Saturday, March 24, 2018

From the Archives: Let's Not Overthink This

This post originally appeared HERE on August 4, 2011.

Often times there are certain story elements that we find very intimidating to tackle as writers. Some things flow easily and don't scare us at all, but others we feel a huge sense of responsibility to get perfect because they mark a significant moment or turning point in our characters.

Of course the easiest way to avoid this sort of anxiety is to give in to the intimidation and simply not write it. I think we can often spend so much time worrying about writing something that it makes it ten times worse than it could possibly be.

The most glaring example of this is the infamous first time. Whether you think it takes place on the way to Bespin, after he gets out of carbonite, after the battle of Endor, after their wedding or maybe even sometime before ESB, this is obviously a huge moment in their relationship, probably the most important moment. I had thought about writing it for years and was too intimidated to even try. And I'm not talking about being too intimidated to publish, I mean too intimidated to even sit down and write it for only myself with no intention of actually showing it to anyone else. I realize this sounds a bit crazy, but I have a feeling I'm not alone here.

Now that I finally decided to write it - which just occurred to me for no particular reason, I just finally felt inspired and like maybe I could write it and get it out there - I wonder why I made such a big deal out of it. Now that it's out there, I don't even think about it anymore. Not a whole lot of other people saw it as a big deal and I don't see why I made it out to be.  (2018 note: Yeah, it's been several years now since I wrote that, and I for sure don't think about it anymore or think of it as a big deal)

I feel that a lot of times as writers we can really overthink things to the point of stifling our own creativity. Han wouldn't waste time worrying about the consequences of his actions or what people might think, he'd just do it. And you know what? He doesn't really seem like he regrets much. Except maybe dumping Jabba's spice haul....

So stop overthinking things. Don't not write something because the subject matter intimidates you, just go ahead and do it. And sure, maybe after you write it you'll decide you're not happy with it and don't want to show it to anyone else and that's okay too. I think we tend to give our readers too much influence on how we feel about our own writing. And it's also funny how we can get twenty positive reviews but we will fixate on the one negative comment. It probably isn't even a mean-spirited comment, but we tend to put far more stock in the criticisms we receive than the praises. (2018 note: This is still true, and I still don't know what the right remedy for it is aside from somehow making it impossible for anyone to leave negative feedback.)

Here's the thing: nobody puts as much thought into your writing as you do. They are only going to see the writing itself and aren't going to be able to see how worried you were about getting it just right or how much anxiety you had when you finally hit the publish button and waited for a few reviews. I started writing fanfic almost ten years ago (only recently started publishing) (2018 note: Yikes, it's been WAY longer than that now!) and it took me until a month ago to finally write and publish this big moment that I had been too scared to write. The truth of it is, nobody really cares that much. They don't see it as such a huge thing. They just see it as another story to read. You agonize over writing something and then you get a couple of comments and that's the end of it and you wonder why you were so worried about it for so long. It's only been a month and I almost forgot I even published it.

So stop worrying so much about what other people are thinking and just write what you want to write. Don't be intimidated by stuff that you think is such a huge deal because most other people aren't going to see it that way. Leia always spends a lot of time thinking about the consequences of her actions. Be like Han instead, just write and put it out there. It's just writing. There aren't really any consequences anyway. 

2018 note: I decided to bring another old one up from the archives, and I think this subject will never stop being important, as most of us will never stop overthinking what we're doing and becoming paralyzed by our own worries about what we're writing. It's good to be reminded that we all feel like that, maybe MOST of the time, and you're not alone. Even the people who write things that you think are so amazing and flawless that surely you could never live up to what they write, and they couldn't possibly ever have these same feelings. Except they probably totally do, and they still write and publish anyway. Also maybe because I'm going through it yet again with my current WIP. Mostly though I just want people to be less afraid to get their writing out there!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Note to My Fellow Han and Leia Fans

So, how's everyone doing? Does anyone still check here for posts? I'd like to post more, my intention is not to let this disappear into internet obscurity. We'll see if we can help that. Anyway...

I'm sure most of you have seen the trailer for the new Solo movie. And with it of course is the onslaught of media that comes with it. And, of course, the inevitable discussions that are already beginning and will surely get worse as the movie approaches, and at their absolute worst after it happens. I have already seen a link to an article that said something like, "Seeing Han and Qi'ra in the Solo movie trailer will change your mind about Han and Leia." Ok, first, how does one trailer with a few brief moments tell us anything about his relationship with the woman? Second, I clicked on said article, and unless I missed something, all it did was recap the trailer in general, stating facts and offering no opinions. So, not sure what that was about except for clickbait. Oh, and third, are we serious here that Leia's first love was named Kier and Han's first love was named Kira - oh, sorry - I mean Qi'ra? Really?

I've been bracing myself for this since this movie was announced. I fully expect there to be a LOT of discussion about Han and this woman from his past, and how they were really meant to be together and she was his true soulmate and it's just too bad that later he had to settle for Leia, because look how that turned out? They will tell us that she knew him better than Leia ever would. And I also fully expect her to die tragically at the end of the movie, because that is just the easiest thing for them to do with her. It's going to be a total rehash of the whole Bria thing, except way worse because social media is WAY far beyond what it was when the old Han Solo trilogy books came out, and a lot more people are watching movies than reading books.

But here is the thing that I want to say. For those of us who have loved Han and Leia from the beginning, and have lot let what has happened in the new movies define them in any way, and have never wavered from feeling like they were just a wonderful couple that we love to follow and read about and write about, don't let this or any other movie change any of that. Don't let anyone try and change your opinion or tell you that this changes anything about the Han and Leia we all grew to love from the original trilogy. I admit that of course I've been one to overreact to a lot of what has been done to these two over the last few years since Disney took over, but I don't want to let it get to me anymore.

A few months after TFA came out, I asked you all what we had to look forward to as Han and Leia fans. Generally, I think most of us who still read here aren't really looking forward to anything in the official canon. They seem to be committed to making it all pretty terrible for our heroes. But the good news is that I've seen some awesome fanfic recently, and it's nice to see that so many Han and Leia fans are still treating them well and giving them the life together that they deserve.

I don't know what my real point in writing this post is. I think mostly it is that I know that a lot of us are going to once again feel kind of hurt and betrayed by whatever might happen in this new movie that will probably make things even worse for Han and Leia somehow, even without Leia being in it at all. There will absolutely also be a loud contingency of people who will be shouting about how Qi'ra is so much better for Han than Leia ever was. What I'm saying is that you don't have to listen to it, or pay attention to it. Or even argue with those people. It's not a contest that we need to win. If there are people who want to ship those two, let them. We don't have to read their stories or agree with them. And hopefully they can respect our different opinion on the subject and not turn it into an all out war over which couple is better. Because, well, it's not like there is a way to "win" that is there?

