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Saga "The Wrong Side of History" | Dear Diary Challenge 2018

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Pandora, Jul 12, 2018.

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  1. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Title: "The Wrong Side of History"
    Characters: Original
    Timeframe: Original Trilogy

    Summary: It wasn't what they had said, but they might as well have: This is your chance to atone for the sins your father committed. Don't you want to be on the right side of history?

    --------------------

    "The Wrong Side of History"



    1/Need to Know


    My mother called me up today, and she had actual relevant news: she has accepted that one and only offer on the Coruscant flat. She managed most of the talking—which was good, as I hadn’t a thing to say that I haven’t wasted time telling her before—and I do think she was pleased, and in her private thoughts, relieved, with the results. She only ever lived there, and in the mirror-polished sleek buildings of the political district, to begin with because of Father’s Position. She hasn’t ever told us that she doesn’t like it there, but (I know I’ve thought this before, and I may have even written it down) she doesn’t. That would be understandable: it’s a ****hole.

    Yes, I know—I live on Eriadu. No one has ever been known, of all the people in residence here, to like Eriadu. But while I have always lived in a city, and I don’t have a sacred woo-woo connection with nature (I suspect I may be of the wrong species for that), I do not think a world, an entire planet, really ought to be comprised of naught but cityscape.

    I don’t care if millions upon millions of beings compete to live on Coruscant. They can have it with my own relief: it is made of machine-metal straight down to the core. The only ground is that hard flat duracrete pavement flooring--and that is in the skylit dumps of the upper city.

    Of course, I didn’t tell my mother any of that. While I listened to her rose-flushed voice telling me the details of the sale, I lit a cigaret awake with my free hand, and wandered over to the theatre-picture windows as I took in the first gasping-hard drag.

    It was nearing the end of the morning in this city (which my mother was kindly aware of), and the window was flooded with thin stained-grey light. There was an occasional echo from the traffic thudding past in the sky outside. I had been awake for one mere hour, when I had given up on sleep in part because my back hurt. I had intended to dress, but since I didn’t have one reason to leave the confines of my flat, I was still slumped in that dressing gown I have with the chewed lace cuffs. The soles of my feet were gritty with glitterdust.

    My mother accepted my answer when she asked how I have been, and I told her that I was “oh, just fine.” It has always been easy to lie to her, so easy that it doesn’t feel like lying at all: because I’m only telling her what she already wants to believe.

    We have already discussed her plans for once she takes leave of that flat: she and Prunella will be returning to live here on the home planet. Now it is a reality, and they have an agent looking into the house market. Prunella is predictable and wants to be in the City, but my mother told me that she would prefer to live here, near both Wilhuff and me.

    That might be too close for you, I said, finally offering an opinion. I looked away from the blank picture of the sky inside the windows. I sat down on the golden leaf settee and smashed the burning end of the cigaret on a tea saucer.

    Oh, you don’t have to worry. I won’t let Prunella call you up every single day, my mother said, going along with a bright shivered laugh.

    But I hadn’t had to force that remark. This wasn’t one of those days: when I have a boiling cloud of thick wool space-black words in my mouth, and about to fly loose. I don’t actually speak them—it took long enough, but I know better—but it makes it difficult for me to say anything else. That may be one of the reasons why I have taken up writing, though it hasn’t been a benefit.

    It’s actually like I’m an animal with its skin ripped off and tears drooling from its custom-made violet candy eyes. And that is another thing I shan’t be telling anyone.

    But anyhow: the conversation with my mother didn’t take up so much as an hour, and then I was left with the rest of this day to live through. I got dressed.

    After several more hours, Wilhuff called up, as I rather knew he would. He had just dragged himself from his bed, and gotten the message with the same news I had received. His voice through the speaker was dancing and perky with his fresh dreamstick high, and he wanted to talk and talk. And talk. I obliged him.

    Today, on this day, I decided to read one of the Hyacintha Era novels I loaded into my datapad last week. I know, I know—no one uses their time to do anything so quaint as read fictional stories. I don’t want to think about how well those who are actually writing the things are making out. These were the Basic translations, though—I can no longer read Middle Grizmalti well enough to make out more than several lines of a poem. It really hasn’t been a skill I could use outside the paperdry air of the university. But I can say that I used one of my degrees today. Well: sort of.

    I made up a sandwich (in the style of that kaffa house I was at last month) in the kitchen, and then managed to make myself eat half of it.

    It has been some while since I last read anything at novel length, so when I had difficulty concentrating on the screen, and not the snarl of my thinking voice, I stood up and went to look out the window. The sky was pale, and empty save for several smashed limp clouds in the distance, and I couldn’t watch it for too long. It was, to be honest, like being asleep again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
  2. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    First of all: NEW @Pandora STORY!! And not only that, it's a NEW @Pandora DDC!! Woohoo, wayhey, woot, and all of that sort of thing! [face_dancing]

    Ahem, all right, now that I’m a little calmer: Wow, so color me very, very intrigued by this beginning. I was wondering as I started reading this if the protagonist is anyone we might know from your earlier stories, and now that I've read it through I think I can guess some things about the protagonist and the premise from the few hints you drop:

    Imogen Tarkin, whom I first met in the Character Interview thread, and the Wilhuff mentioned here is the dreamstick-addicted Wilhuff Tarkin II you introduced us to there. I’m going to make a rough guess that she, Prunella, and Wilhuff are siblings? And if they’re related to THE Tarkin, then there are going to be some very interesting repercussions explored in this story, I’m sure.

    As always, I'm in awe of your talent for describing this grimly jaded character in her whisperstiff environment (the chewed lace cuffs were just really completed it, for some reason) and engaged in whisperstiff interactions with her family members. As in your Naboo handmaiden stories, it's one of those situations where no one really knows anyone else’s feelings nor thoughts, nor can, only with these characters being who I think they are, that dynamic takes on a much more sinister cast. Whether it’s the mother’s pleasantries, Wilhuff’s drug-induced yakking, or even Imogen’s (?) choice of book, these characters’ interactions are all about keeping themselves and each other inside a world of rarefied illusion. I have a sense that that dynamic is going to pervade this diary—and that’s totally cool by me, because I know no one can pull it off like you! Very much looking forward to seeing where you take this. @};-
     
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  3. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Well, I can guess from Wilhuff's name that this narrator has reason to feel that she's "on the wrong side of history" having to do with her family, even though she sort of seems to have a whole system of distractions set up to not face the outside world.

    I'm interested to see what's going on with her, since she seems too far removed from the "normal" people outside her family's Important circles to be having some kind of moral crisis (or is she?), but there is something eating at her all the same. [face_thinking]

    As always with your worlds, the setting feels like a character of its own -- a very stifling one in this case.
     
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  4. divapilot

    divapilot Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Fascinating. One thing about writing the diaries is that you will, inevitably, have to come up with some reason why your character is writing a diary in the first place, and yours is brilliant and tragic:
    Your character is writing because the words inside her are so corrosive that she must get them out, even if never to be spoken aloud; but the ones that are not released are still inside her.
    As always, your details make this come to life. The smashing of the cigaret into the tea saucer; the glitterdust stuck to the bottom of her feet; the pale, empty sky. I am curious if Wilhuff is THAT Wilhuff, and if he is it makes sense, this feeling of a decomposing aristocratic world that has everything and nothing at the same time.
    I'm looking forward to see where this goes!
     
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  5. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Even if your narrator would not be part of the Tarkin family, it´s an intriguing beginning for a diary. Because only a very cool and hip person would decide to leave Eriadu behind for Coruscant.
     
