Your audience leans forward. Are you running away? No, no, you tut. You are growing wiser.
CAN THAT JUST--UGH--BE MY WHOLE REVIEW OR SOMETHING because i don't know how i'm even going to express my appreciation for this.
It takes me a while, reading this, to understand which scars are which--which are those of the potion-forced abortion(s)--which are those that the "wolfman" left--but that kind of complicates this story in a beautiful way. You liken scars to brush marks, that scars paint a person, and in the way you can see individual scars it's what, overall, the picture is saying, that has the biggest voice--Lavender as a person is the sum but not quite total of her scars. I see that here. In a way it doesn't particularly matter, which scars are which. It's what she does with herself because of them, the way you've written it that makes this a startling and beautiful, haunting piece.
The idea that Lavender uses her "silliness" as a coping mechanism is completely believable. We see it everywhere without taking time to realize that that's what we're seeing. People are all flesh and bone, malleable glut of atoms, and can be rearranged, probed, hurt in soft spots in small ways, torn open, hurt in big ways. People who guard themselves with a brash exterior are paradoxically, I think, the weakest. Like when you have callouses so you stop noticing when they burst open; callouses are damaged goods. They're effective until everything breaks.
This piece explores that, and I appreciate its honesty but also mildly lyrical qualities. That line, the one I quoted for lack of a better way--and not just because I don't have one but because I don't believe it exists at all--to start this review. It's something I'd analyze, say, in a poem-centric class, talking about the volta which is fancy jargon for the "turn" that the thought takes. It's there and you don't see what corner you took but we know you're on a different street and they're necessarily linked. The link is a bit of a mystery. Some of the best poems, I think, are mysterious but open to exploration. They're "bottomless," we say. This line particularly has that quality. I think because it's strangely specific but also doesn't talk about just one thing. There's that lovely interaction, the calmness and tongue-in-cheek attitude of Lavender but there's also your wisdom as a writer.
I have an ambivalent relationship with house imagery. I think people use houses in very bland ways in a lot of writing; not fanfic because I don't stumble across a lot of house imagery in fanfic, I don't know? But in books, and stuff, the house is archetypally significant for its reflection of an emotional state. If a house is in shambles it's mirroring someone's emotional instability. If a character goes around cleaning it up, they're trying to clean up their act. To me, this all seems very cut and dry. It's not uncommon, the way you've used it--a house as a symbol of fertility and the root of a home...but what I find powerful and what indicates to me that you're a writer whose subconscious understanding of a person is so extensive as to embody them, needs, wants, everything--is your manipulation of this, the artful, quiet carrying over of the trope to a later point, one where we know what it means. I dislike Nathaniel Hawthorne's characterization but appreciate his method of suggestion; it's masterful, all the literary critics talk about it--and that's what you've done here.
Anyway. I won't ramble on forever. (Hey, prof, can I write a stylistic analysis of mah fran's fanfic piece?) Suffice it to say, I'm a big fan of your work and YOU (h)
Author's Response: LILY ASFHGDLGLDJ;; When I first saw this review, I had to look away because I was like, omg I'm going to start squeeing ridiculously as I read this, I need to prepare my body. And I was still not prepared.
I hadn't thought about the vagueness of the scars, actually! I swear you describe it better than me in your review, heh. Lavender really is this knot of scars by the time she gets out of Hogwarts, but it is important for me to make her exactly as you say - the sum but not quite total of her scars. She is still so much her earlier self, but transformed. She can stick to her guns - it's one of those traits that aren't necessarily good or bad, but it's rare and there's something admirable about it. I find it interesting how her mannerisms can change from silly to strong just by seeing her a little of her point of view. Maybe not even strong, but it definitely resonates differently.
Also omg, you just went poetic in the middle of your review so I am just going to sit and admire that paragraph for awhile.
I'm also going to nod while you go on about poetry because I hear your professor voice through this review and it feels like there's going to be a quiz later. Hee but really it's seriously so flattering to be able to hear someone say erm, stuff like that for the lack of a better description. I think about a lot of different things as I write, but just in terms of characters. I don't know what words are going to come out of it. When I wrote that line, it was just very Lavender to me. It became a bit of a rubric for her voice in the rest of the oneshot. The house imagery was very Lav too. That girl-of-traditional-dreams, not even just a white house, but a white house in a big blue bow. I hadn't thought about it, but I felt unconsciously that that bow is really important, the way I see it in her head. It's always been there. In a way, the moments I chose for this fic is kind of like looking into 20-year-old Lavender's mind and seeing what memories and emotions she holds on to, where her mind might wander when she's cooking or running a bath.
I'm still sitting here like, oh my god Lily did literary analysis on my fic and she's probably thought about this way more than I have, and I still don't know if I thought about half the things you mentioned or if I just imagined that I intended something like that, but that's the beauty of interpretation 8D I LOFF YOU SO MUCH I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DOO ♥