seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
I got two more great Magic Flute fics for [community profile] purimgifts. They were written by [archiveofourown.org profile] zdenka. I am surprised. Oh wait, no, that's not the right word. What's the opposite of surprised? Unsurprised? That is what I am. I was pretty certain they were by [archiveofourown.org profile] zdenka by the first fic, and I am delighted that I got fantastic Zauberflote fics for Purimgifts. Queen of the Night FTW!

These fics are so great at capturing the essence of who the Queen of the Night is, how she stands up for emotional connection and music and happiness in the war against a cold, unfeeling, punitive rationalism.

The Abduction of Pamina: Part 1 (671 words) by Zdenka
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Die Zauberflöte | The Magic Flute - Mozart/Schikaneder
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Königin der Nacht | Queen of the Night / Pamina's Father
Characters: Königin der Nacht | Queen of the Night, Pamina's Father (Magic Flute)
Additional Tags: Implied/Referenced Character Death, Kidnapping, Collection: Purimgifts Day 2
Series: Part 1 of Purimgifts 2017
Summary:

The Queen of the Night has a dispute with her husband.



The Abduction of Pamina: Part 2 (776 words) by Zdenka
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Die Zauberflöte | The Magic Flute - Mozart/Schikaneder
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Königin der Nacht | Queen of the Night, Pamina, Three Ladies (Magic Flute), Sarastro (The Magic Flute)
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 3
Series: Part 2 of Purimgifts 2017
Summary:

The Queen of the Night takes back her daughter.






As for me, I was delighted to revisit the complex Toby Ziegler/Andie Wyatt relationship once more. It's one of my favorite relationships in the West Wing, and obviously Toby is my favorite West Wing character by far. As I did in a past Purimgifts fic, I wrote my stories from Andie's point of view- constantly frustrated by Toby, but no less in love for it. It was a comfortable voice to slip into, and as a result these stories were really fun to write.

As an Easter Egg of laziness on my part, the graphics I used to illustrate the fic are screenshots from my Toby vid "Circles (Ma'Agalim)".

The Plan Part I (475 words) by seekingferret
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The West Wing
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Andrea Wyatt/Toby Ziegler
Characters: Andrea Wyatt, Toby Ziegler
Additional Tags: Weddings, Collection: Purimgifts Day 1
Series: Part 1 of The Plan
Summary:

In which Andie has an evil plan.

seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
[community profile] purimgifts has been revealed!! The fic is here!! At least Day One- two more days of fic and art to go!

I received a lovely Magic Flute fic about the Queen of the Night and her relationship with Pamina. It's really sweet and shows the maternal side of the Queen without hiding her brutality or her pridefulness. I'm looking forward to probably two more Magic Flute fics in the coming days! Freilichin Purim indeed!

Star-Flaming Queen (515 words) by Anonymous
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Die Zauberflöte | The Magic Flute - Mozart/Schikaneder
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Königin der Nacht | Queen of the Night, Pamina (The Magic Flute)
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 1
Summary:

The Queen of the Night teaches Pamina how to use her power.




I have read some of the other fic in the collection, and liked some of it quite a lot, but there are several fics that I didn't write but which I conceivably could have, so I think I'll hold back on recs until author reveals to keep it from being obvious what I wrote.
seekingferret: White text on blue background. Yuletide: Good for the Jews (yuletide)
Dear Purimgifts Author,

I write the same letter for Purimgifts every year. Purim is a time of topsy turviness, of sudden reversals. What I want most out of this exchange is to be surprised. Thank you for writing for me!

~Ferret
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Purim Sameach!

I attended the seudah last night of a Rabbi I've learned with, on and off, since I was thirteen. There were forty or fifty people in his home and none were as drunk as the host, who was randomly standing on chairs to make longwinded circuitous announcements about how much he loved everyone in the room. I myself only had four or five shots of vodka and whiskey and woke up with very minimal hangover symptoms.

After bentsching, we davened ma'aariv and I was asked to daven for the amud. It may have been the weirdest davening energy of any room I've ever davened in- and given the places I have davened, that's saying something. I mean, last weekend at Lunacon for Kabbalat Shabbat I prayed on behalf of an Orthodox couple, a Reform woman who struggled with the Hebrew, and a militant egalitarian Conservative Jew who moved her chair into the middle of the room to oppose the idea of mechitzas. And last night's ma'aariv was weirder.

