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De-crazed - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Ah. Sanity. That's right... I'd forgotten. Feels good.

Whether or not George Lucas said he was going to do the prequels back in the '80s--I guess he recently said he hadn't said that?--the rumor that they were going to be made very definitely went around. I know this, because I talked about it a lot with my SW friends, and somewhere fairly shortly after RotJ (but when it became apparent that release was not imminent), we promised that no matter where we were when the new SW trilogy came out, we'd see it together. In 1999, K and J came up here to see TPM with me. In 2002, J and I headed to North Carolina to grab AotC with K. And this past week, K and I bundled ourselves into her car (we met in Atlanta) and headed out to see RotS with J in Mississippi. (In each case, we'd all seen the movie before... we're not the most patient people... but that's not the point, so much.)

Now, I love these movies. I love them for many reasons, not the least of which is that they are associated with these particular people for me. They are two people in my life who never fail to de-craze me. When I hang out with them, I feel like I can be totally me. We have all the old shared jokes that make no sense to anyone else, the experience of growing up in the same small town (and hating it, though, as K put it, "I don't care how long you live anywhere else or how long it's been since you visited, you're from Perry, New York; you can't help it"), that sense of being the odd duck out, Odyssey of the Mind attitudes (any OMers out there know what we mean, I guess--ping pong has been made illegal; what can you do with a billion left over ping pong balls?), and a general attitude toward life. I've never blinked at the fact that all of these SW characters have names that you never hear because we named fake paintings that we made for the set of a seven minute sketch. No one knew these names except of us, they were written nowhere and contributed nothing to our OM score, but it never occurred to us not to name them. And we still remember the names. I don't have to explain anything to them, or vice versa. I've just spent five days being entirely unexplained. ;) I am sane.

We were in the middle of one conversation or another and off on some weird tangent, and I realized something. Every time I've sat down to write the Marauders in HP, while they are firmly them, the dynamic I write in comes from my Perry friendships. (I can hear chienar saying, "Uh, Fern... you're just noticing this now?"... yeah, shut up, I thought I was channelling. ;)) We bonded at roughly the same age and have that kind of shorthand. I think that the reason I'm always baffled at the belief that living at GP together and giving a gift together is somehow taken as proof of a slash ship between Remus and Sirius is simply that it's inconceivable to me that if one of us were a destitute werewolf and another an unfairly pursued fugitive, we wouldn't be living together and sharing domestic stuff like gift-giving to the child of a third one of us. We're sisters. We do that stuff for each other. (Not that it rules it out, I guess, but having it as "proof" just doesn't find any brain space in my head!) The frog-wolf conversation in Shifts, where Remus and Sirius just go off on a weird tangent about frogs that turn into wolves ("very small wolves, of course") that means nothing in context, is wholly part of this dynamic, and so is most of the Marauder dialogue in "The Doll Army." The three of us aren't especially alike, but we were thrown together by school circumstances and just... grew against each other, so we still fit. Does that make sense? And that's how I write MWPP. No matter how far away they are, they fit when they meet up again... up to and including Peter. How's that for a tangent?

Now, of course HP is new in our lives (J, blasphemy, has not been entirely sucked in!), and it's not the "language" we naturally speak. No. We speak "galaxy far, far away" among ourselves. K and I agree that it would take nothing to get us over to the Dark Side. Anakin was hard to convince, comparatively. And it would be the same approach: "Well, duh. If you'd just get this crap out of my way, I could make this thing work." And of course we have our Star Wars Sues. I introduced mine, Ciji Skywalker, Luke's crazy daughter. K has the sensible Danae Darklighter (Biggs's niece) and J was Han's much younger sister, Jana, who loves to rush in before she has the first clue what she's doing. J and K are gamers. I always wanted to be, but never got into a gaming group, but I game with them when I see them, and this time, K GM'd a game using Ciji, Dani, and Jana. G-d, I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed Ciji, Sue or not. She's just a total and complete screw-up in the way she thinks and usually acts, and her social network, to put it mildly, is an eccentric collective (her grandfather's ghost will appear to her if he feels her sweater isn't heavy enough, and Qui-Gon's gives her cryptic messages; she believes her father doesn't want her, but refuses to deal with him, but G-d help anyone else who insults him). And I like her. I can't help it. It would be insane to try and write her again, but she was really fun to play for three nights.

