Dear Yuletide Writer 2017
SSar's Beast
Hi, and thanks for your interest in my letter, whether you're considering writing for me or just curious about my prompts!

This year for Yuletide, I've asked for:
  • Drive Angry, a 2011 standalone supernatural/action B-movie;

  • Pegasus, a YA fantasy novel that is the first book, but probably the only book, in an incomplete trilogy by Robin McKinley;

  • The Shadow, a 1994 superhero movie based on a radio drama + pulp novels (I only know the movie);

  • Simoun, a 26-episode fantasy/war anime from 2006;

  • Soon I Will Be Invincible, a standalone light sci-fi/superhero novel by Austin Grossman;

  • and Sucker Punch, a 2011 standalone fantasy(?)/action movie.

Crossovers or fusions between these fandoms, or between one of these fandoms and another rare fandom I know, are welcome.

On AO3 my username is Morbane.

Do-Not-Wants: harm to hands, addiction and substance abuse, amnesia.

General likes

I love original characters, outsider character perspectives, and worldbuilding. I love competence and loyalty. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them. I also like genuinely terrible characters and tragic arcs, and villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. I like seeing characters screw up and then learn (or not) from their mistakes. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, and dragons. I like getting a strong sense of time or place. For porn, I love xeno, voyeurism, dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex; intense oh-god-I-can't-believe-it's-so-good sex; gentle and loving sex. I love emotional intimacy whether or not it comes with physical intimacy. I love mentors and protegé(e) relationships, and relationships between characters who are juggling multiple identities. I love seeing the relationship between two characters at one point in time, and then seeing it again when the relationship is very different. I'm just as interested in break-ups as get-togethers. I like Big Damn Hero moments, and also days in the life, or stories about people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors incorporate something about which they have specialized knowledge, however mundane that thing is.

You're welcome to write in past or present tense, and in first, second, or third person. Epistolary and found-media formats are welcome.

Drive Angry (2011)Collapse )

Pegasus - Robin McKinleyCollapse )

The Shadow (1994)Collapse )

Simoun (Anime)Collapse )

Soon I Will Be Invincible - Austin GrossmanCollapse )

Sucker Punch (2011)Collapse )

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A fandom handful
SSar's Beast
1. I'm co-modding the Alternate Universe Exchange and starting to worry about a pinch hit that's been lingering, with fandoms Prince of Tennis, Tiger & Bunny, and Attack on Titan. Only 3 weeks remain in the writing period. Which leaves me tossing up whether to try to consume enough canon to take that pinch hit. It is a perennial mod problem. Just because I can consume a canon and turn out some competent prose doesn't mean it's a good idea, compared to - hopefully - another fan with pre-existing enthusiasm for the canon, + an interest in the prompt, coming along. But that fan may not exist, get wind of the pinch hit, or have time available.

I have consumed canons for pinch hits before, several times. I do try to make "am I actually likely to enjoy this canon" a deciding factor. But time is tight and I'd really rather the decision were taken away from me. (Obviously, I will not update this post to say whether it is or isn't...)

(Besides, there may be further pinch hits as the deadline approaches, and there aren't many of the requests that I could tackle.)

2. After seeing someone talk about an unfilled need on AO3, I asked Flamebyrd to make a userscript. The Mark for Later userscript affects your AO3 experience by adding a "Mark for Later" button to the summary of every work. This means that you can add works to your "read later" list without clicking on them and adding a hit count. Script is here. It also allows you to quickly move items between your main History and your To Read Later history. I anticipate this being very useful for people who have the problem of opening a million things in tabs and never getting to them. Also, testing was fun. Thanks, Flamebyrd!

3. Yuletide is only a month away, AAAAAAAHH!!, but meanwhile, the Fandom Growth Exchange is in sign-ups. This is an exchange for very small fandoms and pairings. Minimum wordcount is 2k.

4. I am doing Fandom Giftbox and submitted a comment to the Fic Positivity Meme, which I mention mostly to aid accountability; I need to go leave comments & snippets.

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Cross My Heart: Dear Crossovering Creator 2017
SSar's Beast
This is my letter for the [community profile] crossovering | Crossovering fic and art exchange for crossover works. Sadly, sign-ups have closed and this letter is VERY late, but I encourage anyone who's interested to check out the prompts.

Dear my creator / interested readers:

This letter is intended to complement my prompts for specific crossovers and fusions. Those prompts can be found here: middle of this page.

General likes

For crossovers and fusions specifically: Art can be any style of combining canons, but for stories, my favourite things are stories that take note of both canons' worldbuilding and underlying rules and combine them. I love original characters and outsider viewpoints in crossover fic, and I love stories that create a world that bridges two canons rather than representing one or the other fully faithfully. After that, I most enjoy fusions, and stories that either utilize canon-plausible portals/travel, or imply that the two canons always took place in the same world.

More generally: I love competence and loyalty. I like uplifting and hopeful messages, and protagonists who champion them, and also villains with strong motivations and critiques of the protagonists' goals. Characters are welcome in any shade of grey. People screwing up and then learning from their mistakes is also welcome. I love magical realism, dramatic weather, trains, telepathy, dragons. For porn, I love dubcon, noncon, telepathy, praise kink, and awkward-but-not-emotionally-disastrous sex. I love mentors and protegé(e)s, and identity porn. I love Big Damn Hero moments, and people who are just trying to make it by in a weird world. I love it when authors and artists incorporate something about which they have a lot of specialized knowledge.

Art likes
I really love highly stylised art - geometric patterns, decorative patterns, fancy borders and framings. I like skylines and a sense of distance. I love costume details, or character studies done through faces or poses. However, I don't consider myself particularly visually literate / good at figuring out ambiguous images, so if you're deciding between something very simple, and something very complicated and ambitious, I think I'd prefer the former if it would ensure I can easily interpret what you have created. I like jewel tones and earth tones and grays. I am less keen on neons and Lisa Frank rainbow palettes and pastels, unless contrasted with black/grays/muddier tones.

