stock: rain in spain

original fiction: Beyond My Imagination (for Shousetsu Bang*Bang)

Exciting times: my bb_shousetsu story is live!

In case you're unfamiliar with Shousetsu Bang*Bang, a short introduction from the comm's user info:

Shousetsu Bang*Bang is a webzine for original gay fiction/boy's love oneshot stories, intended as an online, English-language text equivalent of one of those All Yomikiri Bimonthly Summer Special 100 Extra Pages!! manga phonebooks where every story is about the torrid romance of an ordinary schoolboy and his soccer club captain - or a yakuza boss and his faithful lieutenant - or the prince of an exotic desert country and the emerald-eyed winged youth he rescues from the sawtoothed sand monsters of G'or, self-contained in 30 pages and heartwarmingly predictable. Our policy is to welcome all comers, from the most flippant bit of cliché to the greatest of literary works... as long as they have fellas in love in them.

So here's my first contribution to this fine literary institution:

Title: Beyond My Imagination
Author: causeways
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: original m/m
Word Count: ~20,000
Disclaimer: None!
Summary: Set in the late 1840s, nineteen-year-old Ben Hadley moves to St. Louis to work as an attorney, where he meets and becomes roommates with a young medical assistant named Charlie Atwood.

Illustrated by quaedam, who is all kinds of talented, and excellently betaed by walkawayslowly.

Read the story here.

crossposted from [personal profile] causeways | original entry | comments on Dreamwidth
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author's notes for Beyond My Imagination

This story has been percolating in my head ever since I first ran across the Wikipedia article Sexuality of Abraham Lincoln a few years ago and started to babble at my friends about how awesome a fictional version of Gay Abe would be. While the story has evolved a good bit since I first started thinking about it, the basics, which were drawn from Abe Lincoln's life, stayed the same -- a young lawyer in the mid-1800s shares a boardinghouse bed with another man. It wasn't out of the ordinary for young men to share a bed at that time, and doing so didn't necessarily mean that they were banging . . . except when it did. Just like Lincoln!

I owe the title as well as some of the structure of the story to Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent", the last short story in the collection Interpreter of Maladies:

I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and certainly I am not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.

Huge thanks to quaedam for the fabulous art and for being super easy to work with! It was super cool to see these characters come to life.

And finally, I owe walkawayslowly big time for making her original fiction betaing debut, for telling me when there needed to be more sex (always), for trying to kill the colons (sorry!), and for being a generally fabulous sounding board. And also, y'know, for being my BFF. Thanks, buddy!</user>

crossposted from [personal profile] causeways | original entry | comments on Dreamwidth
stock: always the bright time


As seen here:

i know it's wrong, but I love it. Love it, love it, love it. It is deeply disturbing on so many levels, and yet also completely amazing. If ever there was an act born to win Eurovision, Jedward are it. They are singing "Lipstick", and by that I mean singing in the loosest possible sense, but it doesn't matter because they are bouncing around and pogo-ing like demented robots who've eaten too many Haribos and I LOVE IT. This HAS to win, surely? Any other outcome would be unacceptable.

All you have to do is take one look at their haircuts and outfits to understand that these boys more properly understand the spirit of Eurovision than anyone else in the field:

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Hi! It's been a while. I'm reading much more than I'm posting, which I guess doesn't say a whole lot since this is the first time I've posted in over four months. Oops. I'll try to write an actual post soon(ish), but tonight is not that time -- I still haven't quite escaped from a work-ate-me phase. In the meantime, let me just say that I may be a summer kid all the way, but my jaw dropped on the way to work this morning when I saw the snow on these trees against a bit of blue sky.


crossposted from [personal profile] causeways | original entry | comment count unavailable comments on Dreamwidth
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haiti fic fail: signal boosting and appropriation

tripoli 's post was the first I saw about the massive, massive fail that is [personal profile] gatorgrrrl's J2 Big Bang, Caught Between the Earth and Sky. walkawayslowly emailed me about it shortly thereafter, and since I got home tonight my entire flist has been packed with posts about it, so you've probably already got some idea of what's going on here. If not, amazonziti has a great write-up and collection of links here, and though asteroidbuckle has locked the story down (and therefore the comments on it are missing as well, which is a shame, as I understand that there was some very excellent discussion on that post), you can see excerpts of the original story compiled by [personal profile] bossymarmalade here.

