Identity

Oct. 15th, 2011 09:55 pm
airynothing: (thinking)
Sometimes when I get to reading an AU I ponder the nature of identity.

I was avoiding Performance in a Leading Role for a long time, but I gave it a try tonight and it's great so far. It is the sort of AU, however, that does bring up questions of character identity.

For those who haven't come across it, the conceit is that Sherlock and John are screen actors. They aren't their own actors—not Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman—they're just BBC Sherlock and BBC John, slightly calmer and having gone into acting instead of the business of not-being-heroes.

So. I am reading it. It's about Sherlock and John, so I am emotionally invested. Because my mind has multiple tracks, I am also thinking about the interesting things the fic reveals about the entertainment industry, and also thinking, would I enjoy as much reading a love story about random (but interesting) actors and the pressures of staying closeted for Hollywood?

That's the sort of question that shifts its own mental track into the foreground. I pause reading and consider.

No. I don't go out looking for love stories to read, generally. I read science fiction/fantasy, nonfiction, sometimes mystery but not a lot lately, sometimes Jane Austen. Non-genre-wise, I read a really great novel called Quincunx, also not a love story. Read some Master and Commander, allegedly not a love story. SF, fantasy and mysteries can have love stories in them, and so can Austen, but it's not generally the point (even in Austen).

So, supplies my brain, I am reading this love story because it is Sherlock and John. And this is the part in my thought process where I wonder: how, exactly, is it really Sherlock and John?

Is it the names? Do I believe it's them because of their names? No, slapping their names on a random love story obviously would not work. Having their names is necessary but not sufficient.

Is it their characterization? It's consistent but not completely the same as in the show. It has to be different enough for them to be able to work in this completely different profession, after all. Sherlock has to be less insane, John less damaged.

If this were doujinshi, I could bring up visual cues, but that's clearly not it. I'm responsible for my own visual cues in fanfic.

I guess it is largely characterization, but I think part of it is somehow... expectation. I simply expect that the characters are Sherlock and John. I endow them with Sherlock-ness and John-ness in my mind by reading with the expectation that they have those identities.

I guess that comes back to their names, in the end... but only in as much as the names are signifiers of the author's intent. I trust the author's intent (unless and until they lose my trust; this fic has it) and enter into a shared expectation of them-ness.

It seems very handwavy and insubstantial, but there it is.
airynothing: (thinking)
I have a Fic Find brewing, but am waiting to see what they do with the Reichenbach reference. Subvert it, I hope. Will rec it either way.

No offense to all the excellent fic authors out there, without which I would be very bored. And I do understand the desire to write Reichenbach. Especially since we are all as worried about what the show will do with this (and which we likely won't know the end of till 2013) as we are about Irene. I am just so sick of all the fics in which Sherlock deliberately abandons John, when they're already together. He should know better!

Arthur Conan Doyle should have known better... had he not written himself into a corner. A corner we're stuck with now. But I prefer fics that conquer Reichenbach, subvert it, sidestep it, stride over it like Sherlock ignoring a coffee table, delegate it to Mycroft or, in the case of already-recced Apotheosis, make it be a) John, who b) thinks Mycroft told Sherlock he lived, and c) his extra levels in utter smoking BAMF make him more Sherlock's equal at the end.

Hell, Reichenbach should be a required warning on a fic :)
airynothing: (thinking)
I can't write English. I can only write American.

This is not the only reason I'm afraid to write fanfic. I'm not under the illusion that it's as easy as it looks. I could never sit down and come up with the plot to Knot Theory (which admittedly, is an ambitious comparison).

But I could never stand to put words in their mouths that weren't in their tongue. I've been contemplating a phrase, a hyphenated word really, from [livejournal.com profile] wordstrings's Paradox series, for days now.

"No, just. I like a bit more steadily-come-by-breathing in a day, myself."

I know about trousers and pants and jumpers and nine nine nine and lifts and flats and advertising hoardings. I even know "must do", not "we must", is short for "we must <previous verb>"1. And I have no trouble understanding the phrase "steadily-come-by-breathing". I know a passive participle when I see one. But never in a million years would that gem have come from my fingertips.

It's beautiful. I've been trying to even come up with a translation into American. I can't even think how we would say it. I'm not sure we can.

1 Primarily when using the epistemic-modality "must", not the obligative "must", as far as I can tell. See, I am a font of insufficiently useful information.
airynothing: (thinking)
I can't write English. I can only write American.

This is not the only reason I'm afraid to write fanfic. I'm not under the illusion that it's as easy as it looks. I could never sit down and come up with the plot to Knot Theory (which admittedly, is an ambitious comparison).

But I could never stand to put words in their mouths that weren't in their tongue. I've been contemplating a phrase, a hyphenated word really, from [livejournal.com profile] wordstrings's Paradox series, for days now.

"No, just. I like a bit more steadily-come-by-breathing in a day, myself."

I know about trousers and pants and jumpers and nine nine nine and lifts and flats and advertising hoardings. I even know "must do", not "we must", is short for "we must <previous verb>"1. And I have no trouble understanding the phrase "steadily-come-by-breathing". I know a passive participle when I see one. But never in a million years would that gem have come from my fingertips.

It's beautiful. I've been trying to even come up with a translation into American. I can't even think how we would say it. I'm not sure we can.

1 Primarily when using the epistemic-modality "must", not the obligative "must", as far as I can tell. See, I am a font of insufficiently useful information.

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