Please don't feel constrained by either my AO3 prompts or my fandom notes. I like a lot of things, and I look forward to receiving something I didn't expect as much as I look forward to you fulfilling my specific prompts.

General dislikes

DNWs: Amnesia, esp. tropey amnesia; substance abuse, addition, really self-destructive behaviour based on substance abuse; graphic harm to hands.
Exceptions: canon-style amnesia is OK for The Good Place and Dollhouse.

Specific canons

Canons below cutCollapse )

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I'm still here, it's getting late
SSar's Beast
So, hi.

It's winter; the fire's on; the headphones I just accidentally gave a bath to are hung at a strategic distance from it, across the fire-screen, which is an irrelevant piece of furniture because the fire is gas. (It comes in handy when drying clothes, however.)

Offline, I've been settling into my new house. Our longtime friend AC moved in as a flatmate in February, and in April, another old friend, AR, moved back from Scotland and came to live with us for two months while looking for his own place.

The house has been good to us. There was one miserable and expensive week when we checked out some suddenly-blocked drains and the plumbers, while dealing with that (in a temporary fashion - the tree roots that caused the problem have yet to be worked around), alerted us to a gas leak caused by corroded pipes and then arranged for those pipes to be replaced. No hot water for five days while I was in bed with a cold and the tradesmen had to dig a trench through the reinforced concrete that forms the support for the house's front extension. In other house maintenance respects, I am yet to kick into high gear. We need a large pair of curtains downstairs to keep the heat from flowing out and away at the large French doors, and I have not enjoyed my dealings with the curtain consultants thus far. But I love having a spare room. I love being able to offer guests space with a real bed. I love having two ovens. I love the giant converted garage and the view over the valley to the western hills. I love having a bay tree and a lemon tree. I love having a house on street level. Before this, I moved out of my last street-level house in January 2006.

AC is a fantastic fit as a flatmate. She and I share the idea that although other kinds of social interaction are worthwhile, the most pleasant is to be in the same space as someone else, each with a computer, very occasionally remarking on interesting and amusing things that pass our screens. Also, she is a fandom writer and artist. Also, she and Joel have somewhat compatible tastes in games and TV. I have had really good luck in flatmates over my years in Wellington, but in my last major shared flat, my flatmates were the kind of people who are pure introverts when they get home. I respected that, but this is my ideal.

I'm already missing AR a little. Four people in the house was really nice too. AR flatted with me and Joel in 2007-2009, and then flatted with AC and two other friends in 2015, and then he went off to Scotland, and then ten months later he returned. It is a nice way to be tangled together. He's coming around for dinner and boardgames tomorrow night. I hope he brings Codenames. He introduced AC & me to the game last week and I really, really liked it: simple mechanics + word-association problem-solving & teamwork.

There are, of course, also politics going around me and other offline updates, but perhaps another time when I'm not trying to dust this journal off after months of silence. (Joel, btw, is currently in Las Vegas, in the 'holiday' part of a North American business trip.)

Online, I've been struggling to catch up after Yuletide. Here's what's caught my interest:

  • Night on Fic Mountain went live a few days ago, at a solstice. This is a fic and art fandom exchange for rare fandoms - basically, mini-Yuletide on the far side of the year. I used to co-mod it, but nowadays dhampyresa does all the work and only calls on me occasionally. *waves pompoms* I did write a pinch hit, and enjoyed several pieces of art and fiction. Have a look.

  • Alternate Universe Exchange is a new project from Rosencrantz, whom I also team up with when Once Upon Fic comes around (see below). This is a fandom exchange (fic-only) for alternate universe ideas - whether they're of the "but what if Bob didn't die" or the "everyone works in a coffee shop" variety. Tag approving is.... interesting. If you think you might want to nominate, get in quick.

  • Speaking of Once Upon a Fic, that went live in May, and I still have stories to comment on. This is a challenge for interpretations of fairy tales and similar canons, and I love it so much. I was really disappointed in myself that I did not complete a work this year, and I would like one day to make it up to my recipient. Meanwhile, however, the works that were created are brilliant. bleodswean, I think you in particular would appreciate Children of wild, legends round our neck, must shatter, a 30,000-word celebration of the stories of Baba Yaga and Koschei and Vasilisa and Ivan(s).

  • The other exchange that I delight in the most is Jukebox, which went live earlier this month (again, I'm still browsing and commenting). I love seeing all the different directions in which people take song lyrics and music videos. Again, I recommend the works. They are fantastic. I am, of course, biased. Even so.

  • After Yuletide, I made two poor fandom decisions, the first of which was to sign up to Worldbuilding Ex despite already feeling burned out & having a tonne of Yuletide admin to catch up on. I can't entirely blame myself because this is a concept I get really excited about, and I had a blast discussing ideas with the mod, and there were amazing works and I got amazing gifts.... It's just that it was unwise for me at that time. I hope next year I manage to be in a better shape after Yuletide.

  • The second poor fandom decision was to take on a pinch hit for Fandom5k, a fic exchange for all fandoms and works of 5k+. I mean, I can sincerely say that it was a fun prompt and I felt I was on my recipient's wavelength, that it offered me the challenge of something I rarely do (write for a TV canon), and that it was satisfying to know I could confidently sketch out a plot that would be long and dense enough and then bring it to fruition. But it was also bad timing and I stressed myself out for a continuous month over the thing.

  • Now I look at my AO3 assignments page and there are NO OPEN ASSIGNMENTS and it is beautiful. Beautiful.

  • ... and while I will not finish a NYR before Crossovering starts, I can at least work on one, and so I will begin to feel on top of things. (Crossovering is awesome! Come play with me! Get your fandom crossovers here! Ahem.)

And in my silence, the song I keep coming back to is Crowded House's How Will You Go, because on their album Woodface, this track ends in over a minute of silence and then a sudden refrain... I'm still here, of course. Looking it up just now, I see it is labelled a bonus track, which makes sense yet never occurred to me before now. I just thought it was .... all the same track. With silence in the middle.

