From Golden Eye to Emerald Orb

For my dear friend Kat at TheKatWrites:

Dear Emerald,

Hi!  I know! A snail mail letter, right? I thought it would be a chance to practice my penmanship. I know it’s awful.

Thank you, Emerald, for always being what’s needed, for always being so strong, so hopeful. I mean, it’s what you are now even. Literally! The living embodiment of Hope! So appropriate! ^_^ I am ridiculously proud of you, Emerald.

How are your Mom & Dad? I hope you’re getting time with them now after everything. You deserve lots of lovely family time! And I’ll boot any big-headed little space elf who says otherwise. Things are okay here. Jon and I spent a week with Ryand’r after everything but I don’t really think he was doing any better when we left him and I don’t know when he’s coming home.

I miss my friends. I miss our friends. I miss the way things were, to be brutally honest. Even if we didn’t agree all the time–which obviously we didn’t–I miss just being friends. Being together. Life feels too much like a set of checks and balances anymore with my people.

Sorry, I didn’t meant to be all depressing. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate you and I miss you. I love you, Emerald. All the time. You know that, right? I hope so. Hit me up when you’re back on campus and I’ll make us entirely fattening chocolate chip cookies and then you can watch me eat them while I whine at you to eat just one. Cuz that’s how it always goes, right? ^_^

Love you, Emerald. Shine on!


Betsy/Christine - Three Doors Down

NaBloPoMo Day 20: Missing Like Wishing

I’m sure I have mentioned this in varying forms over the past few weeks, months, what have you, but I miss gaming. I mean, live gaming. Physically being in a room with people, either sitting around a table or moving between spaces, engaged in our characters, laughing at antics, putting on our acting hats, and slipping beneath the skin of someone else. I miss the interaction, I miss the theatrics, I miss it all! I miss planning my costume/outfits for game, tapping into what my character is thinking or feeling that time and how that would influence what they choose to wear. I miss my closet full of gowns, the flowers for my hair that were chosen specifically for their meanings. I miss the “letters” full of flowery language, figurative (and sometimes proverbial) bear traps hidden beneath seemingly harmless nosegays.

I miss walking into a room full of friends and, for a moment, feeling that rush and thrill of nervousness as if I were walking into a room of strangers (especially if there were new people there). That feeling that has me either wanting to hide in a corner or run away. I would get over it eventually and be caught up in the fun and flurry of activity from soft rp to the rampaging plot bus to wrapping up rp at the end of game before nominations. At any game I have ever attended, we have always done some form of nominations at the end of game, acknowledging those who surprised us, delighted us, put themselves out there for plot, or whose characters royally screwed up and thus made lots of story and to-do for the rest of us.

I miss late-night “afters”. I miss gathering to eat with friends in the small hours of the morning, still gleeful and charged up from roleplay. I miss sharing conversation and good food and laughs while even on the verge of sleep.I miss slipping into the skin of someone else and living their life for a while. I miss feeling their heart beat and expand and drop and break within me. I miss being with others, with friends, with people who make me laugh, cry, hate, and love all in the space of a six-hour game. I miss feeling the energy of others pulsing all around me, even if it left me drained and weary at the end of the night. That was a cost I could live with most of the time. I miss my playtime.  I honestly can’t help but wish to have it again and thrill and be elated when I do get chances to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies.

NaBloPoMo, Day 2: Written on My Body (Or Not)

I don’t have any tattoos. It’s just not for me. I have nothing against anyone who does, however. In fact, I have seen some absolutely beautiful body art in my years. I have researched tattoos for roleplay characters.

My favorite of said characters is probably Daenara Heron, a circus snake/belly dancer vampire who had a cherry tree tattoo. The trunk and roots wrapped up and around her left hip and the branches spread out in full blossom over her back and shoulder blades. She saw it as strength and beauty, grounded in strong roots. She had been born Roma, her identity rooted deeply in her family and their traditions. The tattoo reminds her of them and her history, even though those near and dear to her have all long since passed away.

