Verbum Latinum Hodie: Cupiditas

I Before I get started, I should probably remark on how long it’s been since I’ve posted on this blog…so long that WordPress seems to have initiated a whole new post format.  At first glance?  Not a big fan.  Pfft.


Today’s, or rather yesterday’s Latin word of the day, cupiditas is a feminine noun meaning a longing or desire.  The usage of cupiditas can lean to the positive and refer to a longing for something harmless, but more frequently, it seems to teeter the opposite direction and is paired with overwhelming carnal passions or obsessive desire for wealth.

The notion of longing in general has been pretty close to the surface in me the last few days…

After a slip and fall last week, I have a cupiditas to put on a sock without wincing in discomfort.

The week has been consumed with drafting the class schedule for the 2017-18 academic year.  In the process of digging for something schedule related, I came across a handwritten draft of an epilogue for my John Porter fanfic, Recovery.  I have a magna cupiditas to finally complete that, and to get back to some recreational writing in general.

porter guns

Look at that gun…and I’m not talkin’ about the rifle!

Veering to the less than positive side of the word, having spent a good bit of time out and about with my fellow man in the last week, I have developed a maxima cupiditas to smack the next person who lets a door fly closed in my face, stops dead without warning in traffic, or cuts in front of me at the deli counter.  Honestly, what has happened to just plain basic courtesy lately?!  I offered to walk an elderly woman’s shopping cart back to the “cart corral” at Target the other day and she was so grateful you’d have thought I’d done her some huge service – actually, I thought the greater “service” on my part was my not asking out loud why she had had a poodle strapped into the baby seat of that same cart.  I admit to a cupiditas for a time when common courtesy wasn’t so very uncommon.

Richard Armitage Of

Mr. Rogers a la Richard Armitage Photo by George Pimentel

Oh well, until such a day rolls around, I think I’ll just continue to nurture my laeta cupiditas that this guy is every bit as Mr. Roger-y  on the courtesy front as he looks here in one of my all time favorite shots.  ūüôā

I will not venture to comment on the other multitude of cupiditates this image evokes….*cough*   Next up, today’s Latin Word of the Day…ignis:  FIRE!


Show us your “molle latus” Richard Armitage!


I found something new to distract me from things I’m supposed to be doing for the people who pay me to do them…I now have a daily email subscription to a word of the day site that publishes for Latin. ¬†I mean really, who *doesn’t* need that?!?

Always on the lookout for Armitage Classical connections, I couldn’t help but jump on the word for today:


¬†I love to use word association exercises in classes…it seems I also do it in my spare time. ¬†In Latin. ¬†Mollis¬†popped up in my email and an image popped immediately into my head:

From S1, Ep4 of Strikeback, here John Porter (Richard Armitage) learns via video conference with his daughter of the unexpected death of her mother. ¬†It’s not a terribly long scene…only a few seconds, but the tenderness is palpable – pictured here in the expression on his face as he tries to visually commiserate with¬†his daughter from a thousand miles away. ¬†For me,¬†we miss the very best bit of this scene in the screen caps…that is, when he reaches out one finger and strokes it down the screen to comfort her.


In a very short collection of frames, Richard Armitage’s John Porter is heart wrenchingly showing us his¬†latus molle (“soft side”). ¬†I think it’s particularly effective because it stands in stark contrast to the preceding hour of John Porter – bad ass SAS commando on a mission.

Tenderness seems like an odd trait for such a person, in fact, Latin literature is full of pejorative uses of mollis in contexts that seek to characterize men as soft or effeminate.  In the case of John Porter though, the glimpses of mollis seem to be one of the biggest draws to a character who could have been really one dimensional. Throughout the Strikeback series, in little vignettes, Richard Armitage consistently brings a degree of mollis to John Porter that makes him a far more complex and interesting character.

Small¬†wonder he’s still solidly in my top 5!

et alia – So you want to write RAcy fan fiction? Potius sero quam numquam: Preach Livy!

It has been nine months since I posted the last completed chapter of my John Porter/Strikeback fan fiction Recovery on AO3, and coming up on TWO YEARS since I originally wrote and posted it on Dreamer Fiction…Livy is so right…

Potius sero quam numquam:  

better late than never!

