rebloggable by request

i want you to imagine you’re at a dinner party, and for dessert, your host is serving apple pie. now, you’re not really an apple pie sort of person normally — you like it from time to time, but you’re awfully picky about it, and if it’s not done just right, it’s not for you — so you pass on taking some when it gets passed around. but then everyone else starts exclaiming about how delicious this pie is, how crisp it is, how flavorful, how amazing it was in star trek, so you take a piece just to see what all the fuss is about. and sure enough, it’s delicious. it’s so delicious, in fact, that you start asking questions about it, bothering the host for the recipe, paying a lot more attention to what a well-made pie it really is. and then it turns out the pie studied english literature at berekely and sometimes gets photographed reading to small children, that the pie regularly walks around in hilariously failtastic hipster-douche plaid and engages in ~intellectual competitions~ with other pies it knows, and the more you learn, the more the taste of the pie starts to curdle in your mouth. it’s so delicious that it’s TOO delicious, and probably you’re going to have cravings for this pie now whether you want them or not and you don’t, you don’t want those cravings, you don’t even LIKE apple pie. so you try to tell yourself you don’t like it that much really, that it’s not that good, that it’s probably the sort of pie that’s a total dick in real life and not in the endearing way like it comes off in interviews either, but it doesn’t help. it doesn’t make the pie any less fantastic, it doesn’t make you enjoy the pie any less, and you become consumed with your frustration at this fact — how dare this pie come along and make you hunger after it? how DARE this pie be so crisp and flavorful and fantastic in star trek? HOW DARE THIS PIE GO TO MUSIC FESTIVALS WITH A SALT AND PEPPER BEARD?? — until eventually you are standing on a table in front of the whole party, an empty pie dish held over your head, screaming “WHY WOULD ANYONE EVEN MAKE THIS PIE”

and that’s why i hate chris pine.

What kind of lifestyle would each sign prefer?
  • Aries: would be prefer a life where their actions have the most gentle of consequences, where their dreams are in reach and each new day sparks a new adventure. But also one at the end of the day they can turn in to a relaxing night and a comfy bed, content with the little things, and maybe someone next to them.
  • Gemini: would prefer a life where they can do as they please and not be judged for it. Where they can be a scientist one day and an actor the next. A life they actually feel a part of instead of just an observer.
  • Taurus: would prefer a life where their worries always work themselves out, with minimal effort. They have simple wants, needs, and pleasures, if only their problems could be handled the same. They want a life where their important things are close, and can fall asleep with a smile on their face.
  • Cancer: would prefer a life that they can operate from home. Not that they won’t want to go out and do things as well, in fact they would! But being able to do things at their pace in the comfort of their own space? Wonderful. A life where their loved ones are smiling, and they have a companion to share with.
  • Leo: would prefer a life that finally meets their expectations. Including the expectations they have for themselves. One where they feel valued and important for who they really are, and not what they are forced or try to be.
  • Virgo: would prefer a life where they can finally relax. One where they can just shake off their stress and turn off their brain for a while. Where their hobbies are finally more important than work, where they can care for themselves like they do others. Where they please those they love as much as themselves.
  • Libra: would prefer a life of peace. One where worries are inconsequential, and fantasy is just a word away. They want a life of pleasure, where they can be tended to and cared for, because that will allow them to care and give back even more freely. One where they feel acceptance, and not like they’re bottled up.
  • Scorpio: would prefer a life where they feel like they can finally open up. They have so much to give and share, and they just want a place and a person or two they can do that with. One where they aren’t judged, where they are finally free from their self-imposed chains, and can just pour themselves out.
  • Sagittarius: would prefer a life where they can go and be whatever they want to do an be. Not necessarily drop everything and go, maybe even bring a person with them, but where they can live as many lives as they can in the time they are given.
  • Capricorn: would prefer a life where they can give, and finally get back. Where their words are listened to and their feelings mattered, where their serious mask can break off and they can be loved for what’s underneath. A Life where their efforts finally pay off, and they get their return with interest.
  • Aquarius: would prefer a life of simple freedoms, where they can not wear shoes for a day and then a ball gown the next. Where they can quirk however hard they want and the eyes around them only hold genuine smiles with open arms. Where they are accepted.
  • Pisces: would prefer a life of love. Where their love is felt and their smiles are shared. Where they fall asleep and wake up next to the person they cherish most, and the other person reciprocates. Where they can do what they love and therefore never have to work a day in their life. A life where they can turn their music up loud and just listen to their dreams.
2

Oh, Anon- no, no! You’re thinking about it all- wrong

First off, stop comparing yourselves to ants. I mean, ants are magnificent creatures, who’ve lived for millennia with barely any necessity for evolving because their way of life is so efficient, don’t get me wrong— but you- you are not ants! You are human- beings! You are- people!

