He could not imagine a child of the Eldar exiled to such a fate, abandoned in a world nearly devoid of magic and the gay wonderment of nature's bounty, and so he had gathered his courage and committed himself to the task set before him.

It had proven a more difficult one than he had hoped. Always fecund, the race of Men had been fruitful beyond his wildest reckonings, and the sprawling city, which had dwarfed the strongholds of Minas Tirith and Edoras combined and multiplied tenfold, had teemed with people, seethed with them. They had moved along pathways of artificial stone in their sparse, unbecoming garb and streamed along the roads in a grinding tangle of mechanical carriages. The din and clangor of them had overwhelmed him, and as he had stood in their midst, clutching his staff and gaping in amazement, he had been seized with a momentary sense of claustrophobia. There had been so many people that they had jostled him and brushed his robes as they passed, and he had been acutely aware of their curious gazes upon his nape and his staff and his flowing, white hair.

Another Jesus freak, one of them had snorted as he passed, and Olorin, mightiest of the surviving Maiar, could only offer a smile and nod in return.

A big hunk of clunky, three-am good idea at the time.
Fic Outtake: Small Mercies VI )

This sounded great in my head, but on paper, it was leading to a dangerous, clumsy dead end.

No, I haven't forgotten Richard or his torrid affair with his bookworm. It's just that Till is being a stubborn cuss and refusing to advance his own part of the tale. If he won't budge by the time I'm finished with Mercies VI next week, I'll just go around him and have Richard pick up where he left off in the wooing department.

God, he was so hot in the futuristic zombie phase. I wonder if Calliope could goad him into some roleplay.
A thousand words today, but these are not among them:

To him, Haldir had been an incidental player on the stage of his awareness, a familiar face who escorted him up and down the winding staircase to Caras Galadon, but to her, he had been a trusted subordinate, perhaps even a companion. He had been her marchwarden for three thousand years, and before that, he had come of age beneath the golden boughs. Who can say how deeply their connection had run? Mayhap he had played with Celebrian as a boy, or maybe she had midwifed him into the world and heard his first indignant cries.

Even if there were no truth to these idle suppositions, it is no easy thing to send a man to war and meet his eyes when he returns, or to meet the eyes of his widow when he does not. Unseen ears ring with the echo
This conversation threatened to veer into territory I want to explore at a later date, so I headed it off at the pass:

I pay for their services and their cab fare and send them on their way," he'd finished before he could think better of it.

Her eyes had widened in shock. "You," she'd squeaked.

"I have, yes. You're a brilliant woman, meine Hexe, and certainly no naive child.

I could have let them have that conversation now(and in the real world, they should have had it already, though whether they would have done is another matter), but if they had, this story would have taken a much different road, if not ended altogether. So I issued an authorial gag order.
And the first casualty of Sprache XIX:

His sister and beleaguered neighbors had been less charitable, and his long practices had been punctuated by the rap of mop handles on the thin walls of adjacent flats and the shrill calls for the racket to stop. He'd done his best to muffle the sound with towels stuffed beneath doors and egg crate foam padding the walls and blocking the windows, but sound had escaped through the floor to rumble in his father's feet as he read the evening paper and his mother's as she dried the dinner dishes.

I love character sketching
As Tom Petty once said, the waiting is the hardest part, and now the waiting begins. If I'm lucky, the golden tickets will arrive before Thanksgiving, but if not, then they'll likely get here by the middle of next week. And then, once they're safely locked away, the real waiting begins. It's going to be a long, dreary winter of grey skies and bitter cold, but Rammstein will be waiting at the end of it, and what a way to celebrate spring.

Life is drab right now. The trees have shed their leaves, and the mountain is barren in the aftermath of autumn's fire. The light streaming through the sunroom windows is wan and cool, and it makes me sleepy and stupid. The house feels desolate, and I am a stranger within my own rooms, sluggish and feeble and dull. Too pale, too quiet, too preoccupied with distant thoughts, a ghost who took her bones with her when she slipped the tethers of the world. The murmur of the television, the sizzle of ground beef on the stove, the thud of Roomie's footballs as he trundles between the stove and the football game, the clack of a single, bony finger on plastic keys--all are white noise against the stillness inside my head. It is pleasant in its way, stuporous, a lucid dream, but it is also yawning and inexorable and terribly lonely.