The story where I left it, could stand as complete, but I had always intended to return to it to add a final epilogue to tie up a few loose ends. ¬†Lately, I’ve wondered if I would be able to return to it after leaving the characters languishing so long. ¬†It’s not as if I haven’t thought about how I wanted to close the story, and what I wanted to say, it’s just that available time and proper inspiRAtion haven’t seemed to coincide in the past 18 months.

porter smiling

What are you smiling about?

I’m happy to report that inspiRAtion and available time seemed to jell¬†last week and I sat down and mapped out the first section of the epilogue. ¬†Seems my worries about finding the characters again were unfounded. ¬†When I started writing, it was something like reconnecting with an old friend – once the initial ice was broken, the “conversation” began to flow easily. ¬†I’m hoping to have that epilogue posted by the end of January!

I haven’t decided if it should be mostly sweet, or more than a little spicy – any¬†votes?

inter alia…A Whirlwind Evening with Obscura

Hello again! ¬†It’s been a crazy couple of days in Armitageworld, and I’ve been sidelined for much of it. ¬†As you may have heard, Servetus and I had a bit of an adventure Sunday evening. ¬† ¬†It all¬†started out well enough…we met up at a local place that has great chicken wings and (used to have) great onion rings. ¬†A charmingly tattooed bartender who was sucking up nicely, good company, a cold, if kind of pedestrian, seasonal brew from a favorite Wisconsin craft brewery – good times. ¬†We had been chatting about this and that while we waited for the food to show up…I was laughing at the tavern’s method of alerting servers that food was up…namely bellowing said server’s name from the kitchen – classy! ¬†Once our food arrived, I had eaten exactly three chicken wings when out of nowhere I noticed that although I wasn’t moving, the room seemed to be. ¬†Hmm, that’s a bit odd I thought, closing my eyes with the thought that when I opened them, the room would be stationary again. ¬†Not so much. ¬†Then I started to perspire…not delicate lady like perspiring either…

John Porter (Richard Armitage)  Source:

John Porter (Richard Armitage)

No, it was more like a John Porter digging a mass grave in the Zimbabwean sun kind of sweating. ¬†We kind of laughed about it because I had only just said that I like spicy food, but not so spicy that it makes me sweat. ¬†Still dripping sweat, the room still slowly spinning, and me feeling increasingly ill, we eventually decided first that Servetus would drive me home, and then, maybe it would be better to go to the hospital. ¬†I lurched out of the tavern…listing to starboard as I made my way to Servetus’ car. ¬†Once inside, the cool blast from the A/C felt heavenly as we briefly discussed which hospital to go to. ¬†I have a preferred one, but as the motion of the car combined with the motion in my head, it rapidly became clear that I might not make it that far. ¬†We were about to get on the freeway…one peppered with bridges and overpasses…that is, no place to pull over for increasingly green around the gills passenger. ¬†Despite feeling absolutely wretched, I had to laugh when Servetus handed me an empty paper coffee cup that she found, because I couldn’t help but think of that scene from Wayne’s World where Garth (Dana Carvey) holds out a Dixie cup and says to their extremely drunk friend:



Ultimately, I decided there was no way I was making it to the other hospital, so we went to the closest one and Servetus dropped me at the door of the ER while she went to park the car. ¬†She made it in to join me before I was even able to register since the place was packed (one wonders what the heck goes on on summer Sundays that so many people are in the ER!) ¬†I was holding myself up against the wall, fighting the urge to retch when Servetus asked if I wanted to sit since there was an empty wheelchair, but no available seats. ¬†I declined until a man sitting with his adult daughter said, “You’d better sit, you look like you’re going to faint.” ¬†OK then, I’ll sit. ¬†(This kind of friendly advice from complete strangers is completely ordinary here.) ¬†

It seemed like it took forever for the elderly woman in front of me to finish up with the clerk – it was probably only minutes, but I was working pretty hard not to make a complete spectacle by doing my imitation of Linda Blair in The Exorcist right there in the waiting room. ¬†As it turned out…I only made a partial spectacle of myself since I held out through registration and until I had a basin before I did my Linda Blair impression. ¬†I find that spewing in the waiting area generally fast tracks one to triage. (as does hyperventilating and snorting liquid acetaminophen out one’s nose, but that’s a story for another day.) ¬†¬†

