Songs My Grandmother Taught Me - Thamiris

This is one of my all-time favorite Thamiris stories.  This was written many years ago, right after Ten Little Warlords originally aired, and she knew it was the one of hers I loved best.  She was totally convinced that she didn't write het very well, but as you can see, she was wrong about that!  ;-)

I love the tone and the layers of texture in this story.  When she first posted it, I had to read it a couple of times to "get" the whole story.  She packs so many images and nuances of sub-plot into so few words.  It 's a textbook example of crisp, clear writing where no word is wasted.  This story still stays with me today as one of Tham's best.

Rest well, old friend.

Songs My Grandmother Taught Me - Thamiris

My grandmother spends hours in the pale blue kitchen, rolling dough between her delicate fingers, stirring in cardamom with a long wooden spoon, measuring the milk with her still- sharp blue eyes.  Singing quietly, while she mixes the ingredients for her famous honey cake, her trim figure under the crisp white apron sways to the rhythm.

He watches her from the doorway, dark eyes on her undulating hips.  At seventy, he's still handsome, black hair now liberally streaked with grey, back still straight despite the years of heavy work on the farm, body still hard and lean.  Half of the village women are in love with him, and not a few of the men.  Age hasn't dimmed his desirability, and when my grandmother sees him watching her, she flashes her husband a secret smile, and her hands begin to move in a slower, more sensuous fashion over the heavy, honey-swirled dough.

They've forgotten me, sitting in a corner under a latticed window, the sun shining on the fair hair they tell me I've inherited from her, my mother's mother.  Before her song, she'd been telling me a story about my grandfather, how she'd known he liked her even before he did.  Lost in the memory, her song had begun.

I can't make out the words, but I recognize the haunting tune. It's a ballad, about a young  girl who falls in love with a dark, violent god.  They sleep together one night under the stars in a silent forest grove.  When the rain wakes her the next morning, he's gone.

Saddened, confused, she returns to the village.  When her belly swells, the villagers are cruel, scorning the girl for giving herself so easily to a fickle god.  Her friends, disapproving of her lover,  move on.

Alone, she waits for the dark god's return, as the child grows inside her. But he never appears.  Finally, believing he despises her, the girl walks into a cool, deep stream.  She doesn't come out.

When her body washes up on the sandy banks, face pale, hair tangled and muddy, the villagers realize their guilt.  They carry the dead girl to the dark god's temple atop a green hill, placing her carefully on the altar, while the candlelight flickers over her ghostly pale skin.

Then the god appears.  At first, he doesn't notice the girl, hidden by the mourning crowd, but when they part at his approach, he sees her lifeless body.  Heat floods the room, and the dark god begins to howl.  He pulls the girl into his arms, stroking her hair, kissing her cold, blue lips.  Suddenly, he vanishes, his lover clutched against his broad chest.

He takes her to the king of the gods.  The grey-haired Zeus promises to restore the life of mother and child only if his handsome son sacrifices his divinity, if he becomes mortal.  The dark god, desperate without the girl, agrees.  In a flash, the lovers are back in the forest grove.  Her blue eyes open, and when she sees the beautiful man, she cries.  He kisses away her tears, and they make love under the green canopy.  Later, when she discovers his sacrifice, the girl demands that he beg Zeus to restore his divinity.

The song ends with his refusal.

My tall grandfather loves that song.  Even now, even after all of these years, he can't resist my grandmother.  He is kissing her now, in the warm kitchen, then picks her up in his strong arms, and they disappear up the stairs.  The familiar creak of the bedsprings echoes through the cottage, and I smile, taking the sweet dough in my hands, rolling it.

Despite their beauty, my grandparents are quite ordinary.  She bakes, tells stories, cares for her grandchildren. He works in the field, tends the animals, and watches my grandmother.

I hope someday that I'll find someone who loves me the way he loves her, the way the dark god loved the innocent girl.

I hope someday I'll stand in a pale blue kitchen, kneading dough, singing a song to my granddaughter about romance and passion, life and death.

