john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 06:41 pm)
What is hidden? Why, everything in this journal.
Everything I write here from the depths of my loss and sorrow.
Everything I write with loss and love.
You do not see anything but Southern courtesy, arrogance, quick offence and anger.
Perhaps a certain decadence, a selfishness and dissolution. Perhaps you see an ill man quietly playing patience.
Perhaps a dangerous serial killer with potential worrisome gun and knife-play.
Perhaps, just perhaps, you witness my fulfilling of civic duty. But that is all.
There have been some few to whom I have revealed such things as I speak of here.
I can count them on one hand - those into whose ears and eyes I have poured the wine of my soul as into glasses at the Last Supper.
I mean no disrespect. No blasphemy. A metaphor only, I assure you.
But that is what it is. All I am. All that will be left. "This is my blood... remember me." When I spoke to them, it was my last act.
Do you know what it is to be dying? To be dead? Every act is your last, and you must make it count.
And I am an ill man.
Oh, tears may form and you will see but my eyes watering from coughing.
A blush at remembrance is not so different from a flush of fever.
My condition could cause my hands to shake as much as nervousness or irritability.
Or, perhaps you might catch a glimpse, but I will never ever apologise, explain, let you touch it, let it touch you.
Neither do I have the time or effort to waste either to give that to you or keep it from you.
I always look for more in you )
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 585
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Write about a time you were manipulated.

I suppose the time has come then to talk about Kate. Oh, we have been coupled, a deathless relationship in the popular press. Yet I find myself not even cold, but completely indifferent. She manipulated me, oh yes, in serial, with so very many wiles.

Why me? I have always wondered and never known. Just because she could? Or because I could play cards?

I suppose in the end, what I do feel is a slight shame. I should have known better. She saved my life in Fort Griffin. That is what it comes down to in the end. I owed her loyalty and care - whatever she wanted. Out of honour. For she was also a woman, if she was surely not a lady. And one must treat women well, with courtesy and deference. John sighs.
In which I relate the tale of a curse )
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 883
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
I have pthisis, also called consumption and tuberculosis. My nights are restless, largely sleepless. When I lie down, my poor rotting lungs are disorganised and swim in liquid. And it rises in my throat. I cough, I choke. I hold my breath, concentrating so hard, to still my breathing, keeping it even. I am careful, taking shallow breaths, gradually working to deeper more soothing breaths. And with effort I am calmed to the point of drowsiness and dream. And I lose that tight control and wake shaken and wracked in suddenness, jerked back to full consciousness in pain. And I worry, for it is only rational that with every ounce of lung tissue I lose more capacity to breathe, to collect the oxygen to keep my heart and brain. And left alone in the night I have to wonder too, what if that falters, the tubercules corrupting my blood. Will it corrupt my thought, change me, harm my memory on which I rely, the steadiness of my hand. Beyond that, there is fever. Always late in the evening. And while I worry and concentrate my mind wanders and the sorrows of my life haunt me. Or perhaps not sorrows only, but joys no longer with me. I reach for the dead and the lost. Sometimes I weep. Sometimes I hope. Fever grants highs and lows and variations. And sometimes there is even delirium and sometimes worse. And I must think of my mama and the coma and helplessness that ended her life. The food she could not ingest, even from my hands. The days when I could not wake her and had to care for her when she was not... there. The terrible sores I could not staunch at the end. Her loss of me, as great as mine of her, and known. And I know what is to come, if I am lucky enough to wake each morning. Sometimes I do not want to wake. Take me in mercy. And then I am thrown awake by paroxysms again, and the blood. Oh, the blood again and in the dark the quantities seem so much more. Spittoons and basins, soft cloths pressed to my mouth as I shake helpless. And in the morning, all the further blood that has collected must be expectorated, torn from my chest, through my throat. Everything tasting of iron. The sounds horrible and frightening even to me. My coughing is then worst of all - fearful and disturbing. Often I wait as long as I can. Whiskey and cards until the sun begins to rise. And another night has past - it is morning, in time at least. I try to trick myself, but still the pain and nightmares and fitful time, for man must sleep. And I arise at noon. I ask my breakfast be placed outside my closed door, so none must witness the awful mess and sight and sound of me so wracked and helpless.


Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 443
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Nulli Virtute Secundus.
In Virtue Second to None.
Because that is always the moral. I had meant at first to say something else and I shall, in fact, speak about that presently. But first and foremost - and that is in no way intended as a pun - the moral is that one must do one's very best. Virtue and Honour before all and beyond all. Whatever the story, or the tale - whatever the undertaking. It is the moral - however heroic the demands, when bravery and strength of will make decisions clear. It is the moral - however ignoble the circumstances, when every choice is the wrong one. Even if the ending is not happy - even if it destroys you and all you love, adhesion to that moral allows you to live with yourself. When everyone is gone and everything is lost, you are still left with yourself. And at that time, if you do not respect yourself - if you are unable to know that you did your best, took to heart the moral and followed it, then you have and are only dross, and there is nothing.
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 185
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
From [insanejournal.com profile] onewingbloody, from his chat, and mine, with [insanejournal.com profile] smecker. Darkness and Light. That says it all. Oh, and deep and wrenching. Oh, yes.

Not exactly meta, not exactly RP-- somewhere in between. What started as a (rather silly) meta chat game of Skinning between [insanejournal.com profile] doc_holliday_tm, [insanejournal.com profile] smecker, and [insanejournal.com profile] onewingbloody shifted pace and ran away from us into stuff that was too deep and wrenching to leave merely as a chat. Featuring smashed!!Smecker (there was originally an actual reason he was getting drunk, but trust us, the details are not important).

Beethoven was fucking -mad-, okay? )
Leave No Trail.

We learned this after we killed Stillwell.

I say 'we' and though in truth I myself, upon whose shoulders fell the responsibility and in the end the geas, did not actually pull the trigger, I surely would have, given the opportunity. It was only chance that I did not.

We made several mistakes that day, which we took to heart, when we saw their effects. There was no blame. One errs - one learns.
Leaving a trail )
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 574
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 07:10 pm)
This is surely a late slang term, but it is one I have come to learn and know - a concept of this new world I have taken to myself. And that with gladness.

As I stepped from that platform in long ago, far off Atlanta, bidding all I knew and all those I loved 'Farewell,' I was embarking on a road trip to last all the rest of my short life, and now beyond.

