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[personal profile] lettered
Title: The Old Ways
Author: tkp
Word Count: 1,500
Pairing: Spock gen
Rating: G
Summary: The old ways are gone.
A/N: Sorry for the delayed repost, for those of you who've seen this.

The Old Ways

On Vulcan, there was so little water.

There were no oceans, nor any seas. Spock heard tell of them in his mother’s tales, stories of home, “songs of sail”, she called them. We come from the water, she told him, and we return to it. The way the waves come ashore, and back out to sea, said she. Some people hear the sea—in dreams, so the story goes—calling them home.

Home to her blue planet, its face awash with water, fed with dihydrogen oxide. She herself heard a different call, she said. Her home was a different place. We come from dust, so the story goes on Vulcan, and as dust we fall. It wasn’t by a shore that she died. It was as sand, as one of them.

On land in San Francisco, Spock felt drowned. Water was in the air like dew, every day a new wash upon him, far too fresh. It was not familiar, not even familial. Mother’s tales had been of another life, beginnings foreign from his own, before she had chosen his father. Water, like the Starfleet uniform, was only wished upon, like stars. It was not home for any one of them.

After Earth was saved, Spock left the stars behind.

On New Vulcan, there was little water. There were no oceans, nor any seas. Even the wind on New Vulcan sang of his heritage, the hot whip without wet, the sting of sand. The few spices could never be the same, the stones striped with too much red, but no where was there blue. This was the land of his life—perhaps not the land of his forefathers, but this was of his father, and of his mother, after she had chosen him.

With the death of his mother, the laying aside of Starfleet, Spock fully thought that he would achieve the kolinahr, the purge of all emotion. His work on the new colony would cleanse him; the air there would crucify him. This was not a punishment. This was the weight of Vulcan rite. Spock could feel the flames of the ritual tapers burned beside him. He could hear the voice of Vulcan ceremony; it called like home.

So Spock went to new Vulcan. He held in his mind the Vok-Van-Kal t'To'oveh for Amanda Grayson. He wore the heavy, knitted tunic, the koma of Vulcan ritual. He smelled the smells of incense, and the slight too-tangy twinge of salt and something else—sweat, which once he thought must be what water was. He smelled her, and the hot, arid air of a world no water touched. He heard the tam-tam, kep, ring for her remembrance.

In waking hours, the Vulcans left held no ceremony for the Vulcans lost. There had been too many, and there was too much to do besides. They moved stones into the central square of the new colony, and strung the kep between them. It hung between its silent sentinels like a gate to their past. In dreams, the sound of it called them all.

They planted Vulcan plants and the planned new Vulcan edifices, which they erected with new stone not of Vulcan. They selected the high council—new elders, they called them, which should have been a contradiction in terms. The effort to rebuild was long and hot and hard. Sometimes Spock would stand still, waiting for the whisper of sand-stricken wind.

(As dust, she fell.)

Sometimes, in those silent moments, another Vulcan—Stonn, T’Pau, Sarek, the elder Spock—would suddenly stand as motionless as he. Between them strung a gateway. Between them, the call of the kep.

United in their losses though they were, their new nation was not without dissent. The issue was adaptation. The few plants from Vulcan died, while the new plants specifically engineered for this new sandscape thrived. Certain traditions could be transplanted, they all acknowledged, and other ways must be changed completely. They agreed on this: the arguments were not so simple as keeping everything the same versus forward motion. No Vulcans left were so emotional as to deny common sense because they were nostalgic.

But even kolinahr, the height of pure logic, was steeped in history. Mystery shrouded the final level, achieved only through mighty ritual, performed by a master swathed in koma, and the ringing of the kep. There was not time for such procedure, Spock reasoned. What was more: there was not reason.

What they faced now was not merely the grafting of long held ken to the face of this new planet. The stone tablets of tradition had all been smashed to sand; the granite was all gone. They faced reformation, recreation, the reconsideration of old behaviors, of the paradigm. This was a new time. Sand, when the wind swept, shifted like waves.

Spock’s grief was not the living fire it had been. It could be handled now, as if on a candle, small but steady—controlled, yet ever continued, as if of a rite. That flame fed the fire of their reconstruction; it fueled the new biology they must adapt to their new geology, the new technology they must fit to new meteorology. It should not be extinguished; it must not be. Kolinahr was a legacy of another land, the birthright of another people.