I hope someday I'll find my own dark god.

The End

  • Current Mood
    sad sad

A tribute to Tham

A mutual friend emailed me with very sad news.  There is a great void in the Herc/Xenaverse now - a great writer and long-time friend has died after a battle with breast cancer.  Those who have been in the fandom for many years will remember her as Thamiris: founder of the KSmithAres list, gifted writer and story-teller.  She left us way too soon - at 42- with so many stories left unwritten.  I choose to remember her as "Tham" - mutual Ares lover, occasional debater, arbitor of differences, and most of all, friend.

Tham and I go way, way back,  to the beginnings of the Herc/Xena fandom.  We had our occasional differences and debates about slash fanfic vs gen/het fan fic, but we genuinely liked and admired each other as friends first.  All those differences in taste and style became unimportant over time and we let them drift away to revel in our shared rememberances of the laughter and fun that brought us together as friends in the first place.  Tham always had my back in the old days and even when we weren't on the best of terms, I admired her for being willing to speak up for what she believed in.

We met once in person,  at a con in NYC, and we kept in touch over the years, mostly on each other's birthdays.  Every year, we sent each other some XXX rated, Ares-inspired birthday email.  We'd catch up for a few days chatting by email, and neither of us ever missed a birthday.  I always knew that there would be a birthday email from Tham in my inbox on Nov. 10th.  This year, when I sent my usual birthday email to her on March 27th, and I didn't get a response, I knew something was wrong.  I hoped that maybe she had run off to some exotic vacation spot with a new man, or was busy researching material for another story.  But my gut told me it was more than that.  This is her obituary:

Tham was a dedicated slash writer.  She was one of the few who could get me to read slash, simply because of her superb writing.  She could tell a story with the finest of the fanfic writers.  She was simply one of the best writers of any genre to ever take the characters so loved by the Herc/Xenaverse Nation and weave them into stories.  Period.  

Tham knew that I rarely read any slash and was (and am) a dedicated het/ gen lover.  But she also knew that I read hers for the superb writing and admired her work immensely.  We joked many times that she knew that I skimmed through the explicit slash sex scenes in her stories with a grimmace on my face when they involved Ares!  One of our favorite long-standing jokes was Iphicles's orange hair in "War Wounds".

Even though she wrote very little het in her later years, she knew how much I had always loved the het she wrote early on, particularly her wonderful "Songs My Grandmother Taught Me", which I nominated in a fanfic contest as one of the best Herc/Xena gen stories ever written.  As a special birthday present to me one year, she sent me a story she had written especially for me, after a discussion we had about whay would have happened if just once, Xena had given in to Ares.  It was originally written as a private gift from a special friend, but it was so wonderful that I encouraged her to submit it to several fan fic archives and has since become one of the best loved of her stories.  There can be no greater tribute to a writer like Tham than to be remembered for her work - the work that gave so many readers so much pleasure and so much inspiration.  As my lasting tribute to my friend Tham, I am posting the story link here.

Rest well, my friend.  Your battle is over now and you've won the peace you deserve.  I am a better person and a better writer for having known you and your work.  You will be very missed in your many fandoms, but you will always be with me when I read your stories and remember you as a superb storyteller and as a friend who always had my back.

Clink below to read "Vibrations of a Bell" - Thamiris

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  • Current Mood
    sad sad

Classic avoidance

La-lalalalalalala......nope....not thinking about sports or national championships or anything Scarlet and Gray....lalalalalalala...

Just passing the time.....