Alright. Look, say I have a pebble, and I’m standing by a pond, and I want to skip the pebble along the water. Pretend, in this scenario, that the pond represents the larger universe, and the pebble represent a single person - you, even, if you’d like. 

So I ready my skipping arm, twist my wrist a little, let loose! And look, there you go!— skipping along the surface of the universe three or four times before finally plopping down.

Pretend, for a moment, that that’s your life span. Birth to death. You think, “Oh, but I only hopped across it three times. A hop, skip, and a jump, Doctor! That’s not significant at all.” Except wait! What happened every time the pebble hit against the water? There was a bit of a ripple effect there, wasn’t there? Branching out away from the centre point of each skip in a circumference that keeps widening and widening, expanding over the surface of the pond.

That is your effect on the universe. You see the results of your immediate actions — the pebble skipping on the water — but you don’t always get to see the broadening effects. You are shaping the world around you. You have a much larger effect on the way time and space contort and form than you could ever realise.

Like the TARDIS, people are so much bigger on the inside. So much bigger than they ever could realise and most of the time ever do realise, and certainly as vast as, if not more vast than, the universe you live in. Blimey, you create entire universes inside yourselves, with your magnificent imaginations and your ability to dream of things so much larger than what your species was originally built for.

Don’t besmirch that. When I say I’ve never met anybody that wasn’t important before, I mean it. And I know for a fact I will never meet somebody unimportant in the rest of my life to come. It’s one of the only things I can absolutely say with complete surety.

Because you’re not ants — you’re giants. Standing tall. And you are, oh!

—You are magnificent.

[made rebloggable by request]

all the ways.

no, literally, all the ways.

Okay, this is the…super extra sparknotes version of my dissertation on Harry Potter and the ways its worldbuilding is just asking to be shaken to pieces. It’s called:

~*Ten Ways To Irreparably Fuck Up a Civilization: A Harry Potter Rant*~

1.) Put the major base of your economic power—such as a national bank—in the hands of a class you are busy oppressing. Because goblins definitely have forgotten centuries of warfare and specicide anti-goblin sentiment and will totally treat your ancestral gold with the fairness and even-handedness it deserves. Ditto with house elves and your children.

2.) Don’t try to understand or theorize about how your power works. Do not inquire as to how a particular measure—spell, hex, or charm—works. Do not try to test its effects. If a spell builds a house, do not attempt to test the durability of the roof—the roof will have come into existence with the necessary durability for roofs. Do not ask why a perfectly ordinary Latinate word and a stick of wood conjures the Platonic Form of a roof. Have no engineers or philosophers. Make sure no one thinks the phrase “hypothesis.“ Make sure no one tests theirs.

3.) Make sure the schooling that you do offer is, essentially, a technical school. Make no attempt to teach students how to write, read, do maths, or think critically, even though those skills may be required. Those who do not arrive with such skills must learn them independently, because helping students with learning disabilities or those who come from difficult home lives is for chumps. Also, make sure to sow the seeds of deep social divides that will persist through your population’s adult life.

…there is no alternative.

4.) Don’t have any institutionalized pre-schooling or post-secondary education. Because everyone worth educating has access to tutors, or parents who have the time, energy, and ability to teach. Do not have institutions for further learning, because there is nothing more to learn. Do no try to understand how your power works.

5.) Allow the government to be the single biggest employer. Small businesses may be tolerated, but private chains, corporations, or conglomerates should not be allowed to operate independently. Make sure that your population gets its news from the government. Dissenting voices that cannot be rendered unemployed can be narratively shamed.

6.) …and then have that government rife with corruption and barely representative. The people in power now should be descendant from the people in power then. They should love their own kind. Trial by jury is unnecessary. Elections are unheard of. Influence talks, and money covers a multitude of sins. Nothing says forgiveness like a bag of galleons and an invitation to the Malfoys’.

7.) Don’t innovate. Your mores should be Victorian and your aesthetic Medieval. “Technology” is a broom, a radio, and an hourglass.

