A Trip Down Juvenilia Lane, Vol. 2

My journey through my high school notebooks continues!

I wasn’t organized about filling one notebook completely before starting another, so the chronology here is a vague one. You may recall that volume one included notes from my senior year English class; this one starts with a short-lived attempt to keep a journal while I was in England the summer between my junior or senior years. Obviously there is a great deal of overlap going on.

This notebook contains a great deal more in the way of actual story. It falls primarily into three boxes:

1) Notes and plans from some online RPGs I had completely forgotten ever playing in — largely because (like so many games) they didn’t last for very long.

2) Highlander fanfic about a character of my own creation, a two-thousand-year-old Irish immortal named Eithne. There are surprisingly large chunks of this; most of the fiction in Vol. 1 was just short snippets, a paragraph or two, but this has several bits that run on for two pages or more. I will give my high-school self credit for at least trying to be sensible about why my European immortals were traipsing about Japan during the Tokugawa era; the real answer, of course, is “because Highlander taught us all that Japan Is Kewl,” but I had enough awareness of the history to say my characters got thrown overboard by a ship captain who realized there was something weird about them, and then they were trying to sneak overland to Dejima (and relative safety) without being caught and beheaded.

3) Material from the idea mentioned previously, the one that started off as fanfic but later I tried to file the serial numbers off it. (I’m not mentioning what the original source of the idea was because there’s an outside chance I’ll revive it someday, and I’d prefer not to pre-program people’s expectations of it.)

A few bits of this are fiction, but most of it is notes, and oh, does it ever look like my work. Faced with the realization that I couldn’t do much with the idea unless I de-fanficced it first, my immediate reaction was to worldbuild the shit out of the setting. 😀 I organized the society into Clans — each with its own name and iconic color and sigil — which were part lineage (you inherit your Clan from your mother) and part quasi-social class; each Clan has a traditional sphere of responsibility, like healing or hunting or whatever. But it’s a semi-flexible system, because if you have a particular gift for some activity or just really suck at what your Clan does, you can be adopted into a different one. Laid across this are the Rings (no, I’d never heard of L5R at this point), which are basically hunting bands/war-groups, inspired by the Fianna, and those usually don’t follow Clan lines.

Current Me looks at this and sees that it doesn’t hang together all that well: the Clan responsibilities are too narrow, my decision to cap Ring membership at eight means that the social dynamics of how people find a Ring to join would be a disaster, and there are a lot of other questions I didn’t even think to address. But it’s still an interesting foundation, and if any version of this ever becomes an actual thing, you may see those elements still included in some form.

You may also see my one serious attempt to date at conlanging. The phonology is thoroughly Irish, complete with lenition and eclipsis (though I did change the pronunciation somewhat); the grammar is more Latin than anything else, with a system of inflection — six declensions but only three cases, nominative, genitive, and objective — and so on. It’s apostrophe-tastic, but that’s because, as a matter of orthography, I decided to use apostrophes as the means by which enclitics got attached, and I had a lot of enclitics. (Some of those probably aren’t enclitics in the technical sense, but I’d picked up the term from Latin and ran with it.) Samples:

Fifth declension
Nom. sing.- ends in “e”, “i”, “o”, or “u”. e.g. re (the moon)
Gen. sing.- accents the final vowel. e.g. ré (of the moon)
Obj. sing.- adds “dh” to the stem. e.g. redh (the moon)
Nom. pl.- drops the final vowel and adds “ith”. e.g. rith (the moons)
Gen. pl.- drops the final vowel and adds “ithí”. e.g. rithí (of the moons)
Obj. pl.- drops the final vowel and adds “idh”. e.g. ridh (the moons) For stems ending in “i”, add “ídh”.

Verbs in the present tense are simply the infinitive form with the pronoun apostrophized on the end.

Ex:
ta’fe [I . . . am? Posterity does not record the meaning of this verb, but that’s probably it]
ta’sa [You (fam) are]
ta’te [You (form) are]
ta’se/si/sei [He/she/it is]
ta’mair [We are]
ta’sibh [You (fam pl) are]
ta’teir [You (form pl are]
ta’siad [They are]

Other tenses add a tense marker between the verb and the pronoun.

Imperfect: abh
Future: idh
Perfect: ath
Pluperfect: eth
Future perfect: ith

Ex: ta’fe, ta’abh’fe, ta’idh’fe, ta’ath’fe, ta’eth’fe, ta’ith’fe.

It is entirely unclear what effect if any an accent has on pronunciation, I created words haphazardly, and even a casual glance tells me I was wildly inconsistent about how far I got away from the Irish originals; this would need a lot of cleanup and rebuilding before I tried to do anything with it. But still: for a seventeen-year-old, that ain’t bad. My unfinished grammar covers the progressive, the conditional, the gerund, and obligation. I had notes to myself that I still needed to figure out the comparative and superlative of adjectives, indirect statements, indirect questions, and possibly the subjunctive.

And the best part is: back 2000 I realized that these notebooks were not a good way to hold into information, so I typed all the useful bits up. Which means I don’t have to do that typing now, and can send these off to Cushing with a clear conscience — because this info is worth keeping, even if it never sees print.

One Response to “A Trip Down Juvenilia Lane, Vol. 2”

  1. Jaws

    Romanae eunt domum.

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