  6. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: First of all: NEW @Pandora STORY!! And not only that, it's a NEW @Pandora DDC!! Woohoo, wayhey, woot, and all of that sort of thing! [face_dancing]

    It was either this or "I Are: Diary of a Cute Kitten." (Which would have then become a dual diary from the points of view of two! cute kittens, "Little Kitten" and "Her Eminence.") But I don't think RCF (Real Cat Fiction) is allowed for posting here.

    But yes, it has been quite a while since I commenced writing a new story. Thanks for the woohoos and woots!

    Ahem, all right, now that I’m a little calmer: Wow, so color me very, very intrigued by this beginning. I was wondering as I started reading this if the protagonist is anyone we might know from your earlier stories, and now that I've read it through I think I can guess some things about the protagonist and the premise from the few hints you drop:

    These are indeed the characters I have written about in the Character Interview Thread. That was sort of my way of experimenting with their voices when I was figuring out the story--and that said, not every single detail from those prose snippets will remain the same. But you'll see that in time as the story progresses. And yes, Imogen, Wilhuff II, and Prunella are siblings--and I don't think it's a spoiler, as it was revealed in Prunella's interview answer, that the Grand Moff is their father.

    As always, I'm in awe of your talent for describing this grimly jaded character in her whisperstiff environment (the chewed lace cuffs were just really completed it, for some reason) and engaged in whisperstiff interactions with her family members.

    She's so jaded, so cynical, it's almost as though she has been spoiled for the sequel trilogy. (And somehow I don't think she would be surprised to find out that the future just leads to another version of Space Rebels vs. Space Fascists.)

    As in your Naboo handmaiden stories, it's one of those situations where no one really knows anyone else’s feelings nor thoughts, nor can, only with these characters being who I think they are, that dynamic takes on a much more sinister cast. Whether it’s the mother’s pleasantries, Wilhuff’s drug-induced yakking, or even Imogen’s (?) choice of book, these characters’ interactions are all about keeping themselves and each other inside a world of rarefied illusion. I have a sense that that dynamic is going to pervade this diary—and that’s totally cool by me, because I know no one can pull it off like you!


    I don't know that I ever purposefully set forth to depict those sorts of environments. It's more that it happens, inevitably, with the characters I choose to write about--and really, so much of human interaction is playing a role and limiting what one says to what is acceptable for that role. I think we all do that, and always, to some extent--and yes, I include what I'm writing here in that, when I appear to be blatantly honest--even if it isn't with the whisperstiff rules of being from the House of Tarkin or a Naboo handmaiden.

    And well: alienation--and the inability of people to connect with, and communicate with, other people--seems to be one of my major themes.

    Very much looking forward to seeing where you take this. @};-

    Thank you, and thank you for commenting!

    *

    Kahara: Well, I can guess from Wilhuff's name that this narrator has reason to feel that she's "on the wrong side of history" having to do with her family, even though she sort of seems to have a whole system of distractions set up to not face the outside world.

    As I wrote in a comment elsewhere, Star Wars may be a story of redemption, but that redemption is not available for everyone--and certainly not for this narrator. She is the daughter of one of the most notorious villains in the movies/galaxy. And I suspect that the House of Tarkin had "poison in the blood" long before the Grand Moff was ever born.

    It’s actually like I’m an animal with its skin ripped off and tears drooling from its custom-made violet candy eyes. And that is another thing I shan’t be telling anyone.
    I'm interested to see what's going on with her, since she seems too far removed from the "normal" people outside her family's Important circles to be having some kind of moral crisis (or is she?), but there is something eating at her all the same. [face_thinking]


    She does seem to be having several types of existential problems as she lives her empty life, in that expensive flat. You should see more about that later.

    As always with your worlds, the setting feels like a character of its own -- a very stifling one in this case.

    Thank you, and thanks for reading!

    *

    divapilot: Fascinating. One thing about writing the diaries is that you will, inevitably, have to come up with some reason why your character is writing a diary in the first place, and yours is brilliant and tragic:
    This wasn’t one of those days: when I have a boiling cloud of thick wool space-black words in my mouth, and about to fly loose. I don’t actually speak them—it took long enough, but I know better—but it makes it difficult for me to say anything else. That may be one of the reasons why I have taken up writing, though it hasn’t been a benefit.

    It’s actually like I’m an animal with its skin ripped off and tears drooling from its custom-made violet candy eyes. And that is another thing I shan’t be telling anyone.
    Your character is writing because the words inside her are so corrosive that she must get them out, even if never to be spoken aloud; but the ones that are not released are still inside her.


    I don't always explore why my first person narrators are writing their diaries (or more usually, their memoirs), because I don't often know myself when I'm writing it. But in this case, this narrator doesn't have many, or any, people to really talk to--and she doesn't really like talking about certain things with anyone anyhow. And as she may write at some later point: it's one thing, and a necessary one, to hide your anger and other unpleasant emotions away from other people, but it doesn't do to hide them from yourself so much that you forget they're there, because that's when you can explode.

    As always, your details make this come to life. The smashing of the cigaret into the tea saucer; the glitterdust stuck to the bottom of her feet; the pale, empty sky. I am curious if Wilhuff is THAT Wilhuff, and if he is it makes sense, this feeling of a decomposing aristocratic world that has everything and nothing at the same time.


    I'm probably better at telling details than plot, so I suppose it's a good thing I'm not writing this for an editor and a paying audience. And this Wilhuff is Wilhuff Tarkin II. You'll see more about him later.

    I'm looking forward to see where this goes!

    Thank you, and thanks for reading and commenting!

    *

    AzureAngel2: Even if your narrator would not be part of the Tarkin family, it´s an intriguing beginning for a diary. Because only a very cool and hip person would decide to leave Eriadu behind for Coruscant.

    Personally, I wouldn't live on Coruscant for anything--to quote this Mississippi biker I saw at a motel this summer, when he was explaining why he doesn't care for the infamous Sturgis, South Dakota biker gathering: "Too many folk." There would be far, far too many folk for my liking on a planet! that is all one city! (That's what Captain Ric Olié told me.)

    Anyhow, I'm glad you find the diary intriguing thus far, and I hope that it continues to provide interest. And thank you for reading and commenting!

    -------------------------

    It's been a while--as in months--since I began this story, and there is still just that one post. But I'm not here to apologize: I made a goal, a while ago, to write at least one more post before the year was done, and for once, I have succeeded. So I can tell you there is going to be more of this story, and that it is going to be very soon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  7. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    --------

    When one spends day upon day doing nothing, there is then nothing to write about. But I have decided, despite that being true, to take up the art of writing once again. Lately (and this wasn’t the first time either) I have realized that I don’t remember many details from the beige-dulled blur of days that has been the past few months. Perhaps it shouldn’t bother me—this must be how other people, how most people, remember their lives—but I continue to have a reputation for having a good memory, and while I have always known it for the burden it is, it turns out I don’t know how to live without it. Hence this: wherein I shall keep a record trapped down in written words that I can read again, at some unknown date, and know what I may have forgotten. Of course, I won’t have to write about the bad cringing-dark moments when they spring up. I only wish I could forget those.

    That is my intention, anyhow—and since I am revealing it here in blessedly private silence, no one is going to know, and then proceed to blah blah blah as they inflict their dissenting and confused opinions on me without my permission.

    (An example: But you remember everything, Imogen! Jennaria would say, as she always does, with the thrust of her heartbeat-throbbing cannon blast voice.)

    Today, then—I went out to the café on Riveter Street, thus leaving the rooms of my flat for the first time this week. I know, I know—it is so pathetic when I see it written so bluntly down. It was raining when I woke up in the dark this morning, and when I stepped outside, and away from the discreetly whispering heated air in the foyer, an icedamp wind charged into my face. But I only blinked back before I walked on through it and down the street.

