One of the things that I vowed to do, after this election, was to shout louder.
I know that sounds “not constructive,” and liberals are always trying to find constructive ways to do things, liberals are always trying to find ways to communicate with people. But I now live in a red state and I’m so sick to death of Trump people mansplaining to me how I’m too naive to understand how nobody means anything by swastikas and also E-MAILS, God save me from the invention of electronic mail and their determination to mansplain to me, a woman with a career in which I have ALWAYS been governed by important confidentiality obligations, the proper etiquette for work e-mail. I had, before this election, been noncommittal with these people, mostly because I didn’t feel like getting into political debates every time I step out of the house (people here seem to think mansplaining politics is like the weather: an endlessly safe topic of conversation. Actually, they would probably like to mansplain the weather to me, too). But now I have decided that what I need to do is shout louder. I think there are more normal people in this country than crazy and horrible people, but we get drowned out by all the shouting, because we tend to want to speak in reasonable tones like grown-ups. So. No more. I’m shouting louder. I live in this red state, too.
Anyway, the women’s marches were good shouting-louder moments, as is all of the civic engagement I see online every day. This is our country, this is our democracy, and we have our right to shout.
So I went to the local Democratic Party meeting, because I want to know what I can do to make this red state less hellish to live in. Over drinks a few nights ago, one person, referring to my blue state upbringing, said, “It must be so nice to live in a place where you have rights.” YES. IT IS VERY NICE TO LIVE IN A PLACE LIKE THAT. I recognize now how privileged I was and I want *everyone* to get to grow up with rights. I want to be trying to help accomplish that for everyone.
The meeting was actually really interesting. They started by asking us what we were worried about, which of course was this massive flood of “EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE.” Everyone was like, “Sooooo do I need to be more specific than ‘massive free-floating anxiety that we’re all about to die’?” A couple of people sounded off on the fact that we need to feel more comfortable saying we’re Democrats. I was relieved that I am not the only person constantly being accosted for not being a Trump person every time I have to meet someone new. I was also relieved at the turnout, at how many Democrats there were. The turnout at all Democratic events down here has apparently at least doubled since the election. Other people want to shout louder, too.
At one point, though, in the flood of concerns (they were things like “civil rights,” “reproductive rights,” “gun control,” “immigration,” “religious freedom,” “voting rights,” etc.), someone raised their hand and said, “The problem with the Democratic Party is we care about everything. If you ask Republicans what they’re about, they’ll say: lower taxes, less government. We need something like that.”
Okay, first, I think that’s a lie. They’ll *say* that but it’s a lie. They want less government except when it comes to women and people of color and LGBTQ people and non-Christian people and then they want ALL THE GOVERNMENT up in every inch of people’s business. But they would *say* that, and it *is* nice and pithy.
So we spent some time trying to come up with a nice, pithy summation of Democrats. Several people were like, “Democrats: We Care About Others.” Or “Democrats: We’re Nice.” I think the one that really resonated at the end was a proclamation that Republicans might be about less government but Democrats are about individual rights, and I think that is not such a bad summation.
The other thing that I thought was interesting, though, was that when people found out I was a lawyer, several of them said, “I wish I was a lawyer. We need lawyers.” The thing is: I am not an especially useful lawyer in this time. But also: I don’t think I have ever in my life been especially proud of being a lawyer, but I was thinking, over the weekend, that in the midst of the entire systemic breakdown of our constitutional system, some of the people I was most proud of were the lawyers, not just the ACLU doing what they did but the immigration lawyers running to work, pro bono, through the night. A constitutional crisis happened, and the lawyers? They showed up. We’ve done a lot wrong in legal education but, by and large, I’m proud that we seem to have turned out people who got the lesson we gave them, about the privilege that it is to practice law, about how much society needs fair-minded lawyers to speak up for the rights of those who don’t have voices. I teach my students as I was taught--the importance of the rule of law--and I am proud to be watching them stand up for it. Laws can do terrible things, of course--TERRIBLE things--and it is definitely not foolproof, but...yeah. We teach them to fight, within the system, to work hard and shout louder in the courtrooms of this country, to shout louder on behalf of everyone who can’t, and they did that this weekend.
So, I don’t know, tl;dr, things are such a mess, but I am grateful for how many of you, like me, have been forced to show up and shout louder. Because we can hear each other now, from every corner we can *hear* each other. The shout gets louder.
