Saga - OT The Song Hour--OC's--(Fic gift for Findswoman)--Author thanks for Fan Fic Awards

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by leiamoody, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    “My friends— “ Zizi Pao raised his four arms up in the air “—on the ninth hour of every night in my establishment, I devote myself to the second greatest passion I allow myself…”

    “What’s your first passion?” a random and inebriated voice called out from the crowd gathered outside the pool of gel-filtered light that illuminated the Pho Ph'eahian on the stage.

    Zizi smiled. It could have been the one night when the Love Song Sing-A-Long was canceled. But it was a favorite pastime not only for himself but the crowds who regularly crossed the bridges and found their way to his tapcafe on the western side of the Cita dav Ilo. For almost twenty years many residents of the capital and its outlying suburbs came to Zizi’s for half-priced drinks, dinner, and off-key singing while accompanied by his signature mandoviol (nicknamed “The Midnight Princess” due to its polished obsidian appearance).

    “Kind sir, my first passion is living within every moment of joy.” Zizi’s upper left hand strummed two random chords on the strings of the mandoviol. “Joy comes from love, whatever source creates that love.”

    Applause and whistles from the assemblage who sat in the shadows greeted his declaration. Love was a universal emotion that permeated the lives of every being. Of course this crowd, like every other group who showed up in his establishment every Benduday, would gather around the little circles of artificial greel wood with matching four seats and commune with songs both ancient and new.

    Zizi strummed the opening notes of a long favorite tune. “I shall begin tonight’s session with a folk song traditionally attributed to Panhalion, the most famous troubadour of the Republic Classic era. He traveled the space lanes, going everywhere playing music in honor of his beloved, a Lady of Deiu whose name is lost to history.” His chuckle was accompanied by a slight whistle, an unfortunate but occasional sound which resulted from a species whose native language included squeaks trying to speak fluent Basic. He shrugged, then hummed the opening notes of “Under the Five Moons of Deiu”, a ballad which matched the evening’s theme. Many nights the songs of love were a celebration of the grand emotion. Tonight was not appropriate for such an exalted state. The death of a long-ago beloved placed sadness into Zizi’s heart, so tonight’s songs would be about the downside of the Grand Emotion. “Panhalion moved from star to star telling everyone who listened about the life and loss of his beloved queen…” he took a deep breath “…who I shall name ‘Mariklare” for the sake of our lyrical narrative.” A momentary quiet permeated the tapcafe, as everyone settled down for the next hour.

    Zizi took a deep breath, opened his mouth and began to sing…

    While his words told of a love struck young man hoping for reunion with his beloved, Zizi’s mind wandered to another story. In this tale another troubadour, but also sculptor, first met a beautiful woman on a planet ruled by xenophobia and oppression. The artist/musician had a display on the cobblestone promenade of the capital, which meant everything to the young Pho Ph'eahian who suffered from a perpetual lack of funds due to the higher pursuit of creativity. It was impossible to become an Artist-In-Residence on Sacorria, but somehow the alien’s glass sculptures caught the eye of a major government official. Yvar Trindello was fascinated by daring works of art created by offworlders; his attraction emanated from a snobbish concept of noblesse oblige, but he did believe in generous patronage. Once he granted the itinerant sculptor/musician a temporary residency visa, Trindello championed the progress of his latest favorite token. When he arrived at the Cobblestone Square on that particular morning with his family, the human member of Sacorria’s ruling Triad wanted to inspect the alien’s latest creations. Trindello seemed amused by the glass confections that the four-armed alien created, but the nobleman’s daughter was fascinated by the hand-blown blue and green creations. Mariklare was nineteen, blonde, blue-eyed, and always rosy lipped. (The artist later discovered this pink coloring was the result of a limited edition lip tint from Gwerlayne Interstellar).

    The young Sacorrian purchased a little glass mermaid on that morning. At some point Mariklare came to visit the artist/musician at his studio, first accompanied by her mother but eventually alone (in disguise). Something that resembled a love affair blossomed between them. The offworlder who happened to be a blue-furred, four-armed alien was never certain if the human girl found his artistic life more fascinating than the fact he was another species. But within his studio and living quarters the alien sculptor and human noble discovered a mutual fondness that grew and flourished.

    Zizi’s voice rose as he began “The Cycle of Ithassa”, a sextet of ballads that chronicled another doomed love affair derived from the poetry of Sumi Zanthe. Such matters of the heart could not last forever, because two beings inhabiting the same plane could also reside in two separate worlds.