    It isn’t actually properly cold yet, and I was wearing my black dried-wool frockcoat, so I didn’t mind taking the walk through the elements. The street was an empty stage-set around me, and the sky trapped up between the rooftops was a rotting iron grey. The speeders drifted by like metal insects that I was spared from having to see clearly. Oh yes: it was another perfect day in the city walls. That sounds sarcastic, I know, but I should admit that I also find that dream-soft blankness soothes me. It’s all for the best when I don’t have to feel too much.

    But I wasn’t alone for nearly long enough: after far too few minutes, I turned the corner into the next street-block, and caught sight of the crowd of factory rebels lined up outside the black cloud-marble fortress wall of the ELAC top offices building. They have added to their numbers since that speeder parts factory in the City replaced their remaining floor workers with several batches worth of those upgraded L1-TA droids. I think that just happened last week.

    As I approached them, one step closer at a time, they were so loud, a rainstorm of talking noise, that I could hardly think. But what I really heard, or felt, was their rage: it was screaming forth from them in a crushing howling pavement concrete wave.

    It was also (and I think they were well aware of this) a dull uselessly thrashing anger. It isn't going to get them their jobs back. After all--droids have no need to eat to remain functional, and no need for housing, and thus no need to be paid with actual creds. They don’t want anything. They aren’t burdened with emotionally charged opinions. Oh, and they never but never make mistakes.

    There was a man towards the end of the line talking with a token Rodian worker. I think he must have been a social mediator of some sort, because he was not one of the workers. And oh yes: I recognized him straight away, even before I was close enough to overhear his deep slydrawling voice following the rusted-chronowork squeak of the Rodian’s translator. It was that man, that too pretty boy, who I met in the waiting line at the kaffa house last month.

    He was standing behind me, so I didn’t quite notice him until he jumped on a throwaway comment I made while leaving another conversation. That sort of thing always surprises me—I have never learned to have the nerve—but he did, and he was up for an argument. I went along with him, and yes, it was sort of fun, though it only lasted several minutes before I was standing in front of the counter-girl. I hadn’t expected that, with the whims of coincidence, I would see him again.

    Now, he was turning away from the Rodian, and towards me: He had a brandy-brown scarf drooped saucily over his shoulders in his severe black coat, and his dark (black as space, black as dreams) eyes were glossy in the wind. He looked rather smug. Then he twitched his flushed rose-dark mouth into a deliberate, knowing, smile.

    It took me too long—a couple of dragged out seconds—to believe that he wasn’t just looking in my direction, he was looking straight at me. I started. He noticed that. He arched up his eyebrows in a haughty kissing smirk.

    Then I knew what to do: I smiled back at him. He hadn’t expected that. And I didn’t once look away from him as I raised my hand into the air, and gave him the finger.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
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  8. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    It took me too long—a couple of dragged out seconds—to believe that he wasn’t just looking in my direction, he was looking straight at me. I started. He noticed that. He arched up his eyebrows in a haughty kissing smirk.

    Then I knew what to do: I smiled back at him. He hadn’t expected that. And I didn’t once look away from him as I raised my hand into the air, and gave him the finger.


    I love that you can write feisty characters like that. People who have their own way (in the SW galaxy) instead of keeping up appearances or meeting the expectations of others. Folk who are 100% themselves, just like you, their author. :D
     
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  9. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    So thrilled to see you continuing this—more Pandora writing is always a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. :cool: Another fascinating glimpse into Imogen's whisperstiff life, though in a way from a different angle: when you never need to do anything for anyone or go anywhere, the smallest little outing becomes a Big Deal. I guess part of why she stays in so much is to keep herself from feeling too much, as she says.

    I'm intrigued, too, about Imogen's propensity for "remember[ing] everything" and why that has stopped, or at least slowed down, at this point in time. Does, or did, she have a talent similar to Winter's? [face_thinking] Yet her memory does serve well enough to remember the man from the kaffa shop. You drop some interesting hints about their conversation at their first meeting; I wonder if it too had to do with similar labor-politics issues to the strike that's currently going on outside the factory, or indeed anything related to Galactic politics at this fraught point in time. He obviously recognizes her too, and wow, that "kissing smirk" is pretty bold, as is Imogen's response that seems somehow so her, just like @AzureAngel2 says: the smile that transitions right into flipping the bird! It's interesting, as always in your stories, to speculate as to what emotions really are behind those gestures: is Imogen remembering their kaffa house conversation? Is she responding to the role he seems to have as a mediator in the strike? Or both? Or something else? And of course I wonder if we and Imogen will encounter this fellow again.

    Keep it coming—so glad to see you at it again! Brings warm feelings to my heart, even. :D
     
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  10. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    AzureAngel2: I love that you can write feisty characters like that. People who have their own way (in the SW galaxy) instead of keeping up appearances or meeting the expectations of others. Folk who are 100% themselves, just like you, their author. :D

    Imogen certainly has her own ways. And she not only presents this man with the finger, she gets away with it--she pulls it off with more panache than she probably realizes, and then (presumably, since she doesn't make note of it) walks away without another look back.

    Thank you for reading, and commenting!

    *

    Findswoman: So thrilled to see you continuing this—more Pandora writing is always a good thing, as far as I'm concerned. :cool: Another fascinating glimpse into Imogen's whisperstiff life, though in a way from a different angle: when you never need to do anything for anyone or go anywhere, the smallest little outing becomes a Big Deal. I guess part of why she stays in so much is to keep herself from feeling too much, as she says.

    That is a far too apt description of her life: she doesn't have any obligations (she's obviously single and childless, as she never mentions having either spouse or children), and all her material needs are met without her having to lift a finger to earn them. But she also lacks a purpose, a point, to life. As for her staying in, you could say that's a sort of "self-care" for her, though probably not in the way that those who coined the phrase intended.

    I'm intrigued, too, about Imogen's propensity for "remember[ing] everything" and why that has stopped, or at least slowed down, at this point in time. Does, or did, she have a talent similar to Winter's? [face_thinking]

    Her memory may be good, but no--she is spared the sort of perfect recall that Winter had in Legends. This part is actual autobiographical in nature: I have been told, for most of my life, that I "remember everything," and while that has never been literally true--I don't have a "photographic memory" either--I do remember the details and dates and conversations no one else seems to. But in the past few years, I seem to have lost this ability. I forget things more easily, and months of time in which nothing of import occurred become, in retrospect, a blur like the dull beige hills I saw traveling through Nevada. As Imogen says, I'm not used to this, and I don't like it. I know that remembering what other people forget is a curse, not a blessing, but I still feel as though I'm losing my mind. I have even thought about keeping a journal myself, so I have a record to jog my memory--but I also know I never will.

    Yet her memory does serve well enough to remember the man from the kaffa shop. You drop some interesting hints about their conversation at their first meeting; I wonder if it too had to do with similar labor-politics issues to the strike that's currently going on outside the factory, or indeed anything related to Galactic politics at this fraught point in time. He obviously recognizes her too, and wow, that "kissing smirk" is pretty bold, as is Imogen's response that seems somehow so her, just like @AzureAngel2 says: the smile that transitions right into flipping the bird! It's interesting, as always in your stories, to speculate as to what emotions really are behind those gestures: is Imogen remembering their kaffa house conversation? Is she responding to the role he seems to have as a mediator in the strike? Or both? Or something else? And of course I wonder if we and Imogen will encounter this fellow again.

    That was probably the most interesting conversation she had had in months, so it's little wonder that it stuck with her out of the blur of days. And of course, he remembered her--and he's obviously bold as space brass. Though Imogen can be, as well--and she continues to smile whilst flipping the bird, because she knows that's what will really throw him. (As an aside, I wondered, for the duration of about two seconds, if I might be expected to come up with a Star Warsy term for giving the finger, but I honestly don't care.)

