Letter: To Jessie Tanner

Dear Jessie,

Thank you for intoducing me to/forcing upon me Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but it never hurts to say it again. In particular because it’s about the only thing that is continuing to motivate me to continue writing my anthropolowanking paper.

It’s 6:30 am, and my paper is due in 12 hours. I’m approximately 2/3 of the way done with it–1907 words and 17 sources. I just had a cup of tea and my 1500 word cookie, in hopes that I might regain enough consciousness to finish the damn thing. Perhaps the tea helped some, but it was really Episode 9 of the first season of Angel that did it.

I know I’m always gently teasing you because you love how Joss can play your emotions like a guitar; after all, *ahem*, the abstract concept of toasters being sad makes me cry. And there was that time that I spent half an hour crying because I had slighted the number thirty-two. (In my defense, I was not even remotely sober then.) So writers that can effect me emotionally are not precisely rare. However, after “Hero”, I think I have finally grasped what you mean when you talk about the beauty when Joss deals out some devastation.

It helps, perhaps, that Doyle is one of my favorite characters of all time. He has depth. I connect with him. His emotional turmoil and tortured past do not consume him–he’s upbeat and charming and he makes me happy. His delightful Irish accent doesn’t hurt either. (Tangent: on Tuesday I was introduced to a guy from Dublin, who sounded remarkably different than my friend Caoimhe. He sounded, to me, what the accent labeled “Irish” in my head sounds like. I mentioned this, to which guy from Dublin expressed surprise–he thought I would associate country Irish accents with a traditional Irish accent. I later realized–the Irish accent in my head sounds like Doyle! We can have long discussions about regional Irish accents with Caoimhe at some point–that girl can pinpoint practically to streets!) (Spoilers after the jump)

So that the episode focused so much on Doyle was a plus to begin with. I thought that the Scourge were dressed a little too much like Nazis (come on, folks, where is the costuming creativity?), but on the other hand, if you’re going to make an organized group of pedigree obsessed murdering racist whackjobs, who better to mimic than the most efficient murdering racist whackjobs of the twentieth century?

It was delightful to see Doyle come into his own. I am so proud of him! And delightfully entertained by the episode! And sad, all at the same time! It is a feeling both expansive and sad and broken all at once. Very interesting! (It’s also a nice contrast from the bored gray loathing for anthropology that has consumed my life recently.) I would probably be more sad, but I am hoping that he somehow returns to life. That happens in the Buffyverse. I have my fingers crossed.

Kafka once wrote “I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us…We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.” I’m not a huge Kafka fan (I still have Metamorphasis related nightmares), but I think that his statement pretty well sums up your (and increasingly my) relationship with the works of Whedon. (For instance, at Penny’s death in Dr. Horrible, the first time, I was devastated, and so upset with Joss for destroying my happy sunshine ending. I think my initial devastation actually fueled my later obsession. Because that’s totally a healthy and normal response.) Joss, man. He’s pretty handy with an axe.

So this seems to have devolved into a long and possibly pointless ramble, which means that I should stop and go finish my essay. I’m using the next episode of Angel as the carrot for the section I am currently writing–when I get it done I get another tea and Whedon break. (I suspect Angel is going to high-tail it to the oracles to ask for the return of his buddy. They will tell him no, because I’m pretty sure oracles don’t go granting wishes like that willy-nilly, and Angel has already gotten his one favor from them. And then I have no idea what will happen next! Delightful uncertainty!) I just wanted to thank you for having a tendency towards obsessive fangirlism, which has brought me countless hours of distraction and happiness. You’re a totally badass friend to have. I hope we have many more years of sharing obsessions.

Rach

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Letter: To Jessie Tanner

2 thoughts on “Letter: To Jessie Tanner

  1. Jessie says:

    I just wanted to say that (re)discovering this letter, today, made me happy in a way I desperately needed right now. Thanks, friend. I miss you.

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