Whoosh! Issue 66 - March 2002

INSIDE THE HEAD OF FRICTION
By Amy Murphy
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! edition © 2002 held by Whoosh!
6501 words


Introduction (01)
Friction's Head (02-222)
Friction's Stories
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF FRICTION



Introduction

[01] Friction is one of the old time bards, who started way back when the show first began.



How is it that you can spell Joxer's name correctly 
but you spell my name A-R-S-E?
Gabrielle was severely bitten by the writing bug.

Friction's Head

AMY MURPHY:
[02] Why did you start writing?

FRICTION:
[03] Although the notion of writing always intrigued me, my lack of formal training kept me from trying my hand at it. It was the supportive forum that the Xenaverse provides its bards that gave me the courage to finally give it a go.

MURPHY:
[04] If you had to do it all over, would you be a bard? Would you write?

FRICTION:
[05] You bet. It's been great fun. I remember a comment my third grade teacher wrote on my report card: "Spends too much time looking out the window." Some things never change. Every chance I get, I still peer through the window into my mind. To me, writing is rather like daydreaming out loud. As a 'consummate' dreamer, taking it to the next level appeals to me.

MURPHY:
[06] Give us a brief day in the life of Friction.

FRICTION:
[07] Brief? Okay, but that means I'll have to edit out the 'good' parts.

[08] When my alarm goes off at 3am I reluctantly extract myself from my partner's arms, trudge to the den, and turn on the computer. After answering my email, I try to spend some time writing. This isn't always easy with two cats vying for my attention.

[09] Next, I grab a protein bar and head to the basement to exercise. After showering, breakfast, and a lingering goodbye kiss, I head off to work at our local hospital where I spend the better part of my day researching everything from the average head circumference of a ten year old child…to where to purchase sterile leeches. Is it any wonder my mind's so twisted?

[10] After work, I hurry home to spend quality time with my partner: cycling, rafting, rollerblading, or simply gazing at the stars.

[11] And the close of my day-- it generally ends as it began…curled up in my partner's arms.

[12] It's a good life.

MURPHY:
[13] How do you handle stress?

FRICTION:
[14] I've found sex a most pleasurable way for me to release tension. Awhile back I read a British study purporting that people who climax at least three times a week live longer. Now there's a theory that I can wrap my mind around. As a woman prone to extremes, I figure if three is good, six is twice as good and on and on. The sky's the limit. Never let it be said that I didn't do everything in my power to insure that my partner lived a long, happy life.

MURPHY:
[15] Years from now, how would you want to be remembered?

FRICTION:
[16] I would like to be remembered as a vibrant 250-year-old woman, who died in her partner's arms while attempting to defy the limits. Oh, and of course, I would have a smile on my face.

MURPHY:
[17] What is your pet peeve?

FRICTION:
[18] I try not to dwell on the little annoyances. Life's too short.

MURPHY:
[19] Who is Friction?

FRICTION:
[20] I like to think of her as my alter ego. For better or worse, a side of me that few see.

MURPHY:
[21] Do fans expect too much from stars?

FRICTION:
[22] Probably. I think we have a tendency to expect celebrities to be everything to everybody. That's a lot of pressure. It's hard enough to live up to the expectations of those closest to us, let alone those of strangers.

MURPHY:
[23] What are your feelings on censorship?

FRICTION:
[24] It frightens me. I feel very strongly about freedom of speech. When you begin to restrict it, you're forced to consider where to draw the line and who should draw it… a very slippery slope. [25] I think it was Robin Morgan who said: "Censorship often boils down to some male judges getting to read a lot of dirty books-with one hand."

MURPHY:
[26] If you can cure one disease, what would it be and why?

FRICTION:
[27] Intolerance. It seems to me to be the most insidious of illnesses because it slowly poisons both the mind and heart. Imagine the incredible strides we could make against true disease if we were free from the physical, emotional and financial burdens of warring with one another over our differences.

MURPHY:
[28] Do you believe in capital punishment?

FRICTION:
[29] No. Taking life as punishment or retribution doesn't ring 'just' to me. I can't buy into the notion of death as a solution. In a world that's far from perfect, capital punishment leaves no room for error. It's final.

MURPHY:
[30] What is the most sensitive part on your body?

FRICTION:
[31] My mind ;-)

MURPHY:
[32] What do you see yourself doing in the future?

FRICTION:
[33] I haven't been writing much lately, but it looks like a sequel to Fire and Ice may be in my future.

MURPHY:
[34] How do you handle depression?

FRICTION:
[35] I generally escape into a good book, television show, or movie. Nothing like a good daydream to cheer me up.

MURPHY:
[36] What was the hardest thing you ever did?

FRICTION:
[37] Said goodbye to my mother as the doctors shut off her life support.

MURPHY:
[38] What was the easiest?