    As for whether she and this man shall meet again: that shall be revealed in time, but I will say (spoiler alert?) that it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise.

    Keep it coming—so glad to see you at it again! Brings warm feelings to my heart, even. :D

    Thanks, and thanks for reading and commenting!

    --------------

    After achieving my first--and painfully low--goal for this diary, I decided to see if I could make another one. And as of now, it looks as though I'm going to make an edited version of that goal, that of having two entries each for November and December. (That would then catch me up to where I should have been in September if I had been keeping up with the competition, but oh well.)

    So: the next entry should be up forthwith.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
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  11. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    -------------

    I have spent this afternoon reading Amaranthe House. It’s one of those minor canon works I never got past the summary on when I was still at university. And yes: as I remembered correctly, it is the one wherein the heroine, Flovina, is told by her elder sisters, when she is quite young, that she is now to join them in providing sexual services to her father’s houseguests. She doesn’t get out of it either—and there is that scene with her father’s business-friend, a man well into his forties, nervously and delicately fawning over her in the tower bedroom, before he goes about the privilege of being her first assignment. That’s all just in the opening chapter.

    You might think, from that description, that this novel would be targeted by the IDC. But actually, it never has been--the censors have probably never so much as heard of it. I don’t think they focus much on mid-Hyacintha Era Basic language fiction with a limited audience of readers. They prefer to waste their resources shutting down galactically popular musical groups.

    I got through about fifty pages of it—the years had passed, and Flovina’s sisters were both married away in strategic arrangements, and Flovina was left alone—before I was forced to pause in the middle of a page for a cigaret, The air in the room was thick as silkwool, and far too warm, and I was developing a fingernail-dull pain in the caves of my sinuses. I opened the eastside window several inches to let the air seep in from outside. It took some doing too: these windows were meant to be remain shut. I should just be glad some building-droid didn’t come banging up from its storage bin to protect me from life itself.

    Then I stood in the soft silk scarf of air, and bent a little as I lit the cigaret with a firebug-sparked smirk. There is always that one moment, when I have lit a cigaret, just before I take in the first dragged breath, when I can feel the relief I know is ahead of me.

    I haven’t ever tried dreamdust. Wilhuff smokes too much of it—at least several cigs before he can start functioning for the day—but I find that mere cigarets do me well enough.

    While I was reading, the message notice on my datapad had rang twice with its doorbell-chime ping. I had only vaguely paid it any attention, and that from irritation: I knew it couldn’t be my mother, as I spoke with her only yesterday evening. I wandered over to where I left it on my writing-desk, my cigaret balanced between my teeth, to find out what it was before I moved on with my life. When I saw it was from the Grizmalti scholars group, I actually sat down, despite my better instincts, and took a much-needed drag off the cigaret.

    There is a position, an actual job opening, in the mid-rim languages department at a Witherford College, in a city called Baytown, on *******. Apparently, someone (and I might even recognize their name, at the least, were I see it) finally retired or died.

    I don’t know what induced me to give way to my moment of curiosity and read past the message title. I shan’t be putting in a bid for this job. It has been five years now—and yes, I remember that precisely—since I made my last effort to compete for a post in my field. Of course, I didn’t know it was the last time, but after that, after enough years were gone, I had given up by default. It has been even longer than that since I obtained an actual interview, for that one opening on Alderaan, though of course, I never did manage to set foot on the beatific ground of that world.

    I was twenty-nine, and in the last three months of my twenties--and already, I was starting to feel my time run out. Oh, I still understand, and remember too exactly, what I felt then. It isn’t that. But still, I have gone on living for years past that now, and I regret it.

    But I never have removed my name from the messaging list, and thus I have received this latest update from the world of academic hopes. I won’t remove it now, either, even thought I know I ought. I wouldn’t be the only name on that list who could admit to that.

    Anyhow: I closed the message, and then my mail program, before I could give way to my mood and type up some thoughts about time, and the futility inherent to it. You’re welcome.

    I won’t write down the name of the department head who interviewed me from that cloud-white walled office in her tower forever away on Alderaan. She’s almost certainly nothing but space dust now. But even so: I can still remember her shadow-blurred eyes on the holo connection screen as she watched me answer her questions, as she judged me (and with such ease) and found me to be wanting—as a scholar, and probably as a human person. Oh, and they chose to hire a twenty-two year old freshly spat from her university, and seven years of perfect marks and merit-based scholarships. Hahahaha.

    And after that, I think I have written enough, quite enough, in here for one go. I should go and do one of the few things I know I have a gift for doing, and return to reading my book.



    IDC=Imperial Decency Committee. The enemies of all free speech and dirty thoughts. Not even remotely connected to the canon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  12. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Intriguing chapter, and that most definitely sounds like the sort of book Imogen would enjoy, both as pleasure reading and (as it seems to be) as an area of study. Somehow, I think, that for all Imogen's assertions about how she's Not Interested in this new Mid-Rim language and literature position at Witherford College and that she Really Should Finally take her name off the Grizmallti scholars' message list, this isn't going to be the last time either she or we hear about it. From things you've said to me earlier, I wonder if a "Something is shining like gold, only better"-type situation might result from this, with Imogen packing off somewhere totally new and different to further her career. Or what she has of one—and I've been in that unhired-academic situation too, which can be downright miserable, so I totally sympathize with her on everything she says about that. (I'm going to guess that the university on Alderaan had planned all along to hire that particular newly-spat-from-university 22-year-old, but they had to Hold a Search all the same just because That's the Rules... I've been there, too.) Though in this case it was sure a lucky thing for Imogen!) And whether she ends up pursuing the Witherford position or not, I'll be curious to see what's next for Imogen, short- or long-term.
     
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  13. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: Intriguing chapter, and that most definitely sounds like the sort of book Imogen would enjoy, both as pleasure reading and (as it seems to be) as an area of study.

    I don't know that the book in question is the sort most people would read for pleasure--though since I don't, as a rule, read for the purpose of escapism/pleasure, I'm not one to know. But Imogen seems to read for more serious and scholarly purposes, rather than because she likes a book, and this particular one is part of her field of study (which would be, formally, Grizmalti and its variant languages--such as Naboo--and the literature traditions thereof).

    Somehow, I think, that for all Imogen's assertions about how she's Not Interested in this new Mid-Rim language and literature position at Witherford College and that she Really Should Finally take her name off the Grizmallti scholars' message list, this isn't going to be the last time either she or we hear about it.

    As she herself says, she knows she ought to take her name off that list--and she also knows she isn't going to do any such thing. She may have given up her search for an academic position by dint of inaction, but she still isn't ready, even years afterwards, to give up on her last pretense of being any sort of scholar. (And just as in this world, if you don't have some sort of official position with a university, well, you're nothin.')

    From things you've said to me earlier, I wonder if a "Something is shining like gold, only better"-type situation might result from this, with Imogen packing off somewhere totally new and different to further her career. Or what she has of one—and I've been in that unhired-academic situation too, which can be downright miserable, so I totally sympathize with her on everything she says about that.

    That's an interesting possibility, narrative-wise, but I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that shan't be happening here: Imogen's chances of getting an academic job are deader than dead at this point, and she knows it--it has been around ten years at this point since she got her ultimate degree, and in those years, she hasn't had one academic position. You can imagine how impressive that won't seem to hiring committees in a stunningly competitive market, particularly when they are considering other applicants who have a long list of jobs on their CVs and are currently already safely posted with some university, or who are perky-eyed and freshly graduated. They do love their absurdly young darlings in STAR WARS. (Sixteen-year-old galactic senators talking over the grownups, anyone?) Speaking of which:

    (I'm going to guess that the university on Alderaan had planned all along to hire that particular newly-spat-from-university 22-year-old, but they had to Hold a Search all the same just because That's the Rules... I've been there, too.) Though in this case it was sure a lucky thing for Imogen!)

