Transcript: Track 23: Writers
Episode 23 posted September 17, 2021
Transcript by lindywoo
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.
Ellen: Hello everyone and welcome to episode twenty-three of the Mixtape Book Club Podcast. I’m Ellen.
Mal: And my name is Mal.
Ellen: In each episode we take an in depth look at a different trope or sub-genre in the huge variety of Destiel fanfiction and in this episode, we’re going to celebrate. We are having a big celebration, because not only are there now 100,000 Destiel fics on AO3. 100,000 different stories of Dean and Cas and their relationship.
Mal: so we are almost actually at 101,000, we are already at 100,789 – already
Ellen: Aw, that’s amazing
Mal: Not only do we have that many Destiel stories of Dean and Cas falling in love in 100,000 different ways, we’re also celebrating one whole year of doing this podcast. We released our first episode on September 18th, 2020.
Ellen: We did what any person would do during lockdown – start a podcast.
Mal: No regrets honestly. We have spent countless hours just jabbering about fanfic so it’s fine.
Ellen: And it’s been good, so to celebrate one whole year of this podcast we’re actually gonna have a giveaway. We’ve got lots of prizes that we want to send to you guys ‘cause it’s our birthday but will give you the presents. So if you go to mixtapeclub.com, in this episode’s post there will be a giveaway form there where you can fill in your details and we’ll enter you to win some great prizes which I think are going to include copies of Misha’s poetry book which is coming out in just a few weeks and some fandom goodies as well, so stickers and art prints maybe some things from RedBubble. I don’t know, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that’s going to be included in the giveaway so go and have a look at this post on mixtapebookclub.com.
So, in celebration of all of that this week we’re going to talk about fics that involve Cas and/or Dean being writers to celebrate all the wonderful authors that we have in this fandom and creators.
Mal: so here with us today to discuss her fic “And This Your Living Kiss”, we would like to welcome author Opal_bullets! Hey Opal,
Mal: Hi, thank you for coming to talk to us.
Opal: yeah, I’m really happy to be doing the podcast and it’s a good one and I like listening, so I hope people enjoy this episode as well.
Mal: I know I’m gonna enjoy this episode, we got some good fics coming up, very excited.
Ellen: We do, so the other fics we’re going to discuss today apart from “And This, Your Living Kiss” are “The State of You” by TrenchcoatBaby, we’ve got “Cabin By The Lake” by CBFirestarter and “The Ocean Between Us” by noxsoulmate as well as a couple of other shorter fics that I think we’ve got on our list too.
So, let’s get right into it shall we?
Mal: Yes, let’s dive straight in.
Ellen: The first fic we’re going to start with today is called “And This, Your Living Kiss” by Opal bullets. It was published as part of Pinefest in 2019 and it’s 57,000 words long and is rated M. Opal would you mind reading us the summary?
Opal: Okay – “Only a very few people in the world know that the celebrated and reclusive poet Jack Allen is just Kansas mechanic Dean Winchester – a high school dropout with a few bucks to his name. Not that it matters anymore – life has left him so wrung out he never wants to pick up another pen. Until, that is, a string of coincidences leads Dean to auditing a poetry course with one Doctor Castiel Novak. The professor is wildly intelligent, devastatingly handsome and just so happens to be academia’s foremost expert on the poetry of Jack Allen.”
Ellen: So, this is like, I was gonna say two-person love triangle but it’s not really because… it’s just like a 2-sided shape (laughter) – I don’t know how else to describe it.
Mal: There’s not enough legs on this triangle
Opal: It’s a bit like identity porn without quite being a two-person love triangle, yeah
Mal: Yeah, just like softcore porn, just like a little bit there
Opal: just enough to keep you interested
Mal: Just titillating, not hardcore
Ellen: So Cas ends up falling for both Jack Allen who he’s obsessed with in his poetry, and then he meets Dean who’s like a completely separate person, but you know they end up being the same which I think is a really interesting way to do that kind of thing. I don’t know this, I don’t know how many identity porn type stories like that there are out there for Destiel, but I love the idea of Dean just freaking out every time that Castiel mentions Jack Allen, it’s a great way to create a lot of tension in the story.
Opal: Yeah, there’s a lot of dramatic irony in this fic for sure. A lot of stuff that Cas knows, a lot of stuff that Dean knows, not a lot of middle ground there.
Mal: such a great trope for them.
Ellen: So, can you tell us a little bit about how this story came to be? Like what was your inspiration for creating this one?
Opal: God, does this time mean anything anymore? It was a while ago. The problem with me is that I am one of those writers who just sits on an idea and sits on it and sits on it and sits on it for a long time. I think, I know it’s not among the very first fics I thought of for the fandom but it’s definitely one I was ruminating about for a while and I think kind of what happens, for me anyway, is that if there’s something that I really love or interested in and I can kind of see where the way that I identify with the characters. There’s some common ground there. I get interested in seeing like how I could incorporate that into their world and so poetry was always gonna happen at some point and I know that when Pinefest was coming up – I was like, I would really like to do Pinefest and I was thinking about my ideas and I was like , like if Dean were a poet, right… but Cas was the academic but Dean is not really the academic type, if we are staying kind of close to canon, right? That would be really interesting and I know I had a lot of doubts about it, ‘cause it’s like, God, no one likes poetry. Like nobody – I’m just a nerd about this – no one wants to hear it. And I remember very specifically – just like sweeping a bunch of like newer poetry collections out of the library and bringing them home just sitting there reading them. ‘Cause you can knock them out in about an hour or less apiece you know, just like get in the mindset and I was like not feeling it, not feeling it and all of a sudden, like in the middle of one I was like – I hear Dean! I hear Dean right now, I hear Dean’s poetic voice and I just sat down and I wrote what ended up being the first draft of Perfection and I was like “I can actually do this fic – I was like – I don’t think anyone’s gonna read it but I actually want to do it now.” So that’s kind of, kind of its origin story, I guess.
Mal: You gotta find that piece that clicks and then … it flows from there, sometimes.
Opal: Yeah, exactly
Mal: So, I actually think poetry is a really good fit for Dean, because poetry tends to be much more about careful word choices rather than excessive amounts of words and that’s very much more where Dean is for me. Like he will probably ruminate a lot more over picking the correct word and stress about that word for you know probably a decade before he actually says anything.
Opal: he talks a lot but, as you know, he says he’s – you know like 90% bullshit, it doesn’t necessarily mean what he wants to mean.
Mal: poetry was a really good fit, especially the references that he has in his poetry, and I think one of my favourite things about this entire fic was the fact that, even after studying Jack Allen for so long, that Cas just genuinely did not get a lot of them.
Opal: I think I really like that because I think, you know I don’t like plan themes, you know what I mean – I’m not that type of writer, but I kind of one of the themes that came out of it was kind of… how poetry should belong to everybody but it’s become sort of isolated academic thing for some weird reason. It is actually a little different now even from when I wrote this fic. I think Instagram is becoming like a major poetry outlet because… have you ever looked like the Goodreads end of the year stuff? Which I look to just based on popularity alone a lot of the high rated poetry collections are all Instagram poets. They’re like “oh now my poems are off of Instagram.” So, I guess it’s a little different now, but for the most part, seriously studied poetry is an academia. You know all sorts of people are academics don’t get me wrong but just like Dean’s life experience and Cas’s life experiences have been so different. Cas doesn’t listen to the same music or, you know, all that kind of stuff, it’s weird like his poetry can speak to Cas without them sharing the same interests either, you know what I mean?
Mal: I thought it was really lovely and important how it was pointed out, I don’t think this is necessarily a spoiler, because it’s not really a plot point or anything about their relationship necessarily – that a lot of Jack Allen’s poetry, like one of the things that Cas has been kind of arguing for years is that his poetry is valid and important and will be long lived in spite of all those references when actually, what kind of flips it for him and he starts thinking of it differently because of Dean is the actually it can be important and have a long life because of those things. Not in spite of those things, it can be because of them. I thought that was quite interesting actually to kind of look at it in a slightly meta way and think about it from a fandom point of view because there’s so many things in fandom that are like ‘Oh well you know people love this, this show or with the ship or all things in spite of all these other things that you see within the fandom, within our ship, within fics, for all these things like oh, it’s great in spite of all these things, but actually a lot of the time I think fandom is great because of those things.
Opal: I mean people say that about Supernatural too, right? If it were perfect would we be creating all of these fics to go into the spaces that they left wide open? You know?
Mal: Exactly! Like I’m sure objectively from some academic point of view Supernatural is terrible and I don’t love it in spite of those things I love it because of those things.
Opal: oh yeah, it’s trash, yes definitely
Ellen: We love the trash. It does have a lot of meta in there anyway especially with… Dean is going to… if you haven’t read this fic, this is not a spoiler… but Dean goes along to classes at the University where Cas teaches and they study a couple of poems that sort of bring back a lot of trauma for Dean about his dad and how he treated them before he died, and he gets into a lot of angst kind of space with Sam, Sam helps him through it so there’s a lot of meta writing about John and even in the show’s portrayal of him that came through in this. Do you write meta as well as stories? I mean, there was a lot of thinking going into this – kind of how Dean relates to his father in this.