Spock found that when he meditated, he did not light the new candles modeled on the wax molded from an insect of old Vulcan. He did not wear the pelal which used to sing against his skin. He did not poise his hands in the posture of deep contemplation, the nahr position of subjugation of emotion. He did not smell the scents that used to bring him back. That space of silence became singular, a personal spirituality molded to himself and not out of custom.

So it was with all of them. The first kal-if-fee performed in the square was for two young Vulcans, surviving because they had been visiting other worlds; they knew less of their homeland than many of the dead. The bells of the procession were made with new Vulcan metal. The cloth of the female tu’ruth was of a fresh-made dye. The wind had a different sharpness, and the plak tow of the male looked more like young eagerness than anything. The kep, when sounded, took them not into the past, but to a new future—another generation, and another Vulcan.

The eldest of them, the elder Spock, had long been ready for this new Vulcan. He well knew how to be from them, but not of them, how to forge new fires in the ashes of those past. Even in his own world, Spock suspected, Spock the elder had heard a different call. His home had been a different place. Regarding the eagerness of the young male, nothing like blood fever, there was a way Tela’hat Spohkh’s eyes shone, as if entirely in favor.

That night, Spock the Younger went alone into the desert. On another land, this was the start of the kolinahr, the purging of the self, the oneness with the sand, the dusk, the dark, the dust. He knelt down on the ground, and called forth the vision of the symbol of fullara, the first ritual of kolinahr. He spake the sacred words, ingrained in him like the biting wind. He raised his hand in the Vulcan gesture of cleansing, and drew the lines down in the sand.

Spock waited in the night without dreaming, the symbol of all their past before him. The night was cold and blank, the sand pale. He waited for the wind to feel the same. He waited for the scent of spices, and the tang of her salt skin. He waited for the call.

All he could see were stars, singing songs of sail.

Spock returned to the square the next morning. The stones stood tall and straight, the kep hung silent between them. It had been several months since the saving of Earth. This was new, too—Vulcan had no moon, while New Vulcan suffered tides, in and out. On this planet, Spock saw now, he only was a satellite, circling something to which he never could return.

That day Spock told the high council of his plan to return to Starfleet. United in their losses as they were, his decision was not without dissent. In their discourse he could feel the heaviness of the hard-knit koma. He could remember standing before them before; he could remember the voice of Vulcan ceremony, and the ringing of the kep. He remembered, but they did not call. His elder self, he felt, knew what it was he heard.

After all, there were other songs, other tales, stories of home, she called them. We come from stars, another story goes, and we return to them. As stars we fall.

In his dreams, Spock the Younger heard new things. He could hear Captain Kirk. He could hear Nyota; he could hear the Enterprise.

They sounded like the sea.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-06 01:50 am (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
Whoa, neat. I wish I'd seen more Trek, because I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this as Spock POV. Talk to me about that, your style choices. It's pure poetry, and furthermore, Anglo-Saxon poetry, with all its alliterative pairs.

I love the theme. Really, you had me as soon as you made the connection between the sea and the stars: I am a sucker for that one forever and ever, amen. "O grant Thy mercy and Thy grace / To those who venture into space."

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-06 02:23 am (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
Oh, that's too funny. Me, not you, I mean! You're right; it's omniscient, gazing in the same direction as Spock, but it's not right inside his head. But I read an awful lot of fanfic that's also 3rd person, but very, very tight 3rd person limited, where the POV might as well be 1st person -- so I'm kind of conditioned, I'm realizing, to read it that way. Hah. Huh.

Now I want to go back to my own journal and metatate on Fandom House Style...possibly with reference to the hummus essay.

I love, btw, that you DON'T write in Fandom House Style. I think the closest you ever got was Best Souvenir.

I think if you get fannish--maybe I should use the word passionate--about something, every song that makes you feel feels as though it applies to what you're thinking about, or is aimed at you. Happens to me all the time.

OMG ME TOO. Like crazy. This is why my iTunes is full of character playlists and fic soundtracks for other people's damned stories! I even start them for the novels I take on the train. I have one for Girls Are Great, hee hee yes I do!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-11 03:09 am (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
What is Fandom House Style?

Oh, where's that essay? It was astolat or cesperanza or somebody observing that fanfic's median is a very straightforward, transparent prose that may be extremely well-crafted, but doesn't call attention to itself. She called it camera-like for the way it places emphasis on the characters and action rather than itself, which was a neat observation to connect with the fact that many of us are writing in tv-based fandoms. I think she actually called it "LJ house style," after the way publishing houses often have similar distinguishable styles or preferences.