It is also just the way that it is.

And yet another outtake from Sprache XVIII:

Fic Outtake: Sprache, Part XVIII )

Not all of this will be lost, but it will be pared and rearranged. I've already lost two intended and much-anticipated scenes to unexpected bends in the road, and I'm determined to keep this one if I can.
Fic Outtake, Part XVIII )

I'm not actually sure I'm going to get rid of this section, truth be told, but it's threatening to veer into what one scathing reviewer once called "purple bogs of existential stench", so I'm going to play around with a few scenarios and see if I can make it flow more smoothly. I might come to the end of the chapter and find I need it after all, and if I do, I can always slide it back into place.

In tangentially-related news, a Herzeleid poster has posted a link that claims to have a U.S. date for the Made in Germany tour. April 29th, 2012, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to be exact. Would that it were so, but the fandom has a well-documented propensity for running with every scrap of rumor and wishful thinking, and so I'm going to hold off on the giddy peepee dance of squealing anticipation until there is an official announcement.

And yes, you can bet your sweet ass that I would go to Worcester if that were the only viable date. I've always wanted to try lobster rolls.
Yes, I'm still plodding doggedly along on the next chapter of Sprache, though right now, I'm deleting as much as I'm keeping. Dammit. Here is one brief outtake:

Fic Outtake, Sprache XVIII )

A narrative dead end with no graceful exit strategy.

And oh, we haven't had one of these in a while, but over on Herzeleid, Sirkorn is wanking up a storm at the possibility that undeserving fans might get a chance at the mythical rail thanks to Rammstein's decision to use two stages. Behold:

Rammstein Rail Wank )
Yes, I am still plodding doggedly along on the Longest Fic Chapter in Fandom History. Between being distracted by Fable and waiting for my mother to make good on her threat to hold a garage sale this weekend(she didn't, by the by, which means Roomie and I will spend another week waiting for that axe to fall), progress has been slow. There has been progress, however, and this afternoon, the Unnecessary Embellishment Goblins staged an assault and left behind this prose pellet:

He had called many things in his life, but "a good man had never been one of them. He'd been called a "typical man", yes, by the women who had professed to love him, and a "charming man" by those who had interviewed him, smiles wide and digital recorders on the table between them like an intercessory acolyte poised between the sinner and his relentlessly-demanding god. But never a good man, steady and true and kind. He'd rarely been called a good boy that he could remember. Just once or twice by his mother, muttered in a moment of absent affection.

I like the image of a digital recorder as an intercessory acolyte, and maybe it can be cannibalized for another section, but the rest was just a reiteration of previously-established emotional history, and the paragraph as a whole interrupted the narrative flow to that point and failed to advance the plot. So, out it came.
I was so happy when I wrote this passage. I thought it was so evocative and pretty. And then I realized there was no way Richard Kruspe would ever think like a crumpet-nibbling poet in a San Francisco coffee shop:

I plucked her from the ashes of a love long dead. All attachments had been severed and cauterized, the old connections numb to even the periodic twinge of phantom pain. This--Calliope--is a flame new

So, yeah, this scrap of thought floss won't make the final cut.
I started a Don Flack, Sr.-centric fic a few weeks ago, but it stalled very quickly, and so I left it to finish Part XVI of Sprache and the related Calliope interstitial. Then, last night, while I was relaxing into sleep, I realized why it wasn't getting anywhere. The perspective was right, but the setting was wrong, wrong, wrong--contrived and unwieldy. If I wanted the story to survive, I had to junk my original setting and start anew. So, I have, and perhaps now the story can find its wings.

