A painting with scratches etched into the canvas is still a painting.

A mirror with shards smashed into the glass is still a mirror.

A flower with thorns ripped into the stem is still a flower.

A woman with sorrow woven into her being is still a woman.



Review: A beautiful, short, and sweet poem. Every stanza has a ring of truth around it that we all can relate to. Lovely job. Keep on writing.❤


@sunnydisposish thank you so much for the awesome feedback and great questions- hope you don’t mind me responding in a new post.

I’m so in love with Blackbird I don’t even know where to begin: the beautiful writing, the impressive historical accuracy and evocative world-building, the poignant storyline and entirely novel yet still somehow in-character arcs for Victor and Yuuri, the thought-provoking questions about politics, ideology, identity, and personal responsibility so skillfully woven into the love story at its center, and last but not least, your merciless puncturing of the British imperialist/colonialist/racist mindset (especially appreciated by this former subject who grew up in what was then still a British colony).

Thank you! It was definitely interesting to me to explore, even at a slight remove as both POV characters were decidedly non-British, the very weird situation of British politics in the immediate post-war era. WW2 was really the last death knell for Britain as the big imperial power on the world stage, but frankly we as a country still haven’t come to terms with that (cf. half the electorate seriously believing that we won’t be questing paddle-less for where Shit Creek rises in the Mountains of Oh God Why without the rest of the EU). The Attlee government was, in my humble but correct opinion, the best and most socially revolutionary government we ever had, but at the same time as we were creating the NHS and nationalising industries, we were also desperately trying to develop nuclear weapons and pissing and moaning about whether countries we’d been stamping on for centuries were ~really ready~ to see the back of us. It was a truly absurd time period.

Another reason I love it is that it’s so rewarding to re-read, because each time through I notice more little details sprinkled throughout the text, like easter eggs waiting to be discovered. For example, in ch. 4 you slip in a casual mention of a drunken assignation Yuuri once had with some guy from Cambridge named “Guy” who professed to be a Communist, then in the very next section you have Georgi complaining to Victor about one of the agents he’s handling who goes by the name of “Hicks,” which is none other than the code name for Guy Burgess. :) 

Fun fact: I have a whole document in the notes section in Scrivener entitled ‘Yuuri’s ex-boyfriends’. He was… not very nice to a lot of them, lol. Once it occurred to me that, although Burgess would have come down from Cambridge before Yuuri went to Oxford, they could still very well have met (and drunk inordinate amounts of booze together) at the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, I just couldn’t resist.

Also in ch. 4, you describe one of the musicians who had performed Shostakovich’s Symphony #7 during the Leningrad siege as “a short woman with long, pale hair and a hunger-pinched face who nevertheless stared into the camera with the piercing gaze of a soldier, a clarinet clutched in her hands like a rifle” – that has got to be an image of Yura’s mother, right?

Yes! That is none other than Yulia Plisetskaya, classical musician and denouncer of Yuri’s shitty dad. I am slightly intimidated by the prospect of writing it because the situation in Leningrad was so incredibly awful, but one of my planned side stories is about the Plisetskys and the Babichevs during the siege, and particularly about that August 1942 performance of the Shostakovich symphony and Yuri beginning to repair his incredibly fucked-up relationship with her.

Oh, and she’s a clarinettist for a reason ;)

In ch. 6, when Yuuri is told he is being reassigned to Korea, there’s a mention of the new British Consul-General to Korea, Sir Vyvyan Holt, and Yuuri’s boss reassures him that “Holt is… well he’s a lot of things, but he’s not an idiot. He’ll evacuate British diplomats if - when there’s a declaration of war.” So of course, when I googled Holt’s name, I learned that not only was he a real person, but when the Korean war broke out, Holt mistakenly thought he would be protected by his diplomatic immunity, and instead of evacuating everyone when he had the chance, he and his staff ended up being detained by the North Koreans, then forced on a death march to the far north of the peninsula where they were kept captive for several years. Oh the irony. If Yuuri had accepted the assignment, he would have suffered even more at the hands of the North Koreans once they realized he was Japanese, even without knowing he was a spy. (Shudder.)