8.) Don’t have any contact beyond the incidental with the civilization literally occupying the same space as yours. Particularly if there is significant crossover in population. In fact, make sure those individuals who emigrate from that civilization cannot return, cannot discuss their new country with friends and family, or use their new-found knowledge to help those friends and family. God forbid they try and help that civilization in turn.

Reduce interest in their world to a laughable hobby. You are the only civilization for them now.

9.) Ensure that all those who do not fall within specific parameters are labeled Other and de facto exiled from your civilization. Particularly squibs and werewolves and other species. An accident of birth implies someone isn’t at fault.

10.) Expect people to quietly stand by. Some of them will. Most of them will. But sooner or later you’ll piss one off, and all the ones who have been afraid to speak out will nod, will join in, and the whole affair will come tumbling down around your ears as that one troublemaker screams to the heavens for justice and knowledge and innovation and truth and light and then my dears

then

your civilization is well and truly fucked

OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

okay, brief thesis statement: as you like it is the play where you most directly see shakespeare trying to cope with marlowe’s death.

i’ll explain that in more depth, but first, a little bit about marlowe!

christopher (kit) marlowe was not only another playwright in the period—he began writing before shakespeare, and he basically created elizabethan theater as we know it. he was lower class (the son of a shoemaker), and had by some miracle managed to get scholarships to posh schools, starting with the king’s school in canterbury and continuing up through cambridge, where he studied classics. and by “studied classics” i mean “became the first person to translate ovid’s deeply filthy sex poems into english,” because that’s the sort of person marlowe was. he subsequently quit academia to go into theater, which was, as my prof put it, basically the equivalent of announcing today that you want to put aside your ivy league education for a career in porn.

let me give you a sense of the kind of person kit was

  • we know a lot about his life from his arrest record
  • he might have been a spy???
  • by which i mean he ~mysteriously came into money~ while at cambridge (we know because we have records of the moment when he started buying drinks for everyone. kit.)
  • he might have been an atheist???
  • whether or not he was, he definitely was fond of telling people (in 16th century england!!!) that jesus was gay
  • i’m not kidding
  • he’d walk up to people and be like: “so, jesus christ was totally fucking his apostles. thoughts?”
  • IN SIXTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND
  • so it is probably not surprising that he died violently at a young age (*quiet sobs*)
  • he got stabbed in the eye in a bar fight at age 29
  • but wait! even his death is mysterious!!!
  • twelve days before his murder, a warrant was issued for his arrest on vague charges of blasphemy. ten days before, he was called up in front of the privy council, but they didn’t meet for some reason. there were rumors that he was going to implicate some pretty high-up nobles in a SECRET RING OF ATHEISTS.
  • there’s more, but basically, there was SHADY SHIT going on, and in the coroner’s report, it says refers to the fight as being over “the reckoning,” which could either be SUPER OMINOUS or be about who would pay the check.

which brings me to as you like it! given the coroner’s report, the lines quoted in that post i reblogged read a little differently:

When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a
man’s good wit seconded with the forward child
Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a
great reckoning in a little room. (III.iii.9-12)

ha

hahaa

hahahajsdkh;aseljdlk;fgjehoirjasfd;lk

(and this comes in a scene where the characters discuss poets/poetry and whether to be “poetical” is to be honest, and how truth can be communicated through fiction aaaaAAAAAAAAAAHHH)

*muffled weeping*

see, shakespeare and marlowe were really, really close. they had a friendly rivalry and were having all the sex. their plays constantly reference/one-up each other. marlowe wrote the jew of malta, so shakespeare wrote the merchant of venice. marlowe wrote edward ii, so shakespeare wrote richard ii. and so on and so forth. in each other they each found an intellectual equal, someone who could not only keep up, but challenge them—something pretty rare for both of them.

and then, out of the blue, marlowe dies.

a lot happens out of the blue in as you like it. the plot moves forward with these lightning-strike revelations (suddenly, they’re in love! suddenly, a lion! suddenly, the duke goes to live in a monastery!). it’s comic, but also disorienting, and the characters struggle to keep their balance as their world shifts around them.

the through-line of love at first sight, which constitutes several of those sudden, shocking events, isn’t subtle, and is most clearly pointed out by phoebe when she says:

Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might,
‘Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?’ (III.v.82-83)

want to know why that bolded line is in quotes? because it is a quote.

from marlowe.

specifically, from marlowe’s poem hero and leander.

so, shakespeare bases the main plot conceit of ayli on a quote taken directly from marlowe (ABOUT LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT I’M GOING TO DIE) and then proceeds in the same play to reference the “great reckoning” and to write, in a speech by jacques: “the scholar’s melancholy, which is / emulation” (IV.i.10-11).