FRICTION:
[39] Choosing to spend my life with my partner.

MURPHY:
[40] What advice can you give to future writers?

FRICTION:
[41] Write about things that you know and care about.

MURPHY:
[42] What has the show Xena meant to you?

FRICTION:
[43] I have mixed feelings about the show. To be honest, from the beginning it's been a kind of love/hate relationship. For example:

[44] I Loved the notion of Gabrielle as a true innocent but hated that the show often equated her innocence with incompetence.

[45] Loved the early episodes when a naïve Gabrielle looked upon Xena with adoring eyes, yet hated that she was abruptly married off to preserve her heterosexuality.

[46] Loved the villains: Callisto, Alti, Ares and Caesar, but hated every red shirt they ever introduced.

[47] Loved the incredible dynamic that developed between Xena and Gabrielle, but hated the obligatory use of Joxer as a chaperone.

[48] Loved every single intimate scene between the warrior and bard, but hated that the show so often cheapened the depth of their relationship with cheesy comedy.

[49] Loved the occasional glimpse at Xena's dark side, but hated the pregnant Xena story line.

[50] Loved watching the bard pick up a sword to defend her warrior, but hated it when Gabrielle tossed her staff into the river.

[51] Loved that Xena and Gabrielle were eventually depicted as soulmates, but hated the Rift story line

[52] Loved that the 'powers that be' enlisted the talents of Missy Good to get the characters back on track, but hated that they seemed to learn so very little from the experience.

[53] Loved that for-the-most-part Xena was portrayed as a strong, independent, powerful woman, but hated, and I mean truly HATED, the finale!

[54] But all the hates aside, I love the incredible community that was built around this series. There is no denying how very special the show was. I credit the lead actresses for that. In my mind, it was their talent and chemistry that made this series stand apart. Time and time again, Lucy [Lawless] and Renee [O'Connor] rose above ill-conceived scripts and gave viewers a glimpse of something magical. I'll always believe that it was their insightful portrayals of Xena and Gabrielle that inspired the scores of talented fan fiction writers to create the adventures that so many of us, both wanted, and needed to see. For that, I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

MURPHY:
[55] How do you feel about its end?

FRICTION:
[56] Saddened. I find it tragic that a show, that was in many ways ground-breaking and inspirational, chose to leave its viewers with the same tired message women have been fed throughout the ages. Such a wasted opportunity. Every time I think of it I feel like weeping.

MURPHY:
[57] What are your dreams? Hopes? Wishes?

FRICTION:
[58] As far as the show goes, it would be my wish that Xena and Gabrielle live on in the hearts and minds of their fans, and my hope that the warrior and her bard continue to haunt my dreams, and the dreams of all fan fiction writers.

MURPHY:
[59] Who do you trust?

FRICTION:
[60] Well, certainly not Rob Tapert. (Sigh) enough of beating a dead horse. [61] For me, there's trust and then there's TRUST. I trust my friends and family with my life, but my partner is the only one I TRUST with my heart.

MURPHY:
[62] If you are a parent, what is the greatest wish you have for your child?

FRICTION:
[63] No kids in our household, only cats, but I wish for them, long healthy lives, loving companionship, soft window seats and lots of fresh catnip.

MURPHY:
[64] What would you say every writer needs?

FRICTION:
[65] Imagination and a passion for their subject matter.

MURPHY:
[66] Do you believe in prayer?

FRICTION:
[67] In the spiritual sense, yes. Organized religion however, is another issue.

MURPHY:
[68] How do you feel about subtext?

FRICTION:
[69] While over the years I have enjoyed each and every Xena subtext moment, I long for the day when the life experiences that I relate to are portrayed as maintext.

MURPHY:
[70] What makes your best friend your best friend?

FRICTION:
[71] My best friend is someone that I can think aloud with, someone who overlooks my failures and smiles at my successes, Someone who stays when everyone else goes.

MURPHY:
[72] Have you or someone else ever read any of your stories aloud in the public? How did it feel?

FRICTION:
[73] It would take mind-altering drugs of proportions I have difficulty imagining to induce me to read even my grocery list in public. Maybe that's why I chose to write Xena erotica. It lends itself to a smaller more intimate audience. [74] Nevertheless, I have had the pleasure of hearing Wordwarrior read a few of my stories aloud and must say that I found the experience quite…ah…entertaining ;-). That woman could make listening to the weather report a sensual experience. Phew…what a talent!

MURPHY:
[75] What's the most romantic thing anyone has done for you?

