Buffy - Becoming

Which BtVS character are you? (or, "What am I, twelve?") - and a fic rec

I found this personality quiz i ozma914's LiveJournal.  

buffy-willow
http://www.buddytv.com/personalityquiz/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-personalityquiz.aspx?quiz=40
I shoulda known.  Willow was the first character I actually identified with on the show. Well, her and the Invisible Girl hose name I have shamefully and ironically forgotten. ETA: Velvetwhip reminded me that her name is Marcie Ross.)  As it turns out, ozma914 s Tara.  Or was in '08.  I wonder if that makes him my soulmate? (Which might be complicated, as I am actually a lesbian but, unlike Willow, I can't do magic.) I'm kind of dying to see wh local_max urns out to be, just for fun.

Speaking o ozma914, I've got recs for three of his marvelous short btvs fanfics, out of many:
"She Would be Thirteen".  Superb. Xander, sometime post-Chosen, deals with one of the most difficult aspects of being a new Watcher. I'm trying to branch out a bit in my fanfic and meta reading because I'm pretty well burned-out on Spuffy fics for the moment, and it's a challenge to open myself up to understanding the boy a bit. This story is sad (angsty?) but not bathetic or sentimental; very true to canon characterization - I can imagine NB in this - which is one of my biggest criteria for fanfiction; and packed with layers of meaning and subtext in a very short pace of time. It reads somewhat like a prose poem; not a single wasted word here.

For something on the lighter side: Did you think that Joyce (the lovely Kristine Sutherland) was hideously underused on the show? Did you want to see more of life in Sunnydale from her perspective?  Or wish they had bothered to tackle some of the realities of being a single working mom?  I know I did.  "To Start the Day" s one of the few, and like "She Would be Thirteen", it's spare and lovely, humorous, very much true to character. There's just not enough Joycean fanfic, IMHO.  (See what I did there?)

And from "light" to damn downright cracky, his Dawn-centric fic "A (Somewhat Less Than) Forever Love" has one of my favorite Dawn/Spike reunions in fic, in two short lines of dialogue. Meanwhile, Dawn and Buffy deal with all of Buffy's past boyfriends. Xander, Willow, Giles and Faith make brief appearances.  Giles cleans his glasses. Xander (almost) drools. Faith wears leather. Dawn snarks and fumes; Buffy chooses her words poorly. Angel, Spike and Riley are pretty damn petty, just the way I like them.

Happy holidays, everyone - whatever you observe, if you observe anything at all.  Peace and blessings to all.
The Invisible Girl was Marcie Ross. (I mention her oddly often in my stories so her name is pretty fresh in my mind.)

Like you, I adore Willow!

ozma914 is a fine writer indeed!


Gabrielle
Damn you're fast - I just edited and reposted to add two other stories. But I'm betting you've read them as well? And, thank you for Marcie's name! I identified with her so strongly in OOSOOM that I felt guilty for not remembering her name. I'm as bad a Cordy - there's a sobering thought.)

I think I still love Buffy best but local_max's observations about Willow have been reminding me why she was my first love on the show. (Parsing through the W/T & B/S S6 parallels is twisty and fascinating, athough I know you're more of an early-seasons gal. I think?)

Hee!

I like the early seasons best as a viewer, but I've written oodles of Season 6 stories. Weird, eh? My Willow/Riley story is even set in Season 6.


Gabrielle
Your S6 Riley-Willow (set around AYW) is my favorite of your's in that pairing (and forgive me if I haven't given you feedback on that one before!)
I know this makes me a bad fan but I read so much stuff and get so lost in "hey this is neat" following this link and that story, that I lose track of what I've commented on or not. OTOH I've lost track of the number of fics or metas I've reread and discovered I commented months ago - and now have a slightly different take on the subject, or had no memory of commenting in the first place.

But yes, I liked it very much - much more so than I did the episode, because it's much more real and complex and true to who Willow was right at that moment.
Willow was pretty much my perfect identification character because I was nerdy, introverted, good in school, into witches, wanted to be a redhead (I'm blond) and had a really nasty violent temper that came out sometimes and surprised everyone, even me. So I latched onto Willow the first episode I saw, and it took me a while to start identifying with Buffy herself.

Season 6 is the one where I identify with Buffy the most strongly, which is part of what makes it such a favorite.
I'm brunette (and also want to be a redhead) but beyond that you sound scarily like me. Were we separated at birth, maybe?