Which brings me to my last rambling thought for the morning. I spent close to fifteen hours literally playing "Let's Pretend." We ask and answer questions in character--not "Ciji uses the Force to throw a salt shaker at Danae" but waving my hand, muttering, "Salt shaker," and tossing the invisible thing at K.

People look cross-eyed at adults who do this, but I have to say, I think we'd have a healthier world if more adults did this. You have to slip into character and know what your character will do as opposed to what you would do, and that automatically gets you out of your own head. It's healthy to get out of there every now and then. Leave the windows open and let it air out. Take your imagination off its leash and let it run around the park. It's not rabid. It's not going to hurt anyone, and it will come back when you call. (Of course, a fanfic reading gang like the ones reading my journal doesn't need to be told this, but unfortunately, a lot of the adult world really, really does.)

Forget "The Great American Smoke-Out" day or "Earth Day"--I say we officially designate a day dedicated to imaginary play. It would be good for us.
20 comments or Leave a comment
From: psalm_27 Date: June 1st, 2005 03:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really enjoyed reading about your weekend. I'm sad to say that I don't keep in touch with friends from my youth, which is a shame, because as you pointed out, they are an important part of who you are and who you were.

I read your SW's Mary-Sue and didn't think she was too incredibly sue-ish. But, it did make me think of a Mary-Sue I wrote in my youth (and didn't realize she was a Mary-Sue until now!). A friend and I were huge, huge New York Ranger fans and we had a, gosh, I guess you could call it a RPG (in its most primitive state) where we were the main characters, female of course, that hung out with the players. I had notebooks full of these stories, which sadly disappeared when we moved from NY. My character was the poster child for Sues and I cringe/laugh now when I think of it. To be 15 again....
aerrin From: aerrin Date: June 1st, 2005 03:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hallelujah for pretend! I think there's a great deal to be said for gaming as a passtime (although I play online, not in person). It keeps one's creativity limber, forces one to apply it in new ways (it's a little embarrassing how many times I've pulled out my history training to question some aspect or another of world-building), and just generally makes one happy.

I also feel that I must shout out to OM! (I hear they've changed the name? Gasp!) Five fabulous years of my life, and come to think of it, that's where my friends and I became the same sort of easy with-each-other friends that allows us to still pick up (although sadly, not quite as you do with yours) years and years later. I remember being dreadfully embarrassed one year at having spelt "'til" as "till" on one of the backdrops and having a judge point it out. We actually made a giant time machine that looked like a brain, out of chicken wire and paper mache. The machine traveled back to Aushwitz. We were odd children, maybe, but there's no other way I would have rather spent my hours after school than with those people, getting fantastically messy as we had run of the art supplies to create whatever we wanted for whatever story we wanted to tell, within rather broad guidelines.

Man. We should get to do that again!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2005 03:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
We were so twisted in my OM gang. During the whole poisoned-Tylenol murder spree in Florida, we hinged one of our sketches on a drunken sailor poisoning a Cyclops with "Extra-Strength Tylenarg." K pointed out that we never had a sketch in which someone didn't die, and we made jokes about it. We also had incest jokes, drug jokes, electrocution jokes... If we were doing it today, we'd have been sent to therapy and put on pills, but I think that's a loss today, not a gain. At the time, they just kept giving us Ranatra Fusca awards (which after awhile, we were trying to win instead of trying to win the competition).
aerrin From: aerrin Date: June 1st, 2005 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Man. Every kid should do OM. Some of the /best/ memories.

We used to sing loudly to the Sister Act soundtrack while painting. And go skidding across the tile floor in our socks. It's the best sort of way to grow up.
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: June 1st, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
They call OM "Destination Imagination" now. Why? I do not know.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2005 03:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Honestly. I was annoyed when they changed it to "Odyssey of the Mind" from "Olympics of the Mind."
trinity_clare From: trinity_clare Date: June 1st, 2005 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't even know it had been called that. Is it so difficult just to keep the same name?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
The Olympics committee for some reason objected to the competition calling itself "Olympics," and they'd just finished a Homer-based competition, so they re-named it "Odyssey." But honestly, the new one? On top of the dumb name change... dumb name!
aerrin From: aerrin Date: June 1st, 2005 07:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
It was 'Odyssey' when I did it. I think. Or I could have been there when they did the name change, since I actually did a sketch based on The Iliad one year (and wasn't /that/ a hoot, 6th graders trying to read The Iliad?).