I think tight 3rd is probably more the norm or less depending on what fandom you're in. I just linked it with "house style", possibly prematurely, because it's prevalent in SG-1 at the moment, being favoured by several BNFs.

I was reading Buffyverse fic the other day and was kind of startled to notice that it really is different from what I think of as "yer average Stargate prose". It's more baroque. I mean, SG-1 can get pretty damned silly, but...I dunno, maybe the sci-fi vs. fantasy favours blunt over poetical? In any case, I got all nostalgic for kita and lynnenne's enfloriations.

I like very tight 3rd. You can do amazing things with it that I feel you
can't do in 1st or a looser 3rd. But the prevalence of it has made it
harder and harder to write omniscient.

Hrm. I think you just have to be conscience of where you place your clues, which is just good writing anyway. The amount of distance between narrator and character is established in the first few lines. I think if you're shooting for omniscient, you start from a little farther back and then zoom in.

I'm actually having a very bad writery time right now because I
want to write my epic gen Star Trek so badly, but can't seem to do
it without POV switches and long metatastic explanations of people's
thoughts. :o( :o(

Auugh, I have so much sympathy, you don't even know. This is my problem with my Stargate gen! I keep adding POVs! Or, I should say rather, undesired characters keep wanting to talk! Damn you anyhow, Daniel. You had one job in this story, and that was to be a mysterious cipher. So STFU KTHXBAI. *iz long-suffering*

I did a post about a soundtrack stoney321 made me for Connor from AtS.

I have that soundtrack. It's brilliant.

Which is why some time I'd LOVE to pick your brain about your fic

What do you want to know about fic soundtracks? I would love to make a post about them, if I knew where to start. I will upload my ridiculous one for GAG, and see if I can reconstruct the B/A one that I lost in a computer crash. I have two more I'm trying to make for an ailing friend, but I'm stuck for a song about culture shock/discovery/amazement/trepidation -- sort of "A Whole New World" but without the cheesy Disney voices, and one or several that would suit a dignified but ferocious warrior with a lot of Black Marks on his Soul.

It's alive! It's alive!

Date: 2010-01-27 01:20 am (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
I have also noticed that Buffyverse fic is more baroque/enfloriated (what a good word) than, say, Star Trek. It's . . . weird. The thing about Buffyverse was I knew that I could write something experimental and/or poetic and people would sit up and pay attention.

Heh, I guess Buffy is more baroque than Trek. Buffy's all blood and roses; it makes no bones about the fact that it is trying to be a *myth*. So many of the major characters (actually, all of them, really) already speak in a stylized way, that we're more willing to indulge stylization in fanwriters. We're used to it; there's less WTF.

I was unable to "break in" to HP fandom with, uh, something fancy, and this piece right here has garnered almost no reviews. It might be just that this and Silver Tongues weren't as good as the thing that got me noticed in Buffy fandom (Blood Types), but I notice looking around me that I don't see people DOING this type of stuff in Star Trek, or even HP.

Did you advertise this one anywhere? Fandom feels bigger to me than it used to. Do you find that? I think it's harder to break in just by writing something good. You have to spend substantial effort participating in the community. Look at lim's Harry/Draco novel. It's fantastic, and it got a piddly amount of attention compared with HP BNFs. She's an interesting test case, because she *is* a BNF elsewhere: she's a vidding superhero, and if she wrote, oh, a SGA epic, hordes would descend.

I also have to admit that I don't love Silver Tongues or this piece as much as either Blood Types or Down There in the Reeperbahn. Blood Types is rich like peat moss, but not actually very gimmicky. Reeperbahn is just craaazy, and wicked smart, and crazy fun to untangle and card through for double, triple, quadruple meanings. In everything you’ve written for Buffy, I feel like the language is perfectly suited to the story. The Old Ways, otoh, has a good concept, but I don't understand why you chose the narrative voice you did. Like I said, it pings several quite specific time-and-place buttons for me, and because I can't see clearly how they fit in this universe, they come across as a somewhat mystifying affectation. BUT most of my Trek knowledge I acquired via osmosis. So. Food for thought, grain of salt, yadda.

HP has some truly magnificent work, but none match the out-on-a-limb quality of say, Kita's work. Then again, imo nothing matches Kita's work. A few sort of like Lynne in HP, maybe, and yet the focus for those writers seems to be on plots and characters, and not on theme, like Lynne. That's not to say the plot- and character-driven work isn't amazing (or thematic); some of it really is. But the approach seems different. I'm probably not making any sense.