Within that scope there have been smaller road trips, bracketing the stops by the wayside of what we used to call 'the circuit.' There were times I paused with brief hope of peace and place. But looking back with a clear eye, that is all they were - pauses in itinerant meandering.

There were companions on deliberate road trips - Pole Cat Adams, who I hired to accompany me from Texas to Santa Fe, to help with the camp tasks I could not do in my illness. Kate, with whom I made that long wild ride, again fleeing Texas, 800 miles from Fort Griffin to Wyatt and Dodge City in Kansas. And then my friend Wyatt himself, on that long peaceful journey in the buckboard from Dodge to Prescott, when we thought we were finally seizing the beautiful dream of going home. When I thought I had family, by extension, and all the world. Before we awoke.

There is so much to say about each of these journeys, especially the last. But I shall not say it now.

For: now there is something else.
For: now there is something else. )
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 653
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Important challenges before he arrived in Tombstone
Yes, the format is somewhat after that of [insanejournal.com profile] _call_me_snake_
click here for a table of bouts! )
Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 810
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Farewell, But Whenever You Welcome The Hour
by Thomas Moore
A Song of Long Ago )

It could have been a song of loyalty or pride or faith, a song of violence or history, cards or guns. I know no songs of dentistry. But above all, my life has been friendship and the loss of that - that which I valued and cherished most torn from my eyes and fingers, or turned from as I myself departed for perdition. Oh, I would like to think of Mattie and Hub happy, with joy and companionship, in the beauty of home and our old Southern skies and scents and songs. Mattie and Hub, amidst the old voices and dances, the familiar plain fare and delicacies. I remembered, every day, every night. I would like to think of Wyatt happy, raising a glass, though he never used to drink, to joy of family and friends. Not for him the old quiet Southern ways - a rover, restless, bringing honour and quiet courage and diligence, calm and reassurance by his solid quick-silver forward-moving reliable presence. Always an air of promise and adventure. I should like to think of him carrying that with him, creating home for his companions wherever he stopped over. Friends. I remembered, every day and every night. And I think, still and always, perhaps selfishly but surely wistfully, that perhaps they think of me, miss me, wish that I were there, sharing their companionship and conversation, laughter and movement, whatever bright hopes and plans they bear, their joy and wonder at the wild sky perhaps, their pleasure with the hospitality and lives they make for one another. I should like to believe they think of me. This has been my life - a wistful turning from that I loved. From friends and love, out of need to spare them my presence and pain. But I love, and I should like to think they know, and think of me. My life has been a Farewell, but with that wistful thought of being remembered and cherished nonetheless.

And my mama played this song on the piano, while we sang around it during the dark war long ago, thinking of how it would be sung by those so far away fighting for us.

Oh, I am strong. My eyes are cold, linear and uncompromising. I have killed and murdered. I have without a word endured daily what would have broken another. I am strong of mind and deft of hand. My diligence and memory and these are what you will see, should you look upon me favourably. But this - this song - is what I am, to myself. You will almost certainly not see it, despite this journal.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 434
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
162. I Never Thought I Should Say This, But...
18:54:00, January 21st, 2007


I am happy.

I was happy when I was a boy.
We lived at the farm in Griffin. My mama was alive then, and oh, how she loved me. My uncles were there, and my aunts who lived with us. Uncle Thomas and Uncle William taught me to ride and shoot. My Uncle John lived nearby, with Hub and George, my cousins. We played in the fields and later hunted and walked. Hub was my best friend in those days and Thomas my favourite uncle. Sometimes my Uncle Robert's family would visit, from Jonesboro, with my dear Mattie, star of my childhood - and adulthood, for that matter. My Fitzgerald cousins had the nearby big house and school at Fayetteville. I nearly wrote recently about a Holliday party there, and unexpected kisses. They had beautiful parties and barbecues in summer. Ah, the fine ladies and gentlemen, the girls and the boys of those halcyone antebellum days. Summers were hot and winters were mild. My mama taught me and did good works for the poor and sick, and for the church. My mammy cared for me and, with my mama, taught me to be a young gentleman, like my uncles and the fine men about me. I learned to play piano, to sing, to dance. I learned to speak. And she taught me the rudiments of all the subjects I learned later at the Academy, when she had left me for Heaven. But this is a story of my earlier happiness. I was happy.

And now, though there were pleasures and great deeds and those worthy of love and loyalty in the darkness since then, and though I never thought to say it again:
I am happy.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 285
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
affect: grateful grateful
For what does one wait, in the absence of hope? Death? Many have said that of me - that I was waiting to die. Nevertheless, that is not so. My life is as much to me as any man's is to him. I have given it up, for I could die any day. But that is with sorrow. I do not wait for it. and what else is left? I do not wait for Mattie, though she waited for me so very long. I do not wait to start a dental practice with Hub, though he still waits for me. I do not wait for Wyatt, he is gone and I can only haunt him, if I can keep control of my... my what? Selfishness? I do not wait to become anything - I am all I shall ever be. It is almost as if time had stopped. I do not wait for my practice of cards and guns to improve to miracle any more. They are as well as they shall ever become and I only try to hold onto what I have as I become more ill. Some would say they are miracle, but I see the tiny things that could improve.

I wait for Heaven. To see my mama and Morgan, and in their time Mattie and Wyatt and Hub and all the others - friends and the relatives who have been close and who have cared for me. When I shall not be ill and there will be no fighting and struggle, but when I can share with them all we have managed to become and we shall be with God.

And in the time that passes day by day, I wait to be needed. I wait to do my best, rather than to simply exist. I wait for the moment when I can help protect the Good, or at least the innocent. I wait for chance to make the future a place of which I can approve. I wait for chances to help and encourage children come to be more than those around them. I wait for anomaly and difference at which I can throw myself - to leave a legacy of action that, if it is not known, will at least be felt.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 364
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
My parents. I have never thought about them together. Not as parents, but as my mama and The Major.

