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Tony Grist

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Sophie Vylar [Nov. 18th, 2004|10:00 am]
Tony Grist
I spent yesterday in a state of advanced wooziness- and out of the wooze came this. It's a story I told myself while half asleep, then wrote up later. The name, Sophie Vylar, was the first thing that came through.

Vylar? What does that mean?

I googled it afterwards. There are a few Vylars around but none of them is called Sophie. There are Indian Vylars and French Vylars. There's even an LJer called Vylar but- guess-what- their journal is a blank.

Sophie Vylar

The two girls are waiting.
Candles burn in sconces on either side of the mirror.
The thief whistles softly.
The maid throws him the rope and he climbs it hand over hand and in at the window.
His feet are naked.
The maid is his friend or so he thinks. She shows him where the jewels are kept.
Then Sophie Vylar steps out from behind a screen with her pistol levelled.
It is a wheel-lock pistol with a long barrel.
“Take off your clothes,” she says.
The maid holds the pistol while Sophie takes off her own clothes.
Under the high-piled wig her hair is stubble.
They are of a height and their bodies are pale but the backs of his hands are darker than hers.
Sophie puts on his rags.
“I am marrying a rich old man tomorrow,” says Sophie- “only not me but you.”
Then Sophie takes the pistol and the maid laces him into the whale-bone stays and puts the petticoat and dress on over his head.
She fixes the wig in place with pins.
She whitens his face and applies the patches.
“Goodbye myself,” says Sophie and kisses him on the lips.
Then she climbs through the window and down the rope.
Bold girl.
The maid snuffs the candles. The mirror whitens.
He waits for the bridegroom with jewels in his lap.
linkReply

Comments:
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 11:41 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
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[User Picture]From: ksp24
2004-11-18 11:43 am (UTC)
You've got something there. A very nice snippet!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 11:51 am (UTC)
Thank you. It was given me.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 11:45 am (UTC)
Fascinating and vivid!

Full of strangeness--I loved this: >i>She whitens his face and applies the patches.
“Goodbye myself,” says Sophie and kisses him on the lips.
</i>

I also loved the whitening mirror and the poetic "he waits for the bridegroom with jewels in his lap."

I sometimes think beautiful ideas and images can grow from a single evocative line--isn't that a wonderful, visual sentence?

You were right to write this like free verse--it's a beautiful dream, or a poem.

I once had a dream about a secret forest above a valley. In the dream, the forest was called "The Meese."

I tried to find out what "Meese" meant, thinking it would unlock something pivotal in my psyche, but I never did. There's a real estate agent here in town named Meese--maybe he's meant to sell me a house someday, up in a high woods...







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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 11:57 am (UTC)
The first thing I got was the name. And after that the pistol. Then the rest emerged.

I thought (in my woozy state) that it might be the beginning of a novel, but I don't see any sequel being possible.

The people fade back into whatever dream world they came from.

"The Meese" is a wonderful name. It ought to be a real place. Perhaps it is. What language do you think it is- German perhaps, or Dutch?
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 12:23 pm (UTC)
The people fade back into whatever dream world they came from.


Where does this come from, I wonder. Why that particular name?

I think it's even more satisfactory somehow that this one vivid vignette comes to life and then fades. It's a mystery, all of it, and so there's no need to make everything work out.

As for Meese, I always assumed it was an old, archaic word for "woods" and was probably from the British Isles--as my father's name, "Maston," was apparently an old name for a hillock in Wales.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 12:30 pm (UTC)
I Googled it out of curiosity. There are lots of people called Meese out there. Notably an Ed Meese who seems to be something to do with politics and pornography, but no geographical location.

But the name must mean something, must come from somewhere.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 12:39 pm (UTC)
"Vylar" is most mysterious! Even to Google: look at the strange junk the word evokes--I jumped to pages 15 or so and just cut and pasted for fun. Most peculiar flotsam and jetsom:

... I am Headmaster Vylar. In a moment you will be proceeding into the Dark Hall to be sorted. Please take this time to familairize ...

... As fast as it had come, the wind died. **** Foul wizard!" spat Vylar. ...
The rest echoed his words. "Vylar, you're with me. ...

... BlackMUD Building Utilities by Vylar Description: From this page you can download all the various building tools Vylar has put together.