Just keep reading and writing about the couple you love and don't let any of it get to you. I know it is probably going to get difficult at times, but I think we can handle it!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

From the archives: Writing Your First Fanfic

This post originally appeared HERE on November 3, 2011.
2018 Note: I thought it might be good to get back to some of what we had originally wanted the blog to be about in the first place. 

 I'd like to thank amara z for the suggestion on writing this as a post. And it will get us back to posting more "topical" posts as according to the poll that seems to be what you all want more of!

So, you want to write a fanfic, but you aren't sure where to get started, huh? Well, there are probably at least a hundred different things you could do to start, but here I'll just give you some suggestions.

First, obviously, you need an idea. There are no set rules as to what this idea needs to entail other than it should probably have something to do with Star Wars and Han and Leia. I could tell you that you should start simple or with a short story, but there have been plenty of writers (*cough* Push *cough*) that have started right out of the gate with pretty epic story lines, so there's no reason your first story can only be five hundred words. But if you only want it to be that long, then that's okay, too.

Don't judge your ideas. Any idea is valid. Even if it's an idea that has been done before, I still believe that every author can bring their own unique perspective to it. Sure, there are dozens of trip to Bespin stories. And some are similar, but no two are exactly alike. If you think you have something to say on a subject that has been done before, write it.

So, you've got your idea. Now what? First, even if you don't have time to start writing the story, at least write down the idea somewhere so you don't forget it. You'd be amazed how quickly things can fly right out of your brain, never to be heard from again. Don't judge your idea. Don't analyze whether it's worth pursuing or not. If I only wrote things I thought would be the most amazing stories ever... well, I never would've written anything.

Find some quiet time and sit down and start typing. For those adults with children among us, this time is precious, so hopefully you can find some of it when there aren't a dozen other things weighing on your mind. Or hopefully you can at least tune out all of the other stresses in your life. It is preferable if it is either quiet or maybe some music in the background. I sometimes find that listening to the movie soundtracks provides inspiration. Although sometimes that can also be distracting because I'll recognize certain music cues and be like, "Oh, this was when they were in the garbage masher!"

And lastly, start typing. Don't have any rules to start with. Just write what you want to write. If the dialogue is what is clearest in your mind and you don't feel like filling in all of the other details in between, then just go with that. There is no reason you can't go back and add later. I know in the past I've always been sort of rigid in my writing, basically telling myself I couldn't move on until I completely finished a certain scene or whatever, but I don't do that anymore. I find it's best to write what I'm inspired to write at the time and to get typed up the things most clear in my head. It can be demoralizing when you're forcing yourself to write something you're not into at the moment just to get to the stuff you are. So just keep typing and blanks can be filled in later.

At any time during this process you can send it to a trusted friend to read. It is up to you at what point this should happen and I know for me it depends on the story. Sometimes I want Push to read it right away and sometimes I don't send it to her until it's halfway or even almost done. Sometimes I send it when it is more complete and sometimes I send it when I know there are some details missing but I want her to look at it anyway. You'll know when it's time. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. And by help I mean really almost anything you might need for the story. Whether it be spelling, grammar, even helping move the plot along if there are some details you just can't seem to get worked out. It can be tough at first, especially since sometimes it feels like giving up control or getting help in certain things means the story isn't entirely yours anymore. As long as you don't hand it to someone and say, "Here, you write this whole thing," then it's still yours.

You can work alone as long as you want, though. Eventually it helps to share it. But at first, write as though you are the only one who is going to see it. You can delete anything you later deem too embarrassing to share with another human being. I promise, the more you do this, the lower your standards become for that sort of thing. You need a combination of uninhibited writing that is just for you and then later it helps to have the motivation of someone reading it and telling you what they like about it. It is always more inspiring when someone tells you that what you're writing is worthwhile. Often it can be tough to push through to publishing without that sort of encouragement along the way. That's not to say it's impossible, because I think a lot of us (myself included) did it on our own to start with, but once you get to sharing it, it's tough to go back the other way.

All right, you've decided to share it with someone and they've read it. This can provide motivation and/or editing help. I don't care if you got straight A's in English. Everyone needs someone to read their stuff. I've not noticed in my own stories some of the sort of mistakes I correct for other people all the time. Sometimes you just need a fresh pair of eyes looking at it. It doesn't mean you're stupid or that under most circumstances you do, in fact, know that you were supposed to use their instead of there.

At this point, it is really up to you how much back in forth is involved here. It can be a one and done thing or you can ask over and over again. And this is another thing that often depends on the story. Sometimes I send Push something once, and sometimes I'll bother her with it four or five times, it just depends on the scene. This is where you would go back and fill in those details you'd been avoiding, or whatever scenes you'd been putting off. Trust me, a lot of times they're easier to deal with when the rest of the story is almost done and it's the only thing holding you back. It's tougher to push through them when there's not much story there yet and you can just as easily give up on it.

So you've had your quiet writing time. You've shared with a friend for motivation and for editing. You've got what you think is a complete story, so what next? Time to publish! Most of us here are probably going through as I do. It's easy enough to set up an account over there and post. The only problem is that I find one of the hardest things to deal with are titles and summaries. I've literally had people tell me they avoided reading something of mine due to one or both of those. Fortunately, a friend had told them to read anyway and they were pleasantly surprised, so you can certainly do it wrong.

My advice here, although I'm not sure I'm qualified, is to keep it simple. I struggle sometimes with what might be too much plot to give away in the summary but you just do what you feel is right. And please, don't put "I suck at summaries" in your summary. Yes, maybe you do suck at summaries. But writing that within the summary doesn't really entice me to read it. Even a sucky summary without the commentary on its suckiness is going to make me want to read the story more than telling me you suck at summaries.

Once it's published, there's not much left to do but sit and wait for reviews. Wait, reviews? Where are my reviews? Perhaps the hardest thing about all of this is sometimes you're just not going to get many of them. Why? Because there are more readers than writers and I think the people who just read have no idea how much a simple acknowledgment that they read and enjoyed your story can mean to someone. I also think that the reviews tend to increase the more you write. This doesn't even have to do with you getting better (although you probably will) but I think seeing your name more often up there just gives you a better chance of people reading and reviewing your things.

It's definitely tough to sit back and wonder why you don't have more reviews and you have to try not to let that get to you. Don't let it stop you from writing. If you get ten reviews for a one-shot you are probably way ahead of the game. Another suggestion on the review front? Thank the reviewers! On it is very easy to send a little message back and tell someone you appreciated them taking the time to review. It takes thirty seconds. And I think that it is nice to let someone know that their efforts were appreciated and my instincts tell me that it makes them more likely to review later. And please, review other people's stuff, too. Remember the golden rule? You want reviews, you review other people's stuff. It gives the whole thing much more sense of community. Push and I never would've started talking if I didn't start reviewing her first story. You never know where friends might come from.

