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FIC: Just a Drizzle

A proper writer’s flood is really enjoyable when it comes in a good moment. Brief explanations about the two recent drabbles here, in the “Through the Rain” entry.

Title: Just a Drizzle
Characters: Remus/Sirius
Era: post-Hogwarts
Rating: G
Word count: 100
Disclaimer: I disclaim.

Just a Drizzle

As if it weren’t bad enough already, it starts to rain. But no, it’s not even a proper downpour, which would match their tempers and perhaps water them down. Just a thin, irritating drizzle.

They walk faster, hands in their pockets, tense shoulders, eyes fixed on the ground. For a second — perhaps out of habit — Remus feels like trying again, and even saying sorry first, because of course neither of them wanted to— But no, he’s too tired for this.

“I’m leaving,” he says instead.

Sirius just nods and strides on, the keys to their flat ringing in his pocket.

23rd of June 2007


( ( 17 ) — Comment )
Jun. 23rd, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
OK, my other comment was rather on the negative side, sorry for that. I really like this drabble. It's edgy and straight forward in the frustration and anger it conveys. It's an irritating drizzle, dammit, and I know how that feels. *lol* Really good job!
Jun. 23rd, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this comment; it’s rewarding to hear that you enjoyed this drabble! I think I understand why you like it better: because it’s more real, or rather realistic. Even if that means a painful end. Or again, perhaps this experience is closer to you. In any case I’m happy that it was evocative enough and worked well for you!
Jun. 23rd, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
I was first reluctant to receive this. I wanted to insist on not accepting alternative outcomes of the same situation. But after deciding to interpret the first version as (Remus’s day)dreaming, I actually enjoy the beautifully understated tragedy here.

This could even fit my story of Remus’s life. You are probably not surprised I like the idea that Remus would move out (in autumn 1980, to return in March 1981) in this way, remaining standing in the irritating drizzle.

In fact, you don’t say that he stops, and I like it – that you leave it for us to choose what we see him do. Instead, the closing line’s reference to the keys to their flat is excellent. It makes this work for potential wider audiences, too, not only for those who take it for granted that these young men have been a couple living together. At the same time it isn’t superfluous for us (including Remus himself) who know the fact, because it reminds us emotionally of what the two of them have shared, and perhaps it conveys some kind of dominance Sirius has had, in Remus’s view – but that’s for us to exptrapolate, as is the question whether Remus still has a key or not and whether it matters.

Now I think I just realised what you’ve meant when saying that you don’t tell stories. You only show the image of the situation and leave the rest (the deeper reasons, the wider consequences) for us to build up.

Still, something happens here. (There is, at least relatively, as much action as in my best action scenes.) And you manage to fit in incredibly much – even some pondering on what an impact some other kind of rain could have had on the events. But I should have started my ramblings from the beginning…

I love the way you let us share the feeling how bad it all is and how it’s getting worse – what a contrast to the opening of the other drabble! Still, only when rereading can I know I’m identifying with Remus here, and I wonder if you made it like this on purpose. The two drabbles actually share this structure: the second paragraph shows that it’s Remus’s point of view, and the rest shows us Sirius (from this perspective).

The description of what the boys do is wonderfully convincing and accurate. Compared to this, the rain that would make them stand still looks more and more like a miracle.

I wonder if you really didn’t mean to say “tired of this”. Or could “tired for that” make me more sure that you meant “tired to do that”? In any case I’m fascinated by the concrete way in which you show the turning point by spelling out Remus’s thoughts (while hiding the actual contents of the argument) and then what he actually says.
Jun. 27th, 2007 08:09 pm (UTC)
Too long … (Part One)
Don’t ask what has stopped me from replying to this wonderful comment until now; I couldn’t tell. For I loved it.

I’m happy that you managed to find your way to receive the first two drabbles, even before they were joined by “Soaked”. Now I see, however, that it might have been this comment of yours that provoked me to ask why you had taken my out-of-the-text suggestion for granted, i.e. that the two drabbles present two outcomes of the same situation. No matter now, as we’ve already cleared that.

