Wyatt said I was afraid of nothing on earth. But that is not quite true. It is what is most obvious in a person that reveals their striving to improve, and their success. But that striving is a result of their fear.

Into what did I put all my heart and soul, all my effort? Loyalty. I am afraid of failing my friends – that emotion will impel me though I will nothing but the best.

I fear nothing from others. I try to expect nothing and succeed in fearing nothing. What more can be done unto me? Death and torture? Rejection? Unless it results from my own failure, I already take it almost for granted. My own failure. That is what I fear.

Wyatt said also that I was my own worst enemy. That is true. He knew me and forgave me. With him, my jealousy carried away my best intentions. And that fact, for it is a fact, begets fear that I should again feel it strongly enough that I should, despite my guard, betray myself again and harm my friends in the process. Yet I cannot, somehow, simply fade and move away from seeking friends, nor from offering them all I have, or hope I have for them.

I want to do my best for my friends – to lift them, to love them, to offer shelter, gentleness and strength; a rest from pain; warmth; companionship based on honesty and truth no matter how hard; laughter; recognition. I want to be relied upon to stand for them with life and skill, should it be needed – any aid in darkness and emergency, knowing clearly, unflinching and unafraid. I wish to stand ready for them at a moment’s notice, should they require me - simple and with whatever I have built and learned at their service. I love. I choose my friends carefully – so few. But those I hold, whether they so hold me or no, valued more than all the remainder of the universe.

Selfishness, Bat said. And I always consider my guilt in this. I can scoff at ‘perversity’ or any other epithet he offered, but ‘selfishness’ cut because I genuinely fear it in myself. I want to be worthy of what I see in my friends. Every act is selfish, and it is unavoidable that somehow every desire is desire, for myself. And, in seeking even to do my best for my friends, I may harm them. Am I guilty? Do I fail my friends in this – submit them to my intrusion where I have no right to delve, because I desire to help, because I desire even if I risk offense, or risk prodding nerve so raw they can bear no more from me? Yes, of this I am afraid.

I am not easy. I delve and cut and analyse; I am as incisive as I can be. I love. I wish to see my friends as they are - always more. And I wish to show them even a little of the way in which the wonder of what I see makes even my shadowy existence worthwhile. Standing for them physically I am not a liability, and I have confidence in my great usefulness. I am not afraid. But to love and stand for their souls, even against their conscious thought, causes me to fear myself.

The difference between what will heal and what will harm is so delicate, and it matters more than, as I say, the remainder of the universe. I am afraid. I try, and talk, ask and answer, as open as I can be, giving as much as I have – my own darkness as companionship, my own visions of light - hoping with love that I will not fail. But in hope is fear. The wrong metaphor, too great a presumption of closeness, too much concentration on darkness that leads despair, too much concentration on light in which they cannot yet believe – all can lead to harm. All can lead to an end of my chance to give, to love, to heal. As long as I may speak and be considered there is room for small errors. But they accumulate, and they may turn any moment. I can still see Paul’s pain, his eyes slamming closed to me at an idea I expressed with the wrong context.

I have failed. Paul. Wyatt. Others. And I may fail again. And though I selfishly will not stop trying, or stop loving, I am afraid.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 755
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
John wraps his throat warm in his new long woolen scarf. It is novel to him and he is very pleased with it, almost proud. He tucks an extra flask in the inside pocket of his great fur-trimmed coat, for it will be cold in the snow. The whole idea of caroling with his friend makes him pleased and proud, as he thinks of it. He tugs on his gloves and picks up the music books and his cane.

The snow makes the streets and country and world look like a Christmas card. Large enough flakes are falling that he believes he could count their points. Their friends. It is a tradition he has always watched almost enviously, and now he will bring it to some of those he loves. With Hickey. He smiles, his heart open, glad and warm. He has been looking forward to this.

It's the evening, the one he's been looking forward to; Hickey realizes this much with a start.

He's been drifting. He's been singing, too, though he only realizes it now, and it hasn't been any sort of Christmas carol. The same damned tune over and over--He can't get over it. Seems it's been going through head since... Well, since a couple of days ago, whatever that was.

'Always jolly, heart that is true I know...'

Christ. That's enough of that, more than enough of that. As he rises (having less trouble about that than he might have expected... but then, he'd gotten sued to drinking early enough in life that it couldn't do too much damage now), he reminds himself of what he needs to do before going anywhere. Make sure he looks presentable--fix the vest, comb the hair--make sure he'll be warm enough--find a warm jacket; he has one around here somewhere, has to. Maybe have another drink, too.

