Archived Messages from Wed. Oct. 11, 2000 to Sat. Nov 4, 2000

Sat Nov 4 17:26:08 PST 2000

An anguished cry pierces the stark silence of the notebook


then the silence returns thicker, heavier and more lonely than before.

Teekay Sat Nov 4 16:28:21 PST 2000

MARK: Well said.

HOWARD: That I love you goes without saying.

MARY: I applaud your decision.

RHODA: I appluad what you wrote.

GARY: I appluad what you wrote.

HEATHER: I appluad what you wrote.

And if you're all wondering why I'm appluading so mych it's because I've gone insane and I'm circling the room appluading. My tongue is lolling out and I'm dribbling but every now and then I manage to tap out a few lines on the keyboard.

Mary Sat Nov 4 09:54:50 PST 2000

MARK: I agree with you absolutely.


Mark Sat Nov 4 07:03:46 PST 2000

MARY -- erotica or pornography -- by definition, both have an intention of arousing sexual desire. Erotica (from eros) was always *art* with an intention, and pornographia was always photography (porno + graph = prostitute + picture). From the beginning, erotica had an upper class fragrance and pornographia had a lower class smell. The intent of both was equal.
Yes, there are steamy scenes in many good works and there are clinical photographs. The distinction for me is intention. Explore or Exploit. I have no trouble with stuff that explores sexuality. Even good works can be mishandled, though. I have to admit that at 15 or 16 years of age I was not ready to appreciate the literate craftsmanship of "Fanny Hill." During a few weeks of 10th grade, I carried "Fanny" from class to class and read it during school. Believe me, I entirely missed DeFoe's purpose in the book and his tireless use of passive voice.
GARIESS -- Yup. "Monkey's Paw" works in passive. Now: Why?

Mary Fri Nov 3 20:37:20 PST 2000

RHODA: The little snippet I sent is an excerpt from a much larger piece, so it is a little hard to tell that the rest is much more graphic than what I posted, and although there (unbelievably enough) is a plot...was definitely erotica. I agree with you about modern day love scenes in some romances. That is why it surprises me a little that you would think erotica and pornography are the same thing.

Some of the porn in the magazine I was considering was softer than some of what Brenda Joyce has to say. But she will catch no flack or disrespect for writing it. And geez, please dont get me wrong...if I thought that writing some of the smut I have seen out there is a respectable job, I wouldn't have been dragging my feet so much about taking that position to begin with.

The best statement I have seen thus far about the "is it erotica or is it pornography" topic is what Gariess said. They both serve the same purpose, and you know it when you see it. But my mind....erotica is a storyline that has really hot sex in it.....pornography is just graphic(and usually lame) descriptions of sex(the plot comes second...mainly as an excuse to write the thing in the first place). I am no expert, that is just my opinion.

I think what I said earlier in my post might be misconstrued as meaning that I think modern day romance novels are borderline erotica/pornography. I dont think that. To use movies as a comparison I would venture to say that (some)modern day romances are rated R, erotica is rated X, and pornography is XXX. I dont know how better to put it than that.

Thanks for the input Rhoda, you always have something valuable and pertinent to add. :-)

Heather Fri Nov 3 19:11:24 PST 2000

Hey everyone,

From the depths she rises,
to give decree
Ever vigilant
Not vigilante

...Just wondering what ever happened to WonderWoman.

(Passing through during a heady, exhausting week)


Rachel Fri Nov 3 15:49:51 PST 2000


Hi you (smiles). If you read "Shadows" you will again see that quote come up. There is an exchange between characters where the ownership of that quote is brought up. I like that bit.

Ciao for now :0)


Rhoda Fri Nov 3 15:41:38 PST 2000


That little piece was not erotica. Erotica and steamy sex scenes are not the same thing. You have erotica when steamy sex scenes take a major place in the book and in the plot. These scenes also go beyond basic intercourse in that it adds a lot to the act, say objects and things. For me to say more would be in poor taste. We passed around an exerpt of some of it at a writer's meeting a few years ago when I lived in Farmington, and what that was and what you wrote (which was rather tame even for a modern love scene), were not the same thing.

I think anyone who claims that erotica and pornography are not the same thing is in a great state of denial. We might not all agree where to draw the line between regular writing and pornography, but I believe we all know pornography when we read it.


As far as morality. True morality is nothing unless we allow ourselves to live up to it. When it is compromised in order to sell a book or to make a career, or anything, we, in effect, sell our souls. If we believe something is morally wrong, how can we possibly justify doing it? Presenting characters who do things you would never do is not morally wrong as long as you stay true to the context. If you are personally opposed to murder then those characters in your book who murder should not be glorified, praised, or exalted. The act they do should be presented as cruel and gruesome because, by golly, murder is cruel, and to present it delicately is inaccurate and dishonest. Murderers and bad people should pay the consequences for what they do. They must live a life consistent to the ideal that murder, stealing, whathaveyou is wrong.

There are too many people in this society who shed their morality upon the church steps every Sunday morning. It is never taken to their families, their places of business, or in their dealings with other people. We see this in the presidential campaign. There is so much talk about morality, but when push comes to shove, it is always set aside for money, power, popularity, and in the desire not to make others uncomfortable. A person who talks and claims to be moral but who doesn't live out his morality is as bad, if not worse than the person who has no morality at all--in fact, he is infinitely more dangerous.

Anyway, Christi, the only exception that I take to your previous comment is that morality can hinder. If it is true morality, it never hinders, but in the end sets us free. Never be afraid to get hung up on the things truly important to you, whatever they be. These things are part of who you are. To do otherwise is to sqash your own morality while you adopt someone elses. Then you are not only hindered, but enslaved to the whims and caprices of popular culture. Never feel you have to stuff your beliefs in a closet and hide them from the world.


gariess Fri Nov 3 15:24:19 PST 2000


In case you don't get any bites, what's a henweigh?

Just after Jerry Seinfeld quit his TV show he was looking around for new venues. His publicist suggested he do a particular benefit show in LA, but they found out Steve Allen had already accepted it. The Seinfeld people got Steve Allen on the phone and asked if he would mind relinquishing the show to Seinfeld. Allen said, "Sure, that'll be okay. What does MR. Seinfeld want ME to do, wash dishes?"

The man had style. His leaving will be a true loss.


howard Fri Nov 3 12:25:34 PST 2000

AMERICO -- I'd never have guessed Shakespeare! Then again, my knowledge of the Bard is sadly deficient. I'm ashamed to admit that I've never seriously studied him, beyond a rewrite of Macbeth and a cursory reading of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.
But ask me something about a henweigh!


howard Fri Nov 3 05:54:25 PST 2000

MARK -- Thanks for the info. I hadn't remembered Orion as anything but the hunter. I'd heard of Acteon, but not the stag part... strange -- I typed "stag" instead of "deer" without thinking, and now I do vaguely remember a connexion between Acteon and "stag" but dunno why. The memory takes some wierd twists and turns.

TEEKAY -- 'snif... :-( (it's just me, over here, ignored and unloved as usual)

There's a neat feature article on this morning about Ateve Martin's new book, and some of the writerly things he's been doing.


Teekay Fri Nov 3 01:54:42 PST 2000

AMERICO: Drat it! Saw right through me you did. BTW wasn't it a double doctorate in psychiatry I said I had??

CHRISTI: I was only crapping on about my educational status. I'm in the same boat as you, you silly.

AMERICO: Don't know where I got the expression,notebookers from, it was just floating around in my subconscious. Probably picked up from something you said. That, or we're twins sperated at birth and share a psychotic (yes, that was deliberate)link.

CHRISTI: Hope you are still talking to me.

AMERICO: I love you.

CHRISTI: I love you.

Rachel Thu Nov 2 19:39:18 PST 2000

Hi all - So much has happened on the page over these past few days. I can't keep up!

Take care all,


Mark Thu Nov 2 19:22:43 PST 2000

HOWARD -- that's not Orion who was turned into a deer, it was Acteon. My mistake. I went to, searched for Orion, saw not the story I remembered, searched for "stag" and found it that way.

Americo Thu Nov 2 17:12:44 PST 2000


Sorry, I hadn't read your post before.
The word appears 24 times in S*, written last year, and I don't know how many in posts spread all over the NB, perhaps even previous to Jon's existence, I don't know.
A ridiculous issue really.

Happy week-end, everybody.

Americo Thu Nov 2 17:05:57 PST 2000


"But me no buts" — Shakespeare.
These literary trivia can be entertaining during and after a good dinner with friends. Better than discuss politics or whatever people talk about these days.

Mark Thu Nov 2 16:22:17 PST 2000

CHRISTI -- You're welcome. Now. Ready for a little verbal skirmish? I learned it as "Woman's Talk" from an article in a linguistics anthology in 1970-something. The point was that men speak directly to a point, women hedge their bets and soften their direct statements. I heard a kid in my local sub shop call something "a bit extreme." He wanted to let his friend know {something} was taken too far, but didn't want to be confrontational. According to the author of that Woman's Talk piece, that kind of stuff happens more in female conversation than in male conversation. I tend to agree. Today's conversation was among boys. Who is more insecure than a teenager?

Put softeners, extenders, qualifiers into the speech of your characters when you want to demonstrate that they are hedging or non-confrontational. Some characters will be that way in special situations, some will always be a bit reserved. People-pleasers talk that way; they don't want to chase anyone with confrontation.

Your best gauge of how to use that kind of speech, now that it's been brought to your attentiom, is simple observation. James Joyce said artists (writers included) stand in the doorway of a room paring their nails, watching the party. Check out the people who are "so very" and "very, very" and then ask if you want your narrator to be like that. Hell, ask if YOU want to be like that.

howard Thu Nov 2 13:03:29 PST 2000

By the Bye -- That "alone at the time" line that Mary "re-depended" on was not originated by yours truly. It was unashamedly purloined from Johnny Carson. I thought it was Rodney Dangerfield, but Mark says it was Carson.

I'm surprised no one else picked up on it -- it's a memorable line.


howard Thu Nov 2 11:53:04 PST 2000

CHRISTI -- Faux paux ? Isn't that what Reynard died from?

STEVE ALLEN -- We'll miss you, sir! Very much!


STUDS -- Hang in there!


Debra Thu Nov 2 11:34:26 PST 2000


I can't put my finger on it but your last post was parctually colorful and entertaining.


Christi Thu Nov 2 10:24:24 PST 2000

Heya folkies!

I loved your epiphonic post and agree wholeheartedly with it. You had a great point; if I'm stuck and don't know the answer to something, or even just having a problem, someone here is bound to help out.
And about the cake thing, well . . . I DID IT ON PURPOSE SILLY! I guess that's the problem with written sarcasm. Many times it doesn't read like I think it will. Oh well, I'm sure I'll continue riddling my posts with the same kind of claptrap.

Thank you, I think. You've answered my question, but now the perfectionist in me comes out every time I want to use one of these words and it's a real pain in the ass. It does help to know that it's okay in dialogue, but are we speaking of women's dialogue only or can we leave sexism out of it?

Orange cake? Yummers!! And after we dine, how about a game of Trivial Pursuit?
*SHREIK!* Wait, I forgot I'm not speaking to you, as I don't deign to speak with "the overly-educated". I will hereafter refer to you as "Kangie-poo". That is all.

Seems that you've already made up your mind about the job offer. You probably made the right choice. It would be somewhat of a deterrent if you wanted to write, say, a children's book. And when you became a huge success it would have been dragged out of the closet; all those old, stanky bones. :)

As for you excerpt, it was not even as bad as some of the romance novels I read when I was younger. This is something I've wrestled with as well. I've promised myself not to get hung-up on anything, be it sex, violence, God, etc. I don't want my writing to be hindered because of my own morality. If the story demands that there be a nasty sex scene or that there be some horrific act, I hope that I'm able to carry through and write it. Life is full of things we're uncomfortable with, and books would be very boring without them.

Have I committed a faux paux? I suppose that I did jump to conclusions in saying that Teekay had come up with the term "Notebooker". She was simply the first person I ever saw use it, and I did not scour the archives to see if you had said it before her story. I will, however, reserve my apology for the time when I am proved wrong.

Later toots,


howard Thu Nov 2 09:55:49 PST 2000

AMERICO -- Of course, one of King David's grandmothers (which put her also in the direct line of the Christ) was a hooker in a red dress. Her faith saved her (literally) and earned her a place in the NT Hall of Fame.

"But me no buts?" Sounds Churchillian to me...


Americo Thu Nov 2 09:38:55 PST 2000

Thanks, Howard, for the information. You'll see that this pagan will help you go to heaven (smiles).

And now another question: which British writer would be able to construct the following sentence:

"Hm me no hms"?

(The same who wrote this: "But me no buts").

Now, come on, we're here just to help one another...


howard Thu Nov 2 07:10:24 PST 2000

AMERICO -- The Bible teaches that sex outside marriage is sin. Therefore it teaches that prostitution is sin.

"Coherence in the religious mind at last" ??


Debra Thu Nov 2 05:33:10 PST 2000


Yes, I did quit that job.


Your welcome.


Americo Thu Nov 2 04:41:14 PST 2000

From education to pornography writing for sale through Mary. What a program! It tells everything about sexual education in school, I guess.

If you had two doctorates in Psychology you would not be complaining about the chores of housework as you do so often. You'd be complaining about other chores... BTW, I expected you to answer Christi about the origin of the word notebookers, which you used as title of one of your tales. Where did you get it from?

I enjoyed your post about your reaction to a murder when you were a criminal lawyer's assistant. I saw some coherence in the religious mind at last. I did not understand your last sentence: did you quit that job?

what does the Bible teach about prostitution? This is a genuine and serious question.

I love you!

PS. I appreciated the tolerance everyone showed in their answers to Mary's temptation. That's the spirit of the NB I like. The topic has been a very interesting one.

mary Wed Nov 1 23:11:22 PST 2000

DEBRA and GARY: Thanks guys, those are the issues that guided my choice. Well, those and the sticky keyboard visual aid Rohard provided. Haha. Thanks!

GARY: Yep. A rose by any other name...

gariess Wed Nov 1 22:19:14 PST 2000


I think Debra has the answer. It all depends on how you would feel about it. Personally, I don't think you are missing the opportunity of a lifetime.

Erotica and pornography serve the same purpose. I think generally, pornography is defined by its graphic nature. What does it matter what you call it? You know it when you see it.


Allein Wed Nov 1 21:25:40 PST 2000

Mary - I think love/sex scenes are alright in stories as long as they don't get too weird. For instance, I'm not interested in reading sex scenes that are nothing but smut - they should include some amount of romance and be fairly tasteful. That's only my opinion though. I've tried writing sex scenes before but it's really hard when you've never experienced it. YES - I'm a virgin - and I'm proud of it! :)
That's my two cents.

Jerry Wed Nov 1 20:05:53 PST 2000

Mark - check out the above link, for an example of passive voice which works.


Jerry Ericsson Wed Nov 1 19:59:11 PST 2000

Mary - I think you are probably doing the right thing, if that is how you feel. I don't know if I could or would do the same given the same situation. I probably would. It is wonderful to get paid to write. A few days ago, I received a check from Themestream for a little over $30.00. It was a wonderful feeling to know that this was money I earned from writing. Now if I could just get enthused about writing for them again, I have not contributed anything to them for about a month. In fact the only things I have written in the last month are those which I posted. I have started a few others, but let them die the death they well deserved, as they refused to go anywhere.


