sua sponte


sua sponte

: (sooh-uh spahn-tay) adj. Latin for “of one’s own will,” meaning on one’s own volition, usually referring to a judge’s order made without a request by any party to the case. These include an order transferring a case to another judge due to a conflict of interest or the judge’s determination that his/her court does not have jurisdiction over the case.

How this pertains to James Holmes vs The People and State of Colorado

From the previously Redacted document pertaining to the defenses stance of the disclosure of the University of Colorado Records.

“No party has requested that this order be modified or vacated.  Thus, there is no reason for the court to lift or change its order sua sponte.”

The document then goes on to refer to the autopsy reports from the Columbine High School Shooting and if it was contrary to public interest to release them and if the original documents should be modified as the circumstances change.  The defense argues that the circumstances of James Holmes case has not yet changed and therefor the original demand to keep the CU documents sealed should indeed remain and only be reevaluated to be released once the situation has progressed.  

The defense also states that they have not yet been able to see these documents in question but feel that the majority of them will not meet the criteria of public record.  

In conclusion, the defense feels that the only way to determine what should be released and what should not be released is by doing a page by page review of all materials the state is inquiring about.  

We now know, these documents have been released, and the hearing pertaining to them & to further discuss them has been adjourned because of extenuating circumstances with Holmes and his inability to make it to the court appearance.  

How Watson came back to life to save Holmes

In HLV, Sherlock’s heart starts beating again because “John Watson is definitely in danger”. In the ACD canon, Watson defeats certain madness and death in The Devil’s Foot because he realises that Holmes will die if he, Watson, does not save him. Else, that story is quite telling as well: it is far too romantic in its descriptions, Watson refers to “discretion”, a mirror to Holmes commits a crime in passionate revenge, and Holmes and Watson are living in an isolated cottage in Cornwall, for crying out loud! (And I think that there might be only one bedroom, by the way.)

My participation in some of his adventures was always a privilege which entailed discretion and reticence upon me.

It was, then, in the spring of the year 1897 that Holmes’s iron constitution showed some symptoms of giving way […][H]e was induced at last, on the threat of being permanently disqualified from work, to give himself a complete change of scene and air. Thus it was that in the early spring of that year we found ourselves together in a small cottage near Poldhu Bay, at the further extremity of the Cornish peninsula.

What follows now is a ridiculously long and romantic description of bleak but heartbreakingly beautiful Cornwall. Which would be entirely unnecessary if the story’s main point was actually to show a detective’s work and not to become the perfect covert romance.  

[They] entered abruptly into our little sitting-room on Tuesday, March the 16th, shortly after our breakfast hour, as we were smoking together, preparatory to our daily excursion upon the moors.

“Mr. Holmes,” said the vicar in an agitated voice, “the most extraordinary and tragic affair has occurred during the night. It is the most unheard-of business. We can only regard it as a special Providence that you should chance to be here at the time, for in all England you are the one man we need.”

I glared at the intrusive vicar with no very friendly eyes; but Holmes took his pipe from his lips and sat up in his chair like an old hound who hears the view-halloa.

First of all, they are so snug in “our” cottage after “our” breakfast, intending to take “our” walks. Secondly, Watson “glaring” at a vicar, trying to protect Holmes, is just a perfect image. He will not succeed, of course, and they go investigate.

My friend smiled and laid his hand upon my arm. “I think, Watson, that I shall resume that course of tobacco-poisoning which you have so often and so justly condemned,” said he. “With your permission, gentlemen, we will now return to our cottage, for I am not aware that any new factor is likely to come to our notice here. I will turn the facts over in my mind […]”

(If I were single and with a friend, I personally would not call a holiday cottage “ours”. Here it is done all the time.)

Finally he laid down his pipe and sprang to his feet.

“It won’t do, Watson!” said he with a laugh. “Let us walk along the cliffs together and search for flint arrows. We are more likely to find them than clues to this problem. To let the brain work without sufficient material is like racing an engine. It racks itself to pieces. The sea air, sunshine, and patience, Watson–all else will come.

"Now, let us calmly define our position, Watson,” he continued as we skirted the cliffs together.

Holmes is not getting anywhere with his theories, so what does he do? Take Watson on a romantic walk on the Cornwall coast.

I was shaving at my window in the morning when I heard the rattle of hoofs and, looking up, saw a dog-cart coming at a gallop down the road. It pulled up at our door, and our friend, the vicar, sprang from it and rushed up our garden path. Holmes was already dressed, and we hastened down to meet him.

