I’ve made several abortive attempts at art for the Untold contest, but I guess when I just start scribbling and don’t care as much about the cleanliness of the output things come together more easily. Whew.
(I hope the messiness contributes to the emotional chaos of the scene)
My favourite thing is Kami’s ‘Okay, weirdo’ expression. ;)
Well… not a concern I’ve had raised before. ;) First off—ship whatever you want, and I am pretty certain to think it is fantastic. Shipping means you care, and I can ask for no more than that.
As to the other question: I mean, I don’t think of it as incest.
Nor would I think of two people who have known each other forever as incestuous—the girl/boy next door is a pretty solid romantic trope, I had a crush on three different boys who lived on my road when I was growing up, neighbourhood hussy that I was—though naturally some people who grew up together in those circumstances might feel as if it was. Depends on the individuals, depends on the circumstances!
If the people aren’t related by blood, I personally don’t think of it as incest. ;)
(On the other hand, if I did, it probably wouldn’t bother me: see City of Bones, Flowers in the Attic, Mists of Avalon: tons of books where I, fictional deviant that I am, mostly sat around and said ‘Oh, you crazy kids, good luck with your thing.’ Much the same attitude as I have to fictional murder: PRETTY CASUAL, my friends! Just entertain me! I’m a monster!)
I mean, the most incestuous thing about Kami and Jared (aren’t you guys glad you made the decision to follow this quality authorial blog) is that they’re a bit like metaphysical twins.
(That’s right, I see your incest and I raise you twincest! Uh, look, pretty picture!)
In that, though not to others, to themselves in some ways—this is especially true for Jared—it’s pretty hard to work out where one of them ends and the other begins, when so much is shared.
But of course, that doesn’t translate to physically growing up together. The big thing that mainly prevents incest is the Westermarck Effect, where if you grew up in the same household you are likely to not be Into Each Other Like That: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-westermarck-effect.htm
But growing up in the same household means you are in pretty close physical proximity to each other, which Jared and Kami have not been.
Indeed, a lot of their issue with each other is how entirely unused to each others’ physical presence they are. They stagger around for a large portion of the book going ‘What, WHAT is this, WHO GAVE YOU PERMISSION TO HAVE A FACE, what gave you the right!!!’
But of course, the Westermarck effect is psychological as well as physical. (It’s just… generally hard to separate the two.) So, is it in effect?
Let us examine the evidence…
a) Is Kami repulsed by the idea of being in potentially romantic physical contact with Jared?
b) Is Jared repulsed by the idea of being in potentially romantic physical contact with Kami?
‘Kami took a deep breath and stepped toward him, her fingers uncurling to reach out. Jared flinched, and she drew her hand back.’
‘Kami…began to undo the buttons of her blouse. She looked down at the red buttons slipping out one by one from the black fabric of her shirt. She had only eight buttons, and there went the fourth.
Jared sucked breath out of a horrified void and shouted, “Stop that!”’
‘Kami reached for Jared’s hand. She barely brushed skin with her fingertips, the contact sending a jolt through her, when Jared flinched automatically back.’
‘He had his arm around her, his breath was stirring her hair, and for a moment they were both safe and warm in a space with no walls between them.
Then Jared stepped away from her, held her back’
‘Kami let her fingers brush Jared’s shoulder: it was tensed, hard and unyielding as stone, but stone would not have flinched away from her.’
‘She looked at his face, the shadows and angles of him, and had such a vivid thought that she could almost imagine she was acting on it: walking to him across the waving grass, feeling his body, so separate and so different from her own against hers, muscles and sinews shifting against hers. She imagined her fingers on the warm nape of his neck, drawing his head down.’
‘“Do you remember what you said to me, the first time we met?” Kami asked. “That we should date?”
Jared did not answer, but his eyes went shocked silver.
“If we cut the connection,” she said, “I would.”
Even with her walls up, she could feel his anger. Of course, she thought, of course she would say something like that and he would be angry.’
‘Kami had heard of having your breath taken away, but she’d never lost hers before. It was partly that it was so fast and she was so surprised, and it was partly something else. The kiss went deeper…
Kami was still trembling, cold all over except for her mouth. It had been obvious Ash was in search of some sort of comfort. She didn’t know how much of her response to him had been about who he looked like, not who he was’ (People are gettin’ kissed! The only sure thing is that Jared Lynburn, untouched flower, is nowhere in the vicinity.)
a) She is not. Westermarck effect decidedly not in place. (She may however be awaiting her amazon purchase of He’s Just Not That Into You.)
b) … That’s the five million dollar question. We don’t know. Is the problem that he feels it’s icky because they grew up together? Hey, maybe. There is many a theory!
It’s a complicated thing, as I wanted to make it a complicated relationship with the trickiest elements of many relationships—someone you met on the internet and are not physically comfortable with at all, someone you grew up with, someone with access to your thoughts and feelings nobody should have, someone you never thought was real and thus are JUST NOT ACCUSTOMED TO AS A REAL PERSON AT ALL ON ANY LEVEL.
Long story short: What I’m saying is that it’s not like baby Kami and baby Jared were put in the same crib and grew up together.
… On reflection, I am not really sure how that scenario (babies growing up together) would work. A Jared who grew up in Sorry-in-the-Vale would be an essentially different person, and would not have been placed in any Peasant Babies’ Cradles, and so it would be less ‘grew up together’ than ‘saw each other in the streets before Lillian whisked her boys away.’
I guess a Lynburn might have kidnapped baby Kami so’s she might be useful.
… In either the Kidnapped Kami storyline or the Grew Up In the Same Town storyline, I see few ends except: Kami Leads The Revolution/Lets The Townsfolk Into The Castle, Jared ‘Jerkface’ Lynburn is tossed from the belltower and regretted by none.
And we may still come to that, of course.
(I’m lying. Kami would, in the world in which I am writing, always be sad to throw Jared from the belltower.)
(She would, of course, still do it if she had to.)
This is not a story about growing up together in a normal way, or about a girl or a boy who grew up in a normal way at all. Their whole personalities have been profoundly changed by the link between them—their relationship is super weird, and doesn’t have a siblings/girl-or-boy-next-door correlation that maps on perfectly.
Plus, of course, it isn’t incest because it isn’t as yet (and may never be) romantic—Kami may have Certain Feelings, but she isn’t by any means certain *about* those feelings, and she’s felt and may feel other feelings for other people. Jared may or may not have any romantic feelings at all.
Theirs is certainly a love story. When you are that connected to, that completely unable to be indifferent to, that utterly altered by the presence of another person on the planet, then it’s either love or hate or both. But it may be a romantic love story, it may be a platonic love story (in which they may find romantic love with others), and it may be a tragic love story in which due to the death of one or both/the killing of one by the other the whole ‘what kind of love is it’ question never really gets answered.
In summary… Kami and Jared have 99 problems, and being a little twincestuous is just one, and it’s like number 68. So don’t worry. ;)