[personal profile] seekingferret, thanks again for the playlist - I really liked "Mah Yedidus" and I grinned to hear it, and the rest comes in shades of appreciative interest. More later.

I also have some gifts from all these exchanges I've taken part in lately. I shall post later about my recent gifts.

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Dear DJ
SSar's Beast
I feel a little sheepish that I didn't get this up earlier, to also serve as an advertisement to anyone who might be interested - but I think anyone in my flist/circle on either LJ or DW probably already knows about Jukebox! Anyway. So this is my letter for the Jukebox 2017 fanworks exchange. Jukebox is my precious pet project, so I am inclined to look on anything I get as a gift through a rosy haze of joy and pride, BUT my gifts tend to be fantastic anyway. Win/win. Dear person who is reading these prompts - thank you for reading, and I hope you find them interesting without being restrictive.

Note: I'm going to come back and add links and tidy up the formatting a bit, but the prompt information will not change.

DearCollapse )

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Once Upon a Fic: Dear Author Letter
SSar's Beast
Dear author or passerby, thank you for your interest in my prompts.

General likes: I love retellings that enter into the world of the story and explore the characters' motivations and mindsets, or the machinery of the magic: why did Elisa have to weave shirts out of nettle, or how did Chrysaor feel about his heritage? I'd equally be happy with a very loose retelling of any of these stories: add or subtract characters, or transpose them in space, time, or genre. I'm happy with a multitude of prose styles (or poetry if you wish!) including second person and 'found' media scraps. You're also welcome to mix in elements from more than one story I'm requesting now, or from stories I have requested or written in the past.

Do-Not Wants: Please don't include any harm to hands, any substance abuse / addictions / addiction-related behaviour, or any amnesia.

By story:
The Lute Player, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, The Bear, Kemp Owyne, Jorinde and Joringel, The Fairy of the Dawn, Medusa, The Wild SwansCollapse )

I hope there is something in this that inspires you.

Thank you again!

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Recent Gifts
SSar's Beast
I have been remiss in posting about recent fanfiction gifts. I received a superlatively generous range, in quantity and quality both, across Crossovering, Coronation Ceremony, and Yuletide.

Fandoms: Pokémon Go, Jorinde and Joringel (Fairy Tale), The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison, Beauty and the Beast (Fairy Tale), Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis, Labyrinth (1986).

Yuletide, a large exchange for "rare" fandoms (under a certain threshold of fic quantity), has been a bright point in the last quarter of my last seven years. I received:

Fraxinella (3481 words) by ForsythiaRising
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Jorinde and Joringel (Fairy Tale), Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms, Der Wacholderbaum | The Juniper Tree (Fairy Tale)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Jorinde/Joringel
Characters: Jorinde, Joringel, sorceress - Character
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Retellings, I would not say the violence is graphic but it is definitely there, honestly this is darker than planned, The Juniper Tree is barely referenced for like 20 seconds, really obscure fairy tales for 600, Flowers, Fire, do not read if fire freaks you out
Summary: The sorceress keeps her magic on the hearth, under a big, iron cauldron where its red glow can mix in with the always-dying embers.
Days of a nightingale & dreams of her lover

Jorinde and Joringel is a story that is both tidy and weird, satisfying and confusing. A maiden is captured by a sorceress and her lover must free her. ForsythiaRising chose to blur the lines between maiden, mother, and crone; the initial sorceress is not sympathetic, yet she is relatable. There are utterly gorgeous turns of phrase in this story, especially if you like gardens.

Candy (6344 words) by winter hill
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pokemon GO
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Blanche & Candela & Spark (Pokemon), Spark & Eevee
Characters: Blanche (Pokemon), Candela (Pokemon), Spark (Pokemon), Professor Willow (Pokemon), Eievui | Eevee, Eeveelutions
Additional Tags:
Pokemon candy, Journey, Comfort, buddy pokemon, Yuletide Treat
Summary: When Eevee is transferred to the Professor, she is certain that she’s about to be chopped up for candy. Instead, she might just have found her forever home.

Pokémon Go, the mobile platform game launched in July 2016, was everything I dreamed of - except for the game mechanic that implied players traded sentient creatures for parts. Directly. I was really not okay with that. winterhill wrote me a charming story, dense with hope and trust, that made it all okay and, as per my request, focused on the vast scope of the Pokémon world. winterhill was not even signed up to Yuletide, so I feel especially honoured to have been the benefactor of their treating efforts.

Like a House on Fire (4022 words) by Masu_Trout
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Pokemon GO
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Blanche & Candela & Spark (Pokemon), Candela & Dr. Willow | Professor Willow
Characters: Candela (Pokemon), Blanche (Pokemon), Spark (Pokemon), Professor Willow (Pokemon), Hitokage | Charmander
Additional Tags: Government Experimentation, Pokémon in the Real World
Summary: Apparently, pokémon are real. Candela knows this because one of them just burned her house down.

I also asked for a story about Pokémon Go suddenly colliding with the real world, and Masu_Trout delivered with a great action-adventure story about Candela - student-turned-Pokémon trainer. This is a funny, fast-paced, clever work. Masu_Trout was also not signed up to Yuletide and treated only. Again, I'm honoured.

Crossovering is an exchange I have taken part with great enthusiasm in since it started; this most recent round was its 3rd year. I received:

Beauty and the Incubator (4517 words) by VampirePaladin
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika | Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Beauty and the Beast - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Incubator Character
Characters: Original Female Character(s), Original Incubator Character
Additional Tags: Fairy Tale Elements, Crossovers & Fandom Fusions, Alien/Human Relationships, Pre-Canon
Summary: How Beauty and the Beast may have happened in the Madoka Magica world.

