Notes on “Different Gift”

January 26th, 2011 § 2 comments

Sometimes, I write slash.

Slash is where modern fan fiction got its roots; the bringing forth of queer themes into works which lacked them. It filled a need for writers and readers alike. There’s something uniquely subversive about slash—it’s causing a reader to stop and think about the character she fell in love with from the canon and to see them as someone other than the heterosexual she knew him as (see bookshop’s post on this for a much better discussion of this topic).

I like that about slash. I’ve always been a reader of gay male erotica, and to a lesser extent, a writer of it. I think in the realm of fanfiction about characters who were presented as heteroexual, slash poses one of the most interesting what-ifs. And I like how especially challenging it is in this fandom. Bella Swan is first and foremost a cipher for the reader, hence why she is so nondescript and without many defining traits—the reader is invited to be her, and to love Edward…and by extension to get angry if Edward loves anyone else.

To pair Edward with another man, then, is to challenge that to an incredible degree. It’s more jarring than another woman, because it doesn’t only say, “Edward likes so-and-so better than you,” it says, “Edward would never like you because you don’t bat for his team at all.” Yet at the same time, it opens a door to possibilities for exploring who Edward might be as a character that move way beyond how we see him in canon.

Is Edward gay? In canon, I don’t think so. And I certainly think Meyer didn’t mean to imply so. Yet at the same time, the things which one could read as signs of simply delayed sexual interest could be interpreted as indications that Edward could be queered a bit, in the right circumstances and by the right writer. Minisinoo writes about this in “The Actual, the Implied, and the Imagined.” Of the Twilight characters, I think the two easiest to push in the direction of at least bi-curiosity are Edward and Carlisle, a topic which a thoughtful person asked me to expound on via Formspring. (One of my FGB stories has asked me to tackle this pairing, and I may also do it for a contest in the near future.)

Now, one reason I haven’t written slash in this fandom is precisely because if I were to ship a slash pairing, it would be Edward/Carlisle, for the reasons in the post I link to above. At the same time, I’ve written (and become known for) a fic that explores the intensity and complexity of their father-son bond. There’s a difference in the way I write Edward and Carlisle in Ithaca versus “Socrates,” and I’ve stayed away from writing E/C before this precisely because I didn’t want people reading things into IiG that I wrote very carefully to keep out. But then, of course, perhaps I am a hypocrite to even try to control the reading of one story, for the very act of writing fic is my taking away Meyer’s control over how her story should be read.

So, relinquishing that control over my own work, I wrote some slash. This piece was done for the Make the Yuletwi’d Gay fic exchange for 2010, and was written for mothlights, the author of the vampfic Bronze. Getting this prompt was a lot of fun for me. It let me go back to a genre I’ve always enjoyed, and let me into the head of a character I’ve never written before. As with all of my fics, it has its roots in a different interpretation of and different events springing from the canon—in this case, that Demetri apprehended Edward during his rebellious years. It was a fun dance in on a different dancefloor, and there will be a bit more to come from this particular pipeline. I hope you enjoy it. 

§ 2 Responses to Notes on “Different Gift”"

  • Malianani says:

    Thanks for another great story, Giselle and also for your thoughts about slash fic and why you write it. What I like most about well-written slash is that it enables the writer (and reader) to explore emotional vulnerabilities in the male characters that I just don’t think can be explored in the same way in a het fic. At least, that’s how I see it after reading slash fic in four different fandoms and having written a few short slash fics. Maybe that’s due to the fact that you see characters from a new and different angle in slash fic, as you say in your thoughts.

    Speaking of new angles, I’d never considered Alec and Edward together before–heck, I’ve never really considered the character of Alec, period! I was a little disquieted by the fact that, in appearance, Alec is extremely young–just entering puberty? But I felt compassion for him and his frustration that he will never be fully matured in a physical sense even though he’s much older in actual age and mental maturity. I wasn’t quite sure (on first reading) how Alec reminds Edward of Carlisle–but I do like the twist that Edward was, in some way, “thwarted in love” by Carlisle.

    I’m looking forward to reading “Socrates” when it comes out. I agree that the most natural slash pairing is Edward/Carlisle because of their close emotional bond. I could see them at least *exploring* a romantic/sensual relationship, even if they are both ultimately also attracted to women.

    Thanks for the Different Gift.

    • giselle says:

      It was quite interesting, really, because there were two requests in this fic exchange for Edward/Alec, and it was a pairing I’d never given much thought to. Since I managed to hem and haw long enough about whether to write at all that the two CarlWard prompts and the Aro/Carlisle prompt were all taken, I picked this one, because I loved the idea of Alec trying to use his gift to help Edward. And of course, Alec’s physicality was meant to be a little disquieting–I chose to tell the story from his POV and not to take the sex further than mutual masturbation because of that. I’ve had requests to expand this, but am not sure I would, because there’s something tender about a boy exploring another boy that would become a lot more sinister and pedophilic as the nature of the sex changes.

      As for the similarities between Alec and Carlisle, for me it is that they are both watchers, and outsiders in a sense. Alec isn’t bound up in hanging with the rest of the clan; he’s sitting back, observing. He has that same sort of circumspection about him that I think would remind Edward of Carlisle–especially if, as was the twist that this piece hinges on, he had developed unrequited feelings for Carlisle before he left. But he’s also darker, and I think Edward would find that fascinating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

What's this?

You are currently reading Notes on “Different Gift” at Writings.