lit:-so-we-beat-on

original-sadgirl  asked:

i feel like i'm the only one who's obsessed with barbrey ryswell. i know you've predicted her future storyline in TWoW/ADoS, but can you provide more meta on her (her purpose, character, etc.?) i love her, and love to read your thoughts.

Barbrey’s one of my favorites as well, among the Big Three new characters in ADWD along with Quent and JonCon. She shares a central trait with the latter: an obsession with righting the wrongs of the Robert’s Rebellion era. They’re not alone, of course; from Doran and Oberyn to Ned and Robert himself, the memories of that time haunt the series, making themselves known in every single book. 

The grievance is a layered one for Barbrey. She lost Brandon, whom she loved; she specifically lost him to a bride from outside the North; he then died, horribly; her husband then rode off to die with Brandon’s younger brother, who in the final insult, buried him there instead of bringing him home. 

The combination of personal and cultural losses there lit a fire in Barbrey, but it also took its toll. As she tells Theon, she wanted to be a Stark, but never could, and lost so much for intertwining her life with theirs that she has accepted hating them as a sort of consolation prize. The ultimate commentary on where Barbrey’s desire to prove Rickard and Ned’s ghosts wrong has led her is that she’s Roose Bolton’s partner-in-crime. 

Well, that and her threat to prevent Ned’s bones from coming home. And so Dad will be the last Stark to do so, once Barbrey makes her peace with the past (as much as she can, anyway), which I think happens via mentoring Sansa in ADOS. Among those borne ceaselessly back into Robert’s Rebellion, I think Barbrey’s the one with the happiest ending. (There is, admittedly, very little competition.) 

So We Beat On

A preview of my Jazz Era THG AU, loosely based off of The Great Gatsby.

 

(Because I didn’t post anything for Six Sentence Sunday, and because I’m excited about this story, and because why not?)

 —

As the sinking sun casts its muted orange haze over the sardined buildings, I cup my head in my hand, balanced carefully on the edge of my knee, while I wait patiently on the back stoop. From a window propped open at the dwelling adjacent from us, music drifts down, a lazy tune I vaguely recognize only as that new music craze that’s seized the country in quite a fervor. I hear it sometimes walking down the streets on my way home from the factory, wafting out from some apartment or humming silently behind the darkened windows of the general store. Jazz, they call it.


I’m waiting for my cousin Gale, who promised to pick me up here, from this very spot, as soon as the cover of night falls. He promised me good money if I were willing to help him in this new venture of his. Good money for us all, he said. I was hesitant at first, but I would do almost anything if it meant food for my mother, and my sister, Prim, who is the only person in the world I’m certain I love.


It won’t be long now. As the last of the sun’s long rays thin out before diminishing all together, swallowed up by the blue-black cloak prickled with the first emerging specks of starlight, I wrap my father’s old hunting jacket around me. Behind me, I hear the familiar sounds of my mother cleaning the kitchen after another busy day. For a fleeting moment, guilt stabs at my heart before receding as I repeat the same yarn I’ve been telling myself all day: it’s for them. It will help us all, give us a little extra to get by. I’m doing this for them.


The low, dull chugging of an engine in the distance interrupts the low buzz of domestic life. I stand immediately, and move out until I see it: a black Ford Model T pickup. It belongs to one of Gale’s friends, Thom, who works with him on the line as butchers for the same factory I work for. Rumbling up mere feet away, Gale leans out the doorway in greeting. “Climb in the back, Catnip,” he tells me.

SSS 7/14: So We Beat On, Chapter 1

This chapter is FINISHED and just waiting for editing, and some other touches. YAY! I WROTE SOMETHING!


“It’s my fifth party this week. I’d go home now, if they let me. But you have to admit, the booze is prime.” I say nothing, so the blond boy rambles on. It’s clear he approves of the booze. “Not compared to last night, though,” he continues. “I ate ‘til I burst. Did you make it?”


Whether I recognize him or not, I decide right here and now that I don’t like this fellow, whoever he is. “No,” I say. “This is my first.”


He raises his eyebrows in curiosity. “A virgin?” he asks. Then he belts out a laugh at the astonished look on my face. “To speakeasies,” he explains. “You need to relax. Want to dance?” The band has started playing, some jazz tune that I don’t recognize, and around us people crowd into the center of the room to dance the Charleston.


“No thank you,” I say amid the ruckus and movement rising around us. I try to move, but every pathway is blocked.

When fireworks and movies on bedsheets were magic...

Holidays make me nostalgic. Like, crazy unrealistically nostalgic. When I tell my husband and daughter about my childhood, they usually laugh and roll their eyes. Part of it stems from the disbelief that anyone could have ever had such an idyllic childhood. But I did. I may take some romantic license in how I remember them, but for the most part, my recollection is accurate. The first time I took my husband to one of my family gatherings, he was stunned. All he could say was, “you grew up in a fucking Norman Rockwell painting.” I couldn’t deny it.

Fourth of July was one of those holidays. It was one of the few holidays in which we didn’t have to march in parades, so it was all about the barbecue. We went to my Aunt Dot’s house. I can’t remember ever going to her house when there wasn’t a party. She and my uncle had a pool and an enormous backyard. And a basement that looked like a tiki bar. It was like going to Disneyworld for my sister and I, who would lament growing up in a tiny row home for days after the party. There were great places to hide, and run, and play. We’d spend the day playing badminton and swimming, while my dad and uncles played horseshoes. My mom and aunt made sure there was food on every available surface. My mom would yell at my aunt for having more than one ketchup open, and they’d argue about how much sugar to put in the potato salad. I couldn’t wait to get there to make every hour of daylight count, but it was the slow descent into night that made these parties magical. Catching lightening bugs as soon as twilight hit, then walking to the field down the street, sparklers in hand to watch the fireworks. Then, we’d come back to the house where my uncle would set up a giant sheet in the backyard where he would show old 8mm family movies. We’d sit on blankets and eat watermelon and Popsicles and laugh as we watched our parents dance across the sheet. We could smell the pine trees as the air got cooler. At some point, we’d venture inside. The grown ups sat in the dining room drinking hi-balls and talking politics and laughing. I remember crawling under the table and falling asleep, my skin tight with chlorine and sun. It was magic.

And for the life of me, I’ve never been able to duplicate this experience for my daughter. I sometimes feel badly to have moved so far from my relatives, and I wish so many of them were still around. But you can’t repeat the past. The best you can do is make new memories, create new laughing moments, and hope your kids will remember them as magic. I truly hope my daughter does.