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... oh hi, this is my first public post! I guess I'm using this journal for fannish things after all!

So, this morning I woke up to J. Alfred Prufrock fanfic.* Not one, but THREE fanworks - and a fourth one which is part of the Yuletide Madness collection and so hasn't been revealed yet. (Given that there are no fics in two of my requested fandoms, and only one already-revealed one in the third one, I'm pretty sure that I'll end up with a princely FOUR Prufrock fics - wow!) My prompt was very simply "Does he ever dare?"

For anyone who would like to read them, here they are, and my thoughts on them:

almost, at times, the fool
This is a short and engaging prose work, a character study of an older Prufrock who has (at last) achieved a level of peace and self-acceptance. It's woven through with references to the original poem, which is a lovely touch. I think it's the most unambiguously happy of the three fics - there's a real sense of his release from all the suffocating social anxiety and inhibitions he suffers in the original. My favourite line is:
He is old and he does wear the bottoms of his trousers rolled - but it's only practical, isn't it, when he's wading into deeper and deeper water, feeling the sand beneath his feet and the salt water lapping around his knees. The waves are as white as his own hair, and they echo the pounding of his own heart, the chambers of which have been empty too long, when there's a whole world out there waiting to fill him up with wonder: and here is his piece of it, his for the taking, his for as long as he can hold onto it.
Beautiful, am I right?

This one (like the next one) is written in Eliot-esque verse, and it's a very different take on Prufrock - or at least, a take on a different point in his life. He goes to war, and the bulk of this poem deals with life in the trenches - it reads like the ghostly poem-child of T. S. Eliot and Wilfred Owen, and I mean that in a very good way. It references the original in smart and delicate ways - things like yellow smoke, coffee spoons, and white arms all reappear in the very different context of Prufrock's active service, and the war effort. One of my favourite moments is:
Here, even here, there’s yellow smoke,
No panes will keep it out,
All pains will come when it burns the lungs,
Sears the skin, sinking,
a snake slithering up their rolled puttees
to kill all where they stand.
The final stanza (and final line!) is also amazing - a lovely ending, bittersweet and uncertain, but I felt so proud of him for daring. I won't spoil it, but go, go, read!

Siren Songs from Untraveled Seas
This feels like it wants to be added on to the Love Song itself - it's less like a referential/remix-y sort of work, and more a sequel/continuation, if that makes sense? There are no coffee spoons or rolled trousers here, but there is a valiant attempt to get inside the peculiar stylistic and rhythmic qualities of Eliot's voice, and without the familiar echoing phrases to rely on it's a difficult task. Luckily, the author is very much up to the challenge, and there are some absolutely stunning lines in here: "the waves foam like unfashionable lace /
Billowing at the bosom of an aging vicar's wife
" and "the clank of dishes / Hovering close like unwanted relatives" both capture the sardonic treatment of the mundane which I love about the poem. Like my untitled gift, this fic expressly references war - "I remember the blood-red victory parade roses / Clustered against the coffins of the fallen dead" - and we see Prufrock gaining some amount of confidence with women. One touch I absolutely love is that the woman he interacts with her actually has a name, and and is treated like an individual rather than just one of "the women" - implying, perhaps, a more genuine connection between them. The ending is very note-of-hope, and I liked it a lot.

Also, a totally non-Yuletide-related bonus for anyone avidly reading the above and wanting MORE (who is presumably enough of an Eliot nerd to find this as amusing as I did) - "Macavity: The Waste Cat". If you're familiar with Eliot and Pound's... interesting creative relationship, you'll love the Pound annotations. It's a hilarious bit of parody.

(I am also feeling rather squeeful about the two fics I ended up posting myself, although of course I can't reveal which they are  yet, and I keep refreshing to watch my hits/kudos/comments go up... is this normal?)

Oh - and just as a note - two of my requested fandoms, Caroline in the City and Lashings of Ginger Beer Time, are still completely empty of fic! Just in case anyone reading this is in the mood to write something for Yuletide Madness / New Year's Resolution... ;)

*I actually have [personal profile] annalytica to thank for this: I wouldn't even have thought to request Prufrock in my last-minute frenzied sign-up, but for her mentioning it in a journal entry.


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December 2012

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