write me a story and i'll sing you a song.
Ok, full disclosure, I’ve spoken about this fic at length with Opaque, and I was tempted to just copy and paste what I said, but I think writing something totally new would be worth it now that I’ve had some time to think about this chapter. First of all, this is such a realistic interpretation of reactions to death that its a little scary. I’ve been in Katniss’ position more than once, and have literally done exactly what she did. What happens immediately following a death is a moment of temporary insanity that I don’t think people can be held accounted for, even less so when the death is as meaningful as Finnick’s was for everyone involved. I want to thank you for the tremendous job you did with writing this chapter: the sensitivity to all characters involved, the honesty you imbued in each one, and the realism in the ugliness of death. There is a richness in this chapter and these characters that I know means you invested a piece of yourself in each one, and for that I commend you, because there is nothing as difficult in writing as letting a character inside your head. Theres always the chance that they’ll never leave.
Everytime I read a chapter of this, I cry. A good friend of mine from high school went down a very, very dark road leading him to become positive. He is an incredible person- genius intelligence, sharp sense of humor, and incredibly talented artist. For everything that he did, and for every way he hurt all those around him during his descent, there were moments when I could see a shadow of who he used to be. Sometimes people give in to the darkness inside of them. Sometimes there’s nothing that can stop them from hurting themselves. Sometimes they lose the last of their will to fight. Its just the way it is. Thats just the way life is- sometimes, things snowball and your world goes to shit in just a few moments. Thank you for your honesty with this as well. Watching someone give up, watching them hurt themselves past saving, watching them lose their fight- all of this is real. It hurts, but its real.
NOW I’ll tell you what I said to her about it: Katniss alone cannot be Peeta’s support. She is a strong person, and she has been doing incredible things for Prim, but she cannot be that for everyone, even as much as she loves Peeta. Everyone has a breaking point. I interpreted this as hers. I don’t know where you’ll go with this, but I do know what she’s feeling. She’s not to blame for her reaction- its human to choose ‘flight’ in battle between fight or flight, and she’s already been through so much. She needs someone like Rye is to Peeta in her life. Someone outside of the center, and her sister, and the community. Someone who will take her out for french fries on Friday night and talk about why Zach Braff’s kickstarter was a lame idea. Or not. Or whatever.
Because without that, this girl is destined to crash and burn. Isolation is problem for caregivers as well as the chronically ill.
Peeta’s reaction to her leaving broke my heart, but I saw it all as clearly as I did with Katniss. Again, after death there is a moment of temporary insanity that affects all involved, and he can no more be blamed for his reaction than Katniss can. Someone needs to hold him, but that person couldn’t be Katniss. Does this hurt my Everlark feels? Of course. But this just makes this fic all the more important, because no one in a situation like this is ever the hero. Again, I thank you for your honesty here. I love your Peeta. He breaks my heart. But more over, I know him. I saw him end his own life in high school. I hope you’ll keep this Peeta safe, but even if you don’t (i’ve cried over every single chapter in this fic, don’t stop your plot on my behalf, i’m already beyond help), I trust you’ll be faithful to the issues these characters face. And that matters to me so much more than endgame Everlark.
I hope endgame Everlark happens. I hope for an HEA. But more than anything, I hope you know that this fic has touched my life in incredible ways, and I feel so grateful that you’ve written it.
I just wanted to share this review and response here. I’m here if anyone needs me, as much as I can be.
I’m going to be honest, I cried when I got this review. I cried because I understood your loss and because I know the sinking hole that can swallow people alive. I get it. Truly, I do.
That’s why your review came back around to a topic that Opaque and I have talked about multiple times, sometimes quite at length, and is something that I think still plays into the last few chapters. I hope, once you read the ending, you’ll see the changes that come about, however small, to make the ending work. We’ve started a mini-edit to the last few chapters because we’ve realized a part where I need to add more, just because this comment is so very very true - not just to the story, but to the way life happens. It’s something I’ve really struggled with throughout writing this story, and I think the reason I’ve struggled is that it relates back quite closely to things I personally take on.