    It was no different for the sculptor/musician and the noblewoman. Of course her father and the artist’s patron discovered their affair. Yvar Trindello placed his daughter under house arrest, while the artist was escorted under armed guard to the spaceport and placed on a one-way shuttle to Corellia. The heartbroken artist found his way to a planet in The Colonies, where he renounced sculpture and devoted himself to the only other creative pursuit that could never perpetually remind him of a fair-haired, blue-eyed, rosy-lipped lost love.

    Zizi soon finished the first hour of song. An enthusiastic round of applause, accompanied by the subtle crying among the sentimental folk, proved songs of tragic love were just as popular as the joyous tunes. He raised his two upper arms away from the mandoviol. “Thanks to everyone. Now any brave soul can step up here to the microphone and take my place. I shall return for the last hour to once again join in musical communion with all of you.” More applause greeted this declaration, followed by the shuffle of chairs as a few individuals prepared for their own performances.

    Zizi retreated into the shadows behind the stage. His destination was a corner alcove near the kitchen, where an upturned delivery crate was set with a plate of confit de quadduck à la Coronetisi and the bottle of sherry he purchased from the rare antiquities dealer. Supposedly the bottle was found in a sealed vault deep within Coruscant, held for millennia by a skeleton. The story was most likely untrue, but the deep emerald smokeglass vessel reminded him of many years ago, when his four arms created similar items that charmed the heart of a Sacorrian girl. He wanted to remember that brief and shining time, instead of acknowledging that Mariklare had grown into a bitter woman who never had any choice in the direction of her life. The news he received that morning of her premature death from chronic ethanol poisoning (what other species including her own called “alcoholism”) forced him into undesired sadness. But that was the price of loving another being: light intertwined with darkness, pleasure intermingled with pain.

    Once amateur hour was completed, along with his meal, Zizi returned with The Midnight Princess to the stage and the eternal comfort of music.
    yahiko, Kahara, Chyntuck and 4 others like this.
  2. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014

    leiamoody, this is just fantastic, from Zizi's characterization and backstory to the seamless integration of all those fanon elements to the important presence of music—not only your knowledge of cool tidbits from official lore but also your deft understanding and handling of fanon come through in spades here. And I have now learned about one more species, so thank you! :D

    The way you handle the romantic element of this is so cool because it takes two of the usual romantic motifs to a much different dimension than usual: the "poignant reminiscences of long-lost love" motif and the "doomed love between characters of different status (however defined)" motif. That became clear as soon as you mentioned that this particular Love Song Sing-A-Long was going to feature songs about "the downside of the Grand Emotion" rather than the usual songs of happy love, in memory of the death of a past beloved. And we are catapulted into that next dimension when we hear what really happened to his long-lost Mariklare: how the blond, blue-eyed, rosy-lipped beauty became jaded, bitter, directionless, and an alcoholic. Even the Gwerlayne lipstick was a bit of a hint, in its way: only later did Zizi learn that one of his favorite features of his beloved was artificial in origin.

    Ditto for the "doomed love between characters of different status" aspect of the story, It's not only Yvar's disapproval of his daughter's love or even the xenophobic atmosphere of Sacorrian culture at this period (and it is just so cool how you worked in Ewok Poet 's extensive and detailed fanon elements on Sacorria here) that's dooming the relationship between Zizi and Mariklare. One subtle internal crack is already visible:

    So, despite all they shared, Mariklare seems to have never quite seen Zizi all the way as a person and an artist but mainly as an alien, an exotic novelty. I wonder if this is, in the final analysis, the same kind of tokenism shown by her father, only expressed in a very different form. [face_thinking]

    There's a centuries-old—nay, millennia-old—old motif in Earth poetry about being so sad that one can't sing or make music anymore. And this motif you turn upside down in an interesting way, too, because it's sculpture that Zizi gives up, not music, when he is forced to leave his love. Perhaps because his glass art was itself so much like that shining, jewel-toned time he had with Mariklare, so luminous and yet so fragile. Precisely because he never minimizes its fragile nature, Zizi never gets to the point of wallowing in overidealization, because he knows that "light intertwined with darkness, pleasure intermingled with pain" is part of the very nature of true love. And because he knows the power of music. It is eternal comfort, but also an eternal reminder at the same time, and, like love, it features a healthy mix of pleasure and pain. (And the fact that you featured music so prominently just goes to show you know the way to my heart! [face_love] :D )