Opal: I write a lot of meta in my head, yeah I mean I, let’s see, I first started watching this show in 2013 and I’ve binged it on Netflix and I started watching it ‘cause I had kind of recently come to Tumblr and it as you know this was the Superwholock era so I was seeing references to Supernatural all the time and you know, I had already watched Doctor Who and enjoyed it and I was like, you know this might be a show worth watching – just based on how passionate – the people are really passionate about it right? and I, and I like it when people are passionate, so I was like okay I’ll watch it. And unfortunately, that meant I was spoiled for like the major twist which is the arrival of Castiel and the angels, but I wasn’t really spoiled for much else honestly, ‘cause it’s all memes and jokes, right? So, when you know I first start watching it not really into horror, but I was like OK there’s like some funny about it there’s something about it that I can… ‘cause it’s summertime I was like, whatever, you know and then by the time they got to like ‘Home’ right? And you really first dug into their relationship is with John, and like John appearing at the end of the episode – he was there the whole fucking time, the asshole, like all of that kind of stuff… It was like starting from there and then going from like, ‘Shadow’ and then like the very end ‘Dead Man’s Blood’ when they have that whole thing where like John like bitches out Dean for the state of the Impala, for like no damn reason, and then like Sam and John are yelling and Dean has to get between them. There, there’s just something about the way the family dynamic was built in season one – even as they were trying to struggle to figure out what the show was, that hooked me so hard and I have been thinking about those relationships since then because I feel that despite it being like a fantasy horror show, whatever, that they hit some raw nerve in real family dynamics especially for like, I don’t know the lower class and like, the tension with Sam trying to rise above his station in life that so there’s all these like undercurrent of class dynamics and in the struggle for money and the personalities and the tragedy that, that joins them and repels each other at the same time and it just always felt really true to me and I’ve never ever been satisfied with the way that the show goes about it, like in pockets, yes – but like overall treats it and I’ve never really been satisfied with the way fandom treats it so I think what happened when I was writing the fic is it just kind of came out and obviously there’s like, personal feelings in, in there.
Ellen: That triggered you as well?
Opal: it’s yeah, I know, it actually literally did because I was just doot de doo writing my draft and then I just started crying like in the middle of writing it and I and I always know when that happens that I, I kind of unknotted something within myself. It, it sounds like a catharsis like something, like I was holding that in for who knows how long and I’m finally letting it go via my art (so pretentious, ‘my art’, smile) it’s just one of those things that I was like, okay you know there’s something there, yeah.
Ellen: it’s a really powerful scene, where Dean is laying it all out for Sam and yeah, it really tugs at your heart strings. Even to read it a second time.
Opal: I tell you what if you think that tugs at your heartstrings the comments I get on that chapter are just really…
Mal: I was just really literally just about to say that sometimes reading the comments on that chapter can be tough. Because people do tend to share…
Opal: yeah, I mean, I love yeah, yeah, don’t get me wrong I love all of the comments like if you’re listening to this please don’t like second guess yourself but like yeah I like getting the email notifications for comments ‘cause I throughout the day if I check my email my ‘oh, what a gift, thank you’, but yeah I’ll get those and sometimes I I just I just get laid out by the minute it is just like you know you feel so humbled and it just makes you so sad that there’s so much grief in the world but at the same time you’re glad that something spoke to them and you kind of, I can’t help you but maybe this helped you, like maybe I’m holding your hand a little bit right now then that makes me feel better
Ellen: So, not only I guess Sam is there during the whole way through this one but also you’ve got people around Dean that help him through a lot of this stuff. There’s one scene that I particularly loved where he’s just sort of coming to terms with telling everyone that he’s back doing some poetry although at that stage I don’t know if anyone knows he’s back writing it, but that he has the scene with Bobby and Rufus and they just like ‘Oh, you’re studying poetry? Okay, how about this haiku that you don’t know about?’ I love when Bobby and especially Rufus come in and just like… they know shit. Like you don’t expect them to know stuff and then they just know – that is brilliant.
Mal: I love them as characters at the best of times but then just adding in the extra layer where they can be that little bit unexpected, ‘cause it’s so easy to put characters like Bobby and Rufus in these little boxes and then just make some kind of one trick ponies, where they are more than just grumpy and wear vests and just hang out in the background. I love it when we get more layers to them than that. ‘Cause they are, they are much more complex, layered characters than that, and it’s wonderful when we get space for that in fics. I don’t this it’s necessarily that, you know, writers reduce them to these one dimensional things – it’s just oftentimes, in fic you know they don’t have any other role than that because the story isn’t necessarily about them, but I love it when there’s a fic that’s big enough or has them in it enough that you get to see those extra layers and so much more of them. I love that so much! I love Rufus, I love Bobby very, very much, but Bobby plus Rufus just makes my day. I love them.
Opal: they are the dream team (laughter) – the fact that, canonically, Bobby knows a ton of languages including Japanese – which I think is the coolest – I think and we never get an explanation for other than like he loves books is, is kind of, always makes wonder I was like – oh gosh, did he know coz, just kind of what his age is, this is just you know headcanon stuff, it’s like did he know people who fought in World War two or like were sent to internment camps? Like who did he know? I like to think it’s because he knew someone who spoke Japanese for some reason or another but also like if he studied the language, he’s gonna – I’m sorry but I’m gonna butcher the name but Matsuo Basho, right? Because he’s one of the big names in haiku in Japanese literature. But you know it’s one of those things too is that when I was growing up, and you guys might have experienced the same thing, is that I was always delighted when I find out that an adult knew something about something. You know what I’m saying? Because it’s like you know like, like if you’re sitting there and you’re like, ‘Oh, I just discovered this thing, crazy right?’ and you’re teenagers or like, I’m the only one who knows about this thing is so crazy and then like you , you like mention it and then like, an adult is all like, ‘Oh, yes, such and such’ and you’re like ‘Oh, I know nothing’ But that always excites me when I feel like I know nothing about something, something, cos it’s learning time. I think yeah.
Ellen: Yeah, sure, sure. On a much lower brow level, my kids discovering Pokemon and they tell me about them, And I’m like, “yes, I was there when the old magic was written,” Or whatever that meme is.
Opal: And they’re like, ‘Have you heard of Jigglypuff?’ And you’re like, yes, yes I have
Ellen: Yes, I know Jigglypuff.
Mal: kids are very humbling in that way sometimes.
Ellen: Yes, you’ve gotta try really hard not to laugh and be condescending about it because it’s like exciting for them, and be like, ‘okay, I know some stuff?’
Mal: My daughter got really into the SheRa series, like the newer one – and I loved it and we ended up watching it together – it was brilliant when she first mentioned it and she was like ‘oh, this is new – you can’t know what this is’ and I was just sat there thinking, yeah SheRa didn’t look like that when I was a kid (laughter) but no, I loved the new series and it was wonderful. So… But yeah, there is a great feeling of discovering when someone else knows something and you don’t necessarily know enough about that thing yet, but there’s also this great feeling of knowing that there’s someone else out there who has this knowledge. I feel like this is probably one of those things where there’s a word for it, there’s a specific word, somewhere out there, in some language for that feeling. And it just makes you hungrier for the knowledge, knowing that other people know it and you don’t
Opal: Kind of like broadening your horizons a little bit. You’re like OK, so this is like more vast and complicated than I have comprehended it as of yet
Mal: Yeah, like the world just gets that little bigger all of a sudden
Ellen: Also it gives you the realization that this person has a whole other layer about them that you never knew was there, like coming back full circle to the full character of Bobby and Rufus
Opal: Yeah, and I think too, like one of the other kind of sub layers of the story that you may or may not have picked up, but the kind of deterioration of public schooling in America like I get continually frustrated when I hear about things that the generations above me got to learn in school that I never did. ‘Like, you guys got to read what?’ I sure didn’t. You know that kind of thing so I think it makes sense that even if they read poetry that they never sought out by themselves that they probably would have read a lot more of it in school than Dean ever had to.
Mal: A lot less American poetry and more Shakespeare shoved down my throat, you know being mostly schooled in England, I could not escape Shakespeare, unfortunately.
Ellen: We did a whole lot of Shakespeare too, I think that’s probably a worldwide thing. At least an English speaking worldwide thing.
Opal: they taught us a lot of Shakespeare – but not very well. It like wasn’t until I started doing it in theatre where I was like ‘oh, so it’s actually good – it actually is good.
Mal: I think, I think we did like three different plays per term, it would be like one but yeah, yeah. I enjoy reading poetry. I don’t read as much of it as I should, that was like a sub goal that I set myself this year. I set myself a goal, I was going to try and read some physical books this year that were not on a screen and were not fanfic – just for variety’s sake ‘cause there is nothing wrong with reading fanfic and clearly, I read a lot of it, I’m on this podcast! But just for variety’s sake – gonna make sure that I read some other things as well, so I set myself a goal to read like 50 books but then I also set myself a goal to make sure that I read 10 poetry anthologies as well, on top of that
Ellen: How’s that going?
Mal: Well, I’m at 5 – so I’m halfway through, so slightly behind, but not too much
Opal: that’s really good
Mal: Come the end of the year, we’ll see if I succeed or not. I may succeed at the poetry and fail everything else at this point.