But whatever he does, he'll shake this goddamned funk. This isn't any state to be meeting the Doc in, and Hickey doesn't want it to go like that, anyway. By all rights, this is going to be a good time. Caroling. Hell, he's never done it before--Evelyn (ahhh, Christ) had talked about it, but they'd never really gotten around to doing anything of the sort--and it sounds like fun. Something to get out and do. And it's with the Doc; helluva guy, so far as Hickey can figure (and usually, he figures pretty damned well).

All right, there. He's gotten himself into a presentable state. And his head's spinning a little, sure, but that's nothing; that'll go as soon as he sees the Doc, he knows. You learn to handle it. Not that he should've been drinking--he feels a twinge of guilt at that; hardly remembers when he started, but knows he shouldn't have even touched the stuff--but he can't deny it, and he can at least be glad that he can deal with it. Could be worse.

He's as ready as he'll ever be. Even feeling the excitement of it, and he's glad for that. Wouldn't miss this for the world--Though another drink might be in order.

No. Nuh-uh. He's said no, vowed off the stuff... But with the way he's been going, what's one more drink? He takes a quick one, then, before setting the bottle aside (almost violently, a rejection) and moving toward the door. Best be getting out before he decides to take another. Before anything--

'But a maiden so sweet, lives in that little street...'

Before any of that starts again. Hell. At the very least, those Christmas carols should get rid of that tune; there's some relief in that, too.

He heads out into the snow, finding that the sudden cold shakes into more of an awareness. Good. Now he's just got to find the Doc.

John sees Hickey coming towards him through the softly falling snow and fairly beams, holding out his friend's copy of the book. Carols. John remembers them, but has not memorised them, and in any case it is better to have something solid to hold and read. His friend looks less than absolutely steady, but perhaps the bracing cold, cheer and exercise will help him come to himself. Something almost sad there, or wistful maybe. John does not yet know, exactly and considers offering his flask, which steadies him, but it is perhaps too early yet to need its warmth. He pats his shoulder and offers his hand to shake after the manner of gentlemen. His eyes are focussed, keen and smiling in anticipation. Perhaps they can stop at a cafe for chocolate later, if they get cold.

Now, that's good.

Hickey smiles at the Doc, and it feels natural, like it should. It's good to see him, to take the book of carols--he's seen these before, but hasn't touched one in a while--and to shake the Doc's hand. That's real enough, and so's the way the Doc appears; looks like he should be there, and by God, that's a welcoming face he's got. Keen enough, sure, and honest. You can trust a guy like that, and already Hickey's feeling a little more himself.

"Good to see you, Doc."

Time for those carols.

If you would like a visitation, please comment below!
Say, what shall calm us when such guests intrude,
Like comets on the heav’nly solitude?
Shall breathless glades, cheered by shy Dian’s horn,
Cold-bubbling springs, or caves? Not so! The Soul
Breasts his own griefs: and, urged too fiercely, says:
‘Why tremble? True, the nobleness of man
May be by man effaced: man can control
To pain, to death, the bent of his own days.
Know thou the worst. So much, not more, He

John has long breasted his own griefs but now, only now, he is beginning to face them and, dare he say, share them. This season he has reconsidered his deepest regret, peeling the rotting bandage from the hidden running wound, self-inflicted. It is not born of blood, hate or vice, despite his reputation. It is personal shame, and he had spent his last years atoning. But though he had suffered – rightly, he judges – it is never enough. He can never take back the words spat in jealousy and temper so long ago. Though he can forgive his friends any folly or darkness - from harm they do unto themselves to wholesale slaughter – John cannot forgive himself.

This season – this month – John has finally dared to do more than hold his pain clenched within him.

Always smugly confident that he feared nothing, he has found he is afraid of hurting those he loves. Again, he now has to admit. Again.

He has laid his hand humbly, respectfully and even wonderingly on Gabriel’s as he lit each candle of his silver menorah with its sad and touching story. And he has quietly recited the prayers after his friend; in English that John might understand them.

He has confessed to Gabriel, and found comfort in his forgiveness and arms. John has wept more this last year than he has in all his life, learning slowly to trust that he is loved and that his presence and personal words might be other than a burden or revulsion.

He has learned to answer Severus’ greeting and toasts warmly and without the initial horror at himself that had washed through him the first time he had replied. L’chaim.

He carries small trinkets for Gabriel and Severus, clinking softly in their little linen sacks. He likes silver and has scoured the antique shops searching for them – something he remembered. And finally he had taken them, formal, diffident and again humble, to a dark shop with a sign in recognised but unknown. “Teach me,” he had said, laying them on the counter. And he had been shown. He fingers the little gifts in his pockets now, waiting only for them to be accepted.

