#maybe I should write a book of poems for real
Would you stay
If I told you all my thoughts would you stay
If I told you that I don't want anyone but you
If I told you that when you don't text I get sad
If I told you everytime that song comes on I think of you
If I told you when I see your name on my phone I smile
If I told you I told my mom about you
If I told you that I learned about your favorite thing just to know a bit more about you
If I told you that when you look at me I feel myself catch on fire
If I told you that my friends know all my thoughts about you
If I told you when you I'm in your presence I'm my most relaxed because I'm with you
If I told you I think about what it'd be like to kiss you, feel you on my skin
If I told you I long to just be near you all the time because it's my one true comfort
If I told you that I want to take you to my favorite coffee shop
If I told you that your smile is my favorite
If I told you that you make me happy
If I told you I write all these poems about you
If I told you that I like your abs
If I told you I want to run my fingers through your hair on a long night
If I told you how I've never felt this way
If I told you I think that I love you
If I told you I want to be with you forever
If I told you I do love you
If I told you all this would you stay
Do you do you know
Alex turner x Actor!Reader
An: so this is the first work i’m actually putting up uhhh idkk but i worked semi hard on this and it’s hella fluffy, and i use gender neutral pronouns so let me know if you want any specific ones!!! :) also this is inspired by high fidelity!!! ￼
summary: Alex and reader spend a morning together
word count: around 700 words (it’s short)
“Do you Do you know y/n” “hm” “That I am utterly and completely in love with you”
The day had started off nice, y/n woke up when the sun had hit their face a nice orangy glow being brought upon their features, Y/n’s “morning look” as Alex would call it was one of his and their favorite looks. They turned their head to the right to get a good view of Alex’s sleeping figure. They were extremely lucky to be still in bed, with Alex recording his new album and Y/n working on their new movie the couple didn’t really have much time to be together in the morning so Y/n wanted to soak up every moment they had with him.
“Staring is rude you know” Alex said eyes still closed you could hear how tired he was from the way his voice was all deep “People write books about your type of beauty” Y/n said raising their hand to softly caress Alex’s cheek, Alex then grabbed Y/n’s hand and placed a soft kiss on the palm of their hand. “People write songs about your type of beauty” Alex said back smiling cheekily at them “People hm, wonder what type” Y/n said “the type that get books written about them apparently” he said smiling as he began to caress their back.
Alex loved mornings like this, mornings with them, just the two of them, the time they spent together was his favorite time of all, anytime spent with Y/n he loved. They were his person, Alex always loved hard and so did Y/n, they were written in the stars, in books, in poems, in songs, Alex knew they were because a love like there’s just simply had to be. Alex didn’t know if he believed in soulmates but if they were real then he just knew that his was Y/n “we should really get up” Y/n said breaking Alex from his happy trance.
“Maybe, but I really don’t want to” he said back grabbing their shoulder and pressing their body on his, Y/n then moved their head from Alex’s shoulder looking up at him “watch Jamie is going come in here and he’s going to see your bare ass” “Nothing he hasn’t seen before” Alex said shrugging this made Y/n throw their head back from laughter “Alex” they said laughing “we have to get up, you need to go to the studio remember and then I have to film and” they were quickly shut up when Alex pressed his lips on theirs.
It was a soft and sweet kiss one saying “Hey shhh just focus, on me” and Y/n was listening. “I love you” Alex said pulling back from their kiss “morning breath and all” “you kissed me” Y/n said getting up and out of bed “and it was the best decision ever” he said laying on his back and putting his arms behind his head. He could hear the water running in the bathroom knowing that they were brushing their teeth hating the smell of morning breath “love” Alex called out making Y/n peak their head out from the bathroom “Do you do you know Y/n” he said “hm” “That I am utterly and completely in love with you” he said “I might have had an idea” they said with a mouth full of toothpaste Y/n then went back in the bathroom and spit their toothpaste and rinsed their mouth.
They quickly made their way to their shared bed and sat on their knees next to Alex “Do you do you know” they said “Alex Turner” “yes my love” he responded back smiling “That I Y/n L/n love you so much” “How much” he said “like from here and to the moon and back” they said smiling at down at him “on a donkey” “yes on a donkey lovie” they said leaning down to press a chaste kiss onto his lips. “we’re gross” he said “oh yeah definitely” they said back getting up from the bed smiling, “I’ll give you another kiss” they said teasingly “but only if you catch me” and with that Y/n ran out of their bedroom “oh lovie you know I will” he said already out of bed and he did in fact catch them and they fell onto the couch and they were happy because its Y/n and Alex and their love is the type of love that people write about.
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"you left your diary at my house" hcs with the hq boys!
note: this is based off of that tik tok trend "you left your diary at my house, and I read those pages you really love me baby" I'm late ik but its still cute anyway <3
warnings: none this is pure fluff
no bc he is literally so goddamn cocky when he finds out you like him
he is obviously overjoyed that you like him back but he just gets a real kick out of finding out this way
pages upon pages of you writing 'y/n + tooru' and how handsome and good he is at volleyball
its feeding his ego more than an automatic bird feeder
when he comes to class the next day he's holding it out to you and when you reach for it he holds it above his head like a 5th grader
he only moves it even higher out of your reach when you try and grab it from him cheeks all warm with embarrassment as he recites one of the poems you wrote for him
he's a big meanie and practically teases you to death
the only way you can get it back is by telling him you like him in person this time
you just mumble a quick "ilikeyou" and snatch the book from him
he only ruffles your hair and admits his feelings for you too
Probably saying some annoying shit like "you should become a poet, Shakespeare 2.0~"
get used to it bc he is gonna call you that for a while, it'll become like a small inside joke between the two of you
this man is so so straightforward the conversation might be a little more than awkward to have
he's simply handing you the notebook straight faced while you flip out suddenly becoming stuttery, face so warm it could literally cook an egg on it
and he simply stands there
you gonna say something Ushijima?
he does tho!
But it doesn't come out right he's probably like "thank you for..the compliments"
you're like ??
and he goes "In the book you wrote how handsome I was.."
you lose your shit like legit you nod and just start walking away before he stops you and just asks you "Are you free on Friday?"
you have to physically stop yourself from doing your happy dance
instead you turn around and (maybe too excitedly) say yes
He is literally on some different timing
you thought he was a condescending lil shit before??? oh honey wait until he finds out you daydream about holding his hand its overrrr
He becomes a peacock who proudly shows off their feathers to everyone but instead of feathers its a really smug smile
he comes up to you holding the book in his hands like "think you dropped something"
much like Oikawa, Tsukishima wants to enjoy this feeling because A. He is obviously relieved that you like him back and he doesn't have to go through the uncertainty of "do they like me or not?"
B. Because he thinks your embarrassed reactions are absolutely, positively, singlehandedly the best things he's ever seen
also like Oikawa he's holding the door journal out of your reach and reading some of the entries you wrote about him
bc now you're crying from the embarrassment and he feels so bad
he literally feels like an ass
he's quick to apologize and pull you in for a hug and apologize again and again
he whispers into your hair how much he likes you too and how sorry he is once again
someone from the team definitely walks by and is like "am I in the matrix because I've never seen this man so soft"
anywho he's sorry pls forgive him and let him take u to dinner
he's so so gentle with your feelings it makes me want to melt into a puddle onto the floor
he will admit to you that he read it by accident when you left it at his home, he thought it was a regular notebook
his face visibly becomes more red the more he tries to explain himself and his behavior
however he is confident and makes eye contact with you as he just gently places the book into your palm
he clears his throat and goes
"the little bit that I did see...mentioned something about me.."
"I like you too, you've always been really sweet and supportive of me and volleyball-so maybe after class we can go to that new ice cream place?"
god he is such a goddamn cutieeeee
you obviously accept and give him a small smile he gives you one too and just says "see you after school then" and once you're sure he's gone
you start doing a lil dance of joy
This mAn is BeAutIfUl I lobe him
leaving your diary at Kuroo's can go one of two ways
A. he can either be all cool about it and hand you the notebook and be like "yo, I like you too"
B. he can also tease the living daylights out of you for all of your doodles of his name in different fonts throughout the diary
which one you ask?
the answer is neither duh
its clearly option C. which is a mixture of the two, he is going to tease you but like he's actually so excited to know you like him back and his version of teasing really only makes you more flustered like for example
"How about we go out after school? Mrs.Tetsurō~"
"you like me? how adorable"
"what do you say about about a date? on me of course cutie"
you catching what i'm saying? he's so sweet and it only serves to make you lose ur mind
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i'm running in circles, honestly. i've been going on and off about daydreaming and social media for way too long by now. i rather preferred the real emotions of heartache, tears and vulnerability. i want that. but i should not want it back. i know, the next step would be facing reality and sometimes, i do. sometimes, i do not run from responsibility and actually embrace whatever is coming. stay curious, open, learn from it. but these days i just feel like losing myself all over. lost my worth in productivity systems and fearing to be not good enough for people because i ain't get connection right. and on the other side are daydreams far-fetched from my reality, i do know it that i am not that social person that i see in those scenarios. and i guess maybe that's where it gets toxic. of course, what i miss is real connection, real love, emotions. not having to fake things, interest, anything to fit in. just be truly myself with people, but where y'at, people? i want connections where i listen and talk, be vulnerable and love, but somehow i just don't get there. i get it, that's why i escape to daydreams mostly. to get glimpses of happiness and connection, to don't feel the loneliness and the disappointment of my life. yeah, i'd wish for real adventure, real connection, loving what i do. but reality sucks, that's what i believe and that's why i still escape. i really wanna immerse myself in what i do, whatever it is, create my own life again and love it - and yes, maybe this is mainly on people to get some quality connection rather than fake perfection. and sure, on the other hand, i'm stressed out by my own stress of expectations, where i prioritized career and pleasing people over myself and health and the beauty of arts and deep connection. i do know, i need to reprioritize those, find rest and balance, get clean with myself, take care, in reality. deal with it. not run from it. i used to face it all. i should again. deal with thoughts and feelings, feel it all out, cry it out, write it out, scream it out, tell the truth, cut down on something, whatever. really, listen. at some point it gets too much. and yet you find yourself in boredom, mainly because you got expectations of doing something else when you don't know what it is. something else. like you lost yourself all over, try to remind yourself of what curiousity you have, open to do something new, or just do something. life is short, just try it. speak to people, express yourself, write and draw, take that class, just lie back and read a book, stare at the sky, go to a city, eat some food, dance in the streets.. you know, that kind. that's what i want. but facing reality and our system and who i am in that well i know maybe i have to lower those scenarios. just know for myself, what's good and what ain't. too much time on social media kills my vibe. writing on the other hand seems to be mine. to stretch and dance and listen to music as music and not dreams, read stories and poems, feel the feelings, i know i miss love. but i know, i need to live on my reality. of jobs and education, studies but get it on with people, relationships and empathy, engage in good stuff, probably, sometimes, help people, write stories and poems, stretch out your body and dance, anything like that. nature, connection, arts, movement. that's what i need. maybe i'll need the engagement for something too. someday, somewhen. not today, and that's okay.
I loved your last drabble and want more. How about Wanda and Vision being romantic af?
This is a wonderful prompt, if only because it leaves so much space to work and I have a horrible habit of being overly romantic. This one is set in my favorite canon location - Edinburgh, Scotland, between Civil War and Infinity Wars. I haven’t worked out a title yet, so I’m just calling it A Synthezoid in the World. Thank you for the prompt!
Also on AO3
A Synthezoid in the World
Vision lets the book he’s reading settle on his chest where he lies with his head on Wanda’s lap. She glances away from her own book, a collection of Sokovian poems that he ordered for her online. She balances it in one hand, the other stroking the warm skin on either side of the strip of vibranium that laces down his head. His feet are propped up on the armrest – the divan too short to accommodate his legs but he doesn’t feel discomfort the way she does, tolerating the position. Sunlight filters through the clouds of a Scottish sunset, slanting through the windows and onto the floor of her bedroom.
“I have now read the masterworks of 428 writers from 72 countries and territories,” Vision begins. Wanda sets the book down on the armrest next to her. “No matter where the writers are from, or what language they speak, they all write about the same themes.”
“And,” she squishes up her face in both amusement and curiosity at his statement. “What are those themes?”
“Human nature. Individuality. History. Mortality. Beauty. Love.” He numbers them off with something like awe.
“The fugitive life?”
He casts her a wry look as she chuckles in reaction. He continues, “There are other themes, but these seem to be the persistent ones.”
Wanda runs a forefinger down his nose, bopping the tip playfully. “It makes sense. Humans share these things in common.” Her thoughts travel to the poem she’s just read which describes how the process of peace, conflict, war, loss, and rebuilding continues as long as there are humans to do battle. She, of all people, can attest to this. “There is truth in those themes, even if the experience of them might be different. Each culture, each individual must confront them at some point in their lives.”
“Interestingly enough, though I am not human, I am often preoccupied with the same questions.”
Wanda frowns. She doesn’t like when he sets himself apart from everyone else. To her, he is just Vision and as much her…friend…as any human can be. “That is because you are not so different from us, though you are very stubborn and want to believe otherwise. You were created by humans and you live with humans.”
“Technically, I was created by a deranged and too quippy murderbot---“
“---who was in turn created by a rather deranged and too quippy human.” Vision glances up in askance at her words, but she merely shrugs. Her thoughts fly to Tony Stark and she has to instinctively repress a disapproving head-shake. “Of course you will wonder about the same things.”
“Maybe I should write a book,” Vision continues and Wanda knows he is perfectly serious. “Perhaps short stories or poems where I describe my experiences as a synthezoid in this world.”
Wanda smiles, wondering how he manages to be so smart, earnest, and adorable at the same time. Sometimes, it takes real effort not to pull him by in his collar and kiss him. Her lips burn at the idea of it but she is so afraid of ruining this special thing they share, these rendezvous that sustain her through the more difficult aspects of her current existence. “There’s your title. A Synthezoid in the World, by The Vision.”
He quirks his head, the friction sending a thrill of pleasure along the skin of her thighs. “Meditations on Life and the Human Condition.” He mimes speaking in public, hand extended for effect.
Wanda chuckles as she chases his hand, but he captures hers instead, pulling their now twined fingers against his chest. She sighs at his touch. “That’s quite a tag line,” she whispers
“And friendship,” he adds, his blue eyes holding hers, opaque and full of emotions. She knows because she senses them as they roll through him, like endless waves on a fathomless sea. “I could write about friendship…and love.”
“Vision,” his name is nothing but a gasp of longing as his emotions surge far above her seawall, the ones she’s erected to keep herself safe. To keep herself from being washed away after months of sinking deeper and deeper into her attachment to him. There are not enough rationalizations in the world to dampen those feelings. She tries to speak but she’s shaking and words elude her.
Vision pulls himself into a sitting position, facing her. He manages to do so without releasing her hand. “I can write about love, too.”
She lifts her free hand and cups his cheek. “You could. You could write about love…and being loved in return.”
His expression softens. Turning his face into her hand, he leaves a kiss on her palm - one, then two in the sensitive patch where her power emerges, power strong enough to crush the world. Power that is at his mercy.
She slides the hand he’s christened with his kiss and holds it over the stone, her energy coming to life. “Can you feel me?”
Vision closes his eyes as the Mind Stone answers, its glow a counterpoint to the dim light from the setting sun. She opens her mind so he can experience her emotions, feel the things she doesn't know how to say. His face betrays a kind of ecstasy she never imagined him capable of and she loves this, too. Loves his capacity to continue to surprise her when she foolishly believes all his mysteries are solved.
When he opens his eyes, she drops her hand and leans into him, slow and inevitable as time passing. His lips are warmer than she anticipated, the taste of him elemental, like kissing the sky or the forest. Metallic. Warm. Pulsing with life. And nothing like she’s ever known.
A tiny moan escapes her and he surprises her again, a sound like a plea that answers her kiss. And when their tongues touch, they shiver together and it is a sweet release, the exhale of a billion neurons that have been waiting for months in expectation of this.
They pull apart with great effort, and even so, they still cling to each other, foreheads resting against each other. They breathe until they return to themselves, as still as the star-studded night sky. When it is possible to function normally, Vision breaks the silence.
“It is no wonder people are moved to poetry if only to relive such a moment.”
“And so many more like it,” Wanda says before pulling him close, eager to find those moments with him.
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☕️ libraries? Ebooks and audiobooks? Poetry? 👀
link to original ask game
yeah so i DO love libraries, especially the local one, which has these huge life sized stuffed animals in the corners that are basically armchairs but on the floor. i can & will spend hours in a library. top 10 WORST places for a date tho bc i’m just gonna ignore my date and read my book. i made a libraries my beloved gif post on tumblr dot com it blew up and still clogs up my notifications but i refuse 2 delete it because libraries ARE my beloved.
ebooks. i always used to love physical books because that’s what i read every time, but i’ve grown much fonder of ebooks over the pandemic, bc both the local library & the big library in the city closed. however, i WILL note that i fucking hate the library’s ebook system because a) their formats are a fucking nightmare, one of them simply doesn’t work for me and i never remember which one it is, and if i pick the wrong one, i can’t switch OR return ahead of time, so i have to wait 21 goddamn days. also WHY do they use hoopla & overdrive like every time i have to turn the page it’s like waiting for one of those boxes from captcha verification thingys to fade in it takes SO long i could’ve walked my dog and come back in the meantime. i also like that ebooks are like..instant. like i could be like hmmm mutual A recommended this book let me get it in like 5 minutes. i simply don’t have the patience or planning to build a regular TBR and go to the library and take out holds and shit. also i totally don’t pirate books and download them as epubs to read on my laptop nope not at all.
audiobooks are pretty hit or miss for me. first of all, i barely ever listen to them, so i don’t have much experience. i like that you get extra emotion to the voice, but i’m not a fan of the fact that you can’t go at your own pace & slow down & speed up at will. also the actual voice over person makes a huge difference. although, i AM getting into podcasts (the penumbra podcast specifically) lately, and i’ve listened to NPR more recently too, so i might be getting more used to that format. so maybe i’ll start liking audiobooks more ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. we’ll see. also also also you SHOULD know that even though i barely read audiobooks, i will curbstomp anyone who says listening to them isn’t “real reading” because they’re an important accessibility aid and paper book supremacists annoy the shit out of me.
poetry. ok hiba i think you know the answer to this one lmao. i DO like poetry (reading & writing, although i’d sooner eat meat than actually share my poetry w/ anyone on tumblr), but i also have very specific and unpredictable taste. like i think overall, i’m more a fan of shorter poems (did NOT like reading epics in high school 😒), and i tend more towards modernist & imagist poets than victorian ones. that being said, my taste can be really random (although i do usually really like the stuff you put on my dash 🥰), like someone find me that post that’s like “poems are good when they make you sit on the floor and scream” because that is very much my relationship with poetry. sometimes i will just read a poem and it’s like oh wow that’s gonna haunt me on an unspecified day in the future huh. some favorites are The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, This Is Just To Say and The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams, On Marriage and On Children by Gibran Khalil Gibran, and After Apple-Picking and Birches by Robert Frost.
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It Starts the Jersey Standard Ring Corners
A song on the radio was overheard and gave inspiration to the most official of supplies. A terse and business neutral salt played like those we could not tell if they were rust remains or shadows top of our reflexive. It played at an IC timer around major masonry and stoops of benches, regardless of preceiver’s knowledge of with or without benches. It started them, so tin in finish that it was morally comatose whether these things were hanging. It was every trudge or grasp’s agreement but what they were. On the radio somewhere else “I never thought it would come to this.” Same song? There is no rating. We hide in holes and notes copulate with wind instruments.
Keep Klobbsin my Heartbeat
A new sonata. The shear number of said sonatas can desensitize you, if you framework aware, stumble upon it’s notational digit timer of quantity, or you affectianados (everyone sucks except for the poster image, created General Mills, division, Life, Cereal being) get your tentacle doos involved with those compositions. Towards every piece in their right refer is of cartridge? Well it’s chaotic, but as it’s the only thing worth listening to, every boring take at age for whatever it is can round out now stated year lengths until the refer, sips, might as well be, dead, kill ‘em dead Cereal Box Poster Boy! 50 out of 50. Makes me feel 30 again. 1! First place
Big Gigantic Say My Name de-a speak
Times the one now we have Quine and we’ve done that before the finger hurting. We all voted except me for Jill Stine. I had a baby, I’m smoking, the wrestler tapping shoulder hit song, mixed my name, the biggest misses and as reviwed- big gigantic and samples. Grow up to be a musician like that other baby weird made. They living wrong ones but ate many, me.
Cold Case Reopened DMV. OMI Dals
House of printing. Why would the staple no the emblem. Trick was we go free. Not illegal. Can I get a bud light hop scotch maybe they will get them asylums are for and buds are for. I can’t I- see it. I can’t see four buds. I can’t see for law as a token to television we have kept photos. They will be in our digital butterfly study version.
Times memento there is
Never held a real WiFi as the picture. Sacred. Does never thing coming exclusive vote on continuum and warrants complete feet shoes. It’s not to stay the same way you’re always after getting it as. Could talk to refer and layer up there are effectinados of all in one as won too thing and waves pristine.
Run Sun Bushes Complaints
An outlying city smells like a crazy kind of capital well and well by minute and flowerful standards outlying a capital. Crazy kids moving in an out biting down like the dust from their teeth as they play zombie like their famous game boxes to advert advertisements!And of course to like a jingle, to like an ignore. They’d only get about four of them. That’s how far their minds stretch to the cheaters, the worst people; themselves off event to what is factual and causial, themselves sticking. Let’s hope they get lots of neighbors because these bushes grow. 25 24 23 22 21 21? The dust is harmless and the place brings us together.
A nice reproduction of the scholastic club
The one man trotting can be well adigenied for such as, writing, ice, reprocessing, and melting. So when it’s the most force you know the sauna will give you lab and as and so as such we make rebirths daily on why were so cactus. Ordered the burrito book bundle. Do you be leave they hot me? They gave me my truth and I waded. Truest misspelling. Muses. And in touch restaraunt.