Ellen: Gotta have some wins, right?
Mal: I’ll take the poetry win and just let the rest of it go.
Ellen: One thing I really loved about this story towards the end of it when Cas does work out that… I can’t remember if it’s before he realizes who Dean is? it must be beforehand because Dean gets a bit flustered about it is that he says that, that Jack Allen’s poetry changed him, and I know this was written before the end of the show so well done you for predicting that.
Opal: Useless prophecy. (laughter)
Ellen: it’s heartbreaking that it came true, but…
Opal: Dude, it’s so, it’s – God – true but yes it’s the funniest thing because I am I’m the type of watcher of Supernatural who really loves all of the meta like even like I said I write a lot of it in my head I read a ton of it like on Tumblr and I love looking for the parallels, so like all that kind of stuff and like and I know through throughout like season 15 a lot of us were like “so many blank spaces, so many blank spaces”. And then like he’s giving his confession, his monologue in “Despair” and it felt for me like every sentence he spoke was like… “that just filled in a blank space.” Like everything sounded familiar to me and it was like one of those things that I like to call the inevitable surprise, like you didn’t necessarily see it coming but once he says it, it was like inevitable that it should have been that way and I thought that’s all it was, and everything sounded correct and familiar, right? And then not long after I get this comment through like, “holy shit – you wrote ‘you changed me’” and I was like, “I did? What?” And I had to go back and read it and I was like I did, I did write that, that’s why it sounded so familiar. I already felt this was how Cas felt.
Ellen: well obviously it was the truth! I had a similar thing, someone wrote a comment on my “Demon Like Him” because, in that I said they have this big goodbye scene and he says “Why does this sound like a goodbye?” and I’d forgotten I put that in there at all! Then in the scene itself I was bawling my eyes out so I never would have sort of realised but yeah then I went back and read it and went “Oh, shit I did, kind of, you know, okay!”
Opal: see, you see this is just proof, this is just proof – ‘cause I have read, I have read other fics where there are things that I’m like “yeah, yeah, they predicted that.” We know these characters better than some of the people who made that show
Ellen: Yeah, it was always meant to happen this way!
Opal: it really was
Mal: Both of you have made predictions that were so much nicer than the one I accidentally made
Ellen: yeah, yeah – the rebar
Mal: I had so many angry comments, like joking angry, luckily. So we did a re-write before season 15 came out following on from the end of season 14, with the zombie storyline from the graveyard at the end of season 14 and in my chapter of that I may have impaled Dean on a rebar
Opal: (gasps) no! Oh my God! How?
Mal: I had forgotten about it completely until people started yelling about it
Ellen: It was just his leg, he was fine!
Mal: I didn’t kill him, he got unimpaled, and saved – I did what the other writers would not, okay? I.e. Help was called for.
Ellen: I just went back into that rage recently, because I’m watching through Buffy and I got up to the bit where Cordelia gets like fully impaled on a rebar, and she’s fine!
Mal: And much worse than Dean was impaled, yes.
Ellen: And I was like, ‘You fucking assholes!”
Mal: yes like she was completely run through by something much chunkier – she lived, okay. Oh, my goodness.
Ellen: Anyway, at least we all predicted, apart from you Mal, the confession parts.
Where I was going with this in the first place…
Ellen: No that’s alright we go off on tangents, it’s what we do. Having poetry that changed him as a person changed his entire… the course of his life and he went off to study, this you know, in depth this one particular poet, it reminded me of, I had like using, years ago now – there was a motivational speaker that we had into our workplace who told us about people who come into your life and they termed them as Wizards. Like you know – when Gandalf comes in and redirects the course of Frodo’s life or whatever. So, if someone comes into your life and it changes the way you think about one thing and then they might not ever know that they did that for you, but it’s just changed who you are as a person that I think for a lot of us probably, Misha is one of those people? But yeah it could be anybody, so I think that Cas just reminded me in that moment of that.
Opal: I think too that I mean poetry is one of those things that I had to discover for myself because, you know like I was never taught it well like – in grade school – it was very boring it was very this is what it means. Then when you read it you’re like, duh duh duh duh, endline. Like the boringest thing in the entire world. And then when I finally kind of discovered it for myself it was a like ‘oh’ it was like very specifically… I actually mention the Pullman, it’s ‘Locksley Hall’ because ‘Locksley Hall’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson is, like I don’t know if you’ve read it, but it’s like hundreds of lines long and the only part of it I had read before is this part where it’s like oh you know, “I looked into the future far as human I could see so the vision of the world and all the wonder that would be” and it’s kind of like this little vision about how, you know, there might be wars or whatever but then the “kindly earth shall slumber laughed in universal law” and there’s it’s like this very optimistic kind of looking to the future thing. And I had decided you know I want to look up the whole poem because it just said it was an excerpt and it’s like this 200-line poem from the point of view of this young man. And it like, kind of goes of these like ups and downs of life of him falling in love and then getting spurned and then being angry about it and like thinking about how life has done him dirty and like, what happens after the universal law thing is like, you know like, “so my passion swept through me, left me with a like, with a palsied heart and a jaundiced eye” you know is like talking about like this really like, like you know deep sad sack stuff you know? But like when you’re a teenager you’re reading that you’re like well, wait – when did he write this now? Hey, what? 1800 people wrote like that? 1800s I felt like ‘oh, I thought Victorians were like “no you can’t, you can’t say that”’ like I feel like, it’s just this lie that, at least in my experience, that you get taught in school that poetry is like this and then when you discover that poetry is actually like, the most truthful – like you get really deep in there and you’re not alone and you kind of never been alone. ‘Cause it’s like you know you listen to music that you like, and you like ‘yes this is, the times right’ but to read something that someone wrote like 200 years ago and you’re like ‘have people always felt this way?’ It kind of makes you feel a little less alone and it kind of bolsters you a little bit and so it just makes sense for me that that Dean’s poetry could do that for someone
Ellen: It’s a interesting realisation to come to, that humans have just always been like this
Ellen: Like there’s always been passionate people all through history. Anyway, it’s getting a bit deep now.
Mal: don’t let all the smut fool you, you know all this Dean/Cas/Supernatural thing – there’s some deep stuff in there somewhere.
Opal: Would you say it was profound?
Ellen: Indeed, it is profound
Mal: I’ve heard that word around somewhere. This is one of those fics that I don’t want to overly spoil and it’s very, very top line simplest form is very simple – hidden poet Dean goes to college – meets Professor Cas – there you go – wonderful – go read – but it’s so much more than that and I don’t want to spoil what more it is I just wanna send you to go read it, so please just go read it.
Ellen: This fic has actually inspired, just from seeing people mentioning it on Twitter and stuff though, inspired a lot of people to either read or write poetry afterwards as well, so well done, it’s spreading the good word.
Opal: once again, like super humbling, like really humbling. When I read comments like that yeah, it makes me very happy, happy for people, happy for the world
Mal: there is an entire fanfic inspired by this one as well which I think is almost as long as this one is, it’s written by spandwiches and Lanaserra, so once you’ve read this one you can go read that one extra bang for your buck!
Ellen: Yes, that one is 300CC by LanaSerra and spandwiches and its Dean and Cas, writing little poems to each other – it’s gorgeous
Mal: And also, this was a Pinefest so there is art attached to this fic as well. So, if you are a visual person that wants pictures along with your words, you should go and check that out as well. I love the texture of art in this story.
Opal: Oh, it’s beautiful – they did such an amazing job. Like that was definitely one of those things I told them when they were sending me like pictures of the paintings, they did I was like ‘Oh my God I can see the texture and it’s so beautiful’
Mal: I’m like, ‘I wanna touch it, I want to stroke it’, I hate that’s on a screen because I wanna stroke it!
Opal: I know! I mean I, I don’t know how they live their life but there are actual paintings out there somewhere
Opal: yeah, and I’m sure they’re freaking gorgeous
Ellen: They even look beautiful on the screen, so they must be beautiful in real life
Opal: yeah, absolutely
Mal: Always try to mention the artist as well.
OK, so the second story that we’re going to talk about today is called ‘The State of You’ by TrenchcoatBaby – a little bit longer, 100,000 words and it was published back in 2018 to it’s a little tiny bit older but not too much. This one is kind of the reverse – we kind of have a balance, I guess throughout this podcast of ones where Dean is writing and ones where Cas is writing. We tried to have a balance between the two but we actually have both of our ‘Dean is writing’ ones up front I think. So, the summary goes like this: “Castiel Novak is a New York based no nonsense book editor avoiding his southern roots. Dean Winchester is a born and raised farmer and budding novelist with a terrible case of writer’s block. When Dean finally admits that he needs help Castiel is given a plane ticket and a mission – help Dean with his deadline by any means necessary but what happens when Dean and Castiel are immediately enemies and immediately attracted to each other? Will they come together and learn from one another, or will adversity and circumstance keep them apart?”
Ellen: Spoiler – they get together. This is definitely an explicit fic, lots of lovely sexy times
Mal: I love this, so much more to this fic that I thought there was going to be though, because it sounds like it could be quite a straightforward story but then it it actually ends up going into so much more than that – I love it with it they serve me up some extra plot
Opal: this is my first time reading it and I was like ‘oh, everything is getting included in this’ This is amazing!