Atonement. All this has been working back towards John’s customary and essential unshakeable peace with himself. For John is shaken. And despite all he does and all he feels, his dreams are stalked and haunted. He wakens at night, eyes wide in the dark. And yes, he weeps, and only sometimes in fever. Guilt and loss. Confronting himself - opening that locked and barred door within him to himself – lets them creep towards him with the sun-deprived sickliness of anyone kept years in blind cramped darkness. They come towards him and enfold him; become again part of him. He wants to be washed clean. He wants to wash clean that hour though it has past. He tries, in these small ways, to make the present pure - as he would have it and as he would have himself.

Afterwards, he remembers himself running.
Afterwards, he never trusted himself to have a friend.
Afterwards, he never burdened his family again.

Afterwards, he had found himself kneeling before the altar in that small town in the Colorado mountains, exorcised with his hair damp and a cross of chrism on his brow, newborn.

But it had never been enough. Perhaps enough to bind the wound, but never enough to heal it.
cut because it is very long and because John actually does something terrible - you have been warned. But it is history and he was and is very sorry... )

His eyes are wet, intense as always, but sad, old and open with shame. “Forgive me?” Help me forgive myself? Help me... redeem myself? He clicks the little gifts in his pockets. Trying, trying, trying in small ways to make it better. And still he feels that he does not deserve to try, for himself. But deserves to feel that shame eternal. God forgives him, Gabriel has said, and he knows it must be so. And Gabriel forgives him. But nothing ends it.
Sometimes even John is utterly discouraged.

John is just tired. Everything is an effort. He is oppressed by tasks that others do not even consider extant as tasks. He has to still his throat and work his breath around the desire to cough. His body is so frighteningly thin he tries not to look at it, even himself. Fever gives him odd realisations, imperatives and visions. His hands shake and it seems almost unimaginable effort to simply walk down the street to the lunch counter. Unsteady hand on his cane, he regards the distance he must travel and it seems a vast desert with pitfalls he must brave – the loose board in front of the gun shop and the step down to cross the uneven road. Once he is there, he must eat. He must eat, and again must swallow carefully around his cough, and then he must digest. Often he fails at this last, and then the horrible acid taste or the additional pain in his abdomen. And exhausted, he must concentrate to space his words around his cough and palate, as he had learned as a child. Nothing is easy.

He walks to lunch, then to the saloon where he is dealing Faro, always, always upright and alert should he be wanted or needed. In his breaks and after his shifts at the job he barely holds, he practices by playing solitaire. As he walks and as he works, the only eyes upon him are predatory, trying hungrily to judge an ill man’s poker ability. They are wrong, of course – he retains his faculties. Other eyes follow him, accompanied by whispers of fearful yet fascinated revulsion. No eyes offer warmth, concern or friendliness. There had been no one willing to lend him five dollars, when it would have prevented him being beaten to death. It did not end that way for, shaky hands aside, he can still shoot. After, he plays poker with them anyway, into the night, still winning, avoiding the bed and fitful haunted sleep where coughing wracks him helplessly and painfully.

He is so tired. Exhausted. An arm around his shoulders, supporting him, letting him sleep cradled without drowning in the fluid in his lungs. A hand in his fine cream greying curls. He used to like that. Even yet, he keeps his breath so sweet, himself so clean, his thin skin so soft. Just for a moment, he wants that so much. Just a moment, to remember. Just a moment – it is Christmas. It is not even a pipe dream for no part of him believes it or trusts it or avoids seeking it.

A crystal ball in brutal Leadville, where he has been twisted by the smoke he inhaled fighting their fire, and then pneumonia, and now this.

A crystal ball in brutal Leadville: How much longer?

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 476
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
“One more game and then I’m afraid I’ll need to retire. I’m expected for breakfast tomorrow with Julian.”

Francis cocked an eyebrow. “Breakfast? With Julian? He honestly invited you to breakfast?”

“Yes. Why?”

A delicate cough. “Henry, surely you --”
a long present )
john_h_holliday: (marionette in my palm)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 12:26 am)
[insanejournal.com profile] castallia proposed writing the 20 best books one had read this year. I am reworking this as always as I was having difficulty gleaning twenty good ones. As is usual here, list of books are alphabetical by author.

Fine books recommended to me this year:

Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series
Neil Gaiman's Murder Mysteries
Victor Hugo's Les Miserables
Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh
J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series

Apparently I did not read 20 good books that I could consider recommending this year myself. Here, therefor, are 33 favourites. I have more favourites, but here are some.