-To begin with, the Rabbi's ~2 year old son was climbing on top of a couch and jumping off all through the service, which is the kind of routine distraction one expects when davening in a home, and it barely registered, but I will note it. In other rooms of the house, other children were noisily playing as well.

-Earlier in the seudah, one of the guests had given a short d'var Torah on the subject of the response to Kaddish ("Y'hei shmei rabbah mevorach l'olam ulalmei almaya"- May God's great name be blessed forever and ever. Amen), bringing out a kabbalistic idea that if one recited the response to Kaddish with koach, with full force, then it would bring blessings on the sayer. So when I recited Kaddish, twenty drunk men attempted to respond with koach. With what I would say would have to be considered predictable results.

-I was probably one of the more sober daveners, but as I said, I'd had about four shots of hard liquor myself. The experience of davening in that state was kind of intensifying. I was focused, and a lot of the things I wrote about in this post about the Shemoneh Esrei seemed to be easier to approach because of that focus. I felt like my davening meant something, like I had the time and attention to really talk with God in a directed and meaningful way. But I also felt like I heard everything around me and I fed off the energy of the other daveners because of my chemically altered state. The mumbled prayers of the other people in the room all had their own rhythms and they affected the way I prayed, urging me to pay attention to a particular line or slow down or speed up my recitation as felt appropriate.

-I do not have the most melodious voice and I certainly did not attempt to sing the daily ma'ariv prayer, which anyway does not really lend it to a musical treatment, but there was a cadence to my davening that felt musical to me, and impelled the prayer forward. I would like to daven the way I did last night, more often. And we did sing more than one usually does- we recited all three paragraphs of Shema together, and when we finished the first paragraph of Alenu, we kept going and sang the Al Ken that comes after it.


Anyway, it was strange but not all in a bad way. There are elements of the way I prayed last night that I would like to bring into my davening in more ordinary circumstances.


[community profile] purimgifts revealed. Check out the stories! I defaulted last week, the first time I've ever defaulted on [community profile] purimgifts. I feel bad, since the exchange is such an important one to me, but I've written three or four pinch hits for the exchange over the years, so I don't feel too bad. And the half-finished stories I have may eventually be finished and gifted, in any case. I also haven't had a chance to read my gifts yet, and probably won't until tomorrow evening. Sorry, it's been busy around here. :(
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Have some more [community profile] purimgifts recs, while I'm at it.

My single favorite fic in this year's exchange, other than the ones I received, is this marvelous XMFC Erik/Raven ficlet, "Yahrzeit". Jewish!Mystique!!! A really convincingly written Jewish!Erik, afraid of his heritage and yet willing to let it in in small doses, often at Raven's urging.

Yarzheit (800 words) by scribblemyname
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: X-Men (Movieverse), X-Men: First Class (2011)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Erik Lehnsherr/Raven | Mystique
Characters: Erik Lehnsherr, Raven | Mystique
Additional Tags: Community: purimgifts, Collection: Purimgifts Day 2, Yarzheit, Judaism, Emotional Hurt, Coping, Established Relationship
Summary:

Raven sits up on the bed and sets the report aside, climbs over his lap, and pushes him down to kiss him as though he loves her because he does love her. She cannot be Charles but she is her own kind of beautiful.



I really loved the Sports Night/Brooklyn 9-9 crossover that began with this fic. It was pretty obvious by day 2 that [personal profile] roga had written it, between the sparkling dialogue and the constant hockey jokes, but it's delightful in that way that great [personal profile] roga stories often are.

Overtime (Part 1) (557 words) by Roga
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Sports Night
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dan Rydell, Natalie Hurley, Jeremy Goodwin, Casey McCall
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 1
Series: Part 1 of Overtime
Summary:

Overtime is always unexpected.



I enjoyed this post-movie Veronica Mars fic a lot.

Best Served Cold (1137 words) by igrockspock
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Veronica Mars - All Media Types
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Veronica Mars, Jackie Cook
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 2
Summary:

When a corporate lawyer posts nude pictures of an old friend on the internet, Veronica gets revenge -- the legal way.



I really liked this picture of Julia from Selfie.

Efficient, Androgynous Julia - Have All the Happiness (3 words) by DefinitelyNotScott
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Selfie (TV)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Julia Howser (Selfie TV)
Additional Tags: Digital Art, Collection: Purimgifts Day 2
Summary:

A portrait of Julia Howser.