After a quick EKG and a longish trip to a distant bathroom, with Servetus at the helm¬†of the wheelchair, ¬†before my one woman sideshow became even more humiliating, I was finally taken back to a room. ¬†In the interim, Serv managed to get a hold of my husband, tell him the situtation, ask him to bring a change of clothes (since diaphoresis results in soaking wet shorts), and talk to a nurse who brought me a stylish hospital gown to wear for my stay. ¬†I don’t remember a whole lot of what went on in the exam room before my husband got there…probably a whole lot of me laying on the bed in abject relief to just be horizontal since that position seemed to alleviate the spinning and overwhelming nausea. ¬†One thing I do remember is a very nice nurse…from Alabama…who started the IV in my arm. ¬†I mentioned that I had kind of difficult veins, but she found one with no problem and slipped the line in almost painlessly – no matter, the result is always the same with me:

One blown vein for each needle stick.  I suppose I should wear sleeves for awhile...

One blown vein for each needle stick. I suppose I should wear sleeves for awhile…

Servetus kindly hung around until my husband arrived and even though I was completely terrible company, I really appreciated her calm and collected presence…my husband, by contrast, is a pacer.

As to the diagnosis:

From my RL Facebook feed...

From my RL Facebook feed…

Nothing terribly serious. ¬†It’s mostly passed already, but I’m totally bummed that I won’t be able to make it to Chicago for Operation Into the Storm this weekend! ¬†I’m really hoping I can make it through the movie at all…what with all the spinning that’s been going on in my head! ¬†We’ve heard a lot recently about the real and deep friendships that have developed between many of us who met via our shared fandom of Richard Armitage. ¬†I can’t agree enough with this sentiment. ¬†It is a true friend who swabs the sweat off your brow while you retch up your dinner into a cotton candy pink plastic bucket!!

Now that I’m on the mend, I’ll fill you in on the latest installment of the Life of a Stage Mom, my personal experience with disaster relief for SpReAd the Love, and plenty of continued blathering about the Classical tradition¬†and this guy:


ContRApposto Richard Armitage?

I was digging through some pictures in my cleverly disguised Richard Armitage folder when I came across this one…a favorite despite the copious costume blood:

John Porter (Richard Armitage) Strikeback Behind the Scenes Source

John Porter (Richard Armitage) Strikeback Behind the Scenes

Look at Richard Armitage going all contrapposto!!

The art aficionados in the crowd will recognize this term as coming from the artistic tradition of the Italian Renaissance. ¬†It translates loosely to “counterpose” and refers to the body position where the weight is shifted onto one leg, turning the upper body slightly off-axis from the hips and legs. ¬†Overall, it is a position that produces a¬†figure that looks immediately more relaxed. ¬†contrappasto compare

Even though the Anavysos Kouros on the left is to be understood as stepping¬†forward, he appears stiff and static when¬†compared to the mature Renaissance contrapposto style of Michelangelo’s David on the right. ¬†Although both of these pieces are sculpted in marble and obviously immobile, they serve to illustrate the other hallmark visual effect of contrapposto – implied movement. ¬†It seems almost inevitable that David will eventually shift his weight to the opposite leg, while the kouros appears perpetually frozen mid-stride.

What is fascinating to me is that although nearly a millenium elapsed in style and time between David and the Anavysos Kouros, the earliest known example of contrapposto is much closer to the kouros tradition than the Renaissance one.  The Anavysos Kouros dates to around 530 BC.  Less than fifty years later, the Greeks would embrace a very different sculptural style in a piece called the Kritias Boy

The Kritias Boy¬†is an enormously important piece of sculpture for a number of reasons…one of them being that he is the earliest known example of the contrapposto technique and as such, marks the transition between the Archaic and Classical styles of Greek sculpture. ¬†His remarkable provenance provides secure evidence for a relatively narrow dating window for the emergence of this style in Greece. …

WARNING….short historical divergence imminent ¬†3…..2…..1…..