I watched Madoka over the last year and it stunned me. Wishes and all their consequences. Hope and heart and courage and darkness. This was a lovely story - it used a fairy tale structure very cleverly to offer up a happy ending that builds slowly and surely. I was a pinch hit in this exchange and my friend VampirePaladin took on my assignment very late - thank you. ♥

the stars move for no one (1066 words) by templemarker
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Labyrinth (1986), Chronicles of Narnia - All Media Types
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Jadis | The White Witch, Jareth (Labyrinth)

I also asked for Narnia & the Labyrinth, and this extrapolates from the breathtaking ruin of Charn to create the Labyrinth out of someone who didn't quite die. I am particularly happy that my writer zeroed in on Jadis & Charn because I find that very evocative. And I really like this origin for Jareth that is half-humble, half archetype.

(Nor was this the only story in the collection that crossed over Narnia and Labyrinth.)

Coronation Ceremony was an exchange run by [personal profile] extrapenguin for the fantasy novel The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. ExtraPenguin experimented with matching options and I had a blast with their results. I received:

Appropriation Bills, Compulsory Purchases, and Hope (1663 words) by bigsunglasses
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Csethiro Ceredin/Maia Drazhar
Characters: Maia Drazhar, Csethiro Ceredin
Additional Tags: The Wisdom Bridge, Worldbuilding, Post-Canon
Summary: Bridging the Istandaärtha was not merely a marvel of engineering and a feat of politics. It was a financial nightmare.

My author graciously combined two requests I made separately - fic involving the Wisdom Bridge, and fic involving Maia and Csethiro supporting each other. Maia's doubts are so poignant and plausible and I love, love, love seeing the details of bureaucracy in my fantasy. Also, a few weeks later at work I had to proofread an appropriations bill and having this fic in mind made me smile a lot while doing so.

Csoru character design (0 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Csoru Drazharan
Additional Tags: Fanart, Digital Art, character design
Summary: Color design sheet--full figure and a couple of faces.

Csoru is not remotely a protagonist in The Goblin Emperor, but she is definitely a character, and the artist captured her emotional range gloriously - including some really wonderful, lush costume designs. Again, a treat from someone who wasn't signed up. Thank you!

Letters and Flight (640 words) by shadow_lover
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Csoru Drazharan, Csethiro Ceredin (Off-Screen), Varenechibel IV (Off-Screen), Maia Drazhar (Off-Screen)
Additional Tags: Character Study, Letters, Pre-Canon
Summary: She likes to imagine her words flying like birds of prey through the heart of the Untheileneise Court.

And here was another really satisfying angle on Csoru, making her sympathetic if not praiseworthy and showing how she finds satisfactions - sometimes petty, sometimes small, and sometimes all that it is possible for a person in her situation to reach for. My friend shadow_lover was quietly writing this for me at the same time as we were discussing our actual assignments for the exchange. Sneaky and delightful.

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A memorable November so far
SSar's Beast
So the 7.5 magnitude earthquake prompted me to post (I'm all right; almost everyone's all right), but I'd been vaguely thinking about posting a rundown of the last two weeks anyway. It's a nice mix of fandom and other events, and I should post more.

Mon 31 Oct
-Got home from work, finished one fanfic for TrickorTreat, edited another. I was tapped to co-mod this exchange briefly because of offline problems the real moderator was having. I was very glad that PumpkinKingMod's difficulties allowed them to open the exchange.

Tues 1 Nov
-Yuletide madness reveal, yay! Got to work, mostly worked, set a few Yuletide things up.
-Got tapped by the editing team to help them with their work. Yay.
-Set up Madness (coordinated mods' effort)
-Learned before sleeping that because of rushing a previous task, part of what I'd done to set up Madness was wrong and needed time and effort to fix. First major Yuletide screwup of year or so it felt to me. Damn.
-Slept. Woke. Slept. Etc. Emailed a YT volunteer at 5am about a thing. Slept. Woke.

Wed 2 Nov
-Got up around 6:30am to fix things. Mostly successful. Off to work.
-Did scary banking things at lunch for house purposes.
-Concentrated on the editing job for most of the day... or tried to. We were short-staffed, so I had to take on urgent parts of our ordinary work. Convinced myself I was nearly done at about 4pm. Went home at 8pm, happy, buzzing. I love that kind of work and I love the high of concentrating on a text task.

Thurs 3 Nov
-Pre-settlement inspection on house, at lunchtime. Real estate agent picked Joel and me up and drove us over. She's going to be our neighbour so I guess she had extra incentive to be friendly, plus she just seems like a nice person.
-House was good, but missing one of its chattels - a refrigerator.
-Picked up my conference registration pack, had dinner with Joel, saw Dr. Strange. Impressions: Smooth and desperately concise plot, beautiful visuals, low on stakes & emotional affect. Now want more sentient cloaks everywhere. Loved the final confrontation but wish it hadn't been so compressed.

Fri 4 Nov
-Conference! Conference conference. [Okay, I'm being silly, and actually it was quite interesting! It was "Clarity", a conference that's part of a movement to write law and other important texts in plain language, and while that principle might not seem to support a weekend of talks, the minutiae of implementation sure did. Also, 1/3 of my office attended, because we write law, and it was a surreal experience to attend a conference so genuinely relevant to what I do.]
-My property lawyer: "so your loan hasn't come through though the documentation was sent Tuesday; I've called the banks three times"
-Me: !!!
-Lawyer: "don't panic, this is normal"
-Me: well okay but also !!!
-Settlement (lawyer confirmed at 3:41pm that the mortgage funds had come through. Deadline for settlement would have been 5pm. Ughhhh.)
-The acquisition of NEW HOUSE KEYS; man, that was a weird, stressful anticlimax, BUT KEYS
-Go home and chat with internet services provider agent instead of going to see house

Sat 5 Nov
-Conference! Conference conference.
-accidental dehydration because conference was in aggressively air-conditioned hotel
-reorganization of social plans; me crying again because sudden dehydration and exhaustion and wishing for an actual ceremonial acquisition of house; recovery
-new plan: carry some things to house, look at house, then walk further up the road to the hilltop and the lookout, watch fireworks, this was very nice

Sun 6 Nov
-Secondary job work
-Went and picked out some whiteware
-Packing! (With friend m's help.)