THE SCHOLAR’S MELANCHOLY, WHICH IS EMULATION

THE SCHOLAR’S MELANCHOLY, WHICH IS EMULATION

*lies down on the ground*

*tries not to cry*

*cries a lot*

okay i’m losing the ability to talk about this coherently but basically shakespeare was devastated by marlowe’s death and as you like it is his tribute to kit and it destroys me

2

[Original post by Murrmernator]

Wally squeezed his eyes shut. This was the end—he knew it. What a fool he had been for wandering into the jungle alone on a whim. Now he was going to die by the teeth of a jaguar. Now he was—

Suddenly, there was the sound of muscle and bone slamming into each other, followed by a yelp of surprise. Wally’s eyes flew open just in time to see a blur of bronze and blond tackling his four-legged assailant to the ground. The jaguar raised its claws in livid defense, but its attacker—an almost naked woman! Wally noticed—was one step ahead. In the span of just a second, her spear drilled into the jaguar’s neck, silencing it mid-roar. 

She stood up, ripped the spear from its bloody target, and whipped around to face Wally. 

Out of instinct, Wally immediately made a move to shrink away. But when he saw her face, he froze. 

If one could take all the beauty in the world and release it into the wild fire of nature, and let it take its own course through waterfalls and emerald leaves, the end result would be the figure standing curiously before Wally. 

She had blazing cat-like eyes, in the middle of each which dwelled dancing silver pearls. Her lips were brushed with the raw pink of sunrise, tinted with the shine of exertion, and parted just slightly for darting breaths. Her golden hair dropped around the feral angles of her face like the very vines inhabiting the jungle… and above all, she was hardly wearing anything resembling clothes

Wally gulped. He wanted to say something, but his throat had magically become parched, and he could only stare mutely. 

Suddenly, off in the distance, there was a rumbling roar that fired dozens of birds into the sky. Wally’s heart stopped, and then simultaneously exploded into outrageous beats as his wild savior grabbed him by the wrist, and took off running. 

Wally stumbled and followed blindly, blinking at the whirl of green around them. Without warning, he felt a tug of his own weight, and the ground gave away underneath him. He followed his eyes up his arm, and with a start, realized his jungle companion was swinging both of them on a…vine?

But before he could question the physics of such a feat, he found himself falling, and then landing unceremoniously on a thick branch of some giant tree. The woman followed, but with much more grace and the pounce of a cat. She immediately tackled Wally, and held the chiseled end of her spear at his throat. 

Wally wanted to squeeze his eyes shut again, but he was too drawn to his captor’s gaze to even blink. 

And then with a jolt, a rush of familiarity sliced through him like a foghorn. 

Artemis?“ 

[made rebloggable by request]

The best thing about Sybil is EVERYTHING

and also how…she’s the parts of femininity that aren’t “cool"? Like, everyone wants to reclaim lipstick and having men fall at your feet, but there’s a lot of stereotypical femininity—letter-writing, thank yous, kindness, politeness, proper manners, that we as women aren’t in a hurry to take back because they are rather boring and unglamorous. And that’s how Sybil does so well for herself, with gentleness and sweetness and everything in its place and a place for everything. And—and—because the lipstick and men-at-your-feet thing is either:

1.) denied her (I get really angry when people draw/cast Sybil as thin when it is SUCH A HUGE PART OF HER CHARACTERIZATION that she and Vimes come together from this place of no one really wants them except each other)

or 2.) it’s not the person she wants to be. The beauty of Sybil is that with her, the dragon sanctuary and defending herself aren’t contradictory, they are part of her characterization as someone who works hard and takes care of things, and she understands that that isn’t limited to the glamorous. (And also because she is a badass.)

