wendelah1: (Spring Mulder and Scully)
[personal profile] wendelah1 posting in [community profile] xf_book_club
This is one of my favorite Tesla stories. Yeah, like Kel, she should probably have her own tag here. [livejournal.com profile] tesla321 claims it doesn't have a plot but I beg to differ. Why, heck. It even has an X-File. No spoilers, set during an unspecified early season. Rated "R." It's funny. It's short. It's sexy. It's even, dare I say it, rather romantic.

"Sense Memory"

Leave feedback here or send it to her email address.

EXTRA BONUS FIC: In 2010, Tesla wrote a short season one Profiler! Mulder story for me for my Help Haiti donation. Unless you are on her flist, I am positive you haven't read it because she posted it in bits and pieces in her journal, where you can read it if you want to hunt it down. I recently archived it at Fugues. Gen, with hints of UST.

"Dirty Girls".

Leave feedback here or send to her email address.

Extra bonus: "Sense Memory" icons by [livejournal.com profile] amyhit here.

After you leave feedback, please let us know what you think. The nomination post is always open for your suggestions.

Date: 2011-05-07 01:33 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
Great rec, [livejournal.com profile] wendelah1.

This fic was surprisingly poignant considering how hot it was. Or possibly it was surprisingly hot considering how poignant it was. Either way, it was really nice. This was definite an example of how to do smut well.

I think for me it's Tesla's style that really makes Sense Memory work. It's elegant but haphazard at once, sentences running together, or standing out with simplicity. It's a style that works particularly well during the memory flashes, making them feel heartbreakingly vivid but still dreamlike.

Her legs were locked around Mulder's waist, and she was biting him like an animal, a beautiful tawny animal, right through his blue shirt, and he got one hand free long enough to jam his fingers between them and he yelled and she yelled.

God is that sexy. I love that Tesla's not afraid to say things in slightly offbeat ways, like the simple, deliberate "and he yelled and she yelled". She also has an ability to describe things plainly, denotatively, and yet make that plainness feel like a flourish:

his palms on her thighs, surprisingly hard and his mouth soft hot quick on her neck, her jaw, her mouth. His tongue at her mouth at the same time his fingers are inside the crotch of her panties. She spread her legs and opened her mouth at the same time.

--in this case, the repetition of the word 'mouth', the lack of commas between soft, hot, and quick, and more than anything the strange combination of plainness and wantonness in the last sentence.

One thing that's not to my taste with this fic is how readily they move from experiencing the flashes to talking about the flashes to acting on them. I like that they deal with the situation like adults, but I think they taking everything a little too much in stride. There's a very pivotal line in the fic which I both agree and disagree with:

It was all very simple, wasn't it?

I really like that it's not just about Mulder and Scully having sexytiems, but about Mulder and Scully being happy - that's what makes it so poignant. But I've simply never identified with the Nike school of sexual conduct ("Just do it"), and this fic is at least partially of that school. I think it does work, in this case, because they both have the powerful happiness of their sense memories to give them courage and reassure them they're not making a terrible mistake. Even so, I feel like the word 'simple' doesn't apply to them, not even once they've taken the leap. So I grapple with that aspect of Sense Memory - the part that suggests it's as simple as 1, 2, 3 - or in this case flash, discuss, do.

My least favorite part of Sense Memory is this part at the end:

"Mulder, what was it? What were we seeing? Remembering?"

"I don't care," he said, his voice matter-of-fact.


He doesn't? Wow, that orgasm must have melted his brains. I liked that this fic had an x-file - thin though it was - and I think the fic could have been noticeably better if Tesla had found some way - just a thin way - of resolving the x-file along with the UST.

Re: Wonderful review!

Date: 2011-05-09 12:11 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (sense memory)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
I choose to believe that Mulder has for once in his life decided not to risk losing what he already has by looking too hard at how it came to be.