Mon 7 Nov
-Get up early, set up power & gas connections at new house
-More secondary work.

Tues 8 Nov
-Work! (Evening shift)

Wed 9 Nov
-Moving of boxes with Mel's help
-2-hour interview at new house about energy saving measures. This was an initiative set up by Wellington City Council, partnering with a company that sells a lot of related products, but it's free for ratepayers. I found it informative. The representative almost didn't stop talking for the full length of time, and when not talking to me he was muttering to himself. (Calculations. No filler.)
-Fridge was re-delivered.
-Washer and dryer were not successfully delivered, oh well.
-Work (Evening shift)
-Farewell to two colleagues, including a team member
-Watching U.S. election in gradual amazement

Thurs 10 Nov
-Panicking a little about progress. Called and requested annual leave.
-Torrential rain. Moved some more things with Mel's help.
-Washer and dryer delivered.

Fri 11 Nov
-Moving day! Frantic action. Movers arrived approx 11am.
-Most things moved. Our last dregs of packing, including food, left at flat.

Sat 12 Nov

Sun 13 Nov
-Unpacking. Packing at old place, getting last dregs.
-Finished beta-ing a fic at old place, sent it off - as old flat had internet, new house not so much.
-Last boxes and items moved to new place with Paul's help.
-TV night (West World) with m, Paul, Alex. Grazing on the takeout options at Northland shops.

Mon 14 Nov
-7.5 earthquake struck at 12:02am. See here for full information.
-I woke up and went back to sleep. Joel, more sensitive to aftershocks, got up at 2am and checked things.
-Woke up in the morning to damage up and down country, work not yet safe to go in.
-2 deaths. Some injuries. Much damage.
-Spent most of day distracted, watching news reports, feeling aftershocks.
-Caught up with Sam in Kelburn.
-First meals cooked in new house!

Tues 15 Nov
-Still can't go in to work
-Internet set up!
-Truly torrential rain hit, like, 2/3 average Nov month rainfall in one day
-Wellington main roads flooded
-Spent most of day distracted, watching news reports, feeling aftershocks.
-Working on second Yuletide beta. Trying to figure out assignment.
-Also pondering how to anchor myself politically - in both deed and thought.
-Late notice: can apparently go into work tomorrow.

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all we got didn't cost us everything
SSar's Beast
Usually, in the shower, I get writing ideas. Today it clicked that in one week we transfer a LOT of money and sign the deeds of settlement on OUR HOUSE. It, huh, does not feel real. It has, ironically, a 'life for rent' sense, in that if someone told me tomorrow, "oh, there was a problem, you haven't actually bought a house," my first reaction would be closer to, "Oh, okay," than !!!!!??.

I want to send the vendors, a mother and daughter, a densely-written card. We haven't spoken to them; have only communicated very little through agents. I'm stuck on I hope you don't miss this place too much and We will love it so much, I love it already and I wish you well wherever you're going. All very... high level. Gushy. I want to find my way towards something specific enough to be believably personal.

Other things: Work is fine. One of the most knowledgeable members of my team is leaving, moving countries. I really like him and will miss him. As a consequence, my boss sent around the job ad she's about to put up. It was weird to see a very similar ad to the one I answered from the opposite side. Hard to put into words how much I'd had to guess at interpreting it then.

Yuletide is EVERYTHING ELSE. There's a pop-psych text/saying - I forget how it goes - about the large scheduled events in your life, like work hours or picking your kids up from school or doing this thing every week - being like large rocks you put in a jar, and it looks full but - then there's large gravel-ish bits of things that are more or less scheduled and more or less necessary, and you shake them in around the rocks - then there are smaller pebbly things you fit in around all these necessary things - and then you fill your life up with the tinier things, sand - and - you keep filling it up with smaller particles, even though on paper/in your head it's already full. Right now for me Yuletide is water. In and around everything thing else in my life, in and around every other thought.

I'm the kind of person who hits the snooze button a lot when their alarm goes off. When I go to sleep thinking about Yuletide, I don't wake up and hit the snooze button. I just roll over and catch up on my phone on Yuletide things.

Yuletide, water, is also like a strong current. I dip into it and I'm pulled far away from a conversation, to a different place in a day. I love it. I love being swept up in it.

After I post this, I'm going to
-wash some mushrooms and then braise them, as the first step in making marinated mushrooms, as a contribution to a lunch at a friend's home tomorrow
-work on a Yuletide task (making up fake other-fandom questions to send to someone whose author has a question that's specific to the fandom they matched on)
-try to re-book transferring our internet connection from the current house to the next
-work on a fic for a different fanwork exchange, Trick or Treat.

Other things I want to post about: recent exchange gifts & works; mnf-ness.

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Dear Yuletide Writer 2016
SSar's Beast
Thank you for reading, whether you are matched to me or just curious! I'm very sorry this is so late this year. I hope you find useful inspiration below.

I am Morbane on AO3.

General preferencesCollapse )

Fandoms: Jorinde and Joringel -- Pokémon Go -- The Shadow (1994) -- Simoun -- Soon I Will Be Invincible -- Sucker Punch (2011)Collapse )

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Important Things, in Questionable Order
SSar's Beast
1. Yuletide! This yearly writing exchange for small, obscure, or ephemeral fandoms is in full swing. I help run it. If you like writing to other people's prompts, and to deadlines, and finding out that someone else is interested in YOUR cherished fictional universe would make your year, come play in Yuletide.

Here's a post with lots of links.

I have been remiss in promoting this, because nominations are nearly over (8 hours and change remaining.) A lot of people participate in Yuletide without submitting suggestions for the pool of available canons (books, movies, musicals, TV commercials, blog posts, plays, comics, anime, etc) - but if the inclusion or exclusion of your favourite thing will determine whether or not you want to participate, better submit a nomination at the tag set now.