For posterity, however, here is the original opening scene:

Not so Much, No, Muse )
I started a Don Flack, Sr.-centric fic a few weeks ago, but it stalled very quickly, and so I left it to finish Part XVI of Sprache and the related Calliope interstitial. Then, last night, while I was relaxing into sleep, I realized why it wasn't getting anywhere. The perspective was right, but the setting was wrong, wrong, wrong--contrived and unwieldy. If I wanted the story to survive, I had to junk my original setting and start anew. So, I have, and perhaps now the story can find its wings.

For posterity, however, here is the original opening scene:

Not so Much, No, Muse )
I was going for something here, but I lost the thread of it early on, and so I opted to abort the scene rather force it for the sake of being stubborn.

And then there is the tie, the polyester-cotton strip of fabric she'd clutched in her fist while the man she'd hoped to marry had severed the ties between them. Navy and burgundy and dry as sloughed skin as she'd sat stiffly in a wicker chair that had creaked like old bones. She had playfully plucked it from around his neck just before he'd covered her hands with his and murmured, We need to talk. So soft and low, the tolling of a doomsday bell through thick fog. She had known, oh, she had known as she'd dropped onto the balls of her feet and forced herself to keep her gaze steady, but she had hoped anyway, hoped with the fervor of the young and foolish and the utterly besotted. She had wanted to believe that happily-ever-afters were more than wistful constructs of human imagination.

So she'd wrapped the tie around her hand like a tether and kneaded the fabric between her restless fingers while the man to whom it belonged had sat in the chair opposite hers and broken her heart with the oblivious efficiency of a professor obliterating a graduate thesis. It wasn't her fault, he'd said, but he'd decided that he wanted children, after all, and since she didn't, then there was no future for them. He'd never meant to mislead her, and certainly not to hurt her. When he'd said he had no desire for children, he'd meant it, but minds change, and so do people, and he'd come to realize that he wanted a legacy greater than that of a stack of moldering pages in a deserted university archive. He'd wanted his name to resonate deep in someone's bones, not just flit across their weed-soaked consciousness as that history professor they took that one semester, the hardass who required legible and coherent English in his essays. He'd wanted it to sing in someone's blood long after he was nothing but dust and bone in the bowels of the earth. He'd wanted irrefutable proof that he had once trod upon the earth, and she, with her inert, unwilling womb, could not offer it.

So goddamned earnest he'd been, and she'd longed to leap from her chair and punch him in the face with his own tie, but damn her ferocious pride, she'd simply sat with tears burning in her eyes and her hands fisted in her lap and let him blow himself out. She'd be damned if she'd give him the satisfaction of seeing her crumble, sniveling and begging and exposing her bleeding heart with snot and shame all over her face. She would be like Nana Collie, who had never suffered fools a day in her life, and who had never traded her hard-won dignity for the shallow affection of a man. And so, she had concentrated on the cool hank of fabric in her hand and the needling itch of stray wicker fibers on the backs of her knees, and when she'd been sure her mouth would open on a scream or a sob, she'd met his solicitous, guilty gaze and said, I see. So brittle her voice had been, but it had been steady, and she'd taken a blind, savage pride in that as she'd willed her hands to remain on her lap and not wipe her stinging eyes. Well, then, I'll leave you to your legacy.

And so she had. She'd risen from the chair in a fluid motion and strode into the bedroom without a backward glance. Legs like stilts and a spine of blown glass and a bruised swollen heart inside her chest, but her back had been ramrod-straight when she passed him, and she hadn't made a sound as she'd packed her bags. Just shallow breaths between dry, bloodless lips and the brisk snap of blouses yanked unceremoniously from wire hangers and the furious yowl of closing zippers. Not a word as he'd hovered uncertainly in the bedroom doorway like a hangdog fetch, silhouetted by the living-room light and sidling nervously from foot to foot in his leather loafers. Not a word as she'd shouldered past his ineffectual apologies and promises to help her any way he could in a professional capacity and stalked to the door. Not a word as she'd shifted her suitcase from one hand to the other, yanked open the door, and marched into her unexpected future alone. And not a single word as she'd spun on her heel and jerked the door closed on his goodbye.