I must say that sometimes, when I write a story, I wonder how and if it could fit your Remus-verse. Well, I know I never write your Remus when it comes to voice or Lost Years experience. It’s just occurred to me that most probably there doesn’t exist any such thing as my Remus’s (or Sirius’s, for that matter) voice. Or even character. Oh, shame … I mean, I always know my Remus and my Sirius, I know what they’d say or do, but do I ever portray their characters? Can you tell from my works what these men are like? Or just what they feel in certain situations? — which is less than character portrayals.

I think you’ve spelled out perfectly what I myself think about my ‘not telling stories’. But here I’ve just questioned the point of my images. To continue, I doubt now whether my works are anything but pretty pictures that don’t offer anything deeper. As you said: I leave the deeper levels for the readers to build up.

I’m not at all sure if I’m right, I’m just asking questions. Which must be positive of itself, no mater how dreadful I feel now. I think it’s been coming for some time, though. Good that you provoked me to say it aloud. Shitshitshit.

Now I have just received your beautiful and explicit reply on the “Soaked” thread, and this sentence struck me:
That’s what makes your drabbles so exciting: you don’t tell us much.
Well, perhaps there must be a purpose, or something positive about my not telling much, after all. And anyway I know that my writing is received very well, so maybe I shouldn’t complain. I just feel I must become aware of the reasons, not just stay blissfully contented with the results.

Back to your review. No, I don’t say that Remus stops, but why would he? He has to go take his things, doesn’t he? I never saw him stopping, perhaps because it would mean a change, and there is no change in this drabble. All right, his leaving is a change, but only if we go beyond this scene. If we stay within, we only see a consistent process of sorts. I don’t know if it makes sense the way I explain it … In other words, Remus and Sirius are in the process of falling out, and they’re walking (which I hadn’t meant as a symbol, but there it is). If either of them stopped, it would suggest breaking out of the process, wouldn’t it? Remus’s decision to leave (ergo, move out) is part of the process, so he can’t stop, there’s no reason to stop. I hope I am making some sense now, even if I’m ranting. I must warn, however, that all this is rather intuitive on my part.
Jun. 28th, 2007 09:33 am (UTC)
Re: Too long … (Part One)
Perhaps writing about the same men is dangerous, at least scary. But you shouldn’t tempt me to start using the “too old etc.” argument.

It must have been coming for some time and recently it’s been hard not to stop looking for the next sentence or word and just concentrate on questioning any point in my writing. It could be partly because my husband subscribed to the newspaper while I was away, so now I follow more carefully what’s (according to the news) happening in this world, and I just finished A Midmight Clear (and find it impossible to say anything to do justice to it). I just doubt anything I say in my fiction can be essential enough.

At the same time I enjoy and admire the flood of your images. They are certainly more than pretty pictures. Maybe they are more than enough, because they give us more than you seem to say.

And why should you portray a character? Of course, your images of Remus can’t be compared to the portrayal of Remus in a 250.000-word story which has been in progress for four years. When you publish new pieces more often and they fit neatly together, I’m more inclined to seeing a character. And if there are no obvious contradictions, I love to imagine that your Remus is the same person as mine. Most other potential readers are likely to fit your images into their own favourite (or commonly shared fanon) portrayals. On the other hand, I’ve told you that these images could often (if not always) work without any HP context. Aren’t your pieces of prose as well as your poems supposed to work like that – without your developing a (or the) character? This is how they tell us about ourselves more openly than my writing does. (And I talk so much about voices just because I’ve been fond of the concept since a reviewer introduced it to me, after I’d been talking only about the perspective, and someone else pointed out that the author’s voice, “my fiction voice”, was a different thing from the character’s voice, even though I hope the reader could hear it all as the character’s voice. It’s just natural for me to hear a younger or older Remus’s or Sirius’s voice in your writing, too, even though I can’t be sure what exactly these men are like outside the image.)