As the Rounding of the Four Kinds of Failure
Packed snow, why we come there? The center album, how does news fit in a cassette disk? Well it corrects. Missed what I forgot platform. Ice on the swoges... There was an older announcer! He wrote about socks, literally. Someone said “nice ankles” and he was cold. This is what we feed off of. So it actually is that world, expect dumb, storm; scale.
So as do I yeallll. Reaches response. Retrofit
Wags one happy Ged. Factual. Speculative. Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. And do I sopsD++ was
Fort scoops Toss Bark correct Term
Little critter but one of us leaves on loggy, wobble, trust. Can get a drip on my trail. I stink my methods back and curl the packed goes. Same paper phospori, it balls. They’re gonna get them. Where the needles go is a staple. We know it’s thundering down. They’ll get them and set us free to one poster as sleays. The poster of the weather. And the balance. Perverts. Keep sheath longer. Fierce and growth wear of berry, so far under the real in. Smelt a hole like a face on what looks like
The problem with Sterile-Gennics in the Literature Publishing World
The nature to delve into a hobby or a passtime is regulated by the hegemonics of our cultures and doctrines, those hegemonics are at the whim of the trials, strife, trepidation, and changes of our world’s sects of securities. Something widely acceptable or pressable creates it’s own world. You have the, do you delve in to the, is this kind, do you follow such. When it is not safe for suppossed outsiders to create and consign their own literature, is it wise to say it’s safe to have a public sphere of literature commerce and communication. Perhaps the whole arena is in a flawed balance. When will there be pages, right? When will we be secure and happy? Whose writ to trust?
I guess it’s not time for everybody, by Jesqual Raymond, as read
Can You Write Style Lit Hedge (gold 290apczx)?
To build a home thought lost on the vocation ungratituitized but we stay an age concerning size by the appendage that blocks our pens, our keyboards, not with three display of evidence (same movie though) but by one object of that same evidence as at least apparent as three, in reverb, and being and sentient, in tethering. The games of aiming stuff so we can take your size to any outrageously decorated tiki or tribal bar and get what was had by such of us,
run train, drink, meal, your only concern?
Trains rush to magnets. Though it might have finagled the ionosphere, though still hit you.
Perhaps the big stuff, galactic compositary fennel? They only keep them evident in their static state because they must drip corrosive agitating acid out of their builds at those moments, and ew, gross. Don’t match wrong and understand the nature of everything, pig, size, house?
We burn a reference t-joke
Bad clothing everywhere. They must be voting on the poem I don’t have the pet name to scroll to and the statitude I don’t have the wealth to research from. So instead once. It was an ordinary day. A friend was told about a debate about the axiom of voting in a proto platform. Heat seats and engineering. Bad fashion, bad but this is who we are. Sitting on the seat warmers. So one day you reach foundation platform proto to the eight. That hot. A course and fucking the treck. We are so colored as a infiltration and of our disgust. That’s how they ran the ones who didn’t care from they looked but were off put in those social instances by how they looked. So they ate a lot of my media. Cataloguing is a media. They didn’t smell, t-shirts! But with Pittsburgh in the World Series and not even a single Pirates shirt, they had eaten me. And so, here I am. A captain of creating more. The show is automatic. They keep coming. And so do the layers. Some players would call it more than design, some design, treasuary, intelectualism. The wood grains. Horrible. They ate my media that I have bled, sweat, cried, and fucked for. And next I get the infiltrates $100 Captain and Cranberry. To the subconcious. They’ll soon smell like the football with out that. Sports of called shots and babies of fingers not stretching. It didn’t go out of the park. They ate the pleasure reference and it goes around. Lump sums and tresspassing. I have nothing against the industry other than it should be spectoral but I can’t protect their foulness much longer. They serve Bud light, they serve Jameson. They wear clean new clothes. It was a show.
A Masked Tarkovsky Wind up Boarding Route
The things estranged from our favorite show to never walk far along in culture, I mean choose right, MythBusters has the last retro jukebox of it’s sort, in one kind of truth, out, one sort of distance. We seed four types of film schools, one part of the five act system should come free, it’s to our products. These presidents.were there. Though, the closest thing I had to collaborative assistance, at 4:04, threw the- we went through this together, I hope my enthusiasm of this height- anthematic has grasped.
On our and only our Sectionism
Only lodged complaint you can rectify is a stance thing. Margins, border width. That someone lifted your phone number slightly unknowingly with google voice. Then you could have a digression section in our paper because we are under staffed. Until then, at this level of poverty, fall into a pressing, why don’t you.
The Cover no More Pain
Throughout our great nations, centers, abodes, and nooks the wellspring of the pageantry of the automation of donestification are gleaming to a vibe they can handle and itching at trying the pulley of their trades and tariffs. This is made at the expensive of the advent of plastic in music mixology art and liner covers and the closest thing to canibism of the array and diospora, most easily reduced into the canibalism of the sanctimony of wind as a current and the kitchen utilization of the group and transit’s temporal. All across the world those in more dated to completion of containment are licking their lips for these professionals and vigilantes.
Letters to the Editor
Things I don’t like... Baseball jokes and baseball weights. Nostalgic bats and guitar lesson bass lines, heavy but one or two times. Non payout drinking games, such, frozen, staring too hard at Nascar Racing for extra payouts under fruit. Relationship as manifest section on resumes, those as buffers and bristles.
Lost and found
Frumogate with Lickly case:series phone, found at I hope the airs stays good. It seems agrandiose to state it like this but we print truth so we’re repeating it. It was notified to us
Lost every finger print they had to slide in on a label of baking powder. Found at the heighest circular squared cylinder
The Fluff Compass tack 209 pen. Send fifty from your life savings to the first person on your money transfer application whose username starts with a J, second word smaller to retrieve.
A stiff collar. Where people meet. “The capable against the incapable.” Stated as, in a case of four.
By sitting too close to the tap, covid manuscript was lost all that remains sucked, funny gifs. This is the style of some writing of the last ten years. We remain deleted in this section due to our class of typeface preparing tech precious to us. May all live happy and healthy.
As a Represational there Are 3
Three cigarettes from the window. Forgot the name. In ten years to be third. Reminder this, this is the riddles Section.
We are sad And Smiling Through LimeSlices
Collected Caps 1111 321 4752
Advertising Department 1111 144 4418
Art Director 1111 538 7091
Writing Department 1111 890 9000
Parole Repositianry 1111 531 6805
Grand Euolgic Epiathy Repository 1111 176 4523
From forthcoming life as human whatever PIECE 90’s-2021 “Or did we mess up?””🗒a, is that two pages collaborative pressing. March/7/21. Not about a single syndrome and certainly not a single employer. Love you I said.
-‘to write so nicely it must further be given to engineering ‘no hearts looking’’-our staff
Example of an APA-Style Research Essay (on Alan Ginsberg), Written by Mark Pumphrey
Allen Ginsberg was a Post-Modernist poet who was a part of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. Along with Sylvia Plath, Ginsberg introduced a style of writing that was emotionally charged and designed to create a dialogue with the reader, oftentimes forcing the reader to confront controversial issues such as, in Ginsberg’s case, homosexuality. In his poems, he addresses sexuality frankly but sensitively, as in “To Aunt Rose” where one “mourns the “tears of sexual frustration” shed not only by Ginsberg’s aunt but by all those who suppress the urges of the body,” (Iadonisi, R. A. (2001). Allen Ginsberg 1926-97. In E. L. Haralson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of American poetry: the twentieth century. Routledge).
A Zen Buddhist most of his life, Ginsberg could be equally direct when speaking of spiritual matters. During an interview with Gary Pacernick for American Poetry Review, he asked Pacernick to imagine being knocked out by nitrous oxide in a dentist’s chair:
“Ginsberg: Have you ever been put out? Okay, so what's the last thing you hear? Or what's the last sense that disappears? To me, it was sound. The music, the Muzak. So what if the last thing to go is the end of the symphony? Like, the pain is gone, physical feeling is gone, sight is gone, taste is gone, smell is gone, the only thing left is sound. The sound is the music, then you hear the last note of the symphony and --
GP: Well that's a nice one. But than there's all the folks during the Holocaust who were butchered every second by the Nazis.
Ginsberg: Yeah, but on the other hand, the last thing they heard was the sound of a scream and then the scream ended. And there was nice, peaceful --
GP: Let's hope.
Ginsberg: Well, unless they were reborn. Do you think they went to hell or something?
GP: I don't believe that.
Ginsberg: They wouldn't have gone to hell. Do you think they went to heaven?
GP: I don't think so.
Ginsberg: I don't think there's a heaven. So therefore where did they go? They certainly went to a peaceful place.
GP: I hope so.
Ginsberg: Well, where else?
GP: I think you're right!
Ginsberg: Can you imagine anywhere else? Can you even imagine someplace that wasn't peaceful?
GP: I'm Jewish. I'll have to go with that.
Ginsberg: The Sheol, or maybe Sheol.
GP: Sheol. Okay.
Ginsberg: The Buddhists might give the worst case, that they get reborn to go through it all over again. Reborn as Nazis. Reborn in Israel and persecuting the Palestinians.
GP: That would be hell.
Ginsberg: Okay. I gotta stop.”
(Pacernick, Gary, “Allen Ginsberg: An Interview,“ American Poetry Review. Jul/Aug97, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p23-27. 5p.).
As can be seen in this exchange with an interviewer, Allen Ginsberg and the Beat Generation preferred the relative over the absolute. In contrast to Victorian writers, who attempted to make their writing as realistic as possible, the Post-Modernists of the Beat Generation rejected realism in favor of an artificial element interjected into their stories and poems, constantly reminding readers that as authors they had no intention of explaining the meaning of what they wrote to the reader. Instead, they made it clear to readers that it was up to them, the readers, to subjectively decide for themselves what the work of writing meant.
As a Post-Modernist, Ginsberg also rejected all of the “isms” as the purpose behind his writing: Rationalism, Totalitarianism, Freudianism, Fascism, Marxism, Capitalism, Darwinism, etc. In other words, Ginsberg was not about to create a grand narrative to explain any large-scale theory that had been put forth as an explanation of the sum total of all human experience. Nothing could explain everything at once, in Ginsberg’s opinion.
According to Lyotard, the Postmodern Age was one of micronarratives rather than grand narratives, micronarratives being those in which small, localized understandings of the world dominated the novel or poem but could not claim to express any ultimate or absolute truth. ( Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition (1979) published by Manchester University Press, 1984).
To Ginsberg and his fellow Beat Generation writers, people living in different parts of the world could not possibly have the same view of the world, nor can even people from the same cultural background (members of an Italian family living in New York City, for example) have the same view of the world.
I come from a family with four sons. The sons, all four of us, have different memories of the same events, different ways of looking at the world, and different beliefs. Even married couples who think they know each other completely will find over time that they are separate individuals who think differently and react differently in the world based on their own personal internal moral and ethical compass.
This is what the Beat Generation and Allen Ginsberg particularly brought that was new and capable of changing the landscape of creative writing in general in the 1950s—the notion that each individual reader is singular and will have a singular vision of what the book or poem an Allen Ginsberg or other writer of the era creates for them to read is actually about.
I personally do not care for this change brought about by the Beat Generation. I do not like the expletive-laden, drug-driven, explosive nature of Beat Generation thinking about writing. I prefer the stories and poems that came before, that sought to change the world without being offensive and intrusive or demanding with the reader, gradually nudging readers to think differently about the world, the way Harriet Beecher Stowe did with her great book Uncle Tom’s Cabin that played a huge role in the War Between the States by opening the eyes of many to the evils of slavery. I need stories and poems that have redeeming characters—characters who act in noble ways or who elicit our compassion between of their innocence in the face of hardship, such as the slaves who ran away to the North in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
What followed the Beat Generation micronarratives were the “kitchen sink” films that first appeared in Britain in the 1960s—dramas that depicted everyday characters doing bad things to those around them, in which nothing is left out and every emotion, mostly negative emotions was shown to the audience in full-force. Moviegoing became not entertainment but a sociological and psychological scream therapy session that left viewers drained because of the runaway roller coaster emotional experience they had just experienced after watching the hard-hitting, gut-wrenching drama about people in conflict with each other acting in abusive ways to each other.
By the 1970’s the effects of what Ginsberg and other Beat Generation writers had started had come full circle back to the United States, in all sorts of creative formats: art, performance art, film, dance, music, theater. The one holdout was television, in which network broadcasting standards took longer to erode.
But erode they did with the onset of cable. Cable, free of the restrictions in content the FCC placed on network television, developed free rein to film the kind of violence, sexually explicit and obscenity-laced dialogue that had its birth in the idea that the author did not have a voice in how his or her writing is interpreted by the audience. Nor did the author have any responsibility for upholding community standards in what they wrote.
It was thus that Allen Ginsberg wound up in court defending his book of poetry, Howl, facing down government censors who would have it banned.
In a telling specific incident, hundreds of copies of Howl were confiscated by police at an airport as they were being shipped into the United States.
That is where I again differ with many on the outcome of the Ginsberg saga. Even though I may personally find elements of the Ginsberg poetry and the writings of other Beat Generation writers repugnant on a personal level, I wholly support the right of such writers to write in the style in which they are drawn to write, and to freely share their books with readers everywhere. For me, that is where the real decision point for readers appropriately comes into play.
Choose whatever book you want to read. If its content offends you, close the book. Choose whatever film or television show you want to view. If it offends you, turn it off. But do not deny other readers or viewers the right to read or view whatever they want, by condemning and then attempting to censor books or video productions. That is the American way, in my view, as stated in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and it should be upheld in all cases of censorship.
A highly-acclaimed film that I saw in the 1980s will illustrate the point I am trying to make. I believe Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” was a nearly perfect film—until the ending. The sympathetic main character was the owner of the local pizza joint. He was kind to everyone. In the explosive last scene, an angry mob burns down the neighborhood—including the pizza joint. No. That is wrong, in my world view. Nothing justifies that kind of wanton destruction of the livelihood of an innocent character.
“Do the Right Thing” is a direct descendant of the Beat Generation. Allen Ginsberg would approve of viewers who come away from the theater thinking about what a “great” ending the movie had. I do not even like destruction of property in a comedy, such as the destruction of the mall in “The Blues Brothers.” And gun violence? Forget it. Click.
This is the popular culture change that was wrought in the 1950s by the members of the Beat Generator, among whom Allen Ginsberg was front and center. It was a powerful change that is still creating ripples in popular culture to this very day.
A symptom of this is the Hollywood wisdom that if a script that is not formulaic, requiring a writer to select a specific genre of screenwriting that is “popular” with audiences in order to make the resulting film bankable. If you have an idea for a screenplay that addresses a higher ideal and that lacks a certain amount of sex and violence and smart-mouthed characters, go home. We do not want you here. Money, money, money. That is the name of the game and you might as well accept it if you want to make it in this town.
I will personally be glad if we ever return to the novels and movies and television of the golden age when stories were character-driven and inspirational and with stories that fill the reader or viewer with emotion—that gives us the good kind of goosebumps.
However, it would be wrong to conclude this essay about Allen Ginsberg without acknowledging the many other ways he as its leader and the Beat Generation as a whole influenced popular culture and culture in general, not just in the United States, but worldwide.
Eliot Katz, a friend of Ginsberg’s, said this about the influence Ginsberg had over politics and government:
“In the mid-1990s, with Bill Clinton moving the Democratic Party away from its liberal traditions and toward the political center, and with Newt Gingrich engineering far-right Republican victories with his “contract with America” that many of us were calling a contract on America, Allen began asking poet friends around the country for poems addressing those deteriorating times.” (Eliot Katz, “Recalling Allen,” Paterson Literary Review, 2006, Issue 35, p62-66, 5p.)
Ginsberg paid attention to politics with the same intensity with which he paid attention to his poetic vision, and the effect of his protests and rallying of other creative types to oppose government atrocities is still felt in the United States today.
As Eliot Katz puts it in “Remembering Allen,” the piece he wrote upon the occasion of Ginsberg’s death, Allen Ginsberg never wavered in his fifty years of political and social activism from the principles he developed as a founding member of the Beats:
“Prevailing cultural mythology says that 1960s radicals became more conservative as they got older. Along with thousands of known and unknown organizers from that era who continued to display long-term progressive commitment, whether by public activism or private lives spent in professions like social work or education, Allen’s life and work help put the lie to that myth. Throughout the years that I knew Allen, his social-activist commitment never wavered; he only grew better able to explain his thoughtful, progressive beliefs in clear, lively language that was usually difficult for open-minded people to dismiss.” (Katz, Eliot, “Remembering Allen,” Paterson Literary Review, 2006, Issue 35, p62-66, 5p.)
As for war, Allen Ginsberg was always in the thick of it:
“According to history books, U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended in 1973 and the Vietnam War finally ended with the fall of Saigon in 1975. But, fulfilling the Shelleyan invocation of poets as “unacknowledged legislators of the world,” in his 1965 “Wichita Vortex Sutra” Allen Ginsberg declared an end to the Vietnam War—something that was much harder and took much longer for mere presidents to do.” (Poniewaz, Jeff, “Allen Ginsberg: Poet, Prophet, Catalyst of Utopia,” Paterson Literary Review, 2006, Issue 35, pp44-50, 7p.).
Ginsberg also cared deeply about nurturing all of the other Beat Generation writers he befriended. According to Rolling Stone writer Mikal Gilmore, after the obscenity trial Ginsberg weathered after the publication of his explicit book of poetry, Howl, Ginsberg turned his attention to the others in his group:
“Though Ginsberg was vindicated and suddenly famous, he was determined not to arrive as the Beats' sole writer hero. Over the years, he helped Jack Kerouac in his long quest to publish On the Road -- a book about Kerouac's adventures with Neal Cassady (who was called Dean Moriarty in the published text) -- which had been turned down by numerous major publishers since 1951. The book was finally published by Viking, in 1957, as a result of Ginsberg's efforts, and went on to both good commercial and critical reception. It is now recognized as a milestone novel in modern literature. Ginsberg also championed the cause of William S. Burroughs -- a much tougher sell, because Burroughs was a drug user who wrote radical prose (such as Junky) and because he had killed his wife in a shooting accident in Mexico, in 1951….Ginsberg later helped Burroughs assemble the final draft of Naked Lunch and worked tirelessly until the book was published in the United States. (Which resulted in Naked Lunch's own obscenity trial and another ruling that the book could not legally be considered obscene.)” (Gilmore, Mikhal, Rolling Stone, 05/29/97, Issue 761, p34, 5p.)
Ginsberg could be quite humorous even in his most serious poems, such as “America:”
“The ‘other poems’ included classics of Ginsberg's gregarious humor such as “America”, which ends ‘I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel’, one of several references to his homosexuality. An attempt to prosecute the volume for obscenity failed.” (Noel-Tod, J. (2014). Ginsberg, Allen (1926--97). In I. Hamilton, & J. Noel-Tod (Eds.), Oxford paperback reference: The Oxford companion to modern poetry (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, Inc).
Ginsberg has always had detractors, with whom he fought passionately, including one of his biographers, Michael Schumacher. But, according to Norman Podhoretz, and old friend and schoolmate from Columbia University (who had also fallen out with Ginsberg), in one instance Schumacher had gotten it right about Ginsberg in the biography of him:
“Here Schumacher for once gets it right when he says that I "was hearing nothing of . . . Ginsberg's harangues against middle-class living and values." Intransigent as I was in turning a deaf ear to his literary counterattack, I was even more determined to stand my ground on the moral and cultural issue between us. This was not because I was an uncritical admirer of "middle-class living and values." As it happens, in that period I was full of complaint about the "flabbiness of middle-class life" in Eisenhower's America (even using that very phrase in "The Know-Nothing Bohemians").
(Podhoretz, Norman, Commentary. Aug97, Vol. 104 Issue 2, p27. 14p)
Podhoretz goes on to say that “as the years roll by, and with the arrival of successive generations treading all of us down, this common background of experience has bred in me a sense of kinship with these writers that I did not feel when we were young.” (Ibid.) The same is true for many readers of the generations following the Beat Generation.
Allen Ginsberg died at the age of 70. He was often called the Poet of Death, but in this passage from an article by his colleague, Jeff Poniewaz, sees Ginsberg in another light:
“Poet laureate of death, he looked death in the face and came to terms with death, made peace with death as much as Whitman, having weathered the death of his mother in ’56, Cassady in ’68, Kerouac in ’69, his father in ’76, his Buddhist teacher in ’87, and faced his own mortality philosophically and with humor to the very end.” (Poniewaz, Jeff, ““Allen Ginsberg: Poet, Prophet, Catalyst of Utopia,” Paterson Literary Review, 2006, Issue 35, pp44-50, 7p.); and:
“In the end, his occasional seeming egotism can be seen as merely the sheer exuberance of boyhood, which he never lost, no matter how old he became.” (Ibid.)
As Eliot Katz said in “Remembering Allen,”
“With an astonishing literary imagination, an original sense of poetic forms and rhythms, a unique mixture of humor and historical insight, and an extraordinary ability to show the interconnectedness of various aspects of our emotional, spiritual, and political lives, Allen energized poetry to give his work a sense of timelessness that I think really will make it “good to eat a thousand years.” Certainly, fifty years after “Howl,” Allen’s poetic and activist legacies continue to move young people to believe that, as the global justice movement puts it, “another world is possible” — a world with much less poverty and war, with far cleaner air and water, and with a deeper commitment to civil liberties, civic participation, interpersonal cooperation, and democratically accountable social institutions. (Katz, Eliot, “Remembering Allen,” Paterson Literary Journal, 2006, Issue 35, p.62-66, 5p.)
Katz’s summary of Allen Ginsberg’s contributions to popular culture was written in 2006, but they are still just as true today in 2021.
Pond Diving - Queen-of-deans-booty
Welcome to today’s Pond Diving Spotlight! We hope that you enjoy this little insight to our members and perhaps even find some useful tips for your own writing. Happy reading!
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“Don’t Be Koi About It” - All About You
Location: Arizona, USA
Why did you choose your URL: Honestly, Dean is the first person I liked on SPN and his ass is so tight and I believe all women are queens so that’s why.