Mary again and again today....sheesh..sorry Wed Nov 1 19:36:54 PST 2000

Mark: Well....I think I am in touch with the issues. I thought that was why they approached me, but when it comes right down to it, you are right. I would be doing it for the paycheck. I love writing and of course I want to get paid for it but I want to write things that I would write whether I was getting paid or not and smut does not fit that mould. I had already turned down the position, but thanks for the reinforcement. :-)

Next question: Is there a difference between erotica and pornography? I dont just mean a difference as in to what levels each go to (unless that is the only difference), I mean is there a literary difference? If so...which would the following be? Dont read between the asterisks if you will be offended, however...I dont feel this is anything that should offend is not very graphic.

*She loved to watch his eyes, as the indulging took place. It kept getting tougher for her to tell by watching him who was indulging whom. And to be honest, much of the time her eyes were rolled back in her head and she ‘felt him’ with the precision of a blind person. Even before he touched her she felt him, hovering, exhaling long slow breaths of pure heat. The vibration that always consumed her began at a low level. A sharp gasp wedged in her throat when she felt him kiss her the first time. The sound of his lips sucking gently as they pulled away from her was synchronized with a surge of energy that instinctively rolled her hips down, pushing herself to the tip of the tongue that would be there waiting.*

I will drop this subject like a hot potato if anyone here requests that. C-ya. --mary

Mark Wed Nov 1 17:28:24 PST 2000

I've been up the believability side of porn and down the unbelievability side.

Mary, authenticity is the issue for me; if you're .. er .. in touch .. with the issues, then go for it. If it's just something to do for a paycheck, well . . I think you already know how that ends up.

During one my 'bad times' days, I walked a sleepless night to the hot dog stand near my apartment. I had never been there at night before. Leaving the place, I walked through a crowd of hookers. Around the corner I was accosted by one. We walked about two buildings down the street. She asked if I had any money. I said I just spent it. She leaned into me and rubbed her hand along the top of my thigh, feeling the contents of my pocket. "That's some money right there." "Yeah. One dollar. That's all." She went back to the corner.

I don't know her motivation. I don't know the motivation of the woman who worked the Holiday Inn bar out about Twelve Mile Road in Detroit. I don't know the motivation of the woman whose services I accepted in New Orleans (for $13). For all of them it seemed to simply be a payday. Paydays are motivated by some other need. I contrast them with the women I knew who would roll naked with me for free. For them the motivation seemed always to be either a lonliness or a simple joy in the acts of sex.

If I had to make your decision, I'd have to make it plain to myself whether I could find any joy in the job.

Debra Wed Nov 1 17:06:27 PST 2000


This in answer to your question about writing smut.

Once I was a legal secretary. I worked for a criminal lawyer. I sat at my desk looking at a person whom shot his wife in the forehead. He was sitting in the waiting area waiting for the laywer I worked for.

He smiled at me and gave me the thumbs up. I assumed he was trying to ask me to wish him good luck.

After he left I looked over the picture of his wife laying on the bed with a bullet in her head. I knew on that day that my job might be offeseive to God.

I quit. I didn't have the luxury to quit my job either.

It's your call. It all comes down with how it will make you feel.


mary Wed Nov 1 14:46:49 PST 2000

Howard and Jerry.

I have been up one side of this issue and down the other and even though there are people out there that would be totally fine with this job......its just not for me.

They told me to feel free to send in submissions (of course..anyone can do that) if I want, so I am happy about that....I can pick and choose what I want to work on and what I dont.

I did hear some pretty salient points in defense of the genre though...the biggest one being:

"Shoot someone to death in a movie storyline and you get an R rating ...Have sex with them and get X." hmmmmmm.

Oh well.....I am just glad I dont have to think about it anymore. Was starting to give me a headache...and thats counter-productive.

Thanks again you guys. Much appreciation.

Jerry Wed Nov 1 13:48:53 PST 2000

Mary - You sure have a lot to think about before making a decission like that, I know I would think long and hard about it. (no punn intended) I guess I would want to know what my children would think about my new job, likewise my parents and in-laws. (Spouse goes without saying). Other then that, hey it is a writing job, and you will be getting experience. Also have to consider how this will look on my resume. Not that it is anything to be ashamed of, but there are those prudes out there who would frown on such a job.

Sex education; Well there was this very pretty young girl named Donna, with long brown hair, deep brown eyes. She often wore this blue poodle dress, and we did take in a carnivle or two when we were young and in lust. She did however leave the carnivle with me. That is where the education began, and I am still learning. I did end up marrying her best friend, who also has long brown hair. I haven't seen Donna since shortly after our wedding some 31 years ago.


howard Wed Nov 1 13:05:16 PST 2000

We see the than/then mixup quite often around here. Also accept/except, there/their/they're, awful/offal, where/were, your/you're, and a few others. (Okay, I made up the awful/offal part) People just don't pay enough attention to using the rite words for the job! Their oughtta be a web sight to learn this from!

Rosemary Wed Nov 1 11:25:53 PST 2000

That's what I get for being a smart alec. That post didn't sound the same when I looked at it later. I didn't mean My hands.

By the way, It had never occured to mix up 'than and then'. Thanks a lot. I now have a whole new problem.

Got to run,

howard Wed Nov 1 09:14:25 PST 2000

MARY -- "wrestling in a porn part?" I once knew a girl who put herself through college doing that...

mary again Wed Nov 1 08:50:36 PST 2000

HOWARD: I just picked up on the "where did they get the idea I would be well suited" comment you made in your last post. The answer is that I used to be on an email list group where questions would be posted through a mediator and then dispersed to all the members in an effort to exchange advice, or comments or whatever. This was during a period of time when I was doing research for a character I was trying to develop and I needed a certain mindset. I didnt get any help whatsoever with my character there, but some of the peoples' questions were compelling and I would sometimes pipe up and put in my two cents. To make a short story long....the mediator on that group is the editor of the magazine I am considering. Well one of them anyway. I guess he liked what I had to say and the way I said it. As far as whether or not I am any good at writing actual pornography....we will see I guess. He had me send two samples...which I agonized over, and he still asked me to come on as a they must not have been too bad. In all fairness though....its not like pornography is a literary challenge. I am more interested in writing the other articles and the non-fiction educational pieces. I am just wrestling with the porn part. Yikes. ;-)

Rosemary Wed Nov 1 08:40:00 PST 2000

My sexual education was strictly a hands-on application.


mary Wed Nov 1 08:24:19 PST 2000

ps. I was only kidding about the bleachers. ;-)

mary Wed Nov 1 08:21:15 PST 2000

HOWARD: Thank goodness.......I was really hoping you would say something. Thank you!

Yes, I dont have absolute specifics..but I do know what will be expected of far as how many stories/articles will be expected of me and the general subject matter (obviously).

As far as fringe benefits I get a free subscription...does that count? HA.

The last one I saw only had 4 pictures in the whole thing and nobody was naked! Good question though. Lots of advertisements for things I have never seen in real life, but yes there is lots of writing. Lots and lots and it isnt super graphic either.

But you are right...that isnt really what I saw for myself either. But damn do I want to get paid as a writer. Man this is tuff.

Thanks for your help Howard. :-)

howard Wed Nov 1 08:10:41 PST 2000

MARY -- BLEACHERS ??? Was that you ?? Oh my!

Re the staff writer job -- sticky keyboards and sweaty palms don't fit my picture of you. But then again, where did they get the idea you'd be well suited for the job? And is the job description well laid out for you? I mean is it something you could really sink your teeth into? Are there "fringe" elements er, benefits involved? Is there all that much writing, or do the pictures fill up most of the page?
Sorry for the "third degree" but inquiring minds want to know...

Underwear, eh?


mary Wed Nov 1 07:47:08 PST 2000

OK GUYS: I have a dilemma. I have been asked to take a position as a staff writer. The pay is not great (big surprise), but I must is awfully tempting. I feel like I need this validation..but at what price to myself?

The problem arises in what I am to be writing. I can't even believe that I am bringing this to you guys, but really....where else would I take it?

Erotic Fiction.....your thoughts? OK, let's not sugarcoat this....I am speaking of pornography's a dirty job but somebody has to do it, right? sighs.....I just dont know what to think of all this.

I read it, I like doing the research (hehe)...but do I really want the title of Staff Writer; Smut Magazine?

Somebody twist the knife, please. I need to make a decision. I need a little bit of real insight here...from any standpoint. Good or bad...I would like to know other writer's opinions of pornography penners...moral issues any of you might have. I just need to be informed.

Thank you in advance

ps. I probably should mention that I wouldnt only be writing pornography for them. There would be other assignments as well....mainly dealing with education, and even important issues like AIDS awareness and prevention..things of that sort. OK I will shut up now and just hope some of you come back with something. c-ya.

howard Wed Nov 1 07:21:38 PST 2000

For those interested in rhetoric, I have an interesting file produced by an acquaintance, that shows the use of selected rhetorical devices in our daily communication. It's tailored to lean toward the business arena, but it names several interesting parts of speech. I'll send it to anyone who requests it (my Edress is above), in WORD, WORKS, WP, or maybe a couple of other formats I can't think of right now.

Excerpts follow:

FIGUREOF SPEECH is a file that lists and describes some of
the schemes and tropes of classical rhetoric. It draws very heavily on Edward P.J. Corbett's "Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student," second ed., Oxford University Press, New York, 1971. The examples given are business-related, insofar as possible. They show that rhetoric is part of our everyday life, whether we know it or not.


ADDED SYLLABLES One of the "schemes of words;" the addition of syllables at the beginning, middle, or end of a word. The corresponding terms are prosthesis, epenthesis, and proparalepsis.

ALLITERATION The repetition of an initial or medial sound, as in "programming productivity plans and procedures" or "mandated management standards."

ANADIPLOSIS Repeating the last word of one clause at the beginning of the following clause.
"Sales will look to manufacturing, manufacturing will look to engineering, and engineering will look to us."

ANAPHORA Repeating the same word or group of words at the beginning of successive clauses:
"We've got to sell engineering, we've got to sell manufacturing, and we've got to sell our customers on this idea."


mary Wed Nov 1 07:18:32 PST 2000

Sex Education: Would under the bleachers count as institutional? I WAS in the school!

MARK: I must say...I will never forget how to use those words again. Now thats education!!!

LITTER: I wish you would post that poem you sent me in the poetry workbook. But then again..I kinda like being the only one who has it yet. Big hugs to you.

Howard: I intended this post to be longer...but you made me laugh so hard that I have to go change my underwear.

Bye Everybody! Love you guys. Back later....waves to Teekay.

howard Wed Nov 1 06:46:56 PST 2000

MARK -- You asked:

"How did you learn about sex? Institution or self taught?"

I don't really remember, it was so long ago. I do remember that it was scary, and I was alone at the time...

howard Wed Nov 1 05:37:55 PST 2000

For those who may be interested:
NEW YORK (AP) -- An unpublished 1945 novella by Jack Kerouac will be available on the Internet next month, according to digital publisher LiveREADS.

"Orpheus Emerging" will not be available in traditional paper form for two years. Its suggested retail price from LiveREADS is $3.95

Jerry Tue Oct 31 20:54:22 PST 2000

Mark & Ghost, had a nice chat, very enjoyable, however a mite frightful.


Tina Tue Oct 31 20:54:13 PST 2000

Thank you Christi! I needed that lift! I'm being a bit down on myself these days. :-)

Hope everyone had a scary day! Almost 800 little goblins, witches, butterflies and pumpkins came trick-or-treating where I work, and oh! what fun it was to see them. Usually I'd go to the fireworks now, but it's raining very, very hard (sorry couldn't resist) and I can't imagine standing outside to watch them.


Chatroom Ghost Tue Oct 31 20:07:23 PST 2000

MARK: Thought you were in the chatroom, but seems it was only your skeleton.

Mark Tue Oct 31 20:06:22 PST 2000

Education. How did you learn about sex? Institution or self taught?

Teekay Tue Oct 31 19:54:39 PST 2000

Hi All,

AMERICO: Methinks HALLEE shall always be younger than you if she already is. No amount of time will be able to correct that. :-)

CHRISTI: I too feel like I have 1000000 bits of inane trivia bouncing around in my head. You'd think there'd be something in that wouldn't you? But my trivia are soooo trivial that they don't even do me any good when trying to answer the questions to game shows. NOOOOOO they always ask the OTHER trivia questions. Probably the ones to which you have the answers bouncing around in your head. It's just not fair.
Also, what's the point of having a cake if not to eat it? It's not chocolate is it? I've had enough chocolate. Now if it were say, an orange cake.........

Oh, by the way thanks to you I shall now know not to post and reveal that I have a double doctorate in psychiatry and a masters in social science. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHa

Okay, for what it's worth, here is my opinion on the education system, ah no, on second thoughts let's talk about something else.

GARIESS: You do have an evil sense of humour. I adore it.

Ummmm okay, that's it. I think I've finished.

Mark Tue Oct 31 19:53:17 PST 2000

MARY -- You made me go look 'em up. I generally use in-sure, en-sure, as-sure without much thought. My gut told me that insure is passive and ensure is active and assure is mental. damn sure.
I was almost right. Insure is either active or passive (vt, vi in the dictionary: meaning transitive or intransitive, takes or does not take an object in a sentence). I can't think of an example where the verb has no object because we always insure something. My feeling of passivity from it probably comes from my role in the transaction. When I insure something, I pay someone else to do the real work.
Ensure is always a transitive verb, thus is always active, and is always reflective of my role as provider. I ensure that the walls get painted because I take a part in the job. I make certain of something.
Assure chiefly deals with the way people think about things. We offer assurances, meaning we offer peace of mind. Assure is always a transitive verb. I assure you of this.

An' if I was yo pimp, I as-sure you that I would en-sure to in-sure ure-ass.

mary Tue Oct 31 19:18:07 PST 2000


You know which ones I always screw-up? Insure, Ensure, Assure. And to make matters worse, when you look them up in the dictionary, they are each the last word of the definition of the other two. What the ....?

Mark Tue Oct 31 15:27:21 PST 2000

HALLEE -- I know just what you mean about hearing those voices in your work. Interesting that they speak in those strong and muted patterns. In dialogue I'd say it makes perfect sense to have speakers use suitable expressions. In narration I'd call it a mistake. Seeing those patterns, I use them in my writer's arsenal to ensure that my characters stay in character.
Three more chapters? Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

CHRISTI -- I'd say that pretty much answers your question also. Obviously, I'm not going to say NEVER on the use of so, very, much, etc. in narrative, but trim it from places where you have no special purpose for it. In dialog, I'd say it adds fullness to some characters; most readers won't know why they believe a weak character is weak, but you'll know what signals are there.

Supper time. Bye all.

Hallee Tue Oct 31 14:45:28 PST 2000

MARK: After I read that crit you gave me regarding the differences between the way women speak and men, I had to go back to the book I'm writing (3 more chapters and I'm done...yeah!!!) and find something. I started reading dialogue, and realized that my dialogue subconsciously followed the same pattern. It's probably because I can hear the voices in my head and I'm writing as they're speaking...or not...who knows.



Americo Tue Oct 31 12:14:03 PST 2000


Education and employers' demands in Europe.

I wish some other European could help me answer your question. I have always been living at the shadow of governmentally-run or governmentally-protected/subsidized educational institutions. Educational qualifications are the only factor that counts for admission and promotion in such places. (A bit of charm can help as well...)

In the private sector, there has been lately a curious phenomenon. Since employers are expected to pay according to the qualifications of their employees, there has been a tendency for them to prefer non-graduates to people with degrees. The idea is that anything you need to know you can learn in the working place. But these are still exceptions, and the general rule is that if you want a good job you need good qualifications.

