Jan. 5th, 2017

taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
All right, I already owe the Snowflake challenge for making me think and introducing me to generous and friendly people ... but today it's even better. They say, In your own space, post recs for at least three fanworks that you did not create.

And they brought me back to a story I've loved for years. For Yuletide 2008, Dhobi ki Kutti wrote and gave me One Thousand and One and Counting — and I remember reading it for the first time, dumbstruck that someone could have written something so beautiful for me. The prompt was The Thousand and One Nights, and this is a contemporary sea of stories. These are women telling stories to stay alive, and each story builds and crests and runs into the next.

"Keep talking."

The gun dangling casually from the American solder's hand is bulkier than the handguns she has seen close up, being snuck from palm to palm. He has a bar of some foodstuff in his other hand, the carelessly torn wrapper glinting in the sun. He wears sunglasses so dark she cannot see his eyes, even though he is standing only a foot away from her. The hair on his knuckles is golden.

This story has stayed with me over the years, and I re-read it this morning with deep and renewed thanks. Kass, if you haven't read it yet, I think you would understand why I love it, and why I need to share it now.

*

And as I think of that, do you know the first Yuletide story I ever read? Kass's Petition— a marvelously funny, unexpectedly sad and gentle tribute to The Rabbi's Cat. I haven't read the source, but you don't need to know it to fall into this story (any more than you need to have read the Thousand and One Nights to love Dhibi ki Kutti's storytelling). The Rabbi's cat has learned to talk, and he wants to study Kabbalah. And the results are comic, wry and life-and-death from any perspective. But the cat tells this story.

If I had imagined even for a moment that eating that parrot would grace me with the ability to speak, I would have done it years ago. I never liked the parrot.

Perhaps to one of its own kind, its noisy cries would have made some kind of sense. But not to us. It annoyed Zlabya, and even more, it annoyed me. The day I ate the parrot was the start of a new life. My own private new year. A day for rejoicing!

*

And for a glorious romp I've rediscovered today — Yule Morning, or Malvolio's Revenge, Ellen Fremedon's masterful sequel to Twelfth Night — fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, true love, miracles! Sir Toby loses the family jewels, Cesario learns to draw a blade ... and Sebastian and Antonio check mate the queen. In iambic pentameter.

I was alone, except for you. No coin
Had I except your purse; no compass but
Your knowledge of our road; no family,
Or so I thought; and in all of the world,
No friend or ally save Antonio,
Who ev'ry moment risk'd his neck for me. ...

I am in awe. 
 

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taabe: Tipsy sylph with a cat on her shoulder (Default)
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