Ellen: yes, so basically Dean is a science fiction writer. He writes the ‘Impala Chronicles’ which is basically the same as Supernatural and he’s got a lot of writer’s block on his latest book because it as it turns out his main character is actually bi and he didn’t realize until he started writing it and attracted to the one of the other, main characters so it’s paralleling Supernatural quite well there. And so Castiel is Dean’s editor, he’s sent to Nashville to help him with his writer’s block. So, I just really, I love that this is also sort of an enemies to lovers type thing like when Cas first gets there they have this meeting and they just misunderstandings abound and they hate each other they have a big fight like, right at the start.
Mal: first meeting – not great for sure
Opal: it was really well done though because I feel like sometimes, like conflict is a little bit – you know like Supernatural itself is guilty of this a lot – like conflict for the sake of conflict, but like I felt where Dean and Cas were both coming from. Like their circumstances, their reactions were completely understandable, you know. Especially once you get to know them better and so I felt that was a very satisfying ‘meet ugly’ if you will
Mal: yeah, like the conclusions that they drew about each other were logical for the circumstance that they were in. They were completely wrong, but they were logical so…
Opal: yeah exactly
Ellen: And they worked it out fairly quickly. And got on with the business of falling in love
Opal: and it’s so delicious
Mal: very hot fic, it has to be said
Ellen: I loved that Cas has a bunch of writing exercises for Dean to do, Like making him write… especially the little note cards that he has, they become like a feature of the story all the way through. Forcing him to write like 50 cards a day or whatever with just whatever comes to mind. I thought that was a really beautiful kind of take.
Mal: yes and they lead in much later, without any spoilers, to probably one of the loveliest scenes in the story which was quite beautifully done in the way that it was very, I guess, slowly led up to through the whole story by the note cards being dribbled in throughout.
Opal: like Chekhov’s note cards.
Mal: Yeah, so I really like those – and the whole idea of the writing exercises that Cas makes him do them, was quite fun, yes
Ellen: and it works. Like, he’s so reluctant at first to actually be able to write anything but then it doesn’t take long before it is still flowing so I’m sort of filing them away in my brain for next time I’m stuck.
Opal: sometimes you know, as a writer you just need someone to yell at you for a little bit and then you can start writing again
Mal: even when they were kind of flirting or fucking, all the things that were going on, even then at that point there was a certain line that Cas drew. He was like ‘no I’m here for a reason and you are going to do these things, this is the reason that I am here – you need help, you are currently suffering from this – you are undisciplined you need this do this thing.’ So then Dean did do what he wanted to do – maybe not in quite the way that Cas was expecting him to do it but you know, he fulfils the mission
Opal: There was a lot of angst in there too though, for sure. Especially like getting near the end and the whole thing with you know the publishing company, shake ups happening at the publishing company and how that’s affecting Dean’s writing and that sort of stuff and Cas, sort of caught in the middle. I thought that was very angsty and I was like reading it voraciously to find out how it was solved.
Ellen: Yeah, you definitely can’t put it down, right?
Mal: yeah, I thought it was actually quite a nice balance in this story between… I was going backwards and forwards not quite sure which one of them I wanted to shake the most, at one point – I was just like, ‘you’re both making me want to shake you up and pick you up and bang your heads together at this point’
Opal: very in character for them
Mal: yes, really – on point
Ellen: All that stuff with the publishing company, TrenchcoatBaby – actually she mentions in her authors note that she works in publishing so I, I think that she’s probably brought a lot of her personal experience into the editorial process at least
Opal: yeah, I mean I always loved the idea of like, how and this is like early on so I don’t feel this is a spoiler either, like Anna is his Prime Editor and I don’t remember exactly what terms TrenchcoatBaby used, but when Anna was trying to convince Dean that he needed to meet with Cas, ‘cause she was like, ‘No no no, I’m just kind of like your general editor you need like the type of editor that’s going to kick your ass and he’s like a specialist. He’s gonna come there to you and he’s going to make you write’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ I just love the idea of like a specialist editor coming and he’s like whips off his sunglasses like ‘now the work can begin’ I just want that to be true.
Mal: what do I need to do to get one? We need Casses, all of us!
Opal: exactly – where’s my editing Angel?
Ellen: can someone come here? I’ll take you to the beach! I just need someone to make me do it, okay?
Mal: If they happened to be almost 6-foot, dark haired, stubbly, grumpy looking trench coat we’ll take it – that’s fine
Ellen: I need an editor dom, thank you.
Ellen: Just to take it to the gutter
Mal: Yeah, one of the things for me, I really enjoyed about this one, was the setting of this one, just ‘cause it’s so well done that it felt very, very real, like as somebody who lives in the south, it felt very familiar like the setting of it whole thing, like the places that they went as they were walking around, where Dean lived even like the farm and stuff it felt like places I knew. So, it was very well done. It’s one of those nicely immersive stories.
Opal: I definitely wanted to go to their farm like, oh I wish I could go there for real that sounds nice
Mal: yeah, and I love the fact that in this story Sam and Jess are together and they’re living on this farm and Dean is still living with them. So it’s kind of like, there’s no kind of sense of, like that Dean is this unwanted left over piece of their lives, like sometimes, in Destiel fic, you get this kind of thing where Dean is left behind a little bit and this is kind of the opposite of that like, that they have their own life going on but at no point they want to kind of get rid of Dean or anything like that – like, no, he was part of the family.
Ellen: I think sometimes feels like he, he might be intruding on their life a bit, but not from their side.
Mal: yeah, I never really get the sense from them at all, which it was just very nice it’s like nice, nice family feels. It’s very good – wouldn’t mind having a Dean to come and stay on my farm to cook for me anyway, put it that way.
Mal: If he can bring an editor with him!
Opal: Who amongst us would be strong enough to refuse? I really like, ‘cause this is the sort of thing I like to watch out for, all of the literary references,
Mal: yes, I was waiting for them to come up
Opal: and then I was like, you know, I was there with going ‘oh boy’, because you know you might see a couple of these names pop up in my fic it also like John Dunn you know, so like when he mentioned ‘The Flea’ was like the flame I was like – that’s a poem with a capital P and, and I felt too and I don’t and maybe you know, Ellen: since you helped edit this – I felt from like this ‘Snakes in the Grass’ I got mad Terrisus vibes you know, Greek mythology stuff. I was just really feeling when those, when those references were made and then always see you’ve got ‘On the Road’ – which is obligatory, I think – when you’re doing like Supernatural because it is the OG right” And then Sylvia Plath of course and I was like, ‘oh, this Cas loves poetry too!’ – I was very happy.
Mal: I absolutely adored the fact that in this story Cas met Chuck because he fell asleep on a bench reading Sylvia Plath just some reason that just burrowed into my chest and I loved it
Opal: I could picture it very well
Ellen: yeah, someone who is not, I’m not a lit major like, I didn’t do English stuff at uni and I’m not very well read in the classic stuff like that especially not American literature but in, with both this fic and yours, Opal, I didn’t feel like it was over my head, like you know it was very – everything was described in a way that that I identified with and understood so you know, sometimes when you read like it stuff about literature you feel like, I well I do anyway, feel like it’s all like, I am not smart enough to understand any of this – I don’t know what’s going on but no, I think in, in the Destiel fics about literature that I’ve read I’ve been very pleased with. It doesn’t feel like it’s over-intellectualised, I guess.
Mal: As a whole, I think, fanfic – especially the ones that we’re talking about today does literal, cultural referencing very, very well. I think much better than published fiction tends to. When you read published fiction, it tends to come across quite a lot that either the character or the author is just jerking off to their own literary knowledge while you’re trying to read and
Mal: and yet somehow with fanfiction it comes across so much more genuine. I don’t know if it’s just because like they that there has to be genuine love behind it for them to be doing it.
Opal: I think it’s almost like I, I think it’s a little bit about like, oftentimes, when people are making published works and stuff there like ‘Oh yes, pinnacle of my achievement please – to the masses, enjoy’ whereas people who are writing fanfic are like ‘I want to share a story with my friends’ and I think that that has like a very different approach to how you how you write stuff
Mal: It’s almost like a different expectation. I know that I have stories and I have a story where Cas is a writer and in that story there are certain references that I put in there that I, 100%, don’t expect everybody to get because they are references that would just between me and my alpha and beta while I was writing it and they were just things that we were joking about at the time, or things that mattered to me at the time, so they’re very kind of almost meta within the fic itself and yet there are people that get them. There are people that comment and get them, you know, that they can genuinely be recognised by other people, and I also think that speaks to the fact that like fanfic writers and readers, we read things on a slightly different level I think sometimes? Because we’re used to looking for meta and things all the time, even when we’re not consciously doing it, I mean, it’s different if we’re just reading like a little kind of like, you know, porn without plot like probably not in that sense sometimes we dig into like a larger fic and we know that it’s a piece with kind of certain themes or whatever we look at it so much more than we would otherwise and we do pick up on things. Fanfic readers and writers are smart.