She'd kept her silence until she'd escaped into the night, and then she'd set off down the sidewalk, dragging her baggage behind her and bending beneath it like an aged washerwoman. She'd made it two blocks before her resolve had failed and she'd staggered to a stop beside a lamppost and collapsed against it. She'd dropped the bags and crammed her fist into her mouth to stifle the sobs that had seized her diaphragm and threatened to suffocate her, and it was then that she'd realized she still had his tie wrapped around her hand like a forget-me-not. Her first impulse had been to tear it off and trample it underfoot in petty, flailing vengeance, but she'd thought of Nana Collie, proud and strong and unbroken, and what she would think of her if she succumbed to the atavistic, graceless urge to pitch a fit like a spoiled toddler denied a sweet.

I'm hoping I can integrate the glorious Nana Collie, that fierce matrilineal matriarch, into the story in the future.
Another outtake from Sprache XVI:

...and he'd pivoted sharply, inspiring a hot twinge from his left knee. He'd stumbled and grimaced and hissed through his teeth at the feverish wash of pain through his knee, and then he'd shifted and stretched and stamped like am impatient foal until it had subsided. The odd, calipering dance had attracted even deeper scrutiny from the clerk, whose expression of convivial, solicitous avarice had transformed into one of frozen unease, as though she'd thought him a dangerous lunatic prisoner to the whispering, black-tongued voices in his head.

There was nothing wrong with it, but it was superfluous and the perfect setup for another ten-page digression, so out it came. Why are the digressions so fun?
I was going for awkward and sweet, but for some reason, this passage veered into awkward and sullen and oh, my God, this relationship is about to go off the rails before it starts:

Her face had fallen. "You don't... If it makes you uncomfortable, then you don't have to accept it. I don't want to make you uncomfortable. In my head, it didn't seem so bad, but I don't want to put you in an awkward position. We usually don't offer these until after the partner has been formally introduced to the family at a dinner or over a holiday. I don't know why she thought it would be a good idea to make one so early. Maybe she thought it best to do it now just in case your bohemian, musician's lifestyle precluded a visit for a few years, or maybe she's just that desperate to see her youngest girlie in a settled, happy romance instead of shut up in her apartment with a newsprint suitor. Either way, it wasn't fair of either of us, and I should have known better. I only wanted to bring you something special. If you don't want to keep it, then that's fine. Donate it or give it away. I can't take it back to Nana Collie. She would take offense, and once you get on the wrong side of her, there's precious little chance of coming to the right one again." She'd bitten her lip and scrubbed her hands on her sweatpants, and then she'd stood.

Oops. This chapter has not come easily.
I wrote this last night when I was very tired, and you can tell because it's trying so painfully hard to be earnestly quirky:

Fic Outtake: Sprache XVI )

So, out it comes, and I'm going to try for more probable dialogue after lunch.
I'm wondering if this isn't a bit too strong. I know Richard's a romantic(how else to describe a man who met his ex-wife in June, asked for her hand a few days later, and married her in October?), but this might be a bit much. He's older and wiser and more leery now. Still, I like it. Maybe I should wait until he's a bit further down the besotted trail.

Fic Outtake(?), Sprache X )
A creative dilemma, I has one. I had planned a relatively understated morning scene for the day that Richard and Calliope stopped dancing around and slept together, but then this scene happened:

Potential Fic Outtake, Sprache IX )

And now I'm in a quandary. People in the early stages of courtship often say stupid things, but I'm not sure either party is going to be at sufficient ease by the end of the day to engage in torrid sex. She's going to be embarrassed, and he's going to be diffident, and neither emotion is conducive to loving time. I'm tempted to cut this and use it later, after the relationship has been more firmly established.
Here is a fragment of conversation from my current chapter of Sprache. It was nice, but it was also steering the discussion in a direction it didn't need to go and weighing down the narrative with unnecessary introspection.

Outtake from Sprache VIII )
Here's an outtake from Sprache VI. It's lovely and sweet, but far too intimate for where I want them to be right now.

Sprache VI Outtake )


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