And I'm with you all the way on S6. Not objectively the best season (in terms of plotting, pacing, etc) but the one I felt and feel most deeply. I had to watch nvrbnkisst's video "Feels like Home and read gabrielleabelle's Buffy Came Back Wrong metas immediately after finishing the season just to be able to help process it. My initial response was "What the hell did I just see and how do I feel about it?" Which was my response to the two films that hit me the hardest emotionally when I first saw them: The Piano and the Hours. The things that really, really matter to me emotionally, whether film, tv, a painting, etc, are things that are difficult for me to get ahold of, to wrap my mind around. A simple "love it/like it/hate it" response isn't sufficient.
Were we separated at birth, maybe?

Heh. I suspect people like us are probably just really likely to become huge Buffy fans.

I have an English Lit degree, and one of my pet topics is anti-genre-lit snobbery. So I've spent a lot of time thinking about things like the difference between "favorite" and "best." I like the concept of resonance, for that. Resonance is quirky and personal and sort of defies explanation, but it's powerful. Resonance is why so many people could love a story like Twilight, which is actually pretty poorly done by any objective technical measure I know.
Buffy fans for the win!

One of my pet topics is anti-genre-lit snobbery. So I've spent a lot of time thinking about things like the difference between "favorite" and "best." I like the concept of resonance, for that. Resonance is quirky and personal and sort of defies explanation, but it's powerful.

Hang on because this is gonna get wordy and I should probably save this for a meta, but:

I was going to say, I don't know what "resonance" is but as I read this paragraph the light bulb went on (took me a moment to catch up). I think I'm someone who is guilty of snobbery - my mom used to call me an "intellectual snob" when I was in high school and I took it as a compliment in a sort of rebellious way. My intellect was the one thing I had going for me at the time (and hearing people say "Why do you have to use words with so many syllables?" pissed me off for years. (Because they are WORDS people, words that exist, good, useful words that aren't utilized often enough, so there!)

I think that I'm coming 'round more and more to what you are talking about partly because I'm becoming less "intellectual". Or more accepting that I'm a working-class Jane with a college degree who likes to read but isn't up there with the big boys and girls. It's a struggle, because I can be plenty snobby about all sorts of things, still, esp culturally; but then I like kitsch like Moulin Rouge. I've written fanfiction, I've spent hours watching and obsessing over stuff (singers, movies, now Buffy) since high school. I am a FAN, for better or worse, and lots of intelligent accomplished people are fans.

Which brings me to the notion that an element of snobbery is actually based in shame: as a girl I looked down my nose at things in part because I wanted to make myself feel better about myself as an outcast. Today I have shame over the fact that I'm spending time in fandom when I imagined I'd be doing other "greater" things with my life. (Hence, my identification with Buffy S6.) And so on. And that's a feeling that is extremely resistant to any sense of logic or reason.

(con't)
Resonance is why so many people could love a story like Twilight, which is actually pretty poorly done by any objective technical measure I know.

I dislike a lot of things I come across in fanfiction, regular fiction, in pulp; and I'm not really a genre fan. I don't read or watch horror, sci-fi as a rule; Buffy is sort of exceptional in terms of my preferences. I don't like "romance novels" - in the bookstore or in fanfic, the concept just doesn't speak to me; or babyfic, or graphic sex unless there's a purpose for it beside porn.

BUT - give me a well-written story and I can be convinced to enjoy things I normally mightn't. The quality of writing, for me, is key (and admittedly my idea of "quality" may not be the same as anyone else's,) Whether it's BtVS, fanfic, etc. Hence, I'd rather spend time reading well-written fan novels than the Buffy comics. I'll read about Buffy and Spike being all domestic if the story draws me in, if the characterizations are believable, etc. "The play's the thing"

And the comics, loathe as I am to mention them except that they are weirdly fascinating in a train-wreck-y sort of way, specifically S8, actually draw upon a lot of tropes I've seen in fanfiction. I know I've said this elsewhere but the spacefrakking? That's a fanfiction trope: Buffy has sex with Angel or Spike to prevent an apocalyse and saves the world with her vagina. Its common enough that there are fanfics mocking the trope. And so on - particularly in the second half of the season, which is when people have complained the quality dropped off in terms of storytelling. I knew there was a mocking quality to the comics and the Twilight debacle, but it wasn't until I read a lot of Buffy fanfic that it made sense to me.

And of course there is the "Twilight" angle - one of George Jeanty's covers even copies one of the Twilight New Moon movie posters, which is irritating (Buffy is not Bella, damn it!) So even though I myself find myself disdaining aspects of fanfic or fandom, seeing it coming from the PTB via the comics is challenging me to step back and wonder, what's going on here? It may be legitimate to mock your own fans but is it right? Is it a good idea? (I'd say not.) And is it wise to mock something that, culturally, touches a chord with a lot of people (in the case of Twilight or fanfic tropes, girls and women), without understanding WHY it touches a chord? What are the larger cultural and psychological implications of that?