“My window” sounds like there was one room with several windows to me, but that is not really conclusive. What is, though, is that Watson does not mention what Holmes was doing “already dressed” (implying he was not, before) in the same room as Watson, which is still shaving.

One realized the red-hot energy which underlay Holmes’s phlegmatic exterior when one saw the sudden change which came over him from the moment that he entered the fatal apartment. In an instant he was tense and alert, his eyes shining, his face set, his limbs quivering with eager activity.

I do not feel like I needed to say anything about this.

Another experiment which he made was of a more unpleasant nature, and one which I am not likely ever to forget.

No, you will not forget that experiment, and for a very good reason…

“[W]e will, however, take the precaution to open our window to avoid the premature decease of two deserving members of society, and you will seat yourself near that open window in an armchair unless, like a sensible man, you determine to have nothing to do with the affair. Oh, you will see it out, will you? I thought I knew my Watson. This chair I will place opposite yours, so that we may be the same distance from the poison and face to face. […]”

They were not long in coming. I had hardly settled in my chair before I was conscious of a thick, musky odour, subtle and nauseous. At the very first whiff of it my brain and my imagination were beyond all control. A thick, black cloud swirled before my eyes, and my mind told me that in this cloud, unseen as yet, but about to spring out upon my appalled senses, lurked all that was vaguely horrible, all that was monstrous and inconceivably wicked in the universe. Vague shapes swirled and swam amid the dark cloud-bank, each a menace and a warning of something coming, the advent of some unspeakable dweller upon the threshold, whose very shadow would blast my soul. A freezing horror took possession of me. I felt that my hair was rising, that my eyes were protruding, that my mouth was opened, and my tongue like leather. The turmoil within my brain was such that something must surely snap. I tried to scream and was vaguely aware of some hoarse croak which was my own voice, but distant and detached from myself. At the same moment, in some effort of escape, I broke through that cloud of despair and had a glimpse of Holmes’s face, white, rigid, and drawn with horror–the very look which I had seen upon the features of the dead. It was that vision which gave me an instant of sanity and of strength. I dashed from my chair, threw my arms round Holmes, and together we lurched through the door, and an instant afterwards had thrown ourselves down upon the grass plot and were lying side by side, conscious only of the glorious sunshine which was bursting its way through the hellish cloud of terror which had girt us in. Slowly it rose from our souls like the mists from a landscape until peace and reason had returned, and we were sitting upon the grass, wiping our clammy foreheads, and looking with apprehension at each other to mark the last traces of that terrific experience which we had undergone.

“Upon my word, Watson!” said Holmes at last with an unsteady voice, “I owe you both my thanks and an apology. It was an unjustifiable experiment even for one’s self, and doubly so for a friend. I am really very sorry.”

“You know,” I answered with some emotion, for I have never seen so much of Holmes’s heart before, “that it is my greatest joy and privilege to help you.”

Finding a more romantic scene in any book whatsoever is impossible. At least, I am a book-addict and have failed to find any for years and years.

For a moment I wished that I were armed. Sterndale’s fierce face turned to a dusky red, his eyes glared, and the knotted, passionate veins started out in his forehead, while he sprang forward with clenched hands towards my companion.

Watson wishes for a gun because Holmes is threatened. It reminds me of Holmes swearing to Killer Evans that he would kill him if he murdered Watson. It goes both ways.

Sterndale sat down with a gasp, overawed for, perhaps, the first time in his adventurous life. There was a calm assurance of power in Holmes’s manner which could not be withstood.

Reading such statements is painful because they are so obvious…

“Should I appeal to the law? Where were my proofs? I knew that the facts were true, but could I help to make a jury of countrymen believe so fantastic a story? I might or I might not. But I could not afford to fail. My soul cried out for revenge. I have said to you once before, Mr. Holmes, that I have spent much of my life outside the law, and that I have come at last to be a law to myself.

Dr Leon Sterndale serves as a mirror for Holmes: he determines what is just, and Holmes understands him and lets him go. What is interesting is that Holmes’s mirror is a man who committed a crime in revenge because he passionately loved somebody. And we all know that Holmes would kill for Watson (3GAR).

Perhaps, if you loved a woman, you would have done as much yourself. At any rate, I am in your hands. You can take what steps you like. As I have already said, there is no man living who can fear death less than I do.”

[Holmes lets Sterndale go.]

“You would not denounce the man?”

“Certainly not,” I answered.