What inspired you to become a writer: I remember reading a book in middle school about vampires, and it’s the first book I remember reading that made me feel all sorts of emotions that books never used to do for me before then. It amazed me to feel these things from a book, and I realized that I wanted to do that for other people someday, thus, is why I became a writer.
How long have you been writing: Gosh, since 8th grade. Might have been a little bit before that, but I remember in 8th grade writing a full book at 20k words, which if I might say, is impressive for a thirteen-year-old.
What do you do when you are not writing i.e. Job/Hobbies etc? I actually am a security guard at a chemical plant. There is some down time to this job, and I try to spend it writing. I even gush to my boss about the stories I write and where I post, and he is all for supporting me about it. When I am not working or writing, then I am either watching Criminal Minds, Manifest, and movies while in my room. With this COVID thing going on right now, I barely leave my house as it is xD
How long have you been in the SPN Fandom? Since season 11 was on TV. It was actually after season 11 had ended and before season 12 had started, so in that four-month span, I managed to watch 11 seasons.
Are you in any other fandoms and do you write for them? Yes! I am in the Marvel and Criminal Minds fandom! I used to be in The Vampire Diaries fandom, but I lost my passion for it so I knew my writing was suffering, so I stopped it. I am doing series rewrites for all three of my fandoms along with one-shots and drabbles!
Do you do any writing outside of fanfiction? If so, tell us about it? Yes, I try to. I took a NaNoWriMo class in college that made me write my first real book, so that is exciting. I also took fiction classes that made me write poems and short stories. I do want to get into writing more original fiction, but right now, I am focusing more on fanfiction.
Favorite published author: I love Riley Sager, B.A. Paris, James Patterson, Ruth Ware, and there are specific books I adore, but they aren’t from the authors I mentioned. I tend to like books rather than authors.
Have you ever read a book that made an impact on your life? Which one and why?: Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber. That's the book that I mentioned about inspiring me to write, and I dedicate my love for writing to her.
Favorite genre of fanfic (smut, angst, fluff, crack, rpf, etc): I really enjoy reading fluff, but I enjoy writing angst because I feel I can have a lot more emotions and feels when I write angst.
Favorite piece of your own writing: My SPN series rewrite. I am currently planning season 7, and I am in the process of releasing season 6. I have gotten so many good reviews of it, and that fuels my passion for it.
Most underrated fic you have written: I can’t think of any at the top of my head. I tend not to look back on my own writing too much. I’ll have an overwhelming need to rewrite it and fix it up, and I don’t need that right now xD
Story of yours that you’d most like to see turned into a movie/tv show: Is it bad to say my series rewrite? It’s already a show, but I’d like to see my version of the show. If I can’t pick that, then my original fiction novel that I wrote that has over 70k words. That would be pretty cool.
Favorite Tumblr Writer(s): @impala-dreamer, @torn-and-frayed, @crispychrissy, @kittenofdoomage, @acreativelydifferentlove, @saxxxology, and there are others, but those are some of the people that come to mind.
Favorite fic from another writer: Can I mention a few? Rock, Paper, Scissors by @impala-dreamer, The Curious Incident of Episode 14x09 by @luci-in-trenchcoats, On the Road by @notnaturalanahi, Cherry Surprise by @crispychrissy, A Change of Scenery by @cass-trash, and On the Case Files (Criminal Minds fandom) by @hotchnerfuckmeup.
Favorite character to write: For Supernatural, it’ll have to be Dean Winchester. For Marvel, it’ll have to be either Loki or Bucky. For Criminal Minds, it’ll have to be Spencer Reid
Favorite Pairing to write: I only write reader-inserts so the characters don’t really matter as long as it’s x reader.
Least favorite character to write (and why): For Supernatural, it’s Crowley. I don’t know why, but I can never seem to get him right. He’s more sadistic and hardcore sometimes and I just can’t get that right.
Do you have anyone you consider a mentor? I don’t really have anyone right now. It used to be my teachers/professors, but I graduated and I don’t see them anymore.
Do you have any aspirations involving your writing? I want to be a published author. That’s all I want. I want to see my books on the shelves, and I’d also love to be a fiction editor! I can’t do anything right now because of COVID, but hopefully one day!
How many work-in-progress stories do you have: More than I can count right now. Like seriously, I probably have over 100. I have a bunch of bingo cards that I have ideas for, but I have so many that they all just pile on. There will come a time when I get through all of them, but I don’t know when.
What are you currently working on? Right now? Some requests and my spn series rewrite.
“Pond Diving” - All About The Writing
What/who has had the biggest influence on your writing? Like I mentioned above, it’s Ellen Schreiber. She is the one person that made me want to become a writer. Also, all my followers on all of my blogs. They are the truest influencers because they are what gives me passion for my writing.
Best writing advice you've been given: Write as if you’re the only audience. I’ve learned that if you don’t like what you’re writing about, then your audience will certainly see it. You can’t please everyone, so please yourself. There will always be someone who loves your writing for what it is, so don’t go changing it to please others.
Biggest obstacle you’ve faced in your writing: Trying to pace myself. I’ve heard of people spending two or three days (or even longer) on a fic. It’s either all or nothing with me. I either spend two or three hours on a fic and complete it right there and then, or I don’t write it at all. Pacing is an issue for me, and I am always trying to spend longer on a fic. I guess I just type really fast, I don’t know.
What aspects of writing do you find difficult when you write fanfiction? I find that trying to keep the character as canon as possible is most difficult. While it’s not always super hard, it does have its moments. All fanfiction are AUs, so it’s okay to change the characters to make them your own. While I don’t think one should make them the complete opposite if they are wanting to stay within canon, I do believe it’s okay to change a few things around.
Is there anything you want to write but are afraid to (and why): I want to write ships. Now that I think about it, I’m not quite sure why I don’t write them. Maybe it’s time that I start.
What inspires/motivates you to write: Feedback!!! Reader’s don’t always see it, but every piece of feedback I get makes me want to write. I do better knowing there are actual people out there that are looking forward to what I write. I do better knowing that real people are reading them and judging it. I do my best knowing that there is an audience. If I don’t get feedback, then that motivation just goes away.
How do you deal with self doubt: I’m not so sure I always do. There is always a voice in the back of my mind telling me that my stories are complete and utter shit, and I shouldn’t bother writing anything. It’s why I take a step back from writing so often. When I first started my blog, I came out with fics every single day. I was always writing new stories. Now, I may get a story out per week. Maybe two per week. I know when it’s time to take a break for a few days because it gives that voice time to calm down. My best advice for someone dealing with self doubt is to just take a break. Separate yourself from the thing that your mind is telling you that you suck at. Take care of you before jumping back into it. Trust me, it helps.
How do you deal with writer's block: Kind of the same thing as I mentioned above. I have suffered from writer’s block a lot more than in my earlier years. Sometimes, I just don’t have the motivation or the passion to write, and I just get so mad at myself for not doing it. One of the things that help me is writing down my ideas. Yeah, I get ideas that float in my head about stories I’d like to write, but actually writing them down makes them concrete. Then, I am able to make notes and side notes and notes of my notes about what I’d like to happen, and before I know it, I’m writing it.
Do you plan/outline your story before you start: ALWAYS! Always, always, always plan your writing, especially if you’re doing a series. It’s good to know what is going on in your story. You don’t always have to follow it to the exact detail (you’re allowed to make changes as you go), but having a plan makes it easier to get through your story. You’re able to look back at it and remind yourself why you're writing that exact scene or if something needs to be added or taken away from it. If you have a plan, then you’re less likely to lose that passion since you know what’s going to happen. You’re able to see the finish line well before you start.
Do you have any weird writing habits: This may be weird, but I like to listen to Got U On by Darci feat. Nessly, Highest in the Room by Travis Scott, some music by Juice WRLD, and other loud rap songs. Don’t ask me why, but I find the music soothing when I write. Those rap songs sound the same to me, and their voices just drown out so I’m just listening to the music. There are other kinds of music I listen to like piano instrumentals and rain/thunder sounds, but it’s really any song I can tune out.
Have you ever received hateful comments on your fic and how do you deal with it? I don’t want to sound arrogant or snobby, but I can honestly say I’ve never received one hateful comment on anything I’ve written (knock on wood xD). I’ve only received good things about my stories, and I think it has something to do with how much good energy I am putting into the world. I believe in karma, and I tend to be nice to everyone regardless of who they are, and I think it comes back to the kind of comments I receive. However, I always think about what I’d do or say if I’ve ever gotten a hate comment. I wouldn’t encourage them to send more hate, but I wouldn’t apologize either. I write the stories I write because it makes me happy. If they don’t like it, they can go somewhere else. Though, I know those hate comments can get to some people, and here is what I have to say about that: remind yourself of when you actually wrote the fic. If you were truly happy about it, then it shouldn’t matter what that person says. You love it, and that’s all that matters.
Conversely: what’s been some of your favorite feedback on your fanfic? I have to pick a favorite? XD I have an album in my phone of screenshots I took of my favorite comments left by my followers. I’ve been compared to John Green, there have been comments that thank me for giving them an escape from their realities, people have told me they want to write just like me someday, people have told me that my work has made them smile and get chills, that my stories are the highlight of their week, and a bunch of other stuff. I am just shocked that there are people out there who think this. It means so much to me, and I get tears when I read them because this is literally my dream. I can’t thank my followers enough for the comments they leave, and this is exactly why it’s so important to leave feedback.
If you could give one piece of advice to a new and/or struggling writer, what would it be? Write for you. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’m going to mention it again. If you’re not happy, it will show through your writing. Your audience will see it based on how you word things and your flow of ideas. On another note, please brush up on your grammar. I can’t tell you how many times I read such an interesting summary, and noticed the story was full of grammatical mistakes. It made me not want to read it anymore. I’m sure it was a great story, but I didn’t want to put myself through that just to read it.
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Living with a Visionary
For more than fifty years, my wife and I shared a world. Then, as Diana’s health declined, her hallucinations became her own reality.
By John Matthias
January 25, 2021
You would think it was a performance of some kind. When she wakes up, if she has slept at all, she tells me about the giants carrying trees and bushes on what she calls zip lines, which I am able to identify as telephone wires. Beneath the busy giants, she explains, there is a marching band playing familiar tunes by John Philip Sousa. She is not especially impressed by either of these things, and the various children playing games in the bedroom annoy her. “Out you go,” she says to them. Then she describes the man with no legs who spent the night lying beside her in bed. He had been mumbling in pain, but nobody would come to help him. She remembers her own pain, too. “I could hardly move,” she says.
And she can hardly move now. Her legs are stiff, her back is cracking as I lift her out of bed. Although still clearly in pain, she gives me a sly look and gestures with her chin toward the flowerpot in the hallway. “The Flowery Man,” she says. “He’s very nice.”
She is fully articulate, in many ways her familiar self. She asks me if I saw the opera. I’m not sure which opera she means; we’ve seen many over the fifty years that we’ve been married. She means the one last night in our back yard. She describes it in detail—the stage set, the costumes, the “really amazing” lighting, the beautiful voices. I ask her what opera was performed. Now I get another look, not a sly one but a suspicious one.
“You don’t believe me, do you?”
I say that it’s not a matter of belief but of perception. I can’t see what she sees. She tells me that this is a great pity. I miss so much of life. I used to have something of an imagination, but I’ve evidently lost it. Maybe she should start spending time with someone else. Also, she knows about my girlfriend. The one in the red jacket. There is no girlfriend, but there is a red jacket hanging over the back of her walker. Suddenly, she forgets the girlfriend and remembers the opera. “Oh,” she says. “It was ‘La Traviata,’ and we went together with Anna Netrebko before she sang.”
Now I have my own brief vision. Diana is only twenty-one, I am twenty-five. We have just arrived in South Bend, where I am teaching English at Notre Dame. A friend wrote about us in those days as having appeared to him like two fawns in the grove of our local Arcadia. Diana wore the clothes she had brought from England, including her miniskirt, and people in cars would honk their horns and stare. In London, where we had met, it had been the middle of the nineteen-sixties; at our Midwestern college, it was more like the fifties. A former student told me that when I held classes at home, for a change of scene, he and his classmates took bets on who would be lucky enough to talk to her.
I see her walking in from the kitchen with tea and her homemade scones. College boys—only boys were admitted back then—lift china cups balanced on wafer-thin saucers. Some have never eaten a crumbly scone or sipped tea out of such a delicate cup. Diana is often told she looks like Julie Christie, and my students all want to be Omar Sharif, Christie’s co-star in “Doctor Zhivago.” Some write poems inspired by Lara, Zhivago’s muse. Diana smiles at them, greeting those whose names she remembers. Hello, Vince. Hi there, Richard. She dazzles them. She dazzles me.
Art was her passion. Later, she earned an art-history degree and became the curator of education at our university’s museum. She devised a program of what she called “curriculum-structured tours,” ambitiously proposing to organize museum tours that would be relevant to any class. This she did—chemistry students learned about the properties of seventeenth-century paint, psychology majors studied portraits for signs of their subjects’ mental health—and eventually she exported her innovations to other college campuses. Because of her, students began looking seriously at paintings and sculptures. They followed her hand, pointing out some luminous detail; they listened to the music of her voice, her British accent slowly becoming Americanized over the decades.
Diana trained a new set of gallery interns each year, teaching them about all there was to see and find in the museum’s art. She loved them dearly, and they loved her back. She had been conducting tours for thirty years when a former intern, Maria, came by the house—ostensibly on an errand to collect some of Diana’s library books. Really, she wanted to talk to me. She explained that Diana had started seeing things. The first time Maria noticed it, Diana was showing a class of French students a reduction of Charles Louis-Lucien Müller’s “The Roll Call of the Last Victims of the Reign of Terror,” from 1860. It’s a very busy painting, with dozens of figures waiting to be transported to the guillotine. Diana told the students that at the center of “The Roll Call” was a man named General Marius. But General Marius wasn’t there; he was around the corner, in a painting called “Marius and the Gaul,” about which Diana had written her thesis, many years before. She was speaking in French, and at first Maria thought that Diana had got tangled up in the language. Surely it was her words, not her reality, that had become so confused.
Not too long after Maria’s visit, Diana returned home one day looking tired and depressed. She sat down on the sofa next to me, took my hand, and said, “The students tell me that I’m seeing things that aren’t there.” I admitted that Maria had already told me about this. By then, Diana had begun treatment for Parkinson’s disease, taking a standard cocktail of medicines in small amounts: levodopa combined with carbidopa, in a drug called Sinemet. She had received the diagnosis only because her doctor couldn’t otherwise explain her onset of general weakness. Aside from fatigue, she had virtually no symptoms, and her behavior had been absolutely normal while taking Sinemet. Now she confessed that she was seeing things at home as well. She pointed at a wadded-up sweater on a chair across the room. “That’s not really a cat, is it?”
I asked her what else she saw. “Little people,” she explained, “like Gulliver’s Lilliputians.” Objects had been changing shape—“morphing” was her word—for some time, but recently things had begun appearing out of nowhere. We saw a specialist in Chicago, who, like the neurologists Eric Ahlskog and Oliver Sacks, called these “illusions.” We suspected that the hallucinations were a side effect of Sinemet, and, after consulting many books and articles, Diana and I began to titrate her medication ourselves. Most Parkinson’s patients end up doing this, experimenting with how much they take of each medicine and at what time. There were new delivery systems for the basic mix of levodopa and carbidopa, and we tried them all, along with a number of adjuvant therapies.
At first, Diana could identify her illusions as such, and sometimes even dismiss them. (“Scat!” got rid of the cat.) The things she saw were not always frightening. Many of them seemed inspired by her work in the visual arts. Visiting a neighbor, Diana enthusiastically described a painting on a blank wall where, we later learned, one had been hanging until several days before. Her knowledge of eighteenth-century art may in part explain her delight in seeing topiary figures cut into very large trees, where I saw nothing but leaves. Some of the visions she told me about were clearly breathtaking. “If only you could see this,” she said.
I couldn’t see what she saw, but I could see her. She was somehow growing more beautiful—or beautiful in a new way. Everyone noticed this. Never one to use much makeup or even visit a hair stylist, she would wash her face in the morning, put up her hair or let it hang at shoulder length, and come downstairs to start her day. Her striking good looks belied the condition that would bring her down. It was Julie Christie all over again, but not from “Doctor Zhivago”; she was the aging Christie of Sarah Polley’s movie “Away from Her.” Adapted from Alice Munro’s story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” the film is about a woman with Alzheimer’s disease. Her decline is slow, until it is suddenly fast. Diana watched the movie without anxiety. She had not, so far, suffered any significant memory loss. When I reminded her that decades earlier my students had compared her to the actress, she laughed. During a trip to Chicago to see her doctor, we had been approached by a man on the street, who said, “I just have to tell you how beautiful you are. Forgive me for intruding on your day.” We got into a taxi, and Diana growled to me, “I sure don’t feel very beautiful.”
For two or three years, Diana’s condition was manageable through modifications in her medications, and through her ability to recognize the hallucinations for what they were. At the art gallery, she avoided confusion by writing out scripts for her tours. She managed to retire when she was scheduled to, not before. It was shortly afterward that her hallucinations began to increase in frequency and intensity. She insisted that the topiary trees were the work of giants, and she described the giants’ elaborate uniforms. Plays and operas were staged in our back yard, spontaneous parades appeared in the streets.
It became harder and harder for her to understand that her visions were not real. She sometimes asked me why these events were not written about in the paper or covered in the news on television. In the house, nothing held still: objects danced on the mantel, the ideograms on our hanging scroll of Chinese calligraphy flew around like butterflies. At the beginning, many of these transformations had given her pleasure. More and more, however, they annoyed and alarmed her. Three women were “hanging” in her closet and refused to leave. The Flowery Man roamed the house. There were rude people who masturbated into a dresser drawer and had sex on the living-room sofa.
When Diana could no longer shake these things off, she began to surrender to them. She slowly ceased to see them as hallucinations. I had read that it did not help to deny the reality of these visions, so I stopped doing that. I began trying to deal with them as if I could see what she did. Friends were encouraged to make the same allowances. For a while this helped. A fifth person at a dinner for four did not pose a big problem once you got used to this kind of thing. I informed the members of Diana’s reading group that she might refer to people who weren’t there, and they, too, made the adjustment.
One day, she shouted for my help. A housepainter in white overalls, she told me, was painting over the portrait of one of our daughters that hung on the living-room wall. The man didn’t speak; none of Diana’s human apparitions ever spoke, though their mouths would move without sound, and sometimes they would respond to stern rebukes. I could say things like “I’ll see the painter to the door.” But often the damage had been done. In the case of our daughter’s portrait, it continued to exist, for Diana, partially erased. She referred to the painting as “the half-faced child.”
Some medications work for Parkinson’s patients with hallucinations, but for Diana they all seemed to make things worse. In November of 2019, a new kind of confusion about both space and time took hold. One morning, I found her with her suitcase packed, ready to travel. When I asked where she was going, she wasn’t sure. “Away,” she said. She wasn’t sure why. But, she insisted, “we certainly can’t stay any longer in this person’s house, in a place where we don’t even speak the language.”
Christmas approaches, and I return to the present tense. Everything that happens after this feels like it’s still happening now. Slowly, through the winter, Diana’s benign hallucinations become terrible and threatening presences. (Meanwhile, in China, a new and deadly virus is unleashed on the world.) Diana loses her ability to sleep, a common and debilitating feature of Parkinson’s. Because she is either sleepless or tormented by nightmares, I am also unable to sleep. For a while, I am able to soothe her and offer comfort, but often her dreams continue unabated when she wakes up. Eventually, I am simply incorporated into them. When I ask her if she is awake, she says she does not know.
Her eating also becomes a problem, and I know that she is not getting proper nutrition. I use the blender again and again, counting calories, mixing in anything containing protein. She is getting very thin. I sleep only when she sleeps and eat a quick sandwich as I cook for her. She looks at me one morning and says, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
Because Diana hides things, then promptly forgets where they are, I often find myself searching for her medical-insurance cards, her driver’s license, some kind of I.D. with her picture on it. She sends me on a wild-goose chase all over the house. This drawer. That closet. But I can never find what we need. The hallucinated people begin to take on more life than the living. And they have names. Not generic and rather charming names like the Flowery Man but monosyllabic American names like Bob, Pete, Dick, George, Jack. No one seems to have a surname. “Jack who?” I ask her. She gives me a straight look and says, “Jack the Ripper.” She keeps asking, “Who’s in charge?” I wish I knew.
In March, as the pandemic descends on the Midwest, I try to explain why she cannot go out or see friends. She doesn’t understand. I don’t dare leave her alone, even for a short trip to the grocery store. She begins going outside when my back is turned, and she frightens some of the neighbors with things she claims to see. I make rules. No phoning friends after 10 p.m. No going outdoors after bed or going downstairs for breakfast in the middle of the night. I finally move to a bed in a separate room.
With the country in lockdown, I can no longer reach Diana’s neurologist in Chicago. Local doctors help us refill some of her medications over the telephone, but have nothing to offer that might help the dementia that is now clearly part of the picture. My most recent reading makes me wonder whether she might have not Parkinson’s but something called Lewy body dementia, which produces vivid hallucinations. Its terrifying symptoms are believed to have led to the suicide of the actor Robin Williams. Diana talks about “jumping in the river.” (The St. Joseph River is only a few hundred yards from our front door.) Neighbors offer to do some shopping for us, but as the pandemic gets worse I hesitate to ask them for more help. When I finally make contact with two or three “senior helper” organizations, I am told that all their programs are on hold. I can do nothing but try to continue on my own. I begin taking pills myself—sedatives washed down with glasses of Merlot. We are living on cans of beans and prescription drugs.
There are still moments when Diana is very happy. Sometimes, she seems to be in a state of bliss. She stands at the open doorway and gazes into the sky. I stand behind her. “Look!” she says. “Why can’t you see?” I tell her that I’m trying, but maybe need some help. She becomes angry and shouts, “The gods! The gods!”
One day, I find Diana clutching a balled-up blanket to her breast. “What have you got?” I ask her. “A dead baby,” she says. I have never seen such terror in her eyes. I have never seen it in anybody’s eyes.