Me, Age 36
My Mother, Age 60
My Father, Age 65
My Middle Sister, Age 32
Nephew, Age 6
Niece #1, Age 32 months
My Youngest Sister, Age 29
Niece #2, Age 27 months
Niece #3, Age 8 months
Setting: Living room. Monday night, 9:30 pm.
Nephew has been diganosed with pneumonia and a double ear infection and is confined to the house for the next couple of days. Middle Sister is taking the day off of work to stay home with him, but still wants Niece #1 to go to preschool for the day. Middle Sister lives three streets away from our parents. Youngest Sister lives across the street from our parents.
Middle Sister: (via text) Can someone take Niece #1 to school for me tomorrow? I don't want to take Nephew out of the house.
Me: (via text) I'll do it.
Me: (to my parents) I have to take Niece #1 to school tomorrow.
My Father: (instantly concerned) Whose car are you taking? [sidenote: my car is in the Nashville Park 'n' Fly, waiting for me to fly back down]
Me: ...Can't I take yours?
My Father: I have to go to work for 8:30 tomorrow, and that's what time Niece #1 starts school.
My Mother: Well, can you drop Niece #1 off on your way?
My Father: (heavy sigh) I don't really want to. I guess I will if I absolutely have to.
Me: It's fine, I'll text Youngest Sister and see if I can borrow her car.
My Father: No, you know what? Take my car, I won't go in until 9.
Me: Oh, okay. Are you sure?
My Father: Yeah, it's fine.
Setting: Dining room. Tuesday morning, 8 am.
I am putting my coat on.
My Father: Whose car are you taking?
Me: ...What? I thought I was taking yours.
My Father: I have to get to work for 9.
Me: Yeah, so I thought I was going to take Niece #1--
My Father: You won't be back in time for me to leave.
Me: (blank, because I know that last night we had a completely different conversation about this)
My Father: Okay, you can take my car, but you need to rush right back here.
Me: No, this is stressful. It takes me a while to get the kids in and out of the car when I'm in charge, and I was going to stop at Dunkin' on my way back. I'll just borrow Youngest Sister's car.
My Father: I didn't know you wanted to take my car.
Me: I thought that's what you said last night.
My Father: No.
Me: (calling Youngest Sister) Can I borrow your car?
Setting: Dining room. Tuesday morning, 9:30 am.
I am eating my blueberry muffin and sipping my iced tea.
The phone rings.
It is Middle Sister.
Middle Sister: What did you get at Dunkin'?
Me: A blueberry muffin. Why?
Middle Sister: Oh. I thought maybe I had your meal and you had mine.
Me: Why, what did they give you?
Middle Sister: A sausage egg and cheese sandwich.
Me: (sigh) I ordered a heated coffee roll, I swear. They gave it to me all wrapped up, but it was round so I assumed it was right.
Middle Sister: It's fine, I'll just eat it. I just didn't know if it was yours.
Me: How is Nephew?
Middle Sister: Drinking Gatorade. What are you going to do today?
Me: Work. First I have to take a shower because I didn't take one before going to get Niece #1.
Middle Sister: Okay, I'll talk to you later.
(two minutes later)
The phone rings.
It is Middle Sister.
Middle Sister: EGT!
Me: (alarmed) What's the matter?
Middle Sister: You are not going to believe what Niece #1's teachers just called to tell me!
Me: Oh, no, what did I do wrong dropping her off?
Middle Sister: No, it's not you. They say she's so sick she's laying down falling asleep, she won't even play.
Me: ...What? She was fine in the car. We sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the ABCs the whole way up.
Middle Sister: I know! I said that to them! I said she was fine all morning, ate breakfast, ran around singing. Anyway, someone has to go back to get her. Do you want me to go?
Me: No, you can't bring Nephew out.
Middle Sister: I know, but I feel bad making you go again. Do you want to come over here and watch Nephew?
Me: No, because if I get sick and then Dad gets sick I will never hear the end of it. Can't Youngest Sister go? Call her and tell her I'm too embarrassed to go.
Middle Sister: (laughing) Okay.
(two minutes later)
The phone rings.
It is Middle Sister.
Middle Sister: Youngest Sister just poured a bowl of cereal and is sitting down to work. She says you shouldn't be embarrassed.
Me: (sigh) Fine. I will go.
Middle Sister: Can you stop at Dunkin' and get me a heated coffee roll, too?
(hangs up phone)
Youngest Sister: (via text) Don't be embarrassed! Tell the teachers she was fine when you dropped her off!
Me: (via text) It is not even ten o'clock and this day is already ridiculous. Also, I need your car again.
