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StarWatcher is a fanwriter.
What she does is to give us the “real life” moments which are hinted at in the series but which, woven together, make relationships work. Many of these may seem like casual, informal incidents, but they are the glue which hold people and communities together. Her most recent story, “Years May Come, Years May Go,” written for sentinelsecrets and not yet posted at her site, is a fine example. On the surface, it’s a description of Blair’s efforts to put together a 25th anniversary party for Joel Taggart and his wife. It’s actually a quiet, subtle ensemble piece which lets us think about the meaning of relationships of all kinds. Similarly, “The Honor of Friendship” explores grief, comradeship, and reconciliation, all in an understated and non-angsty manner. While only one story so far is officially a “missing scene” (and if you think “nice” means “unfamiliar with/unable to write about anger” . . . “You Damn Well Better” will prove you wrong), I like to think of all of these as missing scenes, reinforcing the non-explosion/human interaction moments which drew us to the series. (“It’s about friendship,” indeed!) In my fanletter to Linda, I said that I found her stories a source of comfort (which isn’t the same thing as “comfortable,” although some also fit that description). What I mean by that is that, in fiction as in real life, she always manages to see and expect the best in people, without shutting her eyes to human flaws or imperfections. She doesn’t feel a need to let one character shine at the expense of others; she treats all of them fairly, without an agenda. She understands that they have the defects of their virtues—and vice versa. These are people I want to spend time with and can like and admire. (And I particularly appreciate the way she has Jim express his feelings about Blair in a very practical manner in “Windsong”—rising above his own needs to put his friend first.) We get to know writers through their stories. It is, really, an astonishingly intimate relationship, which is why I find LJ so amazing: we can actually communicate directly, responding to these people whose words, ideas, and emotions have come to life inside our minds. Even in the absence of all the concrete actions of friendliness and thoughtfulness I’ve noted above, I’d feel very close to and fond of Linda because of her writing alone. It’s well-crafted, direct, warm, decent, thoughtful, not afraid of pain or complexity but not dwelling on them, healing, self-effacing and modest, and just plain good in every sense of the word. Those adjectives apply to her, as well.