But essentially he's either sacrificing an x-file for the sake of their relationship, or he's so satisfied with his relationship that the case just doesn't hold the interest for him that it otherwise would have. Those are two of the main changes of form that I (and many other people, I think) worry about happening when a ship moves from UST to RST. It would seem to set a bad precedent, that as soon as they've had sex the first thing Mulder does is says, "Oh, that x-file we were working on? Who cares!"

If RST is going to lessen their devotion to the work then I'll pass.

I suppose he may have just been saying he didn't care about the case right at that moment, while they were still in their post-coital opiates stage. Maybe after they get done in the show they go out to the kitchen and discuss the case over toast and coffee. *shrugs*
Edited Date: 2011-05-09 03:06 am (UTC)

Re: Wonderful review!

Date: 2011-05-09 09:29 pm (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
What case? The X-File was why they couldn't remember having pool table sex, apparently off duty. Why they couldn't remember feeling happy. That's not "the work."

It's an unexplained and seemingly paranormal occurrence, though, and the idea that they wouldn't want to get to the bottom of it seems bizarre to me. It's not that they're obliged to the FBI to solve these mysterious happenings, but it seems neglectful of themselves for them not to look any further. This is something that happened to them, and their work is so much a part of who they are, who they've become.

since this was written and posted in 2004, way past the UST and the RST, I think we can put aside any concerns over the ship ruining the show.

What I mean is, there are fics that are good examples of, "this is how RST can work well," and then there are fics that are examples of, "this is how RST can really mess things up for the show." This fic was almost an example of the former, but the last couple of lines felt more like the latter to me.

Re: Wonderful review!

Date: 2011-05-09 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
So I guess my "meta" theory doesn't smooth things out for you.

In my opinion we should just provide satin sheets and some lovely body lotion, fluff everything fluffable (not a porn reference), and put them to bed.

The show got messed up, but Mulder and Scully didn't do it.

Re: Wonderful review!

Date: 2011-05-11 12:35 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
So I guess my "meta" theory doesn't smooth things out for you.

It makes sense, and I think I understand what you're saying, but no, it doesn't smooth things out for me. I do often like fanfic that gives me the MSR the show didn't, but this kind of MSR is not for me. Or, rather, most of Sense memory does it the way I like, but the post coital isn't exactly to my taste.

I think what it comes down to is that I long for their happiness, but not for their contentment.
Edited Date: 2011-05-11 12:36 am (UTC)

Date: 2011-05-07 01:37 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
Other things I like/don't like:

I like the way Mulder and Scully's flash memories overlap, and are quite similar but also have differences, so that I was always waiting for the next flash to complete the picture created by the last one.

She could see doing that with Mulder, them bending over the table in perfect sync, his chest
against her back, her ass grinding into his groin. Snap, click, and the 8-ball went into the corner pocket.
-- love that detail about the 8-ball. The consequence of sinking the 8-ball being either losing or winning the game.

God she loved Mulder's shirts, Mulder's shoulders in a starched shirt -- Um, right there with you on that one, Scully. I like the way the line folds out. I think it's true to Scully's nature that she would automatically depersonalize the thought by making it about his shirts, before allowing that her attraction was really to Mulder himself.

I really don't like that we jump from Mulder saying, "I think we need to go play pool," on Friday, to them playing pool -- on Saturday afternoon. What? It really breaks the tension of the fic for me: "God she was hot" --but she decides to wait until tomorrow?

She didn't know how to play pool, really. She knew how to get a guy to show her how to play, how to wear a tight summer dress and strappy sandals, and have the guy lean her over the table and hold her fingers on the stick. -- Not buying this characterization. I doubt Scully was ever a woman to use her ignorance as a flirtation device. Maybe on a 'wild' night out with Missy in her early twenties I could see it. Maybe.

I don't like that Tesla apparently prefers 'dick' to 'cock' in the sexual lexicon. Sense Memory is a plainly sexy, mature, smart but of smut, and having Mulder's penis referred to as his 'dick' seems a little juvenile. 'Cock' is such a sexual word, whereas 'dick' is connotatively nondescript. It's not a big deal, but the memory flashes are so searing that I found it a shame to get snagged even for a second, on something as small as a bit of diction.