Opal: and I think it kind of goes along fair so like, what’s one of our hobbies? Reading fanfic. Like if you think about the great array of hobbies available to us in this world my hobby is reading but my hobby – I also have a subset hobby – which is specifically reading more reading, you know what I mean? So, it’s like, I feel like people who read fanfic probably just like also read a lot, you know? It just makes you better at picking things up and I think a lot of us too are like Supernatural scholars at this point and if any show is like the king of making random references. I mean, well it’s really Dean is the king of making random references but, you know
Opal: I think it kind of comes with the package – at least in Supernatural fic.
Ellen: Without spoiling any of the actual plot it’s Cas… like the main angst comes from Cas making a deal to save Dean without Dean understanding the particulars of it – which is extremely canon, I felt. I thought that was really, it was perfectly done because Cas does that the whole time, I mean I Dean does it too, like for he does it for Sam. I think he probably does it for Cas as well, you know, they’re always making deals, they’re doing things to save the others without the other person knowing and I think it was perfectly done in this one.
Opal: I also think it’s interesting how, and I don’t wanna speak too specifically because spoilers, but you can almost tell sometimes about when a fic was written based on how the characters are in the story because there is a certain character in this story who changed a lot over the course of the show and so it was interesting reading about them
Ellen: Are you talking about Chuck?
Opal: Yeah, I’m talking about Chuck. So, basically, I feel like how Chuck is treated in this story would probably be different, or would there even be a different character in that role if it were written in season 15? That’s really interesting always.
Mal: yeah, there are a lot of fics now, if you go back in… there’s more than one characterization like that really… where you can kind of see changes as time goes on. Yeah, Chuck is a big one.
Opal: his is a more recent change, for sure, but she did bring back one of the OG’s because I feel like Anna used to show up in fics constantly, all the time, like, even when I joined the fandom between seasons 8-9, yeah, and she would show up constantly. Especially as one of Cas’s friends, as you know, someone who’s Castiel’s friend, but there are just so many more characters introduced over the years that she’s kind of fallen out of favour so, it’s for a 2018 fic to have her, I think is really cool – just kind of taking her off the shelf – dusting her off a bit – works well
Ellen: she often shows up as Cas’s sister.
Opal: I had great fun reading it
Ellen: This is one of my favourite fics of TBC’s so everyone should go and read it.
OK, so moving onto the third fic that we’re going to talk about – it’s called ‘Cabin By The Lake’ and it’s by CBFirestarter. This one’s a little older again. It was published back in 2017, it’s 49,000 words long and it’s also explicit. And the summary goes: “Dean Winchester has been leasing out his extra cabin up by Moosehead Lake in Maine for many years now, he’s grown accustomed to the rhythm and predictability of life in the quiet forests of northern Maine. Something always felt missing though and heartache from lost love had pushed Dean to lock himself away when he suddenly meets the blue-eyed writer who was the first tenant of the season. Things in Dean’s life get turned upside down and maybe he is willing to take a chance again even if it might mean getting hurt.”
So, this is another story with a beautiful setting, a lake in Maine.
Mal: yeah, the fic itself kinda takes place, it starts off during a vacation but then takes place over a few months after that
Ellen: So, Cas goes and rents out a cabin for a couple of weeks to write more of his book. This is where Cas is the writer, and one thing leads to another…
Mal: one thing leads to another, indeed
Ellen: I think they get stuck inside during a storm and there’s some hurt/comfort going on this one there’s a lot of different tropes that she’s pulled into this one.
Mal: yes, there are a lot of very juicy tropes in there. Like if you enjoy tropey fic which, now and again a good juicy tropey fic is just comforting. I feel like tropes are comfort.
Opal: I mean it’s, it’s a sign of a well-built story, if you know how to use your tropes and this story definitely does.
Mal: And that’s why I like this fic – like a big fluffy comfort blanket to me because it’s one of those things, like we know, we can read the tags, we know they’re eventually going to end up together it’s got a happy ending tag so we know what we’re heading for but we just want to see how they get there.
Ellen: it was definitely like a big warm hug, I feel like. Read this one for comfort.
Mal: And like you said – the setting just made it feel even more like comfy cosy just with the cabins and the horse riding and the blankets and the – just everything. It was cozy.
Opal: Can I say with the horses, I hope this is not too big a spoiler, but one of the horses is Alistair and I cannot tell you how much that delighted me. (laughter) I hadn’t read this fic before, like Mal either, so I’m still tickled by the fact that one of the horses is Alastair. Alistair has been so many things in so many different fics, but I’ve never seen him as a horse and I just think the way Dean interacts with him and all of that stuff was really fantastic, probably my favourite detail in this story.
Ellen: yes. CB is a horse mum. So, she’s got the details of horse riding and all of that stuff down really well. So, yeah, if you like her horsey stuff, then go and read her other fic called War Wounds which is a BDSM fic, she and TrenchcoatBaby – spoke to them before about some of their fics they write some other stuff together but this particular one is all fluff and all warm comfort, definitely.
Opal: I thought it was interesting too, that Cas was, I mean, even though he is writing something personal in the fic his day job is writing for television and I don’t think like in all of… ‘cause I was thinking as we were doing this podcast, looking at fics it actually read were either them as a writer and I couldn’t think of too many and I don’t I can’t think of any other ones where one of them was a television writer. I mean there must be some out there it’s Supernatural but it was really cool to have like that different vibe as what type of writer Cas was.
Mal: I couldn’t think of another, off just off my head, where that’s the particular type of writer that either of them are but it was a very cool parallel to have that specially with the type of show that he was writing was obviously a kind of an homage to Supernatural which was pretty awesome, so yeah. One of my favourite things with all of these stories, with not even if they’re writing it, just if it’s something that exists within the world of that story, is what writers do with ‘Supernatural’ in their stories, what they changed the title to or what they change up to the character names, they might make it like science fiction or something else they change something about it but make sure that is recognisable to us and that’s just the amount of different names that the show has had, I find very entertaining. I think, if I remember correctly, it’s called ‘Travellers’ in this one?
Ellen: Oh yeah, it’s time travel. She’s turned into a time travel show, yeah
Ellen: I kinda want to know more about it now
Mal: Yeah, the little titbits we were getting here and there, with the characters and people were like shipping together and like who Cas had to get together and then who they were gonna.. who had been killed off, that people were complaining about stuff, I just… needed to know more!
Ellen: Dean being a bit of a fangirl and asking him questions about it.
Opal: “what are you gonna do with so and so?” and Cas is like “Well, I can’t say but don’t miss this episode”. It very much for me had the vibes of like in episode ‘Monster At The End of The Book’ where Castiel, like, “just so you understand why I can’t help “
Ellen: yeah, so I guess this is like they both feel like it’s just a holiday fling like, while Cas is there, and the misunderstanding is that, that, that neither of them is really, you know into it that much that they want to keep going afterwards but of course, neither of them can live without the other one in their lives afterwards, so yeah
Mal: one of my favourite things out this kind of leads on from that, actually and that in the end to have a happy ending in this, one of my favourite things, was that, there was kind of a genuine compromise they came to which wasn’t wholly just about them, it was something that kind of benefited their lives outside of, outside of that. It was a good thing for Dean as well individually and worked for Cas and wasn’t just one of them having to give up everything to go to where the other was or vice versa. ‘Cause, you know sometimes, sometimes that happens in life as well as in fic and that’s fair enough, but it is much more satisfying for me to read personally where there is some kind of genuine compromise – that’s not one of them having to give up everything.
Opal: I think that’s one of the things that I really like about what I see with Dean and Cas, is that meeting each other helps them grow as people, you know what I’m saying? Like they become more themselves instead of less themselves
Ellen: They change each other, yeah
Opal: yeah “you changed me, Dean”
Mal: it’s funny though, if you look at them on a short term time scale they argue a lot and they just drive each other up the wall; and they’re constantly grumpy and sniping at each other and the rest of it and just seeing them in like, you know, a slice in a moment of time you could be easily convinced that these two are a terrible idea to be friends, let alone anything else. But then if you look at them on a much longer term, time scale, you realise that they are actually very good for each other, it’s just you need to simply take a step back to see that. You have to see how much they have grown, how much they’ve helped each other and all the rest of it but sometimes if you’re a little bit too close I feel like you wouldn’t see that immediately
Ellen: the other thing this fic does for me, it makes me really hungry. Because they eat pie a lot.
Mal: Yes! they eat a lot of good food in this story
Opal: Cas is a cook in this one
Ellen: I can’t exactly remember what he cooks. Is it spaghetti or pasta?
Mal: I think the first the first date they have at his cabin, or not date, or whatever it is
Opal: “it’s just dinner – it doesn’t mean anything”
Ellen: “just dinner”
Mal: it sounded so good, it was just spaghetti, but I was like maybe I’ll make spaghetti for dinner
Ellen: it’s making me crave some pie, oh my god.
Opal: I mean that’s just a natural danger whenever you talk about Supernatural, right?
Mal: You’re gonna end up wanting pie
Ellen: Like he talks about pie all the time, but there’s probably only a handful of episodes where he actually eats pie, right? like you don’t see him eating it that often.