The armies of the massive Persian Empire, led by Darius the First, invaded Greece in 490 BC in reprisal for what they considered ¬†Athenian interference in Persian domestic affairs. ¬†The Greeks, especially the Athenians, were scrambling. ¬†It seemed almost inevitable that Persians’ vastly superior numerical advantage would win the day. ¬†However, owing to strategic and tactical decisions made by the Athenian commander Miltiades, tiny Athens defeated the Persian force at Marathon which led to Darius’ retreat not long after. ¬†

This was a humiliating, but only temporary setback to the Persians, who immediately started ten years of ¬†planning for a massive land based invasion of the Greek mainland which would eventually be led by Darius’ son Xerxes. ¬† When Xerxes marched into Greece in 480Bc, he had a massive ax to grind against the Greeks…especially the Athenians. ¬†After the famous last stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae, Xerxes (who, contrary to his depiction in 300, was not a ten foot tall giant pierced in every possible point) marched swiftly to Athens where he sacked the abandoned city and burned it to the ground…the sacred precinct of the Acropolis included.

Located in the Acropolis Museum in Athens - my shot  (not the human figures for scale)

Kritias Boy – Located in the Acropolis Museum in Athens – my shot (note the human figures for scale)

And, we’re back. ¬†Long story short, the united forces of the Greek poleis repelled this Persian invasion as well, and by 478 BC, all that was left was to clean up the Persians’ mess. ¬†Here’s where the provenance of the Kritias Boy comes in. ¬†All of the materials on the Acropolis were considered sacred objects, so before the Athenians could rebuild from the Persian destruction, the sacred objects needed to be properly disposed of. ¬†This disposal took the form of a massive bothros, or sacred dump dug along the slopes of the Acropolis in which the sanctified materials were buried. ¬†This provides a terminus ante quem (date before which) for the sculpture…that is, we know that he must date to before the Persian sack of Athens in 480 BC. ¬†Stylistically, we also know, by comparing him to every other sculpture in the typology leading up to him, that he cannot date to much prior to¬†480 BC either. ¬†It is pretty clear that he was installed on the Acropolis very shortly before the Persian sack.

The utilization of contrapposto is clear in the tilt of his hips and the subtle torsion of his upper body.  It is even more evident in the rear view

Kritias Boy Rear View Acropolis Museum Athens My Shot..(yep, I stood there and waited until people cleared out of my immediate frame so as not to distract...I'm patient that way!)

Kritias Boy Rear View
Acropolis Museum Athens
My Shot..(yep, I stood there and waited until people cleared out of my immediate frame so as not to distract…I’m patient that way!)

Here the shift of the weight onto one leg is obvious in the relative positioning of the buttocks. ¬†We can also observe the very subtle “S” curve of the upper body. ¬†In all, it is a much softer, much more naturalistic pose than what was popular in the Archaic period. ¬†This style went on to become ubiquitous in subsequent periods.

John Porter in contrapposto above is not alone in the Armitage oeuvre. ¬†I thought you might not object to a brief overview…but first, Guy of Gisborne illustrates “assuming” the contrapposto position:

Another John Porter favorite

porter contrapasto 1

Lucas North contrapposto from behind

So they're disguised in Lucas North's painted on can plainly see the point :)

Lucas is “wearing” John Porter’s thighs here…

The leather contrapposto stylings of Guy of Gisborne

gisborne contrappasto 1

And more recently, Richard Armitage himself at CinemaCon

Oh hello there... (Sorry...I cut everyone else out of the frame - to give the thigh is due!) Source

This is by no means an exhaustive list…you may have noticed that I’ve left out a spectacularly good example of Guy of Gisborne…or maybe you didn’t. ¬†Can you find it? ¬†Happy contrapposto hunting Armitageworld!

et alia: So you want to write RAcy fan fiction? Don’t be SAD…

I knew it had been a while since I’d posted a chapter update to my AU John Porter fan fiction effort, Recovery. ¬†When I logged into the DreamerFiction today, I was horrified to see just how long it has really been. ¬†My last update, Chapter 23, was posted on March 20…that’s two months ago! ¬†Good grief! ¬†I don’t think I’m alone in having felt the frustration of becoming invested in a multi chapter, complex story, only to find that the author abandoned it for one reason or another. ¬† ¬†Fear not lectores, I will finish Recovery, and soon, but in the meantime, I’ve been thinking a little about what the hold up has been.

Just a regular day...