I have never loved, Watson, but if I did and if the woman I loved had met such an end, I might act even as our lawless lion-hunter has done. Who knows?

Two things of importance: a) Sterndale knows/assumes that Holmes does not “love a woman”, and b) we should not believe Holmes’s statement for a few valid reasons. Apart from the fact that we know that Holmes is perfectly capable of love, Holmes himself will take Sterndale’s stance in 3GAR, and moreover, what Holmes says is a verbal repetition of Sterndale’s assertion and really does not sound like something Holmes would say sua sponte.

And now, my dear Watson, I think we may dismiss the matter from our mind […].”

Please take a moment to appreciate the singular form of “mind”: they share their thoughts. Beautiful.

Un giorno, precisamente il 23 Novembre 2002 Nicholas andò al mercato poiché la nonna, che aveva rinunciato ad ogni speranza di camminare col bastone, aveva bisogno di qualche chilo di frutta.
Era una vecchietta carina, la nonna, di quelle che incontri in strada con le guance arrossate, le rughe gradevoli e quei pochi denti incisivi, ma non per questo Nicholas l’aiutava.
Ciò che gli importava era il lauto guadagno ottenuto dopo. Pensava che dieci euro non avessero mai fatto male a nessuno e che erano sempre qualcosa per un pimpante ragazzino di dodici anni.
Nicholas era un ragazzino basso e grassottello, aveva i capelli rossi, i modi imbranati del nonno e le guance fuoco della nonna.
Quando uscì di casa, facendo a due a due le scale, stringeva nella mano destra la banconota datagli dalla vecchietta ed era felice come una pasqua, poiché in questi giorni in città era arrivata anche la neve, allora prese la penna che portava sempre in tasca e scrisse sul denaro cartaceo la data del giorno, con un piccolo cuoricino.
Poi calpestando qua e la il marciapiede innevato, piroettando e scontrandosi con qualche passante arrivò ad inciampare in una pozzanghera congelata che assorbì interamente tutto il suo piede e vi rimase incastrato, battendo il muso un attimo prima felice contro la pietra del marciapiede.
A Nicholas non importò del ginocchio sbucciato o delle mani escoriate, quello che lo turbò di più fu la banconota che gli scappò di mano e soffiata via dal vento, fu cullata nell’aria verso l’alto, poi verso il basso e rumorosamente tra il fischio sordo e le forti folate, andò ad incastrarsi nel ramo di un albero.
Quando Nicholas si rialzò e a passo cadaverico raggiunse l’albero, tentò prima una volta di aggrapparvisi con le unghie e con i denti, come un grosso micio obeso ma fallì miseramente e cadde col sedere nella neve gelata.
Solo quando si rialzò, notò che vicino alla banconota vi era un gatto dal pelo rossastro che si destreggiava agilmente sul ramo avvicinandosi curioso alla banconota.
La leccò, la graffio e la colpì fino a quando l’immondo pezzo di carta non scese dall’Albero.
Gli occhi increduli di Nicholas che erano rimasti a guardare si aprirono di botto, sgranati e spiazzati , iniziando a balzellare sul posto e fendere con le mani l’aria per cercare di afferrare la banconota.
Nulla da fare.
Un’altra folata di vento aveva trascinato la banconota lontana e Nicholas smise di saltare, senza darsi per vinto, mettendosi a correre nuovamente all’inseguimento della banconota da dieci euro.
Saltò goffamente su una piccola panchina in legno del parco dove due ragazzi stavano amoreggiando, scostò bruscamente una vecchietta rassicurandosi che non fosse la nonna, fermò un Taxi che stava per investirlo e in fin di vita, a causa del fiato praticamente assente, crollò in ginocchio sul marciapiede ricoperto da una patina trasparente di ghiaccio, fino a scivolare contro un cestino dell’immondizia e far cadere una lattina di coca-cola lì appoggiata che inzuppò interamente i suoi abiti.
Mentre ormai si era arreso all’inevitabile destino di aver perso i soldi , recuperato il fiato una ragazzina glielo portò via di nuovo.
Si fermò vicino a lui e gli sorrise angelicamente, chiedendogli che cosa ci facesse sdraiato tutto solo a terra, sul marciapiede ,con questo freddo.

