GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Dear River,

POSTED BY: ASARIAN
UPDATED: Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:00
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 1675
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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 4:36 AM

ASARIAN



Dear River,

You do not know me. I live at the far edge of space, on a rock you probably never even heard of. And I'm, overall, truly content subsisting in virtual obscurity. Today, however, I want to make a small exception. I want to reach out to you, on this the occasion of your birthday, because I simply want to share with you that you have enriched my life immensely.

I want you to know I was there for the duration. I've seen bits of how you grew up, as a child; I saw you play with Kaylee in the day; and when the sun went dark, I was also there when you threw up on Simon's bed. I've seen you crouched up in a corner, and I was proudly present when you first danced again since so long.

You are the one found broken. In many ways, I am too. I won't bore you with those details; suffice to say that, because of you, I'm the one who's becoming whole now. Does that seem right to you? Probably not. I'm babbling like a moonbrain, I know it. I just want you to know that, not in spite of your brokenness, but rather because of it, you have taught me to function like a real human. I now know for certain what I always suspected: that so-called weakness is a strength; and that Love is truly the only driving force in the 'verse.

"No touching" you said on that day. What irony, ain't it, that you single-handedly probably touched more people than you ever dreamt possible.

Anyways, on this festive day I thought it a good idea to make a special point of telling you all these things, out-loud. We'll see how far a man's words really carry. But I believe any signal sent in Love needs no boost; rather, Love IS the boost. So, I'm confident that, one way or the other, my words will reach you; and that when they do, that they will find you happy and safe.

Happy Birthday!

- One of those you touched.


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 7:23 AM

RHAEGARTARGARYEN


Summer Glau, River
Of light, shine upon our crew
On Serenity

Forgot your birthday
Vestigial mode of time
Din’t get you anything.


My signature...Rhae.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 7:28 AM

CAUSAL


There is something oh-so-creepy about all this...

________________________________________________________________________
Grand High Poobah of the Mythical Land of Iowa, and Keeper of State Secrets



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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 5:46 PM

FOLLOWMAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
There is something oh-so-creepy about all this...




Over on the other board, the serenitymovie.org board there is a group of us on a crew who just love Nathan Fillion. We call ourselves Nathan Appreciators and we're quite active.

Before Flan ( what became the awesome B3!) we talked about giving Mr. Fillion something. Two of our members came up with the idea of giving him a Book filled with our memories, opinions, and appraisals of his work. We found ourselves also wanting to include what we felt about him as Mal.
For it was as Mal for the most part that Mr. Fillion touched us so. It came about that there were many pages in the Book. Some individual, some art from Mike Phillips and Kayna and some essays by a couple of our very talented writers in our bunch. Both essays addressed Nathan as Mal... and we talked among ourselves constantly about not being over the top about it. Yet we kept being drawn back to the need to let Nathan know that he'd touched us with his portrayal of Mal, that Mal had had some impact upon our lives.

Some folks worked awful hard to Save Wash when it was learned he died in the BDM. I saw a girl cry in the theater when Wash died as if she'd lost a member of her family. Joss' genius I believe.

What I'm trying to say is that these characters in some cases bring something to some peoples real lives. Some of us have been helped to be better people by this fandom and that's directly related to being affected by a certain character.
Joss made us feel like they were family, or like they are our friends. I don't find it odd at all that someone would express that. During a time of trouble in my life, Mal helped me thru that.

We all look to literature and movies and song to inspire us, to help us see more clearly or to learn something. These stories IMHO aren't any different. The characters touch our lives--- I believe Joss meant them to.





Go to www.goodworkspresents.org to find out how to honor the Captain!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:27 PM

PENGUIN


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
What I'm trying to say is that these characters in some cases bring something to some peoples real lives. Some of us have been helped to be better people by this fandom and that's directly related to being affected by a certain character.
Joss made us feel like they were family, or like they are our friends. I don't find it odd at all that someone would express that. During a time of trouble in my life, Mal helped me thru that.

We all look to literature and movies and song to inspire us, to help us see more clearly or to learn something. These stories IMHO aren't any different. The characters touch our lives--- I believe Joss meant them to.



Well put, Followmal. The crew of Firefly/Serenity touches each of us in a different way. The crew is a part of our family and we truly care about them.





King of the Mythical Land that is Iowa

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:47 PM

FOLLOWMAL




Thank you Penguin...yes, they are family.

When River snatches the roll from Jayne's plate, it brings me back to my childhood when I sat around a big oval table with my brothers and Mom and Dad and we all dove in to my Mom's cooking with relish and speed. ( I had to be speedy, competition you know! )

That galley is home in that moment, for many of us here.