There was my mama, who was good and gentle and did her best for me and for everyone. She, like Mattie always saw the best in everything. She believed in diligence and taught me to work hard, to practice, to strive, even in slow ways that would only eventually see results. She taught me to think of the future - in this and as the ultimate measure. To make a good and right world for the glory and pleasure of God. She was faithful to Him, and her faith in me let me try to live up to her ideals. She was gentle and good, and because she was so, I learned to see that in all women. I learned to give them all respect, not for their delicacy, but for their forbearance, for their goodness and kindness, and for the work they did, unthanked, unrecognised, so dull it was devoid of any flash of glory - on and on and on until they passed away. My mama was beautiful, with soft hands and soft hair. She looked like me, essentially, but dark and with more symmetry. She was brave and worked so hard and was kind and helpful always, even beyond her strength, all of her days. And she loved me. She loved me.

My papa was a military man. He admittedly worked hard as well to bring honour to the community. After the war, when the cotton harvest failed for boll weevils, he brought pecans to Georgia, for example. He took in many children. He did his best to protect our land and that of our neighbours and all of our area from the carpetbaggers after the war. He was Head of the Freedmen's Bureau in Valdosta. He was mayor and judge. He helped found the Valdosta Academy, where I was fortunate enough to study. That is all I have to say of him. He betrayed my mama, myself, my family and the Confederacy, as far as I am concerned. He did not love me and I have not yet forgiven him.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 361
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
What an unexpected question! And yet - I feel I can address it.

I was brought up to believe in ghosts. Every night, when I was put to bed as a boy, there were old stories, legends, rumours - suspicions mixed with superstitions to become terrible. While they were designed to scare a small child into going to bed and staying there quiet with his eyes closed, they were believed to some extent by their teller. The conviction in her eyes imparted itself, and I surely did believe in ghosts. I believed more immediately and more relentlessly than I think would be likely in these later times. Spirits and ha'nts, she said. And there were worse and more archetypal characters and horrors waiting in the dark. I was taught to fear and to keep my eyes closed tight all the night. Evil eyes and wards, and to never ever speak of it. It was not my gentle and loving Methodist mama who told me these tales and put this wild horror to my dreams and baby worries. She would have spoken of God's love and how He had not created such nightmares to torment us. It was my Mammy, who cared for me and watched me, who bathed me and darned my clothes. In these days, and since the war, one may not speak of it - of that lost time of my childhood. But it was so, and it was my reality. And she instilled fear into me, though she too loved and cared for me.

I did believe in ghosts. But later?

I thought perhaps I was one myself. I was doomed to roam the world like the Wandering Jew, or like Cain. Untouched and untouching. Dead, and yet animate. Already passed beyond mortal ken and kin, and yet remaining and haunting without end. And sometimes, in the depths of fever, I sometimes truly believed it was so. That it was so and would never end.

Now, all I can say is that I do not know. Touching and touched. I am no ghost. And yet, time has moved impossibly. Did I die in that distant room in Colorado? I did. Then how came I here? I do not know. How is it that I did not see Wyatt again, yet? What will I find at his grave? But I know I am now no ghost. And that I am not haunted. And there are no horrors in the simple dark.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 398
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
This is a question to which I have given a great deal of thought over the years.

Bat said of me, "He was selfish and of a perverse nature, characteristics not calculated to make a man popular on the frontier."

I have fingered this coin - this token - until its face has worn in my fingers, considering and contemplating, during sleepless nights. How could he say this of me? What is selfishness? There are and have been things I wanted very much indeed. So many things were taken from me, so many things were denied me. My will is strong, and my diligence. I do not give up until I spin, turning my back, casting aside one more precious thing. I can wait. I can study and practice to the point of miracle.

Selfishness )

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 763
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Perhaps you noticed the icon/ficlet meme. The Lady Schofield wrote these words for me, and I am most grateful for her understanding.

"What a difference do our circumstances make in us! Once when I was younger, I used to believe (with a child's naive, bold certainty) that a person's self was themself through and through, and their misadventures might fine-tune them a bit, but who they actually werewould come through unchanged, no matter what was thrown at them. I was, as I said before, quite naive when I conjured up this opinion. I have since changed my mind, and there is no better example of why than the history (or to me, the future tale) of one John Holliday, DDS...

Those who have known him personallyseem uniform in their assessments -- that this man was possessed of manners, a neat and elegant bearing in both himself and his attire, a distinct intelligence and an unshakable loyalty to those dear to him. Loyalty! A keen mind educated in the arts of oral health, and the manner of a gentleman! What is there about him that would not make him a desirable husband, and upstanding citizen and welcome guest --suitable for the company of all. A cultured man, who might be a proper dining companion or travelling compatriot!

And yet...in the wilds of the American frontier, the mention of his name causes the casual listener to envision a murderer. A man more known for the drawing of blood with gunshots, rather than the tools for extracting teeth. A cardman in gambling hells, smelling of whiskey. A man wracked with coughs and pain, upon whom Infirmity and Death have cast their long shadows. A man with no fear of that 'Undiscovered Country - from whose bourn no traveller returns', because he knows that soon enough he shall be a sojourner in that dark land. And at the same time, this man has cheated death -- when given only months to live, back he came with a valiant will that stretched those months into years before having to fold his hand in deference to his Dark Opponent.

What a dramatic, tragic tale this story seems! And yet how different it might have been, if the malady of consumption had not fallen upon him! He might have remained in the East, a practitioner of the dental arts, perhaps a family man...he might have been happy, but unknown through the ages. Or would the temperament that made him notorious in the West still have driven him? None shall ever know. The rest, as the Bard says, is silence."

It was the Civil War that had torn John's world apart and thrown him from the idyll of his childhood.