I hope I haven't bored you to tears yet....
I'm also a brunette and I also wanted to be a readhead! XD

Willow is much more similar to me: I'm both into boys and girls, I like to read, I'm quiet and introverted ... but I can't relate to her emotionally. Strange, because I'm also a control-freak like Willow, but Buffy is the one who I understand deeply, in a more emotional way, and not only when it comes to her journey in S6, but also in S4, in S5 and really in general. I feel very Buffy inside or, at least, I really understand her emotional needs.
Ps: Merry Christmas to you!
*lol*

I once described what my five-year-old self wanted to look like, my "ideal" of beauty - tall, blue eyes, long red hair, etc, and my sweetie said "you mean like that girl (Satine) in Moulin Rouge" 0 which was my favorite movie a while back. And I thought, whoa, there's a mindfuck: when I was five years old I wanted to look like a singing, dancing, consumptive movie courtesan who would't exist onscreen for decades.

And your paragraph about Willow and Buffy has me flailing "me too! me too!" I actually identified more with Willow in the early seasons as I mentioned but by S5, Buffy's my girl and I just identify so much with her. DoubleMeat Palace? I've worked dead-end jobs, I've seen those stupid posters and sterile breakrooms; I know what it's like when despite everything you do, your life isn't what you imagined it would be when you were a kid. Because there are NO guarantees. Sometimes life just sucks and it isn't personal, but it feels personal.

Oh and Happy Holidays to you too! (I keep forgetting - Christmas tomorrow. Presents to wrap. we don't celebrate in a religious way, but my sweetie loves having stockings filled with little "stocking gifts". We never did that when I was growing up, and it's nice when you don't have much money, to give little treats.)

You know, I also don't relate too much with early Willow!
I was really much more like Buffy in young age (But Buffy from Season One!). I was much more extrovert and a little bit masculine. I always think that I should be more emotional connected to Willow because we both are quiet, shy people but I feel emotional understanding for Buffy, I feel like I know how she feels. I think I'm also very similar to Tara: I'm very maternal, I love to take care of my little cousins and I'm very protective with them. Still, Buffy is much more in tune with my neurotic, a little bit masculine and stoic side. :)
It feels like the more I think about it, the more I find I have a Willow-side and a Buffy-side.

I was thinking today that Buffy S1 is not as "happy fluffy sunny" as a lot of mainstream fandom would like to think. Watch WTTH - the "I'm fine" mask slips in her first interaction with Giles (when she backs away from the Vampyr book) or her second one, where she bursts out angrily over the ways being a Slayer has already changed her life. (Also, see "Becoming" - young Buffy listening to Hank and Joyce argue. God knows, I've been there with her.) She's already playing a role - the deconstruction of her psyche in the later seasons is already set up in S1. Which is part of why I love this show.

I always think that I should be more emotional connected to Willow because we both are quiet, shy people but I feel emotional understanding for Buffy

I know what you mean, and I think that's true for a lot of people (for me, it certainly is); there's a gap between "who I think I am" and "who I think I should be." But really, there are no "shoulds", or oughtn't be? It is what it is - easier said than believed.

Buffy is much more in tune with my neurotic, a little bit masculine and stoic side.

That's a pretty good description of her!
I totally agree!
God knows how Buffy was sad when she had those horrible nightmares about being rejected by her father and killed by the Master, how she was pissed by the slayer-stuff and her parents' situation. And I understand all of that. So I'm really emphatic with her, while I think I supposed to be also emphatic towards Willow but I'm not. I can be understanding, but I don't feel this identification thingy.
That's cool. I don't "identify" with xander per se, but I'm starting to (allow myself) to understand him. Or explore him, so I can understand better?

I think you have compassion for Willow (or understanding as you say); and that's fine, it's impossible to to identify with every single character! The heart wants what it wants.

I know a lot of fans hate a particular character or another; and like ever_neutral said in a meta, that doesn't work for me. I can wince and cringe at times, I can hate actions or decisions that occur, I can hate the writer's/ME's decisions, (I can hate Joss for being a pompous jerk at times - and for the comics) but I can't hate any character anymore. (Maybe Synder? I hated him at first, and I haven't watched the early seasons - but his recreation of the Marlon Brando character in Restless is fantastic and I love him for that alone.) It just doesn't feel right. the main characters here are working through their own "sins" and errors, right in front of me. If I fail to at least try to understand, then that failure is my own.

