South Park Self

no, REALLY, everything is contextual

My latest Micfic is up. The theme was "cat", and I've gone all fairy tale. This last is predictable, but in fact this time I've gone so specifically fairy tale that the story is not going to make any sense at all unless you've read Mme D'Aulnoy's "The White Cat". This is actually a serious drawback, it's a moderately obscure tale which I doubt will be familiar to a lot of people.

I'm all torn about this. The story said exactly what I wanted to say about the tale, which revolves around my fascination with the obsessive relationship the prince has with the cat when she's still a cat - it's weird and significant, and has to be accounted for. I have no idea if my personal theory about it is going to be clearly readable from the story. I'm coming to regard this word limit as a nasty, iron-clad personal nemesis who fortnightly dings me over the head with his giant steel club of word-crushing doom. I swear this story could have made sense without the necessity of reading the original tale if I'd had more space.

But the overall question is more philosophical. Postmodernism and intertextuality and all that guff cheerfully assumes that you have to know other texts before you can fully understand the new one that's commenting on them. Is this a legitimate way of adding layering and density and implication? is it cheating? is it elitist? is it pretentious beyond belief? do I worry too much?

The picture, incidentally, is an illustration to the tale by children's illustrators Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, who also did The Hundred and One Dalmations. I've always loved those illustrations. This one is gorgeous - White Cat and prince and random courtier watch impressionistic fireworks.
  • Current Mood: contemplative contemplative, angsty
To your questions in paragraph 3 I'd answer "Lol, wut"?

But having read the microfic and not The White Cat, I'd have to add that, for me at least, the microfic stands perfectly well on its own four paws, tail swishing elegant arcs through my imagination. Clearly there was a backstory, but it was fun to make it up myself. Thanks! :)
Hah! you survived my explanation of structuralism, you aren't allowed to go "Lol, wut?". You have exceeded your Postmodernism Newbie "Wut?" allowance. Bad luck. Now we expect intelligence :>.

I am happy that the white cat has at least some effect non-intertextually, and I am doing my best to curb the impulse to throw a questionnaire at you to work out which bits did and didn't work. On the other hand, read the fairy tale. It's desperately mannered, as is characteristic of 18th-century French aristocratic storytelling, but it's rather fun.
Tell us more about your personal theory on the felinophilia? (Your story is lovely and I think stands very well on its own; and I have read the original, but a long time ago; and anyway I'd just like to hear more.)
I am happy you like the story and feel it works alone, I'm still all insecure about it. (Which, to be fair, is an endemic condition with me and writing, and can probably be safely ignored).

I find it weird that he bonds so instantly with the cat, he seems genuinely fond of her. A bit of a Cocteau Beauty & the Beast thing: so what happens when she becomes a woman? he loses the cat, isn't he disappointed? (In my story he doesn't quite lose her because I was feeling a bit wicked, but I also think the reminder is painful to him). I find myself trying to account for why there's this tight bond between a prince and an animal, and I think it functions as a sort of enchanted escape possibility for a gay prince trapped in a heterosexual fairy tale expectation.

I think I also pull the gayness out of the detail of the castle, which is all comfort and beauty and playfulness and non-heroic, non-masculinised things (not to mention eighteenth-century French men's clothes, which are gorgeous and very not butch. See pic above). It was an exercise in extreme self-control not to write the fic in a very camp persona.