I am nothing if not ego-centric enough to follow along. I'm only quoting from finished stories, by the way.
A Gift of Ordinary Magic
Of all the endings I've written, this one is easily my favorite. It's the best way I've ever been able to put into words that even though a story may be over, it has a habit of continuing.
It’s a strange moment, Xander realizes. He feels like he’s stepping off ‘and they lived happily ever after’ right onto ‘once upon a time.’
The world shifts, the spell is cast, and there’s nothing left to do but follow this new story to its end. If he’s lucky, the ending will be more sweet than bitter.
For some reason, Faith being an avid collector of tack-y tourist trinkets never ceases to amuse me. Because I'm not like that. Not. At. All. *hides her Paul Revere shot glass*
Faith’s weakness for tacky tourist trinkets never ceases to amaze him. Every town they go to she’s got to find the most screamingly ugly thing and buy it. Even worse, there appear to be rules. He’s slowly figuring them out. If she’s already been somewhere, she doesn’t buy. If it’s somewhere new, she’ll tear apart the town to find the ‘perfect thing.’ Right now she’s got a set of Elvis ornaments, each bearing likenesses of The King’s various eras, stashed in one of her suitcases The kicker for her is that they come with a ‘certificate of authenticity.’
He’s just grateful he was able to talk her out of the Blue Suede Golf Club Head Cover Set by pointing out that they lacked that all-important certificate. Score one for good taste and another win in the battle to spare his remaining eye from garish colors.
But a glow-in-the-dark or bobble-headed anything ranks very high in Faith’s world, as he can attest to from experience. The only thing that would rank higher would be an ashtray manufactured in Taiwan. That’s another rule: Things manufactured in Taiwan are the true sign of real kitsch quality.
Cuckoo in the Nest
As difficult and as horrible as Cuckoo in the Nest was to write in many ways, the punchline in this exchange never fails to crack me up. Yes. I know. It's lame that something I wrote makes me laugh.
Thank god. Tony can’t afford to fit a frigging hospital bill into the household budget. He punches a fork in the kid’s general direction and starts asking some questions. “What do you get up to at night?”
“Don’t give me that. You’re going out. Where are you going?”
“You show up with bruises, broken bones, you’re throwing clothes covered with god knows what in the trash and you’re doing nothing and going nowhere? Stop yanking my dick and telling me that you thought you were milking a cow.”
Deep Thoughts (On Protective Eye Wear) by Alexander L. Harris
I had far too much fun writing my take on Sunscreen, which has been falsely attributed to Kurt Vonnegut. It was hard to pick my favorite bon mot.
Understand that friends come and go, but friends that are willing to kill your dates when they try to eat you are forever. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need people who know how to translate ‘Ow!’ based on the tone of your voice.
Ten Steps to Better Living for God-Kings Through Technology
The drabble form of writing is nearly impossible for me to write. *pauses for hysterical laughter from people who know me* I have a huge amount of respect for people who can do it. I had even more after writing my lone drabble-story.
For all the destruction, the heart of the city stands defiant against the night.
She finally understands: the Age of the Old Ones over. There is no kingdom to retake, no throne to recapture. This Age belongs to the humans. New magics—Technology and Science—have emerged victorious.
The Slayer of Pine Cove, California
Meet a somewhat obscure crossover with Christopher Moore's Pine Cove stories. He's much funnier than I am. You should go buy his books. I mean, how can you not love Theo and Molly, the bestest and strangest fictional married couple ever?
“Who’s Molly Michon?” Xander asked with hand over heart. “Only the leading lady in many of my adolescent shower fantasies.” He winced. “Not that they were ever dirty adolescent shower fantasies. No, siree. They were clean, very clean shower fantasies where Kendra rescues me from the vicious sand pirates and their mutant allies during a rain storm while wearing a white t-shirt and…stop me now.”
The History of Humor in the 20th Century
I adore Burns and Allen. Adore. Them. I adore them so much, I hunted down the guy who was the editor for their long-running television show and scored an interview with him. If that isn't abusing the power of the press, I don't know what is. He was fascinating interview, and not just because of his work with Burns and Allen.
So, of course I had to have Faith watch and judge them for herself. When I wrote the punchline for this, I giggled helplessly because it's so true if you've ever seen (George) Burns and (Gracie) Allen when they were at the height of their comedy power.