FRICTION:
[76] My partner has a flair for the romantic so it's hard to choose. Over the years there's been everything from exotic getaways to candlelit dinners, but honestly, it's the small things she does that really touch my heart. Last month she went away for a weeklong seminar. Co-dependent that I am, I dread being apart from her for any length of time. The nights are the most difficult for me, so the first evening she was gone I put off going to bed until I was dead on my feet. Finally, I gave into my weariness and went to change into my PJ's, and there lying on top of them was the sweetest love note. In the bathroom beside my toothbrush, I found another and when I pulled down the covers to climb into bed there was yet another. As the week progressed I happened upon many others throughout the house.

[77] What can I say? Gotta love that woman.

MURPHY:
[78] What theme would you like to tackle in your next work?

FRICTION:
[79] I'll continue to write about the things that inspire me, namely, love and desire and the angst that accompanies them. As Woody Allen says, "Love is the answer - but while you're waiting for the answer sex raises some pretty good questions", so my next tale is apt to have its share of erotic scenes.

MURPHY:
[80] What was the last thing that made you smile recently?

FRICTION:
[81] My partner insures that I smile a lot. But most recently I smiled at the drawing my partner made on the bathroom mirror. Love to start my day that way.

MURPHY:
[82] What made you angry?

FRICTION:
[83] The series finale.

MURPHY:
[84] You now have absolute authority over the world. Omnipotent in all areas. What's your first move?

FRICTION:
[85] Gods! Heaven forbid! That's a job better suited to a Xena-like butch. I'm much happier taking orders than giving them.

MURPHY:
[86] How would you categorize your best writing?

FRICTION:
[87] Unfortunately I'm from the 'learn as you go' school, so I would have to say that my newer stories tend to flow more smoothly than the earlier ones. Over the past few years I've learned a great deal from my talented proofreaders. So I guess I'd have to say that my latest tale, Wet Dreams is probably my best effort.

MURPHY:
[88] What stupid thing did you do as a teen?

FRICTION:
[89] Wish that I were grown up.

MURPHY:
[90] What, if anything, can stop you writing, if only for a while?

FRICTION:
[91] Sex, thus explaining, at least in part, why I'm a slow writer but generally a happy woman.

MURPHY:
[92] In your opinion, do you fit your astrological sign?

FRICTION:
[93] Although I'm not really into Astrology, I'll admit that sometimes my horoscope is eerily accurate.

MURPHY:
[94] What to you is the worst feeling in the world?

FRICTION:
[95] Losing someone you love.

MURPHY:
[96] The best feeling in the world?

FRICTION:
[97] Finding true love.

MURPHY:
[98] Favorite song of the moment?

FRICTION:
[99] After recently attending a Suede concert, I've been compelled to replay her old CD's. So at the moment, "Love Me Like They Do in the Movies" comes to mind, but an hour from now, who knows. My musical taste changes with my mood.

MURPHY:
[100] What is the first thing you think of in the morning?

FRICTION:
[101] There's not a day that I don't open my eyes and think about how very much in love I am with my partner and how truly fortunate I am to have found her. After fourteen years I'm still in awe of how good it feels to wake up in her arms.

MURPHY:
[102] Is there one part of the writing process where you usually get stuck? What have you tried to change that, successful or not?

FRICTION:
[103] Having people read what I've written is the most difficult part of the process for me. I generally spend days agonizing before hitting the 'send' key. Three years and seven stories later, I still get anxious every time I post. Although I love writing, I've found I rather dread being read and even though I've never received anything but constructive criticism, I still worry every time I post how my stories will be received. Unfortunately, if there's a way to get past this, I haven't found it yet.

[104] I think it must be a bit like putting your child on the bus for their very first day of school. You hope that others are able to enjoy them for what they are, while at the same time, you pray that they don't run into bullies who will spot their flaws and scream them across the playground.

MURPHY:
[105] What does gossip mean to you?

FRICTION:
[106] In essence, I see gossip as a crude form of storytelling and gossipers as frustrated writers. Although on rare occasion I find myself wrapped up their tales, I try not to take them too seriously.

MURPHY:
[107] Are people easily swayed by 'hearsay'?

FRICTION:
[108] Probably. I think that it's human nature to want to believe what we hear.

MURPHY:
[109] What are your feelings about people who use others for personal gain?

FRICTION:
[110] It depends on what type of personal gain. I happen to love it when my partner uses me for her pleasure.

MURPHY:
[111] What is a hypocrite?

FRICTION:
[112] I define hypocrisy as a conflict between actions and attitude. Hypocrites tend to be judgmental of other's faults while ignoring their own, pretending to be a better people then they really are, seldom practicing what they preach. It's no accident that the term finds its origin in religion.

MURPHY:
[113] What kind of doughnut do you eat?

FRICTION:
[114] Chocolate frosting is a good start. If there is cream in the center, that's even better. Yum!

MURPHY:
[115] Does the best writing flow for you, or does it come from rewrites?

FRICTION:
[116] If the basic premise isn't working for me, no amount of re-writing helps. But I firmly believe re--writes make my stories more readable. Unfortunately much of my earlier work suffered for the lack of them.