(Denouement: Pretty sure Niece #1 is fine. She just wanted to hang out with her mommy and older brother all day. Because she smiled brilliantly as soon as she saw me, and we once again had to sing the whole way home, and she just kept saying "Me, and Mommy, and Deedee [her name for her brother]" so happy and thrilled, and ran right into her mommy's arms when I dropped her off. I ended up not having to get another coffee roll because my sister ended up eating the egg sandwich because she was too hungry to wait. I have left out of this story the part where there were two cop cars, a fire engine, and an ambulance parked around the corner from my parents' house, blocking the whole street. Also the part where I came home to find two other cop cars in a different location searching someone's house. Also the part where I have to let a repairman in between 11 and 1 today, so I had to rush to take a shower when I got back.
I am now showered. The repairman has just arrived.
I have not done a single minute of work.)
The “news” that Google chooses to highlight for me is a hilarious and sadly accurate snapshot of my life. Like, today it was like “Tom Hardy Reads CBeebies” and “Yuri on Ice Fans Are Angry at the Hallmark Channel.” Apparently the Hallmark Channel is making a movie about a figure skater who falls in love with her coach. Also apparently, the movie was already in production by the time YoI premiered, so it seems basically impossible that it has anything to do with YoI and is just a coincidence. This isn’t surprising: Creativity seems to run in cycles, and similar ideas seem frequently to crop up at the same time. But I am fascinated by this for two reasons:
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I was tagged by @pttucker to do one of these, so here we go!
January: ...Did I really start the year by posted Arthur & Eames’s KtCR epilogue? Was that really only this year? It feels like I wrote KtCR ages and ages ago, but apparently that was the first thing I posted this year. (The epilogue was definitely written long before this, I feel sure.) Later that same month, I spent basically an entire weekend stranded by a snowstorm. Someone came up with the idea of doing flash blizzard fics, which is how I wrote The Option of Furnishing a House with Blanket Forts, while I was sitting in the VIP room for Amtrak at Chicago Union Station. I had the VIP room admission because I’d paid for a sleeper car for my overnight train to Memphis, and I *loved* traveling by train, so much that I definitely wanted to write a fic about it but couldn’t really decide what kind of fic I wanted to write. So I borrowed an old trope and wrote a Five Times fic on the train: Five Times Arthur and Eames Met on a Train, And One Time They Definitely Didn’t.
February: In February I posted a little more to the Next Big Thing DVD commentary, which is something I really have to finish, sorry, guys. I also posted Valentine, a little ficlet in the Luckyverse, because I felt bad that I hadn’t had anything special planned for Valentine’s Day, oops. IO had some kind of fabulous idea during a watch party and I FINALLY wrote and posted a fic called Don’t Think About Elephants which I’d basically wanted to do ever since falling into the Inception fandom. Oh! And it was a leap year this year, which meant an extra writing day, so I wrote not one, but two fics, both called Bissextile, because, I don’t know, I thought that was clever or something.
March: In March I think I agreed to give away a fic to whoever won the Oscar pool? Somehow there were two winners? It’s always vague but I have to say, in all honesty, that the two fics that came out of this--A Delicate Art and Staple Item--were two of my favorite fics to come out of this year, I re-read them all the time. So thanks for the prompts! Someone expressed disappointment that I hadn’t had a fun St. Patrick’s Day fic planned for HGTV-verse. So then I wrote The End of the Rainbow, because, yeah, they had a point. In March I also posted Any Eventuality, which was a Lucky fic I’d written ages earlier and had been sitting on for a rainy day...which happened in March because it’s a fic about an ill Arthur and I was sick with a cold at the end of March this year and so felt I should post a sickfic in commiseration. Oh! Wait! Then I also posted You Should See My Cuts of Cheese in March because, like, I don’t even know what goes on with my fic, you guys.
April: April was a slow month. I don’t feel like I wrote Sherlock and John’s KtCR epilogue that month, but now that I look back I feel like I must have, as there was nothing posted until the end of the month, when that showed up. I do remember it was hard for me to write, because by then I hadn’t written Sherlock and John in a while, so it wouldn’t surprise me that it had taken me a few weeks to get it out. In then, in what is actually a fairly typical move for me, having spent a few weeks fighting with writing, I sat down and wrote an entire novella in a weekend, based on a lingering dream I had one night: The Proper Form of Address.
May: I posted nothing in May. Which is unusual for me. I must have been recovering.