Edited at 2012-12-24 11:48 pm (UTC)
Actually, now I feel like I understand or try to understand almost all the characters. I used to dislike Faith, for example, and now I'm fascinated by her development. I'm nothing like her and still I think it's great her evolution. Maybe the only character I really hate is Justine, from Angel? She kinda represents somethings I really hate about people. And I also want to slap Xander many times, when he's too judgmental and slut-shamingful, but I also understand his emotional journey. It's just that, like you say, the heart wants what it wants.
It's prefectly true!
Hi Willow! *waves*

:-)

Ah, more to read. Thanks to a timely visit to the local hospital i'm spending the holidays all alone so thanks a lot for the fic recs!

Also, i've done that quiz and - wonder over wonders - i'm Buffy. ;-)

Which makes us BFFs?!

Yay!

On a slightly related note: The year's over and the next year will start rather slow (working load related), if the past is any indication. So i hope i'll be around more often and able to chime in on such wonderful conversations like you + Max + Ever had on her journal just these last days.

All the best to you, girl-friend!
*waves back* It not only makes us BFF's it makes us metaphorical sisters! I've been thinking about that a bit lately. Tara was brought on to replace Willow as the "damsel in distress", the girl needing Buffy's protection, except that as Willow's lover she's one step removed from Buffy, so in reality Willow's role is replaced by Dawn. Hence, the two of them standing one each side of Buffy at the end of Chosen is fitting.

Any change you can copy the Buffy "button" over here? I don't know what it says.

Thanks to a timely visit to the local hospital i'm spending the holidays all alone so thanks a lot for the fic recs!

*frowny face* I'm sorry to hear that! No family to visit you? I hope it's nothing serious - or that can't be resolved in due time. In the US it has to be pretty serious anymore to actually keep you even one night, but I don't think you're in the US. Do get well very very soon. I've been dealing with a leg injury for over three weeks and pretty much-housebound, I even went to the emergency room one night but they released me soon after. Probably better that I'm at home.

(BTW - may I ask what country you're in/from? Based on your comments in the past I'm thinking Germany, but then sometimes I think Greece or Russia?)

i hope i'll be around more often and able to chime in on such wonderful conversations like you + Max + Ever had on her journal just these last days.

You've seen those comments? I was hoping you would join in! You and Max both posted some thoughts on my Anne and Dopplegangers meta that I really need to reply to even though they are weeks old. I sometimes wish my inbox showed the oldest comments first - I get stuck on the newest ones.

I'm hoping you'll have more meta at some point; that's my plan for the year, to write more here.

Do take care and be well!



I didn't stay overnight because i didn't want to be at the hospital on the holidays! I had a circulatory collapse (because of being overworked, i assume) and thus couldn't make the drive to my family today (some several hundred miles and no airport in sight).

So i'm sitting in front of my computer, tea at hand, some sweets and happily typing. :)

A leg injury for 3 weeks doesn't sound all that harmless to me! I hope you'll regain your health very soon (and yes, i think it is better to be home, too. For psychological reasons as well as health reasons...)

And of course you may ask where i'm from. :) Today i live in Westphalia, Germany, east of the Ruhr megaplex. I was born in the Rhineland, so i have a "natural" affinity to the French, but i literally lived all over Germany at some point in time, from Berlin to Bavaria (Barbaria).

I've written some things about my heritage here: http://norwie2010.livejournal.com/3504.html in response to a meme by ceciliaj.

haha, i'm sooo with you on the "must comment! Oh noes! It's been 5 weeks already!".

And i hope to engage more fully in January, and i have written a drabble but i don't feel it is finished (but Emmie has already read it) so i hope to finish this at least over the holidays. :)

I have some half formed thoughts about Willow, and Glory floating around my mind which i really want to formulate fully (because by formulating, they become substantial and something of their own, something with which i can engage and dispute, dissect and deconstruct).

All the best to you!

You're a natural-born leader who is never afraid to rush into a fight.

That sounds about right, sweetie! Do you think the rest of it is pretty accurate?

So i'm sitting in front of my computer, tea at hand, some sweets and happily typing. :)

Well that's MUCH better than the hospital! Tea and sweets and a little relaxation sounds like a bit of Heaven. Thank you for your good wishes on the leg, I do hope it heals. I am supposed to have an MRI on my lower back this week (I've had to wait for the state and the doctor to process the request - the state was faster than the doctor's office, actually.) the hospital confirmed I didn't have a fractured hip, so that's good! Acupuncture helps a lot as well. I haven't been this incapacitated since I had an attack of lupus in my twenties.