Back to this drabble. Now I really like the idea that Remus doesn’t stop (event though I like him with hardly any “things”, too). That’s another wonderful thing about these pieces. I can read them again and again in different ways, while in my longer (somehow) plotty stories at least the concrete acts must be somehow finalized in the first interpretation.
Jun. 28th, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Too long … (Part One)
I would not let you use the “too old” argument, but it made me grin as I thought you’d appreciate the silly joke after all.

So I take it “A Midnight Clear” proved not only unputawayable, but also significant as a voice in and about our world—is that right? I will be most happy to hear more about your impressions whenever you feel you can word them.

You’re doubting whether what you write is essential. You’re doubting and I—And today I had to remember how you told me one day you hoped to make me cry over “Revolt” more than once. My eyes fill with tears even now, when I just briefly recall Remus’s letters, and not only. I don’t know if it’s essential to anyone except for a bunch of freaks like us what ever happened to Remus Lupin. But I know that you stir the Remus in me, and the Sirius, and the Peter, and … I cry for your characters, and in that I cry for myself, my friends, my world. Your writing evokes very strong emotions in me, touches my heart. How can I think it not essential, significant?

Thank you for your reassurances again. We have already established that questioning is necessary in development. I hope to see some results this time, too, whenever I can reach any conclusions. Maybe you can help me in that; you already have. And maybe it’s all just temporary and tomorrow I’ll wake up all sure about the purposes and reasons. (Have written a short fic today, by the way, so it’s not like the doubts really stopped me.)

I’m beginning to try and see my works as some sort of a whole—I have mentioned that to you, haven’t I? Moreover, I’m beginning to think of necessary steps to fill the blanks. Even if I treat my fics as a whole, however, which does make a little something as compared to a single drabble, I still fail to see characters emerge. I don’t think it’s the question of scope as much as of content, or lack thereof. There is the content of actions, or images. Not of people. I feel that I don’t show what kind of persons my characters are.

I must agree that it is all good and well if my fiction allows various readers to complement it according to their respective ideas, or that it wouldn’t have to be fanfiction at all if I chose so. But I have never thought that my stories (or poems) were “supposed to work like that”; why would they? Why wouldn’t I attempt to make the people I write about alive, multi-dimensional and yet unambiguously concrete? I doubt I have ever succeeded in doing this. And for some reason I’m bound to see it as failure. Even if I assume that I just wasn’t aware, that I never tried to write in a different manner, I still have no idea how to change it. I don’t know how to write differently, how to make my Sirius, my Remus them, recognisable beyond any doubts. How to make them specific—and for that I need more than just a few well-chosen habits or favourite food.

… they tell us about ourselves …
Oh, but isn’t it ridiculous that I, at my snot-nosed age, should try and write about any ‘ourselves’? What can I know about anyone beyond myself and perhaps a character whose traits I invent or expand? I’m not downgrading my abilities or anything of the sort, I just expect I ought to concentrate on the things I might have an idea about rather than attempt to write truths about the world. I believe thus far I have done so in my poems, so your telling me they, too, “should work like that”—unspecifically—truly alarmed me.

I don’t think Remus has much to take from their flat, but I do imagine him having his share of possessions: books, clothes, perhaps some stuff after Hogwarts. Thank you for your wonderful praise of my drabble. Whatever conclusions I might reach, I will always treasure your words and the knowledge that my writing could be enjoyed and received like that.
Jun. 28th, 2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Too long … (Part One)
Yes, I’m doubting and, unlike you, I’m again letting it stop me from writing. I stopped writing comments only for a few hours (only to do some more tidying-up, with Hadi this time, going through schoolbooks and papers in the boys’ room). I know I mustn’t take any pressure in this respect, but because I’m behind, something here can be reaction to a later comment, too. I’m afraid I’ll continue to doubt my adequacy and the story’s significance, and I know that I should just go on and do my best – but I do nothing.

