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Author's Commentary on Chaapa'ai - Light One Candle

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May 2nd, 2007


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04:06 pm - Author's Commentary on Chaapa'ai
By popular demand, here is my commentary on the one of my SG-1 fics, Chaapa'ai.

Comments, discussion, and suggestions for future commentating are welcome. :-)


Most of my fics spring from a specific canon event or a specific emotion.

Not this one. I was watching an episode and started pondering the cool water-like effect of the event horizon inside the ‘Gate. I wondered what it would look like to me if I were actually standing in front of it…and suddenly I was in Daniel’s head.

CHAAPA’AI

An obvious title, once I’d finished. This fic is about Daniel, but only through his interaction with the ‘Gate.

by izhilzha
rating: G
season: probably mid-2nd

I’m still not sure exactly where to place this in the show’s chronology. (It doesn’t help that this is the only fic I’ve written where the chronology isn’t that important.) Pre-“Forever in a Day” (I hadn’t seen any of season 3 when I wrote this), of course, but it could be anywhere between late 1st season and then.

~~~~~

Sometimes Daniel thinks that the first translation team got closer to the essence of the word.

This first sentence wasn’t in my rough draft at all—odd, since it has come to embody the fic for me, and I even drafted it into use it as my summary.

Chaapa’ai is an awfully poetic term for something as essentially practical as the mechanism for ‘Gate travel.

Total fanon, of course. But I liked the idea that Daniel-the-linguist would always be playing with the words he works with.

But it suits the artifact, with its circle of wavering light like a slice of ocean between him and the stars. Door to the heavens might be a happy medium. In that disc, the blur of our world fades into unknown silence, as the ripples of quantum mechanics spiral down an endless avenue of escape. Infinite light promises an infinite lightening, he caught himself thinking once.

I originally started the fic with this paragraph (more or less). The last sentence was a late addition; more Daniel-punning.

Someone complimented me on Daniel appropriating a little bit of Sam’s view of the ‘Gate in his contemplations. That wasn’t deliberately thought through, but I’m glad I did mention quantum mechanics, because I agree that Daniel probably picks up other viewpoints to add to his own all the time.


He rarely sees it so with his waking eyes, anymore. Too busy reviewing linguistic or cultural data from the latest mission, or psyching himself up for their next encounter with an unknown people, to bother looking closely. The Stargate is just that: a simple passage from one place to the next, not a thing in itself. A moment in time, not something to be pondered. Like the side roads on a long commute to work, where familiarity causes all attractions to become invisible.

My beta, jd3000, was slightly unnerved by this bit. Or rather, by the fact that it reminded him so strongly of a scene from “Forever In a Day,” in which Daniel contemplates his pen. I had not yet seen that episode; I was, in fact, actively avoiding spoilers for it. For this I have no explanation. (The similarity was commented on by a couple of readers, as well.)

The funerals remind him, the wreath disappearing beneath the surface of that shining slice of light.

I almost took this line out. I wanted to hint at Daniel’s possible death-wish, not make it obvious (because I don’t for a second believe that Daniel was actively suicidal, ever), and I thought that tying it to the funerals might be a bit much.

And in his dreams, it stands alone. Its shimmer beckons, promising ease, rest, repose. Chapaa’ai never has any definition here beyond that first, flawed one. The one that he disproved. Door to heaven. His feet are anchored to the ramp, and he cannot look away. There is nothing but a longing to take those few steps, to throw himself past the event horizon, to release the weights he chose to carry. For those moments, all his world is blue and silver.

When I revised, I realized that I needed the word chaapa’ai and its definition to figure into Daniel’s dreaming as well as (at the beginning of the fic) his waking mind. And it fit so neatly.

But it always fades. Darkness takes him, or surreal bronze landscapes. Or, most often, yellow sand, black hair, soft skin, and laughter.

It always amuses me when I find myself using phrases which I’m sure I took from another author. I *think* “darkness takes him” is from Tolkien, but I haven’t tried to really track it down. *g*

He wakes with tears on his cheeks, and thinks of Sha’re, and does not remember the infinite possibility of escape.

The key moment I had to reach, of course, being that even when he dreams about escape (however you want to read that), he doesn’t remember it. That desire never makes its way fully into his conscious mind.

Probably my favorite thing about this fic is the small moments, the chances I got to use the precisely right word (“the infinite possibility of escape” harkening back to the quantum mechanics and thoughts about infinity early in the fic).



~~~~~


Hope you all enjoyed this, though I think there's more commentary than fic. I did. :-)

p.s. jd3000 made this icon for me after he read this fic...Jack and Sam's own reactions to the 'Gate.
Current Mood: okayokay

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kerravonsen
Date:May 3rd, 2007 03:56 am (UTC)
(Link)
Thank you. It helped me read it more deeply.

made this icon for me after he read this fic...Jack and Sam's own reactions to the 'Gate.

Heh, I've always liked that icon.
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:May 3rd, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You're welcome. I'm a little embarrassed that you managed to comment on this right away, while I have yet to comment on yours. *facepalm* But thank you.

I've always loved this icon as well. Reminds me of this story, and is just perfect by itself as well.
[User Picture]
From:kalquessa
Date:May 6th, 2007 11:45 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Cool! This helped me appreciate the fic better. The first time through, I just saw lots of poetic word-play and dream-states and so on...you know I'm a banter girl, so it probably won't surprise you that I totally failed to twig onto the "escape" element, which I think adds a crucial depth to the piece (now that I know it's there, heh).
[User Picture]
From:izhilzha
Date:May 7th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
(Link)
LOL. I'm glad this helped you appreciate the fic more--it *is* very much about the word-play and the dream-states, because I wasn't sure where the fic was going at first, and when I'd figured it out, I knew I would have to come at it "slant" (to quote Dickenson) in order for it to be emotional without being sappy or untrue to Daniel's character.

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