At some point—a day later, two days later—police arrive at the door. In the street, an ambulance is flashing its colored lights. The three policemen at the door have masks on, and I’m initially frightened by this, because I don’t know that many people are now wearing them. Someone has called the police about a lady who lives here who may need to go to the hospital. I stand there gazing stupidly at the policemen. They ask if they can talk to the lady. I tell them she’s my wife. Diana is on the sofa, more or less catatonic.
When I step onto the front porch, I notice some of our neighbors watching from their yards. I am asked questions about Diana and who has been looking after her. I begin to fear that I’m about to be arrested. Someone suggests that maybe it would be good for her to be completely checked out in the E.R., and possibly admitted for a day or so. The next thing I know, two of the ambulance men are bringing a stretcher up to the porch. One of them asks if he can talk to my wife. Finally, I’m able to say something. I say no. They are immediately suspicious. To my amazement, I hear Diana saying, “I’ll talk to them. It’s O.K.” They ask her what’s wrong. She describes a few of her hallucinations. She’s worried about what’s happened to the dead baby. What dead baby? I try to intervene, but already she’s explaining that she had the dead baby in her arms just a moment ago. Perhaps it has rolled away. She gets down on one knee and reaches under the sofa. “Oh, good,” she says, reappearing with the blanket. “Here it is.”
While the medics are conferring with one another, Diana suddenly says, “I think I should go to the hospital.” The ambulance guys seem delighted by this. Diana is put on the stretcher, and the ambulance disappears. No one asks what I think should be done. No one asks me to come along. In the confusion, the blanket has been left on the front porch. When everyone is gone, I take it inside.
That night, Diana is admitted to the hospital for observation. I won’t be able to visit her, because of covid restrictions. I am frantic: they’ll get all the Parkinson’s meds mixed up, they don’t know her schedule. What will happen if she misses a dose of Sinemet?
What transpires in the next days and weeks is sometimes vividly clear and sometimes swirling in a surrealistic fog. At some point, it is decided that I, too, should be examined in the hospital. In the E.R., I am told that I am suffering from exhaustion, malnutrition, and dehydration. I end up on the same floor as Diana. By the time I arrive, she has told everyone that she is a movie director working on a documentary about art therapy in hospitals. From my bed, I explain to her doctors, who are different from my own, as much of her medical history as I can. I am allowed to talk to Diana only by phone.
Social workers keep appearing with documents for me to sign. My daughter Laura and I have agreed, in theory, that eventually Diana will have to move into an assisted-living community. A new facility for patients with dementia has recently been built near Laura’s house, in Worthington, Ohio. Laura wants to take Diana there, and I have to admit that I am no longer able to look after her. I am barely able to look after myself. I sign the papers giving Laura power of attorney for Diana and me. There are decisions to be made, bills to be paid, and I am flat on my back in the hospital.
Covid is tearing through the country. The hospital is filling up with patients, my bed is in demand. My doctors ask if I want to be sent home or to spend three days in the psychiatric hospital associated with the general hospital where I am being treated. They talk about rest, recovery.
Where I end up is not a health spa but more like a boot camp. Before I am moved, all my possessions are taken away. No shoelaces, no belt. At the new facility, I am given a handful of large and small pills every three hours. At night, all patients are on suicide watch. I barely sleep. While I am in the psych ward, Diana is driven in a long-distance ambulance to the care facility in Ohio, where, after a fourteen-day quarantine, she will now live. How Diana deals with this news, what she understands and doesn’t understand, I do not know. She still thinks she is directing a documentary film. I am not allowed to see her before she leaves.
In the second psych ward where I find myself remanded, I am the oldest patient by far. The program of endless group therapies seems designed for adolescents. At seventy-nine, I am too weak to do many of the things demanded of me. When I do not immediately respond to the pills I’m given, there is talk of electroconvulsive therapy. I object, and an online hearing is convened, where a judge concludes that, although I must stay beyond the hospital’s mandatory seventy-two-hour observation period, I do not have to undergo shock therapy.
Meanwhile, I am terrified of covid. Locked out of our rooms for most of the day, we are all in one another’s way, and patients share a common bathroom. One day, I am required to cut off my beard. Looking at myself in the mirror, I discover the corners of my mouth locked in a permanent grimace. The beard has hidden this from me: I can’t smile.
I try to explain to the staff that there has been some kind of mistake, that I need to rescue my wife, who has been taken to Ohio. The things I say to the nurses and therapists must sound mad. When I am finally allowed to see the chief psychiatrist, I hear the desperation in my voice. I watch the unbelieving faces of everyone around me, and wonder how often Diana saw the same incredulity in my own face.
Somehow, our family lawyer gets in touch with a woman named Mary, a registered nurse and “personal health-care advocate,” who is the one to finally secure my release from the psychiatric facility. I am asked to sign some papers that I haven’t read, and then I am free. On the way home in an ambulance, driving back the same way Diana came, I consider asking the attendants riding alongside me if they have heard of the Flowery Man, the topiary trees, the little people—any of Diana’s hallucinated cast of characters. For years I have tried as hard as I could to see these things, to share Diana’s view of the passing world. In her absence, returning to the home where I must now begin to live by myself, I long all the more to understand the reality that she inhabits.
When covid insinuated itself into the facility in Worthington, Ohio, in November, I had been at home for five months. For a couple of weeks, I had managed to communicate with Diana through screens. This confused her, though, so we started using the telephone instead. The last time I saw her face was on Zoom. She told me that she had something beginning with the letter “C.” Then she suddenly smiled her wonderful smile. “What a sweet little girl,” she said, following a hallucination with a sharp turn of her head.
Diana almost survived covid. After testing positive, she spent several nights at the hospital, but was sent back to her facility with a normal temperature and a negative test result. For a few days, I was able to imagine seeing her again, even touching her. I had it all figured out. I would be among the first in line to be vaccinated, among the first to embrace a loved one who had been unreachable for so long. I didn’t care how many hallucinated people came along, as long as Diana was around to see them.
Then her blood-oxygen level dropped. She was not likely to live through the night. Laura put the phone to Diana’s ear, and I read the first poem I ever wrote for her—about waking together in a small Left Bank hotel in Paris before we were married. Finally, I started reading from a book of poetry I had written about her struggle. The dedicatory poem is about the Greek goddess Artemis, known by the Romans as Diana. Its final lines return to Diana the mortal, my wife:
If she could change, she
Might be like the woman called by her Roman name
Reading in a book beside the fire in my own house.
She has come down all these years with me
I couldn’t continue. “You’re doing great, Dad,” my daughter said, “but she wants to know about the Flowery Man.” So I told her everything I knew. ♦
John Matthias, a professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, has published some thirty books of poetry, fiction, memoir, translation, and criticism.
Amy Tan's "Pixel by Pixel":
“You take the ideas you rely on for survival, and discard what weighs you down” (32).
“...when I had a feeling like sadness, I couldn’t find a word that meant everything that I felt inside of me. I always felt that words were inadequate, that I’d never been able to express myself- ever. Even now, it’s so hard to express what I think and feel, the totality of what I’ve seen. But this loneliness is the impetus for writing, because language is the best means we have to connect” (33).
Michael Chabon's "To Infinity and Beyond"
“I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon- the unimaginable universe. I felt infinite wonder, infinite pity” (78).
Angela Flournoy's "A Place to Call My Own"
“Readers come to the book with all sorts of back-grounds, and they don’t need me to communicate how they should feel about a character. They don’t need me to suggest a character should be excused for his actions because of X, Y, and Z. They’ll make their own decisions” (182-183).
PIXEL BY PIXEL:
Some of the microscopic pixels that made Gonzeles’s, Parameswaran, Orringer’s and Wilson’s characters stand out to me was probably their thought process. You can get a good handle on what the character’s personality is based on how they react to a situation, such as the narrator wanting to view his wife under a microscope and the tiger being unaware of the carnage he’s unleashing until he kills the child and his zookeeper. Or Orringer’s main character being fixated on the tooth among all the other pressing problems which highlights that she is just a child. These little details are important because they are aspects of their flaws and also give us a wider picture of their personality traits.
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND:
I think Parameswaran narrating with a tiger is so useful because of the tiger’s own motivations versus the failed result of those motivations.
“What had I done? I had to find help for him if it was the last thing I did. I turned and ran out of the people door- I had never been outside of the people door before, but I didn’t even think twice about running outside of it” (13).
Here, we see that the tiger wants to find someone to take care of Kitch, but in the eyes of people, they see a threat that is trying to escape the cage after brutally murdering someone. You feel bad because the tiger has no ill intent and yet it will get misconstrued by everyone else around him due to the species (??) barrier. We can see the tiger’s impulsive decision when trying to help humans always blows up in his face but it doesn’t make us hate him. Maybe we feel pity and uneasiness but the fact that he is an animal makes us regard him with a more merciful moral lense.
EVERYTHING I MEANT TO SAY:
Most of the stories we’ve read and discussed did not make me feel good in any way. Maybe it’s the premise or the characters or the ending, but I feel like we start out at a low point already, and then it gets worse, and at best we are back at the same point at which we started. There’s not really a comfort to be found while reading these stories, but if I had to choose one text in this class that made me feel more comfortable with reading than the others, it has to be “grand stand-in”. I can’t tell if it’s the science fiction set-up, the dialogue, the first person point of view or the character herself, but it just felt like a writing style I was more familiar with than any of the other texts I had read so far. The exchange the main character has with the arranger just read very satisfyingly to me:
“You hate them, don’t you?” he says.
“You’re going to make them love you, aren’t you?” he asks.
“Yes,” I say. “Yes I am.” (10)
It’s effective and it works well in establishing her. She doesn’t even say much, but the simplicity in their exchange is so effectively telling of what the main character is like. Just from that we can tell the narrator does a morally ambiguous job, but she has her own set of morals that she strongly commits to that is strongly contradictive to what her customers expect of her. And even so, the narrator takes a lot of pride in her work. Despite her own personal feelings, performing exceptionally is at the forefront of her mind. I didn’t really connect with that feeling of spite, but it’s something I feel like I’ve seen before, but done in a way that shows exactly the type of person the main character is and handles her job.
A PLACE TO CALL MY OWN:
I think you need to treat your characters like people. I found that it’s a lot easier to get a feel of your characters through character sheets where you have to write about how they respond to given situations, or even their favorite foods. It might not seem as though it’ll be effective to your plot, but to me any inch of familiarity can get me a better understanding of who my characters are. The way they react to situations is more telling of their personality rather than describing them to the audience. However, at the same time, I find the more I explore aspects about my character, I end up being able to rationalize everything about them and that just makes them more uncertain to me. I feel like that kind of over analyzation can be applicable to real life. You don’t need to know everything about another person, and if you feel the need to you’ll just end up growing obssessed with the idea of them and not the person themselves. There’s a balance you need to strike so you don’t end up retconning them the further along you get with your story.
CONNECT THE DOTS—HORROCKS:
Caitlin Horrock’s “It Looks Like This” contains usage of a lot of the advice that Perry gave us. Percy states in “Get a Job” that:
“It is a job that frames and sets into motion every element of your story or essay or poem- and it is your job to do the required research that will bring the language and tasks and schedule and perspective of your characters’ work to life. Google can do only so much for you. The library can only do so much for you. You need to write from the trenches” (145).
Horrock does this especially well in her own writing:
“...this quilt, with the crooked angles and the lazy handstitching, was machine-pieced out of salvaged, distressed, printed cottons, on a 1886 Singer treadle, filled with flat, all-cotton batting, and quilted with a size 7/9 needle using unwaxed thread. The pattern (Log Cabin: Barn Raising) was popular in northern Ohio from 1865-1895, and if I told you that’s when this quilt was made, you’d have to know a fair bit about quilts to be able to prove me wrong” (22).
I have no idea what’s going on here. I don’t even know what a treadle is. My knowledge of sewing extends as far as a home economics class I took in elementary school, but from what I read from this text, even when the narrator points out her work’s shortcomings, I can tell that she definitely knows what she’s talking about. I really like that she sounds so self-assured here because although she didn’t finish school, you can tell she’s very knowledgeable about quilting. These specifics are exactly what Percy expects to make the character’s occupancy believable. The audience doesn’t really have to know what the meaning behind the phrases the narrator was using, and Horrock is well aware of it in the last sentence of the quote. You’d have to be an experienced seamstress or have a wealth of knowledge about quilting to be able to overturn the information she’s feeding us, because any average person would not be able to discern whether or not it’s real or not. The general, ignorant public would usually just accept it as fact.
CONNECT THE DOTS—WANG: Write a response that connects the dots between any of the craft essays we have read and Weike Wang’s story “Omakase.”
Amy Tan states, “I’ve found that the way to capture the truth of a character- and beyond that, to reflect the truth of how I feel- is to write microscopically. To focus on all the tiny details that, to-gether, make sense of a character. Each person’s perspective is absolutely unique; my job is to unearth all the specific events and associations that form an individual consciousness. It’s not enough to show how someone behaves in a single moment- I want to provide the whole history and context that informs each action” (33).
I think Tan’s viewpoint really shines through “Omakase” because the way in which the woman responds to the chef when he brings up that his manager was Chinese may seem defensive, but to her it appeared as a jab at her ethnicity. She seems very passive, but throughout the story we see her pick apart and analyze every action and every interaction between the people around her. Through her long, winding monologues we can see her own inner conflict about her suspicions her boyfriend had yellow fever, questioning why her friends thought that she got lucky for finding someone white, all her ambivalence. It’s established that she’s an overthinker, so in the moment it makes perfect sense for her to speak up to the chef.
Hii, me again. 😅
Jungkook made a three syllable poem with "min yoongi" name. At the last name of "Gi" He made yoonmin. Is he try to expose that yoonmin is a thing/ or real??
Ahjumma.... why are you being like this?
What did I do to deserve this ghettory?😟 It's too early in the year to be this ghetto uno.
Don't be like that😒
You are asking me, Goldy- GOLDY of all shippers, if I think JEON JUNGKOOK is confirming his boyfriend of seven years and counting is in a relationship with another member within the same group...
Doing what exactly in that relationship??
Is JK cockholding? What's going on.
You think BTS will survive two members dating the same guy in the same group???
Never mind that it's Jeon Jungkook and Park freaking Jimin- Mr I'm greedy and Mr I don't share my friends.
Like make it make sense to me please😭
After everything we've been said on my blogs for months now, you still asking me this??
You are bold, I'll give you that.
Now tell me slowly and in coherent words why I shouldn't pull your hair and give you three quick punches to your throat- ninja style👀
Someone get her before I snap their neck💀
For the last time-
NEITHER 🤺OF🤺JIKOOK🤺 IS 🤺 WAS🤺 HAS🤺 HAD🤺 PURPORTS TO HAVE🤺 WOULD HAVE HAD🤺 COULD HAD HAD🤺 HAD HAD HAD🤺IS HAVING 🤺 ANY 🤺ROMANTIC🤺 FEELINGS🤺WHATSOEVER 🤺 DESIRE🤺CRAVING🤺 WET DREAMS🤺 YEARNING🤺 PASSION🤺ATTRACTION🤺 AMOROUS 🤺INTENT🤺TOWARDS🤺 ANY🤺🤺MEMBER🤺 IN🤺 BTS🤺BESIDES🤺 EACH🤺 OTHER🤺
GET🤺 OUT 🤺OF🤺 YOUR🤺 IMAGINATION🤺
If you are new to the shipping community I suggest you familiarize yourself with every ships dynamics or at least Jikooks- if multishipping isn't exactly your thing.
Jikook's entire dynamics is founded on JK teasing JM to death. It's their thing.
He's said he enjoys teasing Jimin because he loves Jimin's reaction to when he's being teased. In fact, the entire group have said same about Jimin.
Did you see JM's reaction to when JK called out the Yoonmin comment in the dynamite reaction VLive?
Did you see RMs reaction too?
He is trying Jimin with these Yoonmin jokes. He's gonna get stabbed. Lmho.
Jimin reacts strongly to when JK in particular teases him with ships, Yoonmin more recently. Yet he didn't seem to mind when V did it.
V used to be the biggest Yoonminer on the planet rooting for and encouraging certain interactions between Yoonmin. Lmho.
Jimin himself perpetuates Yoonmin as a ship.
It would be an insult on his intelligence for anyone to assume he didn't know exactly why people ship two people together or what interactions and moments is considered a moment in shipping sphere.
Statements like, why can't Suga hyung look me in the eye, why does he say I'm irreplaceable to him, insinuates something and he knows this.
Once upon a time, JK couldn't look you in the eyes too. Still can't sometimes.
Jimin has a presence and he has a hold on these men and he knows it.
He goes out of his way to create the impression he and Suga have a very close bond and dynamic- I'm sold on it. Lol.
'5 Jms? As expected. You'll fall in love with them' not sure if JM said the last bit in the BE.TS Vlive, yall check for me.
It's crazy then that he turns around to react the way he does when JK teases him with his ship with Suga.
It seems to me, Jimin knows the intent and energy behind such seemingly harmless jokes- JK can be petty and passive aggressive with these things. You'd think he is joking but deep down he would be pouting and throwing tantrums behind cams🤧
It's Jimin apologizing and looking like his spirit left his body as he sat on the edge of JK's bed in the new Jersey VLive for me.
He needs to free Jimin.
Talk of things I'm getting too old for- Let's talk about why he posted his version of the bridge in disease online🤧
Not to say he shouldn't have posted it. I support that he did wholeheartedly. Deadass found his groove since he started unbuttoning the front of his shirts in 2020.
He's reclaiming the spotlight, putting himself at the forefront unlike before where he'd resigned himself to a supportive role watching his hyungs be at the center of things.
Now he's been talking about that he wants have sexy dance performances like Jimin, write rap melodies for RM, share his own music, try on a solo career one day- we get it. You found yourself Mr I'm independent asserting myself yall better fuxk off but chilee not at the expense of Jimin! 🤺
I mean it's a broad spotlight and they both can share it but damn is someone changing drastically. Not sure if I should be proud or terrified.
It's great and amazing and I'm really truly happy with where he's at mentally and physically since 2020- it's a great sign, don't get me wrong. Significant improvement. His becoming is long over due but he didn't have to grab the spotlight from Jimin like that.
Jk vs JM isn't something I'm a fan of.
It's a shame it didn't work out? What do you mean JK. I'm sorry but Jimin's version is amazing too!😟
What the actual hell JK😭
Back it up. This is not how to Jikook🤺
On guard sir🤺 on guard🤺
Dude did Jimin dirty🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧
I need a refund😭😭😭😭
Here I was waiting for y'all to get on your Jikook agenda and post that first Jikook selca of the year and you are there shipping Jimin with your bandmate and thiefing his shine. Who taught you that?!😥
Y'all are competitive but y'all don't compete with eachother's shine! JIKOOK 101😭😭😭
You share it😥
Show me where in the books this new development falls under. Show me
You winging it and it's unconstitutional😟
I rebuke it in Jesus name!
Someone beam me up.
You got these 13 year olds coming in my DMs telling me you are not supportive of your man's career.
I don't have time for this shit.
SOMEONE BEAM ME UP! Kirk!
If you've watched their Be behind video, and you've seen Jin talk about how RM complained to him when Tae chose Suga's version over his version you'd know where JK is coming from or where I think he is coming from having JMs version chosen over his.
Watch their Be self interview on yt too.
He said there's a melody he worked on for RM and when Jhope thought he got snubbed he recommended he release it instead- to quench his artistic drive perhaps.
That is why he released this song. He did it for himself. Like he said, he won't put out a song unless he was confident about it.
Suga have said time and again how the music and melodies they create never go to waste because they can repurpose it like he did with Telepathy I think.
Even JK explained he was reserving the melody he made for RM for a future group song.
He could have repurposed this or something.
When Jin talked about V vs JM's Christmas song and kept repeating how much he preferred Jimin's song to Tae's because Jimin"s was bright and upbeat, he made sure to clarify he wasn't implying Tae's song was bad. He was just indicating preference.
I won't lie, I was happy he preferred my bias's song but it made my VMin heart ache a little.
V and JM made very different songs, they shouldn't be compared to eachother in that way.
I don't like competitions. And I don't like when two artists are pit against eachother- which is exactly what these two versions of the bridge is doing out here.
I will literally die if in an interview JM is asked about his part and JK isn't. I can't do this😭
Those saying JM's is better make me sick, and those saying JK's is better make me nauseous. They both great. Point blank purr.
What's even more heartbreaking is hearing how excited he really was to share that bit with Army. Dude's eyes was glistening and everything. His bunny smile! 😥
Thats what makes this very hard for me.
The JJK in me is overjoyed and excited that he is doing things that make him really happy. I'm proud of him.
But the PJM in me just😕
I even feel more guilty that I prefer JM's version this time around😭😭😭😭
I feel like I'm betraying JK🤧
I was so happy seeing JM recieve all the love and attention I know he deserves.
Then here comes his boyfriend
'Hold up what about me!' Lol.
Imagine if RM releases the version of Blue and grey he made for Tae and it turns out we prefer that to the version Tae chose💀
This has been a recurring theme throughout late 2020 to date. Jk's been choosing authenticity and self interests and passions over anything else and I couldn't be more happy for him.
Like we discussed, he's been learning to compromise too lately, which is great.
But honey this is a red flag. Deadass.
To me anyways😏
I've been a strong advocate for a certain level of independence and detachment in Jikook's dynamics because they lowkey exhibited codependency tendencies in their dynamics which is great for us shippers but not so great in the long run for their relationship or them as individuals .
Maybe I'm thinking out loud and prematurely here. I mean we are only beginning to have intimate access to their raw unscripted selves.
I don't think it's not that much of a big deal. RM and JM have equally shared their own versions of fake love on the internet but it is an interesting development in their dynamic to me.
I remember how happy JM was about his version of fake love, and it remains to date one of my favorite beats even though he was just spewing nonsense on that track. Lol.
He was so excited when he shared it with JK and Jin. He said when he showed it to JK the first time, JK said he loved it very much- how loving and supportive is that!