I have written a drabble but i don't feel it is finished

You have a drabble? And you're going to make us wait to see it? *le sigh* Don't keep me waiting too long, please! Emmie is one of my favorite Buffy fans, btw - She's told me she hopes to be able to update her Season 8 epic fic at some point (much better than Joss's version of course.)

have some half formed thoughts about Willow, and Glory floating around my mind which i really want to formulate fully (because by formulating, they become substantial and something of their own, something with which i can engage and dispute, dissect and deconstruct).

I know what you mean! I have ideas for tons of metas floating about in notes in about three notebooks. I've got some half-formed ideas about Anya myself -not in terms of capitalist ideology, but in terms of being the one demon or sometimes-supernatural character on the show at the end of the season who doesn't get to intergrate her human and demon sides, unlike Buffy, Faith and Willow. but these ideas are very vague in my head and will have to wait until I finish other meta.

thank you for the link to the meme! I've printed it out to read this evening - bedtime reading. I still find it difficult to read longer stories, essays etc on the computer. My eyes, hands and brain still want to hold paper, and I can pick it up and put it down again. I don't abhor computers like Giles, obviously, but I still love the old fashioned printed page!

I thought you were from Germany although that was a rather glib assumption on my part, based on the fact that you are VERY aware of the evils of fascism and on-guard against it, in a "never forget, and never let it happen again" way.

You're also very well-versed in Communist theory, and as I recall from my studies on college (I wrote a paper about the Nazi takeover of the German film industry), the fascists and communists were enemies in the early days of the Reich. Who says history isn't fascinating? there's quite a lot more I need to learn.

(I've just read The Communist Manifesto and Engel's "Socialism". They are both very incisive analysts, although the flaws in their predictions are obvious today - and Engels is a good historian and a very amusing writer! I had not expected him to be so entertaining to read. Maybe now I can better respond to some of your comments on my metas, re: Joss and the working class?)

Enjoy your tea! :-)
That sounds about right, sweetie! Do you think the rest of it is pretty accurate?

Well, i don't think i have quite the same "bleeding tragic taste in (wo)men" as Buffy has, but my very first great love story was totally Buffy/Angel! A lot of treason, heartbreak and tears. Lots of ice cream was had. ;-)

But i lived, and learned and my relationships got better. :)

I also have a small group of very dear friends of whom i learned that some of them, despite being weird and sometimes having differing opinions, are truly loyal in the most dire situations. (OI also have a Spike-like friend who is constantly in deep trouble due to his personality and actions and i have to "save his life" constantly. It is quite hilarious - only in hindsight. Lots of hindsights. :D )

On the other hand, i don't think i was a natural born leader - i grew into being a "leader" or counselor more out of need. Sometimes, you get to the point where someone has to take action, or decision, or someone has to lend an ear even to the n-th lamentation of a friend who doesn't seem to learn from mistakes and nobody else wants to lend that ear or offer advice ("oh no, we've heard it all before! go away with your problems!").

And, during my very first engagement with an organized opponent, when the police closed in with tanks and anti riot equipment - i ran. It was a demonstration against police brutality, 3 days earlier the police had attacked a small group of young antifascists who then protected a refugee home from nazi attacks and then proceeded to hunt 24 year old Conny Wessmann, who, blinded by pepper spray, tried to flee and ran in front of a truck on a heavy traffic road. She died. The antifascists, who wiretapped the police radio communications brought the radio communication to light in which the police talked about "finishing off" the antifascists. It was, quite frankly, frightening. Here i was, 18 years old and thinking that this was a mistake, and that we would help clear things up by pressuring an official investigation and of course to publicly mourn our dead friend. But when the tanks rolled and the anti riot infantry stormed forward i had the distinct feeling "this is real. they hunted Conny until she was dead, and now they want to do to us the same. these people have no scruples and are driven by malice." (of course, it is a wee bit more complicated than this, but these were my thoughts.)

So, my very first "test" wasn't all that valiant. ;-)

But, as you may guess, it shaped me a great deal and helped form my determination and deep rooted convictions to never run again.

-----

Yes, i, too hope that Emmie will continue her wonderful "TYSK"! And i hope to read your thoughts on Anya, too! Anya provokes a great deal of thoughts in me but mostly, the discussions about Anya revolve around her "funny". So, write! :-)


I thought you were from Germany although that was a rather glib assumption on my part, based on the fact that you are VERY aware of the evils of fascism and on-guard against it, in a "never forget, and never let it happen again" way.