    I hadn't thought of that, but who knows--maybe that was the case. It does seem a bit petty that she still remembers that detail (though I still remember one even more petty from my own life that inspired it) considering that her twenty-two year old rival, who was no longer only twenty-two by then, almost certainly died with Alderaan.

    And whether she ends up pursuing the Witherford position or not, I'll be curious to see what's next for Imogen, short- or long-term.

    Well, there should be something coming up for her--after all, she can't keep on drifting through her days doing nothing for too much longer. She's the protagonist of a story.

    Finally, thank you for reading and commenting!
     
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  14. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    ------------

    This morning, I went over to work at the university library. I have been in the neighborhood quite often, during the times when I get out in public, but I don’t think I have walked upon the actual campus in over a year. I wasn’t ever a student there—naturally, I was intended for more prestigious schools than those available on this entire planet—but I have every right to the library services, and that would remain true even if the new sciences wing wasn’t named to honor my paternal grandmother. Actually: my mother suggested, when I was talking to her recently, that I might take up some scholarly efforts there. It took a while, but I have wound up taking her advice.

    The main avenue was crowded full of traffic. Perhaps it’s only because I spend so much time with my own company, but I could just hardly endure being there. All those people: each one of whom thinks that their life, and their story of it, is so important, that it actually matters--and that I must surely see this as they do. Their voices were a constant demanding stormroar I was forced to hear (and I could not see why they had to always be talking) as they walked about in their pairs and groupings, and then there was the even louder noise of their feelings.


    I didn’t even consider having a walk around the campus. Some of the buildings there are of an age as the city walls, and were built from that same rose-gold stone—and yes, I am familiar with those rumors that there is a door, in the library basements, that leads into the north end of the catacomb mazes. But all of those people got in the way of it.

    Once I went inside the library doors, it wasn’t so bad. There were several student-workers sitting rather importantly at the circulation desk, but they obviously thought they had been hired on to play around on the holonet. They didn’t even give me a first look.

    I was alone in the languages archives--unless you count the one stiff-marching protocol droid who had been put to work shelving the light-bleeding holobooks, and I do not. I can’t say their collection is as extensive as the one I once had access to, but it was good enough for my purposes. When I did hear, as I did on several random occasion, the sound of moving footsteps, it was only as echoed-thumps from another part of the floor. Once I had accomplished my tasks there, I retreated into one of the study rooms, and selected a table.

    I have decided to try out translating a set of poems from the Princess Regent Lisandra era. That wasn’t ever one of my strong areas, and I may as well work on improving that. I won’t ever have a university position, but perhaps, perhaps, it isn’t too late for me to be an independent scholar.

    When I left my flat, I had planned to stay at the library for only, for at least, an hour. But I wound up staying there for several more hours than that. I didn’t see anyone amongst the wandering scatter of people who I recognized as I walked back through the campus, with several borrowed books with dried leaf-leather covers stuffed into my satchel with my sleepingblack datapad. I had left my com to howl alone at home. After I had a drink at the kaffa house, I took the trolley line back.

    The word about the Baytown post has gotten out. When I looked into the department social page, people whose names, or alter egos, I haven’t read in years were talking it over in detail. I decided to log in, though without any intention of actually posting: I use my first middle name there, so I can feel anonymous, while still not actually hiding underneath another name.

    It took several pages worth of earnest, and desperate, speculation, before someone had written, only an hour prior: Now let’s not get too excited here. They’ve got no reason to hire one of us, when they can just purchase a protocol droid.

    Before I could think better of it, I was clicking in my reply: Well, well. Someone is telling the truth today. I hope it doesn’t catch.

    I didn’t feel like going through the effort of making dinner, and there isn’t much to use in the white lit cave of my refrigerator anyhow, so I ordered in takeaway. Of course, it had to be a droid that showed up at my door with the food. I have overheard that some of the local businesses are hiring on former factory workers, but, quite obviously, this one hasn’t. It was this repurposed junk droid with a copper dish helmet on its head, and a computer drive slit for its mouth.

    I could have happily kicked the thing down the stairwell. But I didn’t: though only because I might have injured my foot on its hard bones, and because the takeaway owners would insist that I pay for any resulting damages. Instead, I just snatched the looped bag straps out of its fork-metal fingers, and then let the door crash shut in its face.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
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  15. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    It's definitely encouraging, in a way, to see Imogen dipping her foot back into the water of scholarly endeavors (I think I like her mom already! ;) ). I speak from experience when I say that it most definitely isn't too late for her to give the independent scholar thing a go, and she seems to be off to a good start with this productive library outing—though I can see where even just visiting campus again brings with it a certain amount of baggage and negative memories. I have to say I hear her about that self-important, "my story is the only one worth telling" vibe given off by a certain species of academic, and alas, I remember well that very same kind of toxic job-gossip on job wikis and the like.

    Another way academia in the GFFA is not that different from that in the GNFA: the spectre of contingent labor! (Dun dun dun!) Protocol droids as adjuncts: I could certainly see that. And I see it's not just in the academic realm that that's happening, given who (what?) delivers Imogen's takeout dinner. It seems almost like a sign, of sorts—at very least a suggestion of what Imogen and her colleagues, affiliated and unaffiliated alike, are up against.

    I'll be very curious to see how things go for Imogen as she proceeds down the independent scholar path—if that's what she chooses to continue doing. And I can see already that it won't be without its challenges!
     
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  16. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: It's definitely encouraging, in a way, to see Imogen dipping her foot back into the water of scholarly endeavors (I think I like her mom already! ;) ).

    She does seem to be a nice woman--which could make you wonder why she was married to Tarkin. But there are couples like that out there, and I would suppose that mystery isn't one that Imogen is going to be much interested in thinking over.

    I speak from experience when I say that it most definitely isn't too late for her to give the independent scholar thing a go, and she seems to be off to a good start with this productive library outing—though I can see where even just visiting campus again brings with it a certain amount of baggage and negative memories. I have to say I hear her about that self-important, "my story is the only one worth telling" vibe given off by a certain species of academic, and alas, I remember well that very same kind of toxic job-gossip on job wikis and the like.

    As Imogen says, she was never a student at this university, so she doesn't have any personal academic memories associated with it the way she would at her actual alma mater. But for that same reason, she must feel somewhat awkward there, because she lacks that claim to the place--even if her grandmother's name (and probably those of other relatives in other buildings) is plastered on one of the library wings. She isn't a student there, and being there won't return her to academia.

    Imogen sees that "my story is the only story"--or as she may describe it later, the "I'm the protagonist of my story! And I had better be the one of your story too!"--attitude as applying to all people, not only academics. (As an aside, I have rewritten that bit over and over again, and may revise it another time yet. I just cannot seem to get it the way I want.) That said, I can certainly see how it would be all the more on display with those academics, and there were surely some of them present there on the avenue.

    Another way academia in the GFFA is not that different from that in the GNFA: the spectre of contingent labor! (Dun dun dun!) Protocol droids as adjuncts: I could certainly see that. And I see it's not just in the academic realm that that's happening, given who (what?) delivers Imogen's takeout dinner. It seems almost like a sign, of sorts—at very least a suggestion of what Imogen and her colleagues, affiliated and unaffiliated alike, are up against.