More of this please. Thank you.
PMS is a bitch y'all🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
Has me in my feels about this.
I'm pretty sure JM is the one that even encouraged him to share his part in the first place. Won't put it past him.
'Ya Jungkook, release your version too'
'Army will love it'
'Right but I don't want it to seem like- Goldy is crazy you know'
'Goldy who now?'
'What about the thirteen year old fans-'
'Aht aht aht Who cares about them.'
I mentioned a few times on here how I felt JM seemed to have been demanding 'space' and a little bit of breathing room in their dynamic which was causing a little bit of tension here and there middle 2019 through to March last year and it all sounds like drama and speculation but...
May be if I told y'all I am a witch and my analysis of their relationship is based on mediums, phantom whisperers, empathetic readings or tarot cards y'all will leave me alone?🤥
Y'all don't seem to have a problem with the witches and empaths who be doing the same shit I do out here😒
Like we are all 'reading' these mens!
There's nothing wrong with 'psychoanalytically' evaluating a ship you know? Chilee.
Imma call myself a witch if it will get y'all off my back😹😹😹😹
I mentioned JK equally embarking on his own journey to assert himself within the group and within the relationship due to this?
But damn I did not see this one coming.
This is a red flag for me. And no, it doesn't mean they are broken up or having issues in their relationship.
Jk's TMI indicates they still been spending a lot of time together.
This is just a sign there's too much independence in their dynamic now- if you know what I mean.
Relationships flourish based on how attached we are to people- too much attachment is a problem, too little attachment is equally bad.
Jikook have always had a problem with over attachment in their dynamics in my opinion, to the point it was lowkey unhealthy- the jealousy, not being able to 'act professionally' within a group and work environment, having problems with being separated however briefly, constantly wanting to be where the other is etc.
Less attachment isnt necessarily a bad thing either. It means less of all the 'toxic' aspects of their relationship that over attachment brings but too much of that too can trigger anxiousness and insecurity and resentment.
Especially if one of them hates change. Cough Jimin.
With that comes all the wild aspects of love such as possessiveness, jealousy and I know JM doesn't do too well in that department...
In my opinion, I see JM as having a problem when JK breathes down his neck emotionally speaking, and at the same time he has a problem when he is too emotionally distant.
All this is interesting to me.
Who do I need to talk to to give me more of Jikook interactions individually or jointly?
I want to see more of their interactions beyond the overly staged, dramatized fanservice and official content.
Spending a lot of time around eachother and eating each other's ramen- pun intended, does not reflect on how intimate you are.
Intimacy requires depth and depth requires attachment.
How you treat eachother's needs and goals, dreams and desires is equally indicative of the intimacy in your relationship.
That has always been one distinctive quality of Jikook's ship.
And so I wonder the thought process that went into this decision. I know JM wouldn't object to JK sharing things like these or doing things that make him happy even if it has the potential to impact his own shine in any way.
Jikook don't compete against eachother.
I keep saying this.
Remember when I said I found it sus that JK was lying there staring at JM with his hands in between his legs?
Did yall see what the run editors said when JM and JK went up against each in the pool?
'Jikook don't play by the rules'
Jimin had to push JK in the water to end whatever ancient sex ritual foreplay rooted in kamasutra they had going on. Bless him.
And in so doing, he lost to JK.
Whenever they go up against eachother, one of them intentionally lose even though they are both very competitive.
Isn't that why JK said he'd rather 5 Jms so he can watch them compete against eachother?
When JK first made that post, I felt it was out of pettiness or a move to 'humble' JM.
I thought of when he'd posted that photo of himself with a hickey after JM had 'dated' him during the JinMinKook live.
I rolled my eyes and asked, 'what yall gays up to this time?' Why you out here humbling your man?
Anywho chilee we will never know.
73 notes · View notes
Genre: Angst to fluff
Pairing: Akaashi x reader, one-sided bokuaka
AU: Soulmate AU where the name of your soulmate appears on your wrist at 18; a surgery exists to remove the mark and the connection, but it’s generally stigmatized
Trigger warnings: mentions of self harm/scarring, allusions to dissasociating, drug overdoses, suicide, character death, swearing, reader has some intense moments of self deprecation
Word Count: approx. 8.5k
Summary: Akaashi was doomed to be trapped in Bokuto’s orbit. Stuck with a mark that didn’t match, Akaashi is left circling him alone, refusing to let go of the light he loved.
Note: Thank you so, so much to my lovely beta readers, @sugawaaras @nadisabug @nyg-writes-hq and @amjustagirl (who wisely encouraged me to wait and I foolishly did not). I can’t thank you all enough!
The universe was capricious and cruel. Akaashi was certain as soon as he saw the red mark on his wrist. Soulmate marks were meant to be beautiful: the name of one’s destined lover scrawled neatly in black or white on one’s wrist as soon as they turned 18.
Akaashi’s looked more like it had been scratched on- violent and angry and red against his pale flesh. He knew it was coming before it even appeared, and he knew it would end in heartbreak. Bokuto called him at exactly 12:01 on his birthday, his soulmate’s name inked onto his wrist beautifully and neatly and perfectly - exactly as it should be. He remembered the older boy frantically chittering on about when he would find her and where and how excited he was…
When Akaashi’s parents came upstairs to wish him a happy birthday they found him hunched over the sink, blood dripping down his wrist as he desperately tried to gauge the damned thing out.
That’s how Akaashi found himself in the basement of Tokyo University’s student life center. His parents insisted that he continue group therapy into college, especially since he had yet to receive the surgery needed to move on. Part of Akaashi still clung to the idea that the universe could be wrong, that through some twist of fate Bokuto would end up on his doorstep to proclaim that the universe had messed up and despite it all he believed Akaashi Keiji was his real soulmate.
A cruel twist of fate indeed.
The room was small and dimly lit, with seven or so padded chairs arranged in a circle around a worn white carpet. Even in a university as large as theirs, soulmate glitches were extremely rare. Akaashi, punctual as ever, was the first one there. The moderator, a frail looking woman with gray hair, smiled warmly at him and motioned for him to sit.
The other participants slowly began to trickle in: a girl with deep red dyed hair and a calculating gaze, an androgynous looking individual with piercings and a tired smile, a waifish looking boy with catlike eyes and the tips of his hair bleached…
The chair dipped next to him as a girl sat down. Her tousled hair curled around her face and her gaze was intense. She pulled a notebook out of her backpack and began to mindlessly flip through it, seeming to take solace in the way the pages slid through her fingers. He took brief notice of the singular sticker on the cover: a little planet with a dopey smile.
They began to introduce themselves and their relation (or lack thereof) with their soulmate. The red haired girl, Soma, got rejected by her soulmate because she didn’t believe in predestination. The pierced person, Teshiro, had a soulmate stuck in a coma for 4 weeks and counting. The dyed hair boy, Kenma, had a mark that didn’t match, but got the surgery as soon as he turned 18. He looked like he wanted to burn a hole in the wall and escape through it.
When the girl next to him introduced herself, her voice was soft yet strong. “My name is (l/n) (Y/n). I woke up on my eighteenth birthday and the mark never came. I’ve never had one and I never will, but it’s not too bad. I can’t imagine the pain all of you are going through.” Usually that last sentence would sound disingenuous, but her words rang with a clear earnestness. The moderator nodded kindly and turned to him. “Akaashi?”
Akaashi shuffled his feet together and played with his fingers. The girl turned her head and watched him intently. Her eyes were uncomfortably piercing, as if she was mentally opening him up and peering inside.
“My name is Akaashi Keiji. My mark didn’t match my soulmate’s. I haven’t gotten the surgery. It’s nice to meet you all.” He cringed inwardly at how stiff he sounded. (Y/n) studied him for another second before returning her gaze to her hands. He pulled his sleeves over his wrists and tried to avoid her eyes. Something about her gaze made him feel uncomfortably exposed. When the meeting was over he, like most of the other participants, was quick to leave. (Y/n) lingered.
He noticed her the next morning on the first day of his poetry class. Her hair was still messy and she had the same notebook in her hands, although this time she was writing in it. He glanced at the little stickers she had placed on the page corners as he moved to the back of the room. For once he wished that the lecture was larger than 10 people. He knew that (Y/n) noticed him, but she thankfully left him alone. Before the mark appeared, Akaashi loved to write poetry. He was never one to publicly express his emotions, and poems were an outlet for him to explore his own feelings and experiences. Since then, it had just become painful. Opening his heart would only exacerbate the wound. Professor Takeda’s cheerful voice shook Akaashi from his brooding as he wrote his name out on the chalkboard. Like clockwork, Akaashi turned his focus to the lecture, tuning out the thoughts buzzing in the back of his mind.
(Y/n) seemed less focused. When he looked over at her, she was staring out the window. Her eyes were soft as her chin rested on her palm, a slight crease in her brow. Akaashi let himself study her for a minute. He briefly wondered what she was thinking about before returning his attention to the board. He could feel her gaze flit over to him when Takeda mentioned the unit on Shakespearean soulmate sonnets; His wrist burned even though she wasn’t looking at it.
Teshiro’s soulmate finally passed away. Finally. As if it was something they were all just waiting to happen. The air was tense between them and the conversation was curt. (Y/n) tried to offer words of comfort, and while Teshiro thanked her graciously it was clear that none of them stuck. (Y/n)’s eyes searched the room, desperately grappling for some sign she was helping. It never came. When they all left for the evening Akaashi looked over his shoulder at (y/n) as she lingered. She cradled Teshiro to her chest, eyes distant as he sobbed into her sweater.
He looked up and saw (Y/n) fidgeting lightly from one foot to the other. She seemed to be fighting the urge to sink into her sweater, a large turtleneck with little embroidered flowers. “Do you mind if I sit next to you for the lecture today?” Part of Akaashi felt irked at the intrusion, but a larger part of him felt relieved to have some company. He managed to nod stiffly as she slid into the seat beside him, taking out her notebook and opening to a fresh page. After rifling through her backpack she removed a small binder of stickers, flipping through the pages and pulling out a sheet with little cats on them. Noticing his gaze, (Y/n) turned to look at him before he could pretend to be disinterested. “Do you want a sticker?”
Akaashi blinked owlishly at her. Who brings stickers to a full blown college class?
“Um, sure. Thanks.”
A genuine smile spread on her face as she handed him the binder to flip through. Immediately his eyes landed on a sheet of owl stickers. His breath hitched in his throat as he carefully removed the sheet. (Y/n) leaned over and grinned.
“Oh, I love those little guys. Feel free to take whichever one you want.”
Akaashi looked at one of them, a cute caricature of a big gray owl. The resemblance to Bokuto was uncanny. It even had his golden eyes. He tried to control his breathing as he removed the one next to it, a snowy white owl tucked in on itself, and stuck it to his plain black phone case. (Y/n) smiled to herself before peeling off a smaller brown one cocking its head and sticking it to the space next to Akaashi’s.
“There, now he has a friend.”
It looked like her. For some reason that made his chest feel a little less heavy.
After that day, (Y/n) always sat next to him. Akaashi didn’t mind it too much, she was quiet and attentive, and liked to put random stickers in the margins of his notes when he wasn’t looking. She began asking if they could study together in the library. Akaashi didn’t have the heart to say no, not when she looked so hopeful. Maybe he was just too tired to try and shake her off. Despite never really asking, he found out a lot about her. Like how she wanted to be a writer, but got scared when she had to actually share her work.
“Do you like to write, Akaashi-san?” She asked, eyes sparkling with interest.
Akaashi took a long sip from the tea she’d brought him -something with a flavor halfway between floral and gingery- and nodded his head. “Yes, I’d like to be an editor one day.”
(y/n)’s eyes lit up at his words, smile widening as she leaned forward. “When I release my first book you can be my editor!”
Akaashi looked up at her, smiling lightly at the excitement etched onto her face. Bright, but not too bright. Bokuto briefly flashed through his mind, but Akaashi did his best to ignore him. “Of course, I’d be honored to.”
(y/n) grinned wider, eyes twinkling as she returned to her paper. Her typing was sporadic and clacky, like hail pittering against the window. It persisted, no matter how much he turned up the music in his earbuds. Usually the noise would irk him, but he found himself enjoying the way its hum drowned out the rest of the world’s chatter.
Dread began to pool in Akaashi’s stomach as he slid into his seat for Takeda’s lecture. Shakespearean Soulmate Sonnets. He could feel his hands shake as he removed his notebook and pens for note taking, a soft internal voice feeding him memories and false hopes. He felt the warmth of golden eyes and a calloused hand on his cheek. He felt the way his mouth sloppily slotted against his and how his heart felt so full it would explode-
(Y/n) slid into the seat next to him and handed him a tumbler with little Rilakumas on it. “I tried to recreate your usual order at the campus cafe,” she whispered, taking a sip from her own tumbler (covered in Pompompurins, her favorite).
“Thank you, (l/n),” he murmured, taking a tentative sip. His lips quirked up. She even got the squeeze of honey and lemon that he liked.
“Are you going to be OK today Akaashi?”
Akaashi fidgeted with his fingers. “I have to be.”
She gently took one of his hands in hers to still it. He reeled at the contact and how comforting it was.
This is wrong this is wrong this is wrong this is wrong, you’re betraying him you’re betraying him you’re betraying him-
He pulled his hand away, even as his heart ached at the loss of contact.
(Y/n)’s face fell. “I’m sorry, Akaashi-san, I overstepped” He shook his head and offered her a tight smile.
“It’s not you, I promise.”
When Akaashi got back to his dorm that night, his chest was so empty it hurt. He slid down against the door and buried his face in his hands. Why him?
His phone dinged next to him.
(Y/n) (l/n): I’m here if you need me
His heart ached. He wanted to reach out, he really did, but something tethered him down. He scratched at the letters and scars on his wrist and tried to cry, but nothing came out.
(Y/n) respected Akaashi’s wishes and left him alone for a week. He hadn’t realized the effect her warm tumblers of tea and little stickers had on him. She moved back to her old seat in Takeda’s class and spent more time with her nose in her notebook. He still felt her gaze flit to him throughout the lecture (as his did to her), but where it used to make him uncomfortable it now just vaguely ached. The one person he interacted with regularly anymore was his roommate, but they only ever exchanged pleasantries. Without something, or rather someone, to distract him, Bokuto started worming his way into places he didn’t belong. Akaashi felt his phantom touch ghost his face or graze up and down his back; he felt his gaze and heard his laugh and pictured what could be if the universe weren’t so god awful. The fantasies burned with a blinding intensity, but the loneliness that followed never failed to chill him to his core.
He was relieved to see (Y/n) around campus with various other people, including Soma. She lingered at the edge of the group, but still smiled and still managed to make them laugh. Soma glared at anyone who looked at (Y/n) the wrong way. He didn’t expect to be on the receiving end of one of those looks. It wasn’t angry, just vaguely disappointed. Akaashi couldn’t help but agree with her sentiment.
“And how have you been this week, Akaashi?” Akaashi looked up at the moderator, who was looking at him with a kind smile. Kenma looked over from his seat beside him, eyes shifting between him and (y/n). If he noticed anything was off, he was courteous enough not to mention it. (y/n) seemed to be getting close with Teshiro and Soma at least, offering them compliments and affirmations whenever they shared their experiences. Akaashi was used to giving lukewarm answers, but something inside of him felt like being honest today. Maybe it was the familiar feeling of her eyes settling on him.
“I’m… lonely,” he began, looking down at his shoes.
The moderator nodded, “and how is that affecting you?”
Akaashi looked up, briefly meeting (Y/n)’s eyes before looking away. “I see him a lot. My soulmate. He’s been invading my thoughts more than usual. It’s like I can feel his eyes on me all the time.”
The moderator nodded and offered a sympathetic look. “Does anyone have any advice for Akaashi?” The room was quiet. Akaashi was beginning to regret being honest for once.
“Don’t punish yourself for learning to feel OK without him,” (Y/n) spoke up, trying to meet his eyes. “Just because you don’t have him in the way you want to doesn’t mean you can’t be happy.”Akaashi nodded, meeting her gaze. There was no malice or disappointment in them, only empathy.
While he was quick to follow Kenma out of the building, Akaashi found himself messaging her later that night when the sun set and his thoughts got darker.
Me: Study in the library after class tomorrow?
(Y/n) (l/n): only if I can sit next to you in Takeda’s class, my current seat gets the worst drafts.
Akaashi was true to his word, meeting her at the library the next day with a bag of ‘I’m-sorry-for-pushing-you-away’ macaroons in hand. She accepted them with stars in her eyes (she had quite the sweet tooth, apparently) and gave him her Rilakkuma tumbler (she said it was practically his at this point) as they settled into their little table by the window.
“Soma and I are going to go check up on Teshiro tomorrow, do you want to add anything?”
Akaashi looked over at (Y/n), who was already staring at him intently.
“I think I’m good, but give them my best ok?”
She nodded, sighing and resting her hand on her palm. “I’m worried about them. They don’t respond to my messages anymore.”
Akaashi felt his stomach sink, but he elected to ignore it. He didn’t have the energy to give it too much credence, not when her eyes still held that glint of hope.
He should have listened to it, because he awoke to a barrage of missed calls from (y/n). He was confused until he opened the paper, the headline making his heart fall deep within his chest:
Tokyo University Student Overdoses in Dormitory.
Teshiro never came back to the group. The reason was never explicitly spoken but somehow everyone understood. (Y/n) seemed to already know why, staring at the floor with her mouth pulled taut. Akaashi used to think that her advice was a little annoying (too hopeful, too optimistic, too naive), but its absence made his heart feel heavy. He didn’t remember what they talked about (he often tuned it out), but he would never forget the way the air hung over them like a cloud of ash. Akaashi followed Kenma out, but not before looking over his shoulder. Soma closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around (Y/n) as she silently cried into her hands. Akaashi wanted to reach out, to embrace her, but he found himself slipping out the door. That didn’t stop his heart from lurching as he walked away.
The funeral was held the next week. Soma and (Y/n) had tried to plan something, but were unable to track down any of Teshiro’s relatives willing to attend, or even give them funds for the burial. Teshiro didn’t specify anything about a will in their suicide note, so they used what was left of his savings to pay for the necessary services. Akaashi followed (Y/n) and Soma to the funeral home to tie up the rest of the loose ends. They seemed familiar with the process; (Y/n) mentioned that they had done it with Teshiro for their soulmate about a month prior. As Soma filled out the rest of the paperwork, (Y/n) sat with Akaashi on the stiff faux-leather couch and stared out the window.
“I couldn’t save them,” she whispered, staring straight ahead with a blank expression.
Akaashi looked at her for a moment before following her gaze outside. “They weren’t yours to save,” he murmured. It was a weak attempt at comfort, but she nodded and shifted her gaze to her shoes. She gently grazed her hand over his, barely making contact.
“Can I?” she asked, voice fragile and tentative. Akaashi nodded, letting her place her hand over his. He made no move to intertwine their fingers, but his shoulders loosened at the softness and slight weight against his hand. He tried to ignore the golden eyes boring into him from every angle.
‘Don’t punish yourself for learning to feel OK without him,’
She traced little patterns on the back of his hand. The gentle sensation made him shiver.
“You should reach out to Kenma,” (Y/n) told him, biting into a vegetable dumpling. She started huffing and fanning her mouth (it was too hot) and he shot her a pointed look in return.
“You should blow on your dumplings before you scarf them down,” he quipped, smiling to himself as he passed her a cold glass of water.
She rolled her eyes, drinking the water before settling her gaze back on him. “I’m serious though. You guys are in similar situations and I think he could help you with the paranoia you’ve been telling me about.”
Akaashi sighed, cursing himself for being honest, especially with her. She wasn’t the type to let things like this go, especially not when it had to do with someone she cared about.
She gave him a knowing look as she made a show of blowing on her dumpling before taking a bite. “You know I’m right, Akaashi. Even if you never talk about it, you could still end up being good friends. That’s what happened with me and Soma, and frankly with me and you.”
He grinned, taking a sip of water. “And why in the world would I want to subject myself to another you?”
(Y/n) looked at him with an incredulous look on her face, throwing her napkin at his face. “Akaashi! I have half a mind to walk out on you right now!”
He laughed, (a beautiful, light, unburdened sound), and shook his head. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Plus if you leave now you’ll miss going to the new ice cream place down the road.”
She failed to hide the way her eyes lit up at the prospect of something sweet. “I’ll forgive you if you promise to meet up with him soon. Soma says he takes some pushing, but once you do he’s a loyal friend.”
Akaashi smiled. His chest felt warm, but right as the ease began to set in, he felt the phantom tug on his heart. Remember who you belong to. (Y/n) cocked her head, suddenly looking worried again.
“It’s happening again, isn’t it,” she murmured, reaching out to touch his hand before pulling back and twiddling with her fingers instead. Akaashi didn’t say anything, just started to stare off into space. He felt like he was floating again, off somewhere else. Come back to me.
He vaguely heard her pay the bill before she tugged at his arm. “C’mon Akaashi, you owe me ice cream. Then I’ll take you home, OK?”
He looked at her eyes, swimming with concern and sympathy. They were soft and free of judgement. “Ok,” he whispered, letting himself follow their pull.
They ended up smiling and laughing again once they got to the ice cream parlor. She made fun of him for liking caramel sauce and peanuts on his, calling him a glorified grandfather. He shot back, joking that eating mint chocolate chip was like eating toothpaste.
Still, the ease was built on an unstable foundation.
He still felt the heat of the golden eyes following his every move.
She still knew that, despite her yearning, he was not hers to save.
Akaashi insisted on walking (Y/n) to her dorm. His mother’s voice rang in his head, reminding him to be a gentleman. He looked over at her as she finished off her ice cream, tossing the cup in the trash can in front of her building. She turned and looked up at Akaashi, smiling slightly.
Akaashi didn’t like the feeling settling in his heart.
“Thank you for this, Akaashi, it was nice to be able to spend time with you.”
Why is she making this sound like a date? This wasn’t a date. He didn’t date.
He just nodded curtly as a lump started to form in his throat.
She took a step closer to him, eyes glinting with something he couldn’t quite pinpoint. “Can I try something?”