Not everything Wharton has written is as striking and obviously important as A Midnight Clear. I don’t think I’ve remembered to tell you what I realised about Last Lovers afterwards. Everything during the current time of that story developed just smoothly and positively. However, Wharton himself was still able to write it, and I could call it my favourite among his books. It should be enough for me to know that my characters can make you cry (and I’ll treasure your beautiful words about that here), even though now I feel that Remus’s life has been easy and he’s just too sensitive. I’m glad that I haven’t claimed he ever experienced war. Oh yes, that’s been one of my points: in my version the DEs, Aurors and Order members were not the ones who really did the dirty work…

Perhaps writing and reading in the fandom has made me think that I’m exceptionally capable of writing truths about the world. Now I demand too much from the whole and from every scene, while I could just go on dealing with the things I might have an idea about.

But of course you write about those things in ourselves which you have an idea about! The poems and drabbles supported by your own experiences say something more general, even universal. I’ve told you repeatedly how you can make me remember and understand better some experiences of mine, even though I know that you didn’t have anything exactly like that in mind when writing.

Oh yes, you mentioned that you’ve started to see one extensive story in (and between and behind?) your R/S drabbles. (While I’m still just looking forward to replying to the “Joyously” comments, I checked out your new “Guide”. It looks great, and I can’t help being proud of you when I see how your fanfiction has developed in a year!)

I hope I can help you in your search for the characters as persons, if that’s what you want, instead of only reassuring you that what you’ve done is enough and serves its own purpose excellently. Perhaps you could start (practicing) with characters you can invent more fully as your own, without too much canon or fanon disturbing you. Would you care to write about a CC of whom we know only the name, or about an OC? That could help you see more clearly what your text shows. I still think that making characters alive, multi-dimensional and yet unambiguously concrete takes some time and space, too. We need to see the characters interacting with their environment in different situations, and changing as a reaction to this interaction.

I hope I’ll get to say something about this drabble in part two.

Jun. 27th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
… and too dangerous (Part Two)
It’s very interesting what you say about the importance of the keys. I expected you to comment on them and to extrapolate, and in a way I predicted you’d understand it as a sign of Sirius’s dominance. Not that I wouldn’t. Of course you’re clever and remember that there exist some readers for whom the fact of Remus and Sirius’s living together is not obvious (I say, where are such people born? On a different planet?) — thank you so much for pointing it out. By the way I’m thinking now that but for the final keys Remus’s not stopping could be really not understandable. In any case it’s good to know that the key detail can be key indeed, and serve a few purposes.

You must know that the comparison to your ‘best action scenes’ made me grin sooo widely!

I can’t say in how far it was on purpose, and in how far just conscious or even intuitive, but definitely the fact of disclosing who the viewpoint character is only after the opening description makes a lot of sense to me. It allows the readers to feel the rain first, to see the scene, to start receiving the emotions of it, so that they — the emotions — become internalised and further developed. Only then do the readers find out whose viewpoint they’re sharing. I’m delighted that the respective openings of the drabbles work so well and are so clearly different despite the obvious similarities in the scenes.

I’m so grateful to you for the remark on the different sorts of rain’s influence on the situation! At least this is a thing I’m sure was done on purpose when I started on the second drabble: I felt that a different rain — like that in “Through the Rain” — could make them stop and change something (and, from my perspective then, it had done so). Here I wanted to show Remus and Sirius not changing anything, and I thought that exactly this irritating drizzle would only irritate them further and perhaps the more shut them in their anger and disappointment. So yes, it was a miracle that the other rain worked differently. In your interpretation, Remus himself imagined a rain that would help them.

You made me worried that Remus’s thoughts might be unclear, though. I meant “too tired to do that”, as you rightly guessed. Do you think I should edit this phrase to make it more understandable?

Thank you for telling me what impression this sequence made, anyway. It seemed natural at some point to fall into this almost-quoting Remus’s thoughts, but without using direct speech. I’m happy to know it worked so well!