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2.  Describe your boyfriend/girlfriend? HUH?
3. Your hair? Blonde
4. Your mother? Strict
5. Your father? Indulgent
6. Your favorite item? Harley
7. Your dream last night? none
8. Your favorite drink? icetea (I cheated!)
9. Your dream car? Prowler
10. The room you are in? Office
11. Your ex? Fiancees?
12. Your fear? Dependence
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Content
14. Who did you hang out with last night? Architect
15. What you're not? Mean
19. The last thing you did? Replied
20. What are you wearing? suit
22. Your favorite book? Lots
23. The last thing you ate? Pizza
24. Your life? Hectic
25. Your mood? Better
26. Your friends? Comforting
27. What are you thinking about right now? WEEKEND!
28. Your car? Honda
29. What are you doing at the moment? slacking
30. Your summer? Coming
31. Your relationship status? married
32. What is on your tv? cat
33. When is the last time you laughed? today
34. Last time you cried? Monday
35. School? stimulating

I live OSU


Guess what?  I'm in Atlanta to watch my Buckeyes win the National Championship in basketball!  Let's hope it has a better ending this time than it did for the football team!  We should be home sometime tomorrow evening, so I promise I'll do the questions for you "shameless attention whores"...;-)

I'm not sure if I'll have time to get back on-line until I get home, but the Buckeyes could use your support and some good karma.

All together now.............GO BUCKS!!!!
  • Current Music
    Buckeye Battle Cry

I am a shameless attention whore!

1. Leave me a comment saying, "I am shameless attention whore."
2. I'll then respond by asking you up to five questions. You will answer them, because you like talking about yourself.
3. You will update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions

From the graceful and brave, Lady Ro:

1. Why a second Master's?
2. You have one trip in a time machine - where do you go, what do you do?
3. What is your ideal vacation?
4. What one thing that you can't do would you most like to learn to do?
5. Secret passion?

1.  The first degree was to ensure a way to earn a good living and be financially secure.  While it gave me all the educational tools that I needed for a successful career, it failed in giving me a true education in the things that matter to me -  to make for a fulfilling life outside my career.  The career part of me needs logic and order and decision-making skills to thrive in the business world of academia; the real person inside the power suit screaming to get out needs creativity and abstract thinking to keep from being smothered.  I'm really a very free spirit hiding inside a business woman's persona just waiting to burst free!  Sorta like the Wizard of Oz - "Pay no attention to the woman inside the suit!"

2.  I'd go to Vienna, Austria to be with my grandmother as she left her family and home at 13, under cover of night,  to escape the uprising which later resulted in the murders of her entire family.  She and her sister (with jewelry and gold coins sewn into their clothing) were secreted away in the dead of night and put onto ships, in steerage class for cover, and sent away to relatives outside New York City through Ellis Island.  She never saw or heard from her parents again, and it was several years later that she found out what happened to them and her brothers.  She went from a life of privilege in a grand city, to a farmer's wife, who married my grandfather at 14 (he was 10 yrs older), moved to a farm in Ohio, and eventually bore 13 children.  By the time she was 18, she had 3 children and a farm to run, without ever being taught any useful skills.  She could not even make herself a cup of tea when she came to this country, yet she became a farm wife who could out cook and out bake professional chefs.  Her pastries were incredible, and she is the reason I love to cook and bake, although I can never come close to her skill level in the kitchen.

When I was a little girl, her youngest and favorite grandchild, my parents and I lived on the farm with my grandparents, who were elderly at that time. She would tell me stories of her own childhood in a house with many servants and grand balls.  She spoke several languages and taught me to embroider, even though I could never match her fine stitchwork as hard as I tried.  Even though she loved her family and her life on the farm dearly, I always thought there was a little sadness in her eyes when she talked about her childhood and her life in Austria.  I would love to see what her life was like then and follow her on that trip to America and witness her early days in this country.  She promised me that  when I was old enough, she and I would go back together to her homeland and she would show me the places of her childhood that I knew so well from her stories.  Sadly, she died before that could happen, but someday, I will go back there for her, wearing some of the jewelry she brought with her, which she left to me when she died.  

Sorry for the long story!  

3.  My ideal vacation.......the story above would probably be it, but that will be my Grand Tour - not to be rushed and with no time constraints.
Right now, I love Hawaii and Vegas, where I can just kick back and leave the reality of everyday life for a week or so.  Someday, I want to do a long tour of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland where I can poke around the countryside and see the real country.  I'd love to do a long tour of Australia and NZ and another one of the Greek Isles.  If I win the lottery and never work again, I'll see y'all in about 2 yrs!