Yeah that was some thick ladling of irony there, lol. Although perhaps Yuuri would at least have got on with Holt, since one of the ‘many things’ he was at least rumoured to be was gay. And the story of what happened to the actual MI6 officer who was undercover in Holt’s office when the war broke out is… well, interesting to say the least. I’ve got an historical notes post about it that just needs to be finished up.

You’ve thought out everything so thoroughly (down to Victor’s nom de guerre, Stefan Rittberger, and the figure skating jump known as the Rittberger loop) that I have to ask whether there’s a special meaning or symbolism behind your choice of “blackbird” as the title of the story. I mean, the first association that occurred to me, especially given your nom de plume of sixpences, was the children’s rhyme “Sing a song of sixpence / a pocketful of rye. / Four and twenty blackbirds / baked in a pie.” But some light googling turned up a plethora of meanings for “blackbird,” including: a symbol of freedom, a connotation of vigilance, shyness and insecurity, secrets and mystery, etc., any and all of which could fit. Then there are the well-known songs Bye-Bye Blackbird (which had a “cameo” in ch. 5) and the Beatles’ Blackbird (the lyrics for which also fit the story), and one of my favorite poems, the haiku-inspired “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens, which is so protean and capacious in its meanings that it could definitely fit. Finally, that redoubtable (and dubious) authority urbandictionary.com gives the following meanings (inter alia) for blackbird: 1. The act of leaving a group of people, especially a social event (i.e. business party), without saying goodbye to anyone and without anyone detecting your escape. 2. Someone who acts happy in public but is an emotional wreck in private. Someone who doesn’t advertise their depression.

Well for starters, the Stefan Rittberger alias followed the same pattern as every other original character in the fic- they are all named after figure skaters from their respective countries of origin (generally speaking with forenames and surnames from different individuals). The only exception was the Jamaican jazz band leader Nigel Harriott- the only male Jamaican figure skater whose name I could turn up was Paralympic skater Nigel Davis, so I gave him the surname of a real Jamaican jazz musician who emigrated to the UK in this period.

As for the origins of ‘Blackbird’… well, for starters, the nursery rhyme connection only occurred to me quite a way into writing the fic, haha. ‘sixpences’ originated as a reference to Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle, one of my favourite novels, and as a way to reference the various notions of luck associated with the old silver sixpence coins, and also because when I picked the name six or seven years ago the Livejournal username ‘sixpence’ in the singular was already taken!

I knew from the very first vague ideas I had about the fic that this was primarily a story about Victor- his character arc, specifically getting him to the point where he would joyfully betray his country for love, was the very first thing I knew I wanted to write about, before I was even sure it was going to be an historical AU! When you get right down to it, this is a fic about that scene where Victor’s standing on the Barcelona seafront, looking out over the Mediterranean, and admiring his engagement ring- it’s a story about what Victor is not only willing, but entirely happy to do for Yuuri.

Once I knew I wanted it to be a spy story I started doing the 100% most fun spy story thing and making up everyone’s ridiculous codenames. My initial idea for Yuuri was to use something piglet-related, for obvious reasons, but that both felt a bit too mean and also not like something Minako specifically would think to call him. I wanted to give him a name that evoked the kind of figure he cuts at the start of the story- small, unassuming, lonely, but with something very deep going on beneath the surface, the same way one flighty little bird can nevertheless produce the most beautiful song. It also fitted nicely in terms of a metaphor for what he was doing in Berlin- Japan is of course ‘the land of the rising sun’, and he was ‘singing’ information to the Allies from inside their command structure.

There is a minor bird motif throughout the fic- with maybe one or two exceptions, any time a bird is mentioned in scenery description, you’ll find it’s a dark-coloured one. It wouldn’t have made the cut as an epigraph since it’s from 2005, but this from ‘Rapture’, which is one of my favourite Carol Ann Duffy poems, was very much in my mind in planning out the shape of the plot:

How does it happen that our lives can drift
far from our selves, while we stay trapped in time,
queueing for death? It seems nothing will shift
the pattern of our days, alter the rhyme
we make with loss to assonance with bliss.
Then love comes, like a sudden flight of birds
from earth to heaven after rain. Your kiss,
recalled, unstrings, like pearls, this chain of words.
Huge skies connect us, joining here to there.
Desire and passion on the thinking air.