After that, just keep writing! Don't try and force stuff, but do write when you want to write. If you're having trouble coming up with any ideas, I'd suggest going over to Nerfherder's Playground and looking at some of the old challenges there. Maybe nothing will come of it, but it's good to keep writing anyway.

And I've said it before and I'll say it again. Don't delete anything you write! I think all of us probably at some point write something that the next day we feel embarrassed about for whatever reason. Whether the idea was too silly or you decide the reactions are too melodramatic or maybe you experimented with writing sex for the first time and you're afraid that someone you know might find it and you'd simply die if someone knew you wrote that. First of all, when you are on your friends' computers, do you snoop around their files? I know I don't, and I'd hope they wouldn't do that to me, either. That's not to say that you shouldn't at least close any documents you've left open with fanfic on them ;) You never know when you want to go back to something you wrote before for any number of reasons. Using it for a different story or even just laughing at yourself and seeing how far you've come. You don't have to publish everything.

All right, I think that's a good starting point but let me know if you want any other ideas on anything. Or if you want to disagree with anything I've written. Discussions make the blog more fun!

2018 note: A lot of this advice still stands. But I'd like to add a few things. One of the big ones is don't be intimidated. We have ALL been the new kid, showing up in what looks like this totally established fandom and wondering why anyone would ever read what we have to write when there are already so many Han and Leia writers, with such great stories, and everyone already "knows" everyone. Seriously, this fandom is old enough that NONE of us were around when it started, so we've all been the new kid at one time or another. We've all felt the same thing. There are readers for almost every story. And some of the newest contributors to the fandom quickly became quite popular, so there is no reason that your stories can't gain some traction and get read. 

Another big thing I'm surprised I didn't mention, don't judge yourself! Just write! You can scrutinize it more later, but to start, just get words out and write whatever comes to you, and do not spend any time thinking that what you're writing is dumb or not good or nobody will want to read it anyway. Generally we are all our own harshest critics, and that harsh critic prevents way too many of us from ever really doing what we want to do and sharing our writing with others. What's the worst that could happen? 

Getting readers certainly gains some patience. But it can be worth it. It's funny to me even looking back at this original blog post it only had 3 comments and 2 of them were me. So if we let number of comments determine whether or not we'd keep posting, the blog would've ended a LONG time ago. 

I hope this encourages some people to get writing! 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas

It feels somewhat wrong not to post and remember that it was this day one year ago that our dear Carrie suffered the cardiac event that would ultimately lead to her death a few days later. It has been a glaring loss especially now, knowing that if she were still with us we'd be watching her make witty remarks all over the place in these interviews. She is still greatly missed.

I also want to just thank those of you who still come around and comment on the blog. I know that posting here is far from ideal as far as formats go, but I appreciate all the discussion and will try to keep content coming as long as people keep commenting. Our little fanfic community is awesome and knows how to treat this wonderful couple and I'm sure I'm not the only one who finds reading about them strangely comforting. So, many thanks to those of you out there writing or commenting or participating in any way.

Now, just for fun, what do you think about Han and Leia and holiday traditions? I've decided that they tend to go kind of all out. Han is someone who never had any holiday traditions, and never celebrated anything. Leia has many happy memories of big holiday traditions with her family, and Han basically can't wait until they have their kids and can totally go all in with holiday stuff. Like it's just the greatest thing in the universe to him that he has this home and this amazing wife and they can have big celebrations that his kids will remember for the rest of their lives. That's my sap for today.

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate, and hope everyone enjoys the holidays!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Saw The Last Jedi: Many SPOILERS Ahead!

Ok, I'm sure many people are like, didn't you loudly and angrily HATE the last movie? Why did you go see this one on the first night? I hear you. I get it. In my case it is largely that it has become a family tradition for a group of us to go on opening night, and I would find it very hard to stop going now. Also, in spite of all the hate I have for the last movie, I felt that there was just no way really that they could make this worse and anger me, disappoint me, and break my heart like the last one did. And after briefly worrying that maybe I was wrong about that, I was pleasantly surprised that I was correct in that prediction. I still have a lot of problems with the movie, but it didn't affect me to my core like the last one. And instead of staying up all night ranting to friends about how we couldn't believe what they'd done, I sent a brief synopsis to a few people I'd promised that to and went to bed and slept like a baby.

Chances are this might not be entirely coherent or in order, but I'll do my best. 

So, the movie. The beginning is a space battle that didn't really pull me in at all, and oddly we also get all of Poe's piloting out of the way in the first 15 minutes. Remember Hux? Well, he is reduced to a bumbling idiot right off the bat with some over-the-top humor that felt kind of out of place here and makes you wonder how stupid the First Order really is. Poe had been leading this crazy attack and it doesn't go very well for the Resistance and they lose quite a few pilots, which Leia is, understandably, not happy about. Poe still thinks the mission was a success because they did take out one of the Dreadnaught cruisers, but Leia reminds him that many people died and he was reckless. This is when she slapped him, which for sure seemed out of place, and it STARTED a scene so you only got a second to be like, wait, did she just slap him? Then she demoted him. This whole beginning was pretty long and didn't really do much to suck me into the movie. And honestly, TFA did a very good job of sucking me in right away as I turned to the person sitting next to me after Finn and Rey took off on Jakku and said, "I love this so far." I didn't feel that way this time, though to be fair, I was obviously going in with a different attitude.

We get to see Snoke in "person" this time rather than through hologram. So we find out he is human-sized and wears a shiny gold robe and basically just looks like a very disfigured human. You wanted to learn more about Snoke and what his deal is and where he came from and why he manipulated Kylo? Well, tough luck. Because you find out absolutely nothing new about him other than the fact that he is not a giant like that hologram from the last movie suggested. He seems mad at Kylo for not being strong enough and he "still has his father's heart." So we're blaming Han for Kylo not being evil enough. I guess sort of a nice gesture, but his mom has a pretty amazing heart too, but anyway. He also calls Kylo a child, which is just dumb, because can we remember that he is in his 30s? Kylo smashes his helmet in another tantrum, so we may have seen the last of that. 

Remember Finn? He wakes up, and right away seems fine, but also his first concern is where Rey is. But first, they are still dealing with the First Order, who can track them through lightspeed, which is a big deal. They can't really escape to anywhere if they can be tracked through lightspeed. So the First Order is there 30 seconds after they arrive from their jump and of course on the offensive. The Resistance fighters go to get in their X-wings but they are bombed before they can do anything. Then they blow up the bridge and kill basically the entire command crew as they are sucked into space. But not before we see Kylo in his ship with a clear shot to take Leia out and he chooses not to fire, but it doesn't matter because someone else does it anyway. Leia is included in this blast and is sucked into space. Remember Admiral Ackbar? He is gone in this blast. So Leia is floating helplessly through space and getting all frozen just like someone sucked into space in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. But then there is this very long and slow motion thing where her fingers twitch and her eyes open and she uses the Force to float herself back to the ship so they take her in and she is unconscious, but alive.