    Oh yes: academia may be competitive on this world, but at least one doesn't have to deal with the additional complication of droids. I have noticed--based only on the movies, though I gather the EU present and legend would only just back this up--that droids seem to do nearly everything, and I mean everything, in much of the far far away galaxy--not just the menial drudgery jobs that people would rather not, like sewer work, but skilled work. Droids are shown as technicians, in AOTC, and then there's the med droids in place of doctors. The only absolute exceptions seem to be senators and Jedi.

    Most people, however, aren't senators or Jedi, and I have to wonder where this situation leaves the vast majority of the galactic population. (Of course, I could then wonder about a civilization that chose deliberately, at some point in its distant history, to turn over even skilled jobs to machines they had created, rather than doing them themselves.) As Imogen notes when writing of the "factory rebels"--all of whom, I should note, lost their jobs when they were replaced by droids--droids have no needs, and therefore no need to be paid, and they don't make mistakes. (They also don't usually talk back, because they're literally programmed so they can't.)

    I'll be very curious to see how things go for Imogen as she proceeds down the independent scholar path—if that's what she chooses to continue doing. And I can see already that it won't be without its challenges!

    For now, she's at least making the attempt. But there may be some surprises looming, unseen, on the horizon, to complicate her life.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
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  17. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    -------------


    It’s another day, another damned day for me to live through. Oh, I did read over the work I have done (the very little work) on the poetry translations in the privacy of my flat this morning, but I can’t say I’m much pleased with the results of my linguistic labors. I just don’t see that I have brought anything to these poems that I haven’t already read in other translations—and that (I should think was obvious) rather defeats the point of doing another translation. Then—after I put it out of my sight for another time—I wasted a few hours reading some classical-era Naboo Grizmalti poems. I can probably say I know more of that language than most Naboo, and that isn’t bragging.

    After that, I went through the motions of getting dressed, in the sort of smart dress (with star rhinestone buttons) I should have left the building for. Instead, I had a cup of chocolate in my gleaming kitchen, and then I wound up lying down on my bed.

    But none of that is what I intended to write about when I began here. I have been writing on these other matters while I figured out if I have the nerve required to write that—or better yet, to avoid it entirely in favor of things I won’t regret setting to my memory later.

    This is the actual reason: this afternoon, after I read one poem after another on the snowglare white screen of my datapad, I was so tired that my eyes hurt, and I could see the words without quite reading them. That being the case, I figured I might as well take a nap, and I turned on the whitenoise fan and lay down to escape into sleep for a while.

    Usually, I don’t have any dreams I can remember when I’m napping. But today was the exception, and before I woke up, I was thrust into the gloomy pastel-blurred light of a dreamworld. Or rather, I woke up already there, walking across a burning-green lawn at the edge of the university. It was winter, just as it is now: the wind hissed in the bony tree limbs, and the air tasted like mint candies. Most of the students must have been away on midwinter break.

    And: I was there because I was looking for Alcée. Yes, I just dared to write down the burning sound of his name. And I was looking for him, when usually—when I dream about him, and I still do against my own wishes—I’m attempting to stay mercifully far away from him. I was going to look him straight in his beautiful, dulcet eyes and have it out with him.

    This time was one of the dreams when I found him. I walked straight into an old brick dormhouse with boards shivering on the window holes. It must have been cold inside, but I knew that, rather than felt it—I don’t feel too much in my dreams, even the worst of them. A group of students, most of them girls, were hiding underneath a blanket, with only the tips of their lavender and black and star destroyer grey stocking feet poking out. I ripped it away from them.

    And there—next to this girl with ragged firelight-red hair and thick square hips and a diamond stud in her nose—was Alcée. I don’t know that I can remember that moment when I found him, when I exposed him, well enough to describe it.

    But I can say he looked as he did when he was twenty-three, the only time that I was to know him. He wore a dumpy coalgrey sweater coat over his sleep-pants, and his autumn leaf hair was rumpled with sleep. He blinked up at me. He was lilypale and painfully beautiful and ******* Hapan. That was when I spoke, when I commenced my verbal assault on him, but most of my static-blurred voice, and what I said, were gone as soon as I woke up in my bedroom again. Anyhow, I don’t usually quite hear the dialogue in my dreams, only the general sound of the words.

    I can remember—as you know, Dear Diary, I remember everything—the moment when Rohan told me he had broken things off with Alcée. He looked away from me over to the side as he said, in a shrugged off tone of voice: We’re not on anymore. Just so you know.

    Of course, I had then said: Why are you telling me this?

    He told me something that wasn’t an answer. And of course, he wasn’t alone--in his marriage to Breanne with the two heirs she has gifted him with--for too long after that. He never is.

    That then is the dream, and the point of writing this day into record: and while I have heard that writing out things such as that takes away any power they possess, and that I’ll read back on this and hahaha to myself, I have suspected that isn’t always so. Now I know it to be a fact. If I hadn’t written it down, I would be easily forgetting the details, and the ambiance, all the more sooner. But that was just what I had to do while using up this particular day of my life.

    I think that should do for my recreational writing today. When I’m done here, I might as well go back to the drama of Amarantine House and finish reading a book for the first time this month. The beauteous Flovina doesn’t tend to have deep dreams. She only inspires them.

    All that happened the same year I interviewed for the position on Alderaan, the same one I was writing about in here only recently. I had hoped—and it was petty and desperate, and I knew it—I would get it, and then get millions upon millions of safe lightyears of space away from—all that. But that being written, I don’t think I can blame that related recollection for this dream. It just happened.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018
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  18. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Imogen’s last line, “It just happened,” seems in a way to be a main theme of this entry, both in terms of the dream about Alcée, the fact that she had a dream at all while napping, her previous recollection about the Alderaan job, and Rohan’s remark to her all those years ago about Alcée being available again. Maybe all those things did just happen that way, but then again maybe this is one of those situations where the universe, to quote Raissa Baiard’s Doran Blayne, “doesn’t do coincidences”—we are in the SW universe, after all. :D I’m curious about this unbearably beautiful, lilypale, and Hapan Alcée fellow now, and about the past history of whatever kind that he and Imogen have; he seems to have made quite an impression on her, both back then and in this dream, despite her attempts to minimize that fact. I wonder if we’ll meet him later... [face_thinking] Anyway, keep up the great work as usual, and I always look forward to more glimpses into Imogen’s lilypalewhisperstiff world! :D
     
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  19. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: Imogen’s last line, “It just happened,” seems in a way to be a main theme of this entry, both in terms of the dream about Alcée, the fact that she had a dream at all while napping, her previous recollection about the Alderaan job, and Rohan’s remark to her all those years ago about Alcée being available again. Maybe all those things did just happen that way, but then again maybe this is one of those situations where the universe, to quote Raissa Baiard’s Doran Blayne, “doesn’t do coincidences”—we are in the SW universe, after all. :D

    If Imogen and Doran Blayne were to ever meet (though, as it has always felt to me as though everyone's OCs exist in different and separate universes, they never could) that could result in an interesting conversation. Imogen does believe that things "just happen"--one memory leads naturally to another one, and there is nothing more to it than that. That may be in part because she isn't Force-Sensitive--and she certainly isn't a hero whose actions shake the very galaxy.

    I’m curious about this unbearably beautiful, lilypale, and Hapan Alcée fellow now, and about the past history of whatever kind that he and Imogen have; he seems to have made quite an impression on her, both back then and in this dream, despite her attempts to minimize that fact. I wonder if we’ll meet him later... [face_thinking]

    There may well be more on the situation with Alcée (though I have to admit that I thought it was already somewhat clear) later on. He is a part of her past, but the past is always dragging along behind us.

    Anyway, keep up the great work as usual, and I always look forward to more glimpses into Imogen’s lilypalewhisperstiff world! :D

    Thank you, and thanks for reading and commenting!
     