I can think of people in (both) Stargate(s) who rock theme. I can't think of anybody who privileges it over character study, though; they use themes to explore characters. And plots to explore characters. And pastiche to explore characters.

I think...one of the differences in approach might be Jverse fans' obsession with patterns in Joss's universe. Fractals and repetitions and parallels -- they're everywhere -- he's Tolkien-like in that way. So that's where writers like me and you and Kita often start, by noticing something like that and capitalizing on it. Stargate doesn't have that literary quality. Vidders such as lim wrestle it out of HP. I can't speak to Trek.

But I haven't seen writers like you or seraphcelene in Star Trek or HP, either.

Yeah? In terms of content or style?

Because people are approaching everything so used to reading up-close-and-personal third. The clues need to be different for that audience.

I keep coming back to a metaphor of a camera zoom—and keep failing at articulating a clear rule of writing to stick it in, possibly because every rule of writing as a zillion exceptions. Something about establishing shots? I'm thinking of Jane Austen novels, with their "Dear Reader" POVs, that invariably start with truisms or affectionate but cool-headed and distancing character descriptions, and all their associated movies that begin with panoramic views of the countryside. I don't really know where I'm going with this. And I'm not critiquing __ anymore, either, I'm just ruminating about POV in general. *chews cud*

I have developed a worksheet for us. Please fill out.


1)Why is this happening to us?
It's happening to *me* because I get really excited about things and start daydreaming about them for hours and weeks and months before knuckling down and figuring out that they don't actually have viable plots.
2)Has this ever happened to you before?
Well, see above, but this is farther than I've ever gotten before.
2b) If so, what did you do?
Gave up and wandered away to the next shiny non-viable. :/
3) Do you know the overall arc of your story?
I know the emotional arcs. I know the plot arc of one (of two, possibly three) set of characters. The others are lost in a great haze.
4) What will happen if we leave these slowly-crowding-us POVs/interfering
character scenes out?

Daniel will sulk, but that's about it. And hey, it's not like sulky!Daniel is OOC!
5) Is it possible to write the crowding POVs/interfering character, and
then write them back out again, so we feel satisfied, but not crowded?

Quite possibly.
6) Have you ever written epic gen before?
I have never written chaptered anything before!!
7) What epic gen have we read?
I'm pondering replacing your gen label with adventure or drama or some such, because it's worth noting that some relevant stories have romance, they're just not romance-centric. I also think it's useful here to divide gen into two rough categories:
  • the kind that follows one protagonist or POV on one specific quest with a clear goal. The whole book is, like Neal Stephenson says, "the wood behind the point of a spear." Detective stories are a good example of this.
  • the kind that follows multiple characters on different (though maybe related) errands in different places, and have a number of plotty episodes that may be thematically linked or advance a larger arc, but are more or less self-contained.
At the moment, I'm fangirling a few fannish authors who have written amazing examples of the former -- but I'm failing at imitating them. *My* story idea is not like a spear. It is like a sack of topsoil sprouting mushrooms.
8) What is your goal in writing said epic gen?

My answers . . .
3) Yes. Kirk and Spock become bff, Kirk becomes the man he is in TOS, and Spock at last finds peace in himself after the event of Reboot

That does sound cool. What do you think needs to happen to get them there?
6) Yes. Angel got a puppy in it!
I love that story so hard.
7) Hm. Well, I'm looking for a large cast, a series of adventures, without an overbearing plot.
8) I want to get from Reboot to TOS insofar as Kirk and Spock's characters go, at the same time keeping the changes of Reboot intact Maybe I have conflicting goals, since I'm interested specifically in developing the Kirk and Spock relationship, but also in developing everyone else's.
Okay. So write that. Write episodic epic gen: a string of single-chapter MOTW stories, each of which give full and loving attention to one POV. K&S can sometimes be foregrounded and sometimes burble along in the background, and the K&S-centric "season arc" can surge to the fore toward the end. It would work. I've read such things in other fandoms.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-01-27 01:29 am (UTC)
stultiloquentia: Campbells condensed primordial soup (Default)
From: [personal profile] stultiloquentia
I love your questions. You are as big a dork as I am, and that makes me so happy. I will answer them on my own blog.


Date: 2015-06-16 03:15 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)


lettered: (Default)
It's Lion Turtles all the way down

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