[RPG] To See Beyond What Is Seen

Did you know that Odin was not the only Aesir to be blind? Oh, no! Tales tell of Frida, daughter of Heimdall, who was unlucked by fate to lose her sight, bereft of the beauty of the world around her and her work, which she so loved. But she refused to be cowed by such luck and worked ever more the harder. She was eventually rewarded by another goddess for her ingenuity and given magical sight, her senses stretching far beyond and into the world, like her father. Some say, in battle, her voice could be heard above the fray calling encouragement and inspiration to her fellow gods, godlings, and demigods, for she was unwilling to let any fall for lack of her effort.

Frida knew that dark days ahead awaited the Aesir but she forged onward nonetheless. She is credited with innovation, strength in adversity, the unraveling of secrets and puzzles, and the opening of doors.

*Original Character Concept created for Scion game “Rains of Ruin”.

Enjoying to Love, and Loving to Enjoy

This is so very true for me. I fall in love with characters all the time. Sometimes I have a vague notion of how they would look to me, even if there is a description of them given by the author. But it ultimately matters little to me just how they look. I fall for the way they speaks and think, the way they interact with others. A prime example of this is Mercedes Lackey’s incarnation of Robin Goodfellow in her Elemental Masters  series, and Ceclia and Marco of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. The newest victim of my ‘soulful love’ thus far is William Bellman of Diane Setterfield’s Bellman & Black. When it comes down to it, he is nowhere near as lightheartedly charming as he was before the death of his mother but I still admire the character in a way that I cannot fully explain.

I enjoy falling in love with novel characters. I enjoy loving them and I love enjoying them.

Another character that I came to love was the Phouka in Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. Sure he was annoying, superior prick at times but he was genuine in his desire and efforts to protect Eddie and, eventually, in his care for her. I admit that I tend to fall for the supernaturally charming characters. Can’t really help it. Sometimes, they prove unworthy of it but, at others, they prove to be wonderful underneath all the bluster and brine. And that’s why falling in love with characters is totally worth it.

NaBloPoMo Day 11: In Celebration of John Fowles

November 5, 2003

She watched Nadya, sitting there across the aisle of the airplane, this woman in a black silk Anne Taylor skirt and accompanying blue pinstriped blouse, her high-heeled Mary Janes peeking out from underneath her hem. She had rather the air of a college student or high-school teacher, and she observed the woman across the aisle with great attentiveness. But why uphold pretenses?

What am I to do with you? You are so much stronger than I planned you to be.

I drummed my fingers on my knee, trying to figure her out. Nadya was supposed to have fallen in love, like any young woman of her imagination and dignity, but, instead, she started working at a publishing house and living on her own in a bayside split-level studio. She is made of stronger mettle than I thought. She was supposed to fall for a charming Welshman with an aquiline nose and smirking mouth, but she had instead become his ‘minder’ and a sister figure. I watched her sit there, legs crossed, head back against the broken-in upholstery. A copy of Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman lay facedown in her lap, open to about chapter 13. I wonder if she knows how pertinent that novel—indeed, that chapter—really is at this moment? Of course she doesn’t; she’s asleep, as she always is on airplane rides. It is a beautiful hardbound copy, obviously from her publishing house. Leather cover, golden-edged pages, a taste of history amidst modernity.

But I digress.

I had planned everything out for Nadya. She and that Roman-nosed darling of a man would become enamored with their relationship mortared by complementing personalities and shared passions for literature, life, and each other amongst other things.

I do not know what to do with you. Apparently, you–and other characters of my imagination—do not like to be lorded over, made to go here or there. You are unpredictable, balking at perfectly chalked out plans.

Then I realized what Fowles himself said was true. One cannot tell characters where to go and what to do, they decide how it will be done, regardless of the author’s ends.


NaBloPoMo Day 3: Willing Victims

My characters know what they are signing up for when they first start talking to me. Or, at least, they should know. I am not kind to the characters I create. Their stories are often forged in pain and heartach as much as in growth and triumph, perhaps even more so. I have characters who have lost their families, who have suffered unspeakable acts, who have found that their perfect lives were little more than the shiny red skin on a rotten apple. I am very unkind to my characters.

