with Vicky when I saw her in August, and she helped me write up a list that breaks down "go back to college" into a bunch of small, manageable steps. I need to print that out and pin it to the wall behind my computer to prod myself into taking action.


3. Gacked from [livejournal.com profile] annearchy: The first five people to comment on this post get to request that I write a drabble/ficlet of any pairing/character of their choosing. In return, they have to post this in their journal, regardless of their own writing ability level. (Slight variation: you must specifically ask for a ficlet in your comment or I will assume you don't want one and will move on to the next person. Also, what the heck, I will write ten of these -- five for LJ comments and five for DW comments, assuming anyone is interested at all.)

I make no promises whatsoever as to length -- you may get a single sentence if that's all I can think of -- but I do tend to run long...
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1. I am a creature of serial enthusiasms (and/or obsessions). I always have been. My most recent one is Inception, and following tangentially from that, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose filmography I am slowly piecing my way through. Thus far, I have watched Brick (which is perhaps best described as a high-school AU of the entire film noir genre -- and also awesome, so don't let the description put you off), and, as of last night, Mysterious Skin.

Which broke me. Completely and utterly. I thought I was doing fairly well at... remembering that it was a story, maybe? Keeping a bit of emotional breathing space? And then the last scene and Neil McCormick's final voiceover monologue just ripped away that illusion and I could not stop crying.

Mysterious Skin is a beautifully written, directed, and acted film. It is deeply empathetic toward its characters. It is as restrained and tasteful as I think it is possible to be, given the subject matter.

But, you see, it's the story of cut for triggers ) and how the repercussions of that play out in their lives over the next ten years... and it also includes cut for triggers ) later on.

There is no way on earth for it not to be upsetting.

I think I am going to watch 10 Things I Hate About You next. I need something cheerful and relatively mindless to balance me out.


2. Today was the last day of regular RE classes untill fall. As such, we had no lesson plan and were provided with apple juice and popcorn in order to hold a class party. Also, when I was doing the teacher scheduling last fall, I wrote all four of us in for today, since I figured it would be nice to get everyone together at the end of the year.

Since a party is a somewhat dangerously unstructured way of filling an hour, we opened in the usual fashion -- chalice lighting, pass the squeeze, joys & sorrows, gems of goodness, chalice extinguishing -- and then handed out food and drink. We then spent five to ten minutes prompting the kids to reminisce about stuff we've done this year, after which I stepped up to tell a story.

My go-to book in these situations is (and probably always will be) Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, because they are a joy to read aloud and also reliably entertaining for kids ranging in age from five to ten. Today I read "The Beginning of Armadillos," with occasional pauses for interactivity and also a brief interruption when the DRE came by to hand out decorative buttons to the teachers. (Which was a nice thought, but rather awkward timing.)

All in all, it has been a good year. But next year I'd like to get back to teaching first grade instead of second or third.


3. Having cut my hair, it occurred to me that I have always harbored a vague urge to dye it some ridiculous color, just for the hell of it. And since I figure that that sort of temporary insanity is best done before one turns thirty (if you are dyeing your hair on a regular basis, age limits of course cease to apply, but I am classing this impulse as "youthful folly" and working from there), I had better hurry and get it done before next February. (Also, since my hair is now very, very short, the dyed bits will grow out in a couple months so I will not be saddled with the color very long should I end up hating the results.)

MS has offered to look into hair dye options for me. \o/


ETA: WARNING for discussion of potentially triggery subjects in the comments on the LJ version of this post.


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Elizabeth Culmer

October 2017

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