    And isn't that one of the trademarks of leiamoody writing—that even the darkness are so radiantly and so beautifully written that they bring light and pleasure to all who read them? No one can do that like you. @};-

    I wonder if Mariklare kept that little glass mermaid her whole life. (Ooh, dare I hope that someday you'll write her side of this story? :D )

    ^:)^ , =D=, and thank you so much!
    Kahara, Chyntuck, divapilot and 3 others like this.
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    I love Zizi and the music he makes.
    Kahara, leiamoody and Findswoman like this.
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 8

    Aug 31, 2004
    What a unique request from the so very talented Findswoman and gorgeously poignantly handled. =D= leiamoody - I have a strong feeling that there is nothing you cannot touch and turn to sheer, shimmering gold! =D= Your words never run too short but they always make one long for more! In the best way, like one French fry is never enough LOL ;)
    Kahara, leiamoody and Findswoman like this.
  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    I am not sure where even to start, as every single piece of yours is so complex that I am...becoming self-conscious about my comments. [face_blush] So, if I miss anything, I apologise in advance.

    First of all, this is so, so, so fitting for Finds. :) I saw it when she had already gone to sleep on Wednesday and I was like "OMG, she's going to adore it!" I was right. And then, there were a couple of hours - I am not making this up - of incredible giddiness. Like, one of my characters ended up in somebody else's story...and not just anybody's story. And you got him perfectly!

    This is the antithesis to most love-related things I see on here. No wishful thinking, no idealisation, no meant to be kind of a thing, and there's that Coraline principle applied - things can go bad at any given point and you'll want out more intensely than you wanted in, in the first place. And that is precisely what it's going to be like in most situations in real life with so many bad apples around.

    Another thing I can't worship you enough for is the critical approach to the whole business of having to find somebody and having to be in the kind of a relationship the society expects from you - monogamous, romantic, sexual, hopefully ending in a marriage, with children. The nature of Zizi and Mariklare's relationship, if there was ever one to begin with, is left ambiguous in the best way possible.

    And then, there is the whole possibility that it was not the above mentioned "ideal" kind of love - Mariklare could have been rehashing her father's xenophobic views, that she was just addicted to new or attracted to unknown, that she was rebelling the best way she knew how...or a little bit of each.

    Seemingly, whatever Zizi knew of his temporary home could have made him think that girls would really have such rosy lips and appear healthy, because, you know, everybody works in fields, they eat healthy food and...yeah...right. :p Maybe.

    Ultimately, his goal...

    the only other creative pursuit that could never perpetually remind him of a fair-haired, blue-eyed, rosy-lipped lost love

    ...totally didn't work.

    The news he received that morning of her premature death from chronic ethanol poisoning (what other species including her own called “alcoholism”) forced him into undesired sadness. But that was the price of loving another being: light intertwined with darkness, pleasure intermingled with pain.

    Because we cannot escape from love or what we thought was love, or anything else that made us change and that makes us who we are.

    For the end, I would like to know more about the lyrics to these pieces as well as Zizi's mandoviol. If it has a name, then it's got to have a story, too!

    Overall, a PERFECT story. Realistic, incredibly emotional and a lot of green and blue throughout it - you seem to be in a green and blue mood these days! Thank you for sharing it and wow...the remaining fic-gifts have A LOT to live up to.

    P.S. I hope you don't mind if Mariklare appears in my works, too. I wanted to reference your entertainment planet in case you ever make it available, but this is an actual missing piece that was meant to be completed at some point, and it fits. It fits perfectly.
  6. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005

    I love your description of the songs. Even without hearing them, or even knowing the exact words, i get the feelings behind them.

    Two lines I really loved:
    Love was a universal emotion that permeated the lives of every being.
    Such a simple sentence with so much truth and power behind it.

    But that was the price of loving another being: light intertwined with darkness, pleasure intermingled with pain.
    Wow! I don't think truer words have been written. Loving people is a risk, but it's one we continue to take because it's usually worth it.

    Ewok Poet, Kahara and Findswoman like this.
  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 11, 2014
    Well, here I am, late again for a review... which has the upside of reading everyone else's comments that highlight details I might have missed, but also the downside of not having much to add, especially when Findswoman has been here before me and has said everything there was to say about the way you handled the love story component of this amazing little fic ^:)^ (and of course, writing a music-centred story for Finds is a real present, though that shouldn't surprise me coming from you).