He tried to suppress the fear growing in his heart, the way he wanted to gravitate to her and her big eyes. He had been in this situation before and it didn’t end well.
Lidded golden eyes and calloused hands flashed through his mind. She brought hers to his face: they were soft and warm and small. This was wrong.
Her eyes closed slightly. She lifted herself up on her toes. His eyes widened, but he remained rooted to the ground. She hesitated, face mere inches from his, studying his face for trepidation. He didn’t know why, maybe it was loneliness or frustration at the golden eyes that were ruining everything but he closed the gap, meeting her lips as he cradled her face.
It was soft. She was hesitant, inexperienced, but it was sweet. He found himself leaning in, letting himself get pulled into her, his heart leaping as she smiled into it-
The phantom touch shot through his arms, forcefully pushing her away. This is wrong.
This is wrong this is wrong this is wrong this is wrong this is wrong this is wrong-
She stumbled back and looked up at him in shock as he backed away.
“We can’t do this,” he whispered.
Hurt flashed through her eyes as she shrunk back slightly. His heart ached, but he felt a stronger pull elsewhere, to him, even when he was worlds away.
“Why?” she whispered, taking a small step forward, “Because you’re scared?” her voice raised slightly, but not in anger. Her eyes burned with the same determination he had grown to associate with her.
“Just stop, stop trying to fix me and everyone around you. I never asked for your help, for your company, for any of it. Stop picking me apart and trying to put me back together as you think I should be,” he spat, surprised at the coldness of his tone.
He could see heartbreak in her eyes, but she didn’t back down. She was perceptive enough to call his bluff.
“Why did you kiss me then?” she spoke, voice wavering slightly despite her best efforts.
He shook his head, taking a few more steps backwards.
“I shouldn’t have. This isn’t how things work for us, (Y/n). This isn’t something you can try to tape up or cover with stupid little stickers,”
Why was he saying this? He didn’t mean it, not at all. The ghost of his touch dug deeper into Akaashi’s arm, trying to tug him away.
Her lip quivered, but she stood up straight and lifted her chin up high.
“Not all of us want to keep wallowing alone forever, Akaashi.”
She turned on her heel and walked into her dorm building,
Akaashi squeezed his eyes shut. The golden orbs stared back at him.
“Are you happy now?” he muttered, digging his nails into the name on his wrist.
Akaashi trudged back to his dorm in silence.
He didn’t get an answer.
They had to read poems they’d written for Takeda’s next class. Akaashi couldn’t find it in himself to be nervous, at least for his own presentation. He had long since purged the emotion from his writing, instead providing eloquent yet sterile descriptions of menial things he knew people would like. As long as the words he formed were pleasing to the ear and eye, he was doing his job.
He read something short about the shrike who sometimes perched outside his window. The class had clapped and Takeda seemed pleased. For once, (Y/n)’s gaze never met his. She traced the little planet sticker on her notebook and let her leg bounce up and down. He felt the guilt from last night steep back in, heavy and suffocating.
“Miss (l/n)? Would you like to go next?” Professor Takeda asked, smiling warmly (ignorantly) at her as she steeled herself. (y/n) walked to the front of the class and opened up her notebook. Despite the fear in her eyes and the slight shake in her frame, she held her head high.
“This is the product of an exercise I did last night. It’s called Dreamscape.” Akaashi placed his chin on his palm, staring intently. Last night. He dreaded her words, but somehow he couldn’t bear to tear his eyes away. (Y/n) cleared her throat before standing up straight, something in her eyes glazed over as she placed a finger on the edge of the page. When she spoke, her voice held the same soft strength it did back in the first day of group therapy.
the way his hair twirls in the tide
like poppies in the breeze
A calloused hand traced against my jaw,
A smile, releasing bubbles above our heads
He pulls me against him,
Through the water between us
And it’s warm,”
Her voice was dripping with so much affection, so much longing. Akaashi felt his heartbeat quicken as dread pooled in his stomach. Her eyes remained fixed on the paper.
“His lips on mine breathing air into my lungs and his
Chest on mine,
Beating its wings,
I think we’re flying,”
Her cadence began to quicken and strain. Akaashi wanted the ground to swallow him whole. This was too familiar, too close,
Bokuto Bokuto Bokuto
“And I don’t know where my tears start and the water begins
Because God it’s warm and this is all I’ve ever wanted
And God I never thought I would get it-”
Each time her voice wavered something in his heart cracked. Why couldn’t it be her? Why did it have to be him?
“I’m running out of air
But God I don’t want to go,
Please don’t make me go,
The water drains and his weight feels so much heavier,
For a brief moment it’s almost tangible-”
She paused, taking a deep inhale and exhale. The whole room stared at her in silent expectation. Akaashi swallowed the lump in his throat as Bokuto tightened his grip on his thoughts. Why why why why why? (Y/n)’s voice didn’t have strength in it anymore. It was cracked, broken, defeated… yet she continued on.
“I open my eyes and let my tears fall against the empty air
God, why can’t you just give this dreamscape to me?
Why must you burden me with the weight of this heart?”
She looked up from her paper and met his gaze. Akaashi couldn’t bear to maintain the contact.
Takeda thanked her, making comments on how she could tighten up the wording but that he loved the emotion in her delivery. (Y/n) looked like she wanted to turn tail and run. She asked Takeda if she could leave, citing that she wasn’t feeling well. A feeble alibi. He let her go, thankfully not questioning it. Akaashi’s eyes followed her out the door as he blinked back tears he didn’t know were forming.
When Akaashi found her, (Y/n) was curled up in a ball staring at her wall. Her dorm was a mess; her bed was unmade and random tea bags and wrappers were strewn everywhere. If he didn’t feel so guilty perhaps he would have been a little grossed out. She looked so small curled up there, so opposite of shining, strong, larger than life Bokuto. Frail, defeated, tired (Y/n). Robbed of a soulmate, chained to the harsh reality that she would never be truly fulfilled. His heart ached, weighing so heavy in his chest that he just wanted to sink down with her. Akaashi gently moved some of her plushies and sat at the edge of her bed. He knew she knew he was there, but she didn’t look up at him. If anything, she looked like she was trying to make herself smaller.
“I’m sorry, (Y/n), I didn’t mean any of it.” he whispered, and he meant it. He heard her make a pained sound, but when he looked up there were no tears.
“It’s not your fault, I know it isn’t, but God, I’m just so angry.” (Y/n) choked out. “Isn’t that pathetic?” Her voice strained but continued getting louder, more desperate. Akaashi felt something deep within his heart crack.
“The fact that I’m angry like this? I have everything I need, people are fucking starving and dying and suffering and I’m over here cursing the universe for not bestowing me with a lover on a silver platter. Isn’t that pathetic?” She let out a bitter laugh before delivering a harsh succession of punches to her leg, her entire body thrashing with the force. The harsh sound of the contact made Akaashi flinch.
“Aren’t I just fucking terrible? Depraved, self obsessed, fucking ungrateful weak spineless excuse of a human,” she spat, with a kind of vindictiveness he had never seen from her before. His hands began to run cold and shake.
“I hate myself.”
“I hate myself I hate myself I hate myself I hate myself!!” At this point, tears were falling from her eyes, and Akaashi felt his own throat tightening. He reached over and embraced her, letting her head dig into his shoulder as she repeated it like a mantra.
Akaashi ran a large hand through her hair, leaning his head into hers.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured, breath fanning on her head. (Y/n) clutched the fabric of his sweater and shook her head, digging it further into his shoulder. He tried to swallow the lump in his throat. “You should be angry at me, or the universe, anything, everything. But you’re kind, too kind, too compassionate and smart and radiant, despite all that has been taken from you.” He tried to steady his voice. “I wish it was you, (Y/n), I really, really do.” And he meant it, God, he meant it more than anything. Why hadn’t it been her? She went to say something before hitting her leg again, this time with less force. Akaashi gently took her fist in his hand and intertwined their fingers.
“Why me? Why us?” she choked out. Her tears were finally falling freely.
“I don’t know,” he whispered, “the universe is just a cruel, capricious son of a bitch.” (Y/n) laughed bitterly before sobbing harder, burying herself against him. Akaashi soon found himself joining her, trailing tears and kisses along the top of her head. He felt the pierce of golden eyes with each touch, but at the moment he couldn’t find the energy to care. Snow fell outside of the dorm window. The ambient city noise rumbled and chittered along as it always did. The world continued its merciless march forward, but within those dorm walls, within each other’s arms, they let themselves surrender to the pull, if only for a night.
Akaashi was holed up working on a Western Lit paper in his dorm when his phone began to buzz. He picked it up without looking, sipping his black coffee as he scanned over the words he had written thus far. “Hello?”
Akaashi’s eyes widened as the phone fell from his hand, clattering against his dorm floor. His hands trembled as he clambered to pick it back up and press it to his ear.
“Bokuto-san? Is that you?” he asked, trying to hide the slight shaking in his voice.
“The one and only!” Bokuto laughed from the other line. Akaashi could practically feel his grin through the screen. His wrist and heart began to burn.
Too bright, too soon-
“What do you need?” Akaashi responded, tapping his shoe against the ground. His brain was going haywire, rejoicing at the sound of his voice and the confirmation that he cared enough to call,
“I just wanted to let you know that I’m gonna propose to her!”
There it was.
Akaashi felt everything he had built come crashing down around him as he stared at the wall in shock.
“Akaashi? You still there?”
Akaashi shook his head, trying to ignore the tears welling in his eyes and the piercing sensation in his chest. “Yes, sorry, I spaced for a second. I’m very excited for you, Bokuto-san, I know you two will be very happy together.”
Bokuto laughed, far too in love to look too far into Akaashi’s strange behavior. “Kuroo and I are going to go ring shopping when I’m done with national team training. I’m just gonna go for a promise ring for now, I know she wants to wait but I want her to know I’ll wait as long as I need to for her. Maybe I can propose when we go to the olympics! I’m so excited, Akaashi, I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her. I know we’re young but I just can’t wait.”
Akaashi’s tears fell freely as he struggled to keep his voice level. “You two were made for each other,” he murmured, “it’s only natural.”
“Anyway, enough about me, how are you doing Akaashi?” Bokuto laughed. Akaashi couldn’t help but smile. He cared. The mere crumb was enough to keep him going.
“Stressed with studies, but I’ll be fine,” Akaashi responded, reaching over to wipe the tears from his face. Bokuto hummed in understanding.
“I wish you wouldn’t stress yourself out like this Akaashi.”
Akaashi stilled, eyes widening slightly.
“You’re always working so hard to be who you think you need to be. I want you to be happy, Akaashi”
He squeezed his eyes shut and covered his sob with his hand.
Instead of meeting the golden eyes, he saw hers, wide and full of that foreign emotion, waiting patiently for him.
How could he think Bokuto would ever hate him?
Akaashi smiled to himself.
“I’ll try, Bokuto-san. Take care.”
“You’re thinking about getting the surgery, aren’t you.” Akaashi looked up from his cup of tea to meet Kenma’s calculating gaze.
“How did you know?” Kenma shrugged, uncomfortably taking inventory of the cafe patrons. He hated having to meet in public, but Akaashi knew Kenma needed to get used to leaving his apartment for more than just class and meetings.
“You’ve been rubbing your wrist. You do that when you’re nervous or thinking about something.” Akaashi smiled to himself, shaking his head.
“As observant as ever, Kozume.” Kenma just grunted in response, fiddling with the sleeves of his sweatshirt. Akaashi gently stroked his wrist with his thumb. “After, are you able to feel… anything?”
Kenma studied him for a second as he took a bite of his apple fritter. “Yeah. Just not for them. I know that Hinata exists, and I have my memories of him, but he just feels like an NPC now. There isn’t pain when I think of him. There aren’t those fucking sparks when I’m near him. He just became… like everyone else. I was finally able to just be his friend and enjoy his happiness.” Akaashi blinked at Kenma. His wrist burned. He thought of (Y/n) and sighed to himself, dropping his wrist in favor of twiddling his fingers.
“Do you ever regret it?” Akaashi whispered.
Kenma’s gaze burned with an earnest intensity. “Never,” he responded. There was a sharp finality in his tone, one that told Akaashi Kenma wasn’t sugarcoating it (not that he was the type to). “I loved him enough to know I had to let him go.”
Akaashi closed his eyes, letting pictures of a different life flash before his eyes.
He thought of morning tea in a shared apartment, curling up together just to read and enjoy one another’s company. He thought of enjoying the warmth of her hands and the soft stirring of his heart without feeling like he was betraying some cosmic order.
Akaashi’s heart clenched, as if trying to hold onto something, but he smiled against its tug. “Maybe I’ll just have to follow your lead then.”
When he told (Y/n) he wanted to get the surgery, she immediately began to flounder. “Did I pressure you? God, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to, don’t do it because I was stupid-” her eyes were wide and she was fiddling with one of her necklaces.
“(Y/n),” he cut her off , a gentle smile tugging at his lips “I’m doing it because I want to. You didn’t pressure me to do anything.”
(Y/n) studied him for a moment. “What made you decide then?”
Akaashi thought of Bokuto’s call and his subsequent revelation, his meeting with Kenma, and the warmth of her touch. “I want to let myself feel without feeling like I’m betraying him.”
(Y/n) smiled, hesitantly placing her hand in his. He intertwined their fingers without a second thought. It just felt… right.
“That sounds like a good reason to me,” she murmured, giving his hand a squeeze. “I’m proud of you, Akaashi.” He let his thumb stroke the back of her hand as they sat in comfortable silence for a minute.
“Keiji,” he murmured looking down at her. (Y/n) met his gaze questioningly. His eyes met hers as his smile grew. “Call me Keiji.” She smiled back. His heart felt warm. The trepidation was still there, but so was the beginnings of something new.
Kenma drove them to Tokyo University hospital two months later. It was within walking distance, but Kenma said that he had felt woozy afterwards and (Y/n) put her foot down. She got out of the car first, thanking Kenma before stepping out and slinging her backpack over her shoulder. She insisted on staying for the duration of the surgery in case something went wrong. As Akaashi turned to thank Kenma, he found him staring at (Y/n) as she adjusted the straps of her bag. “She’s a big part of this, isn’t she,” Kenma murmured. Akaashi looked at her and smiled softly to himself. (Y/n) shot him an inquisitive glance through the windshield, cocking her head.
He absentmindedly traced the little brown owl on his phone case. “Yeah, she is.” He grabbed his medical papers and moved to open the door. “Thank you for the ride, Kenma.” Kenma waved him off with his hand and offered a rare, genuine smile. “Have (Y/n) text me when you’re ready for me to pick you up.”
“Are you scared?” (Y/n) asked, leaning against the hospital bed as they waited for the anesthesiologist to come back. Akaashi looked down at his wrist, letting his eyes trace over the curves of Bokuto’s name and the faded scars slashing through it. He swiped his thumb over it one last time before taking her hand and squeezing it.
“A little bit. But in a weird way I’m… excited. I feel like this is a new start.” (Y/n) squeezed his hand back, holding it as the anesthesiologist returned and asked various questions about allergies and whether he had fasted as required. Her hand stayed firmly in his as they injected the first bit of anesthesia and his vision got hazy. She only let go when they began to wheel his bed off into the operating room, waving at him as his vision blurred. He closed his eyes and let himself think about his soulmate one last time.
‘He’s like a star’, Akaashi had thought, eyes transfixed on number 12 as he delivered his spike. When he smiled, Akaashi felt like all the light in the world had splashed him right in the face. It was like looking at the sun itself, burning and beautiful and so, so bright. In that moment, Akaashi realized that he had never wanted something more in his entire life than to be able to bask in something so radiant. Maybe he would go to Fukurodani after all.
It was quiet as they got ready to lock up the club room. Winter was fading into spring, and the noise of the night was beginning to rumble once again. It reminded Akaashi of when he was little and he’d open his window to listen to the bugs sing. “Do you know how to kiss, Akaashi?” Akaashi whipped his head to look at Bokuto, who was cocking his head and boring into him with wide eyes. “W-What?” Akaashi sputtered, face heating up. “Why would you ask that, Bokuto-San?” He expected Bokuto to make a joke or brush it off, but his face was entirely serious. “Because I’ve never kissed anyone, and I want to be good at it for my soulmate. I’m not sure who it is, but I want to be my best for them.” Akaashi stared at him as he processed his words. “I’ve never kissed anyone,” he eventually responded, voice fragile and hesitant. His heart felt like it was going to burst through his chest and right into Bokuto’s awaiting hands. Bokuto rubbed his chin, deep in thought. “Would you like to try? That way we both know what it’s like?” Akaashi choked on air, staring into Bokuto’s all too earnest gaze. He tried to get words out, to tell Bokuto that they couldn’t, that he’d fall even further into something he already knew wasn’t going to be requited, but his mouth just hung agape. Bokuto moved a hand to Akaashi’s cheek, swiping his thumb gently. “Please? Just for practice?” Akaashi stared into Bokuto’s eyes, suddenly lidded and glowing like pools of pure starlight. “Yes'' he whispered back as Bokuto leaned in and their lips met. It was messy and out of sync, but Akaashi felt like his whole body was on fire, so searing and intense and bright that he swore if it lasted a second longer he would turn to ash. When Bokuto pulled away, Akaashi was too starstruck to notice the slight furrow in the older boy’s brow.
“Hey, Akaashi.” Akaashi looked up at Bokuto, who stood with his back to him as he looked up at the sky. “When I marry my soulmate, will you be my best man?” Akaashi swallowed, feeling his heart ache. “Of course, Bokuto-san, I’d be honored to.” Bokuto’s whole visage shone as he turned, smile burning at a billion watts. “And then I’ll be your best man when you marry your soulmate!” Akaashi smiled softly, but despite not yet having his mark, deep down he knew. Feeling more intensely for someone than he did for Bokuto would be impossible. He would burn from the inside out. Perhaps he already was. “Of course, Bokuto-san,” he murmured, voice shaking slightly at the end. Bokuto didn’t notice, too busy laughing happily at the moon.
The anesthesiologist counted down as he moved to put the mask over Akaashi’s mouth. His heart screamed, cursing him for his betrayal and begging him to rip the mask from his face and run right back into Bokuto’s arms.
“Five,” Would he ever feel anything again?
“four,” Would the universe forgive him?
“three” Would Bokuto forgive him if he knew?
“two” ‘I want you to be happy, Akaashi’
Akaashi let a single tear fall down his face. He never could deny him.
His head hurt.
That was the first thing Akaashi noticed, that and the fact that his throat felt incredibly dry. It was already dark outside the hospital room window, despite the fact that they had arrived early in the morning. His wrist was bare, save for the familiar pink scars. He felt lighter, as if a weight had been extracted from his chest. Akaashi wondered if (Y/n) had stayed. He could already picture her curled up in a waiting room chair, Pompompurin blanket pulled tight around her body (she insisted on bringing it for comfort reasons). The thought made him smile slightly. A nurse came to check up on him, walking him through the outpatient procedures and asking if he had someone to take him home. “I do, (l/n) (Y/n). She should still be in the waiting room” The nurse smiled knowingly, “Ah, she must be the one who has been camping out all day. She must really care about you.” Akaashi smiled softly. He felt warm. “I’m lucky to have her,” he murmured.
He didn’t notice that he hadn’t thought of Bokuto since waking up.
They brought Akaashi out to the waiting room where (Y/n) lay fast asleep, just as he had pictured. Her face was squished against her folded jacket and she had drool on her chin. Akaashi thought she looked beautiful. He gently took (Y/n)’s hand and squeezed it. “(Y/n), wake up.” She murmured something incoherent, rubbing her eyes with her free hand before looking up at him. Her eyes shone as she offered a groggy smile. “Keiji,” she murmured fondly, “How do you feel?”
Akaashi smiled, one of his rare ones that was slightly crooked at the edges. “Happy” he murmured, bringing her hand to his lips and placing a kiss on each knuckle. His heart felt light, unburdened, fluttered gently within his chest. “I feel really happy.”
Akaashi eventually came to two conclusions. Firstly, he was wrong in middle school: Bokuto was never a star. Bokuto was the sun; every piece of Akaashi was drawn to him, wanting to stay in his orbit forever even if it meant he would get burned to a crisp. No, (Y/n) was a star. Akaashi knew his analogy was stupid, the sun was a star, but it made sense in his head and being with her was never logical. His life did not revolve around (Y/n). She didn’t sear him or burn him or make him want to explode with the sheer passion of it all. Instead, they existed comfortably together in the periphery of space. She was his starlight, bright enough to lead him but not so bright so as to blind him. She didn’t take his mind captive, invading each thought and emotion; instead, she slipped her way inside and made herself at home amongst his other favorite things.
He admired her over his mug of tea. She was flipping through the first draft of her book with her free hand, the other resting comfortably in his own. The sunlight filtered through the window, painting her features gold and making the loose strands of her bed head shine like a halo. He blushed at the purple marks peeking from the collar of her shirt, smiling proudly to himself. (He had some too, although he hadn’t noticed them yet). (Y/n) looked over at him, cheeks growing red under his loving stare. Akaashi didn’t break it, only smiling wider. His fingers lovingly traced the name freshly tattooed on her wrist, just as she often did with the letters on his own. She squeezed his hand and, despite all of their time together, Akaashi still found himself getting butterflies.
Therein lay the second conclusion. Akaashi once thought that the universe was capricious and cruel, and sometimes he found himself continuing to think so. How could he not when he had seen such suffering, when he thought back to the silence surrounding Teshiro’s death or the suffocating noise of (Y/n)’s sobs?
No, Akaashi thought that deeming the universe cruel was giving its emotional intelligence too much credit. The universe, like many things, was unfeeling. It acted logically, unfeeling, simply getting from point A to point B without thinking much about it. Its goal was to survive, even though it didn’t have any particular reason to, and in doing so it dragged all life along with it. The people who were happy were those who realized that they were simply being swept along for the ride, learning to float instead of swimming upstream. The ones who were happy were those who, against all odds, built a space of their own.
Akaashi smiled at her, bathed in the light of their shared apartment. She smiled back and intertwined their fingers, holding fast as they watched the world turn from their little corner of the universe.