So birds recur as a symbol of independence, of thinking and acting freely even under dire and constricting circumstances, and Yuuri specifically is codenamed after a bird. It only felt natural that the story of how Victor Nikiforov, Soviet patriot and enormously valuable and accomplished spy (indeed, modelled after a man dubbed ‘the most formidable spy in history’), came to throw away his career and his country, to choose love and the freedom to live as he wanted, should share Yuuri’s name.

Sorry to be such a nerd – I’m probably overthinking all of this – and for sending you such an interminable ask (which would have overflowed the tumblr ask box 10 times over), but I would love to know the meaning behind the title.

Look, I just wrote a 100k historical spy novel about characters from a sports anime. I am the biggest nerd. And I really had a great time answering your questions, so thank you again!

Standing here, quite in front of you. I am momentarily awakened, and I will tell you time and time again that you are the epitome of everything. Blue veins on your arms as though God’s paintbrush have touched them, danced upon your skin, and sharp colors within your eyes as if you hold all the sunsets within them. A morning after a storm, with rainbow and clouds and distant thunder, fresh and ideal, so may be your body, your face. So woven together, so complete yet still uncomplete, searching for the other slightly unfinished part of you. An ideal place of happiness, flaws become not flaws but traits, you become not a person but a you, a spiralling universe containing everything I might ever hope for and promising everything a taste of heaven. An ocean I perhaps seek to drown in, stars I get lost in, or perhaps it’s more like the stars get lost in you, the ocean is drowned by you. You, and only you.
—  you are a work of art

Gandalf will be coming by in the morn to collect these devices, and so once more we must part. This record of Thorin and my life together is but a small one in the large tapestry of stories being woven each day, and I hope it has brought you solace to hear we are as well as ever.

I bid you all a fond farewell, and good luck on your journeys wherever they may take you.

tealstruck  asked:

tealstruck ✨

Each passing day feels like surreal for as the day turns into night, she dies a little bit. Thus the dormant feelings she is keeping, she releases them all through her wonderfully woven prose and poetry. Each craft is a masterpiece which needs to locked with a key, protecting it from torrential pain. The thoughts she spills sends euphoria and elation. Indeed, she has to be revered. She has to be. The emotions she is keeping are just too much to be hidden. Divulge, she says. @tealstruck is an enigma, a mystery which needs to be discovered for she is a treasure chest which pirates should be hunting after. Her self is the jewel and her heart is the most prized one.

The moon says to the child:
I have a secret to share, 
but the child is deaf,
to its cries

The Stars say to the teenager:
I have tales for you to write
but the teenager has no hand
for its ink to be spilled. 

The Planets say to the Adult:
I have lessons for you
but the adult has no brain
to go by.

The moon is quiet.
The stars are silent.
The planets are still. 

And the once prime child says:
I have pain
eons of it be woven
but i am ready,
ready to listen
But little does it know 
that the earth is forever 


—  perhaps i should have listen after all (j.d)
Flood my Mornings: Service

Notes from Mod Bonnie:

  • This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
  • Previous installment:  Thanks (Thanksgiving and Bree’s Birthday)

Late November, 1950


“Bath time, little smudge!”

Bree squealed and, like a shot, went barreling toward the bathroom. Turning two years old seemed to have turned on a tap of perpetual energy from on high: energy to throw tantrums, energy to hate going to bed, energy to form VERY strong opinions about what she did and did not plan to eat, and so on, and so forth for all time. 

However, she had also decided she loved baths, and by the time I arrived at the tub myself, she was already standing on the bathmat, triumphantly nude and brimming with expectation with her toys in hand. I laughed and kissed the top of her head. “One minute, you goofy girl.” 

I poked my head briefly into the living room. “Do you want bath duty or bedtime duty tonight?”

“I’ll take bed, if it’s all the same to you, Sassenach,” Jamie said, looking up from the rolltop. “I’d like to get the rest of the bills paid and ready for tomorrow’s Post.”

“Fine by me,“ I said, taking the chance to stretch my back, already thinking of plopping into bed as soon as humanly possible. “Thank you for handling those, sweetheart.”

“’Course,” he said with feeling, rising and kissing my forehead. “How are ye feeling?” 

“Pretty well, at the moment,” I said, pleasantly surprised, now that I thought about it. “Like death, this morning, but I haven’t vomited once since lunch!” 

