07/07/2019: Commentary: chapter 64Chapter 64: Hide and Seek (commentary)
This week's commentary, now featuring probably more commentary than any previous commentary! In which we spend a chapter in May's head as she starts to crumble under the pressure of everything while Robin is hopelessly confused, and I show you graphs of my progression with the story and quotes from the fourteen months I spent mulling over everything before this chapter was finally published, finally get to compare different versions of the fic again with the NaNo draft, analyze basically everything May says or does because I spent fourteen months thinking about everything she says or does here, damn it, point out all my efforts to hint at how cold it is, and just generally wish we had more of May interacting with everyone because May.
Altissimo (07/08/2019 07:31:20)
re: Robin's potential Gender Thoughts: I think you're overthinking it, lol. There's a YouTuber I like who came out as ftm trans about two years ago when he was in his 20s. He made a point to state that people were free to call him by his female name and with female pronouns if referring to him before he came out that way, because it just wasn't an issue to him due to that being when he was a woman anyway. There's no guarantee that Robin would think the same, obviously, but since she's not dealing with Gender Thoughts within the story proper (at least, not from may or marks pov) I think it'd be a little jarring for the commentary to take a sort of "future" approach here, especially when it doesn't seem like any other character is treated in that light, if that makes sense. (Plus if you haven't worked it out yet it could turn out her comfort with being called a guy isn't actually related to gender issues at all, or that her gender issues don't manifest in a change of pronouns.)
Butterfree (07/08/2019 10:03:36)
Mmm, I will say that several trans friends have appreciated me going back to posts from before they came out to edit pronouns used for them, and that's every trans friend I've asked about it - plus I've seen articles and official style guides saying to refer to a trans person at every stage of their life with the pronouns that they currently use. So my impression is definitely that the YouTuber in question is in the minority there.
However, it's pretty likely that I am overthinking it, given Robin is a fictional character who technically only "exists" at age eleven where she considers herself to be a girl and I'm just here with my author prescience (not prescience) wringing my hands over "oh, but in the future…" Robin herself would probably be like wat at me.
Suddenly imagining a time travel story where a time traveler travels back to before some trans person they know started to rethink their gender, and keeps accidentally calling them by their future name and pronouns, and they're like "???? (but actually, come to think of it…)"
Chibi (07/08/2019 13:03:18)
Oh man, out of all the stuff that May was going through in this chapter, I never quite pieced together that she was afraid of Chaletwo sensing that she might have wanted Taylor to die. Like, it's a lot more obvious when placed alongside chapter 73, but by itself, I never realized that was the specific reason she couldn't stand Chaletwo being in her head (as opposed to just having someone witness all the ways the Tyranitar situation was getting to her. Which is bad in itself, but not like that.)
And Regarding Robin, considering that said potential character arc for her technically doesn't even exist, I'd say it'd be pretty weird to refer to her by pronouns that match a development that hasn't actually happened, if that makes sense. Think of it as 'the character hasn't actually asked you to switch pronouns yet.' :P
Butterfree (07/08/2019 13:59:11)
Yeah, I definitely didn't expect you to pick up on that bit just from this chapter - it's very much under the surface, and there's not really anything just in this chapter by itself that you could actually use to piece that together. But it does inform her feelings and actions here.
CarmineKnight (SilverLatios) (07/08/2019 16:20:43)
Honestly? Robin feels like a massive callout to eleven-year old me and I love her for it. What an icon. I was exactly like that and it still managed to take me a whole decade to seriously start questioning and giving thought to my own identity.
Amusingly, I'm currently working on writing a comic that eventually involves that sort of self-contemplating, and it absolutely feels odd using what will "eventually" be their previous pronouns for before it comes up, and in the planning documents that go over it all. Particularly because this character started as a self-insert with my friends' self inserts, from before I started really having any sort of Gender Thoughts. It's definitely a weird issue with writing and character 'states.'
That being said, in recent rereads this aspect of Robin has definitely come to my attention, and I appreciate her for it. It's a believable representation of someone who's eventually going to learn a lot more of themself, long before they ever really give it some honest thought, but will probably end up tearing their hair out over how obvious it should have been. Maybe me liking Robin so much back then for those comments about liking being 'mistaken' for a boy should have been yet ANOTHER one of those little flags for me. :P
So it does technically make sense to just keep using "her" in the commentary given yes, she's just a kid and won't think about that stuff for what could be a long time, but I totally sympathize with it feeling kind of "off" to do, knowing what she'd probably come to figure out. That being saaiiiid….. I would ADORE seeing Future Robin in some capacity. Even just hearing thoughts about how that might end up or art of her future self or something. I could say that about most of the characters, honestly, but I self-indulgently really would like to see this.
This chapter was always one I liked a lot for all the good May it has. I'd definitely like to see more of her and Chaletwo and Charizard especially.