My reply turns out unexpectedly long, but let me blame it on you and your provoking me to all this babbling. Your fault, you have to bear with me … And thank you for everything.
Jun. 28th, 2007 11:07 am (UTC)
Re: … and too dangerous (Part Two)
I like the key detail even more now that I imagine Remus not stopping. On the other hand, I first thought that the sound of the keys reminded Remus that he was the one who would not enter “their” flat again. In any case it’s wonderful to see that a detail can serve several purposes. Oh yes, on another planet you’ll probably also have some admiring readers who’ve never before finding you heard of Remus and Sirius at all. In my interpretation Remus would not easily leave it up to others to speak for him, but I can see Sirius trying to, so in fact, your idea of the argument pleases me. I should be able to think of some complex issues, inevitably somehow related to my favourite issue of money and to the issues I’ve thought Sirius had with his sexuality.

You must have heard enough about my insistence on making the perspective clear as early as possible. In the case of these drabbles it didn’t bother me that you made me feel the rain first, because you did not force me to see it and the characters as an outsider, and the emotions conveyed by the first paragraph could fit both characters. I had no problem integrating them to the contents of the viewpoint character’s mind when he was indicated to me.

Have I said yet that the quality of the rain can’t be all objective? Of course, we can measure how quickly a rain soaks our clothes, but the reaction must also depend on the nuances in the initial state of mind, even if you are irritated in two different situations. That’s why also the feelings shown in the first paragraph can’t belong in every detail to both characters. Now I wonder if you mean Remus’s voice there, or is it an omniscient narrator, after all.

I think I’d say, “tired for that”, not “this”, but I’m not sure.

I thought you’d look for clever ways to reply briefly to make me stop babbling here, but you must have found the only way to get a shorter comment than the one you write.

Thank you also for the stunning poem you posted last night.
Jun. 28th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
Re: … and too dangerous (Part Two)
I suppose Remus really could have thought about not entering their flat again upon hearing the sound of keys in Sirius’s pocket. For what is stepping in to gather his things when he must be thinking about leaving for (an) ever, for good? In a way he leaves as soon as he declares he will, so the balance between him and Sirius shifts immediately.

What are the sexuality issues you thought Sirius might have had? I don’t think I have ever seen this in your fiction, and neither have you mentioned it in our discussions either.

I am pleased to know that the late introduction of the viewpoint character did not disturb you; I expected that it might. Of course you’re right about the subjective quality of any rain. Yet I felt that Remus and Sirius shared their experience to a large extent (while of course not in “every detail”, but I doubt every detail matters here), which is only proved by their complementing and cooperating reactions. In all the cases, the rain joins them in whatever they do, evokes similar emotions. And my trick is supposed to support this notion.

I’d rather keep “this”. It seems more palpable, closer, and in the almost-quoting I think I should seek this closeness. But thank you for the suggestion.

Do I hear reproach for the length of my comments, after all? I am sorry, and please remember you don’t have to reply soon, or at all. I’m happy anyway, because you make me think.

‘Stunning’ sounds good. Right?
Jun. 28th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
Re: … and too dangerous (Part Two)
Yes, I’ve felt that something changes, there is some kind of a climax at the point when Remus says that he’s leaving. It may not be a turning-point, as the process goes on to the same direction, which you (intuitively as you said) show in the walking. Are you (as such a quick writer) ever tempted to just go on, so as to see whether Remus really follows, how they interact or avoid interacting, if he comes in for a moment to collect his few things? Would this contribute to showing them to us at least a bit more fully as persons? Or would it all be unnecessary and spoil the evocative image you’ve built up?

I’m surprised I haven’t told you about my Sirius’s issues with his sexuality. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in discussions with readers that I think he came to terms with his sexuality probably only during OotP. As far as I can remember I initially (in 2003 and 2004) had the idea that Remus’s love was unrequited. I thought that this showed so clearly in my early writing that I could not change it much, even if I later got tempted to at least imply some closer intimacy between both younger and older Remus and Sirius. Of course, the issue has not been explicit in any story text, as sexuality has not been either. Perhaps this topic has never come up in our discussions because you haven’t reviewed Let’s Go Home, Pads. I’d really like to know what kind of interpretations and extrapolations you think are possible.

Oh yes, your trick supports the notion that the two men’s reactions to the rain are basically similar. Perhaps that also implies that they have a lot in common and would actually be able to understand each other well – at least if life were as simple as rain.