... and will be accompanied by NCP chief, Sharad Pawar, Chief Minis- ter, Sushilkumar
Shinde, DCM Vijaysinh Mohite Patil, AICC general secretary, Vylar Ravi and ...

paranormal.se/topic/?part=vylar&no_robots=1

... tyrsalvia, unrequitedthai, urban_bohemian, vaxjedi, vietnamwar, virika, virtualdetail,
vodka_vixen, volatilesnake, voltbang, vylar, wendyscarecrow, wickedgillie ...

... He was scheduled to meet Gandhi on Tuesday but couldn’t, as in-charge
of Maharashtra party affairs Vylar Ravi was not in Delhi. ...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 01:29 pm (UTC)
Peculiar.

Have you any idea what these lists of words add up to? Vylar fades into something like normalcy in the company of such exotics as voltbang and wendyscarecrow.

I clicked on that paranormal link. I thought, hey, hey, this sounds promising. It turned out to be in SWEDISH!
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 12:53 pm (UTC)
in-charge
of Maharashtra party affairs Vylar Ravi was not in Delhi...


Looks like your Sophie escaped her homeland and made it as far as India, where she carved out a nice political career for herself and got a fancy title: "In-charge-of-Maharashtra-party-affairs Vylar Ravi"

What a woman! I guess she kept her secret. I doubt if the Indians would have allowed a mere servant girl to rise to such power.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 12:59 pm (UTC)
Whoops, sorry! She wasn't a servant--
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 01:36 pm (UTC)
I can expand upon this theory.

She fell in with arch-imperialist Robert Clive (who was a tearaway and street ruffian in his youth) went to India with him, fought alongside him at the Battle of Plassey (1757), became a white rajah and kept a stable of elephants and a harem of wives and never once gave anyone cause to suspect her true identity....
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 09:06 pm (UTC)
By the way, I spent today reformatting and correcting my novel, and it will be ready to send to you soon, hopefully tomorrow--(not entirely corrected, of course, but at least the worst typos are fixed)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 09:34 pm (UTC)
Excellent.

Yes, I'm really looking forward to reading it.
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2004-11-18 01:44 pm (UTC)
It's the plural of moose...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 02:08 pm (UTC)
On the analogy of moose-mice, I guess.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2004-11-18 02:03 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! This is going in the memories file.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 02:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I hesitated about posting it- I thought it was maybe too stange- and personal.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2004-11-18 02:24 pm (UTC)
That's one of the reasons I appreciated it so much. Not just because the story itself had a tone that was both dream-like and edgy, but because the primary reason I kept my own written voice silent for long was that I was afraid that my own "strange and personal" stories would never be well received. My "strange and personal" is different from yours, but your courage in posting, and seeing the warm response that you received, inspires me.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 02:35 pm (UTC)
LJ is anonymous- and yet it's not. My secondary personality (Poliphilo) has a circle of friends who (my fear is) expect certain things from him. Whenever Poliphilo does something "uncharacteristic" I worry in case a friend or two may take offence.

Actually experience shows that it's the more daring posts that get the biggest (and most interesting) response.

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 06:27 pm (UTC)
My secondary personality (Poliphilo) has a circle of friends who (my fear is) expect certain things from him.

Whatever you write, it is always thought-provoking, intelligent, and unexpected--I can't imagine taking offense at your posts, and I can't imagine LJ without you!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 07:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I feel the same about you.
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2004-11-18 03:20 pm (UTC)

Screenplay

This, to me, is begging to be turned into a movie script.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 04:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Screenplay

Are you paying attention, Mr Spielberg? ;)
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[User Picture]From: arielstarshadow
2004-11-18 04:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Screenplay

Spielberg?! I was talking to you! -laugh-
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 05:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Screenplay

I did write a screenplay once- in collaboration. Brrr. The whole business of trying to sell something to the film industry is so demoralising, so soul-destroying...

And then- if and when you get it sold- they hire someone else (or a whole string of someones) to completely rewrite it.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2004-11-18 05:47 pm (UTC)

Re: Screenplay

This, to me, is begging to be turned into a movie script.


That's what I was thinking, too! It would make a great scene in a movie about a wild and brave woman.

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[User Picture]From: silent_mouse
2004-11-18 04:22 pm (UTC)
Amazing story, and so vivid, so alive that I just can see it.
No wonder that Vylar's LJ is empty - she's ran away, after all, you wouldn't think she'd continue posting..;)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2004-11-18 04:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

I wonder where exactly she went....

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