Believe me, it is not very German to stand against fascism. Granted, there are some Germans who actually learned something from history after all, but Germans are still deeply romanticists and thus unable to look into the mirror (or history). It is a great tragedy that the Germans today (including me) are the descendants of rapists and murderers who never really faced up. After the war, the western allies were too busy to transform Western Germany into the bulwark against the Soviet Union and thus the old Nazis were very useful and were put back into positions of power. Sure, the administrative and political order the allies imposed on Germany was meant to make sure fascism should never rear it's ugly head again (by excluding the people from influence and politics as well as a special brand of federalism in which a strong central state should be impossible to implement. Well - just look at the European Union today and see how well this turns out...

It is frustrating, sometimes. The German language lends itself so well to meaningful discussion of philosophical, societal and political ideas - but only a handful of Germans actually use it that way.

But, yes. As Bertholt Brecht said: "The womb it crawled from is still going strong" (which is an awful and wrong imagery and not very well translated at all) and that means to me, personally, that i have devoted my life to the cause of antifascism. It is so, well, near. The horrors, i mean. When i get into my car and drive a mere 25 km (16 miles) i stand on a mass grave of 65,000 murdered people. And, if you google for "concentration camp", or "death camp" the place doesn't even show up - because it is such a tiny, tiny drop in the ocean of blood in which all of Europe was nearly drowned. Over 1,000 concentration camps all over Europe, 13 to 17 million murdered (without the genocide which took place in Belorussia, Russia and the Ukraine, which did cost another 25 million lives).

The complete breakdown of any and all civilization, the total barbarism which took place here is simply horrifying. And my grandparents were the ones who did it. So, yes, i feel a very strong responsibility to stand guard and never forget (and never forgive).

"We will take up the fight until the last culprit stands before the judges of the people. Our watchword is the destruction of Nazism from its roots. Our goal is to build a new world of peace and freedom. This is our responsibility to our murdered friends and their relatives." Buchenwald Oath, 1945
Who says history isn't fascinating? there's quite a lot more I need to learn.

Yes, the communists and anarchists were and are the eternal enemies of fascism. There's a truly great movie about this from Spain, a movie which explains this all very well and i'm pretty sure you would like this movie very well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarias

The movie follows some revolutionary women and their fight for equality and against fascism in revolutionary Spain in 1936.

So: Go, watch it! It is a great movie. :)
That movie isn't available on netflix but it just might be at my local college library (we can have cards there as residents of the county), and they have a wide selection of foreign films so I just might be able to find it there. (that's how I discovered Carmen Maura's work, for instance. My sweetie and I fell in love with her at first sight in "How to Be a Woman and Not Die in the Attempt". Mature women onscreen - women over 30 - are so rare in American movies!)

(I've just read The Communist Manifesto and Engel's "Socialism". They are both very incisive analysts, although the flaws in their predictions are obvious today - and Engels is a good historian and a very amusing writer! I had not expected him to be so entertaining to read. Maybe now I can better respond to some of your comments on my metas, re: Joss and the working class?)

Well, the Communist Manifesto is a political pamphlet to urge the European workers into unity and action. It is not a deep analysis but rather an inspirational speech, so to speak. :)

And yes, Engels is great! A deeply emphatic human being who truly wants his fellow humans to live in peace and happiness. He wrote at length about racism, gender inequality, history. He himself came from a position of utter privilege, being born into a wealthy entrepreneur family owning several factories. he himself never had to fight, or work but still he devoted his whole life to the finest cause of humanity:

"Man's dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years,
never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the
finest cause in all the world - the fight for the Liberation of Mankind."
Nikolai Ostrowski

While Marx is like the mind of socialism, Engels is the heart.

(Though Marx is amusing, too in a totally intellectual way: He wrote so sharp and scathing critiques of other philosophers and thinkers of his time and nobody ever got the better over him. Sharp, sharp mind and a very sarcastic humor.)
Well, the Communist Manifesto is a political pamphlet to urge the European workers into unity and action. It is not a deep analysis but rather an inspirational speech, so to speak. :)

That makes sense. The anthology I have doesn't include "Das Kapital" (too long, perhaps?) and after Marx and Engels it has writings by Lenin, Mao, etc which I probably should read for my own edification, at least to try to grasp the justifications that politicians and despots give for their own actions. The chasm between what Marx and Engels intended, and what Lenin et al manifested, is enormous. (Which you well know.)

I could tell when Marx was was putting another theory - or theorist - in their place; or rather I couldn't at first, until I got used to his style (in TCM, which I know was co-written with Engels, but the tone of it's humor and critiques was quite different from Engels on his own - sharp, scathing and sarcastic are the perfect words for it.)