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  20. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    --------

    If I have ever complained about living a life that is hardly a life, I regret that now: because I have just today escaped a call from Governor C. at the former family fortress in the City. She must be so disappointed that I have my calls set only to audio, but if she could have forced her physical image through, to barge into my presence, I know she would have. After we went through the required pleasantries ( “Oh, I’m fine and how are you?”) she demanded—in the form of a request—that I attend dinner with her and the Wife in the near future. There’s no getting out of this, either.

    She wants something from me: I have known as much (I can nearly hear her calculating thoughts) for some time, but I don’t know what its exact nature might be. That depends on what she has decided I’m capable of—and I don’t much care for what I shall, inevitably, learn that is.

    As usual, she managed nearly all of the talking. Since she couldn’t see me nod, I put in a word (and a highly edited one) of my own every few sentences, and followed up with a calming drag off my cigaret. I only required two of them to get through that call.

    She reminds me so much of Jennaria. She speaks in a commanding monotone that is almost, almost as loud as Jennaria’s vocal weapon, and she thinks in the same ways as well. That written, they never much liked each other, and when Governor C. and the Wife made their appearances four years ago at Jennaria’s wedding, that had not changed. But perhaps that’s to be expected—they’re too much alike. Jennaria has even mentioned that the Governor “has to shout all the time.”

    Once that was over, I rang up Wilhuff to convince him to accompany me to the dinner, because our mother and Prunella will still be on Coruscant, and hence not available to join me, and I am not about to endure that experience alone. I hope he decides to take several impromptu picture-shots of them. That should make for an interesting few minutes.

    Just so you know, he said, after he agreed. I can’t do that sober.

    You can’t do it wasted either, I said. So take what you have to, but you’ll need to have your wits in some sort of order.

    Before I was interrupted by the alarm beep from my house-com, I had been reading through an essay in the recently published review. But instead of returning to that prose, I wandered into the kitchen. I didn’t feel hungry, but I had only remembered to eat a few random kaffacream candies all day. The sky on the other side of the windows was turning a shadow-stained blue, and I turned on the lights. The kitchen, and the silver counters, and dark wood paneled floors, glared in the rush of that white light: the maid went over it this morning, and I can still smell the glass cleaner.

    I had an easy meal of soup and ryoo sourdough bread: I have the soup leftover from the past few days, but I bought the bread at the bakery stand. I still find the art of actually baking bread—or more correctly, the process of getting the dough together—to be quite beyond me.

    As usual, my day was empty, without a single looming appointment, but I still ate standing at the island-counter, leaving the chairs locked in place at the dining table behind me.

    It’s usually easier for me to be alone—and I do prefer to think of myself as self-sufficient, and above feeling anything so petty as loneliness. But as I stood there, I actually wanted to have a conversation with someone. Of all possible people, I thought back to the man from the kaffa shop. I never so much as thought to get his name. I don’t know that I’m up for encountering him a third time, but that was the most interesting discussion I have had in some while.

    The flat was so quiet, so echoing with silence, that I could hear it. I was almost relieved when there was a snarl from a speeder engine in the sky outside the window. When I was finished eating, I left the bowl to sit in the (perfectly cleaned) bowl of the sink. Now, that was excitingly dull.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  21. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Well, this Governor C. sounds like a real charmer (not)... loud, demanding, forward, and of course I am very curious about what she might want from Imogen. Having brother Wilhuff along at this little upcoming shindig could be a double-edged sword; the combination of his... habits with the governor's loudmouthedness might lead to some, shall I say, interesting happenings.

    It's intriguing that Imogen reflects on her loneliness—or at very least her state of being alone—right after getting a social call. Not that I blame her not wanting to be buddy-buddy with Governor C., who of course isn't doing this as a friend per se. But it does seem to get Imogen thinking about just how solitary her existence is, and remembering the recent few social interactions she's had—with the man from the kaffa house line standing out, of course (I figured we'd hear about him again ;) ). Of course the quietness of the apartment at that moment very powerfully drives that feeling home.

    Just as an aside, I'm right with Imogen about baking bread—though I do generally like to cook, that's one of the tasks I prefer to leave to people who better know what they're doing. But given that ryoo is basically basil (at least as I understand it), sourdough with it in does sound awfully good!

    Looking forward to whatever is next, whether it's the unbearable dinner with the gov', another visit to the kaffa house, both, or neither! :D
     
  22. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Findswoman: Well, this Governor C. sounds like a real charmer (not)... loud, demanding, forward, and of course I am very curious about what she might want from Imogen. Having brother Wilhuff along at this little upcoming shindig could be a double-edged sword; the combination of his... habits with the governor's loudmouthedness might lead to some, shall I say, interesting happenings.

    It takes a certain type of woman to rise successfully in the Imperial hierarchy--and Governor C. is exactly that woman. As for what she wants from Imogen: for all that she is loud and forward, there are some things she knows it's best to be overly subtle about, so it could be some while before she openly makes a move in that department.

    The upcoming dinner could be interesting, or surprisingly dull. And don't forget that there will be a fourth person present there--Governor C.'s wife, who Imogen refers to (though you'll have to wait and see how telling that is or isn't) merely as The Wife.

    It's intriguing that Imogen reflects on her loneliness—or at very least her state of being alone—right after getting a social call. Not that I blame her not wanting to be buddy-buddy with Governor C., who of course isn't doing this as a friend per se.

    A call from Governor C. is only somewhat better than receiving only one phone call on your birthday--and it's a wrong number. Governor C. at least was calling the right one.

    But it does seem to get Imogen thinking about just how solitary her existence is, and remembering the recent few social interactions she's had—with the man from the kaffa house line standing out, of course (I figured we'd hear about him again ;) ).

    Yes, I rather figured that wouldn't come as much of a surprise. Of course--logically speaking-- the chances that she'll run into him a third time, in a city of about 100,000 people, are not good ones. But I figure (and Doran Blayne would be raising an eyebrow about now) what the chances actually are isn't going to come as much of a surprise either.

    Just as an aside, I'm right with Imogen about baking bread—though I do generally like to cook, that's one of the tasks I prefer to leave to people who better know what they're doing. But given that ryoo is basically basil (at least as I understand it), sourdough with it in does sound awfully good!


    I'm a reasonably good cook myself, but I never have learned the art of baking bread. I stick to muffins and scones. As for ryoo, I would suppose it can be anything you want it to be--if I remember correctly, it being a basil equivalent is Ewok Poet's fanon, and there's nothing official about it.

    Looking forward to whatever is next, whether it's the whether it's the unbearable dinner with the gov', another visit to the kaffa house, both, or neither! :D

    Thank you, and thank you for reading and commenting!
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  23. AzureAngel2

    AzureAngel2 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The flat was so quiet, so echoing with silence, that I could hear it. I was almost relieved when there was a snarl from a speeder engine in the sky outside the window. When I was finished eating, I left the bowl to sit in the (perfectly cleaned) bowl of the sink. Now, that was excitingly dull.

    From all your recent updates the last one hit close to home, because I am forced to live on my own since my husband´s surgery on the 8th January. And I know exactly how the diary writer feels, even though my social calls are not as empty as hers (= working as a kindergarten teacher, having dear friends from grammar school days, boarding-school time & university studies). But then again my life is not excitingly dull.

    Once that was over, I rang up Wilhuff to convince him to accompany me to the dinner, because our mother and Prunella will still be on Coruscant, and hence not available to join me, and I am not about to endure that experience alone. I hope he decides to take several impromptu picture-shots of them. That should make for an interesting few minutes.

    Just so you know, he said, after he agreed. I can’t do that sober.


    You can’t do it wasted either, I said. So take what you have to, but you’ll need to have your wits in some sort of order.

