Rambling and Rumination
(Being the General History of Hutch's Experiences with Subreality and Other Things, Like Anyone Cares)

I'm not sure if this is what I wanted to write, but this is what I wrote. Blame Tamsin... (hey, if it takes the heat off of me!) =) This fic is in response to the 'Beyond Subreality' challenge, although it also qualifies as a 'THOSD' fic.

Subreality is the domain of Kielle, who has blanket archiving permission. Tamsin is mine and may be used with permission, ditto me. Feedback will be lovingly worshiped at hutch @ jazmer.com. Not surprisingly, this is unbeta'ed.

Hutch sat, comfortably relaxed, in her windowseat. The large window opened onto a lovely view of Subreality, and the Writer had lately taken to spending much of her time on the plush cushion set into the deep windowseat. Resting there, she could enjoy the sunshine, watch rain or snow fall (usually with a cup of hot chocolate close by on such occasions), and, of course, Write.

Although she was, in Reality, sitting at a small computer desk facing a monitor decorated only with a small bean-bag tiger, with VH-1 playing distractingly in the background and Bubbles protecting her telephone, she took some measure of comfort in knowing that her imagination's personification was in more comfortable surroundings.

"And just what might you be thinking about?" Tamsin inquired, mounting the spiral staircase to the upper level. Hutch blinked, coming out of her meditative state at his interruption. The book she'd been reading (not surprisingly, Frank Herbert's Dune) dangled, half-forgotten, from one hand propped on a knee.

"Oh," she said. "Just... I don't know."

"Such a concise reply," the Muse said dryly. He sat down on the bed, crossed one leg on the other, and leaned back; his off-white suit seemed a perfect contrast to the deep violet satin bedspread that Hutch's fancy had chosen for today.

"Okay, so I was thinking about Kielle's challenge about Subreality."

"And even though you didn't want to write it as a dialogue between yourself and your Muse, here I am." He raised an eyebrow.

Hutch threaded her fingers through her hair, sighing. "Sue me."

He chuckled softly at that. "You're going to have someone take you literally with that someday."

"Yeah, well..." She let her gaze drift out the window again. Today, she'd decided in obstinate opposition to the elements, it was a lovely spring afternoon. Golden sunlight dappled the treetops, filtering across the House's walls and grounds, shafting delicate fingers of warm light into the turret room. Reflexively, Hutch wrapped her arms around herself, as if feeling the cold of her apartment's Reality intruding.

"Sometimes it's hard to tell the two apart, you know? Like I try to let my imagination go in Subreality, but Reality's just interfering a bit too much. And sometimes I can visualize everything perfectly. Like that dream I had last week, where I actually walked into the Cafe just like any round-robin starts these days... except it was really me, really walking into the Cafe. And then I had that other dream where Maria, or maybe it was Joanie, posted the exact same thing."

"What are you getting at?" Tamsin asked, only somewhat pointedly. He knew as well as any that his Writer would take her own sweet time about getting to the heart of it.

"Don't know, really. Is it weird to think that Subreality's something really intimate and special to me? Even though everyone shares in it, everyone contributes? The fact that I've left a mark, no matter how small -- hell, the fact that one of my fics is on the recommended reading list -- that really makes me feel good.

"Maybe it's because I've felt almost like I've come home, here. Before I discovered comic fandom, I remember getting involved in the whole Vampire Chronicles spec stuff, even posting on a.b.a-r when I had decent access to newsgroups -- there and alt.callahans... I never wrote a VampChron spec, but I read the stuff avidly. And then I found that closed story that was almost like what a round robin is now, the one that inspired me to write 'Strange Obsession' -- what was it, 'Hollywood Vampires', and 'Dagger of the Mind's Eye'? They had those, the whole thing where Antonio Banderas got vamped, and that image was the one that got me writing 'Strange Obsession'."

Tamsin listened patiently, letting her ramble. There wasn't much else to be done now.

"Anyway, there was another round-robin type of story that some of the writers got together on where they actually ran into their characters. It wasn't quite like Subreality, mind... there was only one version of each of the canonical ones, and the fictives were very weirded out to discover that they were fictional. But that got me thinking, too... and I started writing that one story that never got finished. Lee mentions it in 'Don't Do Me Any Favors', the vampire erotica thing. It was starting out as a collection of all my characters -- Lee, Lynn Martel from 'Playing With Fire', Pam Downey's rock band, Twelfth Door... even some of my roleplaying characters, like Michael Daughnessy and Lian O Maonlai. But then Antonio and Rachel from 'Strange Obsession' showed up, and the thing went into left field."

Hutch stood up then, leaving the book on the windowseat. Seeming a bit restless, she began to walk around the room.

"Still, that was almost Cafe-ish. I'm sometimes tempted to post it, though it's incredibly... not amateur, I don't want to say amateur, but..."

"Immature?" Tamsin suggested, dry of voice. Hutch gave him an expressive look.

"Maybe. Self-indulgent, perhaps... well, I'm getting off track.

"Even before that," she went on, "I think I had some inkling of Subreality. The universe that Mary and I wrote in had some Subreal elements, like conjury -- thinking about something produces it, and Subreality has a similar effect with Writers' powers. So it's almost like I was primed for this place.

"So then I stumbled across CFAN from... Fonts of Wisdom, I believe, which came from erotica links from somewhere else -- and no, you don't get to find out how," she added for a smirking Tamsin's benefit. "I remember being totally floored by the Subreality concept. I wrote 'Favors', submitted it to Image, who was running the Subreality Cafe archive at the time... and true to my word in that little fic, I did write a fic for Lee."

"'Games People Play'," Tamsin automatically supplied.

"Which was okay as fics go, I suppose," Hutch said. With a soft sigh, she sprawled in an easy chair set near another window. "But it got me writing, which was nice. I got linked to CFAN, wrote 'Practice Makes Perfect', had the ultimate pleasure of having that as a Feature Fanfic... and then I think that was when I got into 'Buffy' and started writing fanfic for that."

"And then you came back to comic fandom."

"Eventually, although it's hard to say 'came back' when I never left. I've always kept Kielle updated on where my page was, I checked CFAN on a regular basis... I did leave OTL for six months, true, and then lost all the fic I'd backlogged when Eudora crashed. That sucked. But now I'm back on OTL and such. I suppose the best way to say it is that I'm more involved than ever. And I like it... even if it is interfering with my MUSHing. Heck, I'd love to get involved in another big, plotty, super-angsty RR like the Subreality War. That one just so rocked."

"And if you could truly come here?" Tamsin asked.

"Oh, I would, you know." Hutch grinned. "Not have to work, be able to spend my time with people I want to, be able to focus on my creativity? In a heartbeat."

"In your heart, you know you are here," he chuckled as he stood up. "And as for creativity..."

"All right, Muse mine," the Writer replied with an answering smile. "And... thanks for listening."



Final note: a.b.a-r is alt.books.anne-rice, home hunting ground for lots of vampire wannabes and Vampire Chronicle spec writers ('spec' is short for 'speculative fiction', just like a fic). alt.callahans is a wonderful place for fans of Spider Robinson's Callahan's Cross-Time Saloon books. I used to hang there. (Literally...) All of the stories mentioned above, except the vampire one, are available on my site.

Push the button, Frank.

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this page last updated on 18 january 2003