“Victory, indeed,” he grinned, kissing me, long and sweetly. 

MaMAAAA?” bellowed Bree, her voice bouncing ghoulishly around the bathroom walls. “Come’on do insee’pyder, please!”

“I’m being summoned,” I murmured against his lips. 

“Go,” he whispered. “Heaven forbid ‘insee’pyder’ have to wait.” 

“Oh,” I called when I was halfway back down the corridor, “I think the electric bill came today. It’s on the counter by the phone with the rest of today’s mail.”

“Thank you, mo ghraidh,” he called back. 

Tub filled, baby inserted, bubbles abundant, I knelt beside the tub and swirled my hands in the warm water. Bree beamed up at me, ready: “GO! Insee’pyder, Mama!”

Alright,” I said dramatically, reaching for the green plastic sandbox bucket and scooping up water as I sang: “Theeeeeeee ITS-Y-bit-sy spiiiiiider went UP the water spout ….”

I raised the bucket theatrically. “Down came the raaaaaain AND—”

The payload released on, “WASHED the spider out,” dousing Bree with warm, soapy water. 

Fizzy giggles emerged through the waterfall pouring down her scrunched-up face as I sang on. “Out came the suuuun and dried up all the rain, and the ITS-Y-bit-sy spiiiiider went UP the spout—?”

“—AGAIN!!!” Bree finished, knowing the drill and LOVING it.

We had just finished washing the shampoo-spider from her hair and ANOTHER rendition was demanded, when Jamie’s voice came from the doorway. “Sassenach?” 

“Yes, darling?” I said absently, reaching for the bar of soap Bree had just knocked into the water. 

“What is the ‘selective service?’”

My blood froze absolutely cold. I whirled on my knees to gape at him, praying that it was a newspaper clipping in his hand, or one of his library books, or—

But it was a letter bearing the words ‘Department of Defense’ across the top. The truth was written on his face, the tightness of his voice, the rigid set of his jaw. “Tis the forced conscription for the war in the east, aye?”

“Jamie—” I staggered to my feet, praying in blind panic. Please, God, no. “Jamie—Please tell me—you haven’t been—?”

To Mr. James Fraser,” he read, 

“According to our records, you have not yet registered with the Selective Service, as is required of all permanent residents of the United States. 

Please report no later than December 15th, 1950 to the enlistment station named below for registration, or risk revocation of your residency status with the Department of Immigration. 


Jamie trailed off, his face a mask of control I hadn’t seen in many years. The sight terrified me to my core—his face of duty, of danger, of great burdens to be borne.  

My hands were shaking as I reached for the letter, as I scanned it wildly for some salvation. “But you’re—you’re not even a citizen! They can’t just force you to go off and fight in their wars!”

“Apparently they can,” he said stiffly. “’All permanent residents,’ it says.”

“Jesus…” There was no way out. “Jesus—fucking—”

“FUN-KING!” Bree squeaked from the tub, sounding immensely pleased. Normally, that would have incited riotous laughter, then stern admonishment and promises between Jamie and I to guard our words more carefully. But we barely noticed. 

My blood pounded so loudly in my ears I could barely hear myself blurting, “We could go to Canada." 

He cocked his head in question. “They dinna fight wars there?”

I gave a jerking shrug. “They don’t usually start them, at least.”

“That’s the coward’s way,” he whispered, his face still stone. “I canna just run.”

“And why not?” I demanded, my voice treacherously close to both tears and shouting.

Why can I no’ take the coward’s way?” The mask wavered, showing his scorn. “Christ, Claire, do ye no’ ken me at all?” 

“And do YOU not know me?” I shouted. “Do you not have the faintest idea what it DID to me to—” It took only the cracking of my voice for the panic to overtake me completely in wracking sobs as my hands went feral. “ —to let you go to your death? For a cause you—shouldn’t even have been dragged into in the first place?? I w—” I choked. I was mere inches from his face, but I could barely see him through the tears. I wrenched a breath from my throat. “—WON’T, do it—again—do you—hear m—?”

Jamie suddenly snatched me hard against him, his voice a cracked moan of despair through his own sobs. “I know, mo chridhe…I know….”

I buried my face in his chest, and could only croak, “Jamie—”

He tried to say something, but couldn’t get a word out. 