See, I feel like we need a cheat sheet on just what the Force is capable of. Sometimes (and at least a few of those times are in this movie) it seems maybe a little TOO powerful. Also, I had to wonder what the whole purpose of this scene was. We don't really know from just watching the movies how much if ever Leia trained. I don't know if it was a way to just show she was strong? We would kind of already know that, right? Maybe to show she had the Force so it makes sense later for her to talk to Luke from afar? Well we've known since ESB she could do that. Maybe to set up some amazing moment that would've happened in 9? Entirely possible, but I hate to think what we missed out on there.

As they are wheeling Leia to medical, Finn takes this little beacon thing that she had shown him earlier that was meant to help Rey get back to them later, but he can also use it to find her. So he sneaks down to escape and gets caught by Rose, who is a maintenance worker who is hiding out while crying because her sister was a pilot who had died in the earlier battle. But she gets distracted by seeing Finn, who somehow is already incredibly famous and she is all starstruck when she sees him and he has to pretend he is not leaving, because she doesn't want to see anyone running away like a coward, especially when her sister had died saving them all (she released the bombs that took out the dreadnaught, and gave her life to do it). So she tases him to take him back and report him.

Somehow amid this exchange they are discussing the whole tracking through lightspeed thing. And miraculously, and VERY conveniently, within like five minutes they come up with a brilliant plan of how to sneak onto the ship and shut down the tracker, because Finn as a former stormtrooper can know his way around the ship, and Rose... for reasons I can't even remember, but again VERY conveniently, totally knows how to help him do it too. Poe helps them get this plan going because he spends most of this movie making impulsive decisions and thinking he is right and what everyone else is doing is wrong.

Which reminds me, after Leia is unconscious Admiral Holdo is put in charge. This is Laura Dern's character. Now, they do not at all mention it in the movie, but this is one of Leia's childhood friends from Alderaan. It annoyed me that this wasn't mentioned, because later on they have some interactions that would have much more emotional resonance if you knew that back story, but without knowing it, it just seems weird. It would've taken like ONE little line of dialog to clear that up, but again, with these movies now we're forced to rely on all this outside source material to truly get the whole movie. Holdo makes sure to remind Poe that he has been demoted, and Poe keeps thinking she is wrong, and she keeps sending him away. As a side note, I would not be surprised if there is already some erotic Holdo/Poe fanfic out there. Anyway...

So Finn and Rose take off on their mission which is to find this code breaker who can help them get past First Order (I just typed "Imperial" there and had to go back) security to shut down the tracker. And they don't have much time, because currently their ship is slowly moving through realspace with the First Order following them and firing into their shields (just like the Force, I'm left wondering just how powerful shields are really supposed to be, because if they worked THAT well I feel like the OT would've been a little different, and why not have them up ALL the time?) while they slowly use up all of their fuel. They find out the name of this code breaker from Maz who only makes a brief appearance in holo and knows this guy who hangs out at the high roller tables on some casino planet.

Oh, right, more importantly, Rey and Luke, which is where the last movie left off. Someone reminded me that JJ said in interviews that Luke knew who she was when he saw her. Well, as expected, Luke has no idea who she is when he sees her, or at any point later in this movie. He is very much not like the Luke we remember as he spends quite a while refusing to help. Like, a LOT of time refusing to help. Rey even reminds him, "I've seen your daily routine, you're not busy." Luke has been totally shut off to the Force for however long he has been hiding there, so when Chewie finally breaks down Luke's door he finally seems to find out about Han, who of course he had no idea was gone.

Luke still isn't going to help her, but we see how he survives on this lonely island. First, there are Porgs. Which I 100% admit are adorable, and they aren't annoying the way that people found Ewoks annoying. Although Chewie roasts one to eat and has a hard time enjoying it because all these adorable Porgs are staring at him sadly. But, I mean really, the Porg was already dead and cooked, so he might as well eat it at that point. Then there are those creatures who we saw pictures of a long time ago who basically look like fish nuns. Luke says they are the guardians of the ancient Jedi texts that reside on that island. But that was pretty pointless too if you ask me, they were merely there for comedic purposes as Rey occasionally caused some havoc. Mostly you didn't see them and forgot they were there. Luke survives by milking some weird thing, which was gross and unnecessary. And catching fish. Which he for some reason does with a REALLY tall spear from like a hundred feet up, perilously from a cliff. Instead of, you know, going down near the water and just maybe using a fishing pole? Or even just a shorter spear? But no he has to go fishing in the most ludicrously dangerous way possible.

Sometime pretty early on we also learn that Rey and Kylo have this weird connection through the Force so they can speak to each other as though they are in a room together. This happens many times throughout the film, including once where Kylo isn't wearing a shirt and Rey asks if maybe he could put something on. Personally I sensed no romantic connection at all here, but at the same time I am positive the Reylos will see this as total proof that they will wind up together. Rey for some reason believes that Kylo can turn back, and refers to him as Ben. She asks him why he would kill his father who loved him, and why he hated him. Kylo says he didn't hate his father. Well, he had a funny way of showing it. Rey keeps insisting that there is good in him, and that she has seen his future, and she keeps telling this to Luke.

We find out that Luke's guilt stems from an admittedly very bad decision he made. We see this one memory from both Kylo's perspective and Luke's. Kylo tells Rey that he woke up to find Luke about to kill him in his sleep back when he was at the Academy. Luke tells Rey that what really happened was that he went to look into his mind, because he knew there was darkness there, and what he saw was that he was so far gone, and Snoke had done so much damage, that there was no turning back. Ok, so time out here. Luke still felt there was hope for Vader, who had spent 20+ years being pure evil, but his nephew Ben, who at that point hadn't yet done anything truly terrible, was beyond hope? What? Ok, anyway, Luke admits that in a moment of weakness he thought about killing him right then (uh... no, Luke wouldn't do that, but ok) but immediately realized that he couldn't do it, but Ben woke up while the lightsaber was still ignited, and that was when he burned the temple and killed all the young Jedi except a few he apparently took with him, although there is never any mention of what happened to the ones he took with him. We never see any other bad Jedi. So, this is when Luke felt he had failed completely, and disappeared. Again, doesn't sound like Luke to me. Poor Leia, both men in her life ran away and hid because of misplaced guilt.

Ok, so back to Finn and Rose. They go on a very long mission we spend a lot of time on that ultimately turns out to be a failure and therefore pretty pointless. One sort of cool thing about this was getting to see a planet unlike we've seen before, with the casinos on this resort and stuff. So it was nice to see something totally different there. Finn is exactly as you remember him from the last movie. Rose is a decent addition, she is likeable, you like her with Finn. But, again, this whole side mission is just pointless so you can't even really appreciate that like you should. They see the code breaker they need to talk to just before they are arrested for illegally parking their shuttle. Oh no, mission ruined! Except in another unbelievable coincidence, they talk very loudly about their plan in front of another prisoner who just happens to be an expert code breaker. Isn't it amazing that this skill is so specialized that they knew of ONE person who could do it, but when they missed talking to him they happened to find ANOTHER person who could do it? This guy seems kind of shady, but since he easily breaks out of the cell (and it is definitely not clear at all why he was only breaking out of the cell then instead of already having done it earlier) they start thinking that maybe he could be worth trusting. But then there is a very long chase where they also take a moment to free some animals who are enslaved for racing, and they get saved by that guy and BB-8. I'm not sure if they ever get told that guy's name, but it is Benicio del Toro's character who for some reason they refer to as "DJ." Now they have their code breaker and can go complete their mission.