I really like Sybil guys

pretty sure her family tried to goad her into marrying Vetinari for a while, and she was very polite about it until they did so in Havelock’s hearing and she snapped and said she had no interest in playing pinkish hippopotamus to Vetinari’s predatory flamingo

and everyone else just stood there in horrified shock as Vetinari, very slowly, smiled.

and now they have tea and smirk a lot at each other while Vimes runs around chasing bad guys and Drumknott tries to entertain Little Sam with paperclips

Sociopathy!
Do you have any tips on writing sociopathic characters?

 booksturnmugglesintowizards

Sociopathic characters can be hard for people for obvious reasons, but a few (said the crown prince of understatement) pieces of advice:

  • There is a lot of talk about how it’s easier for sociopaths to be successful if they aren’t held back by empathy, etc., and that means that writers often like going for the manipulative and superficial charm bits of the typical profile. Keep in mind that managing to rise to a position of power or appear perfectly normal is something that requires a smart sociopath with comparatively good self control. This is because
  • Sociopaths typically have poor impulse control (authors tend to forget about that). This is why you’ll find many of them in the prison system or generally on the outskirts of society. Impulsiveness plus seeing other people as objects or dumb animals tends to equal socially unacceptable behavior.
  • Sociopaths aren’t very risk averse- that is, the threat of negative consequences for their actions isn’t a deterrent. That’s one more reason why they often end up as criminals or otherwise outside of the community’s good graces- losing jobs, being cut off by loved ones, going to prison, and other such things don’t really motivate sociopaths to change their behavior.
  • Sociopaths like to be in control- power can be a reward in and of itself. Manipulating someone can be its own end.
  • Remember that sociopaths are described as emotionally shallow. Part of that is the fact that their empathy is nonexistent (unless they’re deliberately putting themselves into somebody else’s shoes), so they don’t mirror other people’s feelings like neurotypical people. Also part of it is that their negative emotions are limited- no guilt, no fear of punishment, etc. 
  • Also remember that no empathy means that, on an emotional if not intellectual level, other people are basically objects to be arranged and manipulated for your own benefit.
  • Sociopaths are not necessarily antisocial- forming interpersonal relationships and interacting with others is still rewarding.
  • None of this means that sociopaths are necessarily bad people, just that their morality isn’t motivated by emotions like shame and guilt.

Basically, remember all of that when you write your sociopath, otherwise you shall incur my wrath. There are a lot of cliches and stereotypes that come into play when writing a sociopathic character, and a lot of them are just flagrantly ridiculous. Also, please find more information on your own. There are a lot of misconceptions floating around, so do your research, and take things with a grain of salt.

-Emerson

I thought about how to answer this question for a while, anon. I thought about scratch-resistant glasses, and how their coating was first developed by NASA to protect astronaut helmet visors. I thought about ear thermometers, and how NASA’s Jet Propulsion lab helped adapt the same infrared technology they use to gauge the heat of stars to tell you if your child had a fever. I thought about the 200 communication satellites orbiting the Earth, and how NASA was responsible for the first. I thought about smoke detectors, water filters, LED lights, freeze dried food, solar energy, invisaline braces, safety grooves on the curbs of the highway, memory foam, baby food, the dustbuster…

Space travel, facing unique challenges, comes up with unique solutions. It is a shining example of innovation, of creative problem-solving, and how the ripple effects of such endeavors can benefit society as a whole.

But for me, this utilitarian argument isn’t truly satisfying. If space travel did nothing but took us into space, I would still consider it important, vital, worth doing. And it took a while for me to understand why.

I think my answer, the romantic answer, is “wanderlust.” Because 60,000 years ago, a small population of Homo sapiens crossed the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait from Africa into the Arabian Peninsula. Only 10,000 years later, Homo sapiens had reached Southeast Asia and Australia, mostly by island-hopping and hugging coastlines. 15,000 years ago, they braved massive ice shelves to travel across the Asian-Americas land bridge and down into Mesoamerica. Each generation moved a little further into the unknown—the profoundly unknown, untouched by any sort of humanity—and stayed. And the next generation moved a little further than that. Gene maps show that people went back as well as moving forward; that there was sailing and trade much earlier than anyone would ever have thought.

There is something in humanity that looks at a horizon and wants.

And then—well, then we looked up and saw the sky, we looked down and saw the depths of the ocean. Places no human being had ever been, never seen, never really known. But we had no way of going, and so we wrote stories about what was there, because imagination isn’t constrained by physics. (Don’t tell me that Icarus and Captain Nemo aren’t the same person; they typify the same human desire, to reach for something just beyond reach.) I don’t know whether the stories inspired the real-life inventors, or they were simply symptomatic of the same desire—I’m not sure it matters. Because we developed sonar and submarines and scuba diving, and descended to the deepest points of the ocean; we took to the sky on wings of steel.