  • Harris' Principles and Practices of Dentistry - Philip H. Austen
  • In Watermelon Sugar - Richard Brautigan
  • The Grey King - Susan Cooper
  • What's Bred in the Bone - Robertson Davies (and World of Wonders, The Manticore and
  • Fifth Business)
  • Death of a Rebel, a Biography of Phil Ochs - Marc Eliot
  • Long Time Coming and a Long Time Down - Richard Fariña (and Been Down so Long It Looks Like Up to Me)
  • The Wreckers of Pengarth - Michael Gibson
  • Diddakoi - Rumer Godden
  • The Deluxe Transitive Vampire - Karen Elizabeth Gordon
  • The Long Weekend - Robert Graves (and Antigua, Penny, Puce)
  • Warlock - Oakley Hall
  • A Free Man of Colour - Barbara Hambly (and the remainder of the series)
  • A Winter's Tale - Mark Helprin
  • The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway (and many novels, essays and short stories too numerable to list but especially A Clean Well-Lighted Place and The Gambler, the Nun and the Radio)
  • The Glass Bead Game - Herman Hesse (and Demian and Steppenwolf)
  • Ghost Boy - Iain Lawrence
  • Seven Pillars of Wisdom - T. E. Lawrence
  • Panama - Thomas McGuane
  • The Battle Cry of Freedom - Bruce McPherson
  • A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel
  • Between Silk and Cyanide - Leo Marks
  • Revolutionary Card Technique - Ed Marlo
  • In Search of the Hollidays - Susan McKey Thomas
  • Lost in the Cosmos - Walker Percy (and The Moviegoer, Signposts in a Strange Land, and Message in a Bottle)
  • My Name Is Asher Lev - Chaim Potok
  • The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues - Ellen Raskin
  • Doc Holliday, The Life and Legend - Gary Roberts (with some reservations)
  • Fontamara - Ignazio Silone (and Bread and Wine)
  • The Secret History - Donna Tartt
  • The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade - Peter Weiss
  • Nine Princes in Amber - Roger Zelazney (and the remainder of the first, but not second, Amber series)
john_h_holliday: (me - Denzil)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 12:28 am)
One hundred things, from [insanejournal.com profile] scytheandroses . John had already opened his heart about auld acquaintance and wept and had nothing more to say by the time the prompt was offered. Nevertheless I feel very much like writing.

There are a couple of new people here. Perhaps they would like to know who I am.

1. Everything for John. Well, that is most important. Everything else comes after.
2. I like things to be meaningful. Maybe I love you because I can see meaning there. Meaning lets me love.
3. If things are not meaningful I will play with actual toys, because I can’t stand small talk. Thus I am never ever bored.
4. If I’m nervous I will play with things also, although more quietly. It keeps me from running away.
5. Sometimes I look like I am playing with toys, but I am actually being diligent.
6. I was brought up apart from popular culture. Despite my best efforts I never caught up. Not really.
7. I am ashamed I do not speak Latin. Yet I am still not very diligent. I have Harry Potter in Latin to try again. Maybe immersion...
8. I converted to Catholicism. And I go to church. And I believe, though likely not the same as most. How dare you disbelieve or mock me?
9. I worry constantly. Do I say too much? Too little? There is always more I could say – fill all the world with talk or writing.
10. There was a long period of time when I didn’t talk at all. Ever. It is a rare phenomenon and unlikely, but there you have it. Sometimes it comes back, but not often.
11. When I was a child my grandmother used to say it was easy to calm me and quiet me. I only needed a pencil and notebook. That’s not changed much.
12. My adult life has been very strange. I assume yours may have been also and will wait unquestioning for revelations, not assuming mine was more strange. Just don’t assume I have had a normal life. It has been both wonderful and terrible.
13. I can do a Faro shuffle. This may not sound like much to you, but I am very proud.
14. I am not inclined to mention my invisible daily life. I pretend it doesn’t exist. I hope too, but that doesn’t work so well.
15. I have no gender identity issues. I can talk about it, but there is no imperative, just that set to my teeth when you include me with the wrong group. I have never had any doubts as to my gender.
cut for 84 more items )
100. Everything for John.
john_h_holliday: (soapy!)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 12:35 am)
John does not cook.
He takes his meals at lunch-counters and restaurants.
He has hired others to cook for him on the trail.

Nevertheless, here he is in a modern supermarket.

First he wanders the liquor aisle, amazed and bemused. It seems like a dream - everything is available in such bewildering array he cannot take it in. He buys what he fancies.

He has a basket and quickly fills it with:

1.Laphroaig single malt scotch
cut for listiness )
72.a packet of mojito flavoured Orbit gum

Eventually he makes it to the checkout counter, where he is gently steered from the Express line. Naturally, he pays cash.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
List Items: 72
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
This is a piece with a happy ending (revealed below for your reassurance.) Nevertheless, it is disturbing and it is rated NC-17 for graphic almost-sex, violence and language. If you will wish you had not read it, please stop here. John is in fact embarrassed and reluctant but resigned to speak of Kate this once. He surely does not want pitytm. For remember, it has a happy ending.

cut for disturbing nastiness )

Eventually Kate comes with him to Tombstone, to Wyatt’s admitted stunned dismay. Eventually she tries to have him killed and the debt he owes her is rendered void. Eventually Wyatt helps him and they give her $1000 to leave him forever and ever and ever.