Mal: there is more pie in fan fiction there is in the show. Yeah, they cheated us out of pie. They tempted us with pie, but it didn’t deliver in the show, they mention it and don’t actually deliver on the pie.
Opal: it’s one of those things that kept us watching – “Will Dean ever get the pie?” Ellen: yeah, yeah that demon in season 14, or whenever it was actually, bought him pie – and he was like, I guess I’ll eat it
Opal: I do want to just give a shout out to the little literary references because I feel like there’s a theme that everybody’s mentioning poetry, and I was like this is on brand. So, there is a bit of Walt Whitman and a bit of Robert Frost and, you know, you’re in New England – you’re gonna have to name check Robert Frost at least once right? So, just for people who are planning to read, as they should, or have already read – I looked it up for you which poems were quoted and for Walt Whitman it was ‘Song of Myself’ which is a most excellent poem and I highly recommend it and the Frost poem quoted was ‘A Servant to Servants’ – which I had never read before – it’s not my style but it’s definitely that sort of, kind of ‘down home New England’ stuff ‘cause Frost was a farmer for a while, so I thought they were both very fitting and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Mal: Very good for the setting. There’s something really lovely about…we love our banter in fics ‘cause they do it in the show and we see it a lot between Dean and Sam and it’s lovely when Dean and Cas get to the stage where you start to see it been Dean and Cas as well and it’s especially lovely when in all of these fics we have it to the point where we’re starting to get literary banter between them, it like, yes! Literary boner – let’s do it.
Ellen: We all know that Dean is secretly a smart cookie – he knows his stuff.
Mal: 100%, 100%
Opal: One of my favourite, you know – just like in the show – one of the things that he comes out with that you know, every now and then he’ll make a reference, then Sam will look at it will be, like, ‘I read.’ I think my favourite one was like Aesop’s Fables like, aw Dean, you read Aesop’s fables enough to talk about it? He just reads everything and I adore that about him.
Ellen: yeah, or you like watches enough random TV that he can pick it up, pick up the references
Opal: a lot of motel rooms
Mal: yeah, I love the idea that Dean is one of those people that just absorbs everything like, yes, he has his very clear preferences so yes, he loves his classic rock he loves his, you know, mid-century dystopian literature. He loves to see like his very specific things, but he clearly absorbs things on a much larger level than that as we can tell by his singing of Taylor Swift and goodness knows what else – like he clearly absorbs things on like, he knows a lot
Opal: “lady – I’m Tolstoy”. That’s why them as writers works so well because they know this stuff,
Mal: they do know this stuff.
Ellen: Well, Cas doesn’t know this stuff until he does, in the show
Opal: yes like that’s true
Mal: I love that we can write Cas like in two ways like that, ‘cause you can write him not knowing anything, or you can have him actually having this huge memory bank of information, and it works either way ‘cause both are true to canon, actually. Though I did find it entertaining in canon that, even though he technically had that memory dump of stuff, it was like he could never be bothered to use it.
Ellen: If he did, he didn’t understand the relevance of it.
Mal: It’s like, “don’t give me this stuff without the context, how is that useful?”
Ellen: “What are you talking about a fictional battle station for? Like, it doesn’t make any sense?”
Mal: “You can give me all the context in the world, I’m still never going to understand Dean,” is what that came down to.
Ellen: Alright, we better keep going
Mal: Yes. So we have one where Cas is a writer coming up next. We did two Deans, two Casses – we did deliver evenly!
All right so the final story that we’re gonna talk about is ‘The Ocean Between Us’ by noxsoulmate. Only this is a shorter one. It’s just over 27,000 words. This is another Pinefest actually! Writers are Piney apparently. This was done in 2017 and this has some very interesting tropes in it that we don’t see a lot of in Destiel fanfic, so I was very interested to read this one. The summary for this one goes like this: “Living a hermit life, Dean Winchester, didn’t need much – the only things important to him were his position in the business that was once owned by his family, his boat and his friendship with Castiel, Charlie and Gabriel. If only there wasn’t a whole ocean between them, then maybe he could give his feelings for Castiel a chance.”
Opal: you rarely like, Ellen you must have loved this ‘cause like you rarely read Supernatural things that take place in Australia.
Ellen: I very strongly identified with Dean in this fic. He is in Melbourne and obviously all of his friends are in San Francisco, so I identified with not being able to be there with people when they do things and it’s, it’s a difficult feeling. I’ve been trying to get there, I have – stupid pandemic.
Mal: Ah no, we’ve managed to maintain a friendship quite a few years now even with 14 hours between us so we’ve, we’ve managed – but it’s very relatable with this whole online friendship thing that they have going on.
Ellen: I just want to hug people! But yeah, it is, very hard. But the thing that they’re doing within their friend group with Charlie and Gabe is that they’ve got Moondor and then they’ve got this online and then a LARP component in real life, which I think is really interesting model for a.. like to meet up with people online with and do a fun game in real life – just such a brilliant idea – love it.
Opal: I love that you can earn points for your online avatar by LARPing. All the points count towards each other, and I was like that system must be so complicated but, yeah.
Ellen: yeah, I don’t know how that would work in real life, but
Mal: I would love to do that, like as soon as someone else could work out the system in the math, like could, could I do that please? It looks like a lot of fun.
Ellen: the other thing I think might be a little bit weird with it is that a lot of gamers are very, you know, introverted so I don’t know how many of them would actually turn up for an in person LARPing thing but you know obviously it’s working for them in this, in this story because you know they’re gonna be you know making a business out of it, so – yeah, great concept
Mal: I wonder how many of them went the other way? Like they were LARPers that then started playing online in between their LARPing yeah, yeah wonder that went the other way because yes, coaxing people online is probably easier than coaxing people offline.
Ellen: yes, that’s true
Ellen: Oh yeah, interesting thing about this story is that, that Baby is a boat like he…
Ellen: he has Baby in the marina near his house in Melbourne
Mal: I actually really like that just because of the way it was done like immediately when someone says ‘oh, Baby’s a boat’ like something in me recoils initially I’m like ‘that’s not right’ but actually like, Baby is supposed to be a car but when you read it like, the care that he takes for the boat and the like, the relationship that he has with the boat, almost, is clearly the same as he has with baby the car like it works very well to the point where you know he will spend nights sleeping on the boat and it’s clearly a home even to the point where yeah, he has an apartment but, why? He clearly sleeps on the boat most of the time
Ellen: yeah, yes he has clothes on there, books
Opal: it’s kind of funny, if you think about it, how the Impala, in that way, is like a character in Supernatural and just like all the other characters has to be in character but it’s OK if it transforms some coz it’s fic. And I think you’re right I think they did a really good job of transforming Baby but it’s still having the essence of Baby.
Mal: yeah, transformed but definitely still in character
Ellen: yeah, if it’s big enough a boat for him to be able to sail across the sea on it then I’m like, why does he live in the shitty little apartment? He must be loaded!
Mal: Yeah, let the apartment go, Dean!
Ellen: Go and live on the boat! It must be a pretty big boat
Mal: no, just saying it was fun like, it was nice seeing like this different version of Baby so something we don’t see a lot
Ellen: I liked the progression of like, obviously he and Cas have feelings for each other at the start that each of them are you know, need their heads knocked together like they don’t think that the other one is feeling the same way but the progression of their relationship is really satisfying in this like they talk all the time anyway but then they start sort of falling asleep with their computers running and you know, it’s sweet
Mal: it is pretty cute like when Dean like takes the laptop and like takes it to bed puts on his pillow like, yeah, that’s pretty sweet, right there that’s cute, Dean
Opal: it was cool to read… you kind of realise like the other fics that we’ve talked about they meet we see them meeting more or less but this one is kind of like they have an established friendship and, and so there, there was definitely a different kind of progression in their relationship than the other fics and that was yeah that was really fun to read
Mal: I liked the representation of their friendship in this one ‘cause I think for almost anybody who writes fanfics at least might not be as common for people who write outside of the fanfic world I guess depending on what their online presence is like, but it was really interesting to see Cas’s relationship with his writing like, through Dean and the way he would sort out his issues with his writing, in his writer’s block by talking about it with his friends and they would be sent drafts of stuff and he would stress about it basically I was like ‘oh, we’ve all been there’
Ellen: yeah, that was very relatable and then later he can work through his frustration with his book by, you know, getting it on with Dean online over the camera
Mal: That was funny like, ‘Do you think this character is a top or bottom? Let’s find out’
Opal: I also like that what he writes is ‘Ghostfacers’ Like, usually you know, it’s usually like ‘oh it’s like some version of Supernatural’ and this is like Supernatural a little bit to the left – its Ghostfacers
Mal: I love the Ghostfacers. I wish we had more of them – I’m endlessly entertained by the fact that they lived longer than almost anyone else in the entire show
Opal: hey for all we know they’re still alive
Mal: might have outlived everybody for all we know
Opal: so funny.
Mal: Why am I now picturing like, Sam’s funeral and they are the only people there, no,
Ellen: the blurry wife in the background
Mal: Just the blurry wife and the Ghostfacers
Opal: Oh my God
Ellen: We’ve really been damaged by this finale
Opal: but the way that it kept getting it kept getting mentioned in this fic about how Cas is supposed to end ‘Ghostfacers’ so like oh you could kill one or both of them, and it’s like ‘ohhhh no!’
