Contains affiliate links. Predictably, getting back into this after two weeks of trying my utmost to be indulgent and unproductive is terribly hard.
Sad to say, my ability to marathon Netflix/anime/movies/docs etc. for days on end - or even a single day! - has tragically eroded over the past several years, to the point that I actually managed to get my tax returns done. The horror!
Clearly my artistic brain is shrivelling and decaying as I age. My ability to snack on horrendously processed foods continues unabated, though, a fact for which I will now proceed to suffer. I rarely eat absolute crap, but when I do, I really commit. Also, hooray for daily drinking!
On the plus side, I’ve been stacking up insights about where to take this story - on the minus, I haven’t actually done anything with them. Must review my notes and see if there’s anything useable there.
Also, watched Shetland and Home Fires miniseries over the break - continually more inspired to move somewhere desperately rural, which makes no sense. I’m a city girl with zero tolerance for inconvenience, personal transportation, insects and property maintenance, and yet… seriously, those landscapes are eating my soul through my eyes.
But at the very least, I’ll need to move somewhere with exceptional internet, which narrows the prospects considerably. The costs of importing and transport on the islands are also prohibitive, not to mention the reduced social possibilities. Though, to be realistic, I’ll never have more than three or so relationships at any given time, which doesn’t exactly set the bar at ‘metropolis’.
It’s funny: the first inkling of Cole’s story was a very indulgent fantasy romance - mortal danger, a dazzling hero sweeping in, some improbable circumstances setting up cohabitation, slipping into romance and a glorious superhero future.
The reality is unravelling with every further glimpse of Cole’s world and situation. I’m not sure she has the capacity to be in a healthy relationship, and I’m starting to think that Itri’s going to have to be the one to break that to her. That’s not the happy ending I wanted.
I wonder if it would help at all to gender-swap Itri, if things aren’t going to go full-romance? It’s a big change, but… nope. I really think that would torpedo saleability.
I like the idea of writing a clearly feminist work, but reality is too complicated. Cole isn’t an aspirational character; she may or may not be realistic, but she suffers from very recognizable flaws: lack of confidence, uncertain identity, fear, crippling emotional scars, disempowerment. She’ll grow and get stronger, and maybe eventually she’ll be healthy enough to love and accept love.
I hope she does, but I just don’t see it yet. It’s different from Twilight’s New Moon - Itri doesn’t remove himself for fear of the harm he’d bring to Cole, he removes himself to save her the harm she’d inflict on herself. It’s actually love, not the fantasy of love. Maybe that makes it hurt less? Probably not.
They’ll both suffer for it, but not as much as if they tried to build a future together on secrets, lies and shattered identities.
I’d like Itri to be stronger than he currently is, but it’s not shaping up that way either. The one person I do love for no clear reason is Lily. She’s young for her age (around 7?) and kind of unrealistically sweet and loving, but… children like that do exist.
I feel deep sadness, almost anguish at what’s in her future - not to mention her past, which is odd considering her ancillary position, her existence that almost never was, but for some reason I feel the most compassion for her, and maybe Sam. She’s tragic and empathetic, in a way that Cole should have been but isn’t.
In a way, Cole is so comfortable with her isolation and frosty composure that she’s impossible to pity. Much has been done to her; everything has been taken away from her, but she’s not broken within that, and maybe that’s the most feminist thing to be said. She’s not endlessly hopeful, innately strong, voraciously ambitious, but she continues to quietly, clumsily be, in the face of dreary existence, in the face of abuse, under the burden of hopes and expectations.
Itri was raised to be a hero, and steps up to those expectations with gravity and intensity, but Cole was shredded, abandoned, suppressed, and continues on regardless.
If she learns to love, it will be the greatest triumph of humanity.
Part 2: Planning time!
Start time: 2:00 & 3:30 pm
Location: couch/living room
Drinking: Los Sietos Mezcal