He knew what it was about people that allowed him to love some very few - to hold them valuable and kin. They had died. But it was not just this that drew him to such people. It was the courage required to bear the loss of themselves, the knowledge they gained from this refining fire, and the miracle of their simple existence or, even more rarely, their ability to again and at length rediscover beauty and worth in the alien world in which they then found themselves. There was something also that moved him in the self-reliant pride of their struggle, successful or not. There was always something specific which had broken them free and opened their eyes to perspicacity. For John, this had been the aftermath of the Civil War and his father's betrayal.
from dream to death (cut for length) )

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 1033
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:04 pm)
There is no question that I am fragile. I make no effort to hide it. A slight chill, damp clothes, a little smoke in the air, insufficient whiskey to hand, exertion at the wrong hour - any of these can so affect me that I am unable to rise from my bed, sometimes for days. I feel stiff. I feel brittle. My strength is that of a child, and my stamina is laughingly less. If I am assaulted I will fall, and I will break, because I stand by will alone. Often I use a cane, not because my legs are more weak than my body, but because it allows me a second of rest as I pause, leaning on it for support with each step. Incredibly, there are yet those so devoid of courage, honour or pride that they would assault me, even frail as I am. I deal with this as best I can. I maintain alertness and thought, and work hard that I might protect myself, even in this state. Awareness and guns and knives serve me. There is no shame in my frailty. I make no apology for my lack of capacity for physical work. It is courteous, of course, to express regret, should my infirmity prevent me from fulfilling appearances or pleasures, but there is no shame. If there is need I shall stand to order however, no matter how I am. It is the strange thing about dying - it throws need into a different perspective. It is my responsibility to determine it, but I can cast aside my own need for a higher one of a person more alive - more, not just needing, but needed. It is true I feel some sadness for my body, for I was once handsome, though I say it myself. That, however, is mere aesthetics and I have burdened no one with its form or... gruesomeness. Phenomenal strength of heart and mind allow me to be functional and... valuable, despite my fragility. Though I say that, too. It is a reality that overshadows much, and may not be left or forgotten even for a moment. It causes me to walk as a dead man, only coincidentally animate.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 367
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:07 pm)
Time is a very strange thing. It is not so much a thing as a state of motion, and it can be described only by its varying rates of speed. Of course, those rates are subjective, only measurable to oneself if one records one's perceptions in relative terms. Objectively, time itself is a measure as it registers with the ticks of a pocket watch or with the movement of the tides, the moon and the earth as it spins in relation to the sun and the stars. There is also the measuring of time in the face and body. This is both subjective and objective. The facts seem s simple, yet beyond them the subjectiveness renders time strange.

I first noticed it when I was a child. Halcyon afternoons seemed to last forever when they were dappled in sun and shade, with the cooling taste of mint in lemonade while I talked or played while waiting for dinner, listening to the leaves moving. Walking to church, on errands, or to go visiting seemed to stretch time similarly. It seemed as if destinations would never be reached and I disliked the weary tedium of endless-seeming exercise and the prickly stickiness of sweat and dust that never seemed to be present when I ranged freely though the woods or fields with Hub or Thomas. Study and practice was a different matter.Cut for length )Now, thrown into the twenty first century, time has slowed and calmed. I move through it now as through air. Every moment is a gift from Him, but there is no division of minutes. That has ceased to be important.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 967
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:19 pm)
If I am to be absolutely honest with myself, as I must be, I should have to say that I have not been successful with love in the past. For myself - within myself - I have loved strongly and well. Circumstances have prevented me from fulfilling that love to death. I have dealt with that inevitable loss in relationships by leaving them rather than bearing love's fading, much its less dying. I have not played out the natural ebbs and flows of relationships to their conclusions. I have intentionally taken my leave so that they remained ever as I left them - bright in my mind, if not my hand - strong and pure and achingly beautiful. Mattie. I carried her love and beauty across the west. Wyatt. I carried his love until I went to bid him A Dieu. And beyond, of course. I carried their love and my love for them, cherished, high and perfect. Mattie helped me, allowing me to keep our love in state - hallowed but inactive. I have loved wonderfully, but I have been a poor lover, being absent for the most part.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 189
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:22 pm)
John, eleven years old, writes to his hero during his Valley Campaign in encouragement and admiration.

June 14, 1862,
John Henry Holliday,
Griffin, Spaulding County, Georgia
Confederate States of America


Dear Col. Jackson,

I am a boy from Georgia, and I am very proud of our army and soldiers and of the Confederacy. My father is a major with the 27th Georgia Infantry under Col. Levi Smith - part of Colquitt's brigade with you in Virginia, and all my uncles and cousins volunteered in the very beginning. Only my cousin Robert and I are left, because they tell us we are too young, and also I must look after my mama for she is very ill and there are many people in our home. Someday I will follow your example and fight to make this a better world, as you do, should there be a need again after we have won this war.

I wanted to write because you are such a hero to us here. We are some of those for whom you are fighting, with such bravery, and I hoped to express how very much we appreciate it. The Confederacy is our whole life, and we surely know you are working and fighting to save it. We sing songs to think of you as you fight, around the piano with neighbours in the evenings, even Stonewall Jackson's Way, which was written by your men, and I think of my father singing it as he fights with you. I know you are a very religious man, and should like you to know that I go to church with my mama and pray for you every night.

Mostly, this letter is to thank you, sir, for all you do for us, for all your courage and work, and for all the time you have given up with your own family, for us.

Yours truly,
John Henry Holliday.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 304
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Sometimes disastrous occasions arise, created by evil men, madmen, or men misled into evil. These occasions can be dire and the lives of those one loves and the lives of innocent strangers, as well as one's own life, can be in real and immediate jeopardy. Especially when one is aware from the frequency of their occurrence, that such events are near-inevitable, it is vital to be prepared to meet them. One must be ready, and one must have trained oneself to be ready to act in such human emergencies. Part of that readiness is knowing that one could kill should it prove necessary. Part of that readiness is knowing, in turn, that one is ready to die to preserve other's lives. If one does not know these things as certainty, before such willingness becomes imperative, then one hesitates, despite one's best intentions, as one considers exactly to which lengths one would go. Speed and accuracy born of readiness and long prior diligence are critical. These are the things which save loved and innocent lives. Yes, I am willing to kill another human, under these circumstances. As balance I am willing to offer my own life. I have proved this 'not once but many times.'

