Monday, July 22, 2002
Back from Holidays
As promised last night on the phone, I have retrieved not one but two versions of Amel's recall of his last meeting with Di Mon. They are called DIMON.rtf (Ranar POV) and xmonarb.rtf (Amel POV, older, less fleshed out version), and reside in the pending directory for Far Arena. I also found and deposited there: needkill.rtf (Horth's infamous "Some people need killing, Erien" scene), talk.rtf, fixdreams.rtf (old lead up to Amel agreeing) and postswear.rtf. Came across bits in them that prompted me to stick them in the Far Arena raw material category. Not sure whether we've covered off, dropped, etc. or not in each case.

Read the Challenging Destiny interview, thanks. And appreciated your remark re: "edits, smedits". I suppose that's why The House of Em is happening. The itch to be doing something new. I've also very rarely had a plot structure fall in my lap the way House of Em has. Glad you are okay with my handling of Mira, thus far, in the first person. Our discussions about it on the phone have helped, too. I had just finished Dostoyesky's The Idiot before drafting the scene I last sent you a bit of, in which Mira meets Amel again for the first time :-). Same person but as "Amel" for the first time, that is. I never knew The Idiot existed until finding it in Renaissance Books in New Westminister, despite my fondness for Russian novelists and Dostoyesky in particular. Very spotty education, the self-directed sort. One of the things I found engaging about it was how the usual thing does not happen. That is, Dostoyesky sets up situations in a typical Romantic manner and then does something entirely different. Myshkin's love of the Natashia, for example. We are not party to the scene in which it happens, but we learn eventually that Myshkin believes she is mentally disturbed and does not love her but rather feels a crushing pity for her. One that fulfills the foreshadowing of tragic destiny by destroying him, but does not do so through any typical mechanism of sustained misunderstanding or separation. I've always believed people have enough real, thorny issues to divide them and frustrate love without reducing all to a simple, single trigger. Hence, in the "meeting" scene with Amel and Mira, they get the Big Questions out of the way immediately (You had suggested she would start with "I didn't know you were conscience bonded", which pointed in the right direction). The source of conflict is not any misunderstanding nor false impressions of the past. It is rooted in Mira's cynical, adult outlook on life which is a product of how she survived past events. The fact that Amel's betrayal wasn't voluntary cannot undo its consequences. His unchanged love, although welcome and satisfying in some senses, threatens her hard earned peace and later her place with yet another patron. In this case, Ev'rel. The second half has to be from Mira's point of view, because it is her conflict which is the more interesting one. She tries not to see, or to care, about Amel making sacrifices for her, and when she cannot be indifferent is angry with him for his lack of sensible self-interest. I think it would also be interesting to have his seduction by Ev'rel (with regard to sympathetic feelings) mirror Mira's, but out of different motives. Mira will view her own motives as more mercenary. As things progress both women's engagement with Amel, emotionally, corrodes what is good and healthy in their own relationship. The accusation (perhaps by Kandrol, who must earn Mira's opinion in Throne Price) that Amel is not good for Ev'rel should be a valid one. But I will make that ambiguous also. He could be good for her if she didn't hate and fear the "better" feelings he inspires, taking them for weakness instead of a potential source of strength. I should be able to express, through Ev'rel from Mira's perspective, hard questions about love and need, trust and wisdom. Amel is not as colorlessly meek as Myshkin, in the The Idiot, but like Myshkin he messes up people's peace with themselves because he embodies ideals people do not ordinarily achieve, only aspire to, and is helpless before the potence on his own compassion in close proximity to torment in another. I've done some thinking about "saints" lately, and decided that the point at which they lose all human interest is the point at which I can no longer view them as meaningful. They disappear in a haze of "one with the universe" glory, awe inspiring as a clear blue sky, but no longer huggable. To be one with the universe is to be no one in particular, and that is itself a betrayal of loved ones. If there is anything sacred about being human--or plain sentient since this is a Sci Fi context--, for me it is comradery. The sense of having, and needing, fellow travellers to share the journey. Whether I feel that when I hug my child, kiss my husband, share a thought with you or find my living mind echoing the wonder or cynicism of a writer either dead or never likely to reply to me in person, what is splendid is the the otherness connecting through consciousness. Never been much on "one with the universe". It's just another word for dead or assimilated (think Borg). I will lose my feeling for Amel if he ever gets so sublime he isn't lusting after fresh apples, hot baths and good company given half a chance to be himself and happy.

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