2. As of two days ago, we have secured a house. I like this house. This house has an upstairs and a downstairs, and mature trees, and a gate out to a little city park. It has a room that is perfectly suited to movie nights. It is close to a set of shops, and to the city, and to bus routes. If you ask me, I will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about this house.

3. l am so happy about Pokémon Go. So happy. There is more to say there too, but it has given me immense joy.

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Midnight Special
SSar's Beast
[every time I think of posting I think of something else I need to do, like more of a beta job. And then I dream of writing a really sprawling interconnected post. It gets out of hand. Sorry.]

Just came back from film #3 this year of Film Festival picks - Joel's suggestion: Midnight Special. It was an enjoyable experience: a classic plot, treated deftly and confidently. Strong acting all around. Beautifully shot. Earned its lens flares, I think. ^!^

And I came out of it thinking "[personal profile] cahn and scribble_myname would get a lot out of this" - because although I don't talk much about reading Zenna Henderson, because I haven't for years and feel rusty and uncertain, this felt very, very, very much in the vein of her works. There might be some applicable spoilers; ask if you want further details.

A short list of what's going on for me lately: house hunting, an evening class in short story writing, LARP catering, Pokémon ALMOST-Go, beta reading.

Also, for a while I've wanted to talk about this 1998 sci-fi story because I found it really influential and then it was referenced in 'Cat Pictures Please' and I had somewhat indignant feelings about that. But mostly I want to talk about the story, which means a lot to me.

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Cross My Heart: Crossovering 2016
SSar's Beast
This letter is for the [community profile] crossovering annual fanfiction challenge. Sign-ups are open through the 17th of July.

This letter has three parts. Part I gives general likes and dislikes, Part II gives notes on individual fandoms, and Part III gives possible prompts for the crossovers I've requested.

Part I - General preferencesCollapse )

Part II - FandomsCollapse )

Part III - Requests and optional promptsCollapse )

In conclusion: if there's something in my prompts you can use, fantastic; if not, go your own way and I look forward to reading something that's a complete surprise. I hope you have fun.

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The calm
SSar's Beast
I just started typing and a fantail (pīwakawaka) landed on a branch of the tree across the lawn. Gone now, but very pretty. I haven't seen fantails there before, only kereru. It's only the afternoon but feels like evening. Grey seeping in and around the branches as though someone's pushing stuffing through.

We saw two houses today, neither very promising. One was a townhouse up an extremely steep, long driveway that is now expanding itself upwards in my imagination. Another was a townhouse that felt cramped and precious and was on poles. "Four levels is too many," I said, thinking of the recent comments of a friend on what a poor economy of space stairs are. "Also I promised Ria a scamper hallway."

In a few minutes I will get up and start making fancy salads for Person of Interest night. Person of Interest night has been The Thing We Do On Sunday Night for over a year now - me and Joel and P and A & 20thcenturyvole. Previously with musicforwolves & his boyfriend, now with m. We finished season 4 just in time for season 5 to start. It had been years and years and years since I watched a major TV series as it actually came out.

[We alternate weeks at my house and at 20thcenturyvole's house. When it's at 20thcenturyvole's house, I bring salads. When it's at mine, she brings dessert.]

I enjoyed the show at first in a sort of iddy way for the set-up and the character dynamics between Finch & Reese. I'm also very fond of People Saving People stories. And I'd been promised that it would more and more explicitly become science fiction. This delivered!

I know the finale has been out for days, but I am not yet spoiled and I am very excited to find out how it officially ends.

It's well timed for us: the following Friday, A flies to Scotland to be with his girlfriend. I suspect there'll be a lot of Brexit talk at dinner tonight. (20th's sister lives in Scotland. Various others of the people around at dinner tonight have lived in the UK or have family there.) I don't have much to add, apart from questions. In the last few years - maybe since high school, actually - I've encouraged in myself a learned helplessness with regard to world politics. It's not particularly commendable.

In other head-out-of-the-sand impulses, I finally have no open AO3 assignments. First time since February! I kept putting my hand up for thing after thing. I am going to sign up to the Crossovering exchange, but it's in nominations phase and assignments won't be for nearly a month.

After the Night on Fic Mountain exchange* is Revealed, I'll have 99 works visible on my AO3 page. As a treat to myself, I will choose my 100th work very carefully. I'll probably choose a previous exchange prompt, something I fell in love with at the time and then had to put aside.

And also, I have time to read other people's work.

For the next couple of weeks, I'll be reading intensely, because I have beta jobs to complete. But I really look forward to actually browsing AO3. Jukebox's works could use a second reading pass...

*Night on Fic Mountain is a midyear exchange for small fandoms, so I encourage having a look at the fandom list - one of your favourite small fandoms might have a new work.

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Jukebox! And other exclamatory remarks.
SSar's Beast
My Jukebox exchange is live! There are 65 stories and 1 piece of art based on songs and music videos.

You can see the works here! The works are currently anonymous, but the names of the creators will be revealed in a few days.

The collection comes with some reading aids:
Here is a Youtube playlist of all available songs that had works created for them (missing Adele's River Lea and Seanan McGuire's Earthquake Weather)
Here is a Giant Table in which you can look up lyrics

I have two gifts!

Through the Dead Lands (1438 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Whipping Boy - Shearwater (Song)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Original Male Character/Original Male Character
Additional Tags: dubcon, Age Difference, Minor Character Death, Exile, Co-Dependency, Dystopia, First Kiss
Summary: People said, The desert does things to men. It turns them wild. Aiden had trouble believing Caro had ever been tame.

Gorgeous and dark: a claustrophobic relationship set against the backdrop of a very, very wide (and wild) world. It's excellent.

Gardens of Babylon (1809 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Running Through the Garden - Fleetwood Mac (Song)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Summary: What could be better than seeing the world as it truly is? But the tree of knowledge has bitter seeds.

A richly-illustrated story that builds slowly and then self-deconstructs in an equally understated way.

I'm very pleased.

