31 July 2010

Third Bear Carnival: Rachel Swirsky Writes Fanfic!

The ever-marvelous Rachel Swirsky has posted her contribution to the Third Bear Carnival, "A Meta-Fictional Diptych Relating to the Stories 'Appogiatura' and 'Fixing Hanover'" (cross-posted to Alas, a Blog), which could be considered, as she notes, fan fiction. Now if only all fan fiction were like this...
Rebecca Salt, age fourteen, daughter of divorced middle class Jews from Long Island, was tired of being a Speller. She could still remember how things had felt before she got competitive, when Spelling was still a pleasure, when she had a sort of palpable sense of the l-u-x-u-r-i-a-n-c-e** of words and letters. She'd heard the symmetry between alphabet and language as a kind of ringing d-u-l-c-i-m-e-r, intricate and melodious. Sometimes the joy she took in words felt a-u-t-o-c-h-t-h-o-n-o-u-s, seeming to rise up in her from some ineffable, otherworldly source.

Six years into the rote of shuffling flash cards in every free moment, gasping out words as she ran out the door to school, eschewing the playground to snatch more time at recess and lunch, her evenings collapsing into a formless mass of homework seeping into study… well, six years into it she found herself waxing e-l-e-g-i-a-c about the days when words had seemed to sing and spin. It seemed almost s-a-c-r-i-l-e-g-i-o-u-s to admit it, but she regretted the k-n-a-c-k for words that had bound her to this labor.

Until she discovered s-m-a-r-a-g-d-i-n-e.

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