Engel's humor, even in his critiques, is warmer. I not only wanted to read more of Engel's work, I wanted to learn more about Saint-Simon, Owen; but most especially Fourier who I had never heard of before. To me that's one of the marks of good history/criticism, when an author makes me hungry to go deeper and read more. (Admittedly, there are huge gaps in my education/reading: philosophy generally, Hegel, et al; economics, psychology, politics etc that I'm not sure I could ever begin to fill up.)

I was extremely interested in the fact that TCM does at several points address the role of women in bourgeois society re: the hypocrisy of the bourgeois maintaining wives and mistresses for themselves; I had been given the impression reading Shulamith Firestone's "The Dialectic of Sex" in college that he did not.
i.e., you cheated to get the desired results? *lol*

I think the hardest thing for me in these sorts of test, which admittedly are silly and fun, is that sometimes, as with this one, I genuinely have trouble chosing between "What would I do at the times I've been my best/most productive/happiest/ideal self, and what would I honestly do right now?"
I've taken so many of this personality quizzes and I always get the same result: Cordelia. LOL No surprise there at all.
Scarily accurate. I used to watch the show when it aired and I was about the same age characterwise so it was like a weird parallel lives thing. Not to get into too much detail and bore you but I was a cheerleader, homecoming princess, super popular, etc. Then had a bit of life trouble, turned myself into a do-gooder machine and about the same time met a brooding boy who went from best friend to lover to husband. Luckily I didn't die in my 20s but there was a touch and go situation there at one point. (I even wanted to be an actress at one point but went into more office work for a while before switching to academia).

Plus feisty brunette fashionista with no tact and big boobs? Me and Cordy LOL
I'm just glad you didn't destroy the world on December 21st! That's my wife's birthday, and an apocalypse could have kind of ruined it.

I very much appreciate the kind words! I have to say, "A (Somewhat Less Than) Forever Love" was one of the most fun stories to write ever. I don't write Spike all that much (mostly because of the time frame my Buffyverse is in), but when I do, I have a blast.

I suspect I'm still Tara. I mean, figuratively.
I've really enjoyed your writing - I also added a link to Buffybot's Secret in my next post; if anything I wish there were a more user-friendly archive or link list, so I could go through your stories in the order you meant them to be read? Your intro (Tara's resurrected, Dana's healed, etc) are very helpful just diving in the midst of things like I did, but I find myself wanting to go back to the beginning and find out how things began. Or do you have an archive list and I missed it?

I suspect I'm still Tara. I mean, figuratively.

*lol* Well then I guess we'll have to settle for being "just friends" :)

BTW, I really enjoy your original characters; I started reading and wondered, when was Kara in the show? Was she in AtS, because I don't remember her (I've never watched AtS, but I've read most of the developments in terms of the larger arc/plot, and so I knew about Dana at least.) It took me a while to figure out that she was an OC because she's so well integrated with the "canon characters" that I wasn't aware at first that she was an OC. (Her dad was a little easier to figure out, if only because of the name, and the fact that he seems to be a new watcher; he still seems somewhat "outside" this 'verse while Kara is very much "in it". Not in a "badly-written" way, but more in the fact that Richard is older, perhaps more set in his ways, while Kara is embodied with Slayer power and has these other girls to be with, so she almost seems to have an easier time fitting in? )

But then Dana, Bottie and Tara almost become OC's in their own right because of the ways you've changed their circumstances, which I think works in your favor.
Hm ... I thought I'd posted a list of my fanfics in order somewhere, but now I can't find it. They are in order on my ozma914 account at fanfiction.net, but there are some typos there that I never got around to fixing (because it was a pain to edit over there). There is this:
http://gen-storyteller.livejournal.com/?skip=10&tag=author%3A%20ozma914

All or most of the stories are over there, and I think they're in order with the earliest post being the earliest story.

Ah, wait! I found "the story so far":
http://ozma914.livejournal.com/123604.html
Sorry to put you through the trouble! Right after I sent this message I found this very page and bookmarked it. I did start reading "Where do we go" but the interpretation of Chosen and the characters is so at-odds with my own that I'll just skip ahead; I'm enjoying the Four Friends 'verse much more, particularly because Kara and Richard are OC so there's no prior attachment for me, and Dana and Bottie are altered somewhat from the show and developed much further so they function as OC characters. (The one exception is Tara, whose characterization fits canon if she'd been allowed to continue on the show. And I love the 'Bot and Tara in S6, so that's an added pleasure.)