Go to www.goodworkspresents.org to find out how to honor the Captain!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006 9:20 PM

PIRATECAT



I'm alright.

"Battle of Serenity, Mal. Besides Zoe here, how many-" "I'm talkin at you! How many men in your platoon came out of their alive".

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 2:48 PM

KANEMAN


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
There is something oh-so-creepy about all this...

________________________________________________________________________




My name is Kaneman and I approve this message.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 3:33 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
There is something oh-so-creepy about all this...



Yeah, but it's our kind of creepy.

Happy birthday River.

David

"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at amazon.de

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 3:36 PM

CAUSAL


But still--really, really creepy (not that I feel good about Kaneman endorsing anything I say, mind you).

________________________________________________________________________
Grand High Poobah of the Mythical Land of Iowa, and Keeper of State Secrets



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 3:58 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
(not that I feel good about Kaneman endorsing anything I say, mind you).



Perhaps you should take that as a sign to re-evaluate your position on the matter. Yes Asarian is very intense about River. We're all intense about some aspects of the show or we wouldn't still be discussing it 4 years after it was ignominiously cancelled by clueless telecrats.

David

"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at amazon.de

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 4:01 PM

CAUSAL



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 4:08 PM

KANEMAN


"the fact that Kaneman agrees with me, doesn't make this any less disturbing to me (although it does make me want to take a shower)."


HEE HEE....Your making me smile Casual...that's not like you. You are usually about as dry and boring as sun-baked three day old camel shit....

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 4:09 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
With all due respect, the fact that Kaneman agrees with me, doesn't make this any less disturbing to me (although it does make me want to take a shower). I'll grant you that the show has affected us all in various ways--but I reserve the right to be unsettled when we start addressing the actors as the characters as though 1) the actor is the character and, 2) the character is real.



I'll grant you 2 but I see no evidence of 1. It's prety clear to me that Asarian is talking about River not Summer.

David

"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at amazon.de

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 4:13 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Kaneman:
HEE HEE....Your making me smile Casual...that's not like you. You are usually about as dry and boring as sun-baked three day old camel shit....



And that would be why.

________________________________________________________________________
Grand High Poobah of the Mythical Land of Iowa, and Keeper of State Secrets



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 5:33 PM

FOLLOWMAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
(not that I feel good about Kaneman endorsing anything I say, mind you).



Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
With all due respect, the fact that Kaneman agrees with me, doesn't make this any less disturbing to me (although it does make me want to take a shower). I'll grant you that the show has affected us all in various ways--but I reserve the right to be unsettled when we start addressing the actors as the characters as though 1) the actor is the character and, 2) the character is real.




Have you not ever heard of something being written in a poetical or different manner to express something? It's clear to me that Asarian doesn't believe that Summer is River, nor does he believe that the character is real. I took it on face value as a piece of literature in it's own right.
What he is doing is expressing how much a literary character in a show has affected him in an artistic way.
It's much more interesting than a dry piece of essay.

Quote:

Originally posted by DaveShayne:
Perhaps you should take that as a sign to re-evaluate your position on the matter. Yes Asarian is very intense about River. We're all intense about some aspects of the show or we wouldn't still be discussing it 4 years after it was ignominiously cancelled by clueless telecrats.



Thanks for sayin' Dave.



Go to www.goodworkspresents.org to find out how to honor the Captain!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 5:55 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
Have you not ever heard of something being written in a poetical or different manner to express something? It's clear to me that Asarian doesn't believe that Summer is River, nor does he believe that the character is real. I took it on face value as a piece of literature in it's own right.
What he is doing is expressing how much a literary character in a show has affected him in an artistic way.
It's much more interesting than a dry piece of essay.



I'll go this far with you: it was probably insensitive of me to comment in the first place, instead of moving along. That said, I will not check my opinions at the door. I still believe that this whole thread has a very creepy feel to it, and I'm just afraid that I can't apologize for that opinion. In the future, if I see something similar, I'll sidle on; but I fail to see how being a fan of something means that I have to accept as rational some of the more extreme elements of the fandom. I respect Asarian's right to feel however he pleases, and I respect Asarian's right to say what he will. But I share both those rights, and I'm afraid that I just won't accept that I don't have every bit as much right to say "wierd" as Asarian (or anybody else) has to say whatever is on their mind. Fandom is not dogmatism.