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 206
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:29 pm)
I surely do have scars. I will admit it. I have also given such to others in my turn.
John examines his body, toes to scalp.
  • There is a nasty scar on my right leg from a gun wielded by Henry Kahn in Dallas. I had caned him, as he richly deserved, and he shot me. It is from a serious wound, and my cousin George came out from Georgia to care for me.
  • On my left hip there is long scar, also from a bullet. I got this one in Tombstone during our infamous gunfight with the McLaury brothers, Billy Claiborne, Ike and Billy Clanton, Johnny Behan, et al. I was shot by Frank McLaury and I killed him.
  • My chest is riddled with scars. It is not something with which I burden anyone, save one to whom it is not a burden. These are from pthisis. There is no help for it. These hideous wounds appear, and I pray they will heal. Thus far they have, at length and with care. But they leave ugly scars that look like bullet-holes, but are not.
  • There are long ragged scars on my back. These were given to me in Tombstone also, when a boy beat me with a two by four because he had been taught by his elders to disapprove of me and the way I lived my life. I shot the ground at his feet and he ran, but the damage was done.
  • Underneath my moustache is a now-precious scar, a line on my lip proceeding deep into my mouth and very bone. It is the mark of a secret, sealed, and was given to me before my birth. It gave me diligence. It inspired me to become a dentist. It was the first touch of one I love.
  • In my hair at the left side, hidden, is a scar from the barrel of Milt Joyce's gun. This was given to me in Tombstone as well, when I confronted him for my friends during the gambler's war over the gambling concessions. It started in Dodge City when they were all working against Luke Short and spilled up the circuit and up the line. I was standing up for my friends and he beat me and threw me out and took my gun. I came back with another gun and he hammered his pistol against my head. I shot him in the hand. There was so much blood, they thought I was dead. Then they arrested me.
These are my scars.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 414
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
John smiles again with a pure light in his eyes that almost makes him shy for once.
At Easter.
At Easter I played with a great number of tiny black rabbits. So soft and shiny and clean, with big bunny feet and little pink bunny noses. I petted them and fed them. They nosed against me looking for special carrots and greens. I made one a little parsley wreath, which it ate so slowly, gradually nibbling it. One went to sleep and I tucked it into my waistcoat where it snored softly against my chest. They nibbled at my fingers and nuzzled against me. I lay down on my stomach and let them come up to my face to greet me, tickling my cheeks with their whiskers. I held the little paw of one of them like holding hands. I lay on my back and they hopped over me. I stroked their little ears and petted them as long as ever I wanted. There was one beautiful moment where all the little rabbits curled up in unison against my sides and on my chest and went to sleep, purring.
Gabriel.
Gabriel made me smile - in innocent joy.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 198
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:36 pm)
I have written about my mama. But 'mommy' or 'mummy...' That suggests childhood before one drops one's slips, as they used to say. I did not change much. My mama did not change much. The world around us changed, and it killed her. Then I changed, without the surety of her love, example and forgiveness. What do I remember from those early days? The thing that let me be sure of myself - her complete confidence in me, in the supremacy of goodness, persistence and working towards goals. She had warm arms and a warm shawl to nestle me in winter. She had a hand with cooling lemonade in summer that paused to touch my head because she loved me. She had a cleanliness I rarely saw after the war, save that it could be bought. Her patience was infinite and encouraged me to continue on longer and longer with the small tasks she expected of me, just to please her. I was not a simple child to raise, with my burred speech, the determination she had taught me and my jealousy and intensity. But she loved me, always, and even when she did not like the things I had done, she both had faith in my intentions and expected me to be good. If there is any goodness in me, it was my mama that planted it there and encouraged it since I was a baby. She would never let anyone laugh at me or taunt me, when I was learning, or even to speak of my efforts. She helped me to work hard, but gave me the peace I needed to concentrate. Oh, I love my mama so - have loved her every moment I spent in her company or under her care. I never kicked against her slightest wish as boys do, especially as they become men. I love her still, and she is proud of me, in Heaven. She is proud of me, and I value that beyond all expression, and have always lived for that. I tried to give her all my pride, and when I speak of pride, it is not just to live with myself, but for her, watching me from Heaven.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 368
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
There is nothing I would have done differently to change my life. I did what I thought best in measured way, consistent, doing my best to be prepared. I believe I did good. I was a pioneer who helped to settle the West - to bring it law and peace and safety. I honoured my friends and kept the faith. I did my best always to encourage children to better themselves to make the world better, as I had been encouraged as a boy. They are the future. There are so many things for which I feel sorrow, but I do not feel regret. The fiasco that occured in Tombstone, for instance, came about - I must admit it - because I honoured my friends, and I would not back down from that, whatever the cost. And I paid. And paid and paid. But I do not regret. I believe, looking back, that I would have done the same, even in hindsight, because although it was not... favourable, it was right. And although nothing could have saved Billy Leonard, I could not... deny him. Even though it cost so much - other friends and our home. Is that selfish, to even in retrospect, sacrifice loved ones, or all our comfort, or all our opportunities, for honour? Is that what bat meant? I do not regret what I have done, though it brought personal sorrow.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 230
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Gabriel once asked me to tell him about the best day of my life - in the nineteenth century. I never answered him, for we then moved on to other matters. But I had always meant to relate an account of one of the large family barbecues that we used to hold out at my uncle's big house in Fayetteville. The war began when I was ten. This was before we were blighted by its events, when we were all young and happy; strong and handsome. Though, as always, I say it myself. It is not a memory of one party, but an amalgam of those perfect times.

An Account of a Family Party. )

That is what I would regard as a perfect day.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 1921
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:44 pm)
Though I am famous for excelling at guns and cards and, perhaps beyond those, at friendship and loyalty, I was always most proud of being a dentist. In 1873 my dental models and dentures swept the dental awards at the Texas State Fair. I won the prize for the best set of teeth in gold, best set of teeth in rubber, and best dental display. John Seegar, with whom I had a partnership in Dallas for a time, and I entered together, but it was all my work. The partnership dissolved rapidly, due to my health and his disapproval of my lifestyle. My dental career dissolved sporadically due only to my health. But that fair was the pinnacle of my career, and I proved myself an exemplary dentist. In spite of my subsequent incapacity and everything that came after, I won that day. When I was at my best - young and if not hale, at least hopeful - I was the best dentist in Texas. Nothing can take that from me. That small spark flares, even as it is blown in stories of shame in the newspapers, even as it is shadowed by personal loss. It is a fact for always. I was a wonderful dentist. And I can always think of that with unmitigated pride.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 217
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 08:47 pm)
John has taken in his breakfast quietly, when he could hear no one in the hall. He had requested that it be left like that - on a tray outside his door without disturbing him. Sometimes he is ill and not capable of engaging in pleasantries. At length, after eating it slowly and with difficulty, he leaves the bare plate and utensils outside again, along with a little money and a request that his supper be similarly left for him. John is still in his nightshirt and does not intend on leaving his room today. The night has been long and pain-wracked and he has been left thinking too long and too clearly in ebb and surge of fever. Perversely and against custom, he leaves the door unlocked. It is always he who goes to tap on Wyatt's door, so he leaves his open as he is feeling depressed and grim. No one will come. A pint of whiskey has not been enough this morning. He continues drinking, sterilising the burning pain of his throat, raw from coughing. He continues drinking so he doesn't notice the sting in his eyes that have been sleepless and are still dripping tears for himself. Indulgence, but he is ill. Despite the inadvisability of a horizontal position, he lies on the bed and curls himself around one of the pillow to be holding something. He tries to hold his breath, but is forced to sit, coughing. Josie. Once, he had cherished her, glad at her free youth, and helped her and her friend Addie, proud of being the Southern gentleman, offering his arm to a lady, genteelly disregarding her position in town. Now... he tries not to think of them. His eyes closed, he tries to think of Mattie and what she would expect of him. He cannot bring himself to look at her letter just now. Mattie and her good beautiful Christianity, strong with innocence, reaching out to him, even here. And Wyatt, leaving them, leaving the circle of communion, leaving him. In the heat from his fever that flushes his face and expands his skull, he sees the vision of Wyatt drawn from him, across the sky, reaching his hand to John, but his face rapt, drawn by Josie, never to say grace as... family... again over the biscuits. At length the surge of heat passes, leaving him wet and shivering. He wraps the blanket about him again.

