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I wrote two stories for Yuletide this year:


Talking to Strangers (The Master and Margarita)

This was my assignment, a story about the Master and Margarita's life after the events of the book. At first, based on the text I had read, I thought that they were likely to be happy but alone. Luckily, [personal profile] tahnan lent me his copy, based on the more complete Russian text, which has Margarita telling the Master that friends will visit them in the evenings, which led me to start thinking of their cottage as an annex of Dante's Limbo of virtuous pagans, and about a dinner party.

The key to a dinner party is picking the right guests, and after some brainstorming I settled on two of the Master's fellow novelists to discuss their craft with him, Petronius and Murasaki, the authors of the Satyricon and the Tale of Genji. Realizing that Petronius was a possible late contemporary of the Master's protagonist, Pontius Pilate, was the insight that confirmed my choice. As I was writing the scene where the guests are all introduced, I felt that there was a tension between Murasaki and Woland, and in tracking that down, my planned sedate dinner party acquired an unexpected plot. Untangling the plot let me explore some of the consequences of Woland's specifications of the ball in the novel, and to play with some multi-lingual puns.

I also have to thank the Café St. Petersburg in Newton Center, MA, from whose online menu I took the snacks served at the party.




Omne pro Nomine Magno (The Aeneid)

On Christmas Eve, I was seized with the desire to write a Madness treat. Perusing the prompts list found me malo_malo's Aeneid request, and I decided to write it as a drabble in Latin. Because why not? I worked on it some at my mother-in-law's house, then scampered up to the local Starbucks to use their wireless to finish and post it. The challenge to write about Dido specifically was an interesting one, and led me to look up a bit of ancient North African history. I was expecting to mention the pharaoh as a major local power, but it turns out that the period of Carthage's likely founding was a chaotic one in Egypt, so I had Dido's sister Anna attempting vainly to find support among the warring factions.

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