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"You understand-- that the need to set down words-- this need is like the Spider's need who carries before her a huge Burden of Silk which she must spin out-- the silk is her life, her home, her safety-- her food and drink too-- and if it is attacked or pulled down, why, what can she do but make more, spin afresh, design anew-- she Must-- or die of Surfeit-- do you understand me?"

-A.S. Byatt, Possession

So as I warily circle the backlog of everything else, devising cunning and careful strategies for catchup and future better management...

Today's the big day. )
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Six months before the six-month jump; in other words, right after this.

Anxious smiles encased in whalebone/ Spines of steel from head to tailbone/ Cannons poised to blast the turning of the tide )

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Happy Thanksgiving, Americans and others! I am American, and I am thankful for everybody who reads and comments on my work. I am sure to express those thanks in more specific depth eventually, when the time, which has gotten severely away from me at the moment (I'm supposed to be boiling the cranberries right now, and I'm not at all sure veggie broth works the same as chicken broth for this stuffing) gets back under my heel where it belongs. Also when I'm not totally voiceless with laryngitis, damn the luck (and on Thanksgiving with nineteen LOUD relatives-- I'll be lucky if I can get the rolls passed to me).

Anyways. This occurs on the night following this morning (oh, and if you didn't read that last one before for worry about spoilers, you can read it now!).

One, two, two sleepy heads/ One, two, two little beds... )
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This is the epilogue. It takes place a little more than one year after the events of chapter 49. Yes, it skips a lot of things, and leaves others unresolved; however, I feel the story of “Lee,” in se, is complete with this conclusion.

Many thanks to all those who have stuck with me through this trilogy, and sparkling Arabian Nights-style mountains of thanks to everyone who has ever commented, or friended me, or otherwise made their presence as a reader known. Without the support of readers, I would never have made it this far. You all have turned the once-solitary pleasure of writing into a many-splendored and joyous thing, and while the story and the characters are mine, they owe a great deal to all of you who have loved them along with me.

So now that “Lee” is actually, and at long last, concluded, what’s next for the Slave Breakers universe?

Well, a lot of fill-in-the-blanks one-shots, for one thing. I plan, tentatively, to write most things I mentioned in the survey, and several of the write-in requests. I also need to finish two mini-series that I started a while back-- the one about Jer’s early relationship with Holden and Alix, and the backstory on Greta’s relationship with Holden (as set against the training of a particularly challenging young delinquent named Crimson).

I also have some housekeeping matters to attend-- for example, I badly need to update the index page, friend people back who‘ve friended me, and catch up on replying to comments-- and a metric fuckton of other people’s stories, which I’ve been horribly neglecting in my anxiety over my own baby coming to an end, to catch up on.

After that… well, we’ll see. Stick with me. It ain’t over yet.

“Epilogue” )
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We at Maculategiraffe, Ltd. recommend you listen to the above-embedded song while reading the following chapter. (We also freely admit to having an unholy love of this band and indeed any Neko Case project ever, so YMMV.)

Do not, do not deny my/ Attention to detail... )
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Currently catching up on insanely ginormous backlog of (wonderful, insightful, fascinating) comments, all out of order because I am disorganized and discombobulated. Plan to catch up on reading list tonight, too, unreliable Internet service permitting-- or tomorrow, or Tuesday at the latest. And this is the last time I let myself get THIS behind, barring catastrophe, because my God, things pile up. I'm really sorry, y'all. Thank you for your endless patience.

Chapter 48 )
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Chapter 47 )
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*ahem* I mean: calm yourselves, my darlings.

(And, er, don't read this unless you've already read chapter 46 of "Lee.")

On the ending of the last chapter )
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Chapter 46: in which it's always something )
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I am going out of town for the weekend-- should be back sometime Sunday-- just so y'all know. I may be able to check e-mail and LJ at the hostel where we're staying, but I'm not 100% sure.

(I'm also sick again. My throat hurts and I'm very light-headed and may have a fever. Grumble.)

But anyway, I wanted to write out something I was thinking about, about the writing process for "Lee."

I normally don't talk about my characters as "telling" me things-- not that I have anything against that phrasing when other people do it, but it doesn't generally occur to me to phrase something as "Yves finally told me X thing about himself" instead of just "I finally realized X thing about Yves." Cause, well, I don't know about your characters, but my characters' consciousness does not entail an awareness of my existence as such. So although I love them deeply and there are several metaphors I could employ for the author-character relationship, I generally do not think of them as "telling me things," except by accident when I am spying on them from portable bushes and cunningly disguised character-blinds.