Secrets. His mind is clear with vision. Secrets. I am ill and jealous and I can never be good enough or loyal enough or unselfish enough, as Bat said, and someday... someday I shall be unable to hold those secrets to myself.

Eventually, in Albequerque, that day comes.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 446
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
I have recently solicited questions. Please ask me. Here is another way of answering and asking questions - I have done this before, but one can never really answer enough questions to be entirely known, nor ask enough to entirely know others. For the most part.


Instructions
01. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
02. I respond by asking you five questions.
03. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.
04. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
05. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.


1. Easy one for a start: Got any hobbies?
You may think it odd, but I don't have any hobbies. musings )

2. Ever kill a man?
John grins at that. Have you heard of me? musings on the facts )

3. Tell me straight, Doc, d'you ever just sort of watch people? You seem like the sort who'd just kind of sit back and observe, if you see what I'm saying, and I've gotta wonder what it is you see.
I watch. I watch a great deal. musings with metaphor )

4. I don't know whether you've any steady sort of lady friend. In any case, what sort of girls do you prefer?
John smiles again, but this time it is involuntary. I have a gentleman friend. But that is not what you asked.musings on Mattie and women )

5. There's something about you... Hell, I don't know, exactly. What do you want most, Doc? What do you value? You'll see what I'm getting at, sure you will.
John smiles directly into his eyes. musings on wanting and valuing )
Curt: We set out to change the world and ending up… just changing ourselves.
Arthur: What's wrong with that?
Curt: Nothing! … If you don't look at the world.
(Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine)


What did the people in this quote actually do? Did they dress a little more fashionably? Did they change their clothes? I would suggest that if they did not do so literally, they did so figuratively.

This makes me angry. In the first place, the notion of changing yourself is absurd. If you want to change yourself - then do so! If you want to be kinder, more friendly, more diligent, more loyal, then do so! You can oh so simply think, when you are doing something, "Could I be kinder?" If you can be kinder, then be so at that point. There is no mystery. Surely you can learn greater and more creative ways to be kinder, but that is a perpetual task, and more than a qualitative change.

Do you think changing the world is trivial or personal? Personally it involves sorrow and sacrifice. It is nothing to change oneself. What is that, in the vastness of humanity? It is changing the world that counts. I did change the world. At least - I should correct that - I changed the world within my reach. And, look at that world. Peace, citizens able to build schools and churches and communities without fear. Families able to farm without threat. Peace, order and good government. I did that. I and some few who worked as I did, some with whom I worked.

Look at the world.
Now look at me. I lost my friend. I lost the home we had meant to have. I lost the freedom to go home to Georgia and my beloved South, even if I had been well enough. I lost honour in the eyes of the law, and what remained of my reputation was destroyed by so many who glorified only death and mayhem.

Look at the world. You can drive freely into any of those towns and work and build and start a family.
Look at me, dead alone in that hotel in Colorado.

Changing the world has a price.
Changing yourself is nothing.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 340
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
I cannot choose relief, though I should like to, of course. Relief is like a drop of water in the desert. It is like a tiny pool sparkling in the sun, representing succour and life - a finger-sized ocean that evaporates. Relief is fleeting and never received in proportion to the sorrow which precedes it. Every drop of relief has vanished, so it is neither decorous, dignified, nor even productive to scrabble the dust for it in faith or hope as it disappears. Relief is not exquisite. It is small and treacherous.

I cannot hold with vengeance. It is a poor motive, and though Wyatt called our ride through Arizona a vendetta, it was not so to me. It was a cleansing. When one's clothes are soiled it is not vengeance that inspires one to wash them, but cleanliness - a desire for order and the eradication of chaos. It is said I pursued revenge, not just then, but at other times, but it was more of a scrubbing of scum from a land that deserved better. And also, that ride divided us somehow. Vengeance made us less, for it was surely like dust in the air around us as we rode and killed. The taste in our mouths was not triumph but bitterness, and afterwards, we were not the same. I cannot hold with vengeance.

That leaves vindication. This is the thing I strive for with every action I take. I am dying - dead, it might be said, so I must seek vindication in advance. The absolution of the Future. Thus I am always vindicated in my eyes, if not those of others. I consciously do my best always - what I believe is best from all choices that meet me. But vindication is not exactly exquisite. If I were to think of it metaphorically, it would be solid and hard-edged, like incised stone. Vindication is not delicate, easy nor born of joy. It is discipline, training and sacrifice.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 309
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Dear Major,
You know how I feel...

There is nothing to say. John is not one to keep his opinions or feelings, much less his outrage, to himself. He is still angry, still bitter, still betrayed.Someone who hurt you )There is nothing to say. He will not even say 'Father.' Crumpling the scarcely started correspondence, he begins another.

Dear Uncle John,
You were my father in so many ways. It has been a long time since I have seen you and your family my family and our fair Georgia. I surely miss you all and the old balmy climate, and even the smell of the earth. Someone you hurt ) Uncle John, you treated me like a son. Uncle John, I can never come home.