4.  I can't sing worth a damn and I doubt that anyone has enough skill to teach me!  When I was in high school, girls weren't allowed to take woodshop or autoshop classes.  I've always regreted that.  I've learned how to tinker around on motorcycles by necessity, and do simple things around the house by working with my grandfather and dad on the farm, and by restoring our first house ( a 100 yr old farmhouse) with my ever-patient husband.  But what I'd really like to learn is fine carpentry skills so that I could quit working and build my own house from the ground up.  I love that kind of stuff - working with my hands - but just don't have the time to do it properly.  I really am a farm girl at heart.

5.  Secret passion?   I've always been a writer and love the flow of words.  My heart has always been in the creating of characters in fiction writing, but just about any writing is better than none.  If I don't write, I get to the point where I feel almost "constipated" by the words and images backed up inside my head.  I also feel a strong need to do something more with my life than just earn money and accumulate possessions. That's quite a conflict for me because I also like the feeling of being financially secure and the freedom that being successful brings.  I freely admit I like being able to take off and go whenever I feel like it and live in a nice house with my toys.  But lately, even in the middle of building a new dream house in the country, something deep down inside me is screaming "You can make a difference somewhere in this world.  Find that path and free yourself from the material things that hold you back".
  • Current Music
    cats chirping at the birds outside

Have at it!

1. Can you cook?
2. What was your dream growing up?
3. What talent do you wish you had?
4. Favorite place?
5. Favorite vegetable?
6. What was the last book you read?
7. What zodiac sign are you?
8. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings?
9. Worst Habit?
10. Do we know each other outside of Livejournal?
11. What is your favorite sport?
12. Do you have a Negative or Optimistic attitude?
13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
14. Worst thing to ever happen to you?
15. Tell me one weird fact about you.
16. Do you have any pets?
17. Do you know how to do the Macarena?
18. What time is it where you are now?
19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
21. Would you be my partner in crime or my conscience?
22. What color eyes do you have?
23. Ever been arrested?
24. Bottle or Draft?
25. If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it?
26. What kind of bubble gum do you prefer to chew?
27. What's your favorite bar to hang at?
28. Do you believe in ghosts?
29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
30. Do you swear a lot?
31. Biggest pet peeve?
32. In one word, how would you describe yourself?
33. In one word, how would you describe me?
34. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

snowy woods

And now for something uplifting...

This is one of my favorite poems by one of my favorite poets and it seems particularly appropriate for snowy Ohio as we dig out from the storm.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening 

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep. 

-Robert Frost

  • Current Music
    snow plows scraping ice

We miss ya, Kev!

I can't believe it's been 5 yrs since we heard the awful news that you had left us.  Whenever you performed, you always left your audiences wanting more.  That's true of you, Kev, the real person, too.  You left us way too soon and we wanted more.  I've always thought you were primed to be a major star because you had it all - looks, talent, drive, a wicked sense of humor, and most of all, humility.

You entertained us, you inspired us with your kindess and thoughtfulness,  you made us laugh and cry with your talent, and we came to love you for the person you were, Kev.  Because of you, so many of us made lasting friendships that endure to this day.  You brought us together and then you left us in this world wanting much more from you.  We miss you, Kev, but you're always with us as we treasure the friends we made because we all loved you -  as an actor for the characters you created and as a human being and family man who lived every day to the fullest.

Thank you, Kev, and rest well.  "Set the controls for the heart of the sun and fly free".

Much love to all of you, my friends and Temple sisters on this day!  I can still hear that magical laugh and see that wink!
  • Current Mood
    nostalgic nostalgic
arebella temple pic

Happy Birthday, Karesia!

Wishing The Mad Tapper the happiest of birthdays and the best year to follow ever!  Do something wonderful and fun for yourself to celebrate and enjoy this most special of days.

Birthday hugs to you and your furballs!
  • Current Music
    The White Album - The Beatles