________________________________________________________________________
Grand High Poobah of the Mythical Land of Iowa, and Keeper of State Secrets



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 6:04 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
Quote:

Originally posted by DaveShayne:
We're all intense about some aspects of the show or we wouldn't still be discussing it 4 years after it was ignominiously cancelled by clueless telecrats.



Thanks for sayin' Dave.



Well shucks. Just speaking the plain truth is all.

David

"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at amazon.de

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 6:17 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
I will not check my opinions at the door.



Nobody is saying that you need to check your opinions at the airlock. I merely invited you to take another look at the issue. After which you still hold to your original opinion. Fair enough, I suppose, though I mostly disagree with you. Anyway you're not being attacked here just challenged to reflect on your opinion.

David

"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at amazon.de

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 6:18 PM

FOLLOWMAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
I'll go this far with you: it was probably insensitive of me to comment in the first place, instead of moving along. That said, I will not check my opinions at the door. I still believe that this whole thread has a very creepy feel to it, and I'm just afraid that I can't apologize for that opinion. In the future, if I see something similar, I'll sidle on; but I fail to see how being a fan of something means that I have to accept as rational some of the more extreme elements of the fandom. I respect Asarian's right to feel however he pleases, and I respect Asarian's right to say what he will. But I share both those rights, and I'm afraid that I just won't accept that I don't have every bit as much right to say "wierd" as Asarian (or anybody else) has to say whatever is on their mind. Fandom is not dogmatism.



I went back and read my post pretty carefully and I didn't see anything that I said that meant that I thought you should not express your opinion. If I made you feel that way I apologize. That was not my intention. I was merely pointing out my own feelings about the "letter". Perhaps I strayed in making my first sentence appear to be addressed to you and not making it more plainly generic? I will be more careful with my words from now on.

That's the nice thing about our fandom. There's room in it for lots of different feelings and opinions. I don't think anyone here would want you to not say what was on your mind, anymore than they would not want me to say what was on my mind.
Freedom of expression here is intrinsic to the board.

My opinion of what is expressed by this "letter" is just different from what you see expressed here.

I don't see "extreme" or "weird".

I see an artistic representation for his words.





Go to www.goodworkspresents.org to find out how to honor the Captain!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 6:24 PM

CAUSAL


Thanks for the words, Dave. See below for more on this.

________________________________________________________________________
Grand High Poobah of the Mythical Land of Iowa, and Keeper of State Secrets



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 6:29 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
I went back and read my post pretty carefully and I didn't see anything that I said that meant that I thought you should not express your opinion. If I made you feel that way I apologize. That was not my intention. I was merely pointing out my own feelings about the "letter". Perhaps I strayed in making my first sentence appear to be addressed to you and not making it more plainly generic? I will be more careful with my words from now on.

That's the nice thing about our fandom. There's room in it for lots of different feelings and opinions. I don't think anyone here would want you to not say what was on your mind, anymore than they would not want me to say what was on my mind.
Freedom of expression here is intrinsic to the board.

My opinion of what is expressed by this "letter" is just different from what you see expressed here.

I don't see "extreme" or "weird".

I see an artistic representation for his words.



FM,

Thanks for your explanation--it really helped me to understand where you're coming from. I think that I was pretty insensitive (and for that, I apologize, to everyone in this thread, other than maybe Kane). I think it's true to say that this is one of the more generous fandoms when it comes to freedom of expression. I won't claim to understand the more emotionally intense folks around--I'm just not that way myself personally. But I guess I need to make more room for that, in the spirit of openness. One thing I've learned being around here is that folks are, for the most part, pretty darned tolerant (except is some RWED threads!). But that tolerance has to go both ways. If I'm going to ask to be taken seriously, and to have my opinions respected, I'd damned well better extend the same courtesy. Thanks to all for calling me out on that, and for doing so in a way that made me realize my mistake, instead of just being overly defensive. God, I love this fandom!

________________________________________________________________________
Grand High Poobah of the Mythical Land of Iowa, and Keeper of State Secrets



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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 7:04 PM

DAVESHAYNE


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
God, I love this fandom!



Yup. A nicer group of people I have not met.

David

"Not completely as well as the series of Firefly..." - From a review of Serenity at amazon.de

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 7:40 PM

FOLLOWMAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
God, I love this fandom!


Thank you, Causal.
I love these discussions... they make me try to be a better person. And I love this fandom too!



Go to www.goodworkspresents.org to find out how to honor the Captain!

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 7:47 PM

ASARIAN



Dear FollowMal, follow me for a mite, please. :)

People say I wear my heart on my sleeve. That's not entirely accurate; I wear it on my tongue, rather. :) With conviction.