MURPHY:
[117] Which part of writing do you enjoy most and why?

FRICTION:
[118] My favorite part of the writing process is when a promising idea flashes in my mind. More than anything, I enjoy seeing the pieces of a story begin to come together. I love it when a scene takes hold of me, pulls me in and I lose all track of time, when I begin to think, 'd*mn, this might just work after all'.

MURPHY:
[119] How often do you think about a piece when you're working on it and when do you think about it?

FRICTION:
[120] Generally I think about the story I'm working at least a little bit everyday. [121] As I said, I'm a daydreamer at heart. I tend to have my best ideas when I'm alone…when my partner's asleep and I'm lying in bed wishing she were awake…when I'm driving on a long trip…and well, just about every time I have the opportunity to peer through the window into my mind.

MURPHY:
[122] When someone walks into your bedroom, what are the first five things that they are likely to notice?

FRICTION:
[123] An attractive, dark-haired woman sleeping on her back on a queen sized waterbed. A smaller blonde draped over her. Two Siamese cats (a chocolate point and seal point) curled against them. A discarded dark blue comforter. (No need for covers with that much shared body heat.) And, I guess if they got past all that, they'd notice shelves laden with well-worn books ;-)

MURPHY:
[124] Do you feel in control of your writing, or do you get carried away by your inspiration or characters?

FRICTION:
[125] Mostly it just comes in bits and pieces when I sit down and make the effort. However, there are rare occasions when I'm almost driven by some unseen force to get the words out.

MURPHY:
[126] If you consider yourself to have a muse, what exactly do you mean?

FRICTION:
[127] Here's the boring answer, sometimes the ideas come and sometimes they don't. My inspiration is for the most part determined by mood rather than muse.

MURPHY:
[128] Tell the truth--are you your favorite writer, or in your own top five? Why or why not?

FRICTION:
[129] I don't even make the top five hundred. Truthfully, I don't consider myself a writer, but a daydreamer who occasionally jots down her thoughts.

MURPHY:
[130] Would the world be a better place if women ran it or would it be basically the same?

FRICTION:
[131] At the risk of being stoned by some, I have to say that I truly believe the world would be better place with women in charge. It's been my experience that women tend to exhibit more of the qualities that I find admirable. Although I realize that nurture sometimes overshadows nature, women seem to have an almost innate reverence for life, something I've rarely encountered in men.

MURPHY:
[132] What is your favorite spot where you live now?

FRICTION:
[133] The Conewango River. My partner and I spend hour after hour drifting downstream on our raft. The tranquil surroundings have a way of bringing me back to myself like nothing else.

MURPHY:
[134] What books are you reading now? What about it/them is holding your attention?

FRICTION:
[135] I'm reading Steven King's The Dreamcatcher. Although he is vastly skilled at weaving a suspenseful tale, it is King's talent for character development that draws me in.

MURPHY:
[136] What would your friends say is your worst trait?

FRICTION:
[137] I tend to do things in excess, everything or nothing at all. I'm either going full throttle or fast asleep.

MURPHY:
[138] Do you type with your fingers on the right keys?

FRICTION:
[139] On my good days. Actually I avoided typing classes like the plague when I was a teen because I naively equated typing with becoming a secretary. Later in life, after I wised up, I took it upon myself to learn this most valuable skill.

MURPHY:
[140] What is the longest any plant in your home has been with you?

FRICTION:
[141] Because of our cat's predisposition for torturing plants, we are a plantless home.

MURPHY:
[142] Do you have any particular bedtime rituals that you follow every night?

FRICTION:
[143] Ahhhh, I best not elaborate on that since I don't have room here for disclaimers.

MURPHY:
[144] If you find a spider in the bathtub, do you help it out or squish it?

FRICTION:
[145] I holler for my partner and she comes to rescue both the spider and I. I just love butch women with big hearts.

MURPHY:
[146] What was the last thing you bought that you really didn't need?

FRICTION:
[147] A DVD player. What can I say? I'm obsessed with techie stuff.

MURPHY:
[148] Have you ever smoked cigarettes--explain.

FRICTION:
[149] Encouraged by a very wild older woman (she must have been all of twelve), I had my first cigarette at seven. This girl was the toughest kid on the block, bar none…incredibly butch…the most 'worldly' woman I'd ever known. I absolutely adored her and was heartbroken when she had to go to a different school. [150] Although, to this day, she still holds a special place in my heart, I fear, that had we not been separated by circumstances, I would probably be writing this from a prison cell. But alas, without her continued tutelage my life took a turn down the straight and narrow path. (Well, maybe not sooo straight). [151] At any rate, I gave up the smoking habit after a couple of packs and never went back. Truthfully, it just didn't hold the same excitement for me without her.

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