Notes on “Strange Fruit” [spoilers]

July 26th, 2013 § 1 comment

Sometimes, a story idea will sit with me for years before I really get my arms around it, and that’s the case with this story. I confess, I don’t even know if this is something I believe “happened” according to my headcanon, or if it is a “what if” sort of AU, but I knew I wanted to write a scene where these two laid eyes on each other, before Alice, before Edward, before Esme. That they would glimpse each other at their respective lowests, and that something about that glimpse would change them both (because even though in the end, not much about how this interaction alters Carlisle ended up in this piece, in my head, it was a profound moment for him, also). And I knew that I felt strongly pulled to explore that moment happening over a lynching (this idea started one day mid-2011 while I was listening to a spiritual and sort of evolved from there).

I’ve always viewed Carlisle and Jasper as having a special kinship, having lived such deeply lonely lives in the era before the Cullen family began to come together. And I’ve always imagined that kinship to be a very quiet one, one that is expressed in glances and emotions felt and perceived rather than any long conversations. I last got to really play with this in Chapter 9 of Ithaca is Gorges, which I wrote four years ago—I haven’t taken the time to revisit them since.

But it’s a tough tone to strike; to be able to be sensitive to the horror of the situation I put them in here, and yet to also convey what this means to two vampires, both of whom were raised in different eras and whose compassion for the situation is radically different. And I wanted to explore the way that in some ways, they’re indifferent to what’s going on, but they’re indifferent for two entirely different reasons—one because he’s struggling with being sensitive to the act of killing, and the other because secrecy keeps him bound.

In my head, I couldn’t quite get this right, so I never laid it down, even though every four months or so, I would think about it again and try to hammer it out. And then in one moment, it clicked (or at least, I hope it did!), and out came the draft. I intended to make it a 1,000-worder, but I needed a tiny bit more to get it all the way there.

Thank you for reading.

§ One Response to Notes on “Strange Fruit” [spoilers]

  • Sally Hopkinson says:

    Just read the first chapter and it seems that I got the sentiments correctly. That Jasper and Carlisle could have crossed paths before Carlisle started gathering the family to him was not out of the realm of possibility.

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