The River persona was written so we would feel for her. With true feelings. To me, that's why Firefly transcends every other show: not because it's a great story about humanity, but because it makes my own humanity participate in an active manner. It makes me, to reuse an existing pun, the tenth crew member. Not that I fancy myself part of the crew, not even in fancy, but simply because I'm a conscious observer of my own soul, and I watch my heart get involved in a most real manner. As I watch, I realize -- and in the beginning with astonishment -- that if I had a real sister like River, I would myself not hesitate to go after her, and try and keep her safe. And when Mal opened the box, and Simon held River in his protective arms, I knew, with all my heart, that I wanted to protect and shield her, too.

It is said that every soul needs just a momentary spark to be incited to the realization of its own good nature. In my very post here I wrote that Firefly makes me want to be a better human being. And this certainly ain't untrue. But the more I think about it, the more an even more glorious truth starts to sink in; namely, that perhaps I'm not such an unloving person to begin with.

As for writing River, it seemed like the thing to do. Perhaps precisely because she's not real; precisely because I cannot attribute real gratitude about otherwise real feelings, short of writing Universal or Summer, or do other half-stalky things. Perhaps I just wanted to express my Love in this non-intrusive manner, and just air and see it dissipate to the 'verse at large: not in the hope of really being heard, but simply because I needed to say it.

There's a saying that goes: "One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can't utter." I resolved, long ago, not to be like that. And have never regretted it.

"Why the hell'd that fan go an do that, Nathan?"
"Ain't about you, Summer. 'Bout what they need."


--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 9:25 PM

RHAEGARTARGARYEN


Quote:

Originally posted by asarian:
it makes my own humanity participate in an active manner.



Quote:

if I had a real sister like River, I would myself not hesitate to go after her, and try and keep her safe. And when Mal opened the box, and Simon held River in his protective arms, I knew, with all my heart, that I wanted to protect and shield her, too.


This is the power of Story.

I don’t know how I would react if I had a sister and was placed in the situation Simon is placed in. To be more exact, I didn’t know prior to this story of River and Simon. Through Story I find out about myself. I find that I’m moved deeply by River and Simon. I find I want to be more like Simon. And in this way, if the time ever comes where I find myself in a situation where my brother needs me, it just might be that the Story of River and Simon will have real affects on my effects.

My humanity is affected by this Story. That is no little something.

That is the power of Story.


My signature...Rhae.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006 7:24 AM

KURYA


Hey.
Just wanted to give some thoughts on this thread.

My first set of thoughts pertain to the nature of the letter. I do not mean to attack you Casual, so please take the following words as such, I fully respect your opinions and your right to have them and express them. And since you already expressed desire to be more open and accepting, it is moot for me to respond to you but I will respond anyways, just to give my take on this.

I can see how one might think this is a bit disturbing, it is true that if a person can not tell the difference between fantasy and reality, then that is cause for some concern and can be a source of problematic behaviour.

However, I do not see evidence of that here, and that to write to a character is just a literary device to add, one can say emotional depth to the piece, and to convey how much the story of that character's journey has affected the author. I do not know if it is asarian's intent, he did not seem to convey it, but to me really, this format brings forth more emotion.

In my second set of thoughts, I also wanted to convey my thanx to Asarian to writing this piece, and I also wanted to express how much her journey and specifically her relationship to her brother has touched me.

It has hit a bit closer to home for me specifically. I won't go into details, but I had a sister but she passed away a few years ago. She had severe Down's syndrome, so severe, she didn't have the faculty to speak, or convey complex ideas, or feed herself etc... she was basically a 24 year old baby. A soul trapped in a severe condition. She got the greatest care from my parents who have sacrificed to make sure she got good care at home, and was fed, her diapers changed, etc. But even in that situation she still had a presence that affected us. And so the story of River, a genius and a wonder trapped in a psychosis, really strikes me. And how devoted her brother was to her to hoow much he had to sacrifice just to save her, strikes a chord in me. I never had to do such a thing for my sister, and I do not know if I would have the courage, but I would like to think that I would do the same thing if I was in similar circumstances, and I admire Simon's devotion and courage, even if ficticious. The story of the Tam siblings touches me, and almost mirror's my love for my sister.

So that is all, I just basically want to echo how River's and Simon's journey speaks to me.
Prakash

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Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:00 AM

ASARIAN


Quote:

Originally posted by kurya:

Hey.

Just wanted to give some thoughts on this thread.