I've referred to white-collar jobs of course.

howard Tue Oct 31 10:50:49 PST 2000

BTW, Christi -- the trivial/pedantic side of me remembers that the exact quote was "You can't have your cake and eat it too." It's one of those nuance-ical subtitles (or something like that)

MARK -- I remember the Mayor of "Crabb Corners" too. I met her at a Red Cross reception, then again later at a United Way luncheon. I was surprised that she remembered me. Nice lady. I was so very very happy she was someone else's wife.

howard Tue Oct 31 10:02:11 PST 2000

CHRISTI -- You just put your finger on what's been bugging me for years! Well, not literally, ;-) but you said:

"I have what seems like millions of bits of inane trivia bouncing around in my brain, but am missing some major parts to tie them together."

That's exactly the feeling Ihave had for years! (Try the sequence of keystrokes to produce I quickly!)
That's why I've kept reading and studying -- to maybe find that magical connection that will tie it all together into something that's complete. And now in reading your post I believe I've had one of them there epiphany thingies (look it up in any commentary on James Joyce)!

It struck me that that connection is US ! It's not magic, it's you and it's me, and everyone in this notebook, etc, and it's never complete, because we are still "under construction!"

Maybe I'd realised that before, but I forget things, and you reminded me of it.

but then, of course it might be simply indigestion...

Thank you!


Christi Tue Oct 31 09:38:45 PST 2000

I missed you while composing my own post. Thank you for finding that crit for me. It's no wonder I couldn't find it; I was looking in the wrong spot.
Thanks also for your comments on education and intellegence. My long-winded post was attempting to say something similar. I guess I need to let some of the air out.
Now back to qualifiers. I VERY MUCH appreciated what you said. REALLY. But seriously here, are we supposed to avoid these words at all costs, or can they be sparsely used? I find it impossible to eliminate them from my writing altogether, but have found that cutting down on them has improved it. Help!

I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your last poem. It was wonderful, and demanded to be read three times!

Jerry Tue Oct 31 09:25:30 PST 2000

Christi - don't feel bad about not having attended college. I too was a high school drop-out. In 1969 I had just married, and was working and attending high school. I found it too difficult to do both, and gave up high school. I did, however get my GED while in the Army (Couldn't get promoted without it). After finishing my 8 year stint in the Army, I went into law enforcement, and soon found myself being pushed through the ranks until I was promoted to Chief of Police. I used to interview applicants for patrolman jobs, many of which were recent college graduates. At some point in their interview, they told me of their accomplishment. I usually told them that I would not hold a college education against them. As far as police work is concerned at least back in those days, the officers with college education usually took longer in making decisions, and many times their decisions were based on some sociology course, where the professor taught them that all crime came from poor upbringing, and was the fault of society, and not the criminal. I also found that my best officers were those with a high school education, as they were willing to learn the job, and didn't have pre conceived ideas on criminology. This has changed in recent years, since the colleges now offer a law-enforcement program.

Garriess - I was not aware that I needed to grammar check my posts. See above, as a possible explanation as to my errors in grammar usage. At any rate, you did send me in search of my old college grammar book, where I reviewed the difference between the two words, and their proper usage. I shall endeavor to use these words properly in the future.


Christi Tue Oct 31 08:52:30 PST 2000

;) My absence bemoaned?! Ooh, I've never been bemoaned before! You always give me a giggle, Gariess.
And speaking of word misusage, I do have a nasty problem with the words accept and except. I know what they each mean, but every time I have to use EXCEPT, I choke.

I'm the first to admit that my education is somewhat lacking. I have what seems like millions of bits of inane trivia bouncing around in my brain, but am missing some major parts to tie them together. Unfortunately, the schools where I grew up didn't care about providing an education for us. I saw them pass kids who had never turned in a page of homework, never answered one question in class or cracked open a book. The teachers simply did not want to see these troublemakers come back into their classrooms, ever. And because these kids were allowed to intimidate the teachers and the rest of us, we didn't learn much in school. As a result, more kids than you can imagine graduated high school without even knowing how to read.
At the time, this created a disdain in me towards the educational system, but I now know that I lived in an undesirable school district. I wish that more money was spent in offering a good education to the people who need it the most, the people who may never have another chance in their lives to make it good. That's not how it is, though.

I do realize how useful a provincial education is, and I will probably enroll in college when my children begin school. I still have a problem with what I see as snobbery from the "haves" towards the "have nots". It seems as if many people who have a college education cannot fathom that someone who does not can be as intelligent as they. In truth, I've met several "educated idiots" who, I swear, must have paid someone to do their work and tests for them. Complete morons, these.
This is not to say that I have EVER seen this attitude displayed here on the Notebook. In fact, coming here is partly what has changed my mind on education. I've only felt comraderie and encouragement from all of you, and I thank you for it. I love the constructive critisism and useful information I've gotten here, and know that my writing has improved much as a result.

It is interesting that employers wish their staff to have an education AND experience, even though it is nearly impossible for a young person to acheive both in such a short amount of time. All I can think is that employers want their cake and they want to eat it too. Incidentally, I've always thought that was the dumbest quote. If you had cake, why wouldn't you eat it? Isn't that what one does with cake? And if you didn't have cake, well, you couldn't very well eat it, now could you? :)

Off my soapbox,


Tina Tue Oct 31 08:07:27 PST 2000

Hello All!

Not much time lately, between work and being SICK (I won't sneeze on anyone here) but I've been lurking. Still not much time, 'cause I've gotta become little Red Riding Hood for work. Kids come trick or treating where I work, and we hand out bugs and bats and icky things. I have much fun and it's a great reason to get in the spirit and dress up!

My brain is far too fuzzy to add to this discussion in any meaningful way. So my only comment is... what you get out of school is a reflection of what you put in. Regardless of whether you graduate high school or college, if you are self-taught or attend formal classes or correspondence, teachers can only teach. Students have to want to learn, be open to learning and be willing to put in the effort and time needed.


Mark Tue Oct 31 08:05:06 PST 2000

CHRISTI -- I went to the WB and found the little crit you looked for. It's in ShrotStoryCritique page there. I was mistaken on the date, not last month after all -- October 9th date on it.

" Reading your story I was reminded of an essay on 'Women's Words' that was popular in the 60s and 70s when we fought the sexist language battle. The gist of the essay was that women use little softening qualifiers throughout their speech. "It's very, very nice to meet you." 'nice' would actually be stronger, but women shouldn't be strong, shouldn't be straightforward. So, very, much, such, just, and other words that modify feeling or modify the action actually weaken it. I suppose it's ladylike in person, but in writing we want simple, direct statement. "

That's it for what was in the WB crits. As a sidebar I'd like to add that in the mid-80's we had a woman mayor here. (If I addressed her as "Madam Mayor" would it sound like she had two job titles?) Where was I? Oh, yeah. The Mayor had wonderful presentation skills and could really hold a crowd, but ... she always used double and triple qualifiers. We regularly heard of "very, very" impoprtant projects and "so very, very" meaningful reforms and acts that were "so very, very much" appreciated. As a speaker, it worked. The written record of her speeches is another matter.

TEEKAY -- I went right past Jerry's "coxing," so I didn't get your comment until after I re-read the story. hahahahahahahaha. bon mot.

GARIESS, HOWARD, AMERICO, RHODA, and whoever commented on education -- The whole thing has me scratching my head. I'm certain that there is a difference between intelligence and education. I'm certain that education can help kids think in ways they wouldn't come to by themselves. I'm also certain that only by luck do good intellect and good education meet in the same room.
Americo's point that we learn as we live is certainly relevant. Kids learn THINGS voluminously. Adults learn ASSOCIATION over time. My 18-year-old students could recite every item on a McDonalds menu and tell the basic job duties of McDonalds employee postions. My 30-year-old students could tell how prices and menu items changed in response to competition, style, and taste fluctuations.

howard Tue Oct 31 07:21:54 PST 2000

AMERICO -- Institutional education vs self-taught is an interesting comparison here. On the one hand, employers in industry (and in academia) demand a certain level of education, balancing that education level against how much they're willing to pay in salary and benefits. But then they hedge their bets, demanding a certain number of years of experience in the specific field. They understand that need for both theoretical and practical knowledge.
Is it the same in Europe?

Americo Tue Oct 31 06:01:58 PST 2000

The other mistakes are too obvious to be corrected.

Americo Tue Oct 31 05:58:28 PST 2000

It's not easy to speak about institutional education and self-taught education. If we want to be logical we have to concede that the former has some advantages over the latter. After all you cannot graduate if you rely only on what others teach you; you must also study by yourself — you are both a "normal" student and a self-taught student.

Institutional education provides a certain degree of humbleness. By comparing yourself with the others you get a better perspective of your limitations. It also gives a certain discipline and methodology.

Self-taught education can teach as much as institutional education, if you have access to the same libraries and labs as "normal" students. But the lack of competition tends to develop false ideas about yourself and the others. You only know what you have learned, you ignore what the others know. If you are not careful you can easily become a pedant and a prig — defects of which no one is exempt.

Institutional education does not end with graduation. A post-graduate degree is usually a very lonely affair. That's when the person who studied in schols and colleges becomes an almost full-time self-taught student (unless his research is the outcome of collective work). He adds to the advantage of knowing that he knows little the drawback of believing that he knows more than the others, at least in the subject of his research. The result is a doctor: a donkey overloaded with diplomas.

Don't start laughing at me: a non-doctor is a donkey overloaded with illusions.

We learn very little, wheather we have studied in schools or at home.

There is only one ideal educational system : Life-Learning. No schools, no books, no diplomas. It's an extremely demanding and difficult system. Only rare people pass all the exams and graduate in that. But the award for the happy few who complete a course in that system is wonderful: a holy death.

howard Tue Oct 31 05:29:21 PST 2000

GARIESS -- Here here!

AMERICO -- (and Gary) The USians appellation came from one of the best history teachers I ever had (in college). She reserved the term "American" for the whole population of the North and South American continents. It made sense to me at the time.

Teekay Tue Oct 31 00:56:20 PST 2000

It's taken me aaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllll bloody day to get on this site and now that I finally have I've got to go and dish up dinner before the potatoes turn into sad crumbly lumps and the brocolli all falls apart and the pumpkin gets soooo soft it falls through the holes in the steamer. *SOB*

I shall have to read this off line and I just hate to do that because I always have at least one thing I want to comment on.

Seeyou all tomorrow *sniff*

Gariess Mon Oct 30 23:12:55 PST 2000


There, you went and lowered my opinion of you by admitting you didn't finish high school. Just when I was starting to get over my depression, too. One thing that upset me is that I read through your post to see how many mistaken uses of the word, "then" I could find. I found none, and I will discuss that a bit later. If you sroll down the page you will see that there are several mistaken uses of the word, "then" in a post from one of our Jerrys, the one who graduated with a 4.0 average.

Now, I don't mean to get Jerry's shorts in a bunch, this is actually a phenomenon of the mind that few people have been able to explain. The difference between THEN and THAN haunts a good many well schooled people. I find that there are different categories of people who suffer from this small and little recognized learning disorder.

In one category are the people who over-use the word in many cases where it could be avoided, almost as though to emphasize the problem. Also, the disorder might manifest itself in a refusal to ever use one of the words as though it does not exist." A former supervisor of mine used to write countless memos such as the following: "When removing the charts, please stamp the date, than put them in the proper file. Than put the date on the new chart." This woman never used the word, "then." I don't believe she actually new there were two different words.

Of course the most egregious behavior is that of the person who aviods any situation where the disorder might show up. I suggest to you, Christi, that if you examine your post you will see that you have avoided the use of either of the words, clearly illustrating that you are just the kind of person who not only does not go to College, but that you are also very likely to be a person who has not finished high school, and therefore someone who should be held in low esteem.

Why you have made this confession in this forum I can scarcely understand, but since you have done so, I must believe that you wish to be looked upon with disdain. I, for one, shall be only too happy to accomodate you on this matter. Of course, that does not mean that you should not continue posting here. After all, I am sure there are many here who would bemoan your absence, such as myself, if I must be truthful. Does anybody know if truthul has two l,s? Should l be in Quotes? "l"? "L"? Damn!!


Gariess Mon Oct 30 22:24:22 PST 2000

After reading the reports in the NB(especially Rhoda’s) on the state of American education, I have decided to commit sepecu, as soon as I learn how to spell sepecu. Tell me this. Who decides how a word is officially spelled in English when the word is from a language that doesn’t use our alphabet, or for that matter doesn’t even come from a written language, like Sioux? I just tried to spell sepecu. That may be totally wrong, but who says it can’t be spelled, sepacoo.

Americo, Howard’s idea to call us Usians is likely born from the fact that we are accused of calling ourselves Americans as though we were the only nation on the continent. The charge is well made, in fact. Hondurans and Canadians, Argentineans and Mexicans are also Americans. I think this whole thing comes from the difficulty of incorporating "United States" into any kind of reasonable sounding patriotic anthem. As it is, we had to steal our national anthem from the drinking song of a British men’s club. Nobody would ever have written a song titled "The United States The Beautiful." When I was a kid we had to sing the national anthem in school. Our favorite rendition was, "Oh, say can you see any cooties on me? If you can, pick a few ‘cause I got them from you."

In those days we also recited The Lord’s Prayer. From the first day of school, I wondered why we said our father was in heaven and was calling himself, Harold. Our father was Edward, and he was working at the restaurant. As far as I knew, Harold was some smelly kid in the second row.

So, maybe education isn’t what it should be, but what is?

Give us this day our jelly bread.


Christi Mon Oct 30 21:43:17 PST 2000

Good evening, all!

I went questing through the archives trying to find Mark's post about not over-using the words JUST, VERY, REALLY, ect., because that sage advice has done my writing wonders, but instead of finding it, I found a touching day I had missed out on. I found Americo's "When I was Thirty", and read Mark's lovely post, as well as Heather's and many others. I was moved. Thanks guys, it was lovely. Oh, And lest I forget, happy extraordinarily late birthday, Mary! I hope that turning thirty was a positive time for you. I turned thirty-one this year and it felt tres fabu!

On education:
Most of my friends who are teachers are quitting their jobs. They think the whole system will need revamping before kids get to learn again, instead of continuously "watching their backs". I don't know about that; I'm still mulling the whole thing over.

On my education:
I grew up in a not-so-nice area of town and was greatly in the minority. I rarely studied because I was too busy thinking about all the bullies I would have to avoid the next day, and about how I was going to get home in one peice. I was fortunate, in that my mother had taught me to read at the age of two (My parents love to brag about this, but I suspect I may have been three.); so I emersed myself in every book I could get my hands on, reading adult books by the time I was five.
I never did go to college, or even finish high school for that matter. I hope this does not lower everyone's opinion of me; I've never understood why it makes a difference if someone self-educates themself or not. Especially if one is forced to do so. I wasted many years feeling stupid and inferior, until I realized that feeling sorry for one's self is a sickening habit, and if I had things I wanted to do I'd better get on with it. I'm still at the top of the list, though, and working down.

I suppose I am a bit jaded when it comes to talking about our educational system. I do think it's good for some, but that it puts a damper on the potential of others. I am a huge hypocrite, however, because I would like my son to go to college.

Did someone say it was Bare-all Monday? Sorry all, I do believe my undies are showing. ;) I'm outta here before I lose my shirt too!