He thought the view was beautiful.
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And old slew
I think my number one requirement is that you keep up, which only the mentally ill do.
What does it say about me that all my friends are ADHD?
The black boys, they pass and bob and chat to rap like it’s beat poetry in the 1960s. Here with them I am in a modern historical moment of art discovering my aesthetic and true calling. I see this after a bias worry on repeat, looking back it was not a real fear, just a humorous societal conception, and who have I ever been to subscribe to society. Me and my white girl friend out smoked them in their own home and my friend, I hugged him in front of his friends, and he walked us out of his house like a true gentleman. It was truly the part of my soul that I wanted to share in a social setting.
“You’re not in charge of me, T[redacted] is.”
It’s 10 degrees in the dark and it’s just me and my skin wrapped in tight black fabric flying up the powdered hill like I was never meant to touch the ground in the first place. It is still 10 degrees and I’m replaying everything that has ever happened like maybe I’ll get a second chance that I don’t need, but want still. The 10 degrees rummage around in my bones and all the pain this new year brought, the pain of becoming women, intertwines itself with my heart so there is no difference. The 10 degrees keep me warm, from the pit of my stomach to my chest and red cheeks. It’s enough right now.
The concept of solidarity flowed from Budimir’s lips along with sweeties and engagement, and I truly think it is the first concept I ever truly understood. I do not know respect or love or good. But I know solidarity, I know solidarity deep down in my bones and my blood and my soul. And it just goes to show, it was never me, I just never met a good teacher.
My lust still rides with you, for safe keeping.
I don’t remember what your voice sounds like anymore, I used to be able to hear it in my head.
Every man both looks like you and the man who wanted me dead.
Sometimes I am hollowed out enough that the only feeling I have is my hands and they don’t seem to bare my heart’s intentions. But it is a much deeper part of my being they represent, one I wish someone worse would fulfill for me. Pity I am the only beautiful thing.
Part of my soul is an iris in the wind.
A wealthy woman in the glass, a thesis sustaining the validity of age regression in design and mini-practice, and collections combatting change in order to hold on to something.
There was a few moments of my life where I was obsessed with the devil in the woods by the ocean and the magic I would be allowed if I could just exist somewhere beautiful to be a little odd in peace with equally passionate companionship. While the other burn outs dream of fantasy I dream of psudeo-realistic peace because I could never get there by myself, let alone with the chaos of another sentiment being.
You wouldn’t like me anymore. I’m an existentialist bc I am completely and totally unsure of myself as a concept. And it makes it immensely easier to flow along with the process of getting what I want.
In the dark the voice pokes at suicide in the highest of highest and I drown out the noise with the hope that in that grainy moment 5 guys ago you flicked away my perfect tears with your tongue and I was too intimate and vulnerable to fully feel it.
With a face this expressively cute and a brain this overwhelmingly neat I deserve a man to compliment my abundance completely.
I bet no one thinks about me at all. But that would be naive and hopeful.
If he is only supplying money as his position in your life, as soon as the money stops he no longer needs to be taken into consideration when making decisions because he is no longer a part of your life. If the only value you have is the provision of the bare necessities and no emotional connection you have no purpose after you no longer supply the means of survival because you made the decision and only did a quarter of the work needed to take responsibility for that decision.
Time isn’t who she used to be. Time used to drag and suffocate and strangle. Now Time is broad watercolor strokes to blurry, cotton eyes. I live the same day over and over with the same amount of nothing but I still do not feel the suffocation of monotonous repetition, not like I used to when I was young. I feel unfulfilled still, empty still. But it is not overwhelming. And this nothing that happens, the absolute repetition of activity happens so quickly now. Not like it used to. I feel like I’m always playing catch up. There’s never enough time, or maybe I am newly blind to her movement? Whatever the case, Time and I are strangers now, which is such a shame because I used to know her intricately, anxiously so.
Sometimes I dissolve into words, I think that’s why everything moves so fast.
I’m going to force my oddity on man and disregard everyone that has anything at all to say. I always said I was crazy, which drew extensive attention, but I no longer think that is fitting for me and who I aspire to become. I think I desire much more to be odd than to be mad. Eccentric.
A man bought me six and a half hours (after tax) worth of stuffed animals. And I haven’t even had sex with him. Fuck, that kind of feels like debt. Can I like hang out w him and like “drop” $50 somewhere he’ll eventually notice. I’ve never had to do that before, but I am willing to go that far. Actually, I did that to my GM last break (and I shouldn’t have, I deserve better compensation for my labor, but I refuse to be rude ever).
Why would I want a man that smells like wood?
Hanging out w me is like just me saying “no babies” over and over in different voices.
The feeling drips like sunflower blue syrup down my back. It feels too sharp to be harmless, but too quick to enjoy. And it leaves my chest hollow after it’s appearance. My limbs are heavy and my head is worried about the fluttering around that happened inside my chest last night, I wasn’t sure if it was death or symptoms of suffocation. My lungs just filled and I grasped my body from within my soul and when it was sufficient and neat, I dove back into the harmful thoughts of lust and the gripping behavior caused by being lonesome. This feeling doesn’t flow, it’s too stuck, it remains mine. So instead it drips.
I want to scream that I am good at what I do because a piece of me always felt that you doubted me. I am good enough that I read a love poem out loud to my high school class with the girl in the class and I didn’t get bullied for it, it didn’t scare her away, and my teacher complimented me about it. I was known by the whole high school as a writer and it wasn’t in a bad way. I used to write and edit peoples papers and I was an English tutor for middle school. My English 101 professor told me I should Publish my paper based on the three paragraphs that I wrote in twenty minutes right in front of him. I have not read a full book since sophomore year of high school and I am able to break down structures and themes of books by picking through about 30 pages, and from that I can developed a thesis, a five paragraph outline, research questions, and eventually a 6 page paper from 30 pages of a novel. I hung out with someone, read then my poetry and they were surprised that it was not cringe. Every English teacher I’ve ever had has loved me. I was already so familiar with the English language and the concept of grammar rules and their functions that I could speak in limited vocabulary sentences in Spanish when I was taking Spanish 2 (did I cry every single day, yes, but did I get an A, also yes). When I tell you I am a writer, I mean that it is my soul. It is the only reason I am alive. When I tell you I am good at what I do I mean I’m already published. Twice. I am good at what I do. So yeah, I know what a fucking genre is, bitch.
Even my abusers will tell you I’m good at what I do.
I need someone to press their soul into mine so that I am sure I have one.
Good morning honey bun 💛 I hope you have a wonderful day today and I’ll be sending good thoughts your way all day :) love you ❤️❤️
8 year old me would think I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. I remember how critical I was of other women, I remember the way I used to pick them apart in my head about all their imperfects. It’s bc I only heard those things about myself. And I’m not proud, but I was a child and I am completely different now. I remember my favorite parts about women too. I remember how I used to melt for long hair and belly button piercings and being unashamed. I am tall and wealthy and have a million expressions. 8 year old me would stare at me in the store and hope to be her, 8 year old me would love to be 17 year old me. It’s all she ever wanted. I am everything I ever wanted. I am gorgeous.
Sometimes it’s claymation filter and my body is yellow and I am ugly and when I laugh my teeth are bucked. I get so clear that I am ugly. I get so outside of my own perspective that I have never uttered my own name.
I am so self aware and violently gone and ridiculous. And I’ve been wanting this. That I thank god for planning and hard work.
I’m a slut. :) beep
1. Is there something you have been trying to learn lately?
- There’s kind of a few, because I feel like they all tie into one. Self acceptance is a big one, self-discipline, productivity, and trusting in God (which has proven to be the hardest thing. It hurts to trust in something you don’t see the outcome of, but it hurts too much not to trust in God.)
2. If you ever feel like you are different from your extended family, in which ways is this?
- My dad/s side of the family is really toxic. There’s a lot of hypocrisy, drama, mental illness, drug addictions, and religiousness on that side (and when I say religious, I mean shame-y religion which I don’t agree with at all.) But my dad was really different from them. He was very kind, open to council, very steady and stable despite coming from such a dysfunctional background, and he loved God so truly that a lot of that pure ‘religion’ that exists within his family was broken off of him, and then I have my mom too, who is very fun, kind, caring, etc, so I grew up around more normalcy than my cousins did. My parents just parented me well and they talked about God to me and my sister a lot in such a good way that I never grew up around pure, shame-y, rule-bound religion which I think is the explanation why I (and my sister) are very different from our extended family. My dad died when I was fifteen so I don’t see that side very often, especially because they’re just entirely chaotic and dysfunctional so when I am around them it’s way more noticeable how different we are. (Sorry for big explanation. I’m in a super reflective mood lol.)
3. When you think about your future career, do you envision yourself becoming the head honcho or CEO? If not, why not?
- I’ve always kind of wanted to have this leader-esque feeling to my career, but no, I don’t see myself being a CEO. I really just want to be an author so I guess I would have some level of being a leader to my own business, but not quite on a CEO type level. Right now, I’m trying to focus on fiction but I’m easily overwhelmed by it so I have been considering other mediums of writing. I just don’t know what that is or what fits right.
4. Is there something that you are sort of weird about talking about? Like, a thing that other people find casual, but you feel uncomfortable when the subject comes up?
- Sex, is the first thing that comes to mind, but not sex in general. More like the conversations that are too much, you know? Lol. Some people go really into detail or can be graphic about their sex lives and I’m just like, please don’t. I don’t mind generically talking about it, but there’s a line.
5. Can you think of a time when you seriously misjudged a music artist based on their name?
- I don’t think so.
6. Do you ever make negative comments about other body types? How does it make you feel when you see or hear negative comments about your body type, or a physical trait that you have (even when it’s not directed at you)?
- Sometimes I have the tendency to judge other body types (i.e. I really don’t like the thigh gap look), but it’s never malicious and I’m always trying to be aware that others can’t help what they look like and if they’re happy in their body, that’s what matters. I struggle with disordered eating and kind of sit on that line between having an eating disorder and not having one so I’m very sensitive about my body and its type. I have a chubby tummy and I’m so insecure that it’s not flat that when I hear anyone say anything negative about not having a flat stomach it’ll ruin my day or I’ll just feel really ashamed.
7. If you are in a situation where you feel like you are being attacked or not respected, how easy or difficult is it for you to stay and keep your head rather than leave in a huff?
- I’ll usually leave the conversation. Maybe slam a door lol. I’ll usually stand my ground until I finally feel like I’m not heard or no one cares and then I’m out.
9. When you think about how attractive you feel and your favorite features, are you comparing yourself to a societal ideal?
- Yes. I happen to be well-acquainted with the comparison game.
10. If you have a favorite song right now: What is it? How did you first hear it? Why do you like it so much?
- My favourite song is probably Coney Island by Taylor Swift right now. It’s from Taylor’s new album Evermore, but I have a couple on that album that tie for my favourite song right now (Honorable mentions: Willow, Cowboy Like Me, Tis The Damn Season). I absolutely love how poetic this song is and I think one of my all time favourite lyrics she has ever written is in that song: “If I can’t relate to you anymore then who am I related to?” This song for me just feels like I’m reading a poem and I just sink right into the story she’s telling.
11. Have you ever had someone that has been your friend for a while come to you and tell you they had romantic feelings for you? How did you respond, and did the friendship survive?
- I did have a friend of mine tell me they had feelings for me. We had become friends in the eighth grade and then he confessed his feelings for me in the ninth grade, I told him I didn’t feel the same way but we stayed friends and it didn’t ruin anything, and then he confessed again in the eleventh grade and I said no to him again. After that final rejection, we never really made it back to being friends for a few reasons a) We stopped being in the same classes, b) I think he was really hurt and c) his friend (who is most dramatic than a girl by the way, and ironically dating one of my friends at the time) stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and gave his two cents and that was kind of when it fell apart. I didn’t really know his friend so it was weird that he had this narrative of me that he said “was leading X on” when I was just trying to be his friend but it’s whatever now. That was when I was like sixteen lol.
12. Hypothetically speaking, if Hillary Clinton were running for President as a democrat against Chris Christie as a republican in 2016, who do you predict would win the election?
- Well, since it’s 2021 now, I would predict that Trump would win and divide America.
13. When you are getting to know someone new online (particularly someone male), how cautious are you of the possibility that they are serial killer/kidnapper?
- I honestly never think of this, mostly because we live in such an online world now and I’m an adult. I don’t really know how much of this still happens, but you just don’t hear about it anymore. Not to mention, if it is a male, it’s most likely a pedophile (which is still gross) rather than a killer or kidnapper.
14. If you are talking to someone that you want to get to know, what are your go-to conversation topics? What subject makes you disappointed when another person isn’t interested in or knowledgable about it?
- Tbh I feel like I’m really bad at conversations and I don’t know how to lead them because I’m quiet and scared of looking stupid. I know I really like deep conversations more than basic questions. However, it’s very important that I know their opinion on Taylor Swift because if there’s a chance they don’t like Taylor Swift, I already know that the person is probably not worth my time. For real though, if I’m having a conversation with someone, I usually get disappointed if I find out they’re a partier or drink a lot, because I’m really not into any of that stuff so it’s immediately like playing the Sims and having the minus sign appear above my head.
15. Say you have a lot of free time and want to join a club or class. You are browsing postings on local bulletin boards and online. What sort of group would you be interested in joining (e.g., book club, game group, crafts, golf lessons, etc.)?
- A romance-only book club, DIY club.
16. Have you ever kissed someone that you didn’t really want to kiss (not assault, just indifference)? Why did you go along with it and how did you feel after?
- Nah I’ve never been kissed
17. Have you recently learned anything about your personality? If not, have you ever consciously tried to change your personality?
- Sort of recently, it was something I discovered last year which is that I’m a neurotic perfectionist and what I mean by that is I’m a perfectionist in a very self destructive way. I’ve always known I was ‘particular’ or others would say ‘has high-standards/expectations’ but I realized that it’s literally just perfectionism.
18. Are you or any of your friends in a sorority or fraternity? Would you be interested in belonging to one?
- No and I don’t really understand what they are or why they’re a thing.
19. Can you recall a recent time that you were surprised, but in a bad way? - Yes. When my job eluded that they thought I was stealing from the registers. This happened around September 2020? Basically they didn’t flat out say that’s what they thought, but they made comments that the tills were either short or over at the ends of the night whenever I would be working and dead ass said “it looks suspicious”. I think it was surprising because I’ve worked there was two years and really felt like they should have known my character. (I literally am afraid of getting in trouble for the smallest things and they seriously thought I was capable of stealing from them lmao)
20. Do you feel uncomfortable when you receive praise for doing certain things? If so, does this make you less likely to do those things?
- No totally the opposite. I really struggle with validation and I never feel good enough, which is something I’m working on, but it feels almost like I thrive on praise. Maybe it’s because my love language is words of affirmation?? I just always like/need to know when I’m doing a good job so when I don’t get praise or validation my self esteem plummets.
21. Do you make spontaneous purchases often or rarely? When you are upset does it make you temporarily happier to buy yourself something new?
- Spontaneous purchases, often because I have no self control lol, but lately I’ve been working hard to try to save more. And yes when I’m upset, it does make me feel better to buy things.
22. If you have to wake up early for something, what time is just TOO early for you to be there and be presentable and sentient? Have you ever had to be somewhere that early?
- 5 am. I think I can manage 6 am, but anything before that is a no from me. I used to work at 5 am when I worked at Chapters, but it was a nice shift because I finished work at 10 am and then went home and napped for two hours and then had literally the entire day.
23. Have the majority of your romantic relationships started with a physical attraction or a deeper connection?
- I’ve never had a romantic relationship oops. But at least I read romance novels every day (and I write romance too!) I’ll try to answer this based on what I think would happen. I think it would start as a physical attraction and I think a lot of relationships start that way but they become something when you have a real connection. I think there are relationships that can start the other way though too, but I’d say for me it’ll probably be physical attraction first.
24. Do you ever catch any of those conspiracy shows on Animal Planet, like Bigfoot hunting or proof of Mermaids? Do those shows make your more or less likely to believe in the existence of such creatures?
- No, but I DO watch ghost conspiracy theories/”REAL GHOST CAUGHT ON CAMERA” videos on Youtube for fun. But no I don’t believe in any of that stuff.
25. Did you ever write a fan letter to a celebrity? How about submit something to a magazine?
- I’ve never technically written a fan letter to a celebrity but I wrote a post on tumblr to Taylor Swift a couple years ago that she’ll never see lol. And I’ve never submitted anything to a magazine, but I’d like to one day.
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Terry Lucas The Widening Spell The Future of American Poetry in the Twenty-first Century: Trajectories of Content and Form* Speculating on where poetry is headed in the twenty-first century reminds me of the dilemma physicists face when attempting to measure sub-atomic particles. If one determines their speed, then their position cannot be precisely determined, remaining somewhere in a cloud of possibilities. If their position is first determined, their speed remains a mystery. Such it is when speaking of the future of poetry. It is easy to observe, for example, by thumbing through journals published in the final two decades of the twentieth century, that the vast majority of poems were in discrete stanzas, with the line itself serving as the basic syntactical unit. In contrast, as evidenced by anthologies like The Best American Poetry and Best New Poets, a perusal of many journals today reveals a sizeable portion of poems that appear to have been composed by shooting words randomly onto the page from a gun without rifling, making it difficult to determine where lines (often composed of single words) begin or end, and whether the poems are to be read horizontally or vertically. Other poems may be blocked as paragraphs, the sentence (as in prose) taking precedence over the line. Others still may combine typographical schemes within the poem, taking cues from emails, texts, tweets, quotes, traditional lines of verse, found text reclaimed from novels, creative non-fiction, Wikipedia articles—the list is endless. A few others staunchly remain formal—sonnets, villanelles, and pantoums—some of which push against their boundaries of rhyme schemes and metrical patterns. Still others are left in their traditional trappings, but updated in their content to include a Facebook post gone viral or an episode of the latest reality TV show. Where all of this is headed is as unknown as the current importance of social media to human endeavors would have been in 1980. Only the speed with which it is changing is evident. Charles Simic’s quote puts into perspective any attempt to theorize about where poetry will be at the next turn of the century: “Poetry is always the cat concert under the window of the room in which the official version of reality is being written” (Best American Poetry 1992, xv). Since the official version of reality in eighty or so years is unknown, how can we know what the wailing against it will sound like? The prospect seems as difficult as predicting the behavior of cats. Notwithstanding, there are some trajectories already in place that will likely continue for some time, either before their arcs fizzle out from lack of interest, or before they are met with resistance from a new generation of poets—the past generation of poets perennially asserting, as Donald Hall quips, that “Poetry was always in good shape twenty or thirty years ago; now it has always gone to hell” (BAP 1989, xv). Three recent developments in American poetry that I believe will continue to influence the next generation of poets, either by accretion or by collision are: 1) the blurring of boundaries between genres and forms; 2) the loosening and (occasionally) the tightening of formal strictures; and 3) the bold enactment of content through form and other prosodic devices. There are a plethora of poets whose work illustrates these elements. The poets cited here have already significantly impacted, or soon will impact, the direction of twenty-first century poetry. In 2002, Jenny Boully’s first book, The Body, not only “poke[d] a hole in the notion of a book” (Greenberg, Jacket 19), it also defied categorization. Portions had been previously anthologized in Best American Poetry 2002 (16-24), as well as in Essay: An Experiment. The work consists of one hundred fifty-eight footnotes beneath blank pages—footnotes comprising quotations of real and imagined texts, definitions, poems, historical accounts, dialogue, notes, diary entries, nursery rhymes, postcard messages, fragments of dreams, references to films, novels, works of art, and characters assumed present in the missing text above them. Only a sketchy narrative and blurry figures can be formulated from them, as in the first-person reactions to the missing body of work’s supposed characters’ actions, embedded in footnotes, such as no. 29: After my sister and I stared at the magazine, we were, the both of us, afraid to part our legs or even to pee. For months, we were inseparable in the bathroom, but then, we became brave and decided to look for our holes, and if the spider did in fact come out we would kill it (18). Emotional moments like this one are rare; most entries are strictly informative in nature, normally for the purpose of elucidating text but, in the case of The Body, becoming the only text available with which to construct our own imaginative narrative, characters, and plot: 22a In cinematic terms, “actual sound” refers to sound which comes from a visible or identifiable source* within the film. “Commentative sound” is sound which does not come from an identifiable source within the film but is added for dramatic effect** (14). Of course, footnotes like this one, and many others, seem to be referring to not only the assumed text, but to the primary prosodic device used in The Body, as well, given the insistence of the themes of absence, ontology, and identity, set against the silent space that fills most of every page, and the omissions within many of the footnotes themselves, notated with a “[fragment ends here].” Some footnotes even approach self-awareness, as in the cases below: 143z The following excerpt from Robert Kelly’s “Edmund Wilson on Alfred de Musset: The Dream” was pasted above the author’s various beds in the various places she lived: “Dreams themselves are footnotes…” (72). 144 The mastermind of this roller coaster, in an interview, confessed that the goal of his work is to replicate a ride in which participants are scared out of their minds, yet feel the comforting presence of someone there, riding along and watching over them (73). For all that The Body is and for all that it isn’t, it awakened readers in the first years of the twenty-first century to the possibilities of taking the blank spaces between lines of poetry to their extreme conclusion, and of substituting a paratextual collage as a poetic form to enact themes that had been previously relegated to the body of the work itself. “Exhume,” the most emblematic collage poem that populates Kimiko Hahn’s The Artist’s Daughter (20) is reminiscent of Boully’s The Body in the number of genres presented. Hahn manages lengthy quotations, case studies, notes, email, charts, telephone transcripts, and journal entries—all within eight pages. Other similarities exist as well: the subterranean nature of the content, and the superlative manner in which that content is enacted in form, for example. Unlike The Body, however, “Exhume” provides material from which a narrative can be excavated, containing characters that, although not immediately identifiable, do move through plot, or at least through sequential dialogue, retaining core identity traits and points of view. K, for example, remains hesitant to explore psychological implications of having sex with corpses, shows skepticism toward causality theory of the behavior, and resorts to sarcasm in successive conversations, throughout four pages of text: [from] Telephone conversation 2/4 K: P is falling apart, dealing with preverbal terrors— D: Give your ex some credit—it’s actually impressive! K: Maybe—except why should I have to deal with them as well? I’m dealing with my own preverbal shit by writing about necrophilia. He should leave me out of it, our children also. He shouldn’t involve everyone else in his own necrophilia (22). The plot in “Exhume,” consists of the pieced-together, unfinished story of a writer who begins researching “Necrophilia” in an obscure text, only to discover that the disorder has metaphorical implications that are as equally difficult to deal with as the idea of having sex with the dead. The narrative flow of the piece is resisted throughout by blocks of information presented as direct quotes from Wilhelm Stekel (taking up almost two of the eight pages of text), and by reactions to that information in the various genres previously mentioned. This strategy of interspersing reactions between segments of the Stekel passages alerts readers that the title “Exhume” may be applied to the writer’s process of digging up a dead text: “When I read the Stekel passages I am at once disgusted and / intrigued—all my senses curiously spirited” (20). Four lines later she writes: “And / what of exhume 409.24: also, ‘to bring to light, esp. after a period of obscurity.’” This amplification of necrophilia into a metaphor for relating to other dead or unresponsive agents is further developed throughout the poem. The collage technique of cutting up the beloved Stekel text, and the writer quite literally having her way with each piece, is not all together different from wallowing in a corpse. This first note has turned slightly, and “each” can now be understood in another way: as each dead block of text that the writer wants to herself—not only to “Exhume,” but to feel in her mouth and ears in telephone conversations, to knead with her fingers on the keyboard, to rub “someone else’s raw imagery and private lexicon” (21) into every part of her writing she can expose—in short, to wallow. Thus, the collage form becomes an enactment of not only intercourse with a loved body, but of a nexus of attendant behaviors, as well. At one point, parts of a chart, providing a chopped up list of types of sexual gratification and occupations of perpetrators, is displayed (21). https://ojalart.com/the-widening-spell/?utm_source=tumblr&utm_medium=tumblr&utm_campaign=ReviveOldPost
SKL: The Novel is Yet Young (4.3.21)
The date is a count down! Hooray!
