[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld?s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She is currently the editor at the SPECk, a monthly publication on speculative poetry by the SFPA. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]
DEBATE: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE THINGS
Hello all! Melanie here.
Hope you’re off to the start of a great day and a great week. Not to give anything in the following emails away but I’ve been reflecting on the flawed process that is storytelling, that is art.
I spent a couple summers doing traditional beadwork with one of my aunts as a teen. I remember her telling me that, no matter how much you work at making the perfect sunburst pattern or earrings or traditional fan, we always leave in one mistake on purpose because that’s where “the medicine gets in.” It always captivated me, this idea that our flawed nature is the very thing through which healing and magic enter the world.
However it enters your day, I wish you magic.
Without further ado…
Subject: Secret secret SECRET meeting at the Velvet Room
As you know, I am now home from jail having won my battle against Detective Fischer and her trumped up JAYWALKING charges. I’m sure she didn’t know what hit her!!!! I am far more cleaver than people like her imagine!!! AFter all, I AM A WRITER AND WRITERS ARE SAMRT!!!!
AFter I was emailing you last week, I had an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IDEA about how to stop Tod Boadkins’ stupid council from getting to the writing anti-horcruxes before I do!!!!
While you didn’t send me Elrond’s new phone number which was very untimely of you and is one strike against you, I’ve decided that I don’t need Elrond’s help until later. Remember how, in The Lord of the Rings, everyone gets together and decides to throw the one ring into the fires of mount doom? Well it has become ABUNDANTLY CLEAR THAT I AM FRODO and I need my own group to overthrow Tod Boadkins’ stupid council of the most boringly boring bores.
I am also Elrond.
No, I’m Liv Tyler.
I’m Frodo if Frodo was Elrond and Elrond was Liv Tyler. FInal Answer.
No. I’m Katniss if Katniss was Leia and Leia was Dana Scully who was Beyonce!!!!
What was I saying??? Oh! You are cordially invited to a very secret, super secret gathering at the Velvet Room at the Cradensburg Town Library right NOW to discuss nothing less than the FUTURE of MIDDLE CRADENSBURG!!!
I picked the Velvet Room because it feels a lot more epic than my living room.
Please bring your notebook as I need you to take the minutes. Wear your best robe looking things or maybe a cloak. We’re going for impact here!!!! But don’t draw any attention to yourself!!!!!!
P.S. Could you pick up one of those meat and cheese platters from Mr. Morgan’s.
P.P.S. Oh! And some of those olives that come with the little pickle forks?
P.P.P.S. And some elegant looking goblets for us to drink out of when we’re talking???? I’ll pay youback after I’m famous.
P.P.P.P.S. This is going to break Tod Boadkins’ heart since he is in love with me, but maybe this is the wake up call he needs, Gladys!!!!!
Subject: Still waiting!!!!
My secret secret SECRET meeting is going to start in a little over an hour and I still don’t see you here at the library with or without a cloack and that meat and cheese platter!!!!
But you know who I DO see here???? DETECTIVE FISCHER!!!!!!!!!
She’s poking around in the ancient maps of Cradensburg section!!!!! That’s where I went to look up where the possible locations are for the anti-horcruxes!!!!!!
WHAT IS SHE DOING HERE GLADYS!!!!!
Oh! Gotta go! The shelf I was hiding on top of just dropped a dusty old encyclopedia volume onto the desk that Fischer is reading at below my sleuthing spot!!!!!
sent from my iPhone
Subject: Minutes from the Fellowship
I know you are probably a new version of Gladys and you are still getting used to being a timeshare entity and all, but I am saying this because I care about you.
CHECK YOUR EMAILS MORE FREQUENTLY!!!! We are BEST FRIENDS!!!!! YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN I AM GOING TO DEMAND THINGS FROM YOU THAT ARE URGENT!!!!!
Since you are not here I am stuck doing your job. Please keep these minutes in a very secret secret place.
The Fellowship Meeting Minutes
Date – April 23
Location – The Velvet Room at the Cradensburg Town Library
Objective – The FELLOWSHIP
Writer X – the next big epic fantasy writer
#bestkitten – the best kitten, vocalist for band DemonKitty
eventually Tryxy – showed up late but is the drummer for band DemonKitty (get the strange feeling that Tryxy does not want to be here. So weird.)
Marjorie – receptionist at The House of Nine Gables. Writes but never shows it to anyone.
Silverfox – incredible Furry Fiction writer, makes good harpoons in a pinch
Refreshment provided: Donuts by Marjorie
Writer X has sworn everyone to secrecy.
Meeting is paused to kick out high schooler that wandered in because we have donuts.
Writer X has very elegantly explained the existence of an unknown number of ancient hidden writing anit-horcruxes that will endow the bearer with unspeakable mastery over that element of writing so that they can rule all of the writing world and become the most epic of epic fantasy writers of all times. Writer X looks a lot like Beyonce if Beyonce were Dana Scully who was Leia and Leia was Katniss.
Marjorie says wait, what.
Silverfox says you’re kidding me right.
Marjorie says she never kids.
Silverfox says how are they anti-horcruxes, what does harry potter have to do with all this? I mean are we talking about killing people to cut off pieces of our souls or something?
Marjorie says possibly, knowing X.
eventually Tryxy says do you even know where these anti-horcruxes are.
Writer X elegantly explains that the true locations are yet to be fully known but that they will reveal themselves to the worthy soul, the one who is destined to become the next big epic fantasy writer of all time if her friends would just get with it.