But 'Destination Imagination'? Ug.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Searching back into the far memories...

I think it changed to "Odyssey" in the 1983-1984 year, when I was in eighth grade. Our Homer was based on The Odyssey. The next year (the first as Odyssey of the Mind, I think), the lit problem was based on Moby Dick. Ishmael had to tell his story. We wrote it in couplets with a slide-show to show his thoughts.

There once was a schoolteacher,
Namely me
Who wanted to go sailing
On the high seas
(Visual: Drink boxes of Hi-C on ice.)
chicleeblair From: chicleeblair Date: June 1st, 2005 04:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love OM... they changed it? that's dumb
(Deleted comment)
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: June 1st, 2005 08:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha! I love that one.
rikibeth From: rikibeth Date: June 1st, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Since I'm in a Star Wars RPG Let's Pretend as well, I know EXACTLY what you're talking about.

Except lately, poor Tetsuko is in such a painful mental state that I have to talk about her in the third person, for distance. Otherwise it hurts too much.

Now, mind you, this game has been going since before RotJ, so OUR Jedi were never celibates... but even so, unrequited love for someone who's practically her best friend is BAD for a Jedi.

It makes her careless, so she doesn't think to check before touching what turns out to be poison spray paint.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 1st, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now, mind you, this game has been going since before RotJ, so OUR Jedi were never celibates...

I just worked it in. Now, Luke tried to drop it and reinstated it... and Ciji thinks it's her fault, since he did the reinstatement when she was a baby, and what possible clearer way is there to say, "AAAACK! That's enough! No more like this! I don't want it!"
rikibeth From: rikibeth Date: June 1st, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
We're a Next Generation game as well, and our story is that the revived Order dropped it as impractical, and that in any case it had only been certain schools within the Jedi that adopted the practice -- we've got as many sub-sects as Buddhism, really. Official policy now strongly encourages children, and there are some very lovely and serious Jedi marriage blessings, too. Even children out of wedlock are not seriously frowned upon... they're going to be raised within the Order, after all.

Of course, "children," in an RPG, can be spelled T-A-R-G-E-T-S...
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: June 1st, 2005 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wish my school had had OM when I was the right age for it...we had Young Scholars, though, so at least I got the friend-experience out of that.
texasmagic From: texasmagic Date: June 1st, 2005 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just watched 'Finding Neverland' and this post is so aligned with the spirit of that movie.

I was always Laura or Mary Ingalls. Oh, the terrible diseases and runaway wagon accidents, inevitably leaving one maimed, blinded, or otherwise disabled.

Currently, my husband is chasing my children around with a lightsabre.
lazypadawan From: lazypadawan Date: June 2nd, 2005 03:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Woo hoo, another ex-OM-er! Later on, I even judged a few of those things.

"Destination Imagination?" That's not a competition, that's a freakin' Disney ride!!
chienar From: chienar Date: June 2nd, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I had a feeling there was something I needed to read here... Hrms... Why do I feel like -I- am Peter....?

*grins and giggles*

Actually I kinda think it to be more like Ginny to H/R/H...

*sniff* you made me miss you guys.
falasta From: falasta Date: June 3rd, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love this post, Fern. 'Course, I've spent most of my sentient life in my own imaginary world already. =) It just switches venues every once in awhile. And yes, sometimes it seems like Star Wars *was* my world growing up. (Growing up in the early '80s) My brother (who is now nearly thirty) is still casually referred to by my parents as "The Young Jedi".

I spent a wonderful week about a month ago with my best friend from childhood, and we spent most of our time being goofy and silly and remembering all the teachers from school we liked to make fun of. She turned to me the last day and wondered "why people stopped *playing* once they grew up". I wondered that too. People need to play more.

It also seems to be one one of the reasons it's a little depressing to be the young one in the family--everyone else grew up before I was ready =)
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