Unsurprisingly, I put a lot of myself into these characters. Their mannerisms, their language and tone - those are things coming out of my head that I don’t think writer’s can truly step away from. But with that also comes a way of thought that integrates with the way you form a character and therefore with the way that character behaves. I write Katniss as strong because I see that as an immeasurable quality, and one I give everything for in my own life. That said, striving for that quality, striving to be a support to everyone around you, tears you down. I know that better than anyone, having faced it time and again in my real life. When I started this story, my life was not in a good place. The majority of this story was actually written when things were bad and it’s only now, as I’m coming out on the other side, that I’m really seeing the way the characters behave in retrospect to my life. It’s funny how that happens and you don’t even notice.
I honestly hope that the last few chapters bring you some comfort. This story has for some reason taken quite a hold in me and I’d hate for it to lose meaning with others. Thank you for taking the time and giving insight, it really helps to make things better.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what fanfiction is capable of as an institution, and its place in our larger culture. Whats incredible to me is how many writers have stories that are like my own, and how many writers struggle on a daily basis with things that they have no support for anywhere else. While not all writers tackle difficult topics (nor should they feel obliged to), the ones that do take on a serious commitment to their subject, their characters, and their prose.
Writers in the HG fandom have tackled everything from domestic abuse, chronic illness, terminal illness, STD’s, addiction, sex trafficking, and so much more. In doing so, they have opened up the doors for discussion on these topics, and that is critically important in a time when these things aren’t discussed in major national media. Fanfiction writers are these extraordinary superhero people who take on 100,000 word stories dealing with the worst, and the best, of human nature, and they do it all for nothing.
Or so I think a lot of people assume.
But I don’t thats quite true. Fanfiction, as much as it is about exploring characters you love and topics you’re interested in, is also about shouting into the void. By that I mean there are authors who will devote 10-20 hours a week to their new chapter, think about it morning, noon and night, agonize over their decisions for the plot, examine and re-examine dialogue over and over, post their chapter, and then turn out the light.
What happens next is up to the community.
For some authors, a lack of response can be heartbreaking. Others plow ahead no matter what other people say. But for authors who are tackling difficult subjects, I think the rules are a little different. These authors take responsibility for their subjects, and sometimes writing can take a toll on them instead of being ‘just for fun’. Nevertheless, they plow ahead, because the story is important to them, whether its because they’re hoping to reach someone who has dealt with what they’re writing about, or because they’re actually coming to terms with it themselves.
And thats huge.
Representation in fanfiction can be incredibly diverse, and we need to support that, and the authors that make it possible. They’re doing good work, and we need them.
Not just for us, but because there are readers on the internet who read those stories and realize that they’re not alone in what they’re dealing with, but don’t have the energy or strength to reach out.
I’d like to put forth that if you’ve read a story where an author has tackled a difficult topic close to your heart and has done a bang-up job, that you contact them. A review is a great way, but you can find them on tumblr, email them, message them, or even just make a post about their work and tag it. This isn’t a directive, or even a ‘you should-‘, this is more about creating a network of support for these authors as they strive to make fanfiction the kind of incredible community where anyone can find a representation of themselves reflected back at them- and especially when institutional media fails to do this.
everytime I try to answer a question as to why Peeta was the way he was in the latest chapter I find myself getting upset because poor boo, he was just struggling with so much and you guys don’t really know the half of what I was thinking when I wrote that, especially for his character, and it just breaks my heart in a million ways. I think I actually only function with Peeta headcanon and my Katniss stuff is just a shield I put up to hide how much Peeta story I really spin (in my head)
Sorry boo, here’s a big hug for you.
Anon Erika (since you don’t have an account), here’s my response:
Yes, it seems ridiculous for him to do that but he’s freaking out too. He’s forced to come face to face with his status and dealing with the loss of what he’s come to know as a brother. He’s facing not only Finnick, but his own mortality and the difficulty of getting close to anyone with this looming over their head.
Couple that with the fact that he’s hurting, that all he sees is her leaving, and he can’t help thinking that she’s leaving him too and he has nothing, she’s left him because of his status and his inner demons are roaring to get out and there’s no “out” for him. He can’t change his status - that’s his for life and he has to deal with that and the choices people make about him because of it.
I don’t even know what I would do if that was me.
God I know I wrote the chapter and wanted to change it all because I could barely deal with myself. This hurt so bad, you don’t even know.