Despite my criticism, I really do like this fic. I like smut but I rarely respect it, and I respect Sense Memory, which makes it quite a lovely find.
Edited Date: 2011-05-07 01:40 am (UTC)

all agreeable

Date: 2011-05-07 11:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
I remember waiting for each sexy snippet of this story when it came out; it was one of the few wips I ever yearned with. And I certainly wasn't disappointed with the ending. This is Tesla, after all, with her svelte prose and sophisticated, over-the-shoulder wink to the reader. I will admit to being slightly dissatisfied.

Where did the x-file go??!!!

Two things have since clarified themselves in my mind.

First, the reread confirmed once again that sex cannot simply be described to enthrall. Skillfully elliptical as the writer is, and she really is, I could have done without several mentioned nudgings of necks and clits to reach that implosive moment of understanding between two frustrated people. Reading SM all at once was an experience different from reading it in mini-orgasmic bursts. And I suspect a different writing approach might have led to minor trimming.

But that's small stuff.

I was reconciled to the missing x-file while I pondered Mulder's "I don't care." That's a comment to bother even many a shipper, but I think the term we need here is "meta." I think Tesla may have crafted a Muldershrug that is as much a gift for shippers as it is a comment on their legendary demand for romance--even bullying the Executive Producer into it--as well as the muddled mess the EP made of pretty much everything *but* the ship.
Carter left us with a missing offspring, a possible forthcoming apocolypse (depending on funding), and a number of conveniently killed or severely mishandled characters. We were/are furious with him. But there was one thing we got: Mulder and Scully had sex. Maybe it was only once. Maybe there was anger and premature ejaculation. We don't know.

But maybe it was like this, with a surreal and blinding understanding and much pleasure. Maybe it was, like this, bathed in a sunset glow of happiness. Maybe it was really, really good. We got it; let's flaunt it. And Tesla knows how.

I hope this is making sense. I get carried away.

ANYhow, I agree with amyhit's minor issues (though the distinction between "cock" and "dick" is lost on me, possibly because my husband's first name clouds my thinking). But the line I snagged on was Mulder thinking something like tomorrow Scully might once more be "cold and pissy" but today she was all his. That seemed unsuitably ill-tempered and recalled Tesla's earlier Scully dislike, which is pretty clearly documented in her fics.

I'm very grateful for the link to "Dirty Girls," as I haven't read it. Are we supposed to comment on it?

Re: all agreeable

Date: 2011-05-08 11:57 pm (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
But the line I snagged on was Mulder thinking something like tomorrow Scully might once more be "cold and pissy" but today she was all his. That seemed unsuitably ill-tempered

I'm surprised I forgot to mention that line in my comment, because it gave me pause as well. I've wondered if maybe Tesla didn't mean it as ill-tempered as it sounds, but really I don't think "cold and pissy" can be meant any other way. She could have used "stoic and withdrawn" or any other combination of less negative descriptors.

Re: all agreeable

Date: 2011-05-10 06:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
Okay, I forgive him in *this* story, but I have some memories of nasty Scully characterization to suppress. Tesla apparently used to feel that Mulder had been emotionally abused by his partner.

I'm skittish.

Re: all agreeable

Date: 2011-05-10 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
Woah. Scary stealth strike.

Re: all agreeable

Date: 2011-05-10 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tesla321.livejournal.com
Oh, no, you are right about my Scully issues, I did have them back in the day. Wendalah kindly sent me the link. As surprising as it is for me have anyone discussing my fix, I won't be lurking and inhibiting y'all. For one thing, my internet has been disruptive since the storms down here & I am still catching up work after 4 days shutdown. Having people still reading is a tremendous compliment.

too blush-making

Date: 2011-05-11 12:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tesla321.livejournal.com
Oh, dude, no. I would be either embarrassed, incoherent, or defensive. (I don't even have a beta because I don't like people telling me what to do. It's a distressing personal character flaw but useful in my profession.) As a former English major I tend to just want to draw a line in the dirt with the toe of my shoe and mumble, "It's nothing, really, just stuff I wrote when I was getting over my divorce." I will say that, none of the men I ever slept with referred to their cock. It was dicks all the way.

