mjj (flemmings) wrote,

It appears to me that I'm no longer a gut writer ('gut' here used partly as a euphemism and partly not.)

The stories that appear spontaneously and appeal to umm my feelings or sensibilities or whatever, just don't work any more. I mean they appear much less and no longer translate into decent fics when they do. This is worrisome largely because I hear that mid-life hormone changes affect the, well, 'affect'. You don't feel about things the way you did before; in fact, from all I hear, you don't feel as much period. I'd blame this lack of sensibility, quivering or otherwise, on the relative increase in testosterone levels except I also hear that one of the feelings that goes is sexual. So, well.

So, well, whatever is causing the emotional dryness, it seems I must resign myself to a stint of being an intellectual writer: constructing plots, embodying themes, all that boring stuff. I've written intellectually before (anything with a strong plot isn't a gut story, if it's one of mine.) I don't enjoy the process at all but it results in decent fics, I have to admit. So, well. Must sit down and think-think-think as Yumemakura says, and come up with an Onmyouji plot.

What kind of comes clear as I read the novels is the omnipresence of the Weird in Heian-kyou. The manga gives a detailed (and pedantic, she says wrathfully) explanation of why the various worlds intersect so frequently in the city. But that indeed is for pedants. The situation for the average courtier, at least, is that Odd Things Happen. They happen often enough indeed that they no longer seem exactly otherworldly as we define it. The attitude that the supernatural is exactly that, above the natural world and hence part of a different dimension entirely, doesn't really apply in this common view. Odd things happen and there's no explanation for them and, well, that's normal.

Manga Seimei considers the youkai world to be separate from the human one, but I don't think novel Seimei does as much; and the average man in the street just has to deal. Partly there's the fact that youkai seem to have more variation than ghosts or kitsune or whatever. One generally knows what to expect of these latter; there's common wisdom about their habits and appearance; but youkai take any number of unexpected forms without rhyme or reason and, well, you just have to deal. There's also something here about the western need for taxonomy: given a weird phenomenon, we must at least classify it as a presumed first step to explaining it; and the onmyouji also classify as the first step to exorcising it. But those gossipping courtiers who crop up every so often with their weird tales of what someone saw on Sixth Street have a much more naive (if not adolescent) approach to the matter. 'I hear there's a haint down by the crick, let's go see.'

So there might be something in that approach. Odd but not unusual; weird as a common enough part of life, on a par with weird weather here. Thunder and snow together (which happens often enough that I no longer really think it weird when it does) or the recurring phenomenon of the January thaw or that brief cold snap in early August. Strange, and it happens.
Tags: onmyouji, writing

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