We clung to one another with every ounce of strength, swaying and weeping for a long time, until —

“I’m scairt of this, Sassenach.” 

His breath was hot and gasping in my hair. “God, I—dinna want any part of it…. The thought of leaving ye….the—” He let out a sob, and I could feel his tears against my temple, the resonance of his words in my chest. “—Christ, the bairns—” 

He buried his face in my shoulder. “I’m so scairt, Claire.”

“What’s you scairt, Daddy?”

We turned to see Bree standing in the tub, still naked as you please, looking up, stricken.

With a small sound that broke my heart, Jamie released me and crossed to the tub. He lifted his daughter up into his arms and pressed her against his chest, not seeming to notice that his shirt was instantly soaked.

“Daddy? What’s you scairt?” she repeated. 

I had to clamp my hand over my mouth. He clutched her tighter, rocking her, focusing his entire being on love of her. 

“Use-r words, Daddy.” 

Despite everything, he choked out a laugh at that. 

“I’m scairt,” he answered hoarsely after a moment, “of having to leave you and Mama, a chuisle.”  


I came and wrapped my arms around them both, trying so very hard not to slip into panic. This—this was my home, these three people I held—That it might be ripped from—

“Dinna leave though’kay?” Bree demanded, glaring sternly at him. “Okayyyy, Daddy?”

Okay?” I seconded in a feeble whisper.

He let out another weak, broken laugh and leaned down to kiss us both. I could feel his chest shuddering with the sobs he was suppressing. 

The words were in Gaelic, breathtakingly quiet, and he repeated them over and over.

 "I won’t…I won’t.”

When he drew back a long, long time later, his eyes were dry. “Now,” he said, kissing Bree and wrapping a towel around her shivering back, “let’s get ye ready for bed, wee cub. Which storybook shall we have, tonight?”


Jamie resolved never to let Claire or Brianna see his fear of this ever again. 

“I’ll go tomorrow to register my name,” he said firmly to Claire as he held her in their bed that night, “but it willna come to anything, Sassenach.” There are millions of folk they’ll call up before me.” 

“You don’t — ” 

“Dinna fash, mo nighean donn,” he crooned, kissing and soothing away her fears. “I’m staying right here—We’ll no’ be parted—I’m right here—”

But he lay awake far into the night and most nights to follow, praying with all his soul.

Please, God….


Dinna take me from them.



[more to come]

From the prompts: 

@dlouise2016 said: This may not be appropriate for FMM but in response to your request for Jamie “firsts” & since he is only about 27-28, there was a military draft going on at the time for the Cold War & the Korean War. Since Jamie was certainly a warrior, he must have some strong feelings about war & Claire definitely would with her WWII experience  

@chechzooo suggested: Staying out of the draft

  • got to finish some wovens 
  • (this one is pretty, but not my favorite texture, so if you want a rare mouse army handmade synthetic vegan scarf at a low price, it’s got an “i’m weird about texture” discount. it’s not actually less pleasant than a mercerized cotton, but I’m being weird about it, so. my weirdness could be your gain, I reckon.)
  • Finished a made-to-order! It’s really nice. And it meant an excuse to grade carapace shrug into the full range of sizes. (It’s a small range, but it’s a range.) I’m waiting for it to dry, and I hope to offer a handknitter’s pattern for it soon. 
  • I GOT THE BEST CUSTOM ORDER! so it means replenishing my handspinning stock a bit (need more autumny wools!) and then I get to knit really entertaining hats. So. 
  • Also I haven’t forgotten the sweaters: telling people about my plans has led to a golden age of creativity and just total abject procrastination.
  • So more sweaters, but slower sweaters. 
  • and I also need to really organize a test knitting group and create a forum or a shared tumblr or a website page where people can (non-physically) gather; I’m still working on that, and not sure what I want it to look like. 
      • procrastiweater!
      • other sweater
      • vest
      • honestly there’s like a whole minicollection based on my total lack of focus
      • polishing weird shawl pattern, which feels very simple after some of the other really nice designs I’ve been seeing using the same shape. It’s just about ready to go, but its companion pattern needs editng. 
      • working on the whole mothership suite, which I think was drafted in February and then was somewhat forgotten while I chased the other interrelated pattern idea