There are a lot of really horrifying things going on in those compiled excerpts, and I'm willing to assume that they are representative of the rest of the fic: portraying a black man (possibly the only black person with a central role?) as big and dumb and ultimately comparing him to an overly large cat (aka a big dumb animal); representing black women as voiceless and helpless and savage; presenting post-earthquake Haiti as a backdrop for Jensen Ackles, The Great White Hope, to save the ever-grateful poor black populace . . . And then, of course, there is the entire fact that post-earthquake Haiti is serving as the setting for a story about two white men falling in love and getting it on.

I'm saddened by the fact that while asteroidbuckle understands that she's done something terribly offensive and wrong, she still does not really understand what she's apologizing for. (See here and here.) She's trying, but she's not getting it; that much is clear from that second link in particular.

A lot of people are talking about this quite eloquently, and hackthis wrote a post reminding us of all the stuff we should already know, but keep (as a fandom, or a world for that matter) collectively forgetting. The heart of the matter, IMO, is something nyoka wrote about: the issue of appropriating tragedy and other people's experiences for yourself.

I think it's perfectly fine to write about something that you did not personally experience, or about a person who is completely different than you are -- with the caveat that you do it respectfully. I think, too, that it's valid to use fiction (fanfiction included, though admittedly I've never seen it done well in fanfiction) to write about tragedy, even one that does not affect you personally, as long as you do it respectfully -- i.e., as long as you do not do it in an exploitative or otherwise offensive way. The issue of whether or not it's a good idea to write about a tragedy that is ongoing set aside, I truly do not believe there can be any debate about the fact that it was a deeply horrible idea to set a love story between two white men in post-earthquake Haiti, using that tragedy and those who experienced it personally as a backdrop. Haitians are not a backdrop, and neither is any other group of people. This is something that we need to get right.

A huge point that I think needs to be made repeatedly: getting this stuff right is NOT AT ALL just about not offending people. Sure, you don't want to offend people. The thing is, not doing something just because you do not want to offend people has a distinct tinge of, "Well, I think what I'm doing is fine, but I will keep it to myself because it might offend some easily offended other person," and that does not work at all. It's about RESPECTING other people's experiences. Of course white people can write people who are not Just Like Them; white people can and SHOULD, for that matter, because who wants to read stories that are about nothing but white people? But for the love of God, do your research. Learn about the history and the cultural context of your characters, more than you think you need to know; make their existence central to your story and not just there for some kind of "flavor"; and, most importantly, make them people. A great big black man with hands the size of frying pans who follows Jensen Ackles around Haiti is a cookie-cutter stereotype, not a flesh-and-blood person.

I don't think white people must stick to writing what we know, but I do think it's imperative that we do our absolute best to get it right when we are writing something we do not know, and that we be open and ready to learn when other people take time out of their lives to tell us that we've gotten something wrong. It's perfectly human to want to be defensive when being told we're wrong, but we cannot give in it to. If we do something wrong, we MUST apologize for it, and we must ALSO take the time and put in the effort to understand what it is that we have done wrong, if we do not understand it from the start.

A last link that I thought was really interesting, from a few years back (during a previous round of J2 RaceFail): Some thoughts on writing outside my experience by brown_betty

crossposted from [personal profile] causeways | original entry | comment count unavailable comments on Dreamwidth
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original m/m fiction recs, a couple slash recs, and some pictures of paris

I've been reading a lot of original m/m fic online lately, or fanfic that reads like it, but damned if I don't just keep getting pickier. See, I'm not really interested in caper, and for the most part I'm not interested in slavefic or BDSM, either (freece's Captive Prince is a story I am more than willing to bend the rules for, because so far it's fantastic; I've stopped reading it as a WIP, though, and the wait for it to be finished is killer). I generally like original m/m that's set in the quote-unquote real world, that's about characters I feel like I could know, that's about the randomness of who you fall in love with (not that that's a genre per se -- it's kind of the anti-genre, for that matter). I will of course make exceptions to any and all of the above if a story is fabulous enough, but my definition of fabulous tends more toward "lots of build-up and UST" rather than "lots of boning from day one." Just, you know. In case you were wondering.

So, recs! The first couple (both by the same author) were written for Shousetsu Bang*Bang (bb_shousetsu), "a webzine for original boy's love oneshot stories" -- which, incidentally, has just about THE funniest userinfo I've ever read. (Excerpt: "A story must be at least 1500 words long and contain one sex scene (soft R or above). This is because a properly descriptive sex scene needs about 1500 words in the first place. Sex-scene-less stories that are nevertheless works of coked-out yaoi genius will be accepted at the discretion of the Editor, but let's not be wusses here, c'mon.") I love these first couple of recs for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being that the main characters are not all white dudes. Extra bonus awesome.