And I loved this characteristically detailed Vashti-POV version of the Megillah from [personal profile] daegaer. ([personal profile] liv, I was not wrong!)

In the Citadel of Susa, I (1430 words) by Daegaer
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: תנ"ך | Tanakh, Jewish Scripture & Legend, Ancient Persia, Megillat Ester | Book of Esther
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Vashti, Ester | Esther, Artaxerxes, Hegai, Mehuman (Abrahamic Religions)
Additional Tags: Persia, Persian Empire, Eunuchs, Queens, Kings & Queens, courtiers, palace plots, Collection: Purimgifts Day 1
Series: Part 1 of In the Citadel of Susa
Summary:

Artaxerxes, the King of Kings, makes a demand that Vashti his Queen cannot and will not meet.

seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
For [community profile] purimgifts this year, I wrote a small series of Agents of SHIELD ficlets about Simmons. AoS has been an intensely frustrating show to be fannish about for me. It has several things I love in my fandoms: Geekery and constant crossreferences to other parts of its massive canon, technobabbling scientists, over-the-top ridiculous action scenes, secret identities and other kinds of identity play. It ought to be a show I love with very few reservations, but the problem is that Agents of SHIELD is very badly written.

Simmons at the beginning of season 2 is sent undercover by Coulson to infiltrate HYDRA. HYDRA knows that she used to work for SHIELD, that she was one of the 'good guys', but they accept her, as they presumably accepted a lot of other former SHIELD agents, because HYDRA and SHIELD were so intermixed that it's impossible to tell the difference between a SHIELD agent and a HYDRA agent. They accept her, but they certainly don't trust her.

So of course, when the writers decide to have Coulson give her this assignment, they also decide they're not going to actually show Simmons on the assignment very much. Because they certainly don't have the writing ability to have made it emotionally convincing.

But I think it's a fascinating storyline that I wanted to see fleshed out. Simmons at HYDRA isn't just going to be presented with the normal struggles any double agent faces. As a scientist for HYDRA, she'll inevitably be tasked with creating weapons of mass destruction. If she sabotages those weapons and is caught, she'll be killed. But if she creates those weapons, she is sacrificing everything she believes in, putting her team and the whole world in harm's way. I think it calls into question the ideal of science as an apolitical act in pursuit of universal truth, and that makes for great human drama.

I had a simple template for each of these stories: Jemma Simmons in some fashion accomplishes something that lives up to her ideals, despite being in this compromised situation. They're small triumphs, but they let Simmons be the hero, just for a moment, and I think she must seize those moments as life preservers.

Compromised (510 words) by seekingferret
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leo Fitz/Jemma Simmons
Characters: Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 1
Series: Part 1 of Uncompromising
Summary:

Jemma Simmons, uncompromising and compromised.



Compromises (344 words) by seekingferret
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leo Fitz/Jemma Simmons
Characters: Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 2
Series: Part 2 of Uncompromising
Summary:

Jemma Simmons, uncompromising and compromised.



Compromiser (505 words) by seekingferret
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leo Fitz & Jemma Simmons
Characters: Jemma Simmons
Additional Tags: Collection: Purimgifts Day 3
Series: Part 3 of Uncompromising
Summary:

Jemma Simmons, uncompromising and compromised.

seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Dear Purimgifts Author,

I write the same letter every single year for Purimgifts. Purim is a time of topsy-turviness and what I want most for Purimgifts is to be surprised.

Thanks!

~Ferret
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
My favorite line in X-Men First Class comes near the end.

I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.

When the film came out, I argued endlessly with my Jewish friends about what that line was trying to say about Erik.

See, there once was a man named Meir Kahane. He formed a group in 1968 called the Jewish Defense League- it's been alternately described as a protest organization, a paramilitary organization, and a terrorist organization depending on who you ask. And Kahane himself has been called everything from a Zionist hero to a racist monster. To hear my parents speak about him in the '90s, when he had just been assassinated but still loomed large in the conversation about Israel, they felt he was maybe a little of both. And the motto of Kahane's Jewish Defense League was "Never Again".