And then we realized that there was a place beyond sky, that we still hadn’t quite reached the stars. So we built rockets and rovers, and we went. We wandered the surface of the moon, and sent satellites to be out eyes in the very distant corners of space. We could not see beyond our own solar system, and so we built better eyes—to see in every spectra, undreamed-of distances. Through them, we gazed at planets and nebulae and supernovae, we saw the universe without ever leaving our own tiny blue-and-green marble.

We stood in awe of the immensity of the universe, and never questioned that we had a place within it.

I am not trying to argue that space travel is some kind of manifest destiny. Only there are some things we do because we are human. Make art. Fall in love. Hunger for answers. Yearn for horizons. Asking why these things are important can be fruitless, because we do these things for themselves; the reason for art is ultimately art. For me, space exploration is the same, important because it is an expression of our humanity, because we have been wondering wanderers since the origin of our species, and show no signs of stopping.

Because space is there, vast and unknowable, and humanity has always loved a challenge.

The problems with young writers
Hi! Sorry if this question is too broad, but what would you say is the biggest problem with writing done by people who are too young or inexperienced? Are the flaws similar, or does the writing depend more on the individual? Thanks.
External image
 Anonymous

Apology graciously accepted.

There are a number of problems I see over and over in the writing of young people, especially people under the age of 18. Fortunately, they almost all go away with time, age, and practice. This is not to say that young writers suck, or that they should give up and hang their baby-faced heads in shame. Far from it! For if no young people started writing, we’d have no older-and-wiser writers who cut their teeth writing during their teenage years to produce new books for us all to read and enjoy. They’re just better off practicing their writing instead of trying to get it published before they’re ready.

So here’s a list of the problems I often encounter when asked to read young people’s writing. If you feel like I’m talking about your writing… I probably am. Let this be a lesson to you.

1. They mistake their god-given talent and potential for skill. Talent comes naturally. It’s raw potential. Skill takes practice. Hours upon years of practice. Make no mistake: writing well requires skill. Just because your English teacher tells you you have a great talent for writing doesn’t mean you are ready for publication. Practice your skills.

2. They write autobiographical characters or plot. Spare me from one more main character with suspiciously similar physical characteristics to their author. Spare me from one more mundane “fictional" story about interpersonal conflicts between classmates. While the events of your formative years may be important to you, they do not necessarily make for good fiction. And no one else gives a shit.

3. They write wish fulfillment or Mary Sues. Couldn’t get the better of that bully in real life? OBLITERATE THEM IN FICTION. Hate your hair/nose/zits/lack of a love life/clumsiness/inability to be good at everything? BE THE PERFECT VERSION OF YOU BY WRITING ABOUT IT. The result is annoyingly two-dimensional writing devoid of real conflict and peopled by cardboard villains and absurdly perfect heroes. Y’know: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

4. They write about things beyond their experience or understanding without any empathy whatsoever. This may shock you, but 17-year-old Civics and Poli Sci students do not have the answers to all the world’s problems. I once read a painfully myopic story by a 17-year-old girl about the evils of abortion. It was terrible and embarrassingly uninformed. Another time I read an account of the Iraq War (and how three highly-trained Marines could end it within 24 hours) written by a teenage boy that was just downright offensive and oblivious to its own racism and misogyny. The authors in question just had no idea what they were writing about, and instead of doing research, they simply painted the world with broad strokes according to their own naive understanding of current events.

5. They’re too fucking melodramatic. Laughably so. But it’s ok, because someday they’ll look back on The Trials of Arabella and cringe with embarrassment and sigh with relief because they now know better.

6. They don’t understand that truth is necessarily stranger than fiction, and therefore their fiction has to actually make sense. The excuse “But it happened that way in real life!“ doesn’t count. See #2.

7. They never edit or revise. NEVER. All too often, young writers finish writing in a late-night frenzy of enthusiastic keyboard-pounding, slide back from their desk, stretch out their hands, and declare themselves masters of the literary universe. They’re high on the excitement of having actually completed a manuscript, and they remember how good and smart they felt while writing it. So in their minds, how could their story possibly suck harder than a promiscuous Black Hole? So instead of rereading what they just finished writing, let alone editing it, they immediately give it to someone else to read. And that someone else will have to suffer through the horrors of a first draft. Spare your friends and loved ones the gross offense to common decency that is your first draft. Reread. Revise. Edit.