Let's see, let's go back to Luke. Eventually Luke goes on the Falcon, and Artoo wakes up and Luke very briefly shows his old self as he is excited to see him, and he says he can't help anymore, and Artoo shows him again the holo of Leia asking Obi Wan for help which Luke thinks is a dirty trick, but seems to have the desired effect. He tells Rey that he will train her. His training of her seems even less complete than Yoda training Luke. He makes a point to tell her that the Force is not about lifting rocks. His training of her is one of the things that at the moment I'm not remembering in detail. So much of it was interrupted by her connecting through the Force with Kylo. Or her insisting that Ben can be turned, and she saw his future, and Luke insisting that no, he can't. Later on Luke does finally break and use the Force again. He connects with Leia, who is still in her coma, but her fingers move so we know she knows he's there. But, eventually, Rey leaves Luke on the island. The only thing we don't steal from ESB here is her lifting Luke's X-wing out of the ocean as it is clearly lying there.

Back with the Resistance, Poe is leading a mutiny because he thinks what Holdo is doing is wrong. So he and his little crew, that includes Carrie Fisher's daughter Billie, take over. This doesn't last long though as Leia comes out of the fog, still dressed in her hospital gown and using a cane, and stuns Poe. It's clear that Poe admires Leia, but he also drives her crazy sometimes. In fact there is a moment where Holdo says "I kind of like him." (again, hello, erotic fanfic) and Leia smiles and says, "I like him too." He acts a lot like the son they didn't have. Anyway, for the beginning of this movie I wasn't as impressed with Leia, but she was mostly yelling orders. From this moment on, she was, in my opinion, just great. She felt like Leia, she got to act a whole lot more human than she is usually allowed to act in these movies. It was emotional and sincere and after having been worried she wouldn't be able to do what they had expected her to do for the last movie, I was left thinking, nope, she absolutely would've pulled it off. Which just makes me sad again. But anyway, everything Leia does from the time she wakes up from her coma I thought was great.

So instead of flying back to the Resistance, Rey flies back to Kylo. Chewie drops her off in an escape pod. She basically surrenders herself to him and she is brought before Snoke, because this is what Snoke wanted from Kylo. Or, more accurately, he wants Luke. So there is this confrontation there, Snoke wants Rey to bring Luke to him, of course she refuses. So Snoke wants Kylo to hill her. They set the whole scene up to look like when he killed Han with how he holds his lightsaber, but he is using his other hand to use the Force to move Luke's lightsaber, that is sitting next to Snoke, and instead of killing her, he slices Snoke in half, so that is the end of him. Then Rey and Kylo have to work together to take out all of the Imperial... or First Order, I guess? guards. Whatever, the red guys from ROTJ, except for some reason this time these guys have lightsaber-ish weapons that work like whips and stuff or weapons more like the ninja turtles would use. I don't get why in this new trilogy so many weapons seem to be made to be able to battle with lightsabers. It's basically making it so there isn't anything special about lightsabers. Of course, they kill all the guards. So momentarily you're wondering if Kylo is turned, because he killed Snoke, and Rey wants him to come with her (again I don't get why she is so forgiving of him!) but she wants her to come with him and she is incredibly disappointed but of course won't join him. He tries to turn her by reminding her that her parents are nobody, they're just junkers that sold her for money for alcohol. Earlier he had noted that she is looking for her parents everywhere, first in Han and now in Luke. Anyway, she gets away.

Back to the Resistance, Poe is telling Leia how he thought Holdo was being a coward, and Leia has to explain to him what she was really doing, which of course turns out to be a brilliant plan. Then Poe feels bad. Poe is a lot like Han and even dresses like him. This whole time their main ship was slowly moving and losing fuel and waiting to be able to jump to lightspeed, but Holdo's plan was that everyone could go in their transports and go down to an old base on a nearby planet and they'd all be fine. Don't ask me why they would be able to do that, there was a reason but I don't remember. So everyone left alive on the ship gets on these transports and Holdo has to stay behind and steer the ship apparently (although she does almost no steering of the ship) and there is a short and sweet moment between her and Leia when she says she needs to stay behind. Again, this is when it would've been helpful to know that they had a history and had been friends since childhood, because otherwise it's like 2 random women talking and being emotional. Leia (finally!) admits that she can't handle any more losses. Yeah, darn right, she has been through enough! And Holdo is just like, "Yes you can!" Which seems the wrong time for cheerfulness. Even Leia would have her breaking point. Anyway, again this is a moment that Carrie does very well, she is very emotional and a little tearful and they take each other's hands and say goodbye.

While this is happening, we are still sort of hoping maybe Finn and Rose will shut down that tracker. Well, they do manage to sneak onto the ship and steal First Order uniforms and get to the door they need to get to, and DJ gets them in there but immediately when the door opens the First Order is there to take them in. So, mission failure. And we find out that DJ was getting paid off for turning them in. That whole thing was kind of odd and confusing to me. Why would he have taken them that far if he was going to turn them in? I was waiting for some other twist there, but nope, nothing. That was the last we saw of him, walking away with his money and telling them it was just business. Well, when all this happens and they are about to be executed, Holdo back on the Resistance ship uses her last bits of fuel and her final moments to put the ship into lightspeed and fly straight through the big ship where Kylo and Rey are, and where Finn and Rose are. (Going back a bit, I actually think that this is when Rey gets away, everyone is kind of knocked out when this happens, and Rey is able to escape while Kylo doesn't regain consciousness right away.) Finn and Rose were seconds away form being executed, again by some sort of lightsaber-ish weapons that would decapitate them, instead of a blaster or something. And also for no real reason this is when Captain Phasma shows up and very slowly counts down instead of just, like, getting on with it. But that slow countdown of course means that the ship is wrecked before they can be killed.