I’m still tired, still sore, and today was my brother’s birthday. He is 36. He said he feels old, his back and knees always hurt and he’s getting grey in his hair. My back and knees hurt and I have a single grey patch, and I’m 9 years younger. My body is just shit. He and his wife got their vaccines, which is cool. He mentioned how his wife kept getting cavities because of her undiagnosed Celiac Disease, and I wonder if that might have done damage to my teeth as well even if I only started feeling the effects last year, it could have been giving me weaker symptoms for a long time. I don’t have a lot of cavities, but three or four is still more than I’d like at this age!
Now onto tonight’s main feature, Langer on Literature and especially the modern novel.
I talked about this to some degree two nights ago, with how she describes the primary illusion of novels as “virtual memory” and as working in the mnemonic mode, and got into the misattribution of a ‘narrator’ to so many texts by so many critics and teachers. In the next chapter she gets more into the details of how novels work, what they give us and what the state of criticism and writing advice was up to when she published.
I think what stuck out most to me, though, is how she prized the novel as the timeliest of artforms for modernity. She quotes from Edith Wharton about how the art of writing prose fiction is the youngest and least formulated and most liquid of arts because of its youth. I argue that the sheer possibility space of fiction writing also contributes a great deal to this. While in music you have every sound you can control, in painting you have every color and shape that can be put to canvas, in literature you have every word and every sentence and every story ever told or that could ever be told. Admittedly if you write a book that is as similar to another novel as some pieces of music are to each other, you’d be called an unoriginal hack. So there are greater demands that pare down the possibilities.
There’s a famous short story by Jorge Luis Borges called “The Library of Babel'' about a library that had every book with every possible combination of the 26 letters and some punctuation and the space, each book is something like 410 pages with 70 lines per page and 80 characters per line. Most are total gibberish. Some form a word once or twice. In theory these products of monkeys’ typewriters produce all possible books, sometimes in multiple volumes.
This is obviously false in the light of something like The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski which abandons standard formatting and not just for fun, but for good cause. Likewise anything written in Arabic script, Chinese or Japanese, Korean (though it can be phonetically transposed much more reliably), Thai, Vietnamese, Hebrew, etc. etc. would not be in there. Borges was Argentinian and didn’t even include “ñ” nor the tilda. But like the monkeys and their typewriters, this really seems like a mistake to me, as a way to pitch the permutations of a novel. It’s an exercise in infinity, not in what novels there oculd ever be. Novels are made of events, and at least of words. Songs are made of sounds, yes, but we wouldn’t say a room of monkeys with the ability to make every sound would eventually produce every symphony because they would make so many more things, like the entire audible history of NYC.
Why does she call novels the artform most timely to the modern era? Partially because they emerge in it, but also because they deal in personality, a subject rarely dealt with much in art beforehand. Poems have dramatic figures or emotional sentiments, but character is rare. Personality, she says, is a modern concern, and so the artform best suited to dealing with it is the one best suited to modernity. Hold your breath on “what about drama?” because she gets to drama in the next two or three chapters. Film is obviously more recent, but film is in fact so recent it’s relegated to an appendix because she doesn’t feel up to the task of giving it a full glance yet.
She goes over some techniques of the novelist. She says that the goal of poets (a category she includes novelists in) is not to give us nice dreams to dream, nor to get us to dream the dreams they present at all, but rather to prevent us from bringing our dreams with us into the virtual world they provide. The barrier between actual and fictional must be maintained by the reader, she thinks. To get lost in a virtual world is fine, and it obviously comes back out with you a little, but the problem is bringing yourself into the virtual world and confusing yourself with the protagonist. I don’t think she means “don’t get immersed” but rather “do not mistake the protagonist for you yourself.” In Frankenstein we may empathize with Victor, worry what to do next like he worries, but the mistake would be if I put myself in his place and displaced him who knows where, and worry what Eleanor should do next. She talks about the techniques that get used to simultaneously establish the fictional quality and to reinforce the difference between fiction and action.
One I quite liked was having a character tell another character some exposition and act like this lends credence to the exposition. Normally if some stranger in a fishing town tells you some hearsay you might be more likely to doubt it as gossip than regard it as fact, but in a novel the use of hearsay counts on that marking as non-actual as a way to mark it as fictive, and thus to bring it more into the fictive world, and in the fictive world new rules apply and that kind of hearsay is actually worth more!
She also discusses how writers bring a “livingness” or a “participation” (neither word her first choice) to stories, how they feel real to us, like legitimate accounts we could believe in an instant. Sometimes writers disguise their books as histories for artistic effect, or as a series of letters or an official report of some kind. She points out how what you read in the newspaper which is supposedly “founded in facts” is less alive, feels less real, than explicit fiction! I went through this today listening to a story (this excellent podcast episode) I didn’t realize was fiction until the end, though it was a dramatic performance and not a novel. It had this verisimilitude that made me think it was fiction, oddly enough. You get this sense of things, they seem so real that you doubt their reality and often you wind up being right.
Lastly she talks about how some people try to really pass their fiction off as history, and how obviously different this is from an artistic technique done within the novel and is just a publicity stunt more often than not. Tied in with this is the opposite gesture, saying “dear reader” in a way that interrupts the illusion. When Charles Dickens says “dear reader” he’s breaking the narration, he’s not saying “dear reader” as some narrator or character telling the story but as Dickens. I agree that I dislike this when it’s done without real artistic reason and just seems to be a flag that says “this is fiction! Dummy!” which is totally unnecessary. It’s done very well all throughout the Terra Ignota books by the in-world narrator, but he is supposedly telling a historical account so even in his role as narrator to a fictional reader, he’s not doing what Dickens did. I get away with it because I write a fucking blog which is so far from art most of the time that I get ashamed of myself.
That’s most of the summary I can give her so far. I do want to get to one last thing, which is to ask if novels are still now what they were then. I don’t think so. Yes the novel is still one of the best ways to explore character and personality, and yes it often plays a major role in any good novel, but I think the thing that makes it timely has changed, and maybe it isn’t as timely now. I had to think, of course, of science fiction. Beginning with Frankenstein and continuing on to now, we’ve had a genre of writing that is often high artistic, and yes character driven much of the time, but does Frankenstein give us much on personality? We get Victor’s hubris, yes, and the monster’s incredibly articulate, rational, pained thought, and all his anger. But is that what interests us in it? Not really. She never says character is essential to novels, though, and is only trying to explain what makes them so big in her day. I think the fledgling growth of the novel caught her up here, as the novel is where “genres” stop being “formal kinds” like short story, novel, poem, etc., and starts being thematic kinds like horror, romance, adventure, and so on.
This, too, is a very modern sort of characteristic (badumtish) for the genre of novels, because it gives us this incredible plurality of use. A grosser thinker might call this a “cosmopolitan” characteristic, a lazier one might say a “post-modern” one, the disappearance of felt unity even in the face of formal unity (a divided country, but all citizens, a divided genre, but all novels). I’m left without a term except what I just said, plurality. Difference. Flexibility, versatility, variability, and so on. Novels are obviously not the only artform with this quality, but I maintain that they’re the first to really demonstrate it. Before this point (say the early 1800s, as novels really are quite new) music had its school and its forms and its eras, which are all very different indeed, and architecture had every building under the sun. Still, not until modern times did music begin to split into so many genres (within a single place, it was always varied globally but radio options now give you far, far more variety, and while architects always varied by the kind of building they would make, now you learn there will be a new Performing Arts Center and get to see five different whole schools of architecture propose wildly different styles. So it is with the novel, which I say started this extreme variety because words have the easiest sense of possibility to them, as the creation of a novel is the creation of a world and when you begin to consider possible worlds your options increase explosively, and they increase in a medium that everyone has some competence with, the written word.
This is also maybe why there is such a glut of writers out there. Just my luck.
And When I am Formulated, Sprawling on a Pin - Chapter Nineteen: I May Think of You Softly
The angst is starting to hot up now, because we can’t have a Chishiya fic without it :)
As always, you can also read this on AO3 here.
Just adding this because I’ve gotten a few messages about it, but once this fic comes to an end, I’ll start reading the manga properly so I can eventually write a part 2/sequel!
While I’m reading it though, I want to make a collection of one-shots based on this fic from Chishiya’s pov. I have a few scenes in mind to focus on, but if there are some you’d like to see, just drop me a message, comment, carrier pigeon etc... and let me know!
They were simple words, but they carried an awful lot of weight. The plan had to go perfectly, otherwise we were finished.
Arisu’s voice sounded from the other line. ‘Is everyone getting into position?’
I picked up the walkie talkie and headed to the door, only for Kuina to grab my arm and stop me. Perplexed, I opened my mouth to ask her why, but her pleading expression silenced me as she took the walkie talkie from my hand.
At the same moment, a new voice – Usagi’s – came through. ‘I’m in the hall, keeping lookout.’
Never taking her eyes from mine, Kuina’s hand tightened around my arm. She pressed the button to activate the walkie talkie. ‘We’re watching over the elevator to the top floor.’
Except we weren’t. We were here, in my room.
Once again, I began to ask her what was happening, but she shook her head, shushing me. The guilt in her eyes was unmistakable. ‘The coast is clear,’ she said into the walkie talkie.
Then it became awfully, awfully apparent what was going on.
‘The new leader is making a speech in the lobby,’ Chishiya said, ‘and all the executives and militants are at the annex. I’ll let you all know if there are any changes.’ There was a pause. ‘This is our only chance. I’m counting on you, Arisu.’
Shrugging out of Kuina’s hold, I sat down on the bed, trying to process the situation. This had been his plan from the start. Not the official plan, but a fake one: to use Arisu and Usagi to locate the safe, and to let them take the fall. Chishiya may know the passcode, but the location of the safe is something that can only be discovered once you actually go into the room.
He’s using them as his guinea pigs.
‘I’m in the Royal Suite now,’ Arisu said. ‘Though I can’t see anything that looks like a safe. Just give me a minute.’ My knee began to bounce nervously as the line went quiet. Then his voice crackled through, triumphant, ‘I’ve found it!’
A puff of air sounded from the other line, and I could practically hear Chishiya’s smirk. ‘The code, it’s 8022.’
There was a pause. ‘How do you know?’ Arisu asked. ‘Did you see inside the black envelope?’
I leaned forward, curious about how Chishiya had managed to figure it out simply by sitting in the same room. There were two possibilities here. Either Chishiya knew perfectly well what the passcode was, and he would concoct a lie to give to Arisu, or he only had an inkling about the passcode, and he was using Arisu to test it out.
‘No,’ Chishiya said, ‘but I didn’t need to. Aguni’s expression told me everything. He was surprised at first, then he was confused. I believe the paper inside was blank.’
‘Blank? But what about the passcode you just told me?’ Arisu asked.
There was an amused hum. ‘The wax seal. You remember Hatter’s ring… it was stamped with the word ‘BOSS’. When the wax seal was stamped, the embossing left numbers. That was the true code.’
You really are incredible, and not necessarily in a good way.
It certainly sounded convincing enough, though until Arisu tested it, there was no way of knowing whether this was the genuine truth, or an impressive sounding lie. And judging by the way things were going, he would find out very quickly.
My heart broke for Arisu as he spoke with pure, blind amazement. ‘Chishiya, I’d hate to be your enemy.’
I held my breath, waiting for the worst as silence ensued. This was a setup, after all. I glanced at Kuina, but she only looked at me apologetically.
Why does he have to be so cruel?
‘Chishiya??’ Arisu’s voice shook. ‘Chishiya, the code’s wrong?’
The static shut off into silence.
Even the stale air of my room tasted bitter as I gripped my walkie talkie, turning it over in my palm. It was tempting to just toss into the dustbin and wash my hands of the whole thing, yet I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Chishiya had backed me into a corner. It would be too dangerous to stay at the Beach now that the militants had taken over, but I also resented Chishiya for stringing me along in such a dreadful scheme.
Kuina was waiting for me in the hall outside. Now that the militants were busy with Arisu and Usagi, the royal suite was unguarded. This was the final test. The real plan. But as for whether or not I joined them…. I didn’t have a choice, or at least, it seemed that way. I remembered the words that I’d told Hatter when I first arrived at the Beach.
‘I still have a choice. It’s just that one of the options doesn’t look too great.’
There was always the option to stay and pretend that I had nothing to do with it. Except there was an obvious downside; Niragi wouldn’t settle for that. He’d be out for blood. My blood. It was either possible death or certain death… freedom or confinement. I knew which one I preferred.
‘Though wise men at the end know dark is right, because their words forked no lightning they do not go gentle into that good night.’
It was funny how fittingly Dylan Thomas’ poem sprung to mind now. I was going to die. That was inevitable. But I still wanted my voice to be heard. I still wanted to chase the meaning of it all.
Pocketing the walkie talkie, I walked towards the door. It almost felt sad. All the textbooks I had been given, the books that had kept me sane this entire time… I would have to leave them behind. They were gifts from Chishiya, but after what he’d done to Arisu, they were tainted. I shut the door behind me, quite possibly for the last time.
Kuina was leaning against the opposite wall, and when she saw me, her expression was one of relief.
‘For a minute, I thought you weren’t coming.’
I tried to smile. ‘For a minute, so did I.’
The hotel was quiet as we made our way to the top floor, it became apparent how quiet it was. The militants and executives were likely dealing Arisu and Usagi by now, and I hated to think of what was currently happening to them. Perhaps this was another reason Chishiya wanted to use them; as a distraction.
‘I don’t like it either,’ Kuina said. Her jaw was rigid. ‘I really don’t like it. But I have to get home to my mother.’
Some of the bitterness I felt softened. I couldn’t fault her for that. Not really. She had told me once, while we were on the rooftop, about her mother being the only one to accept her after her gender reassignment, and now her mother was ill, yet she was stuck here, unable to help. She had tried asking about my own life, although I’d brushed it away at the time.
‘My brother,’ I said after a moment. ‘I want to get back to him. He’s older than me, a psychologist. He went into psychology to research treatment options for certain mental health conditions. My mother isn’t happy… to put it mildly. She’s a mess. Probably it’s something to do with being married to my dad, or maybe it’s genetic.’
Kuina went quiet at first, then took the quit-smoking aide from her mouth. ‘Are you two close?’
I shrugged. ‘I suppose we are. We both grew up in the same place, and we both have that understanding. He was always the one who went first, and I’d follow him. He wasn’t scared of anything, not even my dad.’
Kuina and I didn’t say anything more after that. We were nearing the top floor now, and even though I couldn’t see him, I knew that Chishiya was lurking somewhere, waiting for us to give him the all-clear.
As planned, Kuina handed me a second walkie talkie, and I took my place at the end of the hall, looking out for any executives. Meanwhile, Kuina took watch outside the royal suite, where she could see Aguni’s room. So far, Aguni had remained in his old room, despite being the new number-one, and since Arisu and Usagi’s capture, he had yet to emerge.
Chishiya’s voice sounded through the walkie talkie. ‘You two, how are things on your side?’
Just the sound of his voice brought with it a mixture of anger… despair… betrayal… relief… and love. Even that. How was it that now, when I had never been more hurt by him, I still craved the safety I found in his voice.
I don’t know who I hate more, him or myself.
I didn’t particularly want to speak with him. But ignoring him wasn’t an option either. ‘You’re all good to go from where I’m standing.’
‘Aguni’s still in his room,’ Kuina’s voice crackled through. ‘We’re getting bored now.’
‘Then should we get going with the plan?’ he suggested.
I clicked my tongue, eyes scanning either side of the empty hall. ‘We’ve already gotten going. It’s you who needs to hurry up.’
‘Patience,’ was the curt reply.
I didn’t hear anything, but I knew that somewhere down the hall, Chishiya was entering the royal suite. ‘I don’t know if Arisu is stupid or intelligent,’ he said. ‘Hatter was paranoid. He wouldn’t have hidden the cards in a normal safe.’
Did Arisu try breaking into one of the hotel’s guest safes?
‘Where’s the real one then?’ Kuina asked. She sounded tired and weary.
‘When Arisu was caught,’ Chishiya replied, ‘Aguni wasn’t paying attention. He was looking towards a certain picture on the wall. It turns out the paper wasn’t empty after all. It contained a drawing instead.’
It was impressive how Chishiya was able to figure these things out through body language alone. For someone who seemed to have no concept of how people behaved, he sure paid attention to our behavioral patterns.
‘So, you had no idea where it was until then?’ I asked.
‘Exactly,’ Chishiya said. ‘What happened to Arisu was necessary if we were going to find the real safe. Speaking of which, I’ve found it.’
The way he talked about it was chilling. Not so much the words themselves, but the ease in which he spoke them, the lack of hesitation.
Kuina seemed to be thinking the same thing, as she sighed into the walkie talkie. ‘You used him just for that?’
The response was immediate. ‘In order to gain something, you have to lose something. He’s just a sacrifice. Things like this happen a lot, don’t they?’
The level of self-assurance behind those words… it was brutal. I always knew he was like this, but what did that mean for me and Kuina? Were we just pawns like Arisu and Usagi? Would our deaths be necessary too?
‘No, they don’t.’ Kuina said. ‘Not at all. I really don’t want to be your enemy.’
At this, I almost laughed. When I first met Chishiya, I had thought the same thing, and earlier today, Arisu had said something similar himself.
‘I get that a lot,’ Chishiya replied.
Perhaps everyone is his enemy. Perhaps the only person he sees surviving the Borderlands is himself.
The idea was a harsh philosophy, but it made sense. Chishiya had always made me feel like insignificant just through his calculating gaze alone. In that sense, he was just like my own father, and chances are that was why I was drawn to him. In this crazy parallel world, feeling small was the only thing familiar to me.
Maybe, in order to gain my own freedom, I have to lose Chishiya.
Now that the sun had set over the skyline, the evening had turned still and cold. Aside from the hum of cicadas and the chatter of crickets, it was quiet. Leaning against the outside wall of the hotel, I wrapped my arms around me, although it did nothing to stave off the shivers that tickled my skin. Nor did it melt the wedge of icy determination that had buried itself within me.
I’ll follow him for the sake of leaving the Beach… but I refuse to let myself love him.
I had never been a good liar.
To my right, Kuina was leaning against a lamppost, staring guiltily at the ground. Meanwhile, Chishiya removed his numbered wristband as he strolled towards a decorative brick archway that led out of the hotel grounds. ‘I guess we won’t be needing these anymore.’
‘Don’t you feel sorry?’ Kuina asked quietly.
He stopped. ‘Sorry?’
I looked at him curiously, wondering how he could seem so calm. ‘About what happened to Arisu… I feel really sorry for him. We both do.’
Kuina nodded, folding her arms tighter. ‘Don’t you?’
Chishiya’s eyes flitted to mine, and for the first time, I saw genuine surprise there.
Show me a sign… please give me a reason why I should trust you.
‘Is there anything we wouldn’t do in order to survive?’
A shudder ran through me, and this time, it had nothing to do with the breeze. His words confirmed my every suspicion, but I couldn’t let myself feel so disappointed. I needed to block it all out… block everything out.
Then he smiled. It would’ve been easy to mistake it for his usual smile, if not for the hint of bitterness there. ‘If you both feel so worried, then maybe you should go and help him.’
Kuina looked at him, eyes wide with regret. However, she didn’t move. Neither of us could. We both had our own reasons why we needed to survive and return home. Knowing this well, Chishiya took a step towards the arch, only to stop once more. His brow furrowed as he whispered something under his breath.
Growing impatient, I pushed away from the wall and walked towards the exit… towards freedom.
Chishiya’s hand clasped around my wrist, dragging me back. I yanked my arm away immediately, both hating and loving the feeling of his fingers on my skin. ‘What do you think you’re doing?’
Kuina appeared at my side, and the three of us watched tentatively as Chishiya tossed his wristband through the arch. A red laser burst through the plastic, leaving behind a singed hole.
I stepped back, horrified. This couldn’t be… could it?
The Beach is a game arena??
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