    It was also fun to see that things can be so freaking normal for a man like Wilhuff Tarkin. That its not always about the army or matters of the Empire. :D
     
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  24. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    AzureAngel2: From all your recent updates the last one hit close to home, because I am forced to live on my own since my husband´s surgery on the 8th January. And I know exactly how the diary writer feels, even though my social calls are not as empty as hers (= working as a kindergarten teacher, having dear friends from grammar school days, boarding-school time & university studies). But then again my life is not excitingly dull.

    Recently, I spent a good deal of time living alone myself--and in the country, without any transportation, in a season where you can't walk too far on foot. The only person I spoke to in person was a delivery truck driver. But the truth--which Imogen would most definitely agree with--is that even if I had driven somewhere, and done something around other people who I had never seen before, and would never see again, I would have been just as alone.

    So I know from experience what I'm talking about when I describe a quiet empty apartment, and it looks like that ambiance came across clearly to you. Glad to hear it worked.

    Once that was over, I rang up Wilhuff to convince him to accompany me to the dinner, because our mother and Prunella will still be on Coruscant, and hence not available to join me, and I am not about to endure that experience alone. I hope he decides to take several impromptu picture-shots of them. That should make for an interesting few minutes.

    Just so you know, he said, after he agreed. I can’t do that sober.

    You can’t do it wasted either, I said. So take what you have to, but you’ll need to have your wits in some sort of order.

    It was also fun to see that things can be so freaking normal for a man like Wilhuff Tarkin. That its not always about the army or matters of the Empire. :D


    It would have probably done the Grand Moff a great deal of good to have taken a break from tending to his all-important military career, but I'm afraid this Wilhuff is Wilhuff Tarkin II, his younger (and--spoiler alert--disappointing) son who chose at some point to just tune in and drop out of life. But you'll see more about that when he appears in person, and not just as a voice at the end of a com call.

    Thank you for reading, and commenting!
     
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  25. Pandora

    Pandora Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 13, 2005
    *Appears after two months and a bit with a new post, and no further comment.*

    -------------------------------------------

    While I was at my work in my chosen study room at the library, a girl came wandering in from the corridor, the first person to have done so that entire afternoon. I can’t say I was pleased. I chose not to deign to look up from the words I was tussling with, and so I only vaguely saw, without quite seeing her, a tall girl with pale hair in a tan wool coat. She sat down at her own table, and once she had dropped her satchel down next to her chair, she snapped open a small knife-chic datapad for her true purpose. But the room remained quiet as she worked: I could hear the dry leaf whisper of each page I turned on the antique book. I didn’t even notice when she left.

    That was last week—and yes, I think I know which exact day it was—and I didn’t give her another thought as I went on with my life. You know how it is.

    Then: yesterday, when I was searching for a particular book in the archive stacks, she came along and stopped next to me. It took me a moment to recognize her—and that close up, she seemed familiar enough that I must have seen her in passing before.

    She reminded me of girls, of young women, I knew in my lost academic life. Oh, it isn’t that she resembles them physically—she doesn’t. It’s another more complicated factor. She’s pretty in a way I would have noticed before, if I had actually noticed her. She is several inches taller than I am, and would be even without her tall black boots. She had her bleached cream-blonde hair stuffed into her night-blue velvet cap, with a dusting of cinnamon freckles on her lilyfair skin. Her mouth was locked into a sullenly thoughtful pout as she looked over the row of book titles.

    She minded her own business for a few minutes before—speaking in a theatre-seat whisper meant only for me—she asked me what book it was I was looking for.

    I told her, and in the course of the ensuing conversation, she told me she was looking up secondary sources for a critical paper in her Hyacintha Literature class. Apparently, she’s a graduate student in the mid-rim languages department. Well, she would have to be a graduate student to even be where she was—they don’t permit mere undergraduates to get this close up to real books.

    As she walked away, one of the stack-droids trotted into the aisle, and I overheard her voice saying: Oh, excuse me! I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say that to a droid.

    Then today I ran into her again, in that same row in the archive stacks. She stood next to me while I looked up this one book they were supposed to have here, and brushed, with seeming idleness, at the diamond-glitter jewel insets on one of the book spines in front of us with the tips of her needle-pointed fingernails.

    She said, on the subject of the university’s collection as a whole: I cannot believe they don’t have one copy of Queen Elisandra’s Memoirs.

    And why should they, I said. Besides which, I have read the royal work in question, and if you haven’t, you’re not missing out on anything.

    Oh, really, she said. I trust you can back that opinion up.

    I shrugged, and: There isn’t much to say. It’s a political memoir, with all that implies, and a Naboo one at that. It wouldn’t have ever worked as a novel. Queen Elisandra may have been good as a monarch, but she makes for a terribly dull protagonist.

    The girl was not impressed with that. But she isn’t the protagonist of a novel, she said, stating the obvious with a didactic sniff. So your opinion is irrelevant. She was a real person.

    Apparently, she was a boring person, I said. That offended her all the more, and I could see it was past time to quit the discussion—which was hardly the most interesting one I have had on the subject of literature, Naboo or otherwise, only the first one in some time--but I just had to have the next word, even if it wasn’t the last one. You haven’t said if you have read it yourself.

    As it happens, she has read it before, and several times. You’re approaching it as though it were a novel, and that is not how you’re supposed to read it.

    Then once you’ve finished your degree, come find me and tell me just exactly how I am supposed to read it, I said, and turned my shoulder to her as I focused on only seeing the line of books. Because if it’s a bad novel, it’s a worse memoir.

    I thought that was the most of it—I went back to looking for that book, and she excused herself, and I heard her footsteps moving further down the aisle. Eventually, I found the book in question where one of the student workers (well, it couldn’t have been the droid) had misshelved it, and glanced through the opening pages to make certain it was what I actually wanted. Oh, and it just happens to be a novel, one that hasn’t ever been published in holobook form.

    When I came out into the main corridor, the girl came out after me, her boot heels ticking on the mirror-glowing grey marble floor, her bag smacking against the side of her ripe and shapely and smug hip. She was carrying two books of her own, and I didn’t think anything of it.

    Then she spoke, and she said my name: Imogen Tarkin.

    My voice was appropriately cold and hard, even in my shocked blank moment, as I said, taking a look around the empty room: How do you know who I am?

    My father kept his private life separate from his public image from the time when he was still only a captain in the Republic Forces: He was never once seen out in public with his mistress, and he did not so much as talk about us with those officers who were his peers. Most of the men who worked under him knew that he was married, and that he had children, but only as an abstract concept. I have never once been recognized on the street by people who did not already know me.

    She stared back at me, with only a twitch of her mouth. It isn’t that difficult. This is Eriadu, in case you hadn’t noticed. Everyone knows about the Tarkins.

    Then you’ll know that I have a low profile, and that I prefer it that way, I said--and then I walked slowly, relentlessly towards her. You wanted my attention. Now you have it. What the **** is it that you want from me.

    We should probably not discuss it here, she said.

    There was an echo of footsteps trotting on the stairs, and I felt my mouth arch into a hard smile that came too naturally to me. Oh, I should think so. Fine. I am going to go check out this book, and when I leave, I’ll go to the Greenough Kaffa Shop. Feel free to meet me there.

    She didn’t answer, but then she didn’t have to. We walked back down the stairs, past the blur of one of the student workers on her self-important march, and to the circulation desk. Then, as I walked out towards the tear-dulled grey day, I looked straight at the painting of my grandmother that dominates the reception wall. She had watched the artist with a haughty sniffed smile glowing on her thin mouth, her skygrey eyes as hard and blank as stones. She has always said that my father took after her. I can only hope she was wrong when she said the same about me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2019
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