and that scene she realizes that no his 'feelings' weren't enough

Artist & Thief (an excerpt from my SCBWI keynote for those who weren't there)

I used to think that my ideal job was to write. To make up stories. To lie for a living. Now that I’m in it, though, now that I’m comfortable in my novelist skin, it doesn’t feel that way at all. I observe for a living. I steal for a living. I stylize for a living. I find things in the real world, I take them for my own, and then I hammer them into a story-shaped thing. Writer? I am a thief and an artist.

One of my loves is mythology and folklore, and one of the earliest folkloric traditions I got into was Celtic fairy lore. Probably I can blame my mother for this. We were Navy brats and moved about all over, and one of the ways she would distract us children on long coast-to-coast moving trips was pointing out the window and saying LOOK! THERE! DID YOU SEE THAT FAIRY? BEHIND THAT TREE? The reasonable response would have been: No, mother, we did not, because we are traveling at 65 miles per hour and that tree is a thing of our now-distant past. But my mother was very persuasive, so instead, we always craned our necks and tried to see the fairies in between the trees or dancing on the lakes or hiding in the fog in the hills, etcetera, etcetera.

Anyway, one of the traditions around fairies is that they live in grand underground worlds, ruled over by the powerful fairy queen. Stories talk about how humans descend to this underground world and are dazzled by the beauty and wonder they see. The most beautiful citizens, the most intricate of architecture, the most delicious of fruits hanging from enchanted trees. But they also talk about how the longer you are underground — the more canny you are — the more you begin to recognize your surroundings. Because the fairy queen, for all her power, can’t create anything from scratch. She can only observe beauty and wonder in the real world, then take it for herself and assemble it in different ways. She is a thief. An artistic thief, but a thief nonetheless.

Increasingly, I’ve realized that I am very rarely creating something entirely from scratch. Instead, I am a thief as well, stealing from everything I see, everything I do, everyone I meet. And then I’m an artist — choosing carefully how to stitch them back together.

For instance, I shall set the scene. A few years ago, I began bringing a sketchbook with me as I toured. I wanted to get better at sketching people in real time, and the only way to get better in just about anything is practice.

Here’s the annoying thing about people who are alive, though, something you, too, may have noticed: they move. They move even more if they get wise to the notion that you’re sketching them. So by this point, I had begun to choose my victims rather carefully. People reading books. People staring at signs. People dozing on their hands. People studying their lunches with distrust. In this case, I was on an airplane, traveling from a tour stop to a tour stop. Normally I didn’t sketch on planes, because all you can see are the backs of people’s heads, or your seatmate, who can definitely spot that you’re sketching them, and will definitely move around, even if he or she is distrustful of his or her lunch.

Also normally I write on airplanes. I very much enjoy writing on planes, but only as long as I am in the window seat with only one flank to protect. This is because of a flight when I was trapped in a middle seat and after I wrote a joke into my novel, the man beside me laughed. I asked him: why did you DO that? And he said SORRY, it was funny. And I told him: YOU HAVE RUINED MY LIFE. From then on, I only wrote in window seats.

On this particular day, I was in an aisle seat, so there would be no writing. The seat in the middle was empty. In my coveted window seat was a young man whom I hated for being in the coveted window seat. Once I got over my resentment that he had stolen my throne, however, I realized that he was an ideal victim for sketching, as he was sitting with his ball cap pulled over his face. He was so still that it was possible he was dead. PERFECT. Dead people rarely move! I would check him for a pulse after I was done.

So I sketched him with delight, and then, a half hour later, I heard a voice.  “Is that me?” He had this real soft Southern accent — the sort I’d grown up with back in the Shenandoah Valley — and it was audible because he’d removed his hat from his face and because he was alive. I showed him the drawing. He was pleased. I told him that I couldn’t write because I wasn’t in the window seat, and it was a long plane ride, so he might as well tell me his life story. It wasn’t long enough for his entire life story, but he did tell me how his hand. I had noticed it while I was sketching: it was oddly shaped, and I’d drawn it oddly shaped. When he noticed that I noticed, he told me the tale of how he’d broken it. It turned out that, although he assured me he was a peaceful creature, he’d broken it on someone’s face. He’d been in a minor altercation defending his sister’s honor. As he was telling me this story — which may or may not have been true — I was listening to him with my mind on record. I was getting ready to steal him.