Heterogenesis by w2 (ladysisyphus)
original m/m | unrated (adult) | ~18,700 words
"Well," said Rishi, his eyes stung to tears by the absolute white of the hospital room, "here we are," and depressed the plunger on the syringe.
A researcher working on isolating a so-called "gay gene" falls for a subject in his clinical trial. I made the error of starting to read this story Saturday night around one-thirty a.m. after coming back from a party at a stable (don't ask, my life is weird), and was in no way capable of putting it down. (When I started to write this post, I got about a fifth of the way into reading the story again before catching myself.) Heterogenesis is really tight and well-crafted, all of the scenes propel the story forward and really count, and I really adore and empathize with all of the characters in it. Also, there's a hot cooking scene or two, and a hot man who has a crush on a "scruffy little nerd," as the main character thinks of himself, which made me grin like a fool.

Mike Dies at the End by w2 (ladysisyphus)
original m/m | unrated (adult) | ~11,700 words
Solving the following riddle will reveal the awful secret behind the universe, assuming you do not go utterly mad in the attempt. If you already happen to know the awful secret behind the universe, feel free to skip ahead.
If you liked Supernatural back in the day when there were ghosts and mysteries and shit (particularly if you enjoyed the Ghostfacers ep back in S3), I suspect you'll LOVE this story. It's a totally laugh-out-loud funny fuck-or-die fic that takes place in a haunted house. Trust me, you want to read this.

Note: I haven't yet read a story by w2 that I haven't liked. I haven't LOVED every one of them, but overall the quality of her stories is totally excellent. There are links to her master list at the bottom of the above stories.

Something about Mike Dies at the End really strongly reminded me of another excellent piece of original fic (probably just the gay boys and the haunted house, but whatever). This isn't a new story, but hollycomb just reposted the third part of it after LJ ate it, and though I'd already read it (. . . repeatedly) I went and read it again. Yup, still awesome.

To Come True a Thing Must Come Second by hollycomb
original m/m | R | longish, posted in three parts
Brandon is a nerdy high schooler who wanted to be a paranormal research scientist until he was teased enough to give up his belief in ghosts altogether. His old obsession is reborn when a classmate consults him as an "expert" on a haunting in his house.
I don't know anyone who does teenage love and longing as well as hollycomb does. When the main character in this story talks about how he's accepted he could never live without his boyfriend, you totally believe him. Also, though the twist confused me a little the first time I read this story, it worked better for me on subsequent reads. (Possibly the first time I read it I was having a dumb day.)

Speaking of hollycomb, this next story isn't actually original fiction, but it reads like it could be, particularly if you're not into the MLB RPS scene.

Conditions of Parole by hollycomb
MLB RPS | AU | Kyle Davies/Kelly Johnson | ~20,000 words
Kelly gets a part-time job working for Davies and Son Pool and Spa. He believes that dating Hiram Davies' beautiful daughter will set his life right, but her older brother has other ideas.
hollycomb writes these stories that are so thoroughly set in the real world, so full of detail, that it's pretty much impossible not to believe them. I'm always a huge fan of stories about boys falling all kinds of stupid in love with each other, and this absolutely fits the bill. This fic reads at the start like it's going toward a very cliched place (which wouldn't have been a bad thing), but then takes a slightly different turn (toward an even better thing). A commenter on it wrote that she wasn't sure where exactly the boys fall in love, and I agree that that bit is kind of obscured, but there's really not much else to fault here, due to all the awesome.

This last rec isn't even remotely original fiction, but it's a rare fandom, and trust me, it's great.

Sentimental Reasons by frostfire_17
Casablanca | Sam/Rick | teen and up | 16,570 words
"France and I have never had any major arguments that I can remember."
I haven't watched Casablanca in a number of years, and I had no idea that I needed this story. Oh, but I did, and so do you. I read on the author's LJ that she thought it could have used an extra 5-10K, and I don't disagree, but that doesn't prevent it from being one of the better pieces of fanfic I've read in a while. It's excellent, thematically, and the dialogue is ridiculously spot-on and awesome.

On a totally unrelated note, I went to Paris recently and it wasn't half bad.

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Off to South Asia for two weeks

Visiting a friend I haven't seen in years and traveling around. I'm more than a little excited. Be good, enjoy yourselves!

Also, as I think is pretty obvious at this point, I'm not around lj as much as I used to, and am unsure that this state of affairs is likely to change anytime soon. If you want to stick around, I'd love to keep in touch; if not, I totally understand, and best wishes!