Conzine 2017

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Dear True-Believers,

It’s been way too long.  I don’t have a post to Home yet, but it is getting worked on between births and studying for the NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) exam, (and, you know, family of five stuff.)  I wouldn’t have blogged, except that I wanted to make sure everyone knew about the the San Diego Conzine 2017.   Its full of lots of fanfic and hey, proceeds go to charity!

I did manage to steal some time to submit a story to the Conzine called “Spirit”, and it’s smutty, yinz!  🙂

You only have until June 1st to order Con merchandise.  Again, it’s for charity, and I happen to think charity and Beauty and the Beast are a winning combination!  😉

Here is the Link to the Con 2017 Merchandise

And here is the link to the Con information, in case you are able to make it!!  I wish I could soooooo much, but too many babies to help with this year…

I’ll see you all online soon!

Karen 🙂

A Happy Life

How can one live “A Happy Life”?

If you are Facebooker, like I am, you’ve probably seen the videos and articles on happiness, “How To Be Happy!”  “7 Habits of Happy People” “What is Happiness?”

I’ve read them.  I’ve also read All Joy and No Fun, about how parenting changes people and how it brings happiness, even when the day-to-day slog can be tough.

Little did I know, when writing this (very brief) chapter of Home, that it would center on happiness, but looking back, that’s what we are trying to find, right?  What is, “happily ever after”?.

You can watch the Robert Waldinger talk about what they learned about happiness from the 75 year Adult Development study.  It is fascinating, and I know Vincent and Catherine would agree with him.

I would love to hear what you all think happiness is all about.

But now, without further ado, Home: Chapter 11 

 

Ahem

 

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Writing … those types of scenes … isn’t the easiest thing for me.

The Catholic-school-girl-who-wanted-to-be-a-nun-until-she-was-fourteen part of me wants to put her head in the sand and just mumble her way through.  The doula/midwife part of me wants to talk about sex over coffee.  And the writer part of me just wants it all to play out well.

I have always enjoyed sex scenes, (I may have been pure, but not THAT pure,) but, I hope I’m at least a little discerning about it.  The best ones, I believe, are about love.  As my mama used to say, “Sex without love, darling, is just plumbing.”  The gauzy scenes, as Carole from Imagine That likes to term them, (isn’t that the perfect name?) should be fulfilling to the spirit of the story.  The ones I remember most weren’t throw away, but somehow integral to the plot, like in Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Mirror of Her Dreams / A Man Rides Through.  It said almost nothing about the hero and heroine inserting tab A in slot B, but it was sweet and truthful, especially since their first try didn’t work.

In her  Ten Top Tips for Writing Sex Scenes, Emma Darwin explains that, “Sex is Dialogue” and that it should always advance the story in some way.  I completely agree. (Go ahead and read the whole article.  It’s full of good insight on romance and was extremely helpful when I thought this chapter would never get written. )

I hope this chapter is fulfilling to the spirit of this story.  I’m going to let you decide, so without further ado, Home: Chapter 10.

 

 

 

New Characters

Holy crap, here we are at something I dread — creating a new character.  I don’t do it too often because, A., you want Catherine and Vincent.  I get that, in spades.  Not many fanfic writers can weave in new people that are compelling.  Carole’s The Iron Behind the Velvet characters are my favorite exception.    B., Introducing new characters feels like I am floundering in an uncertain universe with no parameters.  The show sketches Catherine, Vincent, Father, Mouse, Jamie, etc. for us.   When writing a new person, it feels like I’m trying to find him or her with no idea what that person could look like.

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D.C., the people that brought you Batman, The Joker, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and the Big-Blue-Boy-Scout, (Superman), had this wonderful role playing game that contained the best character generator I have ever used. Each character had motivation – Thirst for justice (Batman), madness (Two-Face), thrill-seeking (Green Arrow).  The gamemakers also gave points for flaws – obsession (Batman, again),  disabling fears (Martian Manhunter’s fear of fire), and so on.  It was really a great game and a fantastic lesson in character development.

I talked a little before about hating Mary Sues, so I am introducing you to Marc Morrissey and Frank Dunn with a lot of trepidation, but with the firm reassurance that I have tried to make them as real as I know how. I promise they are just a part of the story, not the story.  Chapter 10 will be back with our beloved couple again.

