World Lines: Lux Vivendi

Fan art created by Greybird  ~  April 2005

Inspired by, and patterned from, Jane Lane's painting created
for Quinn, as described for these characters in the "Daria"
fan fiction story "Quinntessence" (Part 2), written by Deref

Notes from the author about the original story

Gentle reader, this is a chapter in a series ["Writes of Passage"]. It will make much more sense if you read what has gone before, starting with "My Afternoon at Tom's." If you haven't the time or the inclination to read the whole series, you'll find "Bird on the Wire" and "Quinntessence" (Part 1) a worthwhile background to the events that follow.

[The original story, though not the excerpt quoted below, is "rated R."]

Excerpt from "Quinntessence" (Part 2)

The easel which had been standing against the wall had been moved to the centre of the bedroom, the canvas it was supporting covered by a sheet. Taking Quinn by the shoulders and standing her in front of the easel, Jane commanded, "Close your eyes."

Quinn had absolutely no idea what was under the cover, but she was thrilling at Jane's obvious pleasure and did as she was told. A grin of anticipation appeared on her face as she heard the sheet being removed.

"Okay -- open your eyes."

Quinn gasped. The field was dark, almost black, though, after she'd looked at it for a while, she noticed that in places it faded almost imperceptibly into dark browns, blues, reds, and greens. Scattered here and there were faint smudges of light. Quinn realised she'd seen something like it before, in one of those telescope photographs that she'd gazed at in awe in one of Daria's astronomy books, surreptitiously borrowed to read in the privacy of her own room. Island universes, luminous pinpricks in the infinite.

On the left, a multicoloured arc took up most of the height but only an inch or so of the width. From its centre a straight line ran horizontally across the canvas to the right-hand edge. Other lines of varying width, shape, and colour snaked across the field, intersecting each other and the straight line. Some were long, some short, some appearing from the edge and quickly darting off again, some winding in long and complex curves before disappearing off an edge. Two lines emerged from an edge and came to an end.

"It's stunning," she breathed. "What do you call it?"

"World Lines: Lux Vivendi."

"'Light of my life'?" Her face looked as if she didn't quite know how to react.

Jane looked surprised. "I didn't know you knew Latin!"

"I don't, but fashion designers use Latin all the time to sound chic, and you sort of pick things up. How about you? They don't teach Latin at Lawndale High, do they?"

A little sheepishly, Jane said, "I had to ask Daria to translate for me. Apparently a more literal translation is 'light of my living,' but let's not split hairs."

"God, Jane -- it's amazing! What does it mean?"

"It's not complicated. Why don't you explain it to me? Start from the title and work from there."

Quinn smiled. "Well, I'll try. I guess that world lines are the paths traced out in time by our journey from birth to death." She pointed at the straight line. It was painted in muted tones, with just an occasional bright splash where other lines intersected it. In some places it merged with the background only to reappear a little distance farther on.

"'Light of my life' could have at least two meanings. One of them would mean that line is your world line and that arc at the left is where you were born, where you break out of the cosmic egg, so to speak. All the other lines are the world lines of people whose lives have touched yours." She pointed at a line that ran beside the straight line. "That has to be Trent."

"You're doing well. Keep going," Jane said, smiling with delight and, she had to admit, stunned surprise, at how quickly Quinn had understood what she'd tried to express.

"Those lines there --" She pointed at the two lines that ended without escaping from the canvas. "-- that's sad. They must represent people who died, whose world lines ended. That one's very short. He or she must have died very young."

"Uh huh. I'll tell you about them one day if you like," Jane said, a slightly distant look on her face.

"I'd like that." Quinn pointed back at the straight line. "That's sad too, Jane. The colours represent -- what -- emotion, excitement, experience -- the colours are allegorical, right?"

"Right!" Quinn? she thought, still surprised by those hidden depths that Quinn had so expertly concealed.