It meant a lot of different things. It meant "Never Again" will we let the Holocaust happen. "Never Again" will we sit back and let non-Jews push us around. "Never Again" will we be thought of as weak. "Never Again" will we let the Jewish leadership betray us with false hopes of reconciliation with our enemies. In the name of "Never Again", Kahane and the JDL did terrible, unforgivable things- beating up innocent people, setting off bombs in public places, spreading hateful lies about Arabs. And they also did amazing things- protecting Jews from legitimate enemies, being a voice for Jews oppressed by the Soviet Union, creating pride and identity for lost Jewish souls.

Erik invoking "Never Again" in 1962 is the kind of ahistorical hash that XMFC made of the real history of the '60s throughout the movie, but it suggested a relationship between the film's vision of Erik and the filmmakers' understanding of Meir Kahane.

For Purimgifts this year, I set out to explore that relationship by writing stories in which Erik and Meir Kahane came into conflict.

In Which Meir Kahane Gave Magneto a Bloody Nose

This is a monstrous version of Erik Lehnsherr, but it is not the same kind of monstrous Erik Lehnsherr we normally see, I think. Everything my Erik does has a calculated purpose toward a master plan, and the master plan is not world domination but survival. Survival is the only thing Erik Lehnsherr knows how to do, survival for himself and survival for his chosen family. He will hurt anyone if it will help advance this purpose. This is a monstrous Erik, a killer, a brute, who could nonetheless never be the chessmaster from The Last Stand who quips "That's why pawns go first," as he sends fellow mutants off to die.

And it's because there's this kernel of unarticulated, broken ethics somewhere inside Erik that Kahane sees an opportunity to perform kiruv, to remind him that he is still a Jew. Everything Kahane says to Erik serves dual purpose, to taunt and psych him out, and to probe him for vulnerability to conversion. Not that Erik needs the reminder. He hasn't forgotten who he used to be. History is certainly the nightmare Erik is trying to wake up from.

This is XMFC Ferret style, which means Erik is the ambiguous hero, Charles is a non-entity, and Mystique is a total badass. [And Emma's value isn't her sexuality, it's her total lack of morality.] Coexistence and peaceful social change aren't even on the table for discussion, they're just jokes that both sides of the story's conflict snicker at. Instead, this is a story about identity and names and the psychological toll of existential struggle. I tried to write Erik and Mystique as somewhere midway between XMFC and X-Men 1, an extrapolation where you could hopefully look from XMFC to my story and say "Okay, I can believe that they went from here to there" and look from my story to X-Men 1 and say the same thing. I feel like that worked reasonably well.

These are ugly, nasty stories about ugly, nasty truths, and the thing I was pleased about as I read the comments they garnered was that my readers seemed to get that and appreciate it. It was really exciting to see that recognition from the readers that these stories were problematic and yet still worth thinking about.

And I should thank [personal profile] starlady for betaing. I couldn't have finished these fics without her help.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
I've been remiss in hyping the fic I've been receiving:

For [community profile] purimgifts, I received three Ainsley Hayes West Wing ficlets, which I've really enjoyed. Ainsley's a strange character for Aaron Sorkin, one of the major deviations from his cartoonish depiction of Republicans and yet not always a very realistic Republican herself. Rather symbolic of my whole relationship with the West Wing as a Republican.

"White House Memories: The Bullpen"
"White House Memories: The Steampipe Distribution Venue"
"White House Memories: White House Counsel"

The author's Ainsley voice is lovely: retrospective, thoughtful, emotionally resonant, and yet still playful. If you're a West Wing fan, you should seek these out.


For [community profile] invisible_ficathon, I received a main story in The Escapist fandom and a drabble treat in The Books of the Wars of the Lord fandom.

"Twilight Valley" is a Luna Moth story. I would recommend it to anyone who is remotely fond of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay without reservation, and to anyone who isn't but is a fan of dense, muscular, tropey pulp fiction. I'm so thrilled to get this story. It's hard to say that it's exactly what I asked for, since I don't know what I was asking for in this exchange, but it is exactly the kind of story I love to read.

"Concerning Vaheb", meanwhile, is a single punchline, perfectly executed for Bible nerds.


You should read all of them, I am grateful for every one of my gifts.

The remainder of the stories, including the ones I wrote, can be browsed here:

Purimgifts 2014

Invisible Ficathon 2014

Invisible Snacks 2014
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Dear Purimgifts Author,

I write the same letter every year for this exchange. Purim is a season of topsy-turviness and what I want most out of this exchange is to be surprised. Write whatever idea you have the most fun writing and everyone'll be happy. Thanks!