Mucho love,


Jerry Ericsson Mon Oct 30 20:49:10 PST 2000

Ah yes there were those college stories too, I also knew the young ladies who were balancing their college education, the upbringing of their child, and working trying to support both. I had a lot of respect for their guts and ability to make it, almost all of them that I knew made it too. I did spend some time teaching many of my fellow students the basics of computer operation, which was very lacking at the time. Also for two semesters, I was housed with the Law Enforcement students, which made life very interesting both for myself and the cadets. They were studying law enforcement, and I had just ended my career in law enforcement.

All in all it was a learning experience for all of us, and I wouldn't give up a minute of it for love or money.


Allein Mon Oct 30 18:21:49 PST 2000

Oooh!! College stories!! I can contribute now!
Okay, so this one time, at band camp...
Just kidding! :) We were talking about that movie today in class, but also today, our instructor gave us little halloween gift bags to wish us a happy halloween. It seemed full and I thought it was full of candy - I got a miniature hershey bar, a travel toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Go figure. But, from the way my teeth feel after I eat candy - getting those things is probably good.

Chat Mon Oct 30 17:38:02 PST 2000

8:37 p.m. EST

In the chat room for a while


Americo Mon Oct 30 17:31:19 PST 2000

In this and previous discussions about education, I've sensed a certain pessimism about the current system and probably about what is taught. I've tried to remain away from the topic because I know little about USian education (USian, very useful neologism, Howard). I'll just tell what I know.

The USian students I met were very different from one another but shared some points in common: they were all hard working people and a joy to work with; they were all fascinated with the old stones of Europe and none of them combed their hair. They were also surprised that we did not live in pigsties — but they were too optimistic by nature. Their tendency to put their legs on tables disappeared after some reproachful looks, and none of them chewed gum in the classes. They also had a very good sense of humour. I remember this huge Texan whom I protested for the USians invasion of one of the countries you invade regularly. He looked at me in a curious way and said: "And you be quiet if you don't want THEM to invade you as well."

He did not feel responsible at all for the acts of his country. That was sort of funny for me. I concluded that a USian has not the same intimate relationship with his country as we do here. But I'm sure he knew the "Oh, say" by heart and would also put his hand on his heart when the USian anthem was played. A very nice bunch the Americans abroad.

As for learning abilities and previous educational background I've found them as good as the other students. Only the figures of speech cause them a serious headache. But your great country was made to take Man to the stars and not to write "The Lusiads".

You cannot expect your children to learn what you did and in the same way you did. A bit of chaos is necessary to rebuild the world. I believe in the younger generations. I have more doubts about the old teachers and the old parents. All I'd teach these boys and girls would be a bit more grammar and a bit more poetry. But not necessarily the figures of speech. I myself never learned them very well.

howard Mon Oct 30 16:30:35 PST 2000

Oboy!College war stories! :-) In my last semester (Spring 1995) I was 54 years old, taking 16 credits (most of them were writing emphasis classes), volunteering as a tutor in the writing center at school, and working part-time(60-67 hours some weeks). That was the only semester I made it up from the dean's list to the president's list.

While at school I learned lots more than the professors taught (or tried to teach) us in class. Much of that was from my classmates, most of whom were not even out of their teens. For the most part they taught lessons on how to live (survive, at least) even though many of them had to come in for remedial assistance in basic English, writing, and math.
Some of them were on their own, products of dysfunctional families. Some had been booted out of their families because they were "old enough" (at age 18) to make it on their own. Some even had babies of their own.
One girl was so tired she had trouble staying awake in class. We found out that she was getting up at 5:00 AM, taking her daughter (on the bus)to a babysitter, then coming to school to study before her 8:00 class. She worked after school until late at night -- because she didn't want to go on welfare -- to support the two of them.
One of the boys that I tutored in the writing center came from "good parents" that gave him everything he wanted except the self confidence to live a life of his own. He was strung out on drugs most of the time, and the last I heard was that he had found that he was HIV positive, and headed for the west coast to find someting "real."
Another 18 year old girl in one of my voice classes had a beautiful voice and loved to sing, but she had problems with a chronic sore throat. I found her crying one day outside the music building. She had come home from the doctor with the news that she had a possibly malignant tumor in her larnyx, and there was a high probability that she would require radical surgery which would leave her with no voice at all. Her mother, who had thought all along that school (especially music) was a waste of time, showed no compassion at all when she was told this. Her words were "What the f*ck do I care? You're big enough to have your own job and medical."
I know it sounds cliche, but these kids, and others like them, all had tired, old eyes. They had seen too much, too soon. They were (and are) learning to be con artists, because that's what it takes to get along in our society. They hadn't had time for the education they should have been receiving, because they were too busy learning the moves that would keep them alive, and reasonably sane. They knew - for the most part - basic right from wrong, but kept getting handed the wrong.
And that's the education and outlook that we keep on handing them. In our society we delegate to the schools the task of disseminating values and morals. Then we strip those schools of the tools they need to use in order to teach those values and morals.
But that some of them did come in for the remedial help they needed, and some of them paid a real price for that.
Others, though, still insist on a free ride. My youngest daughter teaches high school math at a large (affluent) suburban school. She just gave an exam, with two weeks' prior notice, and she made herself available before and after school for anyone who wanted extra help in preparing for the test. No one came. I think she said that one or two students passed the exam, and the lowest score was 11. That students' parents called her at home to rant and rave about how she's a lousy teacher and she'd better reconsider that grade, because their daughter needed it in order to play sports and go to college.
I used to think I had some of the answers to all this, but now I wonder.
Sorry for the long post.

Jerry Mon Oct 30 14:27:27 PST 2000

Speaking of American education, after I was injured, the Bureau sent me to college, to retrain me from being a police officer to the sedentary job of para-legal. Having been out of school longer then the age of my fellow students, I had the opportunity to see what had changed in high school education. Back when I was in High School in the late 60's like most students of that era, I was much more interested in girls and beer then I was in becoming educated. We were told that if we graduated from High School we could expect to find good jobs, and those who dropped out would be doomed to menial labor for the rest of their lives, much as today's students are told that only with a college degree, can you find adequate employment, while those with High School educations are doomed to menial labor for life. At any rate, back in the late 60's, I was a rather poor student, barely scraping by with c's ad d's. As I said because of my disinterest in education. At any rate, with my poor history in High School, I expect college to be very difficult for me. I found College to be less challenging then I expected, and remained on the President's list every semester, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. My fellow students however were amazed at performance, and the fact that I found the courses so easy. I think it reflects on the change in teacher attitudes, and what children are taught in high school these days. Now I am aware that I learned very much by the simple process of living these many years, and maybe that was the reason for the great difference. I was however the first student in the history of the paralegal program to maintain a 4.0 gpa.


Rhoda Mon Oct 30 13:31:20 PST 2000

The pangs of conscience have struck me. All is not bleak in American schools. There are very good schools here and legions of great, dedicated teachers. I think many school systems are trying to improve and I know many parents care about their children's education very much.

Generalizations are not fair. Yes, I stand by what I wrote in my previous posting, but I also failed to point out that those trends have not been entirely universal. There is excellence in the U.S., though I am afraid that the pursuit of such is in jeaporady.

My experience in public school was very bad and I am afraid that fact colors my perspective a bit.


Rhoda Mon Oct 30 12:24:08 PST 2000


Amen to that! I think most of the problem lies directly with the American educational system which is merely a reflexion of society. I do not believe education in this country set out to be inferior; I just think too many parents and hence children do not see the value of learning the classics and in excelling in knowledge. This talk we are having with reading can just as easily be transferred over to math and science. While my mother taught high school English, my dad was a college chemistry professor. In the last five years of his career, remedial math classes were offered for those people going into college who could not master simple mathematics. Remedial reading was also offered.

What are people who can not do basic math and who are illiterate doing in college? Yet like driving, college has been transformed from a privledge to a right. Really I think students should not be required to go to class. Universities should save some money and fire all their faculty. The students then could merely pay their $50,000 or so tuition for four or five years and be handed their diplomas upon entrance.

Many teachers in school systems are to some degree a product of the the same school system in which they serve. They are also of the same culture as the students. In this present American culture, materialism reigns supreme and if one cannot make a buck with knowledge, why pursue it? Another harbinger of current American society is low expectations. One is only expected to succeed academically if one gets high scores on some tests and is shuffled into the talented and gifted classes or honor's classes. Everyone else gets the dregs. The teachers have given up, parents don't care, and so their children don't care either.

Perhaps I exaggerate a little. I hope so, but it is too often true. People must be pushed at first to excell. Competition used to do that. Adults do a great injustice to kids by assuming that all these young minds care about is Nintendo and Pokemon. It is even worse if a child is a minority. The system assumes that this person is underprivledged and thereby cannot be expected to do the same quality of work as the other kids. Some children just need some guidence. That is what their parents and teachers are supposed to be there for. If young children are introduced to good literature and classics, and if they are encouraged to study them, many will like them.

Another lesson overlooked is that everything worthwhile comes about with great effort. Smart people have to study; they have to work. It does not come natural to them. We don't value things that have come too easily or things that have been given to us. I swear that is why so many teenagers are so bored. They are given everything and not expected to work for these things.

Great literature, classics, culture, expertise in any subject takes effort and thought and it is that effort which makes it great. These works do not reveal their secrets too readily. Great art has hidden depths that beyond the initial contact have to be thought about and probed for the gold inside. Great art or literature never gets old or stale because it teaches something new upon every sighting or every reading.

Too bad that so many people in this country miss out on so much. I shudder to think of the dull, colorless, meaningless lives we have presented to our children.

Forever on my soapbox,


Americo Mon Oct 30 11:59:11 PST 2000


That's definitely a metaphor... And above all a pretty sentence.

Americo Mon Oct 30 11:56:36 PST 2000


I honesty don't think that "my mind is so far ahead of yours". If you feel that that's because you are younger than me, a "defect " which you'll correct in due time (smiles). Young people tend to be generous.

As for our religious and political differences, I suspect they are not so big, if you believe in Democracy and
respect all religions as expressions of the best the human mind has produced . And if you hate the Inquisition and Theocracy and Fascism and anything that does not place Man as value number 1.

When I say Man I include all animals and all trees (mainly cats and willows...).

howard Mon Oct 30 11:22:51 PST 2000

AMERICO -- Actually, Philip's
"Let a simile be like your umbrella"
is a play on words as well. The original is:
"Let a smile be your umbrella."

HALLEE -- You're right on about the attitudes toward learning. I still have great difficulty naming the parts of speech, because I (and many others) never paid any attention to learning grammar, rhetoric, and ther "useless" things like them while in high school. I've still had no formal learning in them. There are horrendous gaps in my understanding of such things. I can win at Scrabble(tm) but I can't tell you why...

Americo Mon Oct 30 11:07:16 PST 2000


Philip Cohen's sentence "Let a simile be like your umbrella", as a figure of speech is trickier than it looks. I'd call it a comparison because the comparison is explicit (it contains the word "like"). A simile would be "Let a simile be your umbrella". Yet the sentence is not only absolutely right (and, to my mind, not even paradoxical) but also a good example of a... well, let's call it just a figure of speech.

When I don't know how to call a figure of speech I call it ... a metaphor. Most people do. "Metaphor" has become almost synonymous to figure of speech, which is not acurate but is rather convenient. Hence, "metaphorically speaking", a phrase which ends up meaning anything figurative. I believe that what really matters in figurative language is to understand it, rather than distinguish the various figures of speech. Some of them are really tricky.

The best way to make people understand figurative language is to read them poetry. Some people have trouble accepting as valid a simple sentence like "All the world is a stage". They say, "That's impossible, that's a stupid sentence." Only when we tell them that Shakespeare wrote it (and painfully explain its meaning) do they start understanding how wonderful the world of language is.

Hallee Mon Oct 30 10:54:53 PST 2000

Hi everyone. It's Monday..(sigh).

((((Teekay))) Hugs back to you...thanks for the crit.

Americo: Despite our apparent political and relgious differences, and despite the fact that your mind is SO far ahead of mine, I truly like you (you can rest easy now - haha). As for the way Americans read, I might have some insight.

When I was in high school, I took all advanced courses. Because I moved from one state to the other in the middle of my sophomore year, I had already taken some required classes, and I had some classes I needed to catch up on. So, my junior year's schedule was a mess. I was in physics - a senior class, ROTC - only 2 classes a day offered, and some other things that really messed up my schedule so that for the first week or so, I was in a normal English class. There were 7 of us in that class that should have been in the advanced class, but our schedules conflicted. Finally, the teacher that taught advanced American History gave up her lunch break so we could take it then, and we were able to get to all of the classes we were supposed to be in.

The junior year English class is supposed to be American Literature. The curriculum also tied into the American History, so that for a while at least, we were studying literature out of the same time period that we were studying events. It was neat that it worked out that way. But, in the supposedly American Literature class that wasn't gifted (it also wasn't remedial) they were studying sentence structure. The teacher had learned, after so many decades of teaching, that most students who entered her classroom didn't care for or wouldn't be able to comprehend the classics of American Literature, and she also figured out that most of them came into her class not even able to grasp the barest standards of writing anything. So she taught it.

Whether or not this is something that is similar throughout the country or not, I have no idea. In the gifted and advanced classes, most of us were eager to learn and soaked up as much as we could. But in the regular classes, the opposite was true. Screw around as much a you can..give about 50% of what you're capable of giving, then bitch about the low grades you get.

Whether it's the education, attitude, society, or a combination of all of it, I think that perhaps the reason, Americo, is that they (meaning those that can't - not all Americans) simply don't know how to comprehend what they read except for what they see is because they never learned, never were willing to learn, or never figured out how.

And whether or not any of this makes sense is beyond me...hahaha.


howard Mon Oct 30 08:02:52 PST 2000

AMERICO -- I was wrong about Ellison -- it was Ralph Ellison. (I just double-checked on Altavista) Interesting man! He died in 1994, and there's a memorial library of his works in Oklahoma City. Thanks for pointing him out!

(Harlan is a very interesting writer also...)


Mon Oct 30 08:00:21 PST 2000

howard Mon Oct 30 07:50:41 PST 2000

AMERICO -- Perhaps you were thinking of Harlan Ellison - a very good SF writer. That quotation sounds very like him.
Your perception of the inability of USians to understand the subtleties of "figurative language" may be accurate, and may be due to the lack of emphasis on the classical studies in language and rhetoric. For many of us a debate is something that happens every four years, having no set rules or format, and that normally pits two grown men (who ought to know better) against each other in a contest to see who can make a higher wet spot on the wall, right in front of God and everybody. Then Dan Rather translates what they said, in standard midwest media accent and form.

An acquaintance of mine (Philip Cohen) coined the following, which I have used once in a while because I like it very much. He said:
"Let a simile be like your umbrella."
I don't remember more than two or three people really catching on to that one without an explanation.

more later

Americo Mon Oct 30 07:17:43 PST 2000

Howard and Rhoda,

Thanks for your comments on the topic "Americans tend to read too literally". I've been trying to remember the name of the writer who complained about that. I think it was Ralph Ellison (but is he still alive? Hope he is — a very good writer).

I would like to add some thoughts to that issue. To begin with, the problem is not only American. Figurative speech, irony, humor, symbolism are always difficult to catch and subject to as many interpretations as the culture, the intelligence, the prejudices of readers.

It happens, however, that Americans (meaning USA people) seem to find more difficulty in understanding figurative language than others. I have some experience in dealing with students both in Portugal and in England — at all levels. So I know what I'm speaking about.