My first set of thoughts pertain to the nature of the letter. I do not mean to attack you Casual, so please take the following words as such, I fully respect your opinions and your right to have them and express them. And since you already expressed desire to be more open and accepting, it is moot for me to respond to you but I will respond anyways, just to give my take on this.

I can see how one might think this is a bit disturbing, it is true that if a person can not tell the difference between fantasy and reality, then that is cause for some concern and can be a source of problematic behaviour.

However, I do not see evidence of that here, and that to write to a character is just a literary device to add, one can say emotional depth to the piece, and to convey how much the story of that character's journey has affected the author. I do not know if it is asarian's intent, he did not seem to convey it, but to me really, this format brings forth more emotion.

In my second set of thoughts, I also wanted to convey my thanx to Asarian to writing this piece, and I also wanted to express how much her journey and specifically her relationship to her brother has touched me.

It has hit a bit closer to home for me specifically. I won't go into details, but I had a sister but she passed away a few years ago. She had severe Down's syndrome, so severe, she didn't have the faculty to speak, or convey complex ideas, or feed herself etc... she was basically a 24 year old baby. A soul trapped in a severe condition. She got the greatest care from my parents who have sacrificed to make sure she got good care at home, and was fed, her diapers changed, etc. But even in that situation she still had a presence that affected us. And so the story of River, a genius and a wonder trapped in a psychosis, really strikes me. And how devoted her brother was to her to hoow much he had to sacrifice just to save her, strikes a chord in me. I never had to do such a thing for my sister, and I do not know if I would have the courage, but I would like to think that I would do the same thing if I was in similar circumstances, and I admire Simon's devotion and courage, even if ficticious. The story of the Tam siblings touches me, and almost mirror's my love for my sister.

So that is all, I just basically want to echo how River's and Simon's journey speaks to me.
Prakash




For starters, thank you, Kurya, for a memorable post.

When I heard River's birthday was coming up, I thought: "What shall I do? Normally you write a person a birthday card or some such. So, I toyed with the idea of making a BSR item, perhaps. Or to write something about how the whole River-Simon arc has affected me. Been there, done that. But that has a tendency of getting a bit essay-ish. And, like you so keenly observed, I wanted to bring forth more emotion.

Still thinking how I was unable to go to Flan2 (even though I knew Summer wasn't gonna be there), it DID bring up for an earlier convo with a friend here, about what I would do if I actually met my BDH. First of all, I'm not per se a fan in the manner that one would expect. Which is to say, I feel no all-pervasive need to meet the real actors. How can I explain this? Like with Summer. I've seen the real-life person interact in, say, the specials on the Serenity disk. And in interviews. And she's a true delight, that much is certain. Graceful, intelligent, and very gentle (especially the latter really impressed me). And genuinely beautiful, of course. So, overall quite a lovely lady. :) But Summer's not River; and the feelings which River stirs up in me, not to sound too irreverently, have almost nothing to do with Summer. Save, of course, that I feel gratitude towards Summer for having played River so well.

To get back on track, coming back on gratitude, I believe I told my friend that, if I ever were to meet my BDH, I would probably foremost do just that: thank her for having portrayed a character that was able to move me so deeply. To let her know what the River persona wrought in me. The need to reach out to a person, and tell them they reached you. To let them know they made a difference. Hence the letter.

Kurya, the story of your sister moved me, too (to tears, if I'm honest). I knew this man, who had a 4-year-old daughter with Down's syndrome. One day, indicating her, he said: "You want to know where God is? He's right here." And I know it to be a true statement, for I've spent several years as a child with disabled people, physically and mentally (sorry, I never attended the Osiris school for the gifted in my youth; rather, having some physical disabilities myself, I spent a few years in a special needs school). These children with Down syndrome radiate so much Love and innocence! Truly, there's something incredibly unsettlin', in a good way, about being in the presence of so much frailty, so much vulnerability; and all without a resentment that you would normally expect in adults with such a plight (I had plenty, I can assure you). I guess that's why River "triggers" me so, as it were; why I can so feel with you and your parents, as I so readily feel within myself that I, too, would drop everything I had and journey all across the 'verse to keep my special mei-mei safe. Some might call it a character flaw. :) But it's one I can live with.

So, Kurya, I thank you for your own courage in sharing the story of your beloved sister. That's as real as it gets. I say, a fictional character, whose reality just happens to be immutable, as it were, that can evoke such beauty in the beholder, and relate us to life, and the possibilities of life, in such a real manner, is worthy of being told, ever so many solar cycles, that she affected many lives in many ways.




--
"Mei-mei, everything I have is right here." -- Simon Tam

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