When I was younger and more abled, I was so fucking on board with the fantasy genre’s subversion of traditional femininity. We weren’t just fainting maidens locked up in towers; we could do anything men could do, be as strong or as physical or as violent. I got into western martial arts and learned to fight with a rapier, fell in love with the longsword.
But since I’ve gotten too disabled to fight anymore, I… find myself coming back to that maiden in a tower. It’s that funny thing, where subverting femininity is powerful for the people who have always been forced into it… but for the people who have always been excluded, the powerful thing can be embracing it.
As I’m disabled, as I say to groups of friends, “I can’t walk that far,” as I’m in too much pain to keep partying, I find myself worrying: I’m boring, too quiet, too stationary, irrelevant. The message sent to the disabled is: You’re out of the narrative, you’re secondary, you’re a burden.
The remarkable thing about the maiden in her tower is not her immobility; it’s common for disabled people to be abandoned, set adrift, waiting at bus stops or watching out the windows, forgotten in institutions or stranded in our houses. The remarkable thing is that she’s like a beacon, turning her tower into a lighthouse; people want to come to her, she’s important, she inspires through her appearance and words and craftwork. In medieval romances she gives gifts, write letters, sends messengers, and summons lovers; she plays chess, commissions ballads, composes music, commands knights. She is her household’s moral centre in a castle under siege. She is a castle unto herself, and the integrity of her body matters.
That can be so revolutionary to those of us stuck in our towers who fall prey to thinking: Nobody would want to visit; nobody would want to listen; nobody would want to stay.
When's the last time you got to snuggle up under a handmade blanket just for you (or handed down)? I will absolutely make you one if you don't have one.
this depends entirely on how you define ‘handmade blanket.’ if you mean like, somebody made a quilt or an afghan or something, probably before the war. most of the blankets we had were handmade by various family members.
the stark tower stitch&bitch has yet to produce a blanket. i have no idea how, since theres like six of us all knitting and sewing and crocheting, but somehow it just hasn’t happened yet. too busy making hammer cozies and a pompom hat big enough to fit on the hulk.
however, if you define handmade blanket as a blanket somebody made by hand, then just last week i took a post-battle nap under a table at a press conference and clint made me a ‘blanket’ out of stark industries t-shirts.
Imagine that, when Loki comes to the tower, you fall in love with him even though you know you shouldn’t. Knowing that you are absolutely terrible at hiding your crush, you avoid him to not get into trouble.
Everyone at the tower keeps away from him, but none avoid him as much as you do, and he gets curious. That’s how he finds out your little secret and he will no longer let you ignore him just like that.
As night falls on Devils Tower National Monument, it transforms from a place of darkness into a place of wonder. Thousands of twinkling, glittering stars dot the night sky over an astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the rolling prairie surrounding the Black Hills. Stay for nature’s night show at Wyoming’s Devils Tower – it’s worth it! Photo courtesy of David Kingham.
DM: your party is ambushed by guards between two guard towers because they recognized your tiefling for the garbage he is. There are two archers in each tower and five guards in fro-
Our Paladin: CHAAAAAARGE *drags the cleric behind him and goes straight at the guards*
Wood elf ranger: well I guess I’ll just kill the two in the tower over there. *proceeds to roll a 16 and 19 killing both*
Human monk (me): I run up the other tower and fight the two archers *rolls a 15 and kills one*
DM: okay now roll for attacking the other guard
Human monk: *rolls a 2*
DM: you fall off the tower and break both your legs and are near death. Good job.
Cleric: *somehow manages to save my dumb ass while keeping the Paladin alive*
Human monk: I used my movement boost to sprint to the top of the tower!
DM: I shall allow it.
Human monk: *sprints up tower and slides to a halt in front of the guard* REMEMBER ME BITCH!?
Me (tabletopping): I roll to punch him in the dick!
Me: *rolls nat 20* YEEEESSSSS
-table loses their shit laughing-
DM: As your bloodcrazed Paladin wraps up the fight with the guards you hear screaming and a wet squelching sound. Shortly after, the monk descends from the tower with both arms soaked up to the elbow in what appears to be the shattered remnants of a mans pelvis.
Writing a Sunset: A Shitty How-to Manual for Writing Angst
Someone recently asked me the best way to write angst. Honestly, there is no best way. But I’ll do my darndest to explain what’s worked for me so far.
The best way to write angst is to write loss.
Now, I’ve seen this done so many ways before. I’ve seen death, I’ve seen destruction, I’ve seen cities burn and knives find their mark. With writers there’s an endless way to build and then knock down. Like lego bricks, you just have to find the best place to plant your foot for the entire structure to tumble down onto the carpet.
But my favorite kind of angst is actually something smaller.
My favorite is what I call “Writing a Sunset”.
A character is created. Someone that we all know and love. They’re build from the bone to the skin to every lash and every smile line. We watch them learn and grow and sink and fall and tower and realize and live. And I, as the author, make sure to give you every detail of her life until you can look at the page and want to reach in and steal their hand in yours.
I also make sure that this character loves sunsets.
It’s the most important time of day for them. That time when the earth is still and silent. That time when the warmth begins its slow travel past a seemingly infinite horizon. Thick in it’s colors, it sinks below and drowns, and in its panic it sends out flares of reds and oranges and pinks that shoot across the sky, burning holes into the atmosphere and letting the stars breathe.
And in that moment, when Orion is lounging against smothering blue and the tips of a nebula soak in the receding magma, this character owns their own world. All they have is the sky and all the sky has is itself and everything is perfect.
And it’s then that I make them blind.
There is something to say about taking away what a character cherishes most. Because in the end our families and our smallest loves are what keep us together. We crave things, it’s true. And material possessions help to find their places in our lives. Losing a grandmothers necklace could be sad and misplacing a treasure map leading to adventure could be devastating.
But I always found it best to not take away what someone loves. But to take away access to it. To know that every day there’s a sunset waiting for them same as always but no longer can they seek it out.
Don’t take away what someone loves.
Take away their hope of seeing it again.
If they’re a couple who want a child, take away that ability.
If he’s a dragon who needs to defend his keep, take away his fire.
If she’s a fairy who needs to fly, take away her wings.
But what I also find is that angst is not complete without hope. It’s pandoras box, really. And after sunsets, though it might seem dark, the dawn will eventually come.
And that’s where my favorite part comes in.
Taking away an ability doesn’t stop someone. It merely gives them a reason to try something else. And though it might seem bleak and hopeless, there’s always a chance. And that chance is sometimes the saddest and most joyful part of all.
When our character learns that by stretching their hands out and spreading their fingers like starfish to an aching sun, they can feel its first rays gliding though yearning fingers. Feel tears against their face and a smile stretching lines into permanence. Know that the darkness will always be there, but oh how the sunlight touches their skin…
If they can’t have children, have them adopt.
If the dragon can’t breathe fire, have it befriend the blacksmith.
And if she can no longer fly, then run until the wind burns her face and scars her feet and she feels free again.
Writing a Sunset is my favorite kind of angst because it’s the one we can relate to most. The fear of losing what we don’t realize we love and the need to reach out and tell them it’ll be okay. Writing a Sunset means having the will to accept a fate you had no choice in, and finding a new way to see once more.
Writing a Sunset reminds us all that sadness is real. But so is courage. And you can’t have one without the other.
Imagine Loki is staying at Stark Tower with the Avengers. Tony’s younger sister, who is magically inclined, arrives to receive help from the Avengers in order to control her powers. This is where she meets Loki and falls madly in love with him. Tony is furious and tries everything in his power to separate the two.