Lui non rispose ma si limitò a fissarla boccheggiante, afferrando di colpo la lattina che gli era caduta addosso, rispondendo che stava bevendo con un’aria quasi gongolante per il colpo di genio che gli era venuto in mente.
La ragazzina si mise a ridere.
Nicholas pensò che aveva dei capelli rossi bellissimi e desiderò di esser nato anch’egli coi capelli rossi.
Poi mentre lei parlava e diceva chissà cosa, lui si ricordò di esserci nato e fu amore e fu rivoluzione.
Si alzò di botto con un sorriso illuminato stampato sul volto paffuto , lanciò la lattina nel cestino e quando si guardò intorno la ragazzina era già sparita e di lei gli erano restate solo delle labbra stampate da un bacio contro una gota con del rossetto.

Passarono ventitré anni. Nicholas si fece grande, più rosso che mai. La pancetta era sparita e aveva lasciato posto al frutto di un’adolescenza passata a soffrire su un tapis roulant.
Il paffuto bambino ormai adulto era felicemente sposato con una donna di nome Samantha Hopkins, statunitense, che passava la sua vita in parte a spiare i vicini e in parte ai corsi di salsa che tanto amava.
Un giorno Nicholas andò alla posta poiché qualcuno lo aveva minacciato di staccargli una volta e per sempre la luce se non avesse pagato anche questa bolletta.
Vi si diresse con tutta calma, di buon mattino e una volta entrato attese un paio d’ore seduto che arrivasse il suo turno.
Avvicinatosi all’operatore, prese mano alla tasca e pagò le proprie bollette ricevendo un resto di dieci euro e riponendolo nel portafogli.
Quando si voltò, perse nuovamente il fiato come non gli accadeva da una ventina di anni.
Una donna dai capelli rosso fuoco, gli occhi chiari e le lentiggini attendeva il suo turno.
La fissò intensamente tanto che lei fraintendendo, lo offese e passò avanti.
Senza pensarci oltre fece per allontanarsi dalla fila e mise mano al portafogli, prendendo la banconota da dieci euro e notando qualcosa scritto a penna, scambiato e poco nitido.
Ventitrè novembre 2002.
Restò ad alternarsi con gli occhi dalla banconota alla donna, per circa un’ora sino a che non uscì dalla posta e ciò che fece fu entrare in macchina e andare al Cimitero.
Nel silenzio tombale del luogo, Nicholas prese la banconota e la poggiò sulla lapide in marmo della nonna, morta ormai da cinque anni.
Fu il giorno in cui ritrovò il denaro e rincontrò la bambina di cui si innamorò in uno sguardo all’età di dodici anni, senza conoscerne neanche il nome.
L’aveva persa di nuovo, e pensò che era meglio così, ma di sua sponte volle perdere anche il denaro, che come un sogno spento poi ritornò, dopo anni ed anni, fino a ricordare a Nicholas di inseguire i propri sogni, sempre.

—  Davide Avolio
Sua Sponte, Chapter 16: "Baby Steps"
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

“Sua Sponte”
An Marvel fanfiction set in the Motion Practice universe
Chapter 16: “Baby Steps”
Clint Barton/Phil Coulson, Amy Jimenez, Dot Barnes, Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, P.J. Barton, Kate Bishop, Barney Barton, Darcy Lewis, Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff
Rated M for language and adult content; 2,620 words

“Call your brother,” Bruce says, and a few days later, Barney appears on their doorstep.   

Clint’d always warned Phil that Barney might cause them trouble someday.  Might pop back up, out of the ashes, armed with heavy baggage and ready to drag everyone he loved down with him.  But despite all these warnings—these near-promises whispered in the dead of night—Phil’s never really believed his husband. 

At least, until now.

In this chapter, our heroes move forward.  Or rather, P.J. moves forward.  On his own steam.  But everyone else moves forward, too.

The end of almost eight months of work, here for your reading pleasure.

Thanks as always to Jen and Sara, who in many ways are the rock upon which these words are built. Or something like that, at any rate.

And thanks to all of you for sticking with me and being so supportive. You really are the best.

I’m going to blitz all remaining comments next weekend, as part of my hiatus work. In the meantime, I’m going to take a few minutes and bask in that little green check mark for a while.

MPU Playlist: “Sua Sponte”

Like with the story, this playlist suffered a lot of growing pains. I struggled to balance the songs I really liked with the ones actually appropriate for the story. I actually added a few more songs tonight, just to sort of round out the collection. (And because some of the songs on the playlist landed there by accident.)