The Americans I met or taught were good students and nice guys, but they had a lot of trouble to understand let's say the difference between a simile and a comparison, not to mention the difference between a metonymy and a synecdoche (I myself have trouble to distinguish these two).

They could understand easily a comparison like "he eats like a pig", but not so easily "she is a swan" (mainly if this simile was ironic). The only way for them to understand this was to say that a comparison has a word like "like" in it, while the simile makes the comparison without "like".

If, however, the explanation was a bit more sophisticated — for instance, using the notions of implicit (for simile) and explicit (for comparison) — they would not understand.

Abstract thought does not seem to be a very Statesian quality, which might explain the shortage of philosophers in that part of the world (though there is William James, etc.)

There is also the probem of terminology, which might differ from country to country. And the problem of "false friends", words with the same origin (usually Latin) but which have acquired different meanings in Neo-Latin and in Anglo-Saxonic countries (and even in England versus other English-speaking countries).

Sticking only to the main topic and confining it to the impact of the cultural heritage on a reader's reaction.

I ascribe the hypersensibility of some Americans to things like the Bible or Sex to their Puritan heritage. They should try to understand that the Bible is, for billions of people, just a book like any other, and, for billions of people, not the book of books written on God's inspiration, as their faith leads them to believe.

For me, as a writer, the Bible is just one of the masterpieces of World Literature, and nothing else. There are others as good. As a religious soul, and depending on the days, I might prefer the Bible to the Al-Khuran, or the Baghavad-Gita to the Bible and the Al-Khuran — but that is a matter of faith and preference. And as I said it depends on the rain and the wind.

If you really want to know my real preferences, I'll tell you that to a desert island I'd rather take the "Iliad" or the "Odyssey" than any of those "sacred books". If I were to die (which I do not intend to) I'd probably ask someone to read me some excepts from the Bible (preferably from the New Testament). Since I will never die, my favorite book and the one I'll take to Eternity-and-Back will be "Robinson Crusoe" (and some Port wine).

It's up time that religious minds try to understand and respect free-thinkers like me — this if they also want to be respected. (Free-thinkers, in this post, means only that you think and speak freely, not anything else).

Oh, and I shoud speak about sex now. Perhaps another time.

Besides cultural heritage there is also a degree of funcional illiteracy in the incapacity to understand humor or figurative speech. I repeat that this is by no means confined to Americans, but only in the USA (and in some British quarters) can reactions as those against Mrs Rowling occur nowadays. I say nowadays because other countries like mine had their share of unbelievable stupidity in the past, but they seem to have learned the lesson and tend not to take their backwardness to fields like literature anymore. Some people sometimes try buy they are so laughed at that they give up on the next day.

I'm speaking about democratic countries, as reactions such as the one against the nice books by Mrs Rowling (who started her Harry Potter series here while married to a Portuguse writer who had not enough patience for her fits of jealousy) also happen in fundamentalist Muslim and backward communist countries like China (in China for different reasons, political rather than religious).

It's fair to say that if Europeans tend to be better readers and not so limited as some Americans in their interpretations of the written word, they tend to be more intolerant. Here lies the apparent contradiction: they do not possess the good-will yankees have in the bottom of their romantic hearts, and between capacity for reading and a warm heart, I prefer the latter.

This is just an opinion — subject to correction — made of generalizations which are not meant to affect any individual on this notebook, alive or dead. (I like this part to finish).

Sun Oct 29 19:35:27 PST 2000

...and sometimes we repeat ourselves
gee, I didn't know it would do that!
i wasn't even ready to post that the first time!

howard Sun Oct 29 19:33:02 PST 2000

AMERICO -- Too literally? I don't really know how to answer that. Perhaps we do. If we do, perhaps it's a backlash from a legal system that exploits our language in order to squeeze the last bit of "spin" out of every word associated with any given subject, not to mention high placed politicians who create complex definitions out of the blue to suit their own needs. I guess we've come to expect (hope?) that words really mean what they say, and we embrace the opportunity to take them at face value. Unfortunately, we often find ourselve holding the smelly end of the stick.

howard Sun Oct 29 19:33:01 PST 2000

AMERICO -- Too literally? I don't really know how to answer that. Perhaps we do. If we do, perhaps it's a backlash from a legal system that exploits our language in order to squeeze the last bit of "spin" out of every word associated with any given subject, not to mention high placed politicians who create complex definitions out of the blue to suit their own needs. I guess we've come to expect (hope?) that words really mean what they say, and we embrace the opportunity to take them at face value. Unfortunately, we often find ourselve holding the smelly end of the stick.

Sun Oct 29 19:33:01 PST 2000

Rosemary Sun Oct 29 19:22:42 PST 2000

Hello everyone,

I hope the cookbook project doesn't become a "phase" in my life. It will depend on how much cooperation I get from the members.

I read the two chapters you posted in the novel section. I absolutely loved it. It is very visual and imaginative. Since it was chapter eight and nine or like that, the characters were a little dim but that was not the book's fault. The lack of typos and grammer mistakes made me feel the need to go back over my manuscript. Keep it up and please post more.

I just noticed the 'Railroad Crossing' sign from across the street was laying in my front pasture.(from the train-van wreck a week ago) The post is a little bent but other than that it's in pretty good shape. Tomorrow I'm going to call the sheriff's dept. to find out if anyone wants it back. That should be an interesting experience.

Writing can be a mystical experience.


Jerry Sun Oct 29 18:50:57 PST 2000

Teekay, no problem I didn't think that was what you meant. I would send you some of these happy pills, but I think the Gov would be a bit upset me sending such things through the mail, as they are restricted you know.


Teekay Sun Oct 29 18:46:07 PST 2000

JERRY: That's what I meant. Now we are seeing the real you without the boundaries of pain. Sorry if I gave the impression that I thought you were on mind altering drugs, I guess it could have been taken like that Ha ha.

Jerry Ericsson Sun Oct 29 18:24:52 PST 2000

Teekay - I don't think my personality has changed all that much, just the return of my old self. The pills do a nice job of reliving the pain that has been so strong and steady for over five years. Probably the release from the pain has allowed me to express myself a bit better, thank you for noticing.


Rhoda Sun Oct 29 16:26:55 PST 2000


Thank you for sharing the Cannon of the Church of England. I think that is a perfect perspective in regard to the Harry Potter books. My daughter is a Christian and has read the first one and has found nothing to fault with it.

In the literal sence such people who object to Harry Potter books would have trouble with much of the writings of C.S. Lewis and even George MacDonald, books with Christian themes but with an occasional ghost or so.

I have lived with this crap since being a parent. I have constantly heard how Disney movies such as THE LITTLE MERMAID and THE LION KING have satanic themes and are bad for children. I have also heard teaching claiming that Grimm's Fairy Tales sets children up for the Occult. I have also heard the evils of POKEMON. I have come to the conclusion that anything which kids like is offensive to some.

I have had numerous discussions with my children about what is make-believe and what is real. Somewhere along the line children and adults must know where to draw to line between figurative and factual. I am afraid there are too many adults that have never learned.


I agree with you completely. Many Americans do read too literally. Also too many Americans do not read analytically and critically. My mother, a high school English teacher, ofter remarked about that. There is much more to reading than reading the words off the page.

Oh, and in my list I forgot to mention Hayden and his Porche.


My thoughts go with you and your family.


The magazine put out by FOCUS ON THE FAMILY had an article on Christian hoaxes a few months ago. I think the letter you posted would qualify. I am sure you have heard the story of the scientists in Siberia who drilled a three mile deep hole and heard people screaming from it--damned souls in hell. I have known people who have swallowed that unlikely story, hook, line and sinker. The story about the NASA scientist who discoverd a missing day and a few hours is another such hoax. There are several such urban legends. These stories serve to make Christian believers look ignorant and stupid. People should learn not to be so gullible. I found out this the hard way when I called my congressman after getting an e-mail claiming there was a house bill considered that would tax all e-mail. Imagine my embarrasment when the congressional aide informed me there was no truth to it. Worse still, I had forwarded that e-mail to other people. I had to eat humble pie, e-mail those people and admit I screwed up.

Happy writing,


Teekay Sun Oct 29 16:24:30 PST 2000

HALLEE & JERRY: Left some comments in the short story section.

Teekay Sun Oct 29 15:49:41 PST 2000

(warning) the continuation.......................

JACK: (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
A celebration of life, what a wonderful thing to call it.

Critics, I can't abide by 'em. Lot of dang cods wallop if you ask me. Look at what they said about Enid Blyton's books!!!!!! I absorbed Enid Blyton's books through the pores when I was a kid.

If there is evil in ones mind it will make itself shown in every little thing.

Okay, well now I'm going to brush away the cobwebs and make my way to the workbook and read some shorties and then if all goes well I'm going to make a start on my shortie.


Teekay. Sun Oct 29 15:29:23 PST 2000

Morning All,
I was going to try and get through reading all the posts and then responding from memory until I got to MARY's and thought better of it.

RACHEL: I have a sort of confession to make, well it's not really a confession it's really just a shameful little secret. Ha ha, not really. Look now I've gone and built it all up and now when I tell you it will be all anticlimactical. Okay, well here goes. I really love the name Isador. Of course I could never call my child that because children can be cruel. However second on the list is Isabella, so if that's what you're thinking of then I love it.
I was really horrified to read about those women having abortions because of the sex of the child. Sometimes it's a very scary world we live in.
I was all for knowing the sex. It was the baby I was excited about, wether he had been male or female was irrelevant.

HOWARD: Hi to you too :-)

RHODA & JERRY: I just adore houses with all those hidden secret nooks and crannies with rooms leading in and out of each other (more than once I mean) That's the kind of house where childhoods should be lived because there is just so muc room for adventure.
Happy moving/settling in RHODA, I'm not quite sure what stage you're up to yet.
JERRY I don't know if you're aware of it but your personality has absolutely blossomed. You don't want to be sending any of those pain tablets this way do you?? I could do with a personality makeover. :-)

ROSEMARY: Think of this as a new and challenging phase in your life. A growth thing sort of like a wart. Ha ha. No that was supposed to be an encouraging pep talk but something went horribly wrong.

HALLEE: (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

There's more to come But I had to post this coz funny things just happened and I thought I'd lost it and I nearly had a heart attack. So I'm not taking any more chances with it.

Mark Sun Oct 29 07:36:19 PST 2000

Jerry -- crit in SS critique section of WB.
I typed "Jerry -- " in the blank on posting page, then pasted my crit, which started with "Jerry -- ". so now the crit opens "Jerry -- Jerry -- "

Americo Sun Oct 29 03:14:32 PST 2000

It's all right, Howard. And believe me, there was no provocation.

We must make an effort to speak freely on the NB without being constantly subjected to misinterpretations. The moment I feel I cannot say anything here without strange reactions I'll simply stop posting. I will never accept any constraints to my freedom of speech. Sometime ago I read an interview given by an American writer who complained that the Americans tend to take everything too literally. That does not give a good image of the Americans abroad. Would you like to comment on this, please? (My intention is good).

Jerry Ericsson Sat Oct 28 21:55:37 PDT 2000

Howard - isn't it funney how something like this can go so far so quickly? I have often thought of putting together some absolutly fantastic premis, then writting a short emaill about it and send it out to several of my friends, just to see how long it would take to come back to my email box, and what condition the origional story.

As a matter of fact this might make an interesting subject for a short story . . .


howard Sat Oct 28 20:44:21 PDT 2000

Arrrr! I just realized that I posted that short stroy in the notebook instead of where it belonged -- in the workbook! I had both open at the time, and crossed hands. Please excuse my bumbling.

AMERICO -- I apologise for coming down so hard on our last exchange - the provocation was not justification for the response. I thought I was mellowing a bit, but I guess not. I'm sorry, friend.

JERRY -- Litter is right on! I heard J.K.Rowling in an interview the other day, and she had apparently heard some of the charges levelled at her by "God's Chosen." She answered them quite adequately, I think. It's true that the subject of witchcraft is quite plainly dealt with (and condemned)in the Bible, but a believer's zeal in dealing with it now does not justify doing so with lies and character assassination. The supposed "quotes" from the children described in the letter more than likely came from the frightened minds of misguided adults. That letter was borne of ignorance and fear, neither of which have a valid place in a believer's life. If a person wishes to not read the books, or to warn against them, then he or she do so simply and truthfully, and not through the shady sensationalist scare tactics used by the tabloids. I personally believe that the "witchcraft" described in these books is nowhere near what was condemned in the Old Testament.
I've read the first H.P. book, and have the other three in my stack. I expect to enjoy them every bit as much as I did the first.

Hallee Sat Oct 28 17:33:48 PDT 2000

JACK: I would like to extend my deepest sympathies for your family's loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.


Litter Sat Oct 28 16:05:00 PDT 2000

Ooooops -- the article has been posted beside Jerry's e-mail in the Novel Workbook. Should've said.

Baaaaad Litter!!!

Litter Sat Oct 28 16:02:43 PDT 2000

Jack -- my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. It looks as if your Mother-in-Law had what we Celts call 'a good death'. Your description of the mix of joy and sadness and the family involvement more or less sums this up.

Jerry/All -- The Harry Potter scenario, as described in the mail now residing in the Novel Workshop, makes me want to weep. The perpetuation of false information and libellous remarks in that mail shows, not only that people haven't read the HP books but that they feel free to believe and republish patently false stories and articles if it suits their particular agendas.

I am Christian. I haven't read the HP books myself but I can spot dubious propaganda when I see it. Believe me if the quoted 'London Times Article/Interview' never happened. There would have been hell to pay had Rowling even alluded to the type of remarks she was supposed to have made, let alone come right out and said them to the UK's most respected Newspaper.

Enough already. I have posted a genuine article from an edition of the London Times of last month. The article is written by a Canon in the Church of England and directly addresses the issues of purported Satanic influences in the HP books.

Now I'm off to Amazon to but a HP book or two.

Ciao for now


Jerry Ericsson Sat Oct 28 13:27:36 PDT 2000

I have not yet had the opportunity to read the Harry Potter books, and from all that I have heard, they are wonderful books. Today in my Email, I received a WARNING about these books, which I find borders on censorship, something we as writers should keep an eye on. It came as a forward from my sister, who is a very religious person, she serves as a deacon with her church, and lives the Christian life. I don't think she has ever read any of these books, yet she is spreading such warnings. I shall talk with her about this tomorrow when I see her. If you are interested in the Email, I posted it in the Novel workshop, didn't want to put it in here, and cause unnecessary growth, and since it deals with novels, I felt that the proper location.

Americo, thanks for the crit on my latest, all comments are very welcome.


Americo Sat Oct 28 12:09:08 PDT 2000


I enjoyed your story "The Hypnotists". I liked it to be called "The Hypnotists" because, though some readers might think there is only one in your story, there are in fact two, the narrator being the second. An example of my theory that a text is only a (pre)text... Do not change the title.

I also liked to see that you are broadening your thematic. Old dead is always a good theme, but all human instincts, like love, lust, hunger, loneliness, perfection ... and other human-related things like laughter, crocuses, the sight of a blueberry cloud, the morning when it turns lilac, the smell of the twilight in South Dakota, the gold medal a Portuguese blindman has just won in the Paraolimpics ... all these and the ten thousand million things life offers us every day are excellent themes for writing.

howard Sat Oct 28 11:42:49 PDT 2000

JACK -- Yes again, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time. May you all find comfort in the memories she left each one.


Americo Sat Oct 28 10:16:44 PDT 2000


My deepest regrets and hopes that your life returns to normal soon. We need you here on the NB.