~Ferret
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)

A multifandom ficlet/art exchange focusing on female or Jewish characters,
and also some evil viziers.
Sign ups end on the night of Feb 10th.
Rules, FAQs, and sign ups here!



[community profile] purimgifts, my favorite fanwork exchange of the year, just opened signups for this year. It's a small commitment of three short stories and three graphics. You should consider signing up! Yes, I mean you!
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
I wrote three stories for [personal profile] elrhiarhodan for Purimgifts.

For a while, I worried that my purimgifts stories were insufficiently ambitious, or even lazy. In past years I've had to create whole new swaths of canon by worldbuilding, for my pirate rabbi stories, and for my bible space station AU. This year, I just did very simple, straightforward remixes of three scenes from the West Wing. In two of them, even, I only changed one line of dialogue from the original scene. Eventually, I decided that I had in fact done enough to change the substance, that despite the small number of changes, these were significant and meaningful remixes.

My reasoning was that there were two things I did that were significant. The first was casting these scenes in Toby's perspective perspective. The show never shows you what characters are thinking, in fact can't show you what they're thinking. I consistently gave Toby perspective, which also meant that the three scenes taken from three seasons were being positioned as structurally relevant to each other. The other thing is the substance of the remix. In each case, the changed lines of dialogue try to fix the same thing- my periodic frustration with the way the West Wing, a show which I will always love for positioning Jewish ideals and values front and center, failed to accurately represent those values. Simple, factual failures that are easily ascribed to writer fowl-up, but feel like betrayals because they're missteps that I can't believe Toby or Josh would ever make.

So in the Pilot, when Toby identifies the wrong commandment, I had to fix it. In The Day Before, when Toby explains that Erev Yom Kippur is something special when we all know it's the whole Ten Days of Awe. In 20 Hours in America, when Toby throws a cheap, nonsensical joke at Josh when he ought to be standing in unity with his fellow Jew. I had to fix these moments, share my own headcanon for these moments with everyone. Maybe the changes really are insubstantial, maybe I was being lazy. But when I read these remixed stories, I cheer, because I feel the sense of rightness restored to them.


Pilot [The Getting the Commandments Right Remix]

The Day Before [The Am Yisrael Remix]

20 Hours in America [The Acheinu Kol Beit Yisrael Remix]


Three West Wing Toby-centric ficlets centered around a theme. I am, on the whole, pleased with them. And I hope everyone enjoys them.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
For PurimGifts, I received Danger 5 fic!!!! Guys, you know how Danger 5 is this thing where I keep ranting about how it's the best thing on television in post after post where I get no response? How I have physically dragged friends in front of a television and made them watch this show? How I helped coordinate a party where we played the Danger 5 drinking game? How I've requested it for two Purimgifts and one Yuletide, which is to say, every opportunity I've had since discovering the show? How I've written the fandom's only fanfic, and it's gotten a hundred hits and no comments and only one pity kudos from my beta, most likely because the hundred hits are from fans of the Inglourious Basterds side of the crossover and nobody gets the Danger 5 part?

Well, I have finally received Danger 5 fic! I am not the only fic writer in the fandom anymore!

A Game of World Conquest

In which Hitler challenges the Danger 5 team to a game of Real World Risk, prompting loyalty challenges for Ilsa, tactical challenges for Tucker, and another opportunity to prove the greatness of the American way for Jackson.

The Rainbow Connection

In which Hitler has destroyed the Rainbow Bridge between Ghana and Cuba and threatens to rebuild it from Ghana to Germany and give himself access to infinite gold. And Tucker's recorder reappears, and Ilsa knows the best way to solve their problems and Claire is the center of attention as it is finally confirmed by unicorns that she is the only virgin on the team.

Shooting Stars

In which Claire almost kills Hitler, but thankfully doesn't. And our heroes wage battle against the reindeer of the Fuhrer.


And if that weren't great enough, I also got the best Avengers ficlet ever.

Avengers, Report!

Which is an Avengers mad lib. I feel so lucky.

And that's not even counting the Pirate Rabbi ficlet that someone wrote for [personal profile] daegaer, which... I wrote a big squeeing comment on the post, and I'm still not entirely convinced that it wasn't me who wrote that story. PIRATE RABBI FICLET, DUDES.

