Epilogue 2: Sunlight and WeedsThe former owner of the cloak was four hundred miles away, grazing in a moonlit meadow, and trying to look innocent.Epilogue 2: Sunlight and Weeds by ls269
James liked being a stag. True, his neck always ached the next day, from supporting those antlers, but it was worth it for the sheer, wonderful simplicity of perspective.
It was like being on a broomstick. All the fears, hang-ups and heart-breaks slid off his back like an unfastened cloak, and suddenly there were just the basic principles of the chase. No 'wrong', no 'unfair' just speed, and a silent contest to be the master of it.
These moments were so uncomplicated. He didn't have to worry about the background thud of grief or whatever you called it when you weren't quite sure that your loved one was dead, but were bloody certain that you were angry about it.
He had no real reason apart from his relentless optimism for thinking she was alive. He had seen her body laid out in the Hospital Wing, before Madam Pomfrey had drawn a h
Epilogue 1: Statistically SignificantThey called her Cinders, because that was where she was generally found. In the ashes of battle while the ground was still smoking she crept about without a sound, sorting the living from the dead, muttering incantations, doling out potions, taking the pain away.Epilogue 1: Statistically Significant by ls269
Nobody really knew what she looked like. Most of the time, all you saw was a lit wand, or a soothing hand in the darkness. Some people said she was a whole team of Healers, because everyone who saw her gave a different description. Sometimes, she was Scottish; sometimes, she was Asian; sometimes she was an old woman; sometimes she was a twelve-year-old girl. Her nose was anything from 'Roman' to 'button', and her hair ran through the whole colour-spectrum, occasionally making stopovers in forget-me-not blue and bubble-gum pink.
It was tempting to think of her as different people. But Polyjuice potion was a high-profile threat these days, thanks to the Ministry's helpful and not-at-all-pani
BenightedThe Slytherin common-room hadn't changed a bit. All the strange happenings and million-to-one chances that had been battering Severus over the past few days had left this room and its dreary inhabitants completely untouched.Benighted by ls269
How was it possible that they could still be here, gossiping, eating chocolate frogs, and playing noughts-and-crosses, when he had watched the Boggart die when he'd met Salazar Slytherin when he'd been tortured, beaten, traumatized, and then put back together in the Garden of Eden by tender, eager, beloved hands? How could the students in the Slytherin common-room be going about their business as though nothing had happened? How could they be ignoring him when he felt as though he had the remnants of all that pain and joy splattered all over his face?
But these were Gryffindor questions, and he knew it. He should never be surprised to discover that the human race was oblivious to him. He'd had enough evidence, over the years.
Instant, Earnest, Breathless BelieverThere was never going to be a time to sit back and marvel at all the impossible things he'd done and all the hopeless situations he'd lived through. There were too many more of them queuing up to ambush him. So he learned to marvel on the go. He'd never had much to marvel at before, but he was a quick-study and a natural multi-tasker. You didn't stay alive in Spinner's End by dwelling on one thing for too long. He'd seen what that kind of thing had done to his mother. If you wanted to stay alive in Spinner's End as opposed to undead in Spinner's End you kept your thoughts moving.Instant, Earnest, Breathless Believer by ls269
Voldemort had moved his headquarters to Rodolphus Lestrange's house the House of Pain back in the days when it was simply the House of Mild Inconvenience. And it was eerie to be walking through these corridors again, with the tiles unsmashed, and no bodies or blood or broken glass on the floor. It was as though a team of industrious House Elves had been brought in overnight, to swee
Thought I’d write an updated journal entry, trying to make sense of all my thoughts and feelings on finishing my new story (for Sympathetic Magic readers who don’t know which story I’m talking about, please see this journal: ls269.deviantart.com/journal/E… And then these two journals, which get progressively less optimistic: ls269.deviantart.com/journal/S… ls269.deviantart.com/journal/C… )
It’s been weird. The contrast between finishing this and finishing Sympathetic Magic is pretty alarming. The contrast between the 61 comments I received for the last chapter of SM and the zero comments I received when I posted a chapter from the new story here is pretty disheartening. But I’ve fought through all this and finished a story that I love, and that’s the most important thing.
And you know what? I don’t think I could have done otherwise. There were all these images in my head, and I had to communicate them. Probably everyone feels this way about the things they love, and the things they want to do. And probably most people have to pursue their dreams without any encouragement at all. I was very lucky the first time – I was lucky that people found something they could identify with in Sympathetic Magic.
But, whether lucky or not, I have to go on writing. I can’t choose not to. They key – and it’s not easy for a neurotic girl like me, but I can see it clearly, in theory, in my head – is to wrap up that lucky moment and keep it with me, and never use it to belittle my new work by comparison. I’ll always take it with me, the kindness and encouragement I had from my DA readers, and I’ll try to use it keep myself going rather than shut myself down.
In rational moments, that seems like the most logical thing in the world. Is a good thing less good because it’s gone? Of course not. You should treasure good things from the past, and never use them to devalue the present.
Now, having said all that, I should add that I don’t have many rational moments. But – and here is the key to fighting depression, for me – I can remember that there were rational moments. If you know that it’s possible to be another way – to think about things differently – then you know that despair doesn’t cover everything. It doesn’t stretch from horizon to horizon, reach back into the past, and discolour the future. It seems like it does, but it doesn’t. It’s temporary, just like everything else. If something is always recurring, then it’s also always leaving.
It helps me to remember that. Plus, all this rejection will be good practice for the inevitable and persistent rejection I’m bound to receive from agents and publishers. So I’m bitter but grateful, pessimistic but hopeful, and I hope that all makes sense.
Well, after all that, I’m sure you’re just dying to hear what the story is about. I always find that a difficult question to answer, because all my stories start off with the characters, and the plot is just something that sweeps along after them, as if they’re all wearing long, billowy cloaks. I once asked a reader what he thought Sympathetic Magic was about, and he said it was about despair, and how it’s always wrong to give in to it, no matter how tempted you might be.
Curiously enough, this new story is also partly about despair, although I can’t say I’ve come down so unequivocally on the side of not despairing this time. My stories are always the places where I work out issues like these, but, maybe because my life has taken a darker turn since SM, this story is a lot darker, and finding real, substantial hope is a lot harder. Not impossible, though. There’s always love in my worlds. A lot of the time, love makes things worse for the characters, but it’s always their redemption, as well as – in a few cases – their downfall.
So here’s how I’m describing the story at the moment: It’s a love-story-mystery, set in Victorian Oxford – very steampunk, very gothic. It’s about a man who’s taken a magic potion to forget the woman he loves, and then meets her again – as a quiet, nervous little stranger, who feels no inclination to talk about their past. As the action unfolds – and via a series of flashbacks that intersperse the story – both he and the reader piece together who this mysterious woman is, what she’s running from, and why he chose to forget her. It’s set in a variety of lovingly-described locations – from Edinburgh to India – and has a core of ineffectual, English sweetness, despite all the dark events.
So, anyway, that’s pretty much all my news (except for the depressing, realistic stuff, like mortgages, lack of job security, lack of baby, or any hope of ever having a baby. That stuff underpins pretty much all of the above, but doesn’t really need to be gone into right now).
I should say sorry for not being on DA much, and for being a bit slack about contacting old friends – I just figured you wouldn’t want to hear about all the grim, grey, gruesome stuff. Don’t know why I’ve changed my mind now. I should probably apologize for that too.
At least there’s something positive to add now. I wrote a book. It’s 350,000 freakin’ words – it’s about characters I love – and I loved writing it. That’s not too shabby, as comforts go.
Lots of love,