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Happy birthday, you little freak


Seven years ago today, I came home from an afternoon with Meg and Liz, disgustedly going over the experience in my mind. Sure, it had been fun, but a large part of the day had been devoted to sitting in Liz's action-figure-littered dorm room from hell, having her read us exceedingly perverted X-men fanfics among gales of laughter. (If you have never heard the laughter of Liz AND Meghan together, you do not know the meaning of loud, by the way.) They were funny. But sick. And I got to wondering, what the hell, some of these people (despite their insistence on making Psylocke have sex with Gambit and Wolverine at the same time) had talent, and they were using it to write about other people's characters.

When I was in high school I wrote a weird little short story called Bruce the Duck, which eventually got turned into a movie. I remember thinking small bits of it were actually rather good writing (though the majority of it was self-referential bullshit), and I became sad thinking about how it would never go anywhere because I'd get sued by eight different people, among them maybe classmates I'd renamed "Dumbfuck" and "Chia Boy" and possibly Weird Al and Billy Corgan.

I thought about Bruce the Duck and the X-men fanfics, and I thought, Well, I can do better than that. And furthermore I wouldn't be ripping anything off; I would use nothing that came from someone else's idea, except for perhaps the English language itself. Couldn't get around that one. So, on July 31, 1996, I sat down to start what would be my third novel.

A few minutes later there was, like, this person on my paper. I didn't really know what she was, or who she was yet, but although she was definitely not a baby, she had just been "born" right in front of me, and I was like, Holy crap. Now what?

Ivy didn't stop to ask "Now what?" Oblivious to the fact that she'd been brought into the universe just a second ago, her first act as a conscious being was to attack her best friend for playing his music too loud, ramming his head into the ceiling. A hide-and-seek and chase scene ensued, resulting in Ivy getting knocked out of a tree, then chastised by another housemate for ignoring her duties. She was a weird little box of spirit, all pouty and light-hearted and confused and confusing. I didn't know much about her yet, but I loved her.

I wiggled my pen around on the paper for a while longer, and Ivy became a little more defined. Her purpose was unclear, and her past was a mystery, but some things were coming to light. I was as surprised as any of the rest of you when she crawled onto the ceiling, by the way. I'd known there was something odd about the girl but she flipped me out a little bit at that point. Obviously my brand-new baby was not normal. She had some kind of extra powers. That was intriguing. I like science fiction myself. But slowly I realized it wasn't your usual science fiction story. Though it didn't seem so at first, the story was set in the same universe that you and I know.

I wrote some more, and found a bit more information. Her ability basically consisted of being able to move things by thinking about it--fairly standard fare for SF. But unlike a lot of characters in her situation, she didn't seem to have any aspirations to use her powers to help others, or to take over the world or anything (though it was useful to be able to beat up her friends; sometimes she's a little violent). Much later on my little journey with Ivy, she ended up saying something like, "I don't want to rob banks with my powers, I want to use them to pour my goddamn cereal." Cute. It was just a weird little convenience for her. She was going about her life.

I got to know her really well. It took me two weeks to write her first book's first draft, and during that time I did little else besides write, think about her, and dream about her. I looked at the world through her eyes and tried to see what she might think. She put an interesting spin on life, and her observations pretty much rocked my world. When I put them down on paper they managed to rock a few other people's worlds as well; on this I shit you not. Ivy was very well received.

I spent a while in denial that there would be more books, then gave up. I wrote a second one my first year of college. Then a third one. Stop at a trilogy? No way! Book 4, the monster at almost 900 pages, came into existence. Book 5 is in progress, maybe 400-something so far. And I'm writing a prequel too, because some of the other characters captured my readers' attention and some of these Ivy trivia nuts wanted to know how certain situations came to be.

I don't really want to trim this story, but there's a word limit on this thing, so I will finish up in a part two. Please read on.


Well, I'll read on, but I get let one entry get by without a note.

NOTE. [katqueen]

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