A couple of times we’ve stumbled across this weird little show called Burns and Allen. Yeah, that Burns. George Burns. Mr. God himself. I think the word I’m looking for is surreal. George Burns is supposed to be this guy who’s like 100 and here he is looking maybe 40. Who knew he was ever that young?
But Cyclops is all about Gracie. He don’t say nothing, but you can see he’s fascinated. Is that the right word? Not too sure actually, but fascinated is pretty damn close.
Now I think Gracie’s a ringer from Mars or something. When she gets talking it’s all confusion and everyone’s trying to figure her out ’cause she just keeps jumping the track. She’ll be talking about one thing and right in the middle of the conversation she’ll start talking about something else. Meanwhile, everyone around her’s thinking she’s talking about the first thing and wackiness happens.
I’m explaining it all retarded, but that’s about the only way I explain it.
But Cyclops, man, he totally follows where she’s going. I’m always, “Wha?” But he’s always explaining it to me and he’s always fucking dead on.
I tease him a little about it, which is funny ’cause I never thought ‘Xander’ and ‘tease’ would ever be in the same sentence after…well, you know. Which only goes to show you, right?
Anyways, I tease him about it. Just tell him that Gracie’s another dumb blonde in a long line of dumb blondes. She’s like, the Chosen One of Dipshits.
Ishmael Sings of the White Whale
I think I like this one simply because of where it falls in the story, more than the quote itself.
“Our friend ran,” Wes finishes.
“No friend of mine, that’s for sure,” Faith disagrees as she gets to her feet. She quickly moves to the victim’s side to check him, but she knows even before she drops to her knees on the ground next to the hero-wanna-be that she’s way too late.
He’s dressed nice. He looks like a fucking Dudley Do Right complete with the square jaw and broad shoulders. Before the trio got their hands on him, he was probably clean and neat. Hard to tell what color his hair is, hard to tell what color his clothes are. There’s so much blood. These guys weren’t what you’d call neat eaters.
What they left behind is barely recognizable as human.
Who the fuck said that? Giles. About Xander. Maybe about Willow. She’s not hundred percent sure on any of that.
“Faith, we have to go,” Wes says. “Sirens.”
There should be rain, she thinks as she pulls the body into her lap. Someone’s going to miss this guy. And if someone doesn’t? Well, then there’s no fucking justice.
My favorite chapter in all of Living History is the one I titled Childhood's End.
I like passage for selfish reasons. When I wrote this exchange, that's when I knew I had figured out how to write original characters that weren't Mary or Marty Stus. Other people had told me that I managed it, but I didn't believe it in my gut until this exchange. They're still flawed, they're still unsure, but they're capable of growing...even if they're broadcast television reporters from the future named Camlin Tikri that began life as a throw-away, one-note character who was supposed to be a joke.
Tikri shook her head. She was just full of the poetic, romantic world-weariness today. “Don’t you get it?” she asked the silent Watcher Honoria. “For everything we now know about the people right here in this house, as real as they might seem to everyone and to us, at the end of the day they’re still ghosts because we don’t know who their ghosts are when they talk to us.”
Catherine hesitated. “So you think you’re missing the real story?”
“What I’m saying is that I don’t think we’ll ever understand the whole story. The scary part is I’m starting to think that’s the way it should be. Maybe we’re not really meant to know.”
“Who are you and what have done with Camlin Tikri?”
“I’m just worried that someone is going to look at my infor and your team’s reports and think they finally see the big picture. I’m just not that sure it’s there to find.”
Catherine’s eyebrows drew tight. “Are you sure you’re not possessed? Or under a spell? Because this isn’t…”
“Maybe it’s because I feel like a ghost myself,” Tikri interrupted.
“You look pretty real to me.”
Tikri looked down at the MemePad again. “You can’t see it, but I can. We’re part of the myth and the legend now. We’re the ones who were here right at the beginning. We talked with them. Walked with them. Worked with them. We may have even made them into the people they will be. Someday they just might talk about us the way we talk about them.”
Catherine’s expression broke into a broad smile. “Wow. We’re not in the least bit full of ourselves.”
Tikri grabbed Catherine’s arm. She had no idea why it was so important to make Catherine understand, but it was. “Don’t you get it? We all become someone’s ghost eventually. A stray word is all it takes sometimes. We did the impossible. We’ve made the ghosts seem real, and that means we’ve affected everyone, even people like me who aren’t involved with what you do and have never been involved.”