Putting her arm around Jane, Quinn looked away from the canvas and up into her lover's eyes. "That's not right, Jane. You're intelligent, you're sensitive, you're artistic, you're incredibly talented. But you paint your life in browns and greys and dark colours?"

"It's my painting, so I get to call 'em like I see 'em," she said with a smile that didn't fool Quinn, who, hearing Jane's words, felt a sudden rush of deep sadness and regret that Jane saw her own life like that. She wondered what she could do to show Jane how wrong she was about herself. But then she thought about the way that Jane had reacted to Daria's and Tom's relationship, and realised that perhaps she was being shown something deeper, something that Jane didn't talk about. It was a moment of unexpected intimacy.

Turning back to the canvas, Quinn indicated a line that flew in from the top, about eight or nine inches from the right, to intersect Jane's line and continue beside it. At the intersection there was a flash of red, then it curved sharply to run parallel to the straight line. Both lines became perceptibly brighter for the remainder of their journey across the canvas. "Daria?"

"Uh huh."

From the bottom left-hand corner, a brilliant pulsation ran arrow-straight to intersect the Jane line at the far right-hand edge. At the intersection, the two lines exploded in a luminous starburst. Quinn pointed at it, not saying anything, just looking up at Jane, who smiled and said, "That's the other meaning."

Quinn wiped a hand across her eyes. "It's beautiful. It should be hung somewhere people can see it."

"I was kind of hoping that you'd hang it on your wall. It's for you." She turned and smiled at Quinn, hoping to get one back, but was alarmed to see the redhead's lip tremble. "Quinn?" she asked hesitantly, the smile disappearing from her face.

"..." Quinn opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. Her eyes, fixed on the painting, had pools of moisture gathering in them.

Not quite knowing how to respond, Jane haltingly extended an arm to Quinn's shoulder. "Quinn? What's wrong?"

One of the pools overflowed and trickled in a river down her face. Still gazing at the painting, she said, haltingly, "No one's ever given me ... anything like ... this before."

Notes from the artist about this take on the story's painting

I intended an evoking of the painting that Deref so vividly describes above, rather than a precise duplicating of it. I chose to show the many differences in life paths and choices by contrasting, more strongly than a Jane Lane would have, among the various lines.

I used colors, angles, intersections, and overlaps to show these contrasts, rather than more gradual color blends in each line. Subtle gradations could have been lost against the background photograph of stars. (A real Jane could have pulled this distinction off quite easily, and would have summoned those stars with her own brushes, but I don't have nearly her skill.)

Straighter lines and more vivid colors were used to make the individual world lines, and many changes of direction, show more clearly.

Jane's world line was broadened, to represent her as the artist in the story, with larger areas of color to clearly show her changes in self-appraisal. The black outlines represent her having held the personal interactions of her life within limits, which she had been slow to recognize, in both the original "Daria" series and this story. The "starburst" of yellow, signifying her new relationship with Quinn, is the first element to visually take priority over her life limits, though they still persist after that personal explosion.

I felt it important to include Quinn and Jane in this painting -- again, by modifying art originally created by their animators that's better than what I could newly create. The painting in Deref's story was meant to convey Jane's perceptions and broader life, and to celebrate her new relationship, so their presence deserved being acknowledged.

Lines from their beginnings in the multicolored arc, top left to bottom left

Light blue -- Summer Lane, Jane's sister and oldest sibling. Further from Jane in age and emotional distance than their other sister and their brothers, but coming back toward a closer relationship during the events of the original series.

Dark red -- Penny Lane, Jane's sister and third-oldest sibling. A more eccentric and less straightforward relationship, especially when Jane was young, yet this sister seemed closer to Jane than was Summer.

Light tan and dark tan -- Vincent and Amanda Lane, Jane's parents. Both were close to each other at the beginning of Jane's life, but soon were losing their commonality and family closeness due to far-flung careers and constant travel. They persist through Jane's life, but at a considerable distance from her concerns, and with far less intensity than her friends. Amanda has been present more often in Jane's life than Vincent has been, but not by much.