Silverfox says why are we continuing with this conversation without discussing the fact that these things can’t exist.
Marjorie says why do you say that?
#bestkitten says mew mew
Silverfox says awwww she’s so cute I say that because if there are (uses air quotes) anti-horcruxes that could bestow a writer with such powers, and they’re as ancient as you say they are, don’t you think others would have found them by now?
Marjorie says not necessarily
Silverfox says okay okay I’ll give you that. If they haven’t been found yet, doesn’t that tell you that maybe they’re not the easiest thing to get to and when I say easy I mean they’re probably at the top of some cliffs or guarded by some monster or something, right?
eventually Tryxy looks shiftily back and forth.
Marjorie says think about what finding something like that could mean. It could mean writing the most perfect book that isn’t problematic in any way. I mean, you could write a story that can’t be picked apart for its moral failings in any era. All of fantasy fandom would have a single book—
Writer X sexily interjects: or series of nine books
Marjorie continues: that could unite every reader in every time. Wouldn’t you want to read that book? Wouldn’t you want it to exist?
Silverfox blinks and says Ummmmm, first of all that sounds terrifying. And that also sounds like an even greater argument for the existence of monsters as guardians.
Tryxy looks even more shifty.
Someone clears their throat loudly from the doorway.
Detective Fischer: The meeting room registry said that a secret secret SECRET group was convening in the Velvet Room. With a name like that, had to check it out for myself. Hello X, how’s freedom treating you?
Silverfox says Did you ever find out who’s stealing all the fantasy books around here?
Detective Fischer once overs everyone, smirks, and leaves.
Silverfox says I’ll take that as a no.
Writer X elegantly redirects the fellowship to the situation at hand, namely her writing career. Her voice sounds like Galadriel. She says that there is already a group of pretentious established writers who are trying to use their status to get access to the anti-horcruxes, people who already have established careers and books out with their names on them and if they were to get their stuffy claws on the anti-horcruxes before I do, it means none of us will be able to get our god awful stuff published. Time is running out.
Marjorie says why are you using that weird voice.
Tryxy says How about instead of sitting here holding meetings in library rooms you go home and keep working on your novel, X. You always get started and then when things get hard you just stop writing and try to find the easy way out or the completely irrelevant way out.
Marjorie says Are you a writer?
Tryxy says I write songs
Marjorie says Songs aren’t stories. Taking a break from your writing is still writing. You can’t yell at a writer for not writing.
Silverfox is chewing his lips like he’s trying not to say something completely accurate.
Tryxy says she ordered 5000 pink personalized pencils this week to help her feel better about the middle of her book. Did you tell them that, X?
Writer X elegantly says I don’t know what that has to do with anything.
Tryxy says the pencils aren’t going to write the book for you.
Silverfox says where do you keep 5000 pink pencils.
Marjorie says even if we were to find these anti-horcruxes, how are we going to divvy them up? We haven’t talked about that at all.
Silverfox says X should divvy up the pencils. Why 5000?
#bestkitten speaks in a combination of purrs, stretches, showing her belly, and nose bumps that suggest she believes they should work together with the Tod Boadkins Circle of Abominable Bores to stop the book-burglar and return the stolen fantasy books to their rightful homes.
Silverfox says she’s so blooming cute do you keep the pencils in their own pencil boxes?
Writer X mysteriously rises from the grand meeting table as her fellowship fights among themselves and stands near the overstuffed velvet pillows, stares distantly at the painting of Mr. Ernest L. Crankweil that they keep in here for some reason even though it doesn’t go with the pillows. She draws a recorder from her flowing pink robes and as the others continue to squabble, she plays a haunting version of the blue bell of scotland or at least the parts of it she can remember. Silence falls on the companions.
The librarian is standing in the doorway clearing her throat.
Librarian says Excuse me. We don’t allow people to blow on whistles in the library. Your time has run out and the Cradensburg Living Chess Board Cosplay Club is waiting for their turn in the velvet room. Is that a cat?
Gotta go, Gladys!!!!!
Fw: Let’s Talk
I am home from the library!!!!!
TOD BOADKINS HAS PROFESSED HIS LOVE!!!!
What should I do???? I can’t call off the fellowship now I just ordered more robes and cloaks!!!!!!
Begin forwarded message:
From: Tod Boadkins
Date: April 23, 2022 at 1:38 PM EDT
To: Writer X
Subject: Let’s Talk
I haven’t heard from you since we visited my “friends.”
I’ve been doing some thinking.
I don’t like the way I handled things down there.
Especially considering that—even though your methods baffle me, you were the only person that suspected my brother was up to something and you tried to do something about it.
That says a lot about you.
I let my “friends” be dismissive of you.
I wanted you to understand that this is bigger than you or me.
I guess I hoped you could see yourself as part of it. My “friends” didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet. They acted with a lot of pretension.
Let’s be honest. You and I don’t have a lot in common as individuals. We’re in very different places in our respective careers but I guess we both love the craft in our own ways. I haven’t emphasized our commonality. I can be a blockhead, okay?
My ex-wife always said I didn’t listen. In the rush of trying to get my life back on track, I haven’t given you any space to have a voice in all this.
I’m not trying to be friends or anything, but I’ve tried to get through to you for weeks now and have failed. Maybe it’s time I listen. At least once.
Let me buy you a coffee.
Say… at Ink Black (Coffee Club)? Tomorrow?