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Nov. 4th, 2007 | 03:49 pm

What makes someone a hero? What makes someone a villain?


This is one of the easiest questions to answer. Perspective. Everyone is the hero of the novel of his own life.

Take me, for example. There are those who think me quite the consummate villain. They are very eager to point out my faults: I put spells on them; I work for any arch-fiend willing to pay me; I endanger the lives of the innocent. Without doubt, I am suspected of everything from genocide down to drinking milk out of the carton and hogging the television remote. That is their picture of me.

Yet, I think of myself as offering relief from the excruciating boredom these people have allowed their lives to become. One gray day to the next. When the unexpected happens, when I make the unexpected happen, they have something to talk about for the rest of their lives. "The Time We Were Woken Up from Our Stupor." Doesn't my bringing danger into their lives make them appreciate living a great deal more? Of course, it does. Shouldn't I wear a hero's mantle for giving them that gift? Of course, I should.

Up/down, hero/villain, it's all in one's perspective.

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Nov. 1st, 2007 | 03:17 pm

"The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place." The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon.


Ethan snapped the book shut. Oh, bollocks! He held the book in his hand, weighing its heft, wondering whether to throw it at someone in this ramshackle Quonset hut they called a terminal. God, it was hot. Sweat was rolling down his arms toward the already limp pages of the book. He decided not to heave it; it was the only thing he had to read in English. And if it was going to annoy him, even that was more engaging than watching the fellow stranded passengers, glum and sweat-stained as they were.

He watched a few languid clerks come and go at the boarding desk; they stopped to chat with each other and Ethan was sure it wasn't about when the plane he was waiting for was going to leave. He could also see a few mechanics tinkering with the flying machine out on the tarp. They were he thought probably stapling the motor back in. He wished he could teleport where he wanted to go. But that required a coven, lots of concentrated power. And groups weren't really his "thing". Once or twice in the past he attempted to form a circle but in no time at all, there'd been "office politics". Someone accused someone else of not returning a thurible; a flat owner wanted to be paid for spilt candle wax, and what usually broke up the gathering for good was Ethan giving in to an impulse to bring in a little extra Chaos, just to see what would happen.

So, for his sins, he was virtually camped out in some tin foil terminal waiting to make flea-like hops from island to island in some obscure archipelago until he reached its most remote corner (if they could be said to contain corners) where some rich, slighted plantation owner wanted revenge for something. He (the offended party) was willing to buy the services of a wandering, C.O.D. mage and to pay handsomely. Ethan was willing to be paid handsomely.

He returned to the book, thinking that it was people who forgot things, willed themselves to forget, pretended to forget. People who denied things that once existed ever did. Not "the world", certainly not the earth; the earth always remembered. He began to open the book at random intervals looking for sex scenes.

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Oct. 21st, 2007 | 04:47 pm

Write about a recurring dream you've had. (Or, if you've never had one, write about the most vivid dream you can remember.)


I'm a little behind here. Have all the characters in your wide-roofed tent written about dreams? How fascinating that must have been. Like being cornered by an endless string of fellow party-goer who wants to share. Here, I had the weirdest dream last night.(drawn out babble about ladders and kangaroos and popular tv actors) Wha' ja thinks it means?

But I'm never averse to talking about myself so let me see if I can join the throng.

Well, let's see, when we were all knee-deep and wading through the publicity for "Lord of the Rings" I did have a nocturnal confrontation with Gandalf. The scenario of the dream is sketchy now but I believe we did have a sort of "magic-off" contest. I won, of course, and I was better dressed. There was also a yellow brick road which I was on that lead to the "Eye of Sauron". I never arrived, which was disappointing. But that's what I get for jumbling my movie references.

At times, at low points, I sometimes dream about being a child again and at the beck and call of my father. He tells me to join him in his office and puts me on a high stool, copying boring numbers. A diminutive Bob Cratchit. I can be quite out of sorts when I wake from that dream. I usually find it signals I've lost interest in my surroundings and that I should move on.

Nothing else comes to mind in the category of recurrent dreams; I've emptied my bag of dream memories. Have I bored you sufficiently? I rather feel myself building up to an enormous yawn. Perhaps I'll take a nap.

(Locked to all: a dream Ethan never speaks about)

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Oct. 14th, 2007 | 11:26 am

Paths Like Stars Can Cross


The girl runs through the bushes. They whip at her, opening small scratches in her skin. Her smell is intoxicating to those following her. Fear and blood. The girl doesn't know the way to safety; she runs and runs until she's exhausted and can't catch her breath. She grabs hold of a tree in a small clearing, leans with her back to it and faces whatever is out there. They step forward out the thick, dark greenery. Their eyes catch the bright moonlight and sparkle with bright menace. One of them comes closer. She taunts the girl, telling her it was stupid to run and get lost, reaching out a hand she rubs her finger, the nail painted deep, deep red, down the girl's cheek which starts to bleed. The others growl; their leader laughs and whispers horrible, disgusting things to the girl who knows now that this is the night she will die. Then she snatches the girl by the neck, bringing her close to teeth that have grown and sharpened...Read more...Collapse )

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Oct. 14th, 2007 | 11:24 am

Temporarily Turned into a Child


I'm grateful for the "temporarily". Would one want to go through the whole thing again?

