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If you're here for my fanfiction, fan art/graphics, and reviews or stray thoughts about fiction and media, have no fear: it's all unlocked and anyone is free to friend this journal with or without asking first.
If you'd also like access to my personal blog, containing travel diary entries, pictures of my pets, and (potentially) original art and fiction, comment here. Off-duty superheroes get in after hours.
Bone run

And on the road to Hell there was a railroad station...

My obsessions don't usually overlap too much but while I was still in the grasp of Lucifer, I fell into another in the car on the way home from my first Fauci Ouchie. On the showtunes station on Sirius, the DJ introduced a song saying the show, Hadestown, had been #1 on Broadway for the past two years. I'd never heard of it but I like Greek mythology, and then the bass voice that began it was spellbinding, and then there was a back-and-forth with a soprano, which is my favorite thing in musicals, and then the soprano sang, "Where are you now, Orpheus?" and I was like, cool, I know this one!

So I looked it up when I got home and I haven't stopped listening since. Unlike most of my favorites, for this one the appeal isn't in quick patter and clever rhymes; it's the story. The myth of Hades and Persephone is woven together with Orpheus/Eurydice and given a vaguely post-apocalyptic setting and a New Orleans vibe, and every single line serves the motivation of the characters and the themes of destiny and doubt and love.

It's incredibly beautiful. Around the halfway point, the adorkable head-in-the-clouds Orpheus finds out Eurydice is gone and he needs to do whatever it takes to find her, and the expression of his determination is so genuine and moving it's like entire volumes of character development went into a few seconds of song. The myth is barely altered, which is staggering when you think about how old it is. For humanity to hold onto a story for so long has to mean there's truth in it, so in a way, it really happened.

I did notice that between that and Lucifer I seem to have a Hell theme going on, which is...amusing and hopefully coincidental. :) Meanwhile I've been rereading The Amber Spyglass, and didn't remember until getting to that part today that this is the one where [Spoiler cut just in case anyone is watching the HBO series without reading the books.]Lyra and Will go to the land of the dead which is in many ways just Dante's Inferno.

Cut me a ticket, I guess I'm boarding the train. What's your favorite Hell story?
Everything Is Changing

Lucifer Fic

Title: One Dance With the Princess of Hell
Author: Kairos
Fandom: Lucifer
Characters/Pairing: Lucifer/Chloe, Trixie
Wordcount:
Summary: It's really hard to be a rebellious teenager when one of your parental figures literally invented rebellion.
Notes: I don't know, it just happened. Spoilers through 5A.

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Read it on Ao3.
GIR

Books Lately: Going Off the Script

Finished Flowers for Algernon. Great book. Then I went to Missouri to visit my sister and left my library behind.

Tess has a good collection herself, so I chose a selection at the beginning of my stay and kept them in a little stack, but over the two weeks I only got through two: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The former was a good read, pretty short and simple, rather depressing in the way that classic tragedies are. The latter was a chore from beginning to end. I've been meaning to get to it for a while since it seemed like a book that everyone but me had read, but I came away with no enlightenment on why it's assigned and lauded all over the place. Depressing in the way that's just depressing.

But at least I got to scratch another square off my poster. Also got to check the Steinbeck off of my other list. Speaking of those, I decided on my next read by finding the first book that showed up in both, and accordingly downloaded The Great Gatsby (another one that everyone's read but me). Haven't started it yet, since I wanted something that wasn't a classic.

To that end, I had recently finished another Pelted'verse, Some Things Transcend - not my favorite in the series, but still good enough that I wanted to keep going - and now I'm on Dreamhearth. I have vague goals of straightening out the chronological order without checking to see which one's next.

I also brought a paperback to MO that we had in the house and I didn't think Simon or I was likely to read (I think it's titled Sing, Unburied, Sing), and traded it to Tess for her copy of World War Z, since she and Mom both read it a while back and loved it. It will probably take some time before I get to it though.