8. They write read-alikes of their favorite books. I was once asked to “take a look” at a manuscript written by the daughter of a friend of a friend who wanted to be “a professional author.“ It was Twilight… with different character names and set in the author’s hometown.

Over the years I have led creative writing groups for high school and middle school students, and tutored seventh-grade reading and writing. All of the above comes from that experience, as well as the experience of having far too many teenagers send me query letters that start with “My English teacher says I’m a really good writer and that I should get my story published.”

If you’re a young writer, remember this: the great writing you think you’re producing now can only get better with time. So wait. And practice.

Karkat and Tavros are personality opposites, but in a complementary way. Karkat begins as a loud and bossy control freak who is a lot more insecure than he looks at first glance. Tavros begins as a self-admitting wuss who second guesses everything he says and does, but he’s a lot more confident than he thinks he is. Over time they kind of end up swapping attributes—Tavros turns out to be remarkably sassy and confident, and Karkat starts second-guessing everything he does and calming down. Both of their roles kind of revolve around the concept of what it means to be in control—Karkat’s concerns revolve around his friends, whereas Tavros’s tends to be more self-focused. 

How do they end up acting towards each other? It can be kind of easy to dismiss their interactions in canon since Karkat doesn’t seem to pay any more attention to him as he does anyone else, but look at things from Tavros’s point of view. Karkat seems like a completely confident (actually, completely self-absorbed and arrogant and overconfident) leader. There’s definitely a lot of stuff in canon that sets Tavros up to hero-worship, or at least maybe romanticize Karkat’s position and want it for himself. 

Tavros the Page, Karkat the Knight.

Karkat’s ancestor promoting revolutionary ideas and dying for them. Tavros’s ancestor promoting an actual revolution based on those ideas and killing for them. 

Who is the first person that Tavros contacts after falling off the cliff? Karkat. Who is the first person Tavros comes to for advice when he has issues with Vriska? Karkat. Tavros has a marked interest in Karkat’s advice, because he looks to Karkat for leadership. 

Karkat in turn tends to be more than willing to give that advice, as shown by his relationship with Eridan, Gamzee, etc. Karkat is kind of an oddball—in some cases, he’s very receptive to the fragility of others, especially when it comes to matters of romance, and he tries to help in those instances. In other cases he’s completely fucking dense and doesn’t see things when they’re smacking him right in the face, like with probably 90% of his conversations with Terezi. Nevertheless, he does show a lot of concern for his friends, especially when they seem vulnerable, and takes an active leading role in trying to help them.

Karkat doesn’t coddle Tavros. He ends up berating him several times (something Tavros shrugs off), which isn’t a sign that Karkat dislikes him or thinks poorly of him—Karkat isn’t malicious or judgemental in that way. His friendship with Eridan should be enough proof of that. He also tends to be generally abrasive with most of his friends in the same era, especially Sollux, whom he considers to be his bff. It’s probably much more of a sign that he recognizes Tavros’s self-deprecation as bullshit and sees him as a fairly stable individual (compared to Eridan, whom he tends to coddle more). In other words, Karkat sees Tavros as an equal. His abrasiveness is probably more intended as “why are you wasting your talents with this shit, cut it out, you’re better than that,” than as genuine mocking/dislike on his part.

That being said, Karkat also shows that he cares for Tavros on multiple occasions. It was Tavros’s amputation that made him pass out. Now you could argue, yeah, a scene as gruesome as that might make anyone faint, and Karkat IS kind of a pussy. But he also witnesses the deaths of Feferi and Kanaya, and watches Sollux get smashed into the wall like a bug on a windshield with his blood fucking everywhere. And he’s also witnessed some of his neighbors get culled in the past. Still, Tavros’s amputation might’ve been more messy than all of that, but that’s a pretty extreme reaction in any case.

Then, on Prospit, even though Karkat was only awake for a few moments, what does he spend his time doing? Trying to save Tavros. Specifically trying to get Tavros’s attention. 