Just a regular day…

No doubt part of the problem is the ordinary average chaos that is my life. ¬†Since mid March, there have been numerous additions to the regular mayhem. ¬†First, my husband started a new job which required the Human Resources Manager (that would be me) to fill out a gogillion forms for various and sundry benefits and submit proof of the valid existence of myself and my children as related to the covered employee…my husband, their father. ¬†(This process necessitated¬†a visit to the courthouse to replace a missing birth certificate – I opted for the multiple copy bargain rate – just in case) ¬†Also new to me was the intensive rehearsal and performance schedule of the in house thespian that occupied the¬†theatrical agent and principle chauffeur (also me) for the first half of April. ¬†Factor in the end of the academic year, grading and most recently a bout with some unspecified pestilence that first transformed Mini Me¬†into a feverish, coughing semi invalid and has since left me with a largely inaudible squeak in place of a voice, and my lack of progress comes into focus.

I can’t credit my schedule for all of it though. ¬†My life isn’t that much busier than it was when I started writing the story. ¬†I found a way to shuffle things around before so that I was updating about every two weeks…what is the problem now?



Another part of the equation lies in my writing method. ¬†Apart from blog posts, which I compose at the computer, my other writing all begins in handwritten form. ¬†I’ve written like this forever. ¬†If I try to sit down and compose from scratch at the computer, I end up drawing a complete blank and staring at the screen in a daze. ¬†It’s a different story with paper and pen. ¬†I usually sit down and start to outline…the bullet points¬†at some¬†stage¬†broaden into paragraphs and dialogue. ¬†Maybe it’s a tactile thing…I love the feel of fine paper and scratch of the pen across it’s surface. ¬†I’ve found that I prefer gel pens since the ink dries quickly and doesn’t blob or smudge, and using a variety of colors allows me to make notes and edit as I go. ¬†I have several notebooks, that I now carry along in my bookbag to keep them away from the curious, ¬†which contain various chapters, chapter outlines and research notes. ¬†I am much more productive when I can disconnect from everything for a couple of hours and just lose myself in the cadence of penning the story to paper. ¬†I make corrections as I go along, but the transcription onto the computer serves as another stage of the editing process. ¬† ¬†I’ve been writing like this for so long (since before the dawn of time…or at least the ubiquitous personal computer) that I didn’t realize that it was at all noteworthy until the subject came up in a conversation about gel pens between Servetus and me. ¬†So there you go…my archaic little secret! ¬† Interestingly, my son, a burgeoning writer himself, reports that he writes the same way – the nosy mother in me wonders where he keeps his notebooks stashed!

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4 Source: (my crop)

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4
Source: (my crop)

While the opportunity and means to write certainly play a large part in my foot dragging end to Recovery, the more I think about it, the more I’m certain that there’s another factor in the mix. ¬†I honestly think I’m suffering from a preemptive case of separation anxiety (SAD…not to be confused with SAD – Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder. ¬†Honestly¬†acronym makers!) ¬†I think that a part of me is reluctant to bring this story to a close because I’ve become really attached to the characters and I don’t want to let them go. ¬†Be that as it may, I fully intend to finish Recovery. ¬†My dear pal Guylty has helped me out with my missing SB DVD, so I have plenty of renewed inspiRAtion. ¬†I wouldn’t be at all surprised though, ¬†if there aren’t a few holiday vignettes in the hopper for John Porter and Lindsey Tate.

Pathos Personified: The Dying Gaul and a Panoply of Richard Armitage Characters

Welcome to another installment of the ¬†Ancient Armitage tour through some of my favorite pieces of Greco-Roman art. ¬†I’ve made no secret about having a certain preference for the art of the Hellenistic period, so I doubt anyone will be shocked when I reveal that another of my faves belongs to that period.

"The Dying Gaul" 2nd cent AD Roman copy of 3Rd cent BC original Source

“The Dying Gaul”
2nd cent AD Roman copy of 3Rd cent BC original

This Roman copy in marble is modeled after an original Greek piece, probably cast in bronze, that was commissioned for the king of Pergamon to commemorate his victory over neighboring Galatia Рpopulated by Celtic or Gaulish peoples.   The sculpture depicts a mortally wounded Gallic warrior, identified by his mustache and torc, as he lies, slumping down among his weapons.  If we look closely, we can see the mortal sword wound just under his right pectoral.