Regardless, a few important notes:

  • “Always Gold” is absolutely my Barton brothers theme song. Like, I cannot tell you how perfectly it fits them. I listened to it on infinite repeat for weeks. It just hits me in my heart.
  • I knew as soon as I conceptualized P.J. that “Hopes and Fears” would land on this playlist. Also, I wish I could find the music video, because it is absolutely brilliant.
  • Although the career paths discussed are different, “Rite of Spring” really encapsulates Clint in a lot of ways.

I recognize that a couple songs are very technically about death, one is a touch religious, and several sort of touch on a relationship crashing and burning. But I think the uncertainty and finality in some of the tunes fit with the themes of the story. No one died, but it’s a little like ending part one of a two-part book; some doors, like it or not, closed. 

We just know there’s still hope on the other side. 

Will Young, “Hopes and Fears”
There ain’t no way of knowing
If we are coming or going
Telling me what I want to hear
Why’d you hide your hopes and fears?

Fun., “Stars”
And so I tried my best when I took the fall
To get right back up, back in your arms
If you’re out here, why do I miss you so much?

Sarah McLachlan, “Hold On”
So now you’re sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
That you’ll be strong tomorrow
And we'll see another day

Angels & Airwaves, “Rite of Spring”
If I had a chance for another try,
I wouldn’t change a thing
It’s made me all of who I am inside
And if I could thank god
That I am here, and that I am alive

Ed Sheeran, “This”
This is the start of something beautiful
This is the start of something new
You are the one who’d make me lose it all
You are the start of something new

Radical Face, “Always Gold”
We were opposites at birth
I was steady as a hammer
No one worried ‘cause they knew just where I’d be
And they said you were the crooked kind
And that you’d never have no worth
But you were always gold to me

John Rzeznick, “Always Know Where You Are”
And I found something that was always there
Sometimes it’s got to hurt before you feel
But now, I’m strong and I won’t kneel
Except to thank who’s watching over me

Jimmy Eat World, “Hear You Me”
So what would you think of me now
so lucky, so strong, so proud?
I never said thank you for that
now I’ll never have a chance.

Rockapella, “Change in my Life”
But with you I belong
‘Cause you help me be strong
There’s a change in my life
Since you came along

Counting Crows, “Einstein on the Beach”
Einstein’s down on the beach staring into the sand
‘Cause everything he believes in is shattered
What you fear in the night in the day comes to call anyway

One Direction, “History”
All of the rumors, all of the fights
But we always find a way to make it out alive
Thought we were going strong
Thought we were holding on

Aren’t we?

Fleetwood Mac, “Landslide”
Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
'Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too 

Obviously, the last chapter of Sua Sponte and my plan for the next about eight weeks for the MPU will both be posted tomorrow. And obviously, I’m working on various projects for those eight weeks, as well as planning the next big story.

But I’m without a looming, unfinished writing deadline right now. And instead of feeling comforted by this, I feel like I’m forgetting something. 

To which I say: shut up, brain, this is a nice change

Pressing pause.

First and foremost, because I don’t want to bury the lead:  I’m taking a writing hiatus.

With that out of the way:

I feel terrible just writing this post, never mind putting it out into the world. But the truth is that, right now, I need a break. Somewhere in the last couple months, writing’s felt like this overwhelming obligation more than a hobby, something I need to do because of deadlines and expectations.  I don’t feel inspired, I feel forced.

Obviously, that’s not your fault.  Honestly, I’ve felt this on and off for a while.  Blame my job (both the old and new, honestly).  Blame my psoriatic arthritis, which sometimes leaves me in “swamp creature” mode.  Blame the season, my social obligations, or the insufficient hours in the day.  Either way, I need to hit the pause button.

I promise this break is only temporary. Presumptions isn’t pefect, but I’m proud of it.  I want to finish this story and tell all the other tales that are waiting in the wings. But the problem with the last couple chapters—and, really, most of Sua Sponte—was that I let the schedule kick the story’s ass.  I worried about output, not what the characters wanted to tell me.  My writing suffered because of it.

(I really like Chapter 12. Even during the parts that hurt, Chapter 12 turned out pretty much just like I imagined.)

I never wanted to end up in a place where I needed a break in the middle of a story.  But I think Chapter 12 is a good place to pause, and more than that, I think all of us—me, you, and the characters—deserve a little more breathing room.  I’ll keep you updated.  I already think I know how the rest of the story’s going to look.  But for the first time in a long time, I’m going to let the story tell me, not the other way around.

Thanks for understanding, guys. And I promise, I’ll still be posting and acting like a general menace in the meantime. You’re not getting rid of me any time soon.