I still have three open assignments, no houses to see, and a lot of work to do. I think I'm figuring out the balance between my main job and my old job, which isn't so much an old job as a courtesy arrangement. I'd better figure it out fast, because Yuletide will come quicker than I expect. Also, I have large beta jobs to do soon.

Only one person asked me to beta anything for Jukebox, which was a little disappointing, but I was glad of the extra time.

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In the flow of writing
SSar's Beast
Lately I have been: writing, beta-ing, house-hunting, working, socialising a little. I had a big fancy birthday party. It went how I hoped it would go, but left me even more keenly aware of all the people I need to speak to properly. House hunting is weird: it doesn't take up a lot of obvious time, because the market is terrible and The Housing Crisis is a recurrent national headline, but it takes up a lot of mental space.

I signed up for Rosencrantz's Once Upon a Fic fanfic exchange, which has recently ended. I got an exuberant and funny gift based on a nursery rhyme:

The Cake is a Lie (1726 words) by dreamiflame
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The Lion and the Unicorn (Nursery Rhymes & Songs)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Unicorn (The Lion and the Unicorn), Lion (The Lion and the Unicorn)
Additional Tags: Drunkenness, Crack Treated Seriously, Heraldic Devices
Summary: And other complaints of mistreated heraldic devices.

The Lion and the Unicorn have a standing appointment... but the Unicorn isn't quite as enthusiastic about it as the Lion is.

The rest of Once Upon a Fic 2016's stories are here. There are some really good stories! They are based on American tall tales, Greek mythology, Grimm, Perrault, urban legends, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and much more.

What I wrote:
Dragon Kisses (4704 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Kemp Owyne (Traditional Ballad), English and Scottish Popular Ballads - Francis James Child
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Additional Tags: Dragons, Fairy Tale Curses, some instances of reckless self-disregard, Action/Adventure, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: Finding the person who can turn Isobel back, from dragon to girl, is only the beginning.

Sorry about the summary. I should probably refine it. It's accurate but cheesy. But it also sells the story short. It's action/adventure and romance, and the romance is between a brave princess and a fair maiden who is temporarily a dragon.

This story really really REALLY wanted to be a novel. I planned the story, started researching it, realised how big the story was getting, whined to anyone who would listen, and went to my back-up alternative plan. Then I gave up on that in dissatisfaction and decided to write the "short" version of the story that was trying to be the novel.

I would still like to write that novel! It joins the glum pile of story ideas that are exchange remnants - plots that I fell in love with, then had to acknowledge as too ambitious to tackle in the months given for an exchange. I have so, so many.

That was the only exchange I signed up for, but in the meantime I wrote three pinch hits.

Hourglasses and Hubris (5000 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Kylo Ren/Luke Skywalker
Characters: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Snoke (Star Wars), Kylo Ren
Additional Tags: Dark, Alternate Universe - Harry Potter Setting, Murder, Minor Character Death, Magic-Users, Alternate Universe - Hogwarts, Unrequited Love, Unresolved Sexual Tension, Horror, Uncle/Nephew Incest, Manipulative Relationship, Constructive Criticism Welcome, Horcruxes
Summary: Young Ben Solo's feelings - and the magic that they sometimes set off - cause him only problems. Unfortunately, as he learns to control his feelings and harness their power, so do others.

My recipient wanted Kylo/Luke fic and also suggested a Hogwarts AU. It was a lot of fun. As with the story above, it was only at the very last minute that I figured out how to tell the story I wanted to tell in a suitably condensed form. (There are some scrapped bits involving Rey and Finn. BB8 would make the cutest owl. A boobok owl.</i>) It isn't as Kylo/Luke-ish as I wanted it to be, the ending is a bit rushed, and the 'manipulative relationship' tag relates to Kylo and Snoke. Possibly I should look at the tags again to ensure that people know what they're getting when they click on it. I liked my integrations, though.

I also wrote a pinch hit for Smut Swap.

you've almost convinced me I'm real (6335 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Interstella 5555
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Octave/Record Studio Guy with Glasses
Characters: Octave (Interstella 5555), Record Studio Guy with Glasses
Additional Tags: Brainwashing, Xeno, Awkward Sexual Situations, Awkward Sex, Pining, Extremely Dubious Consent, Misunderstandings, Happy Ending, Alien/Human Relationships, sort of For Science!, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: Octave doesn't remember his encounter with Tristan - because it wasn't him at the time. And Tristan isn't likely to forget.

I'm not good at porn, but for SmutSwap, participants matched on tags that described specific tropes or sex acts. That helped: brainwashing and awkward sex were specific things the recipient requested. Awkward sex is a lot easier for me to write than most other types. It was a pleasure to revisit this movie/music video.

Then I wrote a pinch hit for Ship Swap.

Invitation (1631 words) by Morbane
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Shoujo Kakumei Utena | Revolutionary Girl Utena
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Kaoru Kozue/Kaoru Miki
Characters: Kaoru Kozue, Kaoru Miki, Himemiya Anthy
Additional Tags: Sibling Incest, double standards, Mistaken Identity, Emotional Manipulation, Denial, Obsession, Pre-Canon, Present Tense, Constructive Criticism Welcome
Summary: When Miki joins the Student Council, the cracks begin to show in his relationship with Kozue.

Despite the word count, this one was probably the hardest. The story is perhaps a little lighter on content than I would prefer for an exchange gift; writing Utena feels like walking on ice. Some part of canon I've forgotten or that I've misinterpreted will crack under me. I was aware of this pinch hit for a very long time before claiming it, because I didn't think I could write Miki/Kozue. Now, of course, I have another story idea in my head for them, more elegant than this one, but we'll see if it gets written.

(Thanks for beta-ing, kurushi! Thanks for cheering me on and humouring me, NightsMistress, Rosencrantz, dhampyresa, Kaesa, thedevilchicken, Isis, especially!)

I currently have open: my Jukebox assignment, and then three other assignments to complete by mid-late June. The next two weekends will be interesting! I took Friday 3 June off. I had better be writing that day - but not writing Jukebox.