When they wake up the whole place is basically burning down around them and everyone is trying to escape. So, of course they decide this would be a great time for Finn to have a personal battle with Phasma. Really, why? This whole thing was completely forced. Phasma was a fun idea for a character, and then it is totally clear from both of these movies that they really had no idea what to do with her. They imply that she and Finn have this personal fight with one another, but I don't feel like we were given that much of a reason for them to feel so strongly toward one another. And I don't even think Finn would waste time "battling" her at this point, when what they really needed to do was escape. But because they needed to extend this all and force this whole thing, they have Finn and Phasma duel each other. And yet again, for reasons that can't possibly be explained, they duel with lightsaber-ish weapons that aren't lightsabers. How does anyone even know how to fight like this with these weapons without any sort of training? And seriously, especially for Phasma, she HAS a blaster. Why doesn't she just use it? It makes no sense! But apparently we are supposed to be invested in this battle. And in the end Finn gets her down to her knees, and conveniently doesn't have to be the one to kill her, as the floor around her gives way and she falls to her death. Because as I mentioned, the whole ship is burning down, which seems like such a great time for these guys to decide to waste time in a personal duel. But, finally, Finn and Rose escape.

Hux comes in to find that Snoke is dead, which of course he is not happy about. Kylo tells him that Rey did it, so right away we're like, oh, he's totally evil again already, there's no light left for him. They then go to escape. The few transports that didn't get destroyed make it down to the old base on the nearby planet and are hiding behind a big door a lot like Hoth. Also like Hoth, there is a nice trench out front for all the troops. And the place is pretty white, but it's not snowing. Also, the First Order sends down a bunch of AT-ATs. This time though along with this huge laser that they call a battering ram laser that they are going to blow down that big door with. A big question I have here is that if all that stuff came down from space, which we have to assume it did, why did they not just land way closer instead of far away and then having to very slowly use the AT-ATs to drag the thing close enough to use? Oh, I forgot, because the plot doesn't work otherwise. I forgot to mention that just before the door closes, one ship crashes through and everyone (including Leia) is blasting at it inside but we find out, conveniently, that was Finn and Rose having just escaped.

Oh, and I totally forgot, that earlier on the island as Luke goes to burn all of the ancient Jedi texts when he is alone and Rey has left, ghost Yoda shows up! This was unexpected. It was nice that they also went back to puppet yoda instead of stupid CGI Yoda, and let's remember it's actually kind of awesome that 37 years later Frank Oz can still come back and be Yoda for us. Yoda cracks an out of place joke and then explains to Luke that the Jedi are not about texts or anything. He probably says a few other profound things I didn't absorb really because I was busy thinking, "Look, it's Yoda and this is really weird." Although again during this Luke at least momentarily felt like Luke. 

So back on the planet with the Resistance, as these AT-ATs are arriving, everyone hops into one of these old ships that are conveniently lying around and conveniently still (mostly) work and starts trying to fight the AT-ATs. But while this is happening, Luke suddenly shows up and goes and talks to Leia. This is one moment that to me, almost makes this movie worth it. I think I can almost say that I liked this scene better than Han and Leia. Maybe because it couldn't make me as sad as that did. Maybe the dialog just seemed more natural. Maybe just because I was way beyond being mad about this anymore. But it was very sweet, and had an added touch of emotion just knowing that we will never see Carrie again. But I did like this moment, even though later on I might feel differently and that Leia should be mad at him for running away. But Luke tells her he's sorry, and she says she knows he's sorry. And then the part that came closest to making me cry was when Luke handed her the dice that had been hanging on the Falcon, and the Han and Leia theme played, and Luke said, "No one is ever really gone," which simultaneously makes you think about Han being gone, and Carrie being gone, and now that Luke is gone. And basically your heart gets ripped out but this time in a sad way rather than the angry, betrayal sort of way from the last movie.

One other interesting thing about this interaction is that Leia says to Luke, "I know my son is gone." Which is sort of like, gee Leia, did it require him killing your husband for you to finally accept that? But at the same time, remember, early in the movie there is that moment where Kylo has the opportunity to kill her, and he doesn't take it. It's just like they show you in the trailer, going back and forth between him and Leia. She knows he is thinking it, and we assume she also knows he is not the one who took the shot. So it seems interesting to me that she would still think there was good in him before he killed Han, and then know that he chose not to kill her later but still tell Luke that he is lost for good.

Meanwhile, Rey finally shows up with Chewie and the Falcon and diverts some of the fire away from the Resistance ships because Kylo is in charge, and because he is a tantrum-throwing toddler he maes them all forget everything but firing on the Falcon and as Finn says here, "They hate that ship!" Finn has a moment where we all swear he is going to die and sacrifice himself by flying right into the giant laser, but Rose uses her ship to crash into him and move him out of the way, and then they have this moment where she says something about how war isn't killing the ones you hate, but saving the ones you love. And then she kisses him. Which... totally came out of nowhere, as they seemed to be good friends through their time together, but there didn't seem to be any romantic undertones there. Whatever, she passed out and he had to bring her back in for medical attention.

But now we come to the real climax of the movie. Luke walks out onto the battle field all alone. Kylo sees him and tells everyone and everything to fire on him, throwing another toddler tantrum. Every AT-AT is just blasting like crazy at Luke, and then they finally stop and before the smoke clears but after Hux sarcastically says, "You think you got him?" we see that Luke is just fine and he makes it even clearer when he brushes his shoulder kind of like, what else you got? So, clearly Kylo has to go face him. This is the big lightsaber duel, though Luke doesn't seem to have any interest in actually killing him. While this is going on, Poe is inside with Finn now and watching this. Finn wants them to go and help Luke, but Poe is like, no, he's doing this for a reason. He's distracting us so we can escape! Ok, fine, seems like a good enough idea. But also... if that was, in fact, his plan, why did he not just TELL them that? Like TWO minutes earlier he was inside with Leia. He could've told her that so they could all escape instead of leaving it to chance that they would figure it out and try and escape rather than standing by and watching, or even trying to interfere. So they follow those sparkly snow dogs you saw in the trailer and see if they know another way out.

Luke and Kylo battle, Luke tells him that if he strikes him down he'll become more powerful than he could possibly imagine. He also says that if he strikes him down in anger now, "I'll always be with you. Just like your father." Kylo doesn't like that. Anyway, if you pay close attention, you notice that while everyone and everything that touches the ground on this planet turns it from white to red, but Luke's movements do no such thing. And eventually Kylo realizes he is not really there and Luke gives him a "See ya 'round, kid." And just disappears. Kylo is, once again, thrown into a toddler tantrum rage and runs back to his ship.

Poe and the others find a tunnel out the back to escape but there are all these rocks that make it impossible to get out. But guess who shows up on the other side? It's Rey! And she discovers, out loud, that saving her friends requires moving rocks with the Force, which I guess we're supposed to find all ironic and stuff since Luke had said before that that's not what it was about, except right now I guess it is. Anyway she gets them out, she and Finn are reunited briefly, which is sweet but will surely anger the Finn and Rey fans because they get about 90 seconds of screen time together. Everyone who is left escapes to the Falcon, including Leia.

But after Luke disappears, we see that he is still on that island, he never left, and he was simply using the Force to project himself across the galaxy. Again, we are left wondering just what else the Force can do. But this comes at a cost, as Luke then dies all alone on that island. Man, poor Luke. Talk about a crappy life. I think Mark did an excellent job with what he was given, but I can also see why he is not at all shy about disagreeing with the direction Luke was taken in. This is not the guy we knew before who would do anything for his friends. Just like Han.