Light red and light blue, ending prematurely -- The unnamed friends or family alluded to with sadness by Jane in Deref's story.

Black-outlined multicolored bar -- The artist and creator of the painting described in this story, Jane Lane. The black outlines represent her hair, and are also meant to suggest the dark or confining elements in her life. The colors at first represent Jane regressing from early possibilities for growth (green) to a relative emptiness and disillusionment (gray). The interruption by a brilliant star is her meeting and bonding with Daria -- a deeper inevitability, thus coming from the background image -- and the creation of their close, vibrant friendship. The colors then represent Jane progressing from delight and surprise (yellow) to a feeling about her changed life that's richer than she had expected (purple, notably deeper than her own eyes).

Brown -- Trent Lane, Jane's immediate older brother and de facto guardian, and by far her closest sibling and support. His presence has been a constant for Jane, always supporting her, where others in her family have been far less involved. Trent's importance increases for Jane as they both approach the events of this story.

Gray and darker green -- A wife (representing all of them) and Wind Lane, Jane's other brother and the second-oldest sibling. The green junction signifies a marriage, the khaki line a married life, the divergence a separation -- but Wind was shown to be slow to emotionally disconnect from any of his former spouses, so the lines remain in proximity. Wind was portrayed in the original series as often hugging his sister Jane, and that physical contact appeared to be important to her.

Orange-red -- Quinn Morgendorffer, who becomes Jane's wholly unexpected soulmate and lover in this story. The color represents her hair. Quinn has her own vigorous straight vector, but was merely deflected -- not changed in vitality -- by encountering the Lanes and others when moving to Lawndale. She progresses constantly but gradually to realizing her true sexuality, her attraction to Jane, and their shared passion and caring. She ultimately creates a "starburst," as in the story, by loving Jane -- but it's a human-made event, consciously created despite many difficulties, and less inevitable than the more "cosmic" friendship of Jane and Daria.

A branch of this line represents Quinn bringing new insight and affection to her relationship with her sister Daria, with a smaller pinpoint of epiphany shown in light green. This progresses to show Quinn being far closer than she had been to her sister.

The yellow starburst itself represents what is by far the strongest point in intense feeling for any of these characters. It also, though, touches the lines of the others who are closest in Jane's life, Daria and Trent. The underlap to their lines suggests that they both supply affection and a detached perspective to Jane and Quinn in their new relationship.

Lines from their beginnings at the top of the painting, left to right

Lighter green -- Daria Morgendorffer, the world-shaping friend and soulmate who comes into Jane's life. From their meeting, Daria becomes Jane's personal and extremely close friend, stronger by far from the relationship than she had been before. Yet Daria takes pains from the beginning (the sharp turn) to keep from subsuming her personality to anybody else, even her new friend Jane. She maintains the unique dimensions of her personality, adding to her life by touching others or paralleling their life paths more closely.

A branch of this line represents Daria having been attracted, strongly, by Trent Lane, in a crush that came along shortly after she met the Lanes. It undeniably existed briefly, but returned to being a more platonic friendship.

Purple -- Tom Sloane, the handsome boy from another school, coming "from the purple" of a wealthy family. He's attracted to Jane, finds some common bonds (light blue circle), and dates her, but finds himself in a mix of feelings between Jane and Daria. Tom then unexpectedly finds attraction and, in this story, an intimate relationship with Daria (the stronger red circle). He remains touching Daria's life, is closer to her than her more-reconciled sister Quinn, yet keeps his own independence of spirit.

Software used

Paint Shop Pro 5 by Jasc Software, MS Paint, and the IrfanView freeware graphics utility

Background image

"Bow shock near a young star," a photograph made by the Hubble Space Telescope (courtesy of HubbleSite)

Quinn and Jane images

Artwork originally created by and © MTV Networks. All characters mentioned in the quoted story and in these notes are from the animated series "Daria," are trademarks of MTV Networks, and are used without its permission.

Thanks to Deref for his superb story  ...  Greybird, 4 April 2005