Ultimately I have to admit something: There’s probably no hope for them in canon. Their paths just aren’t going to cross, in the same way their ancestors never crossed: Karkat will do his own thing, exerting an influence on his followers, unknowingly giving Tavros the tools he needs to fulfill his destiny or something. At least, that’s what I expect to happen, but we’ll see. My point isn’t to argue how canon it is because honestly if being canon is the only thing that floats your ship your ship is already sunk. 

All this background information aside I’m really interested in how their personalities work together. Say that they were meant to work together in some way. The leader-follower complexes here are TREMENDOUS. It probably wouldn’t be all that different in chemistry from, say, the current status of Tavros and Vriska’s relationship (post-deaths). They would bicker and sass each other. I’d actually argue Tavros would have a more dominant personality than Karkat would. The chemistry is there and the groundwork for a comical but caring relationship is there. Tavros could just as much beat some confidence into Karkat when he was down as Karkat could provide leadership to Tavros when he felt insecure.

Also, on the fandom-pornographic side of things, just stop and consider the horn-to-bulge size correlations for a second. Just think about that. No one could provide Karkat with The D better than Tavros could. General size differences, sexual or otherwise, is really something I love with these two? A tall Tavros and a short Karkat, a fat Tavros and a skinny Karkat, and so on—they’re great. 

[made rebloggable by request]

I think that—underneath centuries of Da Vinci Code style-conspiracy theories, being labeled a prostitute or a mystic, exalted above the disciples or placed beneath them, conflated with the other Marys or vilified in comparison with them or ignored entirely or reduced to an archetype, a symbol, something gold-leafed and enshrined or rebellion given flesh—underneath all that—

I think she was just a Jewish woman.

She might have been married or not, wealthy or not, educated or not; she might have had children or sisters or brothers or run a business or been a beggar or none of the above. All we know—for a given value of “know"—is that Jesus expelled seven devils out of her (Luke 8:2) and that she was present at the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection (Matthew and Mark, and all four Gospels portray her as among the first to witness to the empty tomb and Jesus’s comeback tour.) Whenever Jesus’s female followers are listed, Mary Magdalene is at the head, which would at least seem to imply that she was prominent among them, in the same way that Peter is always listed first among the disciples.

I think she must have been fearless. A woman never described with any man in attendance; a woman who is listed first among women and who led them to the foot of the cross, to the tomb, who was unflinching witness in the face of Roman cruelty and oppression; a woman who had demons cast out from her (neuroatypical? epileptic?) and still did not choose “normal" life, but followed a prophet out into the wilderness—I can’t imagine how driven she must have been.

I like to think she and Peter got into fights because he was better with the day-to-day details of their journey and their finances, and she was all big picture, transcendence, the Kingdom of God, Petros, imagine it—and Jesus was sitting off to one side, massaging his feet and smiling faintly. I like to think that she played older sister to John, who had the same taste for the lofty and godly. I like to think that the other women in Jesus’s retinue were a little afraid of her and her terrifying insight into the divine, but they also felt incredibly motherly towards her—Magdalene, you forgot to eat at noontide, here, I brought you some stew; Magdalene, stop making excitable noises in Ya’akov’s direction and come to bed, you haven’t slept in two nights.

I like to think that she was dry-eyed and furious at the foot of the cross, holding Jesus’s mother as this old woman (not old enough to lose a son) wept. I like to think she didn’t cry that night, when they were waiting for the mangled body to be taken down off the cross; or the next, when there were funeral preparations to make; or the next, when there were Shabbat rituals to carry out.

I like to think that when the resurrected savior announced himself to her on the third day, she slapped him. And when he protested that she never reallybelieved him dead (because he basically spent forty days foreshadowing it, I mean, c’mon Miriam) she answered, Well, maybe you shouldn’t scare me like that.

And that’s when she started crying.

I like to think that she was instrumental in the early church—the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, and it isn’t as though the Twelve are welcome in spinning circles or standing around wells or in the kitchens where all realdecisions are made. I like to think that she was there with Peter and James and John and Simon and all the disciples as they struggled to find the right words, to tell the story the right way, to follow in the footsteps of a man who had been God.

I like to think that when she became to old to wander, she had a house in Magdalene with her niece, who was her nurse and housekeeper. And the gate was always open and bread always on the table, candles lit for each of the Twelve who had been lost to them. I like to think that Christians came many miles to speak with her about Christ and the transcendence and how to be rescued from demons.

And her mouth was full of parables and her eyes lifted to God, and it was her small piece of the Kingdom, because Yeshua had promised it to her.