Luke is dead, Leia knows, and now Leia has lost him as well. They are so low on people to take away from Leia that they even had to introduce us to a new one (Holdo) just to have someone else to take away from her. Leia at least gets a big hug from Chewie. Then at the end she has a brief but very sweet moment with Rey when Rey asks how they can rebuild the Resistance, because in this movie, they lose almost all of it. I mean, apparently all that is left of the Resistance by the time the credits roll fit comfortably on the Falcon with space to spare. Leia takes Rey's hand and says, "We have everything we need right here." Which even now sort of makes me want to cry, because I knew this was Leia's final moment, and she is being Leia, and holding out hope, and yet we know she has to be dead in the next movie. It's heartbreaking.

So that is pretty much the end. Actually it should have been the end, but instead they went back briefly to these kids who were on that casino planet and there is this little moment where we see one of them can use the Force as he calls a broom to his hand. I guess it's fine that we are learning that yes, there is hope for future Jedi, but they missed the mark on the perfect point to end the movie with the Falcon flying through hyperspace and Leia telling us they can rebuild and still win.

Ok, obviously a lot going on here. Did I like the movie all that much? Not really. But I didn't overtly dislike it either. I think there are enough moments to it, like Luke and Leia, that might make some general fans happy. But I also really feel like for anyone who wasn't already heartbroken by TFA, and for anyone who was still kind of into it, this could've been a huge disappointment, and will break their hearts in a way that TFA did to a lot of us. Why? Because of Luke. They really, really destroy Luke's character, just like Han was destroyed in the last one. And I can see that making a lot of people very, very angry. And I don't blame them. I used up all my anger two years ago, so this didn't really get to me because it was pretty much what I was expecting.

One other complaint I've seen that I have to agree with is that this was a very long movie that didn't really seem to further the plot along at all from the last one. Sure, Rey got some training, but she has always behaved as someone who just knows what she is doing anyway without any training, and thinking about it now, I'm not sure that Luke taught her anything really aside from "The Force isn't about lifting rocks" only to find out at the end of the movie that yeah, sometimes the Force totally IS about lifting rocks. Kylo again gets this benefit of the doubt about being "conflicted" without showing much sign of conflicting feelings aside from killing Snoke. Which, by the way, makes him the new Supreme Leader, so even that was pretty self serving. Finn and Rose's subplot was drawn out and pointless. I guess I enjoyed Poe, but this whole long subplot about his mutiny and kind of learning his lesson about not being impulsive didn't really serve that much purpose either. Except I guess maybe that he was the one who decided rather than trying to fight with Luke they should escape? That was probably the reason, but again, Luke should've just TOLD him that was his intention because he definitely had the opportunity to do so. Even if he didn't do it in person he could've, you know, sent those thoughts to Leia while he was busy with Kylo. You can't have him use the Force for all these amazing things only to have him NOT use it for something so simple that might save their lives.

We're also kind of left at the end of this movie thinking, ok but like, what now? What do we even hope to see in Episode IX? There is no clear answer here. At the end of the last one it was obvious we were going to pick up right when the last one left off. If we go back to the OT, ANH left off like it could've been the end and a stand alone movie, so nobody really needed to think about what was next. At the end of ESB obviously our priority was getting Han back, and finding out what it meant that Vader was Luke's father and hey, we need to defeat the Empire. But here? I just don't know. I mean, I guess that the Resistance should take down the First Order, although they have a TON of work to do. I don't know what I want for our heroes. What do we want for Rey? Aside from those of us who DON'T want her to wind up with Kylo? We don't want Kylo to turn. Or at least at the end of this movie they make us hate him, again, so much that we don't want that. Leia has nothing to really look forward to and we know that Carrie is gone anyway. We don't know what we want for Poe at all. Maybe we're supposed to want Finn and Rose's relationship to blossom? But that was tossed in so quickly at the end, I honestly don't care what happens there. And as individuals I don't know what we want with these people either. Based on the timelines, I think between the first and second movies it covers like, a couple of days. So it's not like these people are so entrenched in each others' lives that we should want them to be friends forever. They barely know each other. 

I'm not sure what else to say about it right now. And I think my thoughts may even change in the coming days or weeks or even months before I figure out how I truly feel about it. But I think part of it is that this time I can watch this with much more emotional attachment. I expected so much out of Episode VII only to have my heart ripped out. I expected nothing out of this movie, so I could be a lot more detached and just be like, ok, so this is a sort of entertaining movie with a whole lot of plot holes, which makes it a fairly average movie. If I spend a lot of time thinking about Luke I'll probably get mad. But again, Mark did a great job getting back into it. I can't understand how anyone could still feel any sympathy for Kylo. Hux is reduced to a bumbling idiot which makes you wonder how he got to his role in the first place. Finn is himself, Rose was a nice addition I guess although again, sort of unnecessary and her inclusion in that mission was WAY too easy and convenient. Poe was cool here I guess but again not super interesting. Carrie was wonderful and eventually when I process it more I'm probably finally going to cry about that. Oh and Laura Dern was fine, but again, I wish they had mentioned IN THE MOVIE that she had been a childhood friend of Leia to give that some more resonance.

Would love to hear others' opinions on it. I don't think this was a bash-fest like last time. I am not even sure I'd blame anyone for liking this. To me it didn't have as much to hate. But the plot stuff was kind of out of control and much of it didn't make sense to me. Although when I really think about it the entire plan to break Han out of Jabba's doesn't really make much sense. I will say that if given the choice right now I'd probably watch this over TFA. Because this way I don't have to watch Han get murdered by his son. Luke dying just didn't get me the same way, probably because first, I expected it. Second, he's a Jedi, so he can be in the next money as much if not more than he was in this one. So, yeah, he's dead, but nothing changes there. Plus when Han died, he still had some hope left for his future with Leia. It's not like Luke would've lived on to have a great life. It was just like Obi Wan dying.

I have to note too that now I am more convinced than I have been since I saw Daisy's picture the first time that she is Han and Leia's daughter. I admit I could be very wrong. But something about how Kylo threw in her face how she was nobody and her parents were nobody made me think he was lying. Discussing this after the movie with my cohorts, we were split on this. Half of us think it is obvious she is Han and Leia's, and half of us think she is definitely nobody. I do wonder if their plans here would be changed after Leia is going to have to be gone. But also, they keep on telling us that these movies are about family, and if Leia is gone too, and Rey is nobody, then nobody left is anyone's family!

So, there you go. I do have to also disclose that I knew basically all the spoilers going in. So that perhaps took some of the edge off. I am normally not a spoilers person, but after having my heart ripped out in TFA, I didn't want to do that again. I think that maybe helped me be less disappointed, especially in the fact that we have a lot of questions that are STILL unanswered. I also still have no problem with any of the new people. I just wish they'd give them all a better story and something with more resonance. I think it will be notable that there is something missing in the next one though without Han or Luke or Leia as a part of it.