Now that I'm home I'm back to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I think I read it years ago but this time I'm making it count. Only problem is it's part of a Mark Twain collection in a huge hardcover just like The Gulag Archipelago Vol. 2, so having them both going at once is taking up a lot of coffee table space.

Poetry hasn't changed. I'll never get through Keats. Haven't been reading any comics lately and starting to feel the lack, so, vintage X-Men to be continued soon. That's all the news for now. Sorry if anyone likes The Catcher in the Rye.
Sandman

TV Lately But It's Just Lucifer

Looks like monthly resolution check-ins are just not a thing this year, since I keep forgetting that I even have creative projects to work on. Maybe I'll get back to it once a few hanging real life responsibilities are taken care of and I've set myself a routine.

At the moment, though, I'm visiting my sister in Missouri (on Earth), and that comes with legitimate reasons I can't do things, except for late at night when I usually just want to be watching TV. Since I have a hankering for fandom I think I'm just going to talk about said TV for a little bit.

You know how there's a difference between shows on the air that you love so much it feels like torture to wait for the new content to come out, and shows on the air that you love so much that you actually can't wait for the new content and you turn to fandom to get some kind of fix? I've had a lot of the former lately - The Mandalorian, The Boys, What We Do in the Shadows - but I can't remember the last time I felt the need to search for fanfiction and YouTube clips, until I discovered Lucifer.

Okay, so we all know I'm not a DC person except for Sandman, but Sandman alone opens you up to a lot of other Vertigo material. I haven't read any of John Constantine or Lucifer's comics, but I was aware of the characters. Lucifer's arc in Sandman explains how and why he abdicated from Hell, and it's good stuff, but I was never interested in him as a main character for the same reasons I was wary of American Gods (later validated, thank you very much). The show seemed like an easy skip too. Satan, but like, he's just misunderstood? Edgy, man.

Then I heard a couple things that made me think I might have the wrong impression, so I added it to my list and within a few episodes I'd committed to the whole thing. The premise as laid out in the beginning dispelled a lot of my suspicions: Lucifer considers himself both the offspring and the enemy of God, but it's not because he believes that he himself is good and God is evil -- or vice versa. In fact, he's not concerned about good and evil at all, as he's simply a narcissistic hedonist out to enjoy himself.

That's enough to take genuine Judeo-Christian theology out of the picture and let me view it as just a fantasy universe which shares a lot of themes and names with the Bible. Better yet, it makes the lead into a complete bastard in a way that's entirely human, meaning he's redeemable.

As far as I know, the comics never go in that direction, and Lucifer is still self-serving and amoral. Comics seem to be able to get away with that more than TV shows can, though I don't see the appeal. Even the redeemable bastard is a pretty difficult sell for a main character, and Lucifer really doesn't rush his epiphanies. Fortunately, he's incredibly charismatic, so you can enjoy him long before you start to get attached to him.

So, questions of earthly morality set against divine consequence? This is my jam. Lucifer is offended when anyone blames the Devil for their own actions or assumes the ruler of Hell must be evil, and he's got a point. Punishing the guilty is supposed to be justice, he's never sadistic about it, he doesn't kill or lie, and to top it all off, he himself was sent to Hell as punishment. The only reason given for his fall is "rebellion," and that's a really nebulous crime to pin on someone when it's not foregone that God is infinitely wise and loving.

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Lucifer has no reason to listen to everyone demanding he goes back to his sucky job, unless he acknowledges a need and a personal responsibility for it. Getting to that point takes four entire seasons, and even though some of that could be the work of plot holes, it's a fascinating emotional journey. Lucifer's already been on Earth for five years when the show begins, so it's implied that he only begins to change through the events we see from thereon in. How does an immortal, powerful celestial being with a vendetta against God become a decent person? Apparently, he goes to therapy. And he solves murders. Also, of course, he falls in love.

