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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

It don't matter where you bury me; I'll be home and I'll be free.

I just figured out a second thematic unity in my books.

The first one, my ur-Story, is that everything I write is an outsider story. And not an outsider story about finding the magic button and becoming part of the in group, but an outsider story about learning to be okay with being a freak.

The second one is that I write books about broken people. And I don't write books about broken people getting over their damage, getting redeemed or being healed by fire.

No, I write books about broken people learning to accept that there are things that just can't be fixed, because the universe is not fair, and to live with their damage, and to soldier on anyway.

You know, sometimes you just glance up idly from the keyboard, and your PTSD is sitting there on top of the monitor, grinning back at you like a big fat yellow goddamn Cheshire cat.


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So far I seem to write about people dropping everything and going on spiritual quests, because I never have and always wanted to, and about people trying desperately hard to understand the small important things about the world around them (not the big huge world in general, but the incredibly specific detailed universes that every person inhabits), because I have always done that and always will. It's all about seeking, seeking, seeking. In fiction I get to have there be things that people can find. I have to remember to include some insoluble quests, lest it turn too much into wish fulfillment.

I wonder whether I'll ever find the words for writing about overtly PTSD-ish themes. I almost dared towards one but now I'm pulling away. I feel desperately unqualified to write about public disasters because... well, it's a long story, but the short version is that I can't authoritatively write about any experience but my own, and my own experience included a lot of other people I don't feel I can honorably write about (even fictionalized) without their permission, which I doubt I would get; and whenever I try to write about it from a different perspective it just overwhelms me completely. And I'm only just starting to barely get something resembling a handle on my more private damaging experiences; I think it will be a long time before I can get to the point of writing about them.
Completely unrelated but, there is a nice article on Shakespeare's medical knowledge over here: http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_4_oh_to_be.html
careswen, who does copy edits on my short stories before I send them out, looked up at me a few weeks ago and said, "You realize nealy all of your stories are basically about about broken people learning to accept the fact that they're broken and go on with their lives, right?"

I just kind of blinked at her as the realization sank in.
Funny how they rise up and bite you at the damnedest.

I realized a while ago that one of my themes is dealing with the fact that the life you've been handed isn't the life you want. Oh, and you can't turn your back on responsibility, even if it's something you never asked for.

Nothing can perch on my monitor anymore because I have a flat screen. They take turns sitting on my shoulder and gibbering in my ear.

And I really think we need to determine whether we were separated at birth, the fact that I'm years older than you notwithstanding.
And I really think we need to determine whether we were separated at birth, the fact that I'm years older than you notwithstanding.

Accident with a cold sleep module and a tesseract? *g*
Heh. I've been dealing with ur-story issues myself lately. I guess it's part of having a voice...good for you.
These are most excellent themes. Which I like reading about, for a change from "finding the magic thing that fixes everything."
I recently wrote something similar in response to a reader on my own blog. My position is that few unbroken protags are worth remembering. Same goes with people (of course, all real people are broken in one way or another, so perhaps that's redundant.

But learning how to live with the damage is redemption of a sort anyway, is it not? After all, redemption isn't about fixing your holes; redemption is about living whole despite the holes.
I write books about broken people learning to accept that there are things that just can't be fixed, because the universe is not fair, and to live with their damage, and to soldier on anyway.

But you know, we need those books. And they're usually a hellalot better than the other kind. So don't be too hard on your PTSD cat. :)
Bah. If you're still moving and can still do the job, you're not broken.
Tell Richard Hi from Connla for me. *g*
duh... what's a PTSD?

your occasional talk of ur-Stories has made me recognize mine... family is where you find it.
"Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." AKA shellshock, battered wife syndrome, etc.
One of my assumptions: There are no insiders. There are people who look like insiders, who think of themselves as insiders -- but they aren't. And sometimes they're more broken than most outsiders.

And: My stories are about people who get things done. They might be more broken than most people, or they might be less broken.

And I hadn't thought this out before; thanks!
There are no insiders. There are people who look like insiders, who think of themselves as insiders -- but they aren't. Yes. And I'm not sure there are even that many people who think of themselves as insiders. It was something as a revelation to me, to realize that so many people think of themselves as the outsider and the special (for good and ill) one. Few people self-identify as being the normal ones. And everyone thinks they're at the center of their own stories.
Great, now I'm unable to remember the origin of the use of ur- as a prefix.

I'd never actually thought about consistent themes in my stories, until a longtime reader noted in a rather offhand manner that all my stories seem to revolve around family -- not having it, but walking away from the one you were born with, and creating a new one (which may or may not include ones you were born with, but they're not automatically in there). I suppose that's a variation of outsider-moving-in, but more like outsiders realizing they're freaks, and just finding other freaks who are simpatico.

Well, that, and the subtheme of having characters who are intensely private for various reasons, and will go through the most amazing contortions to not reveal even an iota more than absolutely necessary. I write a lot of scenes with a lot of implications.

Paranoid freaks with intimacy issues. Guh, what does this say about my childhood-related PTSD, anyway?
If you stare at it long enough, it'll all disappear but the grin.
Mmm, damage!

A long time ago I went to school with a bunch of very damaged people. When somebody new came in, if they weren't broken, we didn't trust them. Because they were *going* to break; any kid in that environment (and usually dragged six countries to get there) was going to break.

People who've broken before are getting the hang of it. THey know where their fault lines are, where they're going to shatter, and how the pieces go back together. They duct-tape themselves back together, drink too much, and move on. You can rely on that. If terrorists took over the school (which was a frighteningly real possibility) those unbroken people would've freaked out or gotten hysterical and been a goddamned liability. Us damaged and scarred people would've been upstairs in the chem lab manufacturing explosives and making bets on when the antiterrorist cops or the Marines showed up.

SOmebody who's never broken before? We didn't know which way they'd snap. THey might lash out, or take us down with them. So we were sociable, but until they spent the night fetal under a pile of coats sobbing their guts out and refusing to come out except for smokes, or failing to make it over the rail of the bridge because they had to throw up from alcohol poisoning, we didn't really trust them.

As part of my "journey" into "becoming a disabled person", I've run across some great broken-people arguments. As far too many people have said, "If I ended up as disabled as you, I'd kill myself." (My preferred answer is "You needn't wait", but I'm bitchy.) As a punk in a wheelchair pointed out to me: becoming a cripple is something most people are fucking terrified of. Those of us that have survived and even succeeded in our lives? We can pretty much say "Fuck you" to most of the shit life's got left to throw at us, because we've already beaten one of the worst. We're stronger than those "normal, healthy" people.

Making all the damage magically go away isn't a functional answer. Soldiering on is. If Jenny can keep going, so can you and I. It's hope for realists.

And anyway, broken people make for much better stories.
I just fucking adore you. Just so you know.
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