But what age child? Before the age of reason? Gawky transition to adolescence? I'm rather a "now" person, not inclined to look back.

If I did go back, would I have memories I have now? In that case I would save my pocket money, the pitiful amount of pence I could squeeze out of my father or cajole from mother and buy computer stock as it came on the market. Or since these things are all the rage now, never play with any toys I was given but, instead, tuck them away, in their original boxes, and bring them out in pristine condition on one of those hidden-treasures-in-the-attic television shows, when I returned to my present adult shows. What "ohs" and "ahs" they would draw. And better still, what fabulous prices.

If I didn't have prescience on this jaunt to the past, well, I'd really rather not go.

Or did you mean, I would be a child in these present times? Loll about in front of the television for hours of the time, eating whatever fast food my parents flung at me on their way to doing something that was more interesting than their child. Where I would be strapped in everywhere I went, tested against some rigid "norm", warned repeatedly venturing of any kind.

No, thank you. I see no magic in childhood; mine came to me with adulthood.

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Sep. 3rd, 2007 | 05:12 pm

Write two letters.

One to someone you hurt:

Dear Rupert,Read more...Collapse )

And to someone who hurt you:

Dear Slayer, Read more...Collapse )

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Jul. 15th, 2007 | 12:23 pm

Religion

Well, the first thing that springs to mind is uncomfortable clothes. I seem to remember long hours spent sitting in pews in scratchy slacks and shoes that pinched.

My father’s family were chapel goers but he married up and as suited his ambition, he became a church goer. No ordinary worshipper of course, but one of the pillars of the congregation, working his way by dint of bribes and coercion, genteel and overt, on to the Church Council. Nothing would do but that we spend our Sundays when I was young hanging about the church. Morning services, Evensong. So many opportunities for him to network, to play the ‘mover and shaker’. I can’t remember when I didn’t take the hypocrisy for granted. The conversations my parents indulged in over the Sunday joint, castigating the fellow worshippers they had just been so “hail-fellow-well-met” with just moments before probably influenced me in that.

There was the obligatory attendance at services at the boarding school I attended. I suppose some students were allowed some latitude in that, but my father insisted I conform to the traditional ways. (Of course, it wasn’t exactly his tradition but the one he aspired to.) I never believed anyone else believed in it. It was about keeping order in society. A place for everyone and everyone in their place.

No doubt that's why Chaos attracted me so. And I didn’t have to wear a tight collar.

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Jul. 1st, 2007 | 11:48 am

It's your moment of triumph! Where are you and what are you doing?


Perhaps this is my moment of triumph. I’m alive. I’m back.

It was touch-and-go there for a bit. Some mages are much too territorial; there were accusations of poaching. Totally groundless accusations. Clients, it’s obvious to me, are like lovers. If they’re kept happy at home, you can’t steal them. I was put to great inconvenience because others did not see it this way. There were threats and much posturing on the part of these unhappy (and I must say incompetent) workers of (inferior) spells. I was chased about like one of those unfortunate foxes or rabbits. I would even say harried. I thought lying low the best option.

The worst part of these contretemps is the boredom one endures waiting for them to blow over. No large spells, no disturbance of the ether that can be traced. I was stuck in cheap motel in a sweltering dot on the map in which mosquitoes were the dominant life-form. Well, I try to look on the bright side. My tan is quite attractive and I’m up to date on all the trashier novels and steamier memoirs.

I’m back. I’m alive. I triumph.

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Jan. 9th, 2007 | 06:55 pm

What song best describes your life?

Song? Song? Let me think.

I’m not what one would call a musical person. Even as a boy I was never in a choir, evidently I didn’t make lovely cherub sounds. And after my voice broke, while I had compliments on my reading voice, any singing was heartily discouraged. It was of no importance to me, truth be told.

As these things work out of course, I spent a great deal of my teenaged and uni years with a friend who attached great importance to music (funny old world, isn’t it?). He played guitar, was always being asked to sing. Oh yes, he had many attractive qualities.

I had to pay a high price, though, to have him as companion. The music I was forced to listen to! It seemed, to me, to be either to be electric guitar music with the same twangy notes played repeatedly or even worse, one note spun out, in some sort of contest of longevity (rather like the children’s game of holding one’s breath. Regrettably, the guitarists weren’t in danger of passing out). Then there was the grubby brigade, with the proudly untamed hair and their soulful renditions of songs detailing the woes of Appalachian coal miners. I did point out to their listeners (who would insist I partake of their pleasure) that most of these gits singing about tarpaper shacks were middle-class poseurs whose personal acquaintance of abysmal poverty involved not having leather upholstery in their automobiles. I was instructed by the connoisseurs of this music to listen, just listen and stop being a prat.

Finally, I had to insist, just to get some peace, that the study of magic demanded absolute silence. Not true but who could blame me?

So, I won’t look to songs of my youth to define me. I think I’ll choose something more grown-up, a touch world weary, I’ll go with Edith Piaf and say “Non, je ne regrette rien”.

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Dec. 9th, 2006 | 12:41 pm

The mun for Ethan will be taking December off.

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