But writing Lee, that's been like--

You wrote yourself into a corner, safe/ Easy to defend your borders )
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And no, this is definitely not the last (pre-epilogue) chapter. Sorry for the false alarm, everyone. I really, really must stop trying to make predictions about the length of this story in order to soothe myself with an illusory sense of control.

(So not caught up on comments, or friends list reading. Sorry about that, too. Working on it.)

Lee chapter 45 )
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I have been catching up on friends list (still not remotely caught up on my own comments, alas, but made a big dent in flist at least) and rocking out to this song (warning: may cause levels of headbanging and/or sock-hopping that are not entirely safe for work). I don't care what any music snobs say about the Killers and their continuing musical development and their odd religious beliefs and their feathery epaulets: I love them, with a love surpassing the love of women. CALL ME, BRANDON FLOWERS. I AM WEARING BUTTON BOOTS AND LONG UNDERWEAR.


(though as my husband says, I must be human, as I am definitely no dancer)

In other news, this certainly explains a lot.

In other other news, that thing I said, about only one more chapter of Lee plus epilogue? That, uh, may not work. Oh, the perishing of a million noble outlines for this story.

(Although, those of you who have asked how I'll ever tie up all the loose ends-- hey, what kind of a girl do you think I am? When have I ever tied up loose ends at the end of a story? Remember the end of "Bran"? And the end of "Jesse"? You should see my knitting: loose ends EVERYWHERE.)

Actually, I recently found my very first outline for "Lee," being used as a bookmark in Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Want to see it? It's adorable; it plans for fifteen chapters. (And contains spoilers for all posted chapters of Lee, up to and including 44a and 44b, but not for future chapters, although I guess you might not want to look too closely at what I consider vital information, if you're a big old spoilerphobe. Caveat lector, and all that.)

The best-laid plans of mice and men )
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OK, so here's the second part of chapter 44. If all goes as planned (which, admittedly, it usually does not), the next chapter (45) will be the last chapter of this story, except for an epilogue. Whew. And such.

Lee chapter 44b )
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This isn't really long enough to be a whole chapter, but I thought I might as well post it anyway (especially since half the comments on the last chapter (non-numbered) were like "Yeah yeah yeah fine, now WHAT IS UP WITH [spoiler redacted]????"). (With which sentiment I totally sympathize; I feel that way myself.) So it is Chapter 44(a).

Lee chapter 44a )

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Meh. I've been rewriting this one forever. It's one of those things where I keep "finishing" it, but then I go to do what I think is last-minute tweaking, and the more I tweak the more I realize it's too deeply flawed to fix by tweaking and I'm actually going to have to scrap almost everything I have and start over, so I've written it about five or six times. I'd better post it quick, now.

Gwen didn't consider it politic for a slave to smile at sarcastic remarks about her master, although she rather liked that Mr. Larssen made them. )
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This is a bit shorter and more quickly written than I had strictly planned, because SOME PEOPLE who can WRITE perfectly gut-wrenching cliff-hangers apparently cannot abide to READ them, and I am a sweet and gentle-natured person who cannot hear cries for mercy without heeding them.

(Where is the trust, people? Where is the trust?)

Lee chapter 43 )
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Life, the universe, and everything )
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Apologies for any mood whiplash going from Dreadful Puns of Avalon to, uh, this.

Lee chapter 41 )
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Let thy goodness, like a fetter/ Bind my wand'ring heart to thee )
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A plague o' the hospital guest network, which has been crapping out on me for the past several days and seriously hindering my efforts to take advantage of waiting room time to make a dent in catching up on comments and stories. (That and the fact that Haven Kimmel has a new book out, which I just read in one long thirsty gulp over the last two days. *satiated sigh*) But even when the network is down, my beloved word processor doth not desert me, so: story!

This might be out of sequence, chronologically, with the general Lee storyline (I think it is, but I'm still futzing around with where the next chapter of Lee will pick up, so I'm not one hundred percent sure), so if you want to be sure to avoid spoilers about the identity of the person to whom Holden will eventually sell Lee, don't read this yet. :P

And if you could save me a place in heaven/ With a clean, well-lighted room... )


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