Okay but no seriously, the therapy sessions start out funny and then make all kinds of sense. Granted, the murders are pretty dull and I feel like the show would improve a lot if we could just skip them sometimes. Seems like everyone thinks that so it's not just because I don't like procedurals.

As for the love story...

I've gradually realized that my favorite romantic dynamic is the couple with such enormous obstacles between them that it doesn't even seem possible for them to live happily ever after. My least favorite is probably the couple who keeps changing their minds about each other just to keep the audience watching. Thing is, it's surprisingly hard to tell those apart in the early stages, but for this one I have a feeling that if I went back to the beginning and started over, everything that I thought was "will they won't they" would suddenly start to feel like "slow burn."

Sloooowwww buuuuurn. By the time Chloe finds out Lucifer really is the Devil, they've already had the Big Damn Kiss, she's shown a supernatural immunity to his power, he's made major sacrifices to rescue or protect her, there's a clear danger that she's being steered by destiny into loving him, and (well obviously) every other character knows they're meant for each other.

That revelation was a cliffhanger at the end of S3 and then the show was cancelled until Netflix picked it up. I have no idea if I'd be shipping them now if that had been the end, but I'm glad I don't have to find out. The way the next season deals with the fallout is really what makes it for me, quite aside from how I think this might be that rare show that starts out pretty good but gets better with every season.

With Buffy/Angel still somewhat of a subconscious model I have for every ship, the comparison of Buffy's reaction to Angel's true face with Chloe's reaction to Lucifer's true face was right there, and they couldn't be more different. Chloe being unable to accept it was a major heartbreaker, but I was also so impressed with her. Researching at the Vatican is actually quite a logical move, fit for a detective, since she only had one other source for the true history of the universe and she couldn't ask him. (Although, my first thought was that she should have gone to Amenadiel. I guess she thought that if Lucifer turned out to be evil, so would his brother-angel?) The conclusions she left with were logical too, and spending the entire season getting over them was the only thing that made sense.

And then, reconciliation....but there's more obstacles! She took his mojo! He won't say the words "I love you!" She's bound for Heaven when she dies but he'll be stuck on Earth or in Hell! She has a daughter who's her first priority! They have radically different lifestyles and he won't want to give his up! He's still an immortal manchild!

This is long enough, but I probably have more to say about this show, I just can't access it until someone else says something, so I hope someone says something. Have some bulletpoints, though:

• Angels have feathered wings that materialize when needed regardless of clothing. Lucifer's are white. Hot guys with white feathered wings was kind of my thing when I was a teenager aaand I never really grow out of anything so yeah, I am being played like a fiddle.

• Another fantasy, much more commonplace, is a man who's both a sex god and completely loyal. These traits rarely coincide in real life, because loyal men don't get a lot of practice in the sack, but once Chloe and Lucifer start getting it on...hoo boy.

• Lucifer's uneven friendship with Mazikeen is fantastic. Mazikeen herself is fantastic, but the juxtaposition of her extreme attachment to him and her repeated betrayals gets me every time, especially when he shrugs it off because demon is as demon does.

• I really hope Eve returns and she and Maze live happily ever after, though. I also hope that Maze succeeds in her quest for a soul, but even if she doesn't I love it that we can compare her arc with Spike and she'll almost definitely come out of it looking better than him.

• Trixie sets the show apart. She's so much more than a cute kid. All my opinions on all the other characters are just based on what Trixie thinks about them.
Perpetua

Icon ramble meme

Tagged by hamsterwoman to talk about these three icons, but totally forgot about it, but then remembered.



I honestly thought I got this one from the Hamster Woman herself but apparently not! Therefore there's not much I can say about the art or who made it, but I do know that it depicts Beren and Luthien and their Very Good Boy (you may have mistaken him for a horse but look closer), from Tolkien's The Silmarillion. I like using it for a general fairy tale mood.