Ellen: and he was reluctant to write a happy ending for them because he didn’t think that he would get one which I think is kinda sad.
Opal: it was so, so yeah
Ellen: but I guess it’s, mild spoiler, but they do actually get together in person at the end so there is an element of you know them being together in the end which is lovely it’s really heart-warming ending
Opal: and the art when it is around that time and I thought the art was so pretty.
Ellen: Who is the artist for this one?
Mal: Madeofstardust which is a lovely name.
Ellen: I love Pinefest for this reason – so much extra lovely artwork.
Mal: One of the other lovely things I liked about this fic is we had a little dose of… they mainly work it out themselves, but at the same time we had interfering Charlie in here at one point.
Ellen: Oh yeah! She really did hit their heads together
Mal: although it’s, it’s questionable – her methods are definitely questionable but, but very well intended and you do wonder like the stress that she was under having sat on this for like years by that point
Opal: girls got a breaking point, alright
Mal: Right? and they finally hit it
Opal: I, I think you know as kind of like the angsty side of that though it was like I thought this fic did a good job of you know when you’re so far away from someone and your primary relationship with them is just via technology or whatever like going through… the way that one person can exert control over work in a talk or we’re not going to talk and that sort of thing in the way that you worry and all that kind of stuff I thought that felt it – was very angsty and felt real.
Mal: yeah, and there was a little bit of an element of it felt almost canon there where if they had an issue one of them – like at one point Cas used to just literally flap off and leave like I’m not doing this right now, bye
Ellen: and you can just switch off and not answer your phone off for like, 2 days – make everyone upset about it
Mal: and they’re quite good at that in canon
Ellen: Another thing this one has, as well as at least one other fic in our list today is having Zachariah as a bad guy. He’s such a great bad guy, so evil
Mal: Yep, he’s one of the ones that I really love to hate – I’ve got nothing against the actor or anything like that he’s just one of those characters that’s just a really enjoyable villain, I feel like
Opal: I think this was a compliment to the actor
Opal: I think Kurt Fuller, is amazing. He’s like, he’s a perfect bit of smarmy but like still powerful like you believe that he can back up what he is saying to you. One of my favourite lines like in the whole show is like in ‘It’s a Terrible Life’ and it’s Zachariah says it and something because he’s trying to convince Dean you know, to play his part in the plan and whatever, he says something go like “most people go through life without moving anything more than the dirt it takes to bury them” and it’s something like that and it just like Oh, that hit so hard – and Zachariah said it! You know yeah he’s, he’s an amazing character to use in a fic for sure
Ellen: yeah, I guess he’s usually used in a, if you not writing AU in like, an office setting I guess, when he’s the boss like riffing off that Terrible Life episode
Mal: yeah or sometimes as a seen as an unpleasant relative, seen him as Cas’s dad a few times like dad, unpleasant dad. Actually, I read something earlier today where he was a good dad – which was interesting
Opal: I don’t know if you’ve read Tor Valen?
Mal: I have read that, although it was years ago.
Opal: He’s Cas’s dad. Yeah, and he was like, he was a good dad in that one which is interesting
Mal: didn’t read that, didn’t read the whole of that earlier today
Opal: that would be impressive if you had, it’s like 300,000 words
Mal: That’s a big old chunk
Ellen: That’s one of the ones I’ve been meaning to read forever and I just look at it and go ‘Oh, it’s so long.
Mal: Oh, you still haven’t read it?
Ellen: No! Well I’ve been trying to get through ‘Down to Agincourt’ and every time I try starting the next part of it I just go ‘God it’s just so long’ It’s overwhelming! But anyway. I’ll get there.
Mal: It’s such a commitment. It’s intimidating
Ellen: We’vr got a few more fics to mention
Mal: So the next one then I’m going to introduce is a short fic – just under 4000 words by Ltleflrt, which is called ‘What’s Another Word for You’. This is an older one now, 2016, and the summary is simply “When Castiel offers to protect Dean from his adoring fans by going with him to a convention he intended to act as an unofficial bodyguard, but Dean misinterprets his offer – in the best kind of way”. So obviously from that summary, could be multiple things going on there, but this one Dean is a writer, Cas is his editor, they’re friends, they’ve been friends for years, ever since Dean started working with Cas and they do have kind of a fake relationship kind of deal going on for this convention – which was somewhat unintended. That wasn’t necessarily what Cas meant to offer but it’s what Dean took anyway
Ellen: and then it turns out that he really did want that
Mal: Yeah. It’s very cute – yeah, I love the fact that, I love the fact that Dean has a habit of just calling Cas in the middle of the night to be like ‘what’s another word for this?’ As if thesauruses don’t exist, as if Google is not a thing.
Opal: I love how Cas is like, ‘that asshole was on his computer – he could hear him typing the keys’
Ellen: he just wanted to hear his voice
Opal: Aw, that made it cuter
Mal: I like the fact that Cas can’t stop himself from answering. Dean will be like – ‘What’s another for this?’ and he’ll automatically start listing words, like ‘oh ok’
Opal: It’s such a good way to add history without spelling it out. It’s like, it’s a short fic, how do you create depth in their relationship but I thought that was such a good way to do it coz it’s like you, you get this sense of all like, yes this happens a lot and it’s beautiful. And like you were talking about earlier, they could have like, banter with like, literary stuff and I’m sitting here like on this one similarly I’m like (gasp) ‘they’re bantering with synonyms’
Mal: oh – word play
Opal: This would win me over – no doubt
Mal: It’s very short – 3,800 word-ish but very sweet. Definitely worth the read. So there is like, a brief fake relationship kind of vibe going on that I don’t particularly fooling anybody even themselves for very long
Ellen: it’s hard to fit a fake relationship into 4000 words
Mal: I mean, they try? And it kinda works
Opal: Also Dean’s a horror writer, just to show all the different flavours of writer we’ve been getting, he’s a horror writer in this one and I like it. it’s cool
Mal: yeah, we’re not doubled up on anything yet, I don’t think
Ellen: I just wanna mention also another one where Cas is a writer so, ‘The Complete Works of Emanuel Allen’ by violue is a similar kind of premise to ‘And This, Your Loving Kiss’, in that Dean is a fan of Cas’s writing but he doesn’t know that Cas is Emanuel Allen. So, it’s sort of like that – not quite two-person love triangle thing again with like fake identity kind of thing, pen name identity, I guess. And it’s in a very different setting. So, Cas comes to Hazelnut Valley to do some writing to live there. He’s running away from his old life where it was very heavily controlled by his family and it’s just a really beautiful, kind of almost a gentle, kind of story about Dean’s coming to terms with home and what that means. He’s got a lot of his friends around him like Charlie and Ash and Joe and Ellen and everyone’s there and it’s one of my favourites. I love it – it’s only 56,000 so it’s not super long but has a really lovely relationship between the two of them that starts fairly early – a long way before Dean actually finds out who Cas is and in that one it’s actually a series of books that is about Jody and Donna. I think it’s called ‘Sheriffs Hunting Evil’ is the name of the series and
Opal: yeah, yeah – SHE – I remember that now
Ellen: Yeah, SHE. So there’s a big fandom around it and everyone, all of the friends there actually are fans of this book series that and Dean isn’t even really aware of that at the start but he is like, right into it like, he’s got the fanfics, he’s got the art – he’s been drawing some art for them – he’s got the tattoo of the anti-possession symbol and when Cas discovers all this he’s like really embarrassed because you know it’s his work but he can’t tell anyone about it and it is gorgeous, just yeah, go and read it. It’s really cool – I love that one
Opal: Are we gonna mention ‘Russian to The Altar’?
Mal: no, no we’re not
Ellen: I was gonna say – Mal’s not gonna want to talk about that but I feel like I think it happened and you haven’t read ‘Russian to The Altar’ – what are you doing with your life?
Opal: please read it – it’s so good – I love it very, very much and I was actually, I don’t always read works in progress, but that was one of the ones that I was anxiously refreshing to read, and I would yeah, definitely highly recommend it to anybody
Ellen: absolutely! So that’s also one where Cas is the author he, he’s from Russia, he moves to America to sort of getaway from prosecution – I guess because he’s a gay, openly gay, erotica novelist and marries Dean in like a fake relationship type thing to be able to move to America and not only is he a Russian erotica novelist, he’s also a yoga practising Dom erotic novelist and it’s just everything that I love in a story about you know writers
Opal: it’s got lots of beautiful, beautiful tropes and written deliciously well
Ellen: okay, you can come out from behind the cushions, Mal
Mal: thank you – I’m glad you liked it, thank you
Ellen: it’s one of my favourites.
Mal: Shout out to the Profound Bond Book Club who are currently reading it – thank you everybody.