Jerry Ericsson Fri Oct 27 21:52:59 PDT 2000

Jack, I will hold you and your in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted my story in the short story workshop, it didn't turn out as I had planned, but made a nice little story none the less. Guess it didn't really turn out as a horror story.


Fri Oct 27 21:02:57 PDT 2000

p.s. There were many more family members present, but for the last day to day and a half, it was Fran, Genevieve's sister, Fran's cousin and myself. Before that we were awash in family members. Which, I suspect, was one of the reasons she stayed around with us so long. Had to get that quick clarification in.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Oct 27 20:59:55 PDT 2000

Hello everyone: It seems this is the last place that I got around to notifying everyone. After around eight days of steadily going down hill and Fran and myself and a cousin doing vigil on Genevieve here at home, she passed away at around 3:50 in the morning on Wednesday. She went peacefully and without apparent pain.

Some comments I should give here on the experience of hospice and sharing the experience of the last days of another human being at home should be said here. It was a gentle and extraordinary experience. Sadness mixed with joy and laughter as we shared our stories of her life and caressed her hand and face and did the other duties necessary in the closing days and hours of another human being's existence on this side.

We will behaving a celebration of her life tomorrow at 11:30 here in Seattle at the church I listed in the URL above. Think of us in that direction at around that time. We have secured the use of a truly phenomenal soloist, metzo sopranno. So, it should be a a fitting tribute for a very wonderful woman. The following week we will be having a memorial service in Corvallis, Oregon, and intering her ashes with her deceased husband. Take care everyone. I am hoping to have time to look over what is happening here sometime next week. All the best.

howard Fri Oct 27 20:32:51 PDT 2000

AMERICO and RHODA -- Great choices! I would add Barbara Garrett and Sqrl to the list as well. Last I heard, Barbara was working as an editor for a magazine.

Rhoda Fri Oct 27 18:01:25 PDT 2000


I agree with you on all your choices. I suppose Eddie is busy with his new job. The others just faded away except for Thomas who was hopping mad when he left.

Let's see--I would add

1.) Phillip--a true professional and interesting person, but I realize he is busy with many exciting projects.

2.) S.N.Arly who hacked Thomas off. In outrage, Thomas disappeared and so did S.N. Arly.

3.) Michelle who had interesting perspectives. I have a feeling she was a troubled soul. Oh well, we all have our problems once in awhile. Too bad she left.

4.) Jai, a very good writer and a great guy. I miss his stories on the Workbook. Also he gave some of the best critiques I ever had. He was always good at communicating exactly what he meant when he had a problem with your work.

5.) S.K.S. Perry, another excellent writer with a great future. He was one of the kindest persons ever on here and had a great sense of humor. He also seemed to have an interesting life with his motorcycle and his playing for a band on week-ends.

6.) Goodweed, another talented science fiction writer, who comes here from time to time, but not enough. I miss his level-headedness.

7.) Lydia Sweet. I like to think she is pursuing a lucrative career as a romance writer, for she showed great promise.

There are others too. Most of those who posted when I was new are now gone. I hope I didn't chase them off.

I hope some of these folks do return, Americo. At least I would like to see them pop in and say "Hi."


Americo Fri Oct 27 14:59:01 PDT 2000


You said:

"Americo and Howard, how glad I am to see you two(...)"

That made me think of other people I miss and would like to see on the NB. I'll choose just five (so that the others I'd like to return become jealous and... return).

Pnokio because he is an Irish living in London. My dream would be to live six months in London and six in Lisbon, be Irish (I love their imagination and humour) and be... Pnokio.

Thomas because he his a New Yorker with Italian blood: a good mixture, even if sometimes a bit too explosive.

Hootie because he is a Mormon and I like minorities, except when they try to impose their views on the rest of the crowd — something Hootie never tried.

Eddie because he is so near being a very interesting writer that I feel like giving him a push to the water.

Avatar because this young girl (she's only 17, perhaps 18 now) has an extraordinary imagination and was one of the most original people who have posted here. She and Allein will go far, if they work seriously.

Now perhaps you could add your names to this list of honour.

Hallee Fri Oct 27 13:51:40 PDT 2000

My best friend's daughter's name is Isabella. It's such a beautiful name, and she's this sweet little baby whose parents are both Hispanic. Very fitting name for her.

I didn't find out the sex of my baby for one reason - I wanted a girl desperately. This was my third pregnancy, and we weren't even sure it would last until term. I was worried that if I found out what the baby was, I would be disappointed if it was a boy. I KNEW that at the moment of birth, when the doctor looks up and says whatever the baby is that at that moment it wouldn't matter, but I was so worried that without being able to touch and hold the baby, that I would spend 5 months disappointed I wasn't having a girl. (I did have a girl..and I ended up losing 2 more so we've quit trying...God pretty much knows what he's doing (smile))

Okay - enough of that. It's almost 5:00 on Friday.

Have a great weekend!

mary Fri Oct 27 13:22:33 PDT 2000

Oh for crying out loud, I got all the way down here and now I cant remember what I wanted to say. Oh yes!

RACHEL: I love the name a matter of fact, my little girl's name was going to be Isabella...but when she was born, it just didnt suit her. My first son's middle name is it seems we have the same taste in names!

As far as finding out "early" what your baby's gender is, a lot of people asked me, "Well, dont you want to be surprised?" my response: "I plan on being surprised when they tell me! I will be just as surprised if they tell me tomorrow as I would be if I waited until the little one arrived!" So there ya go......I am all for knowing in advance!

more later...bye

Rosemary Fri Oct 27 11:28:03 PDT 2000

Greetings All,
To start with a bang,
I had assumed you excluded the bible because you thought we all read it every day and it would be first on all the lists. I suspect you would have been wrong and I'm not sure if that would be a good or bad thing.
I also think most of us interpret your posts pretty accurately--maybe closer than you would like. I had a comment about our prejudices but some notebookers would never speak to me again.

About that book list, I mentioned Laurel Hamillton's latest book in my list. I had just started it at the time and now at over half way through, I need to issue a warning about it. I have read six or seven of her previous books, a series with Anita Blake, vampire hunter, as the main character. They contained a certain amount of sex scenes but not out of reason. This last book should be rated XXWierd. I'm really surprised the library carries it. Of course, I'm going to finish it anyway.

My Writer's group in which I am the Ways and Means Committee is getting ready to put together a cookbook called "Cooking With a Writer's Inspiration" The members are to submit a receipe with a short story to go with it. I don't think I stole the idea from your roundrobin (forgot the name)but who knows. Anyway, I submitted the Idea and I get to put the whole thing together.

This is a scary thing for a person who almost never volunteers for anything.

Happy times All,

Jerry Ericsson http://www.p[ Fri Oct 27 10:37:20 PDT 2000

I am currently working on a little horror work myself, but not about unpacking. Not a ghost story, but just a short story to get in the mood for Halloween.

Rachel - I can sure sympathize with you about the room thing. The house we moved from had all kinds of nooks and crannies to store things, and a full basement which was partitioned into rooms, some of which we used for storage also. The one we moved into, while being a wonderful little home, is just that, little. No room for all our "things." Now it is a fight just to find that old photo album, or my high school yearbooks, which have been amongst the missing in action since the move. My wife says she knows exactly where they are, and once I get her new bookcase built, she will dig them out for me. Problem being I can't build the bookcase for her. She is very aware of that fact, and I have made a deal with my good neighbor to have it built, but he has yet to start it. Not that I blame him, as he recently lost his 29 year old son to a stroke, and is still in not over the shock of the loss. So you have my deepest sympathy over your storage problems. Well must get back to my writing, it does feel so good to be back to writing again, I have been putting it off for some time now, since I caught the Keno fever. I have been playing Keno at for a few weeks, not that the game is interesting, but the political discussion in the chat area is very habit forming.

Rachel Fri Oct 27 09:21:32 PDT 2000

Heather - Hum, you seem to have a negative association with the name (grins). You should see the looks on the faces of people when we say Isabella. They give us that, you have got to be kidding look. Then they realize we are not kidding and come around to like it. Seems everybody has an aunt Isabell or Isabella. I don't think that there is one Isabell or Isabella in the school my children attend. Sabastian is also not common in our area. I only know one other Sabastian, he is adorable.

Allein - It's nice to see you ducking in to post again. You must be so busy! I hope that all is going well for you (hugs). Alexander is a name I like. Only trouble is that it is the name of one of our foster son's. I guess that could cause some mix ups, but we will get used to it if it is the name that we decide on. My son wants us to call him Alec. It is a thought. We will see what happens.

I would like to know what sex the baby will be. The hosptials used to tell people the sex of baby, but due to a large number of women who aborted the babies who were not the sex that they wanted the hospitals will no longer tell the sex. If they can see what the baby is, then they will tell your doctor and if your doctor feels that you are not the sort of person who would rush out and do in your baby if it is not a certain sex, then your doctor can tell you. However, the doctor will only tell you if it is something that they agree with. Not all doctors agree with people knowing the sex of baby. My doctor told me that if she is told what the sex of the baby is, that she will tell me.

Rhoda - It is nice to hear that you like your new home.

Teekay - Hi you.

All - Hi!!!

howard Fri Oct 27 07:21:01 PDT 2000

AMERICO -- Methinks there's a red herring in Denmark! No one is forcing anyone to share in any prejudices at all. No, you are the one who displayed prejudice, (prejudice is, after all, merely the establishment of boundaries) in setting arbitrary limits in what the rest of us could claim as the last thing we read. Not that that is bad, no, but since you seem to fall back on the "your language vs my language" disclaimer quite often, I thought this might be a good opportunity for enlightenment.
When you use words and phrases such as "extreme susceptibility of some people [in this notebook] to religious or political subjects," and then label their comments as "inadequate or irrelevant," you do (dare we hope unintentionally?) tend to engender visions of the old colonialist, condescending attitudes we all so dearly love to despise.
If you do want to learn to use "our language" (whatever that is) you'll do well to embrace it, warts and all.
I personally think that you probably use it more accurately than I do.
All this is said with no animus whatsoever, and if pressed, I'll deny that I ever said it.

Rhoda Fri Oct 27 07:07:02 PDT 2000

Jihads. Let us save those things for our friends in the Middle East. I haven't the time or the inclination for one. All I can say about jihads is that once they are started, the party that has been wronged often becomes more wicked than the party that had wronged them. Jihad is absolutely not a Christian concept though unfortunately Christians have become entangled in them before much to their shame.

Americo and Howard, how glad I am to see you two. And Teekay, Mary, Rosemary, Sasquatch, Hallee, Christi, Mark, Arik, Jerry Lee, the other Jerry, Jack, Rachel, Heather, Tina, Allein, Litter, Ashling, Debra, Gary, and to whomever I missed (therein lies the danger of listing everyone here, because you always miss somebody).

I do not know about ghost stories, but I could write a good horror story about my unpacking experiences. Houses with many closets and lots of storage are a wonderful thing until you have to leave them. Ugh. This new house is bigger than the other but has much less space to put things. I think it is time for another garage sale. Why can't I be like any other self-repecting nomad and be content with a tent and only enough possessions that can be carried on a horse?


I do love my new house despite the lack of storage. I just have to buy new bookcases for all of my books.

Happy writing,


Heather Fri Oct 27 06:59:02 PDT 2000

I think a McGuffin is rather like a red herring, as Jeffery Archer might say. It's something that re-appears suddenly, and then disappears, offering readers some intrigue, if not a slight tease. It may be obscure, or seemingly trite, or may not seem to fit quite right. It is also something you are more or less looking for underneath the main story line. The subtext, or a particular aspect of the subtext. (not to be confused with subplot!)

Subtext, you say? Kind of like an undercurrent of subtle thought-trains or connections, or what your readers read 'in between the lines'. That's one of the things that I have been painstakingly creating in my novel, hoping that by specifically seeking and creating it, it won't be totally obvious. Shakespeare was a Master at subtext. I'm on the slightly desperate side of subtextual studentry, but I find that the knowledge of what subtext can do, by reading and gleaning ideas, is all I needed to understand what I've already been trying to do that whole time!

(Unwrap that statement, find a prize!)

Have to run, gobble some Sudafed (tm) and attempt to get a few things ready for visitors...
Head too large for me Heather

Americo Fri Oct 27 06:41:46 PDT 2000


My asking people to discount the Bible from the books they are reading did not have any provocative intention. It was the same as asking people not to include in their list the books they are reading at school or their daily e-mail. Knowing the extreme susceptibility of some people to religious or political issues, and wishing to preserve the peace of the Notebook, I avoided answering comments which I considered inadequate and irrelevant to the question I put. I'm glad you did not thought of it as sufficently dramatic for starting a jihad...

I take this opportunity to ask people to try to be more accurate in their interpretation of what I write here. It's enough that I am using your language, do not force me to share your prejudices as well.

howard Fri Oct 27 05:34:10 PDT 2000

How could I not say HI!!!

howard Fri Oct 27 05:29:22 PDT 2000

AMERICO -- It was nothing that serious, really. When you asked what we all were reading you mentioned "the bible doesn't count." Mark gave a very good response why it does count. Your pronouncement was not sufficient cause to declare a jihad, so I didn't. :-)

JERRY LEE -- That's sort of what I'm doing in one I've been tinkering with, called "Window." It's a collection of short stories wrapped around a central plot. It was inspired by Zenna Henderson's "People" books. Speaking of Zenna, where's "The Anything Box" and "Holding Wonder" these days? I hope they're still circulating.

AMERICO (again) "How does the author know when it's finished?" I dunno -- never finished one yet, unless you count poems and short stories, and even those get redone every time I review them. I heard an interview with J.K.Rowling this morning (I get to listen a lot in my 40 minute commute), and she said that she never ceases to find tings to change, even after the book is published. She says that the fifth (of seven) "Harry Potter" book with be ready "when it's ready;" that she'll "never again get into the rush she experienced with the fourth one."


Americo Fri Oct 27 03:16:52 PDT 2000


I've been trying to skip answering inadequate comments on potentially hot issues, but I must ask you a question you have provoked: what have I said about the Bible?

Teekay Thu Oct 26 23:32:44 PDT 2000

I am reading "Blackberry wine" by Joanne Harris at the moment. I love it!!!!

I'm feeling very sick now because while I was reading through the posts I ate practically a whole packet of corn thins. (There were a lot of posts!)
I hate corn thins now.

Teekay Thu Oct 26 23:00:44 PDT 2000

Ooops I did it again,
forgot to press start,
and now I have 423008925783224938 posts to try and catch up on.

I think mayhap I have no self control.
Well, not much.
I have some.
I think.
I just keep it safely packed away at the back of my cupboard in case I may need it one day.
And some times I just can't find it anywhere.
I worry then coz I think maybe mice have gotten to it, or moths, and I really don't have all that much to spare. Say, if a mice and a moth took 2 bites each it would probably be gone.

Though of this great idea for a ghost story. Well, in my head it sounds great, getting onto paper is a different thing.
I haven't started it yet, I've only started thinking about it.

I may not have much will power but, I am one hell of a procrastinator. You'd have to travel far and wide to find someone even close to me.
I probably have enough procrastinationism in me to feed a plaque of mice and a moth.

Okay, am going now coz I have a LOOOOOOOOOT of catching up to do.

I hope you are all well and that you are all writing and that soon I will be too. Writing that is. I am already well. (touchwood) (not that I'm a superstitious person or anything.) (well I am but, I'm a bit iffy about everybody knowing it.)