I used to steal the surface of a thing. I would have stolen that story of the barfight, for instance, and all the details around it, wholecloth. I would have recorded it as truthfully as I could imagine and I would’ve been proud of myself for accurately transcribing the human experience. But that’s bad thievery. Shallow thievery. Copying, not artistry.

Now I know that when I’m stealing someone, it’s not their details I need. It’s their soul. I’ve learned to solve for x. To simplify to the essence. It’s not about the punch. It’s about why he threw that punch. No, it’s about why he threw that punch then and never any other time. It’s about how he’s telling me the story. How he includes his sister’s honor in this story of a single, crippling punch, because her honor adds a weight that the mere velocity of the swing does not. He can’t own that punch — that single punch — even to me, a stranger on a plane, without including the backstory of its purpose. It’s about how he wants me to know that he’s not bragging about a casual barroom brawl, this hand — this broken hand — he broke his hand for a reason.

Here’s the thing: he could’ve been lying to me. His story could be completely fabricated, and then, if I stole that story, I’d be telling a lie of a lie. A copy of a copy, each version a bit less like reality. That would be bad stealing on my part.

But here is solving for x, simplifying for the truth, stealing the essence. Here was the truth, sitting beside me, a confession in the knit of his eyebrows and that soft Southern accent. Here was a boy who had lost his temper once, much to his shame, and here was a boy who had had to look at that moment every day since it had happened. Everything else was details. Just noise. But THAT was the soul: and that’s what I stole.

That boy became Adam Parrish from the Raven Cycle.  

A boy who made a mistake and has to live with it every day. A boy who carries physical evidence of a moment’s anger.

Writer? I am a thief and an artist.

5

Talisto Week 2017 - Day 1 - Fighting/Flirting/Healing

Ah! Happy days! Its finally here! Sorry I’m late…no wait, a queen is never late, everyone else is just early :P so here I am ready to break some hearts. I’m working on a fic for this but really wanted to draw out this scene. He’s trying so hard for his sister, honestly, and she knows the feeling too well. He still doesn’t want to listen to Talia, but he’s getting to that point where he’s realizing that forcing himself is not working. He’s honestly in so much pain guys. Like. Ow. He needs to slow down. He needs to let her in. Talia has been watching over him for a while now and she’s grown attached. They aren’t in love yet, but Talia’s starting to inch her way there.

anonymous asked:

Omg FINALLY some insight in Levi and Mike's relationship! I think they probably weren't super close but had an odd kind of friendship... What do you think about their relationship?

Isn’t it great? This is probably one of the best things we’ve gotten for Mike, if only because it doesn’t play up the “you only lose if you stop fighting” thing he says in the manga. (I borderline wanted to punch that other smartpass thing for reusing that line, especially in a scene that takes place right before he uses it in the canon. It was overkill and kind of had the effect of making Mike seem like he was only ever good for saying one thing and was in all other respects meaningless.)

I liked a lot of things about this little smartpass story:

