Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Heart YA #2 Who's Your Freak?

Suze Reese So, I'm jumping on this Blog Carnival train, since it looks like fun.  And I need something to remind me that YA is awesome, when the rest of my life is going to be Middle Welsh (*urgh*).

So, I haven't been into vampires since I was twelve.  When I was twelve, I was very into vampires, not YA vampires all that much (though I will admit to a weakness for LJ Smith) but Old Vampires.  The ones that went to a party and decapitated everyone, then cut off their lips and set the heads in a window so that the passers-by would think they were laughing.  I read Carmilla and Christobel, where vampirism was the embodiment of a possessive, homo-erotic, feminine sexuality.  Why wouldn't  have been into vampires?  *grin*
But I'm not into vampires anymore.  They're so Slavic, and I'm into Celtic and Sanskrit these days (re: Middle Welsh).

One of my favorite creatures is the Yogini.  She is described as a messenger from the gods, bringing their gifts of Soma to the Siddha petitioners.  Exchanging bodily fluids for the gift of flight.  But sometimes, she's not so kind and dutiful.  Sometimes she's a goddess in her own right, accepting blood sacrifice, bringing disease and death.  Sometimes she is a bird and sometimes a snake, but always a woman, and always more dangerous than you expect.

But, of course, I am a Celticist as well.  And although I get a little ragey when people talk about Druids as some secret cult and not as a politically savvy upper-class, I still have a deep affection for the Sidhe.  Nothing, though, will ever compare with Susanna Clarke's depiction of the dance at Lost Hope, the utter strangeness of a different world, the sense of beauty, so foreign from our own, and yet not foreign, the ball gown the color of rainstorms and thunder and mist.

My own Sidhe are much more normal, I suppose.  They are interested in science, in the same way humans are interested in magic, for their own ends.  To them, humans are animals, merely meat.  Their bloodlines increase in strength and power the more singular and less diffuse they are, so marrying sisters and uncles is only to be expected.  They are transfixed by a song or a poem, but find human arts crude and primitive.  They are beautiful, like an ice sculpture, but utterly inhuman.  Don't try to reach out and touch.  They won't ever let you go.
Arthur Rackham


  1. Wow! This was the exact thing I was hoping for with this carnival - to meet new people AND to learn new things. Fascinating freaks! So are Sidhe part of a work in progress? I'd love to know more.

    1. I love meeting new people myself!

      Yep, the Sidhe are part of my WIP (very in progress, meaning, sort of at the beginning stages). I think it's actually my first truly YA story. I write a lot of things that are on the cusp, between YA and MG, but this one I want to be as intense as it can get. Sexy and morally ambiguous, that's the way I want to go.

      It was great to do this post, because it let me concretize my ideas about the Sidhe in the story. The hardest part, of course, is that I want them to be utterly repulsive, irresistibly sexy (although my MC is going to do her best to resist), and ultimately sympathetic. But only ultimately sympathetic. For the first half at least I need to make them creepier and creepier, then they need to start making sense, and finally, you need to be rooting hard for one of them, at least. That's going to be a trick to pull off. I'd better get to writing it.

      *grin* I hope that wasn't more than you wanted to know.

  2. Gotta love mythic creatures from Asia and old Celtic tales. Each author I've read seems to treat the Sidhe differently, but it's always fascinating. I love your concept of the Sidhe.

    1. Yeah, a lot of people do the Sidhe, or do Fey or Fairies, or whatever they call it. The boogeyman is so cool, because he isn't overdone. (My main association is in Terry Pratchett, though your description reminded me just slightly of Monsters Inc. :D Awesome movie.) I really want to do Sidhe differently though, not have the whole 'oh, they're really soft and cuddly (or glittery and vegetarian) and I want to be one!' Incest and Cannibalism all the way! (er, you know, in a glittery vegetarian sense).

    2. Oh I love Terry Pratchett! And yea, I love that about the Boogeyman. I'm hoping to make that word synonymous with my name within a couple years. I loved Monsters Inc too! I was definitely inspired by a lot of 'monster under your bed or in your closet' movies/books. I look forward to seeing you do the Sidhe differently. I did love the way C.J. Cherryh handled them in The Dreaming Tree. (and I absolutely LOVED her version of Death.)

      One more thing. I awarded you the Kreativ Blogger award here! Hope you have fun with it!