Maneuvers

In which the Pirate Rabbi has his English adventure, two years after I told [personal profile] miarr that maybe someday I'd get around to writing his English adventure. Except someone else wrote it. I swear!
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Dear Purimgifts Author,

This is, I believe, my fourth Purimgifts, and each year my letter has essentially consisted of the same admonishment: Purim is the season of topsy-turviness, and what I want more than anything else is to be surprised.

Have a good time, write stories that entertain you, and we'll be fine. I've requested a nice mix of fandoms I love, and will be thrilled to get a story in any of them.

~Ferret
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Purimgifts is coming! Signups only for a few more days, because Purim is super-early this year.


This is, no offense to Yuletide or Kaleidoscope, my favorite fanwork exchange of the year. It is the only place where I can safely and comfortable ask for Talmud RPF, the only place where I can write Bible Space Station AUs or Merchant of Venice Space Station AUs and have them be accepted in the spirit offered, the only fic exchange where I truly feel comfortable letting every part of my identity inform my participation. There are a group of very-important-to-me fandoms that I don't trust to any exchange but this one- I once saw a request for a The Chosen fic in Yuletide that reduced me to furious tears and made me grateful that I'd never offered The Chosen in Yuletide, but I would be fine offering The Chosen for Purimgifts.

The obligation is fairly minimal- three 300-word stories and three graphics. I can't do graphics and yet I love making Purimgifts graphics, because they're an excuse to go wild with silly visuals.

And there is no requirement that you be Jewish to participate. Purim is about sharing joy with the people who matter to us. Purim is about celebrating life. All are invited.


A multifandom ficlet/art exchange focusing on female or Jewish characters,
and also some evil viziers.
Sign ups end on the night of Feb 3rd.
Rules, FAQs, and sign ups here!
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
For [archiveofourown.org profile] kerrypolka, I wrote the Bible space station bar AU.

Of All the Gin Joints Part 1 (Rebecca/Isaac)
Of All the Gin Joints Part 2 (Rachel/Jacob)
Of All the Gin Joints Part 3 (Zipporah/Moses)

The thought process that led to this was that [archiveofourown.org profile] kerrypolka had specified Rebecca as a favorite character and idly mentioned bars in space stations as a thing she liked. And I generally find writing Genesis stories easy because I know the characters so deeply, but Rebecca and Isaac are probably the blankest slates for me of Genesis characters. Somehow as I turned ideas over I drifted to the well scene, which is the most interesting part of Rebecca's story for me because the way the Bible uses well scenes repeatedly is so interesting. And I thought, "What if instead of meeting at a well, the met at a bar in a space station?"

I love space opera tropes and I love Bible tropes and mixing them together was so much fun because it was so illuminating of both. I was kind of obnoxiously over-literal in my translation of the Biblical narratives, partially because I was just rushing to write these stories and didn't have time for subtlety and partially because it really lets you focus on the tiny details of the Bible stories to see them translated so literally.

In my head, the key theme of the first story is relationship as transaction. Eliezer goes in place of Isaac, at Abraham's request, to seek Rebecca to continue the line of Abraham. There's no emotional connection there, at best there's affection and shared purpose, but creating Jacob and Esau isn't about love, it's about perpetuating genetic heritages. The space station stuff helped highlight the distances involved, the costs both physical and spiritual Eliezer paid to make this journey after Abraham left Ur swearing never to return. And I think that framework really casts the original story beautifully. This is almost purely mercenary, a deal selling a woman's genes to a near-stranger, and yet for both Eliezer and Rebecca there is something else at stake. For Eliezer it's about commitment to his master's vision, about the reasons Abraham left Ur for Canaan. For Rebecca it's about her fundamental humanity, which remains unwavering as she is asked to surrender her identity.

Meanwhile, the second well story is about love. Jacob, not a servant, seeks out the well, and he finds there a woman he shares chemistry with, on many levels. But it's also a story about the hazards of love, because Rachel can't possibly realize (though she may sense, and even be attracted to) that Jacob is a damaged person, cast off from his home, eternally paranoid and wounded and all the more dangerous for it. That's love for you, being drawn to a person even when it could be your ruin.