Voice balloon from Saga, spoken by Alana but quoting the book that inspired her and Marko to turn on their respective cultures and elope, leading to the comic's events. I like the quote itself because it's frequently applicable to real life, but also I think the effect of switching out the normal font with Times New Roman to show it's a quote is pretty cool.



Nothing unexpected for this one - I wanted a Faith icon, I like being able to put a label on my latest obsession, and the text fits the scene. I don't stab anyone with my latest obsessions though. In fact Faith and I don't have too much in common, strictly speaking.
Psyche

(no subject)

I can't really keep up with anything lately so here's art from the end of 2020 that I never got around to posting. The tail end of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic introduced hippogriffs as a sentient race and I really liked their design so I tried converting my ponysona into one but it was harder than I expected.

I do have a working tablet now and it's a good one, but the replacement computer is painfully sluggish so I can't really multitask on it as is my wont. I should be setting aside time to just do art and ignore everything else but you know how it is, plus I'm far from mastering Clip.

Yes, I had a ponysona. I miss that cartoon. It always used to cheer me up when I felt like this.



Obligatory clarifying note, I am FINE, just tired and grumpy.
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Aes Sedai

Snowflake Challenges #4-6

Snowflake Challenge promotional banner with image of white ice crystals/snowflakes on a dark green background. Text: Snowflake Challenge January 1-31

Challenge #4

In your own space, create some goals.


Original fiction:

Retronym
The Namefinder
Finish writing the first arc of a comic
Write a 2-5k word story about anything
Camp NaNoWriMo
A poem about animals

Fanfiction:

Complete a B/A one-shot
Work on one of my abandoned B/A projects
"All Partial Evil"
Rewrite the Rahne/Dany fic I started in 2020
Continue my Lion King fic
Begin my Kastle sequel

Art and crafting:

Paint another elephant
Make a fun tree or a cozy bed for Tealeaf
Advent calendar
Lord of the Rings digital art
Wheel of Time art
Take one of those monthly challenges like Inktober and actually do the whole month

Reading:

I'm actually kind of in a good place with reading goals? Not because I've hit a lot of them; I'm just not that concerned anymore with how many I read per year, or which authors I can claim to have under my belt. I read a lot of good books and I can't really think of how to improve that by making an item to cross off later.

TV and games:

Finish FFIX
Watch The Clone Wars
Get started on a chronological MCU rewatch
Through S3 of Buffy reviews

Other:

Revisit my MMO
Repost my 30-day meme
Handwritten letters or postcards to anyone who wants them, sign up here

Snowflake Challenge promotional banner featuring a wrapped giftbox with a snowflake on the gift tag. Text: Snowflake Challenge January 1-31

Challenge #5

In your own space, promote a canon/talk about a part of canon that you love.


I'm going to be talking about The Wheel of Time a lot over the next year or two - if not here, then certainly elsewhere, so I may as well explain a little about how I got so attached to it.

Timing was part of it, as it so often is with favorite canons. I was about thirteen, and I knew fantasy was my favorite genre but didn't have all that much experience with it aside from The Lord of the Rings and some schlocky stuff aimed at...well, my own age group.

Then I met a girl a couple years older than me, whom we'll call Arya (incidentally, she later introduced me to A Song of Ice and Fire). In addition to the years of fast friendship that began there, her book recs were the best - overall, probably the most formative source of my literary tastes that I ever had. Even though I didn't know that at the time, I took a chance on The Eye of the World, and found it wholly different than anything I had ever enjoyed before.

Here's the thing: I liked fantasy because it was full of animals. As I child I read books about animals, and when I outgrew them I still secretly missed the animals. But fantasy brought them back - legendary creatures, talking beasts, animal sidekicks, or even just sentient races with animal traits.

The Wheel of Time didn't have any of those, just some monsters (until Loial shows up, but let's be honest, Ogier are basically extra-tall hobbits). Even the horses are hardly anything more than transportation. Oh boy, I thought. Every single character is human. This is the real deal. A grown-up book.