“Looks to me you’re involved up to your neck.” Catherine said kindly.
“Now,” Tikri agreed. “The hada of it is people have short memories and busy lives. Other things will move to the front burner. The Great Darkness. Politics. The consumer report. Whatever. But what we bring back will change a lot of things. After this MemePad and your team’s reports are put in the archives, historians will study them but they’ll still be ghosts and we’ll become ghosts. Why? Because people who look at the record weren’t here and they won’t understand. And even if we’re still alive and able to answer questions, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to make them understand the truth.”
Catherine tensed. “And what truth is that?”
“That everyone here in this house so much less than any of us expected and that just makes them so much more than legend can even hope to express.”
Catherine relaxed and her grin was back in place. “Welcome to my world.”
“Sorry it’s just…I have to wonder why.”
Tikri picked up the MemePad and tapped on its surface. “Their future is our past. Did it ever occur to you that our future is someone’s past, too? So while we look at everyone here and ask, ‘What happened? Why these people? Out of everyone in the universe, why were these people at just the right time and place for things to happen the way they did?’ Think about this: someone in the future will look at us and ask the same questions.”
With this story, I figured out two things: One, I love writing unreliable narrators; two, it's a very bad idea to use a canon character as an unreliable narrator when you're writing fanfiction. If I wanted to write an unreliable narrator, they'd have to be OCs from here on out. The reason? If you use a canon character, people either will take what the character says for gospel truth, or they will assume you're putting words in the character's mouth.
It almost makes him wonder if there’s something intelligent out there in the big old universe that suffers under the delusion that it’s got a sense of humor, or at least a sense of finely tuned irony.
Frankly, he feels like he’s been brained by a falling anvil, so he’s not willing to give God, a Universal Intelligence, or some other Cosmic Clockmaker points for subtlety. And as for humor, he’ll take the late, great Bill Hicks any day of the week: “Does that trouble anyone here? The idea that God might be fuckin’ with our heads?”
Mr. Hicks? Consider me troubled, and my head well and truly fucked.
The Missing Bits
A short, sweet creepy story. Sleep tight.
The missing bits of their stories, however, can kill them.
And once they’re dead, those missing bits will come after you.
For these people, there’s only one thing more dangerous than a story with missing bits.
It’s when they find the missing bits.
How are you sleeping now?
Sometimes the slash just writes itself, even when you don't write it at all.
Would you believe this exchange between Xander, who's been thrown in jail because he and Spike were arrested for defending themselves in a gay-bashing incident, and Willow, who's worried because Spike and Xander haven't checked in from their monster hunt, actually showed up as a "quotable" on a Buffyverse slash list once? Taken out of context, yeah, it really does look like the perfect fit for a slash list.
I found this out maybe a yeear ago and couldn't stop giggling, because I had to wonder if the person quoting it had read the story, or if they picked it up from one of the Buffy-centric fanfic groups or Web pages that used to have people post their favorite quotes from fanfic.
(I want to say it showed up on, Nummytreats? Maybe? Or maybe one of the Yahoo Xander-slash lists. I'm not sure. I lost the email someone sent me when Verizon did a mysterious dump of my Inbox back when it was my main point of contact, and Google has failed me. Although I did find the line quoted in a quote list from Buffy fanfic, but it wasn't in a slash context.)
I wonder how people reacted when they clicked on the link that accompanied the quote and found out that the story couldn't possibly be more gen if I turned all the characters' genitals into something straight out of Ken and Barbie.
“Oh, yeah! See, for some reason, the Sunnydale P.D.? Not so big on homosexual rights. Doesn’t matter who started it, what mattered is the fags won so, ergo, fags got arrested.”
“Nice language there, Xander.”
“Sorry, just quoting some of the more polite comments I heard during the booking process. I’m a mite pissed since I was the victim in this little bashing incident and I’m the one arrested because—” There was a sound of a phone being pulled away while Xander yelled to someone in the background, “A BUNCH OF SOMEONES DON’T APPROVE OF MY ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE!”
“Xander, you don’t have an alternative lifestyle.”
“Says you. I have a vampire living in my closet. If that doesn’t scream alternative lifestyle, I don’t know what does.”
Wheee! That was fun! I left out a couple of stories, because no exchanges stood out for me from memory.
If you want to check out what isn't included, here's my LJ memories, and here's what's still on The Pit of Voles.