Unlike similarly themed works from the 6th and 5th centuries BC, the severity of his wound is evident in his posture and expression. ¬†The viewer can almost feel the valiant effort the wounded warrior is exerting to stay upright as the weight of his pain bears him down. ¬†While the ancient Greeks were¬†exceptionally good at trash talking their enemies (cf Herodotus’ The Histories where the author goes to some length to describe the surpassing oddity of most things Persian) they are also exceptionally skilled at depicting the enemy as noble and strong, even in defeat. ¬†Makes sense…after all, it wouldn’t be much of a victory¬†if the enemy were ignoble and weak specimens.

Hellenistic art is often emotionally evocative, and the pathos of this piece is particularly striking to me. ¬†In Greek,¬†ŌÄő¨őłőŅŌā¬†in general terms¬†means “that which happens to a person or a thing,” and it also takes on a more specific connotation¬†of¬†suffering or misfortune. ¬†The Dying Gaul’s suffering and misfortune is clear from the heavy, slumping position of his body and is further enhanced by his expressive face.

A portrait of pathos..

A portrait of pathos..

The bowed head with it’s furrowed brow, pensive eyes and slightly open mouth present a fallen warrior determined to endure his suffering stoically, but unable to wipe all trace of it from his features.

Pathos is also an interesting word in the sense that it comes into contemporary English usage as an element of communication. ¬†As originally articulated by Aristotle in Rhetoric, pathos is a device used to appeal to an¬†audience’s emotions. ¬†Richard Armitage is quite adept at playing with this quality¬†in any number of his characterizations by means of a variety of verbal cues, but like The Dying Gaul, he is also able to tap into the power of pathos through purely visual means…

Whether it’s Guy of Gisborne’s excruciating interchanges with Marian or the Sheriff,

guy pathos 2

Guy of Gisborne – S2 Source

Paul Andrews desperately trying to keep his secret


Between the Sheets Source

John Thornton facing financial ruin,

North and South - E4 Source

North and South – E4

Lucas North’s anguish in the face of all that he’s lost


Spooks S7 E2 Source

John Porter’s grief

Strikeback S1 E6 Source

Strikeback S1 E6

or the heavy burden of Thorin’s duty,

The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey Source

The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey

the ability to visually evoke the powerfully emotive qualities of pathos is something that Richard Armitage and The Dying Gaul share.


PS…I would remiss if I did not share the following gratuitous rear view:


I’ve said it before: if the whole acting thing doesn’t work out….sculpture model?



The more things change, the more they stay the same…

This is a proverb I’ve found to be true in a great many cases. ¬†The basic principle is one that I try to instill in my students. ¬†I teach ancient history, which is often very remote for 21st century undergraduates until they are able to see that regardless of time, hairstyles or a centuries long “oddity” of men wearing skirts, human beings are more or less the same. ¬†Placed in similar circumstances, humans are rather predictable in their attitudes and decision making. ¬†A piece of ancient news (how’s that for a fabulous oxymoron?!) ¬†came across my Facebook feed today courtesy of a pal (Hi Pal!) that illustrates this beautifully.

I have been complaining pretty much non stop the past few days about being sick.  I had great plans for my Spring Break which have been more or less been canned by a rotten stomach flu.  Yesterday afternoon, still feeling crummy, I had just shipped my daughter off to a Lenten service with my parents and was preparing to lay down for a while when my sister called needing help in a transferring her two cats between the vet and home with only one carrier.  I ended up sitting in the car for thirty minutes with the post surgical cat sans carrier while she was inside with the other one.

My internal whine-alogue was in high gear wondering why no one seemed to realize that I am unwell…sitting in a car babysitting a cat who won’t come out from under the seat…why didn’t she just buy another stupid carrier…and so on. ¬†When she came to reclaim her cat, I went on my gloomy way, planning to stop at the market. ¬†I needed more ginger ale to settle my stomach, and while I was there, I would grab something for my husband to eat for dinner since both kids were covered, and heaven knows an adult male who once worked as a chef won’t be able to manage by himself if I’m physically in the house. ¬†I was almost through the store when I got a text from my oldest looking for a ride home from play rehersal…I could have cried. ¬†NOW?!! I texted back….no answer…typical. ¬† My mind had already settled on the comforting reality of going home to grab a short nap while the house as still quiet, but that was not to be. ¬†My martyred sensibilities were griping all the way to the school and then back as I crabbed aloud about how nobody cared that I didn’t feel well…that I would need to be actually dead before somebody wasn’t calling me to do something for them…and on and on and on.

