Christmas Reunions: Author's Afterword 1/1
Deslea R. Judd
DISCLAIMER: Situations not mine. Interpretation mine. Deal.
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep my name and headers.
RELATED STORIES: Christmas Reunions is a loose collection of stories for Christmas 2001, celebrating XF supporting women and the unique celebrations of Christmas around the world. See St Petersburg (Marita), Sydney (Diana), Vancouver (Kim) (coming soon), and Tucson (Reyes) (coming soon).
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com
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Merry Christmas, everyone! I thought I'd take a moment and talk a bit about the Christmas Reunions series. If you're interested in what I was trying to do, read on. If you think I'm being pretentious and/or a geek...well, it wouldn't be the first time. ::grin:: You can skip this if you like; nothing here is all that vital. If you're one of my regular readers, though, please take a glance at the last paragraph before you hit "delete".
I wanted to write Christmasfic, but I didn't want to write cheesy schmoopy Christmasfic. I don't come from the kind of background where Christmas is a happy time. For me, Christmas is very much making the best of what you have to work with, which isn't always enough. Christmas is not unhappy for me, but there's definitely an overtone of compromise and acceptance thereof. I think that's the case for a lot of people, and I guess I wanted to honour that. I think there is a lot of dignity in making peace with the hand you've been dealt. It isn't just "making do". It isn't "settling". It's just life.
So I wanted to write Christmasfic in which happiness was found in what we have while still nodding to what we have not. The theme in all four stories, one way or another, is "enough".
One component interwoven in each story is the unique cultural elements of Christmas in different parts of the world, but I wanted to work them into the plot. I didn't want it to be gratuitous travelogue. One way or another, culture clash or culture lag feeds into the greater telling of the story. With Diana in Sydney there's the Australian/American divide, reflecting her growth from the life she's abandoned to the life she has now. In St Petersburg, we see Russia pre- and post-Glasnost, reflecting Marita's rise and fall from privilege, and her survival of that.
Each story features a female supporting character as the POV character (Monica, of course, is now a lead; but she has the same challenges of the supporting women, like a sketchy backstory). A backstory is given in brief, and each woman has a particular dilemma, grief, or adjustment as the year draws to a close. As well as the two completed and two in-progress stories, I had considered a fifth story, with Susanne Modeski and John Byers. However, I would have needed longer to do that story justice because I am less familiar with those characters. I would have needed to spend some time reviewing tapes and scripts for that, and that wasn't feasible. But I'm determined to try my hand at Byers/Susanne one day!
Another component is allusions to September 11. Although this is not tribute fic, all four stories briefly reference ways in which 911 impacted the lives of the characters. Diana had to flee her hiding place in Jordan because of the war in the Middle East. Alex got caught in Afghanistan while travelling overland to the former Soviet Union. The ways in which Kim and Monica were affected in the stories I'm writing now are less direct and dramatic, but they have significance nonetheless. This was all quite deliberate. I think as 2001 comes to a close, we are all changed people because of what happened in New York, Washington, and Pittsburgh, and because of what continues to unfold in the Middle East. I didn't want that to be the focus of the stories, but I felt it was important to acknowledge that.
Finally, of course, all four stories incorporate a reunion with a male character and a romance. This was my biggest concession to the seasonal happiness considered obligatory in Christmasfic. I nearly didn't do that - I considered leaving Alex dead in Marita's story - but I decided I had to give her something for Christmas, and what better than Alex? ::grin:: However, I made a point of incorporating another loss, another "not-yet". This series was meant to be a delicate balance between growth, happiness, hope, and all those good things, and the grieving present in all our lives for the things we've lost or never had. Maybe that was a bad judgement call on my part - I don't know if people really want to read that on Christmas - but it's real life, and that's all I know.
Anyway...I hope you enjoyed the fics, and that Christmas is a time of hope for you and yours. I particularly want to dedicate this series to those who spend Christmas without the people they love, for whatever reason. Thank you to all of you who have been my friends this year, and to those of you who have supported me in my writing, whether by writing feedback or critiquing or recommending my work to your friends or voting in the Spookys or whatever. I've gotten really behind in things the last three months and I know some feedback has gone (temporarily) unanswered, and I'm sorry about that...but it is very much appreciated. I feel very blessed to be able to share my work in the way I do. It's not something available to every writer, and I love our strange little fan community very much for it. Thank you, happy Christmas, and God bless.
All my love, Deslea
Deslea R. Judd
25 December 2001