Jerry Lee Thu Oct 26 20:44:52 PDT 2000

Yo all,

Rowhard, Mark is right, but it may be more fully explained this way;
A McGuffin is more like a plot within a plot. A conundrum wrapped in an enigma. A motivation, (revealed or not) for the characters to react in a certain way.

All, A friend e-mailed this to me. It was taken from actual court transcripts...

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.

Jerry Lee

Mark Thu Oct 26 19:30:12 PDT 2000

Speaking of communist enemies . . . When I was working in Detroit I met a man who came from Romania. Josef Bloeski. He settled in the Polish area near a Chrysler plant in Hamtramck (a separate city entirely within Detroit).

Joe wanted to Americanize his name by dropping the -ski. He did. When I met him, his name was officially Joe Bloe. He told me he didn't realize until afterward how that would be received.

Mark Thu Oct 26 19:17:44 PDT 2000

Angelfire -- isn't that a contradiction in terms?

mary Thu Oct 26 19:01:33 PDT 2000

ALLEIN: I dont know for sure if Arik has the time, and I certainly dont mean to volunteer him for anything..what with the rock to the head incident and all, but I am pretty sure that his site is an angelfire site. Maybe you could try asking him.

howard Thu Oct 26 16:48:10 PDT 2000

MARK -- Ahh, Hitchcock -- that's where I heard it! Thanks.

Mark Thu Oct 26 16:12:16 PDT 2000

HOWARD -- McGuffin is the thing the main actors want; it's the reason for the run-and-chase. Alfred Hitchcock said that the really interesting part of a suspense movie was the interaction between the good guys and the bad guys. It didn't matter what was in the satchel, just that one party wanted to kep it and the other party wanted to take it away. He called it the McGuffin.

You can tell the condition we are in by who the bad guys are in our movies. Before the fall of communism, we had bad guys in movies and TV from soviet countries. Remember Mission Impossible on TV? Mostly sovietski styleski bad guys who called each other "comrade."

These days we have no external threat from a foreign country so most of the bad stuff comes from religious threats in the form of witches. A few of the big baddies are from outer space, but not like in the 50's.

Anyway, you can write a good story and change the McGuffin to fit the circumstances. That book by Lem I sent you seems a bit awkward in the places where soviet government crops up. Still, the basic conflicts remain true.

Allein Thu Oct 26 15:11:03 PDT 2000

Mary - I still can't get them to work. I've tried everything I can think of and my brother says that the way I did it is correct.

Is anyone here familiar with angelfire that could help me out?


Rhoda Thu Oct 26 13:01:47 PDT 2000

Finally got the computer up and around again. I have much to catch up on. Good to be back and good to see some new faces (or more appropriately names).

Back soon,


mary Thu Oct 26 12:53:09 PDT 2000

ALLEIN: I was wondering if it was just me...or if the links to your drawings at your site are not working. I tried when you first redid the site, and I remember you saying you were going to work on fixing them...but I tried again just now..and they still arent working. Good luck if that is something you are having troubles with. ( I really wanna see 'em!)

Allein Thu Oct 26 12:45:07 PDT 2000

Hey Everyone!!
I just got AOL 6.0! It's really cool.

Richard Thu Oct 26 12:29:26 PDT 2000

Whoa! I wrote ALL DAY today... I think I'm on a writer's high... YIPEE!

HEATHER & HALLEE: Well, I might try and get up earlier, but if I got up at 4:15 I'd be bombshelled and wouldn't be able to get those wonderful straight As at school. I'm disciplining myself to write in the evenings, sometimes you just need to get your brain engaged.

Several times I've felt like writing during break/lunch at school, but all my stories are typed - I seem to write better that way - and you can't have floppies or use e-mail on the school intranet so I'm stuck there.

Anyway, seeya for now

Howard Thu Oct 26 11:23:03 PDT 2000

Wow! away for a bit and so much to catch up on!

MARK -- Wild oats? Crop failure? Moi? :-)
Good answer on the "bible" question. I guess I hadn't really stopped to consider what Americo said there.


HEATHER -- I like the thought of the ghost stories.

JERRY LEE -- The idea of a "McGuffin" is intriguing also -- what's a McGuffin? (I think I know, but don't recomember hearing that term in a very long time.)

HEATHER (again) I guess you and I were the only ones posting shorts for "shortie night," but I guess I missed completely on the concept of length. I liked yours, though.

I hope to be finished with the roof this weekend, and able to spend more time here.

BTW -- I didn't see TEEKAY anywhere ( a few others, too)

back to the grind

Hallee Thu Oct 26 10:50:13 PDT 2000

AMERICO: Please tell Jon to relax. It was a simple misunderstanding that's cleared up now.

sasquatch Thu Oct 26 08:37:34 PDT 2000

heather person i sasquatch have again made better the poem of the trees as i had not time to think much on it when i write. here is better. please forgive.

again and again

trees wake in springtime
reach out to capture
presents from earth
gifts from the sky
in summer they bow
condescend to each other
comparing possessions
green and alive
in fall they discover
true value of treasure
yellow as gold
crimson as blood
then winter's cold wind
steals all of their riches
trees sigh and shiver
sleep naked again

i sasquatch wrote this. i must go.

Americo Thu Oct 26 05:56:52 PDT 2000

Heather and Hallee,

Jon's suggestion of a round robin was aimed at peace and friendship. He's just sent me a telegram from his glass submarine under the Pacific saying that he had been saddened by the word "insult" dropped on the NB. I assured him that the word meant no offense, and that the ladies who have used it are very loving and are just trying to do a good job. He's replied sending kisses all over the ocean.

PS. When can I allow him to recover his freedom again? He does not like being locked in the submarine, waiting for you to start the ghost thingy.

Allein Wed Oct 25 22:00:16 PDT 2000

Rachel - I love the names you have picked out. I've thought of naming my child Alexander too - or Alexandra if it is a girl. Actually, I'll probably end up naming my kids some weird foreign name that everyone will have trouble pronouncing. Hopefully when I get married I will have a last name like Smith or Jones that people will be able to pronounce every time. You think that Burgess would be a fairly easy name to pronounce because it is fairly common, but no one can seem to pronounce it right.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand. I have a long way to go before getting married or having kids. I'm sure you and your husband will make wonderful parents.
I'll practice taking care of kids with my hamsters. ::moves vaccum over floor, suck, squeek, little thump:: Um....hamster - one. Just kidding!

"You're never fully dressed without a smile!"

mary Wed Oct 25 21:17:48 PDT 2000

LITTER: Success!!! I found it, finally!! Here is the form...with numbers being syllable count, and letters being rhyming lines.




Keep in mind that you can continue on with as many stanzas as you want, and it will still be a true "Eastlund". Even if you wanted to cut it down to two stanzas..whatever. Just have fun. My example is in the poetry workshop if you want to see it again..if you didnt keep it. (I have a few that other people have written as well, if you want them, I will email them..but I dont feel comfortable posting them because they arent mine.)

Good Luck...I cant wait to read this!!!!! (As far as I know..there is no meter rule...just go with the flow)

Rosemary Wed Oct 25 20:37:06 PDT 2000

Howdy All,

I throw my vote with Jerry. Just as long as it is a ghost story. And, that's probably because I already have one finished.


Jerry Ericsson Wed Oct 25 18:28:01 PDT 2000

I vote we just do it. Make it something like SM** only the only thing it must be is a ghost story. Sound fair? Just my two cents worth.


Hallee Wed Oct 25 17:08:27 PDT 2000

HEATHER: I'm by no means insulted. I just wanted to clarify in case you misunderstood me. Like I said (I think) I'm pretty easy. I'll go with the general consensus.


Litter Wed Oct 25 16:15:27 PDT 2000

Hey All,

Can't seem to find any energy these days, but I'm keeping an eye on y'all.

Jack -- My prayers for you and yours at this time.

Mary -- Could you please post, or send me, the formula for that poetry exercise from a while back? I have it saved somewhere, but such is my filing system I can't find where I saved it too… :o|

Heater { (o)(o) } re: Cast your ballots:

"Do you vote-
A) We all write our own short stories
B) We all collaborate on one story, with each writer taking a turn to write part. "

I vote yes! Or no? Either… or both. I hope that is clear?

Heather {Allein} As you have admitted to blondness, I am writing this very slowly so that you can keep up.

Arik -- Keep your head down. We don't want to lose you to a stone thrown in anger or malice.

Rachel -- looks like your baby has a better than average chance of being named "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Good thing is that it is a unisex name!

Current Reading:

'Paradise Lost',
'Dead Souls' by Ian Rankin,
'The Birth of Time' by John Gribbin,
New Scientist
Half a hundredweight of computer and internet mags
Plus multiple incursions into 'Black Holes and Baby Universes' by S. Hawking

Hi to everyone else.

All good things,


Wed Oct 25 16:12:00 PDT 2000

It's about 7:15 pm est & I'll be in the chat room for a while.

Heather Wed Oct 25 15:59:07 PDT 2000

P.S. Hallee! I think I might be one of the only ones opposed to your idea of carrying forth the same theme.

We could vote again?

Sorry, I was being obstinate.

How rude of me!


Heather Wed Oct 25 14:38:19 PDT 2000

The idea of having to write a story that MUST have something in it specifically (other than just a ghost or the allusion to one) such as setting and other details just screams highschool creative writing class -- which to me did not give me the full reign of creation in that there were always specifics we had to adopt into our writing. They were usually themes or the piece had to be about someone specific, or include certain props, or even political issues that I cared nothing for. That is the reason I shy away from putting any conditions on the stories other than that they be somewhat of a ghost story. As Jerry Lee stated, there isn't any point to having all the stories taking place in the same setting. But, that doesn't mean that we can't do this as an experiment... certainly what might make me feel constricted creatively will work the opposite for others! I suppose I'm just being really stubborn, something I am rather famous for.

So Hallee, your suggestion wasn't awful, and I didn't mean to insult you, but personally, I simply prefer to have the slate empty, so to speak, and then I have the freest reign for my story to roam over. Anyhow, I may only end up contributing one story, since I have offered to edit the bulk of the work. I should also mention that if anyone does not want their work edited, all they need do is mention that at the top of their post when they post the story onto the workbook page. Editing can't actually take place directly on the original posting anyway, since once something is posted, we all know you can't go back in and erase it!

So, now that I've spewed my half-hour's worth of thoughts,
it's back to you, folks.

P.S. Rachel, Isabella is a very lovely name. I like Alexander a little better than Sebastian, (I always think of 'bastard' when I think of 'Sebastian' because they sound similar....I know, bad me)

Rachel Wed Oct 25 13:39:39 PDT 2000

Allein - For boy names it looks like it would be Sabastian. We have also considered Alexander. We will need to wait and see. Sometimes a baby is born and they fairly shout their name in your face. I guess only time will tell what name the baby will have.

Hugs for you,


Jerry Lee Wed Oct 25 13:27:47 PDT 2000

Yo all!

The (A) catagory sounds like the most fun.

Also, a theme is a useful tool for the continuity of each story and is a very good idea; could a McGuffin also be used to add to the continuity?

While a theme will dictate (more or less)the particulars of each piece, a McGuffin will add a sort of underlying level to each of the pieces in the project. i.e., the theme may be the location, characters, etc., but the McGuffin may be the exposure of the history of the place. Another small piece to the puzzle in each story. The question is, what would all the little clues add up to? What would the reader finally know when the last story is read?
.....therein lies the McGuffin!

Just a thought. Tata,
Jerry Lee

Allein Wed Oct 25 13:25:22 PDT 2000

Rachel - Oooh, Isabella - that's a very pretty name too. :) I think you should call her that. What will you name it if it is a boy?

Hallee Wed Oct 25 09:08:48 PDT 2000

HEATHER: I'm not trying to dictate the theme...I'm just suggesting the same location. Everyone's story would be completely different..but they would all be in this hotel that has the oriental rug in the lobby and on this particular date. That way, someone going back and reading them all wouldn't just get a mixture of ghost stories or scary stories or what have you, there would be a constant, I hate to use the word theme, I guess there would just be a constant.

I'm entering a contest from a romance writer's website. The story must be scary or mysterious in some way, contain 5 specific words at least once...some of them are vertigo, case, accused...can't remember the others, and have to have a love story somewhere involved. The problem is, it's limited to 3,000 words. I have no idea how it will be done, but I'm determined to do it.

RICHARD: I have a full time day job, a toddler, a husband, I teach Sunday School and a Wednesday night class at work, and I'm in several organizations. I've also completed 7 books since last January (my goal is 8 in 2 years...I'm nearly done with chapter 9...we'll see - haha). I can't write at night, either. By the end of the day after work and cooking dinner and getting my daughter off to bed, I'm simply too tired. BUT, I do get up at 4:15 every morning - 7 days a week. I write until my family rouses around 6:30. Try it - your mind is fresh and ready to roll.

Okay - my lunch break ended 10 minutes ago - haha.

Have a great day

Rachel Wed Oct 25 09:05:02 PDT 2000

Jon - Hey, do you know something about my family history that I'm missing (grins)? It is nice to see you back Mr. Kitty.

Allein - I do not know if the baby will be a girl or a boy. I think different things all of the time. I would like to find out what the sex will be, but when I had my last ultra-sound they couldn't get a clear look at anything. The baby is very active. I am going to have another ultra-sound in a few days. Maybe they will be able to tell me something then.

I am working on letting baby know when it is time to sleep. I have a toy that plays music that I plan to put in its baby bed. I play this for it every night when I go to sleep. I would like if baby would understand that the music means it is bed time. Not that I have high expectations of the little unborn (grins).

Monica is a very pretty name, but I believe we will be calling the baby Isabella if it is a girl.

Take care all,


sasquatch Wed Oct 25 08:27:10 PDT 2000

and here again is one perhaps tina person will more under stand and enjoy

the hunter,
dog by his side,
returns again
dragging his prey
over the hills
staining them
with summer's blood

i sasquatch wrote this. i must go

sasquatch Wed Oct 25 07:45:33 PDT 2000

heather person i sasquatch did not think until you said but yes here is i think a poem about such thing.

naked trees
awake after sleep
reaching to capture
presents from earth
gifts from the sky
alike at first
green and alive
nod to each other
comparing their riches
then autumn reveals
the value of treasure
yellow as gold
crimson as blood
and cold wind
blows all away
trees sigh
and sleep again

i sasquatch wrote this. i must go.

Allein Wed Oct 25 07:31:35 PDT 2000

Heather - I finally did it and signed my real name instead of 'Allein'. Usually I catch myself on that. :p What can I say? I'm blonde!

Heather Wed Oct 25 06:49:38 PDT 2000

Richard: If you are truly adamant about wanting to write, you will find a time when you can and will be productive. If your brain gets 'mushy' after a long day at school, write during your lunch hour, get up early for school and write before you have to leave. Write on the weekends. Whatever committments you already have, you must make them secondary to writing. Many of us here on the Notebook have kids, regular work, house-cleaning and fix it jobs always filling the days for us. We still find the time.

Hallee - the only issue I have with your round robin idea is that having only one theme wouldn't inspire me to write a story. I like the freedom of just having a basic topic, and that's ghosts. Of course, your idea would work just fine if you have a partner who would like to write the 'other' point of view to compliment a story you've written for the Round Robin, or vice versa. But that's just me - others may all decide they want to play with your idea!

Good morning to all,
I still have paint in my rings! Up late last night painting some trim and doors nice and fresh again.
ZZZZZZ (I wish)


Richard Wed Oct 25 06:08:42 PDT 2000

I have a real problem when it comes down to sitting down and writing. In the mornings I'm full of enthuisiasm for it, but I have to get ready and go to school. By the time I get back from that place, I can't bring myself to write a single word, my brain seems dead...

