Date: January 23, 2021 05:08 am Title: Chapter 4: Lullabies and Masking Fluid
I’m finally getting a chance to read this and I am really enjoying it. Your vivid imagery immediately fills my mind with the intricacies of this world you have created with our beloved characters. The descriptions of Madeleine, in particular, are creating this wonderful three dimensional sketch of your OC.
Also, as a lover of words, I fully appreciate when I have to look up something while reading and I have had to do so a couple of times reading this. So, thank you for introducing me to some new words and thank you for writing this.
Oh gosh, thank you. That means so much! I too am a lover of words and intricate prose, sometimes a bit too much. I always worry that I’ve trailed off into a jargon and synonym meadow and left my readers behind (especially when I use music terms, as I am a musician). But sometimes there is that lexical gap with a phrase that just can’t quite be replaced. Anyway, I’m really glad you are enjoying it and I do hope to write more sooner once work stops being horrendous and insane.
Date: December 30, 2020 08:10 pm Title: Chapter 4: Lullabies and Masking Fluid
Much as I loved Pam’s escape act in the last chapter, I’m glad that you acknowledged that that sort of triumph, no matter how cathartic, was invariably going to be brief. She can escape having to do a talking head and having to sit there with Jim and Karen, but she can’t actually leave anything behind. Her life is exactly as messy as it was before she peeled out of the parking lot, and it’s going to take work for it to be unmessy. It’s just real stuff, and you’re telling a real story with it.
I think Pam being overwhelmed by anxiety is a perfectly natural outcome at this point. As One_Small_Writer among others has noted, Pam in general gives off a lot of signs of someone dealing with anxiety issues throughout the early years of the series, and she’s been pushed to her mental limit over the last few days. I especially appreciated the note about how EMBARRASSING this is for the very private Pam to have all her business out there like this, something which is not often a big feature of post-Cocktails/Negotiation fics.
“The tragedy for which Pam fought back tears again, as she flipped on her turn signal and entered the line of traffic, was the realization that life would likely never be simple or uncomplicated” is a good line, and such a good line for Pam, who as you noted is someone who has actively resisted complication for years and paid the price for it.
I like the parallels of the two trips to Jim and Mark’s, one to break her out of the denial stage and one to help cement her acceptance of her loss. And this image of Roy as an overgrown teenager who is barely concerned about his own girlfriend going to the hospital would have been hard to read without knowing that she and him were over.
I may have mentioned this before, but it’s really fun having someone write about Pam as an artist from the perspective of someone who is deeply engrained in that world. It’s great seeing her break away from the drama for a minute and start exploring this new world she wants to be part of – and presumably nice for her, too. That oath seems like exactly what she needs to hear right now. You can really see how Pam might benefit from a little support and guidance from someone like Madeleine who believes in her and frankly is removed from the situation.
Looking forward to seeing where you roll on with this next!
P.S. I'm okay with the use of the song that hadn't been released yet because Sara Bareilles defies the constraints of space and time. Like, Sweet As Whole clearly has far more than eight or nine years of history behind it.
Author's Response: I’m slightly embarrassed by how happy your reviews make me. It’s delightful to see the details I’ve mulled over not only noticed but appreciated. So thank you for writing this and therein making my day!
Date: December 28, 2020 04:44 pm Title: Chapter 4: Lullabies and Masking Fluid
Very nice follow on chapter. I think it makes a lot of sense that Pam would have a ton of conflicting and intense emotions following the pepper spray incident. Roy was a big part of her life for a long time. Regardless of everything one usually can't just let feelings that have been entrenched for so long just fade away like smoke on the wind. Same with Jim. So all the conflicting feelings she must have been going through would have had to bubble over in some way and you portrayed that well.
Lovely to see her get some of her spark back in class. After everything that happened, indulging in her love of art seemed to be a balm. Give her time to focus on something else, something she loves, something she's good at. So hopefully that's calmed her mind down enough that she can better process her feelings.
I also loved Madeline's oath. This is primarily for fun. Comparrison if often the theif of joy. By reminding her students and herself of that Madeline and Pam can just relax and enjoy what they love. Beautiful touch.
Thanks so much, warrior! I think we’re on the exact same wavelength for Pam’s mental state and the progression. I know, for myself, it can be annoying to see characters take steps forward and then seemingly immediately backtrack. But I think to a certain extent it is realistic. Change doesn’t happen overnight. For some things, that can be good, because if Pam could just “fall out of love” overnight that would kind make her a sociopath.
And you reminded me, I totally forgot to put a credit at the end. The oath is a combination of oaths/pedagogical theories I’ve encountered in various institutes. I’m really glad to hear you appreciated the sentiment of it! It’s one that I’ve always found both important and refreshing, and how I’d want to lead a class :)