And he never sees her again.
This, John thinks, is ridiculous.

The thought is the comfort of talented children trapped in circumstances that hold their bodies and perhaps warp their hearts, while their minds reach for something if not higher, then surely more. He thinks of a wild bird caught indoors, beating its wings to propel itself through a closed window, expending its energy until it is forced to flap frustrated on the floor.

Sometimes such children become great. Sometimes events continue to ensure they are thwarted. Sometimes they nurse this phrase as justification of failure and never reach for greatness. Sometimes those without talent cling to this thought when they are not recognised, holding it as proof of greatness they do not hold. Sometimes those who become great were children raised with love and opportunity. There is no formula.

John had taken comfort in this thought at home as a boy after his mother had died. he had honed mind and hand, waiting in resentment to be freed to become great. He knows the comfort of the thought is necessary, for there is little else when you are brilliant and all alone but the thought that you will show them all, someday, someday, someday. It is the reason he so avidly encourages education and study. Schools are a means of escape from misunderstanding and if they can offer tools, ideas, and intellectual companionship, they can offer hope and the breeze of fresh air if not freedom. It can offer a real possibility of someday.

"To be great is to be misunderstood." This can spur those who are both brilliant and supressed to greatness, that they might justify the comfort they derived from it in childhood. But it is a delusion.

Greatness gives one voice and influence.

To be misunderstood is to fail to communicate, whether the fault lies with the actor or the audience.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 309
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (warm eyes)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 01:09 am)

John has been seduced
Though not in the usual way,
And perhaps not at the intent of his seducers.
He waits and watches for those he can love.
And sometimes, not expecting, but merely observing,
He finds some one person suddenly shines for him radiant.
And he is lost.
Seduced )


John waits. He waits to talk to you alone -
All night if need be. If he loves you.
If he can see you, can hear you.
Many nights. All the nights.
But he never loses patience. He never loses hope.
If he has hope,
For he has learned he can rely only on memory for solace;
For he is dying and there is no time for such things.
What he has is a glimpse of your heart and will,
Which shine for him – glow – so that their light fills all the world.
And he wants to be near it.
But more, he wants to warm you with your light.
That there will be such a thing as warmth.
To warm himself.
Seducer )

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 560
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
So, the magic meeting was brilliant. And, oh, good news! (!!!) (best news last)
cut for length )
I love peaches. *smiles sunnily*

1. Peach Caramel Pie
2. Peach Ice-Cream
3. Pancakes with Peach Syrup
4. Whipped Cream and Potato-Flour Cake with Peaches on Top
5. Peach Upside-Down Cake
6. Dumplings with Peach Sauce
7. Dried Peaches
8. Peach Muffins
9. Peach Crumble
10. Pudding with Stewed Peaches
11. Tinned Peaches
12. Peach Cupcakes
13. Peach... Jello?
14. Peach Cobbler
15. Peach Jam on Toast
16. Peach Juice, with Ice and a Mint Sprig
17. Peaches with Cream
18. Peach Shortcake
19. Peach Brandy
20. Peach Schnapps
21. Peach Cider
22. Peach Milkshake
23. Fresh Peaches
This is myself, not John.
Something of light, not sadness.
It is a few days late, but it took some time.

"Today is the very first day of spring
Today we have gathered here to sing
A song of Celebration
A song of New Creation
A song of Jubilation
Children of the darkness, driven here by the day
Children of the darkness, we’ve a few things to say"
Perth County Conspiracy

cut for length )

And this is Candlemas.

"Come to the edge.
Come to the edge
Come to the edge.

And they came
And he pushed
And they... flew".
Perth County Conspiracy

cut for length )

"Yes, and I remember...
So the wind won't blow it all away
Dust... American... Dust"
Richard Brautigan
john_h_holliday: (20 and all the world ahead)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 01:32 am)
The fighting was over, but the war went on. The roads, and even the fields, crawled with soldiers coming home defeated, and they crawled with carpet-baggers, racing the soldiers to take, legally or extra-legally, their unprotected homes and farms from their hungry and over-worked wives and children. And they crawled with recently emancipated slaves, many of whom milled directionless without possessions or goals.

John watched his world with growing horror.

a story at last, cut for length )

Mattie’s lips pressed a soft kiss that shivered into his pale neck. “Though it seems impossible, I have perfect faith,” She said.

And John brought his uncle home from the war.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 1111
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Severus)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 01:34 pm)
the_iscariot writing for john_h_holliday

John waits.