So, without further ado, Home: Chapter 9

Fanfiction As a Genre

Really quick, since my kids are coming home soon, I want to bend your ear, and talk a little about fanfiction…as a legit genre.  Since the new Star Wars movie has come out, there has been a lot of talk about how The Force Awakens is fanfiction to A New Hope through Jedi.  If you even understand that last sentence, you have probably seen these movies, and might agree.

star-wars-force-awakens Heck, I liked The Force Awakens (although, it still remains to be seen if the new movies can sustain the momentum,) and I think it is fanfiction.   What I am proposing is that this is not a bad thing. Fanfiction is about exploring a very well-known universe.  It doesn’t take time to remind you what Jedis can do, who Luke Skywalker is, or more related to this site, what Catherine looks like, or that she works (worked) at the D.A.’s office.  In that way, fanfiction limits its audience.  Just as no one who hadn’t seen the original Star Wars trilogy, (I’m still amazed there are actually people who haven’t,) was going to do to The Force Awakens, no one who doesn’t really love “Beauty and the Beast” fanfiction, and read Union, and hung in for the other chapters in this story was going to read Home: Chapter 8, but that’s ok.  I’m not writing for a general audience, I’m writing for you.  Thank you for reading, for delving into the great sub, sub, sub genre of fiction that is Classic, SND, “Beauty and the Beast” (TV, 1987) fanfiction.  It’s always a fun to be an uber-geek with you.

For next month I am focusing on Winterfest, but then it is back at you with Chapter 9 .  So, without further ado, Home: Chapter 8.

Back to An Ever Fixed Mark Index

Balancing Between Worlds

Wow, if you are still out there, dear readers, I give you all my love and credit.  It has been a crazy few months.  I didn’t really realize, (as no one can,) what time and energy I was going to need to devote to my new work as a student midwife.  It has been a whirlwind adventure filled with the highs and lows that only birth can bring.  However, I did devote as much of November to writing as I could and got another chapter and a little more done, so yay!

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Right now, I live in two worlds, between the Plain families (Amish and Mennonite) that graciously allow me to be a part of their births, and the rest of the “English” world that my family and my future midwife clients come from.  That got me thinking of a character who lived in two worlds –  Peter.

Peter

Peter was a character that I would have loved to learn more about during the series.  He was a caregiver to both worlds.  He had to balance between his rich patients Above and his very low resource ones Below.  Balancing a life in between must not have been easy, and if you would like to read another great take on that you can try, Aliset’s All the Hazard’s We Can Run.

The fact that he knew both Catherine and Vincent when they were babies was something I couldn’t just let sit there, could I?  Just as Catherine needed Father, Vincent needs Peter’s wisdom and memory.

So, without further ado, I give, Home: Chapter 7

 

 

Raising the Bar for a Living

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Have I ever told yinz I love Doctor Who, specifically, the Russel T. Davies years, 2005-2010?  I am not going to go all into the reasons…well, too much–amazing actors, beautiful story-lines with a bit of an edge, heroes who care, and love, lots of love.  I bring it up because those years of Doctor Who, with Rose, Martha, and Donna, were about people finding themselves and raising the bar on what is possible.  Rose was a shop girl, who no one thought would amount to much.  Martha was a med. student looking for the extraordinary.  Donna was a secretary who yelled at the world.  Then they met the Doctor, who gave them a place, and who showed them that they were greater than they ever thought they could be.  He believed in their strength. Sound familiar?

I have always wanted to be a midwife, I just didn’t realize it.   Modern medicine can be amazing for emergency situations, but birth is an everyday miracle.  It is, in most cases, not an emergency, and by looking for emergencies all the time, we tend to muck it up.  For healthy women and healthy babies, I have always believed, birth can be easy when health professionals lifeguard the process rather than try to control it.  I just didn’t think I was the one who was supposed to do that.  It took some special people in my life who, like The Doctor did for his companions, like Vincent did for Catherine, to remind me that I have the strength and the drive to raise the bar everyday on what I think is possible.

Of course, starting a (newish) career at forty-one does have its challenges.  I have to drive two hours for my practicums because that is where the only midwife certified to teach me practices.  And while I knew mechanics of the process from a teacher’s and doula’s perspective, I didn’t know the medical terms.  I didn’t know charting, and how to blood type in an Amish lady’s kitchen, how to measure according to dates, and palpate for twins.  My head feels like Swiss Cheese.

Midwifery takes a lot of my time, but I also have to let off some steam and keep writing.  Why?  Because this is who I am as well, and because, someday, I want to write about my experiences in the hope it inspires others to raise their own bar.  I can’t write as much as I want, because I am devoting part of everyday to learning and my family, but please believe me, I am writing.

All the skills we acquire along the way, whether we think are relevant or not, help us to create ourselves.  We use them to become, and it takes a long time, as the beautiful story of the Velveteen Rabbit tells us.  Catherine is becoming, and that can be a hard process, but she isn’t alone.  There are people who believe in her, including someone who had misgivings about her place in his son’s life not too long before.  I hope you enjoy his perspective.  So, without further ado, Home: Chapter 6.