ETA: I forgot to mention that the Works in Progress Big Bang challenge is at the stage of artist claims. This challenge has a wide range of fandoms and artists/fanmixers/other media creators will be very, VERY welcome; perhaps there's something that appeals to you.

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Dear DJ
SSar&#39;s Beast
This letter relates to the [community profile] jukebox_fest fandom exchange. Sign-ups close at the end of Wednesday, EDT. If you're curious about it, please send me a message! Or just go ahead and read the rules and sign up.

Thank you for reading, would-be creator or otherwise curious person.

General commentsCollapse )

Specific promptsCollapse )

my exchange!
SSar&#39;s Beast
Excited reminder that I run a fan work gift exchange every year that is based on songs and music videos. Participants nominate to create a pool of canons from which requests and offers can be drawn. Then participants sign up, listing the things they are willing to create art or fiction or recorded fiction for, and giving prompts. Then we make stuff.

Nominations run for one more day. You don't have to nominate in order to be able to sign up. Do nominate, however, if you think that otherwise there wouldn't be anything in the tag set you cared about.

Useful links:

I love it! I am very fond of it and its participants! If you enjoy creating fiction and art, if you enjoy the gift exchange format for creative endeavours, if you have often wondered about the larger stories behind songs (or made some up for them, even knowing that is unlikely to be what the artists intended) you may come to love Jukebox too.

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House-hunting and general progress report
SSar&#39;s Beast
It is a lazy-ish Wednesday morning at home, because, this year, I have been added to the people in my team at work who will be occasionally rostered on to mid-week 2pm-10pm shifts. I am enjoying this very much. I am not much of a morning person. These night shifts are also very handy for doing errands in town or scheduling dentist/optometrist/vet check-ups.

Of course, in 15 minutes, Joel and I are off to see another house. By my count, this is house #41, because I can recall 40 other separate addresses we have visited, but I may have missed some. It's getting a bit tiring, and house prices continue to rise. I'm hopeful about this house, which looks beautiful and offers stunning views, but I'm not looking forward to the feelings immediately following, of high-energy hope and effort (study its documentation, order more documentation, research, talk to people) balanced against the need to always be willing to walk away.

On a fandom front, I am behind with Yuletide things, but have a plan for some of them. I have two beta jobs in my queue, one half-done. I have my assignment for Once Upon a Fic, which I am mulling over. Yes, I caved and signed up for that even though I had resolved not to sign up for anything in Feb/March. I had a lot of fun last year and I expect this year will be the same - the trick will be balancing that and Jukebox. And lurking around the edges of Night on Fic Mountain, of course!

Jukebox - I urgently need to revise the FAQ so that I can get the brainstorming post up this weekend. I am so looking forward to this! I love this exchange.

I'm almost current with Agent Carter - just the last episode to watch. I've had mixed feelings about it. Plenty of action, interesting hi-jinks, interesting character arcs - but ugh to the love triangle plots.

What I am in love with is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Described as a "dark feminist comedy musical" show, it lives up to all of these. I am rooting for everyone, despite their goals being incompatible; I love every messy, flawed person on this show. It is full of sharp, yet compassionate wit.

I hate watching things in which the characters frequently embarrass themselves, including in professional situations, and yet I will watch this show, because it keeps earning and keeping my trust. Everyone gets called on their behaviour. There are no scenes where something apparently "funny" happens and I think, yeah, but in real life that would be awful - because the characters all around our heroes react with appropriate wariness, or discomfort, or other signals that this is not okay.

Well, with some leeway for the musical numbers.


I didn't quite finish typing this before we had to go see the house. It is a good house! It is smallish, but I like its use of space (neither relentlessly open plan so that everyone in the house knows what everyone else is doing at every moment, nor a claustrophobic array of unnecessary turns and narrow corridors). It has A++ views, excellent proximity to public transport, and nice, practical, kitchen and bathroom arrangements. Now for all the next steps: asking my lawyer to check the title, commissioning a builder's report, reading through the builder's report commissioned by the agent, giving my financial advisor a heads-up...

Now I am going to send some emails, do the dishes we didn't quite have time to do before leaving the house, and go to the gym.

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SSar&#39;s Beast
We are 95% moved. I need to poke my previous landlords about our bond. I showed up to my previous home on Saturday to let professional cleaners in; paint tins & paraphernalia were still everywhere, and I had a moment of absurdity and a glorious sense of Not My Problem. Now we have cleaned, and professional cleaners have cleaned, and nothing there is my problem. Note to self: send landlady a gift basket when this is all sorted. She was a pretty good landlady.

I'm feeling a bit anxious and overcommitted. One of the signs of this, to myself, is that I'm putting my hand up for as many things as I can. Yes. That is counterproductive. It's just, I don't know what it's like to not have commitments, I will always have commitments - and I hate the feeling of having unstructured time, with necessary but non-urgent tasks buzzing around my head like flies. When that happens, I panic. I turn in circles on the carpet. I'd rather have one urgent thing to do than five non-urgent things to do, even if the former claims sleep and social time. So stress means "go find something even more urgent to do, to quiet anxiety while your brain is focused".

So, maybe it was a bit silly to sidle up to J & L at A & H's housewarming party this weekend and say "So, your new campaign LARP, do you need a cook for that?" ...♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ but yesss: once again, I will get to go away for a weekend every six months again and COOK NON-STOP for a day and a half at a time, and hear the stories of LARPers, and be involved in their glorious festival of creativity!

I am so happy to get to do that again.

A & H's housewarming was nice and their house was MAGNIFICENT, and going from the Sunday round of house-hunting to that party was like going to the supermarket when you're really really hungry. H has expended SO much effort on her house. She is a super-talented super-hardworking person with a doctorate in drama and extensive experience in dramatic set design: her house looks phenomenal. Those houses in magazines? At least one of them exists. A & H live in it.

(meanwhile: I did not visit this house, but I am rather struck by the carpet in picture 7. Is it just me, or is it - entirely - decapitated giraffes?? You tell me.)

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