He is a patient man, the consummate gentleman and perhaps the rarest of hosts, because he is sincere. John feels wholly and simply and without demanding you do the same. To do so, would be vicious and he will not so, not now at least. Perhaps once, long ago, when he was a different sort: he could have been vicious, or cruel, or taunting. Once, he may have hurt you because he wanted to. Someday soon, he may do it again. John’s dreams, whims and desires are as vast and endless as Arizona deserts, his nightmares, and wrongs as black and arid.


But, his voice is smooth, welcoming, and it warms like a good Whiskey. He knows that most precious of all gifts, how to listen and how to make people listen. He hides secrets- yours and his own- behind the languid pools of his eyes. He dreams easy and laughs easier.

One day soon, he will die.

But until that day, John sits, smiles and speaks to you when he chooses to, but mostly, he’ll just chase the horizon, any horizon he finds, like he did when he was a younger man and death not so real.
Because John was never any good at waiting.
1. How about a brief introduction?
My name is Denzil. I am learning to be a card magician. I work for the government. My life has not been sufficiently believable to relate. But please ask me anything you wish. I will probably answer. Privately.

2. What got you into fan fiction (and/or adopting muses)?
I had never heard of fandom until, apparently, July 2006. I was writing John anyway and Johnny Ringo found me and offered me a passport. I immigrated at once. Ever since I was a child though, I wanted more from books when I had finished them. Certain characters resonated, living on and speaking to me. When I was very young I used to write them letters. Friends.

3. What kind of fan fiction do you write?
I do not know. I have done a great deal of research. I use it. I listen to John. I am trying to write more stories. It is your (plural) stories that speak to me most and perhaps I wish to emulate you. I am jealous, wanting to speak to you in turn.

questions 4 to 20, including fic paragraphs )
11. What was the first fandom you wrote for? Do you still write for it?
That would be John. Obviously I still write him. Type for him.

12. Name your OTPs and explain what it is about them you love to write. Yes. Relationships in general.
I... don’t know. I Hate things where one must select some people over others. If John loves you, he will tell you. He is shy but cannot stop from telling you. Me? I follow John. If John loves it is like all the world opens in visions and beauty. He is so lonely, rejects so much, that when he does love Heaven opens. And I am filled with joy as I look to see why, what it is, what it means, who he loves. Even if his love is just pain. He loves not to be loved but to love. To wonder. To feel. To remember. It is amazing to him. And to me.

13. What would you call your writing style?
I have a writing style? I have nothing to say here. Honestly, I don’t think about it. I just write.

questions 14 to 20 )
For [insanejournal.com profile] the_iscariot's Truth or Dare game
Active Death Eater warnings: torture and murder

cut as per warnings )
It was a different place and a different time. Prejudices carried by the characters are by no means held by the writer. Warning for language and bigotry.

My father told me he believed in the South and the Confederacy. He told me in word and deed. And he lied.

Fifteen years old, John started school.
cut for length )

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 1892
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
My name is John H. Holliday. I am a dentist. I was raised a gentleman. When unable to practice dentistry I became a sporting man. I value my friends above everything. My family motto is Nulli Virtute Secundus - ‘In Virtue Second to None.’ I take this very seriously.

cut for length )

Thus approximately half John's life.

I write John at all the times he experienced, depending on prompt and inspiration. He is happy to roleplay and surely has friends and loved ones in various times and worlds. He is flexible as to time and place, but any roleplay thus far has taken place after his actual life. He has thus been thirty-six, caught just before death. Roleplay with one individual has not necessarily affected that with others. If he is interested he talks a great deal. This is how roleplay has tended to go, but I am of course open to other tendencies if they arise.
The Character Physically

1. What is the character's stature and build? Is he overweight? Thin? What is his height and weight?

John is five foot ten inches and one hundred and twenty pounds. He is almost frighteningly thin and thus looks taller than he is.

2. How old is he?

36, though he looks older. He is not aging beyond the age he reached.

3. Describe his posture. Is it good? Does he carry himself well? Is he crooked? Straight?

John stands erect – it is something he has maintained so long it is natural. But... he is ill and is sometimes less erect when he is feeling especially poorly. This is a natural effect of tuberculosis.

4. Is he in good shape or out of condition? Is he muscularly weak or strong?

He has very strong hands, but he is fragile and weak. He still does not give in to it but carries himself with will beyond his physical resources.

5. How is his health? Any illnesses or conditions? Any physical disabilities?

Well, obviously he has tuberculosis. And he was born with a cleft palate, but it is scarcely noticeable now, the scar beneath his moustache. His health is terrible.

6. Is he physically active or sedentary? A fast or slow mover?

He is surprisingly active for his condition. But again, he overextends himself and finds himself exhausted.

7. Is he clumsy, awkward, graceful?

Generally he is precise, every movement perfect with purpose. In most social situations he is nervous and his hands shake. When he is working or in emergency this does not happen. He can be extremely graceful, but only rarely, when he is especially happy. He is never clumsy.
cut for length )
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 03:36 pm)
These songs are alphabetical.
If you would like any songs to download, just let me know.
These are songs John likes, songs he thinks represent him.