The canon characters I identify most with are Buffy (later seasons - obvious if you've seen my LJ) and Willow (early seasons), but I'm trying to expand my reading habits.
Well, since you skipped "Where Do We Go", I can tell you that Tara's very first appearance in my stories is at the very end of that story. Dana and Buffybot first appear in "Robin Lays an Egg", and that story ends up setting the stage for "Four Friends", although it wasn't what I had intended at the time. The whole thing is largely a progression, and I didn't intend any of it -- the "OzmaVerse", as one of my friends put it, just happened.

Of course, it was fairly easy to adapt Bottie and Dana, as we don't get to see much of them over the course of the show. By the time "Robin Lays an Egg" ends, they've been altered by circumstances.

Buffy is one of the hardest characters for me to write, maybe because we do already know so much about her ... I work hard on it, though.
Kara appeared in the very first scene of my very first fanfic, so it didn't take me long to get comfortable with her being in that universe. She was also based (although very loosely) on my youngest daughter, although in the creation she changes so much as to be mostly unrecognizable. Here in there is a banner that was made for me which features the Four Friends, and the one of Kara actually is my daughter.

Her father, on the other hand ... well, Richard was never meant to have a big part in my universe. He was basically just a self-insert that I threw in for fun, and unlike Kara he's changed only a little from what I'm really like. That's why the first time I featured him in a story it was under the title "Mary Sue Got Harried" ... although I'm told he's not a Mary Sue in the strict sense of the term, since he doesn't go around saving everyone. Also, he has the misfortune of ... well, never mind -- spoilers. If you keep reading you'll discover things don't always go his way, including relationships.
That's why the first time I featured him in a story it was under the title "Mary Sue Got Harried" ... although I'm told he's not a Mary Sue in the strict sense of the term, since he doesn't go around saving everyone.

I've read just enough I think (including the fic where they all end up at the diner, Bottie discovers french toast, Kara destroys her fork and Richard discovers that Tara is his "watcher" - or he's her protegee) to be able to say that, no, he is not a Gary Stu (the common name for a male "Mary Sue".) There is a specific definition of the type (which predates fanfiction): someone who is "perfect", however that is defined in our culture at a given time. (Victorian literature is full of such characters and so are fairy tales: Snow White, Cinderella, Beauty from Beauty and the Beast are examples of the type.)

In modern fanfic specifically, it's not just about "saving everybody" although there is that as well. They are extraordinary in every way: smart, courageous, virtuous, competent, gorgeous, an absolute fantasy rather than a complex character. AND they are superior in all those ways to the canon characters, AND the canon characters all adore them and fall down at their feet in awe. IF they have any doubts, fears, or guilt, it's either out of proportion to their actual "sins", or they feel guilty for being so perfect. But they are so "humble" about their perfection. (Yeah. Right.)

This site has a pretty thorough definition - and an example from a Buffy fanfic to boot.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Mary-Sue

If there are more female examples than male, I'd guess it's because 1) in general there are more female fanfic writers - although this type is generally written by girls and teenagers, IMO; and 2) it's more acceptable for male to be flawed and still be considered "good" or heroic.

I'd say a Mary Sue/Gary Stu are pretty far removed from the reality of who the author is, an ideal fantasy. That doesn't mean all "author insert" characters are automatically MS/GS's. (Every story I can think of has a self-insert or author "avatar" in there somewhere.) But it's become something of a controversial subject in that unfortunately he term has been used by some people to label ALL authorial insert characters even if they don't fit the description of a MS/GS.

A friend of mine once attended a writers conference (not fanfic) on this very subject, and the panel was made up of successful, accomplished women writers who had a fear of writing characters that would be perceived as Mary Sue's, which added a measure of stress to the process and in some ways held them back. And again, it's a charge which is more likely to be aimed at women writers.

Ok, that was long, so sorry , but I hope that clarifies? Richard strikes me thus far as very normal and flawed person, and I think his interactions with Kara - and her annoyance with him, which feels VERY normal. Average. And that's very much key.
I had the honor of reading the very first Mary Sue story -- the Star Trek fanfic that actually had the character named Mary Sue. Great parody, actually. When it comes to reading fanfic, Star Trek is where I started, so I got exposed to it early.

But you're right, self-inserts are common, and often done very well. They say every writer puts some of themselves into characters, but some do it more than others. Personally, I think self-inserts are fun as long as they're not overdone. I put myself in my first published novel, "Storm Chaser", but only as a minor character who shows up only a few times, doesn't save the day, and doesn't have everyone fall in love with him.

I went out of my way with Richard to make sure he didn't become a Mary Sue (I wasn't aware of the term Gary Stu at the time). If anything, as my stories go on he becomes a bit *more* flawed. If nothing else, I don't want to upset Buffy fans!