I like seeking closeness in this way. I often choose “this” in the past-tense and third-person writing, too. But in this case, “this” makes me think of this whole situation which he can’t avoid, while “that” could refer to the alternative of acting which he rejects, pushing it less close.

No, don’t apologize! I know I don’t have to reply to everything. But I’m tempted to write to you, and because I’m slow, it effectively helps me avoid looking for another word for fiction, unless I try to make my comments shorter than yours. And when your comments are long, I don’t have to spend so much time on shortening mine. And this doesn’t make any sense.

Yes, as far as I can say the poem is good, really good. I’ll try to say more soon.
Jun. 24th, 2007 03:12 am (UTC)
This is just such a painfully beautiful piece. I love that even the title could potentially fit in to the storyline. I mean, of course it is mainly referring to the rain in the story, but with the way the rest of the story is written, and from what we know about the characters, it's almost as if we as the readers can consider this fight, this obvious tension between the two of them, as just a "thin, irritating drizzle" in this relationship. It could have been building up or going on for days-- or weeks, months, etc.-- and it could continue on for God only knows how long. But rain is just weather and it will clear, just as fights are eventually settled, the slights between two people all eventually forgiven. Oh. I may just be entirely too sentimental, but I just love it.

I also love the line about Remus wanting to try again, if only out of habit. It's such a Remus impulse. From everything we know about Remus, he's a complete creature of habit, and when he finds something he likes, he tries to keep it around. But Remus is also an incredibly intelligent man and obviously knows when something isn't healthy, and so knows he has to move on.

Hurrah for this writer's flood! I am truly enjoying it. :)
Jun. 24th, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)
Oh, but your praise is really overwhelming; thank you so much for all those heart-warming remarks!

I’m very glad you like the title. In fact it was taken from the story line, as is my new habit, shamelessly snitched from paulamcg (which is why some of the titles get unusually long, like “When Remus Opens the Door and Smiles” …); of course this time there was no point in keeping the whole phrase just a thin, irritating drizzle. But I love the way you further interpret the title; I think I had some vague notion of it, too. Yes, it makes so much sense: this particular fight doesn’t (have to) mean anything of itself, but is probably another drop in the ongoing cold aura, and assumes the proportions of a final argument just by the weight of all the former ones, not its own. Yes, it must clear eventually. But, like on holidays, people sometimes don’t wait for the sun and leave early, missing their chance. Thank you very much for starting this extrapolation; me too, I love this, be it sentimental or not!

I was just about to agree with you about Remus’s habits when I stopped to ask myself, why? Why really do we assume this? I don’t know, is it a stereotype or can you recall something in canon that would justify this view? I’m sure I can justify Remus’s tendency to avoid conflicts, though. I also firmly believe that he’d rather keep up with many of Sirius’s faults than leave him, but at some point he would snap, wouldn’t he?

Again many thanks for these thoughtful comments — they made my morning!
Jun. 24th, 2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
I feel like I remember Remus making a comment about werewolves being creatures of habit, but I could just be imagining it or else I could be remembering seeing it in a particularly well-written fanfic. I'll have to double-check and I'll definitely get back to you on that.
Jun. 27th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC)
I see I’m ridiculously slow in replying, at least for a person who has hardly anything to do at the moment. Anyway, I’ll be most grateful if you could say something more how it was about the werewolf being creatures of habit, whenever you have the time to check it. I honestly don’t remember this from canon, but perhaps it’s just a fanon feature, and those can become quite deeply ingrained.
Jun. 24th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
You portray that place where what is habit/accustomed (Remus' first impulse) has become worse than to face what changes may come is such a beautiful and painful way. I love the difference from the other one that is shown in how here, they don't even stop walking to talk. Oh, but is does hurt!
Jun. 24th, 2007 10:34 am (UTC)
Thank you! You spell it out so beautifully now: this contrast, this moment when it’s not worth anymore to try. It’s particularly rewarding to know how you noticed the difference of movements; I must admit I assign a lot of meaning to that. I’m very happy that you enjoyed this drabble, too, although it hurts.
( ( 17 ) — Comment )