1. Chopin's Nocturne Number 1 in Bb Opus 9 Number 1 - Adam Harasiewicz no lyrics
John’s mother was a piano teacher, and this is his favourite piece to play. If there is a piano and he plays for you, this is what he will play, unless something else is imperative.
2. Dixie - Bittersweet and Briers lyrics
A song of the Confederacy. I have never managed to find a recording of Stonewall Jackson’s Way or it would also appear here.
3. The Man that Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo - Del Monico Four lyrics
An old sporting man’s song, slightly after John’s time, but he is still fond of it.
4. The Bonnie Blue Flag - Douglas Jimerson lyrics
Another song of the Confederacy.
5. Today Is the Highway - Eric Andersen lyrics
Did someone say wanderlust?
6. Trumpets - Flipsyde lyrics
This is my song to John. The lyrics alone do not do it justice
7. Look at Me - John Lennon lyrics
Sometimes John feels like this. Humble and giving.
8. The Harp that Once through Tara's Halls - John McDermott lyrics
A song of Long Ago. These are by Thomas Moor and real John and his mother surely sang and played them.
9. On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe - Knights Bridge lyrics
John loved the railway. This particular railway was the enterprise of one Cyrus K. Holliday, and John himself fought for them in the railroad wars for rights of way in the Royal Gorge.
10. Gabriel - Lamb lyrics
John and Gabriel, John strong and daring to want.
11. Farewell but Whenever You Welcome the Hour - Mary O'Hara lyrics
If John has a song, it is this one. A song of Long Ago he truly sang. Thomas Moor again, from his time, that speaks of his passing
12. Gathering Storm - Matewan Soundtrack no lyrics
Acapella. Oh yes, john considers himself worthy, but... mostly it is the woman’s voice he likes. The lyrics are not really necessary. See Matewan. It is a great movie.
13. Walk On - Neil Young lyrics
Carrying on despite reputation.
14. John Saw that Number - Neko Case lyrics
John dreams. Again, the song is more than the lyrics.
15. Cross My Heart - Phil Ochs lyrics
Sacrifice. Despite, well, anything. I’m going to give all that I’ve got to give. Cross my heart. And I hope to live.
16. Lou Marsh - Phil Ochs lyrics
Fighting for others, despite them. An action movie.
17. Power and Glory - Phil Ochs lyrics
What are we fighting for? A great patriotic song, and John was very patriotic...
18. There But for Fortune - Phil Ochs lyrics
I could have been you. And you could have been me.
19. If I Should Fall from Grace with God - The Pogues lyrics
The worst that could happen.
20. Streams of Whiskey - The Pogues lyrics
Scotch and being adrift.
14 more )
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 03:38 pm)
John knows what to show and what to hold. Poker. The familiar given cards vary only in sequence. He can bend their order as well – a slight rotation of his thumb, a straightening of his little finger, a small movement of a knuckle at the edge of the deck, busy barely perceptible pressures of his fingers beneath it, a shuffle that is not quite a shuffle, a cut that is not quite a cut. Every deal has a perfect and correct reaction - a star in the grey of dawn. John calculates odds and probabilities. He watches the other players, the way they show and hide disappointment, fatalism, eager hope, or triumph. John remembers every card dealt; remembers every corresponding narrowing of an eye or twitch of a hand. He floats above any interest. He erases the part of himself that cares, reaching only for the perfect reaction to each deal. And part of each reaction is to show and to hold – to smile, to lift his lip, to add momentum as he throws cards, to hesitate, to appear to drink too much and sway with gravity, to look up with a cocked eye, teasing and daring. Am I lying? And then, afterwards: Why yes, I was. There is always a correct, a perfect thing to do. Poker.

But now it is not poker. The cards are not Ace to King in four suits.

John sits across the table. He is always sitting across the table. Now he does not deal cards but invoke Platonic Forms. Innocence. Darkness. Warmth. Fear. Bravery. Love. Want. Sacrifice. It is as if every ideal is an ace – at once low and high. cut for length )

And you will win. And he will win.
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 03:42 pm)
Here is the promised bunny, resting after one of his many adventures.
1. My perpetual silver flask of scotch
2. My silver cup
3. The pocket set of nesting silver cups
4. The Colt Lightning
5. The Colt Thunderer
6. The double-action Webley boot revolver
7. My diamond stickpin
8. My pocket watch
9. My Pocket Dental Kit I made in Dodge
10. A knife
11. A deck of cards
12. A silver pencil
13. Handkerchiefs
14. A hat
15. money
Not medicine.
Not Doktor Maximus Markuse’s Anodyne Cordial with tincture of mercury.
Not laudanum.