I'm sure I'll have other things to say, but needed to get all of this out! Feel free to ask me anything as well.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Last Jedi: How Are You Coping? ***SPOILERS allowed!!!!****

Hey, guys. Yes, it's been quiet around here, I know. I have kind of intentionally avoided discussing this, but I think it's unavoidable at this point. First, as stated above, spoilers are allowed here. I have read some things already but won't really comment on specific things, because we don't know entirely yet. But if anyone wishes to include spoilers in comments, I just want to be up front that this is not going to be a "safe space" for anyone trying to avoid spoilers. Ok, so we got that out of the way...

I think by now everyone probably knows my opinion of how things have gone. I have had zero hope that anything good would come out of a follow-up to what happened in the last movie, and I continue to hold that belief. What are the rest of you doing about it? Are you excited about it? Cautiously optimistic? Just kind of curious? Like me are you going to see it anyway out of a feeling of obligation but not expecting to enjoy it? Or have you felt so burned by the whole thing that you aren't going to see it at all? I'm very interested in the different directions people are going with it.

As I mentioned, I will be going to see it. Opening night, in fact. It's become kind of a family tradition that would be difficult to break at this point. And let's be honest, no matter what, I was going to see it anyway, eventually. Might as well get it over with the first night.

TFA gutted me. We all know that. Not that I'm proud of my reaction to a fictional universe, but I was up all night after I saw it and cried myself to sleep when I finally managed to fall asleep at like 5am, and I think I cried myself to sleep at least the next night, if not also the night after that. For a long time I had felt as though they couldn't really make things worse for someone like me, a Han and Leia (and OT in general) fan, but the closer it gets, the more I am starting to feel like yes, there is still room for them to make things worse, and for me to have to deal with a similar emotional reaction.

And of course we all know this is Carrie's last movie. That will be painful as well. It's still just so incredibly sad that she is gone, but maybe easier to forget about it when she isn't right in the forefront of our minds. But even just seeing her notable absence in all the publicity stuff has been hitting pretty hard.

Lastly, yes I've read some spoilers. Not sure which ones are true although honestly, pretty much any spoiler and rumor last time turned out to be true, and I don't expect this to be different. None of it is all that surprising. Although it still sort of hurts to have it confirmed and know what we may be in for. It still sounds fairly hopeless and bleak. The only good thing is that what I've heard so far does not seem to make anything any worse for Han and Leia. Not that it would've been easy to do, or that it would've made sense given Han is no longer with us. But still, I am reaching for some bright spots here.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Story Submission: Got Your Number By Kels

 Thanks to Kels for this story submission, inspired by those lovely photos of the two of them dancing and smiling at each other.

 Han noticed the slight frown that passed over his wife’s face as he grabbed her hand and led her to the dance floor.  He’d hoped that the Samorian wine they’d both downed would have relaxed her by now, but he supposed that the bonds of motherhood outweighed even the rapid impact that gained Samorian wine its galaxy-wide reputation.

“Sweetheart,” he said, taking her into his arms, careful to place his arm higher on her back than he really wanted to, as he had learned that to do otherwise at these occasions often led to a wifely stink-eye, “if anything was wrong with the kids, you would know.”

“I know,” Leia sighed. Jax was only four months old, though, and although they had left Luke and Adria more milk, food, diapers, instructions, toys, medicine, and changes of clothes than anyone could possibly need to watch a 2-year-old and a baby for one night, she still felt the pang of leaving her little boy at home overnight without her for the first time.

“They’re with a Jedi Knight and a medic.  They’re in better hands than they ever are with us.”

Leia laughed.  He had her there.  Their children were probably the safest kids in the galaxy right about now.  “It’s Luke and Adria I’m worried about,” she giggled, feeling the wine start to kick in.  “One night with our offspring may stop that relationship cold.”

“Our kids?” Han laughed. “Nah.  They’re perfect, quiet, easygoing little angels, just like us.”

“Exactly,” she agreed. “They’re just like us.  Which is why Luke and Adria are in trouble,” Leia sighed contentedly in Han’s arms.  “Intoxicants…I had almost forgotten how wonderful they are.”

Han burst out laughing.  “I thought that sigh was for me!”

“It was,” she said, innocently. “You AND the wine.”

“Nice save, but I’m not quite buying it,” he parried, spinning her away before they collided with a six-armed Gatorin and his mate.  As they found some space in a less crowded area on the dance floor, Leia noticed that more than a few of the other guests were glancing at them.  Actually, she realized with a flare of pride, they were sneaking looks at Han, and this time it wasn’t only the human females, who had always looked at him as if he were a particularly appealing piece of eye-candy. Thankfully the human female behind Leia was a bit ostentatiously ignoring them both.

Leia had often wondered when and if Han’s reputation from both the war and his test piloting would be enough to sway people’s attention from her, and, tonight – at least in this crowd, at the wedding of one of Han’s favorite pre-flight mechanics, Zev – that shift in attention finally seemed to be happening.  She felt some relief, as it always worried her that one day Han would get sick of the long shadow she cast – a shadow that she felt, after everything he had achieved, he had no reason to still be standing in.

“They’re all looking at you, hotshot,” Leia said matter-of-factly. “Better fix your tie.  You know, that tie you’ve been grumbling about all night.”   She grinned, thinking how generous she was being in assigning his grumbling about his attire to only this night, when he’d been grumbling about it ever since Zev had asked if Han would stand as his witness at the Veluskian marriage ceremony, with which came the obligation to wear the formal attire of the Velusk people.

“Nah,” he replied. “They’re lookin’ at the hottest chick in the room.”

“Hottest chick?” Leia snorted. “Short and round-faced still-losing-baby-weight mother-of-two.”

“Hottest.  Chick. In. The. Room,” Han repeated slowly, his face inches from hers, his knuckles brushing gently along her cheek, his smile at its most brilliant, and, even better, deployed only for her enjoyment.

“Dammit,” Leia laughed out loud as her knees went weak enough for Han to feel her falter. “How can you still do that to me after all these years, Solo?”

“I just have your number, Your Worship,” he replied.

“Yes,” she agreed, her smile matching his in brilliance. “You definitely have my number. And I have yours.”

“You’ve had mine for a very, very long time.  But tonight, I’ve also got twelve hours alone with you in a hotel after this shindig, and I intend to have your number over and over and over.”

“Is that a promise?” She stood on her toes to rub her nose against his.

“Oh yes, Leia, that is a promise.”

“Then why is your hand so decorously high on my back when it is usually so inappropriately low?”

He immediately slid his hand down to the small of her back. “You’re saying you actually want it here tonight?”

“Damn right, Solo,” she grinned. “Damn right.”