Perhaps my husband put it most succinctly last night: “When it comes to characters, happy is boring.” And, oh, how right he is! When my characters are happy and content and all is right with the world, I get bored. So I’m just supposed to write happy moments, that’s it? No, I can’t do that. I need adversity for my characters to overcome, pain to write them through, losses to help them deal with. I can’t write strictly happy. One of my characters once called me the “self-torturing writer” and it’s true. Often, most of the issues that I end up having with my characters are of my own making. Because of my love for drama, my characters often aren’t in bliss for too terribly long, even if they have worked damn hard for it. I do like to see them happy but, as I said, I don’t often know what to write aside from picket-fence scenes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my characters. Very much! They are complex and colorful and full of depth. They are smart, strong, caring, heartbroken, high-flying, deep-feeling, self-aware but self-deprecating, and I love creating great, intricate stories for them. They are wonderfully willing victims who give me the power to create worlds, castles in the air to which I can escape, new people to learn and new stories to tell, inner strength to develop, loves to find and lose, and triumphs to achieve from the rubble of failure. I wrap my stories around me like a cape and watch my characters walk and live upon its hem.

“Yes, another post about roleplaying”

So the other night, in an online/live action X-men game that I play, my character set about comforting another PC who had been to emotional and mental hell and back during a live game session a few days before. And I have to admit that dear little Delilah did a pretty good job at comforting her distraught classmate without a single set of dice being thrown for skills or anything. *is rather proud of this fact* The scene was incredibly fun to run and was with someone with whom I do not get to play very often, which is always fun. 🙂 The player also gave me noms (nominations) for the scene: “Noms to Cheshire. It is almost insane how good a mom you’ll make someday.”

Delilah Croft, codename: “Cheshire” – illusionist

That made me feel nice. I do try to transfer my own mothering instincts into the character of Delilah/Cheshire,  as not many of my characters actually end up embodying that trait. She has walls, she can have a very prickly, cold nature if you’ve crossed her, but for those who manage to get through (over) the walls, if she has come to care for you, woe betide anyone who falls afoul of you and therefore afoul of her. Delilah is also one of those characters who embodies her fair share of bitterness. Almost all of my characters have a bitterness seed somewhere; something happened or been done to them that they will be working for years to overcome. Some of my characters have a seed of fear because of what they have done in the past or because of what they have lost. I almost cannot bear to have a character for whom all is perfect and hunky-dory, because then the character feel flat and false to me. Incomplete, as it were. I want my characters to be round and dynamic.

Now, my Hogwarts character, my little Ravenclaw, has had a better life than most of my characters and why not? Her generation hasn’t had to deal with the evils and terrors of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. They have become nightmare tales for her, told to her by her uncle Kingsley when he trips across the pond to visit her and her parents. That doesn’t meant that I’m going to leave my little Dulcet so porcelain perfect. Oh, no. She’s a teenager; things are bound to happen, as we all know.

The hubby and I were having a conversation the other day about roleplay characters and how people create them. I was getting fed up with something and he commented to me, “You know, I think we all create the same characters over and over again, just with different quirks to them.” That we all have essentially one idea that we are in love with and, no matter how many times we create characters and try to make them different and unique (thought they are), they will carry a bit of that beloved idea with them. Because that beloved idea is a part of us or perhaps something we wish was a part of us or that we could be.

Some people denegrate roleplaying as merely escapism and, yes, it can be a method of escapism, of getting away from the real world into one where you can do impossible things from time to time. But that is not all it is, I can assure you of that. For me, roleplaying games are a blessed opportunity to create a beautiful story with other people. And I have done just that. I have created beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting stories with friends, my husband, and even new acquaintances that make me cherish characters and hold them to me long after their stories have ended. For me, much as for Jo March, it is the story that is the thing. I will put my characters through the worst I can think of, if it serves to create a wonderful story. Ask just about anyone that I have rp’ed with in the past and they can confirm my claim. If I can create a beautiful story, whether happy ending for my character or no, then I have served my purpose and my joy in roleplay.

And, what can I say? I’ve got a few more years of this left in me, at least. ^_~