And the third story is about being on the run versus finding a home. My read on Moses/Zipporah has always been that neither of them really loves each other, so much as they love the idea of each other. Moses has escaped Egypt, but he is not at home among the Israelites. Midian and Zipporah give him a third option, a place he can settle and build a home for himself. Naming the son born in his Midianite exile Gershon shows us how he regards that land. Zipporah, meanwhile, is the daughter of a priest who doubts his own priestship. Moses gives her an escape without having to escape, lets her nudge her father into a place of certainty. She gets to rebel by marrying outside the tribe while remaining her father's daughter. It's a convenient arrangement for both of them, until God's call ruins everything.

Anyway, there are clones and genetic experiments and laser pistols and booze. It's a lot less cerebral than this rambling makes it sound.


It turns out my beautiful From the Sun to the Shade ficlets were written for me by [archiveofourown.org profile] daegaer, who also wrote my stories for Purimgifts last year. This is an arrangement that I wouldn't mind continuing. :P I love these stories, which are about a young Egyptian slave girl and her interactions with Judeans on the island of Alexandrine in ~500BCE. You should read them.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Antsily awaiting day 2 of [community profile] purimgifts, so I ought to post about the story I got on day 1.

From the Sun to the Shade I is RPF about a Judean colony in the 5th Century BCE, where documentary evidence shows that Jews owned non-Jewish slaves. The story is beautiful and subtle in many ways. It's about the intersection of two alien cultures. It's about men and women and the complicated power dynamics that rule their relationships. And it's about a lovely, gentle young girl learning how the world works from people who aren't unkind, just slaves to a broken system. And also history nerd porn!

I've decided not to post any other Purimgifts recommendations because if I did, the glaring hole from the obvious one that I wasn't recommending would signal pretty clearly which fics I wrote. As it stands, I think there are a few fics that could have been mine. Lots of great stories coming out of Purimgifts this year, as usual.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Torquemada hit 50,000 miles last weekend, on a drive down to see friends in DC. I celebrated this week by giving him new brake pads. :P

Life... has been going well, surprisingly. Work is crazy but I'm shipping the system which has plagued me for the past three months tomorrow. It is the most complicated thing I have ever designed and built and it works in almost all of the ways it has been designed to work. (A few details will get sorted out in between the shipping phase and the going out there to install phase, but that always seems to happen). More than a hundred gas lines, dozens of flow controllers and automated valves, control pathways for a half dozen sensitive process instruments, four pumps, yegad.

I have already turned my attention to the next project, a simple system we're supposed to design and build in about a month. It is nice to have something with a fairly predictable number of variables. It is not nice that I couldn't have had a week to catch my breath.

My Purimgifts stories are posted, though I'm still doing word-choice tweaks. It seems likely given the fandom list that I'm getting post-biblical Jewish RPF again, which excites me beyond belief. So many possibilities! So much potential awesome.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
My word, these stories I am writing for Purimgifts are a delight, and they're stories I could have written under no other circumstance.

Strangely, about three years after I started posting fic, these stories will be the first I've written that really feel Asimovian. Considering the immense influence Asimov had on my childhood, I'm sure there are Asimovian touches in many of of my stories, (and the drawer stories of my teenage years are full of more overt Asimovian inspriation) but these read like an idea Asimov could have had, and I really feel the hand of Asimov guiding my narrative voice.

I... think that's a good thing? I haven't read anything by Asimov except my periodic I, Robot rereads in at least five years, and I feel like I've mostly outgrown him in the same way I've outgrown Heinlein. (If I forget thee, O Clarke, let my right hand lose its strength) His female characters are notably flimsy and unconvincing and his prose style just doesn't hold up in this post-New Wave era. But Asimov's ideas still accompany me everywhere I go. His conception of a SF story as a puzzle to be solved, something that ought, within certain parameters, to be 'fair' to the reader, shouldn't go away anytime soon. So I'm not upset that I've handed this story over to the Asimov disciple inside me, but I am cautious and careful.
seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
Thank you for writing stories for me! I don't want to impose any constraints upon you. As I've written in previous Purimgifts letters, Purim is a day of topsy-turviness and what I hope most is to be surprised by my gifts.

I've requested Fiddler on the Roof, Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother, Hebrew Bible, Post-Biblical Jewish RPF, Fringe and Inglourious Basterds. All except Fringe have great Jewish characters. All have great female characters.

Have fun!

~Ferret

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seekingferret: Photo of me with my 2012 Purim beard, with stripes shaven into it. (Default)
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