Halfway through the book some animals (wolves of course) started talking after all, but I would have been hooked even without them; the humans had already proven themselves. The world with its libraries worth of history, the hard limits on what magic could be accomplished, the interpersonal drama...I had to know what happened next.

Seven books later I had to take a breather to wait for the eighth one to be published, and unfortunately that coincided with The Slog. If you've been reading my book posts for a while you'll notice I hadn't even finished the series until last year, and I'm just now thinking about the span of time that I was obsessed with this series in comparison with the span that I was fed up with it, and...the latter is like ten times as long, guys, I'm not kidding.

Alright, so far this is way more autobiographical than it is promoting the canon that I'm talking about, and now I'm concerned that I may actually be turning potential readers off of it, but here's the thing: The Wheel of Time shaped who I am. It taught me what I like to read, and therefore what I like to write. It convinced me that growing up and paying attention to humans wouldn't be so bad. It gave me my friendship with Arya, which in turn gave me the most important social circle of my youth.

If I ever looked back and realized that the books weren't actually that good, I feel like a part of me would shrivel up and never recover. Fortunately, I don't have to - I still love this epic, quirky, unique story, and I can be proud of the kid I once was, understanding the value in it right from the start.

Snowflake Challenge promotional banner featuring a cup of frothy coffee or hot chocolate on a plate with a piece of greenery and a cozy comforter with a sprig of baby’s breath. Text: Snowflake Challenge: 1-31 January.

Challenge #6

In your own space, rec at least three fanworks that you didn’t create.


1. taaroko made this for last Halloween and it's so much fun, whether or not you love vampires.



2. I knew there was some hamsterwoman poetry I wanted to share, but I'm still not sure what it was, because while I was looking I found this one and it's based on the Great Houses of ASOIAF so you have to see it too.

House Acrostics


3. girlpire does awesome stuff with crocheting. These were my favorite.

Star-Lord/Gamora

2020 Resolutions Check-In

Fanfiction:

Write for The Lion King
Finish one of my old B/A WIPs
Work on, if not finish, my oldest B/A WIP
Complete a fic of any length for the GotG fandom
"All Partial Evil"
Finish my Kastle WIP
One X-Men/BtVS crossover


So, all three of the uncrossed off ones are BtVS - the reason I prioritized the other fandoms is that I wanted my return to Buffy to come through the episode reviews, which come further down on the list. Somewhat pleased about getting all the others done, although only the GotG one qualifies as a one-shot so the rest have really only contributed to the mental catalogue of things I ought to get written.

Original fiction:

Revisit my YA fantasy novel
Clean up and post/publish a couple poems
Complete "Retronym"
Complete the romance novel I started a few years ago
Finish writing the first arc of a comic
Write a 2-5k word story about anything
Camp NaNoWriMo


I knew I wasn't being realistic with this category but it still stings a bit. I'll carry over most of these.

Art and crafting:

Make something for my nephew and/or nieces
Paint on a canvas
Make myself a skirt
Add a dozen items to my Etsy store
Make three finished pieces of digital fan art
Learn a new medium

Woohoo! Check me out, Artist-Craftsperson 2020!

Reading:

Catch up on Squirrel Girl
Binge some classic Marvel
Twenty-four total books
Three of them from authors I've never read before
Reread Lord of the Rings and regularly post discussions on it


And this one was downright easy.

TV and games:

Catch up on Game of Thrones
Finish Lost
Finish The Legend of Korra
Revive my BtVS episode reviews
Complete Untitled Goose Game
Replace my PS2 and use it to finish FFIX


TV goals are easy too, of course, except when I stick something in there like the episode reviews. I only got one done, but I think I'll do better this year.

Other:

Revisit my homebrew 30-day meme
At least one book/movie/comic/TV/fanwork review or meta per month
Make good on my random goodwill meme promises
Revisit my MMO idea


I did the bare minimum on these, tbh, but if not for the meme I might not have bothered with any. Yay lists of goals!