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Kit St. Denys from “The Phoenix”


Ruth Sims

Welcome to an interview with Kit St. Denys, The Phoenix. It’s somewhat different from most interviews, in that it leaps more than a century and shatters the fragile divide between fact and fancy.

RS: Kit, it’s wonderful to see you in the flesh.

Kit: (laughing) I’m sure it is. You created me, after all, so I must be to your liking.

RS: Tall, handsome, brown-eyed, fair-haired man…you might say that. As for creating you, it’s true, I did. I wish I could have controlled you!

Kit: No one has ever done that. I don’t anticipate that anyone ever will. It’s not your fault.

RS: Let’s get immediately to the interview, since you’re not allowed to stay in my world very long. People want to know about you in your own words. You’re a nineteenth century version of a rock star, you know. Famous, idolized, rich. Women throw themselves at you; offer to leave their lovers and husbands. I’ve heard they literally beg for you. Do you ever take them up on it?

A – I don’t know what a rock star is, but I know that when I want sport it’s not with a woman. And it would never be with anyone who begs.

RS: You call yourself as a phoenix. Why?

Kit: Why not? It’s what I am, as you well know. I’ve destroyed and remade myself over and over. I was born in the worst slum in London. My father—if I can even use that word for him–was a monster and my mother was a whore. I was a thief. I was good at it. Then I did something that could have left me dangling from a noose before I reached manhood. Fate stepped in and gave me the chance to become someone else. The theatre gave me the chance to remake myself with every performance. And when I met Nick I remade myself again, into someone I didn’t even recognize because for the first time I knew what it was to be in love—which was most assuredly not my original intention. I meant only to seduce him because he was so innocent and it was a game.

RS: You mean Nick. Tell people about Nicholas Stuart.

Kit: My Nico. Healer. Self-righteous Puritan. Pain in my heart. Innocent fool with the clearest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. I took him in hand—in more ways than one—and taught him how to love another man. I taught him that his body was something more than just inconvenient baggage for the soul. You see, he believes in souls. And in God. I believe in neither. Sometimes he would be possessed by an insufferable self-righteousness that made me very cross. Once he called me a man’s whore and accused me of sleeping with half the men in England. Well, that infuriated me, especially when he said it was half only because I bypassed the ugly, the insane, and the dead.

RS: And you responded by…

Kit: Knocking him flat on his arse. In fairness to him, he wasn’t entirely wrong. There had been many men before I met him. But I never slept with those I loved and I never loved those with whom I slept. When he came into my life I suddenly did both. We were even happy for a while. Neither of us had ever been truly happy before; perhaps we just didn’t know how. He couldn’t reconcile what he is with the demands of his God. And I refused to share him with anyone, not even God.

RS: Loving another man is very dangerous legally, is it not.

Kit: Before the laws were changed we could have been executed. Now we would only go to prison. Wilde was an amusing, pretentious ass but at times he was spot-on. He said danger was part of the attraction, and likened it to “feasting with panthers.” Be that as it may, I feasted with many panthers, but I never gave up control to them. Or to anyone.

RS: I must admit, your charm and charisma, your…intensity is a bit overwhelming—

Kit: You do look a bit flushed. (laughing)

RS: How ungentlemanly!

Kit: You forget that I’m a gentleman only on the outside. On the inside I’m still what I was born to be.

RS: How do you feel about women?

Kit: Other than my mother, who was a waste of space, the women I’ve known have been grand and wonderful creatures. Lizbet saved me. Rama loves me with all her good heart. Minnie Fiske was a devoted friend. I adore women. I just don’t sleep with them.

RS: Someday I am going to interview Rama. I know she has been in love with you for many years.

Kit: She never stops hoping. Sometimes I wish I could change just to please her.

RS: Earlier you said you did not believe in God. Does that mean you don’t believe in Evil?

Kit: I believe completely in Evil. I’m well acquainted with it. I lived with it. I saw it in the eyes of the monster who fathered me. I saw it when he beat me and my twin brother. I saw it in the nightmares that terrified me every sleeping moment and many waking ones. Oh, yes. I believe in Evil. I believe it must be destroyed no matter the consequences.

RS: Tell us more about Nick.

Kit: I told you I believe wholeheartedly that Evil exists. But thanks to Nick as well as my adopted father I also know that there are good men in the world. Xavier St. Denys, took me in when I was a wild child who could have faced the gallows. He gave me a new name and the chance to become someone else. And Nick, my Nick…well, with every fiber of his being he cares about mankind. When he was a boy he promised God that he would devote his body to chastity, his soul to purity, and his industry to mankind. Poor Nico. Only the last has been easy. Thanks to me the chastity was abandoned! And no man has worked harder to ease life for suffering humanity, though it is a losing fight. As for his soul…it is pure and always will be, though he thinks it is not.

RS: I thought you didn’t believe in souls.

Kit: I believe in his.

RS: You conquered the theatre world before you were thirty, rose from your own ashes a half dozen times, and fought devils both inside yourself and outside. What does the future hold for you?

Kit: More of the same. The battle will never end.

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fanstudies picture

Recently I’ve noticed several people in the m/m romance world asking this question. As I’m coming from a fanfiction background, I’ve seen this subject thrashed out endlessly again and again on Live Journal, where m/m romance is known as ‘slash fiction’. So in an effort to stop the re-invention of the wheel here are a couple of really good links on the subject.

TrinityofOne’s LJ

The grand-daddy of slash studies:

Slash Philosophy

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Apollo and Hyacinth (pic)

In case anyone’s wondering who the rather androgynous people are in the banner of this blog, it comes from this lovely painting of Apollo and his male lover Hyacinth:

The Death of Hyacinth by Jean Broc

It’s 19th Century classical art, so I don’t really think it’s not work safe, but on the other hand there *is* full frontal nudity 🙂

The Death of Hyacinth by Jean Broc

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