John fingers his uncles gift - the bright diamond of his stickpin. He crumples this letter as well.

Dear Robert,
I find myself in Colorado, in another mining town with the beautiful and evocative name of Silver Plume. I find myself contemplating the effects of the policies of the current government on the silver market, which will surely determine the rises and falls of my fortunes here...

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 495
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Somehow John has woken up as a child. His body is solid and round, though still on the thin side. His lungs are clear, and he awakes without choking. "Hello. Good morning. How do you do?" He tests his voice, and it is higher and lighter. He remembers how to speak though, as he could not do coherently when he had really been six. He is about two feet shorter. Interestingly, when he looks at the calendar, he sees it is September. His clothes still fit around him, they are just too long. He cuts the pants and shirt sleeves and rolls them at the bottom, tucking in the shirt. He cuts the drawers short. The vest is alright. There is nothing he can do about his shoes - even with newspaper they would look like a clown's. His socks work out if he pulls them very high, up over his knees, the heel halfway up his calves. He buckles the sock braces beneath his calves to hold them up, somehow. There is nothing he can do about the waistcoat and jacket either, so these he leaves off entirely. A little clumsy with the scissors, big in his unaccustomed small hands, the cuts are slightly jagged, but they are hidden. His hat is big, but not so very much too big. The head grow least, he knows, and his has always been large. It will do.

John sees the 'other' boys starting down the street with brightly coloured knapsacks. He has nothing of the sort, but does possess a nice leather writing case, so he takes this up and follows the others, to start school. He believes in nothing so much as education, in learning and the training and inspiring of the young to professions and higher learning. He started school when already in his teens. Now, he is six, somehow, he wants, as he has always wistfully thought, to be taught to read and write, to see what is said now about the history he has lived, to excel at mathematics, to begin Latin again, and to watch children learn.first day of school )

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 885
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (John Stiles Holliday)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 09:24 pm)
I have been given fourteen and a half years more than I was promised, and after that these six months amongst you all in this new time. I cannot expect that I will be granted more than twenty more years, for even though I attend your events and celebrations, greet you, write to you or visit, I am gravely ill. My body will lie under the green grass in the red soil of Georgia, and I myself will be at peace with my old friends. And I will be happy then, and healthy, waiting for those few others I have loved to join me once again. When I was dying in Glenwood Springs, I did not wish to burden my friends and family with either my illness and passing or, far less, the joy of a hope for resumption of intimacy followed by the pain of immediate loss. Now I am here with you all. Though I genuinely feel profoundly sad that I will cause you pain, I cannot, for the companionship, love, and indeed joy that I now receive, bring myself to absent myself from you all to die alone. I am sorry. But I will await you and welcome you at the time of your own passing. And Gabriel - Gabriel, you will be there always until the end of days, as you always were. In Birth, in Death, before and after. Comfort beyond words, love beyond the grave.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 241
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2008 09:24 pm)
Whiskey (for the_iscariot)
9:34:00, August 11th, 2007


John sits at the table with his cards, practicing by playing Patience, as is his want. It is a corner table, so they both might sit with their backs to the wall. There are two glasses this time, and three whiskey bottles in a precise row. He still says whiskey, but really it is the fine scotch now available in this new century: Aberlour, Laphroaig and Scapa - all very different. His hands shake slightly, but his shuffles and deals are deft, and his memory is perfect.
cut for length and comments )
These fevers that wash through him create vivid realities, saturated in poignancy, that transform even the daytime of work and dust. Visions swirl - visions of the dead, of those he has left, of the living. They contain beauty, clarity and intimacy he misses with perpetual ache in the waking world. So many are simply gone, and there is no way to convey to the living the things he sees in them in the night, though sometimes he tries.

Warmth rises through his body, not like steam, not burning, though it literally consumes him. Perhaps he becomes steeped or infused for, though it is moist, it is inside him. He thinks of those he loves and dreams them with open eyes. Feeling and knowing, he is sure it is their souls he sees - not present exactly, but revealed. the crawling heat causes his feelings to keen as well - to an intensity he does not experience in the light. It is love, interwoven inextricably with loss. Enchantment and sorrow overwhelm him as he twists uncomfortably in the sheets. Often he weeps and sometimes he feels he could reach out a hand to touch the souls and visions. He feels for them. He feels for himself. Eventually visions turn to actual dreams and as John tosses fitfully the prickly warmth is dissipated by clammy sweat. Then he wakes again and the cycle repeats itself. He cannot count the times even in a single night.

Vision )

Cleansed by tears, forced to turn and relax, he comes to sleep, and dream.

Dream )

He wakes, twisted and tangled in the soaked sheets. He is so cold, so cold, and wet with sweat. The room comes into focus. He coughs and chokes, leaning over the chamberpot, staining it red with real blood mixed with the white shreds of lung tissue. He shivers helplessly, sits up and wraps himself in the blankets.

"Sometimes," he says aloud, "Sometimes, my eyes are still sad."

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 1577
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
More coming after vacation.

1. You used a quote for mine then, so I'll return one: Hemingway once said that we are all a Lost Generation, broken and lost by something that was suppose to change the world? What broke yours?

We lost the war. Everything I knew was lost and with it went the more personal things - my family, home, health and hope. With that loss and the privations and vengeance visited upon us came the knowledge that all the courage, knowledge, skill, confidence, fortitude and ingenuity in the world had only resulted in the deaths of most of our men and surely the best of them.

2. Do you lend yourself to regret or might have beens,and if you do, what if anything could you regret?

I do not believe in regret. One cannot undo what has been done. It is not that one does not err, but that after the fact all one can do is one's utmost to ensure the same error never occurs again. But one may mourn and one may dream of what could have been.

3. Would you rather be enlightened and miserable or ignorant and happy?

There is a certain pride in sacrifice, suffering and banishment for truth and principle. It is freeing to stand guiltless in a muddier world. With blood on one's head and pain running from one's eyes from cause, one has paid and so deserves any good and does not deserve any wrong. To be happy and ignorant is to be only half alive - one's happiness does not count any more than brief sun on a tabletop.

4. A cliche but simple one. What is your idea of a perfect day?

The easy answer is the one I gave Darius.