    I'll repeat however what she said about how you seamlessly integrated the fanon elements in your vignette, but also how you cleverly remind the reader that Zizi is an alien every time they're about to forget it in the flow of the narrative ("ethanol poisoning" was a nice touch).

    The one aspect I haven't seen commented on yet is the way you set the stage for the tapcafe where this scene takes place. I didn't miss the reference to the Cita dav Ilo (actually now I'm tempted to propose we co-author something about artists on Aeithera at some point, because I really took a liking to that planet of yours) and I can perfectly imagine the setting, a rather casual place with "half-priced drinks" yet extremely civilised -- because it's on such a civilised planet, but also because the host is such a gentlebeing. Did you have any specific RL sources of inspiration for this? It reminded me of some Parisian establishments that are half-way between a bistro and a cabaret, and target a somewhat more affluent clientèle (albeit not a particularly wealthy one either) than the hole-in-the-wall places or the basements where people would listen to chanson réaliste. There's something very Belle Epoque about this setting, and I'm picturing it lots of wrought iron and mirrors with sophisticated frames in there, in proper Art Aeon style.

    I totally agree with everyone above that these characters deserve more story, and I hope that it's coming soon to an Outer Rim drive-in near us.

  8. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Thanks to everyone who read this story and took the time to leave detailed reviews. :)
  9. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    Wonderful sense of the mood and scenery here; I liked the details such as the lighting and the background given on the diner -- and the Love Song Sing-A-Long. It all feeds into a sense of down-to-earthness for Zizi, even as his character is very involved with the … well, luminous might be the best word for it in the GFFA. @};-

    Had to quote this because it’s beautiful. :)

    There’s something really nice about how open Zizi is, even as he has his secret pains. The death of the woman he used to love is part of the inspiration of his choice of song, even transposing her name into it -- and it’s a really interesting story that he has, from the sounds of it! The fact that the relationship was on a shaky basis to begin with (what with Mariklare possibly being attracted to the idea more than reality), and that things ended so badly adds an extra poignancy to the memories Zizi is recalling.

    Very true, and Zizi’s acceptance of this shows he’s gathered a lot of wisdom over the years. In spite of everything that he misses, he has built a good life for himself and has grown into the ability to mourn and still find joy in things.

    This is a beautiful story. As always, I am impressed with the vividness and depth of the places and people that you create for your fanfics. It's a treat to pull up a chair and hang out with them. =D=
    leiamoody, Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.
  10. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Thank you for leaving such a detailed review. :D

    (I apologize to everyone who left reviews because I didn't leave equally detailed replies. Normally I'm decent with that sort of thing, but the reviews here are beautiful, seriously. I'm a bit stuck on what to say other than "Thank you once again" :)).
    Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.
  11. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    The reviews are beautiful because this is, by far, one of the best things some of us have ever read. @};- And that's not fake flattery, or anything even remotely similar, but you know that. ;)

    That said, two months after this has been posted, I am still giddy about the justice you did to my fanon, how you expanded it and how many inspiration you brought me by writing this. And I wasn't even the gift recipient!
    leiamoody and Findswoman like this.
  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    Zizi won the best character! All is well with the universe! Now, what would he exactly think about winning?
    Findswoman likes this.
  13. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    His own art studio. Enough free time to go back to creating handblown glass objects. Running a couple of restaurants on Aeithera is fine, but it's not the pursuit he envisioned for himself. (Well, that was grim :p).

    Okay, he would prefer a bottle of Cinzapani '19. Two bottles. :D

    (Thanks to everyone who nominated and voted for this story! I've got amazing and freaking awesome fans! :D :cool:^:)^)
    Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.
  14. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    That needs to happen in a certain sequel of a certain story with the word "black" in its name, then. Will be done. :D :D :D :D Consider that an unofficial prize. ;) Zizi's existence lead me to great ideas and that is how creative people do and should inspire one another - especially when writing about other creatives. @};-
    Findswoman and leiamoody like this.
  15. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    All right, good. :D

    A little background on Chinzapani: It's a gray-colored liqueur with slivers of edible silver made on the planet Oniragin. The year I quoted is considered one of the top five best vintages ("'19" is the shortened version of Year 5919, which is part of the planetary calendar equivalent to 1000 BBY in the Galactic Standard Calendar).
    Findswoman and Ewok Poet like this.