A magic potion

John muses.

It is another way to ask the question: What do you wish in this world? Stand in the room alone, naked and warm from the bath, arms spread. Feel your own self and the air on your body. Potions change you; they do not change the world. Not health – that is medicine.

John stands as asked, turns slowly, alone, not to show or to display but to feel, to move, to become simply present and aware of himself. Experimentally he lifts his feet, stretches to his toes, sways his outstretched arms. His head is full of people. Everything can be taken from him but their memory. It is all that matters. Memory and the tiny hope of Heaven. There he stands.

Perfect memory then?

But John’s memory is better than perfect. Fever breaks down the barriers to feeling and to dream and the people in his head live and change as he talks to them there.

John, what about hope? You don’t dare ask for anything. What would your life be if you hoped?

“It is the most frightening thing there is.”

I thought you most feared hurting your friends.

“Today it is hope. I can’t think about the other today.”

All right. What if you drank a potion that gave you hope? What would happen? What would it be to you?

“I can’t even imagine.” And John puts on his clothes, all thirty buttons.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 254
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 04:54 pm)
Please fill these out if you would. John himself has never posted one before. Leave your name or post anonymously, as you wish. We are ever curious.

Johari Window

Nohari Window

Thank you very kindly.
john_h_holliday: (Default)
( Mar. 20th, 2008 04:56 pm)
How this works: Pick a band/musician and answer the questions with song titles by the band/musician you chose. If you would like any, please ask.

Band/Musician: The Pogues, because we have all their songs.

Who are you?
I'm a Man You Don't Meet Every Day

Are you male or female?
The Gentleman Soldier

How do you live your life?
If I Should Fall from Grace with God

How do you see yourself?

How do others see you?

How are you feeling?
The Ghost of a Smile

How do you love?
Sit Down by the Fire

Who do you love?
Boys from the County Hell

Where do you wish you were?
Cotton Fields

What is your advice?
Streams of Whiskey
John does not pray for justice. Justice exists hand in hand with innocence. Both are the converse of guilt. Justice is not personal. It is not what one deserves, but what is produced by the limitless intricate web of causality. Justice is what results. It is the product of all that has gone before, spreading over all the world like a blanket.

Justice is what he reaches for. Every choice is trading one thing for another. One life for another. Peace for truth. He does not pray for justice, he tries to create it. Creating justice is creating the future, and it is within the hands of everyone. Causality is complex, without blame, simply with what comes to be, and creating justice results in success or failure. To avoid choosing is to fail to live. With each choice and its aftermath John learns; John becomes; John can see justice more clearly.

And it is innocence that builds it. Innocence is moving forward – it is created by the past. It is knowledge and experience, growing from pain, growing from mistakes and guilt - growing from smiles and pleasure, growing from skill and pride. Innocence is a process of becoming more and more certain of what will be justice.

John does not pray for innocence. It is not a goal. It is what lies always at the feet of everyone. It is a matter of degree and those who have known most have the most innocence. It is the opposite not only of guilt but of naivety.

John prays instead for the courage to choose and sacrifice.

But he is human, and John prays more for inspiration, for patience, for trust, for the strength to resist jealousy, for chance and eyes to see what he can respect. He prays still more to be known. He prays to smile, to give smiles. He prays to love, and thinks sometimes of praying to be loved. And when he is weak - or is it faithful - he dares pray for touch and company.

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 340
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus
Lemonade, with Ice
Ice Cream
Bare Feet
The Old Songs
The letter 'S'
Cedar Trees in the Sun
Gone with the Wind

Peaches go in every category.
We all strive to make believable characters. What have you done as a mun to write your character believably? Do you think you have successfully pulled this off? How do you as a writer keep your character balanced and believable?

I read an article recently that suggested that one should balance muses, if one loved them, so that they had flaws. And the test of whether such a flaw was genuine was whether one, as a writer, found the flaw annoying or would dislike it were it real. It was suggested that love of a muse tended to lead towards agreeing to, approving of or being able to justify all of a muses actions, and that that would mean the muse was too good to be true. It suggested that sorrow made a muse rather less than more real, but that inexcusable behaviour served to make him balanced.

I read an article recently that suggested that we create a world and a worldview with our muses that should be true. And the test of whether it was true was whether it was realistic, if muses would do as they do in one’s writing as people would do in the real world. Would, it asked, they really be apt to murder or harm others, and if they would, it further queried, is that what one ought to be writing and so promoting, even as a ‘meme?’

In response, for my own edification, and hopefully to improve my writing and portrayal, I should like to address the way in which I write John.cut for length and poll graphics )

Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Fandom: History.
Word Count: 1026 (excluding poll)
Please comment if you wish.
Nulli Virtute Secundus