September: I usually use Labor Day weekend to write myself something fun. This year, in honor of Gene Wilder, I finally tackled the Willy Wonka AU I’d been longing for forever: Golden Ticket. I also posted Biggest Fan, which was a fic I’d written for the Inception fanbook thing.
October: October was a month of Reculer pour mieux sauter, which was a fic I think I started last year and finished writing sometime this spring. I also had too many ideas for Halloween fics and so wrote two: A Very Special Halloween Episode and (the unexpectedly feels-y) Right Here, Love.
November: In honor of Reverse Bang and some AMAZING art, I tackled a pairing I’d never written before! Arthur/Ariadne, in the aptly titled Ariadne. I also wrote puppy fluff for more AMAZING art (thanks, Tom Hardy, for loving dogs) called Puppy Love. And then I, like, randomly wrote a fic called Why Is Eames So Hot?
December: I spent November in dire need of fluff. So I wrote myself a lot of it, posting it throughout the month and finishing in December. It took the shape of a sequel to The Proper Form of Address that I titled The Proper Protocols. And, finally, @kedgeree11 ran a brilliant Secret Saito and I ended up writing Silver Bells (despite the fact that I’d had no intention of writing Christmas fluff this year).
Year in Review
If I’ve counted correctly, I posted 32 fics this year and, according to my AO3 statistic, they were composed of 342,152 words. That’s actually only about half of the production of last year, and it feels like I wrote only half as much this year, but looking back over the year I’m very pleased with it. I wrote A LOT of shorter, spontaneous stuff, and that was very freeing and fun. For many years now, my fic posting schedule has been meticulously planned. It was nice to just write-and-post, no heavy plot pressure, no schedule to keep up with. If something inspired me, I sat down and I wrote it. And nothing got out of control the way NBT had, which was maybe a break I needed. :-)
I also started writing more original stuff this year and actually liking it, which was not an experience I’d had in a while. But Archer and Bennet and their world were delightful to get to know and I think I needed that floodgate to open for me.
The most challenging fic I wrote this year was “Reculer,” because that’s an intense fic and I was worried I wasn’t getting it right. I am very, very pleased with how it turned out.
On the agenda for next year: my academia AU, a couple more Lucky fics, the NBT wedding sequel...oh, and an original project!
And, hopefully, lots of fic that will take my be wonderful pleasant surprise!
Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for being the most hilarious and inspiring group of people, thank you for every single wonderful comment you leave even when I’m a terrible writer and take forever to get back to you, thank you for making my life more incredible on a daily basis. I wish you all the best in 2017!
“We never have adventures anymore,” wails Lucky. “We are old and boring.”
“You’re seven,” says Arthur.
“Can we sleep in the garden?”
“Why not?” counters Lucky.
“Your daughter wants to have an adventure and sleep in the garden,” Arthur tells Eames.
“We should,” says Eames. “We could catch up on the butterfly gossip.”
“Yay!” exclaims Lucky.
“Butterfly gossip?” says Arthur.
“Oh, yes. If you stay quiet and still, petal, the butterflies will whisper in your ear.”
“What do they say? Stupid British double entendres?”
“No, brilliant ones,” replies Eames. “Come along, poppet, let’s gather supplies for our garden outing.”
That's it for the drabbles. No matter which holiday you're celebrating this month--or none at all--I wish you an incredibly joyous and peaceful time.
His mother is in Thailand with Saito. Christmas isn’t their thing—they spend it with Eames’s parents—and they haven’t even spent Chanukah together in years.
Normally Arthur lights a Chanukiah. But this year the first night of Chanukah is also Christmas Eve, and Arthur’s feeling a little untethered from his traditions, in Eames’s Christmas world.
Leave it to Eames, though: a Chanukiah on the table in Eames’s parents’ kitchen, Eames and his parents next to it, smiling.
Arthur lights the Shamash and the first candle, says the prayer, and marvels at how he loves Eames more fiercely each day.
It wasn’t that John was snooping. It was just that—he was totally snooping.
And he jumped a mile when Sherlock said, “What are you doing?”
“Christ,” said John. “You startled me.”
“I shouldn’t have. You should have heard me coming. I didn’t make any attempt to be stealthy. You weren’t paying attention, obviously. You were absorbed in something else. What?”
“Nothing,” John tried lying, and then he couldn’t help but burst out, “You have a folder called ‘porn’ on your laptop and it’s entirely old murder cases.”
“Yes,” said Sherlock. “What else would you have in a porn folder?”