Mal: I’m very glad this is a podcast and nothing else cause I’m like bright pink right now – you could fry eggs on my face. (laughter) Okay, I have one more story to talk about that’s not mine. One more short one ‘cause we’ve had a lot of very heavy or high-brow stories with lots of meat and plot and everything going on. So I thought just for fun, that we needed to include a story just under 7000 words called ‘A Literary Seduction’ by daydreamdestiel – this is a fun story where Cas writes erotica, Dean is a landscaper, I believe would be his official title, basically he comes along to fix Cas’s garden – gets a bit of an eyeful of what Cas the hot house owner is doing and uses that to his own advantage. So the summary for this one is simply “To Dean Winchester, Cas Novak was just a name on a worksheet along with a bunch of drawer landscaping instructions until this morning, until the front door opened and Dean was met with brilliant blue eyes, stubble for days and a lean body he couldn’t help lusting over and that was all before Cas even said a damn word. But that didn’t matter. Dean was a professional. All right, fine, maybe a little light flirting wouldn’t hurt. Could he really be blamed when he every remotely suggestive comment made Cas trip over his words awkward and adorable?” I am a fan of the trope – I’m a fan of the trope of Cas being able to be very objective and write this like, filthy erotica but then when like, faced with someone saying something like genuine to his face not being quite so good at it, and this particular fic does this very well. It is like a little, I’m gonna call it a porn with plot with porn not without because it’s definitely got a little, little plot going in but it’s hot. It has some, some really, really nice art in it
Opal: I was gonna say, shout out to the artist
Mal: yes, so I really wanna say it’s Aceriee art, just by looking at it, but I can’t find the name…
Ellen: Yeah, it is.
Mal: Well there you go, I’m proud of myself. I got that right. So, this was, by the looks of it, a DeanCas reverse bang from last year – so from 2020. It’s very pretty, this art is beautiful. If you’re a fan of Dean in lace – take a look, you won’t regret it.
Ellen: yeah, I gotta say, it’s light flirting sort of escalates very quickly into bending over on purpose, that kind of thing.
Mal: This fic knows what people are here for.
Ellen: yeah, he knows what he wants, and he’s going to get it.
Opal: You know what has shown up in almost every fic we’ve talked about today is the panty kink. In almost every fic, it’s in there
Mal: I mean it’s canon, so…
Opal: it is! It is canon, my gosh
Ellen: we just did an episode about it, a few weeks ago
Opal: yeah well, I think you mentioned in the episode too that like, it’s not always you know, it’s not always tagged – it just shows up everywhere yeah, it is true it does
Mal: It’s one of those things, like sometimes I almost forget that it’s canon like, wow – we really use this a lot and every now and then I’m like ‘oh, that’s a thing that was real!’
Ellen: it was only mentioned that one time, in one episode
Mal: we didn’t need that any more than once – we took that and just ran with it, that was enough
Opal: they chose to write it; they chose to film it. Bless Jensen for acting it, it was beautiful
Mal: exactly, some of the greatest blessings that we got were just single episodes or one lines – that was what we needed. I also loved the tag on this fic which is just a very simple ‘also there’s hot, hot boning’. Yes, this fic knows what you’re here for, it knows what it’s delivering.
Opal: What else do you want?
Opal: nothing. It was very satisfying thank you
Mal: we appreciate your service, thank you. This one is, is lovely it has to be said. So, we had to have a variety – can’t keep everything to be highbrow and literary. And technically, Cas is still a writer, all words count.
Ellen: I just wanted to give a shout out one more. It’s a new one of castielslostwings called ‘Therefore We Live’ and it’s not, they’re not writers and one of them like, Cas is a politician and Dean is like, his bodyguard? Is that right? I have not actually read this yet and I feel terrible because I feel like I should have by now but there is..
Mal: yeah, it’s done posting now
Ellen: Yep, it’s all complete. So, Cas actually writes poetry in this one and so a bunch of the poems are in there and they were written by our friend Anupalya and they are gorgeous. Seen a few of them already, so definitely if you’re into poetry – go and give that one a read too. It’s only 36,000 words, so not too long of a one
Mal: if you’re into poetry, hot sex and shenanigans then it’s a great fic you, you – go try it out.
Ellen: Wings is best at that. Hot sex and shenanigans.
Mal: That needs to be a tag on something
Opal: I was gonna say, where’s the tag?
Ellen: Anymore that we wanted to shout out?
Mal: I’m gonna give a very brief, one line shout outs then, to stories such as ‘Go Down with the Ship’ by porcupinegirl which is a story where Cas is a writer and Dean and Cas both also write fanfics and that’s how they meet, online.
Ellen: We talked about this one in another episode, right?
Mal: Yeah, because it’s also a two-person love triangle. Yeah, so we covered that one in depth on that. It’s one of my favourite fics ever so I will mention that one anytime I get a chance really. Another one of my favourite fics ever, which I mentioned anytime I’ll get a chance is by whelvenwings and it’s called ‘Checked Out’ which is a story, well, in that one Dean is the writer and Cas is a librarian – there’s a lot of miscommunications in the fic but it all works out in the end
Opal: there’s such a glut of wonderful fic in this fandom, you know
Mal: and if you enjoy the fanfics writers trope that comes up in ‘Go Down with the Ship’ by porcupinegirl then you should definitely check out ‘Right First Then Read’ by mittenwraith where they’re also both fanfics writers that then end up inadvertently being colleagues as well.
Ellen: Goodness, so we have come back round to the 100,000 Dean/Cas fic celebration and you know thank you, thank you to all of the wonderful authors out there who’ve contributed to that total and we appreciate all of you – thank you, we will never run out of reading material
Opal: thank you for being my companions these last several years
Mal: There’s enough fanfic to keep us going for many, many years now.
Ellen: it’s enough to keep us in podcasts for many more anniversaries.
Mal: I always have a giggle at the like, conspiracy theories on social media, when I see it, with people are saying all this only like you know six Destiel fans but we each have like a million sock accounts. I’m like, wow, we must have some serious carpal tunnel by now
Ellen: six people have written all those fics!
Opal: I wish I were that prolific – gee
Mal: we’d have serious wrist injuries but, y’know
Ellen: well, I have to definitely say that we have spoken to at least 22 other people who have been writing fics all this time
Mal: that’s true, we’ve got proof of at least 22 others, other than ourselves
Opal: oh it hasn’t just been you guys putting on different accents and like pretending you’re someone else? Are you sure?
Mal: Damn, why haven’t I done a Russian accent yet
Opal: Oh God, I don’t follow the cons super much – but is it like India-Russian from Misha?
Ellen: that’s what it will sound like. It’ll be very offensive if I tried to do it
Mal: best not, but
Ellen: No. But now I’m gonna thank everyone for the last year of supporting us in this, it’s been, like, you know so much fun getting to talk about fic every few weeks. So, big thank you not only to you, Mal for – you know – coming to talk to me, now and then.
Mal: but also thank to you as well – putting up with me every couple of weeks and editing the things that fly out of my mouth occasionally.
Ellen: Ah, that’s the fun part – so will also say thank you to mittens, CBFirestarter, TrenchcoatBaby, JScribbles, followyourenergy, andimeantittosting, LizLee, MandalaRose, castielslostwings, imogenbynight – goodness, we’ve spoken to a lot of people! Bendingsignpost, whelvenwings, DragonSgotenks, duckyboos, Koby also known as thecommunistunicorn, sharkfish, litleflrt, and PallasPerilous and… Opal! Thank you!
Opal: thank you so much for having me
Ellen: And also we’ve gotta say a really big thank you to the community and the mods of Profound Bound discord server for giving us our channel there and helping us to get out more into the community which is great. So, make sure that you go to the – like all of the links to all the things we’ve discussed today are going to be on the post on our website including information about the giveaway that is going to be starting soon as we publish this episode, so go to mixtapeclub.com and have a look at that there. And you can also find there all the ways to get in touch with us. We would love to hear about, you know, ideas that you got ways that we can improve your podcast listening experience – you can get us on social media mixtapebookclub in most places and email us at contact @mixtapebookclub.com or come on the profound bound discord and we have a channel there
Mal: so next time, for our 24th episode of Mixtape Book Club we’re going to be discussing time travel fics. So stories where one or other of our boys or both journey backwards or forwards in time.
Ellen: So very excited to do that one! Love that trope
Mal: Yes, lots of good fics out there
Opal: excited to see what you rustle up, so I can read it
Ellen: Stay tuned! Thank you very much to everyone for listening – actually before I say that, I’ll just say one more time thank you very much to Opal. What are you working on lately? Can we expect some more things from you soon or?
Opal: fingers crossed – I have literally, oh boy. After November 5th I like came up with a story idea and the most I will say about it is that it’s femslash and I have been dying to write Destiel femslash forever and I finally came up with an idea and it was kind of inspired by November 5th and I was like, kind of, inspired by the confession you know, and I was like waiting on tenterhooks to see how Dean responded because I had like half the fic planned out and then we didn’t really – or I didn’t get what I was expecting out of it – right? So, I’ve been pivoting and pivoting and pivoting and working through what my relationship is with the show now and with their relationship and everything and I do have, I’ve written a couple drafts of it and I’ve kind of hit a roadblock on it but I’m hoping to get back into that. So I’m hoping within the next month or two you might see some Destiel femslash from me
Ellen: Excellent! So thank you all very much for listening and will talk to you again soon
Mal: and as always, remember – the story isn’t over until we say it is.