Re: too blush-making

Date: 2011-05-11 01:06 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
I will say that, none of the men I ever slept with referred to their cock. It was dicks all the way.

I see it as being more of a fiction thing, a bit dramatic. I wouldn't expect it often in real life, outside of sex trade professionals.

Re: too blush-making

Date: 2011-05-11 01:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tesla321.livejournal.com
Oh, those icons are lovely! I was going to comment on your LJ. Seeing them this morning was like getting a surprise present.

I just meant that it literally never occurs to me to write cock. Snort. Boy, does that sentence look odd. But, I totally agree that small details like that can derail the enjoyment of a fic.

Re: too blush-making

Date: 2011-05-17 06:34 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
I forgot to come back and say that I'm so glad you like the icons! I'm psyched you even saw the icons. Good fanfic deserves it's own internet merchandise. *g*

Re: It makes perfect sense.

Date: 2011-05-11 12:15 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
I don't see the distinction between cock and dick either in terms of erotica.

I think the easiest way to describe it is that it would be weird to read, "He faced the urinal and took out his cock." Unless he was masturbating into a urinal, which, ew. Cock, to me, is basically always sexual. For that matter, it would be weird to read, "His cock remained flaccid," for the same reason. A cock is a sexual appendage. Whereas 'dick' is just a casual way of saying penis - sometimes it's sexual sometimes it isn't.

As I said in my original comment, it really isn't a big deal, and I presume everyone knows that I accept my opinions as subjective. But that doesn't mean I haven't thought them out somewhat.

Re: It makes perfect sense.

Date: 2011-05-11 10:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
As long as nobody calls it a johnson.

Re: It makes perfect sense.

Date: 2011-05-29 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sk56.livejournal.com
Emerging from lurking to say that I had never really considered the distinction, but that this feels dead on to me.

Re: It makes perfect sense.

Date: 2011-05-30 12:32 am (UTC)
ext_20969: (Default)
From: [identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com
Hee! *waves* Hello lurker. I'm glad to hear my conviction is not completely nonsensical.

Date: 2011-05-11 10:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
Before I bail, I did want to say that I read "Dirty Girls" and enjoyed it very much though not quite as much as "The Glistening Girl," written much earlier and of which it reminded me.

It has a nice, understated take on Mulder's profiler angst--so much easier to take than Oklahoma--and it has a *perfect* ending.

Date: 2011-05-11 10:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
"The Glittering Girl." Well, it's one or the other. First coffee, then research.

Date: 2011-05-20 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tiger-bay.livejournal.com
I have nothing new to add to this except that it is a great story, in true Tesla style it is sexy and gripping and who could ask for more? Just to add that I think Mulder's throwaway line at the end is acceptable in my view...hell, hot sex can make ANY other ambition dim for just a little while - it's a snapshot in time, not an indication of an overall shift in attitude. In fact if his immediate post-orgasmic comments had been ruminating on the x-file it would have been a little weird and a touch insulting. As it is, it is a terrific compliment to the rightness of him and Scully making sweet hot love.

I love Tesla's work...so glad you popped up here Tesla. "Neither here nor there" is IMHO one of the best of the genre and definitely a favourite with me. And if you are still reading...now you can tell me: what is the final episode of "Flying under the radar" series? Is it finished?

Have also spent a good 5 minutes snorting with glee over the mullings of "dick" versus "cock". Where else would earnest conversations on the appropriate nomenclature for human organs take place? Great! Amyhit, you are a convincing banner holder for the use of the word "cock" in all sex and smut - but not in urinals.

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