  1. Mike being described as reticent… Yes, absolutely. I’ve always felt that this was a big part of his character.
  2. Mike thinking he’s not good with words. This is lovely though I’m having a hard time explaining why. I really enjoy the quieter/shy interpretation of Mike’s character so seeing this bit where he doesn’t have an especially high opinion of himself is nice. I wouldn’t even say Mike’s humble: I just think he’s really in tune with himself and has accepted his shortcomings. However, because his words manage to inspire Nanaba later, it’s possible he’s just convinced he’s not good with words and isn’t truthfully all that bad with them.
  3. Mike going out of his way to try and help Levi–someone he has no reason to trust was wonderfully unexpected and nice to see. I always thought he was considerate toward his closer friends and peers, but it’s great to know that’s just part of his nature. Aaah!
  4. Mike clamming up when he doesn’t get a favorable response to speaking with/to someone. IMO this is a point in favor of Mike being good at reading people/body language. He doesn’t usually push people to interact with him if they don’t care to…and backs off when it seems he’s not wanted.
  5. This is a huge one and I want to give it the attention it deserves, so forgive me in advance, but: Mike’s awkwardness at explaining his exceptional olfactory sense was probably one of my favorite parts of this story. Apparently sometimes he is bad with words. It was too easy to picture Mike just kind of awkwardly admitting: “I smell things good” and I LOVE IT. But more than that I love what all of it means. His hesitation in admitting how good he is at “smelling” gives us a lot to think about! The narrative tells us that most people assume his sense of smell is limited to just sniffing out titans, which is not at all the case. So here we have a guy who has an incredible sense of smell, points out things he notices via that sense of smell, and then gets awkward at admitting how he noticed said thing. It makes sense, though: he’s always had his sense of smell so to him it’s normal. It’s probably easy to forget sometimes that nobody else can smell the things he does. Anyway, this particular bit of information could connect some dots between “being bad with words” and “being embarrassed at talking too much” (from the shelter from the rain story with Gelgar). I’ve always headcanoned a bit of a rough childhood for Mike based just on his weird talent, but this makes it seem more likely that he probably opened his big mouth as a kid–just making harmless observations!–and was ostracized by his peers and/or treated poorly for it. It’s one thing for people to know you’re good at smelling titans coming at you when it’s a useful talent in the military and can save lives. Telling people your sense of smell tells you intimate information about them is almost an entirely different thing. It probably just creeps people out. :/ Poor Mike just can’t win completely. 
  6. The above also lends a lot of interesting scope to Mike sniffing Eren at their introduction: most people think his skill is sniffing out titans. So forget the interview answer that said Mike wants to be alpha (/dumps that crap in the trash tbh): Mike’s pleased to not smell any titany titan smell on Eren. AAAA.
  7. I don’t like the idea of Mike being used for his skill overmuch but the way the narrative frames it as Levi kind of relying on him is so good. Mike likes to feel useful, I think, so this is a way he can help his peers without them even really knowing about it. (Pick the best stuff out, Mike!)
  8. Lighthearted conversation!!
  9. Nanaba feeling comfortable enough around Levi and Mike to interrupt their conversation with a thought of hers that is only tangentially related to the topic at hand.
  10. Mike thinking about what she says and picturing it and L A U G H I N G THROUGH HIS N O S E
  11. Nanaba just hanging around Mike all the time. I’ll never get enough of this. EVER. Never ever. I subsist on it.

There may be more but man I feel like my meta senses went haywire the second I read it. 

Anyway I realized I didn’t even answer your question. Mike and Levi seem to have a friendly/comfortable relationship. I don’t think they’d call each other friends in the canon, but I’d agree it’s kind of an odd sort of li’l friendship.

anonymous asked:

That is exactly what i was afraid of. this is why i don't think Johnlock is end game. Because they missed their chance and now they have move on and bury their feelings if they want to stay friends. Though, I don't think sherlock is the first man. Mary even says this about Sholto. They weren't the first. John has been interested in a man before and who knows how many other before Sholto. But yeah...i think HLV was the end of Johnlock. They missed their chance and now its over =(

Well, I understand why John and Sherlock feel like they’ve missed their chance at these particular times when they each realize the other’s feelings.  I don’t, however, understand why the fandom thinks they have to move on and bury their feelings.  Because John’s married?  Mary killed Sherlock.  She is untrustworthy.  John does not trust her, and we are not meant to either!  Not to mention the fact that she was always his second choice.  He would never have started dating her if Sherlock hadn’t been dead.  He stopped dating after ASiB, because he couldn’t pretend anyone else meant as much to him as Sherlock.  (Remember John’s proposal?  "You were the best thing that could have happened.“  Because the love of my life is dead, and I was kind of suicidal.)  

I will tell you right now that if John Watson really did realize that Sherlock Holmes is in love with him in the confrontation scene, nothing is going to keep him away.  John has been waiting for a sign from Sherlock for years.

Mary is not the end of their relationship, she’s a story arc drawing out the tension for another season.  She’s pregnant and obviously willing to kill Sherlock (And maybe John if he left her?  She is rather selfish.), so they have to deal with her carefully.  

John has been trying for years and years to stop loving Sherlock (because he never could get that damn sign), and he has always failed.  He’s not going to magically be able to do it now.  He wasn’t able to even before he found out his wife was a fraud.  (He forgave Sherlock for pretending to be dead for two years!)  And Sherlock will not even try to stop himself from loving John now that he’s let it in (although he may have to get high to deal with it).  He will sacrifice himself on the altar of protecting John Watson, no matter the personal consequences.  

HLV was not the end of Johnlock, it was their real beginning.

And to your other point:  I tend to agree that John has been with other men.  I think the subtext is definitely there with Sholto, either as an actual sexual partner or romantic interest.  And John hit on Sherlock their first dinner together, so he obviously had to have been somewhat aware of his own bisexuality and comfortable enough with it to make a move.  And there’s just loads of "John is bisexual” subtext in TSoT, which might just be the most overt way to show he’s open to a relationship with Sherlock, but I think it’s more than that.