5. So, do you trust me?

I trust you implicitly, and I am under no delusions. You are a spy and may need to betray me to avoid betraying higher cause. I accept this - it is duty and virtue and carries a high personal price for you. I have nothing but respect.
The whole answer.

I have done this before, but one can never really answer enough questions to be entirely known, nor ask enough to entirely know others. For the most part.

Instructions
01. Please leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
02. I shall respond by asking you five questions.
03. Please update your journal with the answers to the questions.
04. Please include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
05. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you may ask them five questions.
Comment and I'll give you a letter.
- You have to list 10 things you love that begin with that letter.
- Afterwards, post this in your journal.


[insanejournal.com profile] dien gave me an A

1. Alice Jane Cloud MacKey - my mama
2. Angel - you know the one
3. Aveolar Process - my favourite bone
4. Aether - how I talk to my friends
5. August - my summer birthday
6. Air - more precious to me than to most
7. Arms around me
8. Asking asking asking - what I love to do
9. Atlanta - my last real home
10. Alabaster - beautiful
11. Almond paste - delicious
12. Albequerque - my friend Gillie's town
13. America, Confederate States of - a lost world
What makes a hero? What makes a villain?

If I were to play the cynic, I would say: Success.

But I am not quite so cynical as that, and it is not so simple.

There are men I love. These are my heroes, and I would claim that my judgements are valid. Heroism is only brought about by the refining fire of pain, loss and struggle. And these must be freely chosen.
what heroism is not )
Heroism is sacrifice. When your hands are filled with the ashes of everything you have loved, burned to nothing with the cold all-consuming fire of your will… When your eyes are still and flat as living death because despite the scorn, dismissal and hatred you face, you know you have done what you believed to be best… When your pure heart beats only for yourself and the only voice that has offered any confirmation has told you that history will in time absolve you… Then you will know that you have been a hero. Whether you were right or whether you were wrong. And then I will love you.

What makes a villain?

There are men I love. They are not villains, and I would claim that my judgements are valid. Villainy is the destruction, corruption and betrayal of the innocent. But to be truly villainous these acts must never be for selfless cause. They must never inspire prolonged acts of restitution. They must never be under compulsion or threat.
sources of villainy )
Villainy is like sin. It is not unforgivable. It is not irredeemable. Every moment is a tabula rasa, and one may be redeemed.

Man can control
To pain, to death, the bent of his own days.
Know thou the worst. So much, not more:
He can.

And it is not regret that changes villainy, but heroism. This is the origin of all high tragedy, and there is nothing more truly and purely beautiful, and there is nothing worth more in this world.

And when your hands are filled with ashes by your will… When your eyes are still as death because, unwelcomed, you have done your best… When your newly pure heart beats only into the void of the unwritten future… Then you will know that you have redeemed yourself. Whether you are right or whether you are wrong. And then I will love you. And I will love you as you struggle and become. And I will love you when you misstep and hurt yourself or others, because it not easy, but almost impossible, as Matthew Arnold bears witness.


Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 794
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
It is easy to say the war broke its children and cast them adrift, but that is neither personal, nor precise.
cut for length )
Everything I loved then and everything I had tried to love afterwards, especially if I succeeded, was ripped from my grasp by violence, blood and death if I had not already thrown it away because I was despairing and afraid and thus prone to jealousy, my fingers scrabbling, my voice reacting in hurt and bitter anger resulting from panic. I couldn’t stand myself like that. We all have weaknesses, but I couldn’t stand myself, so I threw away whatever I had, so that I was able to live with myself.
I was broken. And reacted to slights and stupidity with hair-trigger temper. And I didn’t even know, sometimes, if I could bear warmth any more, no matter how I desired it.
cut for length )
In the end, there was nothing to do but look myself in the eyes, because there was no one else to tell, and to state the truth I well knew: I did my best, always. But it was so cold. For how could I look then on other people, so blind and unfathoming, so blundering and always lucky. It is the cold that breaks such as me, or you. Others become impossible to respect. My lip curled and my eye lost a certain touching hope for companionship. And what, I thought, could heal it, when I knew the heart of most men with surety?

And the only hope I had was to wait and watch and trust there were others who had paid and paid and paid as I had for a different prize than society – pride and strength of honour within their own hearts, if not those of others.

But even then, I was so often simply wrong, hoping to see in others what was not there.

But even then, when they truly appeared, they too were torn from me, and the only comfort was to hold and remember, so experiencing the reality of the loss of something precious again and again, as I relived joy I knew was gone.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 828
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
196. You have been granted a wish.
22:52:00, September 22nd, 2007


One wish.
Gabriel has given me my old wishes - Friendship and love until the end of time; Wyatt missing me and waiting for me Beyond; my Mama proud of me and again waiting for me with Mattie, both in that land; my Faith all confirmed. I am dying, so it is with such things that I must concern myself. Most of my personal haunting pain has gone.

One more wish then.
I cannot help but thinking again of Bat's accusation of selfishness. Thus I cannot allow myself to wish for health. It is of such small scope.

There are large wishes I could make for all the world. I could wish that each child receive the education that he or she deserves. But perhaps such wishes change everything too fundamentally - are too shattering for the careful structure of causality to bear.

One wish though.
I have friends for whom I have strong wishes. I have a wish for a friend's memory of a beloved. I have a wish for a friend's peace. I have a wish that a friend would recognise his innocence. I have a wish that a friend learn to guide himself. But maybe these are not wishes, but goals for me. Maybe they are gifts I give them slowly as I create them for these men, and learn and work slowly myself. And these are four wishes, not one.

John shows a tiny smile, almost shy.
What I want most... the first thing that comes to mind... is to see those I have loved again beyond, for that meeting lasts such unimaginable time. Even Billy Leonard, who died committing the desperate violence of an intentional outlaw. Even those who do not want it, or believe they deserve it. It sounds so childish, even to my ears. I want all my friends to go to Heaven. But I do want it.

What shall I wish?
I know what I want, but it is not really to be granted to me for the mere act of asking or wishing.

I will wish for the strength of character and wisdom to be a worthy and trustworthy friend. A small simple thing ultimately within my control. A small wish that is not too selfish, too much, too disruptive, or too intrusive to ask. And in seizing such a wish - in valuing it so highly one always keeps it in mind - it truly is granted.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 407
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
affect: strange strange
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