Ask every person if he’s heard the story…

Gosh….I just happened to go on my Profile page and saw I’d got loads of shiny vgifts! I didn’t realise so many people still remembered me, let alone liked me! For some reason I didn’t get notified of any of them so belated thanks to you all.

And  – I only wish something would inspire me. I’m liking DW right now but very much in a meta rather than a creative way. So, no fic for quite a while. Instead I’ve been working on my final Shakespeare essay – the Tempest, much concerned with power and control, relinquishment and reconciliation and the cycles of the natural world. Which, funnily enough, also crops up right at the end of Chicks Dig Time Lords, in an essay so beautiful that it choked me up. It’s by Catherynne Valente, it’s called Regeneration X, and it looks at DW in mythic terms, as a narrative of endless birth and death, growth and renewal, the circle of life (Oh, hang on, that’s The Lion King).

Here is a snippet to give you the flavour of it:

The companion….pulls the Doctor out of grief and into another cycle of living, she is, ineffably, the life force, pushing him through the hero’s cycle again and again. Even though he wants to rest. Even though the moment he sees her he knows he will die in her arms, if not this specific girl,one like her, when she has changed her face the way he changes his. She is Hades, literally, his death come to take him on one – or two, or three – final rides before it’s down into the dark again, and the painful rising towards light. His wheel turns down as hers turns up, looking into the vortex of Time and becoming the light of the world, the goddess of terrible, awful light – and when their wheels touch (and they always touch, once a season, ever so briefly: cheeks pressed to the same wall, caressing the same watch, sharing the same mind) and she passes it to him, it drags him back from shadows, into change, into the momentary oblivion of death. In some senses, perhaps, the seasons only exist to move these two icons, the Queen of Life and the King of Death, or the Lord of Light and the Queen of Air and Darkness, towards each other, to merge for just a moment, and inevitably part – which is the core of every tale ever told.

Wow. Just wow. How beautiful is that? It probably explains why I can’t listen to the last bit of Camelot without thinking of Donna and choking up. And I find it surprisingly comforting as we move into a changed Doctor’s era. I think that might be why I can’t come up with any fic – the story has been told before. Any conversation I wrote between Eleven and Amy right now would resemble "Emotional Baggage" and probably not be quite as good as either that or the equivalents that new writers are coming up with.

God, how we want the world to be different from the way it is…but myths help us make sense of it. Tell them stories, as Lyra said. They can be about a magician on his island with his daughter and captive spirits, or they can be about a man in a blue box. Maybe they’re all part of the same old story, the only one we’ll ever need.

Ah well, back to laundry and Shakespeare now.

More than we wish for there to be a perfect world where we can have our impossible lover, we wish for this world to be one where we can be both human and divine, Light and Dark, Donna and the Doctor, both wheels spinning together…

I want to hunt down this woman and read everything she ever wrote.


9 thoughts on “Ask every person if he’s heard the story…

  1. There are some very good essays in that book. I’ve dipped in and out of it quite a lot but yesterday I made myself go back to the beginning and read it “properly” 😉
    But I did read the essay that you’ve quoted here – and that last one really was just perfect.

  2. (jaw drops, both for the essay and your use of it) WOW. Well, okay, you’ve sold me a copy of that book. Also, I really love the smart, literary DW observations that you’ve made throughout your LJ…may I friend you so I can more easily keep an eye on them?

  3. Yes! “Regeneration X” was my favorite essay out of the many strong contenders in Chicks Dig Time Lords. It wise as well as beautiful, and it does a magnificent job summing up why Doctor Who can pull on the soul so strongly.

  4. /oh look, I know that name
    Cat Valente is a writer steeped in marchen and mythos and the hero cycle and all that, and her other stuff is just as lovely, quite honestly.
    Her other books are just as amazing (if not, imho, more so) than her non-fiction meta. And, if you’re the sort that likes a little music with your writing, S.J. Tucker collaborates with Cat on several albums featuring readings from the books and music that’s either in the books or that goes with it.
    (Though I suppose I should put the disclaimer that my opinion on all these folks is colored by knowing them, but. Anyway.)

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