I’m sure it was a pretty good show…my son certainly seemed to enjoy it based on all of the eye rolling and sighing he was doing. ¬†I was gratified to see that my put upon attitude is not unique to me…it’s not even unique to my millenium. ¬†Humans have always had a tendency toward passive aggressive melodrama, as a recently translated letter, written on papyrus in the 3rd century AD illustrates handily.

The fragmentary state of this papyrus illustrates nicely why so much of our knowledge of the ancient world is bracketed by ??

The fragmentary state of this papyrus illustrates nicely why so much of our knowledge of the ancient world is bracketed by ??

From what the translator, a Rice University graduated student can make out, this is a letter written by a Roman soldier of Egyptian heritage (Egypt had been annexed by Rome in 31 BC) writing home from his post in Pannonia in south eastern Europe.  A long way from home and missing communication from his family, he wrote,

Translated by Grant Adamson, Rice University

Translated by Grant Adamson, Rice University

Ah, that vaguely bitchy, passive aggressive, aggrieved tone. ¬†Yes, I know it well. ¬†This isn’t a particularly ancient sentiment, or a modern one either. ¬†I’d say it’s more of a universally human response. ¬†In a world that sometimes seems to change faster than I can keep up with, it’s somewhat comforting to know that some things, like good old pissiness, are essentially immutable ¬†ūüôā

It did make me think though,

...and I can't, for the life of me, see Porter or Thorin being quite so whiny.  (but it might make a great fan fic!)

…and I can’t, for the life of me, see Porter or Thorin being quite so whiny. (but it might make a great fan fic!)

et alia: So you want to write RAcy fanfiction? Sexy vs Plotty…

As I was fighting my way through the latest chapters of my first long fan fiction, Recovery I realized that it is much harder to write a coherent, interesting plot, than it is to piece together a series of sexy vignettes.

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

Just look at all the diagrams and schematics that go into plot writing..

When I first started thinking about how to write a fan fiction that would incorporate elements of John Porter’s life as an SAS operative with the life that I had created for him, it was actually my husband who gave me a number of interesting avenues to follow about mercenaries and proprietary military technology.¬† I really enjoyed laying out this plot, unfolding it slowly, introducing twists here and there to keep it interesting, but it takes a lot more time and mental energy to keep it all straight, not to mention research.¬† A look at my browser history will find info on Blackwater operations, automatic weapons, fiber optic cabling, Syrian insurgents, British fleet movements, fatal knife wounds, etc….an uninformed eye might seriously question what type of mischief I’m up to!¬† In a summer when I had difficulty carving out an hour or two here and there to write at all, it often took me two or more weeks to piece together a 2000-3000 word chapter.¬† One RA friend and reader remarked that the majority of people reading on DreamerFiction probably don’t care all that much about plot…although I doubt I’m completely alone in enjoying a number of longer fics with developed plot lines, looking at the readership of the story, it’s pretty clear that the chapters with “sexy times” are read (or re-read) a lot more often.

Recovery is now at a point where much of the plot has been resolved (I still have a few surprises up my sleeve though), and some RAcy chapters have resumed.¬†¬† What kind of research do I need to do to write these?¬† Well…there’s this

John Porter (Richard Armitage) in a moment of rest Source:

John Porter (Richard Armitage) Strikback S1E4

Or this…

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4 Source: (my crop)

A rare-ish John Porter smile..Strikeback S1E4
Source: (my crop)

A quick double check of this for variety…


and then a little more of this…or maybe a lot of this…

and most definitely this…

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth...S1 E2 Source:

John Porter and Katie Dartmouth…S1 E2

A little John Porter-style inspiRAtion and I am off and running…2000 word of steamy scene written, edited and posted in less time than it took to figure out the difference between a Tech-9 and a 45.

I wouldn’t have written this story any differently, but I have to admit, sexy does win out over plotty in certain instances.¬† ūüôā