Holidays are slightly better, but sometimes the sheer amount of time tends to wear thin on you and there's nothing much to stimulate thought, and my brain just keeps grinding to a halt.

Maybe I'm just lazy.

Hallee Wed Oct 25 01:29:58 PDT 2000

Good Morning All:

TINA: That's no fun to be where you are. I've been there, and I just keep writing. But then, I'm not a perfectionist with my drafts. I prefer to get it out, get it up on the screen. Then, when I'm done with the book, and after I write the next, THEN I go back to it. That's when I know for sure that I'm seeing it as a reader would see it. The sentences that are worded wrong are obvious, things that are choppy stand out, that sort of thing. So perhaps my advice that I'm so clumsily typing out at 4:15 after merely one sip from the coffee cup steaming so nicely in front of me is to write it, choppy or not, and then shelve it for a few weeks. Or, I'd love to read it...but then I'd know the'll just have to send me all of it if you wanted an honest opinion...hahahaha.

HEATHER: We live in Florida, and I know exactly what you're talking about. My husband grew up in St. Augustine, and for about 3 years we lived there before work forced us to move. One March, I believe it was 1994, a huge storm hit. Memory is telling me that they called it the Storm of the Century. Tornadoes, massive rain, everything came down in a big Northeaster. The next morning, my husband wanted to go out to Vilano Beach and check out the waves (a surfer to the end). Vilano Beach is different from St. Augustine Beach (they're like 2 miles from each other) because the sand isn't actually's crushed shells. Somehow, the way it's positioned, shells are constantly getting washed up there. So, this is maybe 7:00 in the morning, just as the sun was coming up. We walk out onto the beach, and as far as the eye can see, it's covered in conch know those big beautiful peachy colored shells that people pay good money for. You couldn't walk without stepping on them, and most of them still had the conch alive in them. We immediately went to a the house of a friend who lived on the beach, woke them up, and took buckets and bags and anything we could get our hands on. Those that still had the conch were thrown back, those that did not were kept. By 8:00, there were pickup trucks on the beach, and the beds were full of conch shells. When we got home, I had enough to line my garden with, and still enough left over to line my driveway. We left them there, at that house, because they'd almost become a fixture. But I kept the best ones, and they're on my bookshelf.

As for the round robin, I really don't care either way. I'm pretty easy. BUT, here is a suggestion: why not do individual stories with a word count limit that not only revolve around the same thing, but will have specific things that recur? For example, we could put them all in the same place, like a ski lodge. Someone could write the description of the ski lodge, down to the color of the tile, perhaps the description of the manager, the desk clerk, etc. Then, as the stories are written, they will all take place in the same place at the same time, but from different points of view, as if from different eye witnesses.

Okay - time for me to get back to my book. Almost done with chapter 9. Americo - thanks for your email.

Happy writing all!

Tina Tue Oct 24 23:52:10 PDT 2000

Hello all!

Allein, I was wondering how you were doing, and how college is, and here you are! Glad to hear things are well.

Heather, I didn't have any trouble keeping those characters separate. They are such different characters, and the voice you write each one with is so different that their names didn't trip anything up. The only thing about their names that did throw me at first is that my boss is named Nancy Hannah. No I'm not BSing.

I can't imaging changing a main character's name. I've changed the names of minor characters - using the delightful 'change all' function - but never, ever a main character. Kris IS Kris. He has been Kris for 15 years, and by any other name he isn't who he is. Later on in my story there's a woman called Jan. I've often thought about changing her name, mainly because that's my middle name and it could seem odd. But she IS Jan. In some ways she's my alter ego and I admit it freely. I created her at a time when I needed an alter ego. All my characters have a bit of me in them, she just has more than the others. But if I changed her name I don't think I could enter her mind any longer, think how she thinks or make her actions in keeping with her character. The absolute only way I could imagine doing it would be to write the entire story, and just before the final moment use 'change all'. But I won't ever do that to the main characters.

About the ghost stories, I vote (A). Individual stories. Perhaps a theme to revolve them around like location or an event, but lets each use our own best voice for this.

Here's a thing. I've been working on the final section of my story, the part where the major themes and conflicts come together and are resolved. I like the plot, the characters, the conflicts. I just don't like my writing of it! I've just re-read an early part, one I really like, and what I'm doing now just doesn't measure up. I don't know if I should let it go for awhile, work on something else, or if I should agonize through and then edit like mad. What I'm writing now seems so stilted and rough! I'm not enjoying the process and I'm getting frustrated and I've started to procrastinate. Now and then my fingers and imagaination collaborate and it flows, but only for a few pages or scenes, before getting sticky again. I've been editing early parts, and that is fine, but the lack of progress is getting to me. Aaaauuugggghhh! :-(

Okay, I've dumped and feel a tiny bit better.

Mary, thanks for 'The Prayer'. I've printed it off and tacked it to the wall around my desk.

Late, time for sleep.
Pleasant dreams all.

Heather Tue Oct 24 22:15:46 PDT 2000

The last post was Allein's, not mine! Her name is Heather, too.

Just to avoid any confusion....

And what to my wondering mind doth appear? Scarce few postings since I last visited here!

Sasquatch, we miss your poetry. Do you have any thoughts on the changing of the leaves in readying for winter?

My best friend from Florida will be arriving at the airport this Friday! I am so excited to see her. We haven't visited in person since last summer, and this is the first fall weather she's experienced in four years. I would miss it crazily too.

I've collected a vast array of leaves and pressed them for her since she's arriving just after many leaves have begun to rot in the dampness, and many leaves are a little past peak. I gathered leaves from the largest I could find to the smallest, set them up in a rainbow, pressing them one atop the other so the largest is in behind. For Tanya, this is one of those little gifts that she will treasure far more than a store-bought gift. She is bringing me seashells! As I am certain you all know, there is no gift better for me than shells. As a child I visited Florida with my family, and all I wanted to do besides the inevitable day at DisneyWorld (R) was collect seashells. On our way home we stopped at a souveneir shop, and my parents offered to buy us each an item to remember the trip. My mother kept asking me, "Are you SURE that's what you want?" You see, what I wanted was a basket of shells. I still have them all, down to the tiniest one I collected myself, and the coral bits and so forth that were in the shell basket!

So, the whole purpose of mentioning my friend's visit is that I may be away from the NB for a few days here and there. I will still write up the introduction for the round robin, as long as we have all decided what TYPE of round robin it will be.

Cast your ballots:

Do you vote-
A) We all write our own short stories
B) We all collaborate on one story, with each writer taking a turn to write part.

If many choose B, we will have to brainstorm and come up with a central idea/theme, and the basics of plot, characters, etc. It's up to you, folks!

I didn't realize that some of us thought it would be a collaborative effort on one story. I suppose NBer's who have been around for Strawberries and A Moon, or Shadows in a Dream just figured it would be the same idea. I know I did.

So that's where we stand.

Americo - special note: I agree that it would be a great leap forward (and upwards) if writers in North America did not have editors that expect to cut chunks out of the work for them. I like the thought of the author polishing his or her own work to completion themselves, and the piece, (less typos) would be published as is. It would save so many of those avante garde or poetic spots from being slashed out. That was my aim to begin with - have a piece perfected enough that the editors would basically leave it alone save correcting typos. That's why I spend so long on my chapters before I head into the next one. I want every detail perfect, every metaphor fresh, every word as if misted in dew. I think of letting an editor I have possibly never met taking a great red pen to my work, work that I've ground out of my innermost places, and it makes me shudder to think that they can just say, 'Won't publish unless these changes are made.' So simple for a critic to demand, but like facing an artistic guillotine for writers - especially those who are most concerned with keeping their work intact and unsullied.

Here is an interesting question, speaking of keeping the work uncut save for changes we make at will:

In my novel, I have two characters with sort-of similar names. They don't begin with the same letter, but at my writer's group several people commented that they had a bit of trouble at first remembering who was who. When it is read (not aloud) I have never been told that it was hard to tell them apart. After all, one is in an abusive relationship, the other is an up-and-coming cafe owner, secure in herself and trying to help the first character.

Their names: Hannah and Nancy. Nancy is called 'Nan' most of the time, but Hannah is NOT nicknamed 'Han', which is a bonus.
What do you all think? I would much rather not change one of the names if possible.(It would have to be Nan that I would even contemplate changing)
I always think of that character as being Nan, and changing it would not make a difference in the literary sense, but since I see her as NAN changing it would make me feel differently, I think.

Confused, in Guelph,


Allein Tue Oct 24 19:56:16 PDT 2000


I know I haven't been around lately - college keeps me busy.

Rachel - Is what Jon said true? Are you having a little girl? If so, may I suggest the name Monica - I like that name, but that's only a suggestion. And it's not after Monica Lewinsky - it's after Monica in Touched by an Angel, after all, I suspect that your child will be an angel. :)

Americo - The last book I read was The Hunchback of Notre Dame (for about the 5th time) - actually I'm still working on it as I am the Bible, but you said that doesn't count. I'm also reading some Japanese Mangas.


Arik Tue Oct 24 12:35:20 PDT 2000

Hey guys. I am sorry for not beeng here for a long time. I am ok, but I dont have much time :-(.

Good day to all of you :-)

Hallee Tue Oct 24 11:49:00 PDT 2000

Americo: I've scrolled down but cannot find your email address. Could you please email me? I wanted to find out if you would help me with some Italian phrases.

Jin: I have portabello mushrooms (sp) simmering in some butter that will be used in the homemade stroganoff. I'll save you some, if you like, along with a saucer of cream I'll set aside before I put it in the jar to make butter.

I hope everyone else is okay. We're home daughter has all the symptoms of pneumonia - something two of her little friends just got out of the hospital from, so I took her to the doctor's office. No pneumonia - thank God, but a siuns infection, poor kid.

And now I'll write some while she's still asleep. Have a great day all!


Jon Tue Oct 24 10:55:11 PDT 2000

sasquatch, my delightful friend and the first creature I talk to after my mermaid plunged me in depression by refusing to accept my love, you are too pessimistic. Good times are coming.

We'll have nice ghosts tickling maiden's armpits here soon, heather will cover this page in purple, Rachel will have a daughter who will become a princess, Debra will learn Italian and speak the most beautiful language there is, Hallee will produce the greatest trilogy of the Americas, Rhoda will like her new house, Howard will convert himself to zen-buddipism and help you see the light, Allein will come back with his endless charm, Jerry will learn the difference between RISC and CISC processors and sell his tin computers to buy a Mac, and Pussy will learn how to cook mushrooms — which will make me forget my passion for the ungrateful mermaid and at last leave the cold water of the Pacific where I'm plunged on bloody A*'s orders. So rejoyce, my friend, and let's all dance a walz.

sasquatch Tue Oct 24 07:51:14 PDT 2000

hello mark person. i sasquatch do not under stand why must wait until forth to multiply can not do it now? ha ha.
i sasquatch have been on the mountain to hear the wind in the trees and i have heard it cry of trouble. i heard it cry of bad time to come in the places of humans persons and the one is not pleased. i sasquatch am fearing for my friends. i must go.

Heather Tue Oct 24 06:50:05 PDT 2000

Wow. I can sure spout disconnected themes.
Very hard to prove some things.


Heather Tue Oct 24 06:47:36 PDT 2000

Americo! I wish I had 4 or 500 pages to edit. Editing I don't mind. I love writing too, but find it much slower most of the time. I want what comes off the tip of my fingertips to always be perfectly polished and immaculately fitted to the story; however I doubt I'll ever be able to do that. I thought I would hate editing, but suddenly found I was able to cut words and precious sentences with much more ease after the fateful computer virus that wiped the whole manuscript. I suppose any editing that doesn't rid me of every word I have written will satisfy me. My cuts here and there, my re-workings of paragraphs seem tiny in comparison. I get to pick which words are tossed out, if needed, so there is a relaxed feeling when I sit down to edit.
I have an obsession about printing out my work at regular intervals so I can read it easily (without the eye strain of staring at the monitor) and see if my changes make the writing better. Then I edit the next section, and print it out again if I have gone in and made many changes. There is nothing like the feel of printing a piece of your work out for the first time. I remember suddenly knowing I was a writer the minute I held my chapter 1 and 2 in my hands... not on a disk. It was pure elation.

I don't know what else I can say - besides the fact that we creative ones need definite periods of rest. Even God took the seventh day.

We as artists often follow the Creative Principle, not always in form, but in the expression of beauty. The Creative Principle is another word for God. You may be atheist, but if there were no God, would we find the urge to express our creativity so strong? Wouldn't we find no need at all for beauty, art, song? With those things we celebrate what it is to live. There must be a force behind such joy! You might argue that we are the force behind such joy, and you would be on the right track.
But the reason we exist in bodily form is because we ourselves are the creative expression of a soul. There are things we must learn and see and do in physical form - otherwise we would not inhabit bodies at all. There would be no need.

Good morning friends!


Americo Tue Oct 24 05:53:14 PDT 2000


thanks for the advice. I'm really stuck with this book. It's done but I cannot say goodbye to it. This is the first time that happens to me in seven books published. I seem to love it too much to let it go away. (Or perhaps I hate. I don't know.) The problem is that I have another (much bigger — between 400/500 pages) to edit urgently. Perhaps I am sticking to the book I like in order to postpone work on the other which I'm not so fond of.

Authors here do not usually allow publishers (or editors) to correct their books (except typos, of course). I know that in Anglo-Saxonic countries authors allow that. We don't here. A writer is supposed to be a master in his/her own language. At least to know it sufficently well not to make mistakes. I was told that in the States publishers are now relying more on their authors than in the past. That's mainly because they don't have enough money to pay editors, but this might be a case in which a finantial crisis is a good thing...


Arma virumque cano
Troiae qui primus ab oris
Laviniaquae venit...


Galliae omnis divisa in partes tres...

Don't you miss those times? We were innocent children and learned everything they taught us. Actually I still know some Vergil and Caesar by heart. But I would not be able to translate much of those authors anymore. Everyone should learn Latin. Without it you can hardly know your own language, mainly if it is a Neo-Latin language like mine.

Heather Tue Oct 24 00:15:08 PDT 2000

Mark: Actually, the round robin works far better if it is just a short story collection, with each entry a separate ghostie tale. I have read one round robin here that was a continuation type of work, and found that it was not the best showcase for obvious notebook talent. It was difficult, I imagine, to keep the plot cohesive, and the characters rounded. It was severly distracting to read, as each writer gave different things more attention, and different styles did not mesh well. Also, the characters seemed to do things way off target to their previously ascribed tendencies/personalities. I much prefer if we all just write out separate stories and perhaps later, attempt an all-of-us-write-a-bit-of-the-story round robin; which can certainly be on ghosts if the topic hasn't fizzled out by then. Or, we can choose to try it as a new round robin on a totally different topic and in a different genre. I think a detective story might be fun as a combined effort. No one would know who-dunnit and it would work itself out, if we are up to that challenge...

But first, ghost stories.

Hit the gas, and roll right into another dimension.

(Rosemary, perhaps I was thinking of your post...)

Continued blessings your way, Jack. Hang in there.

Americo! Don't think that I could forget about you!
Dilemma: Are you being obsessively picky about your ms, or are you finding real, honest glitches? Decide that first.
Then you can deduce from those findings whether or not you are procrastinating, or just need to finetune. If you cannot decide, why not have your editor take a look at it now? Just shut your eyes and hand it over. If your editor decides it needs more polishing, then of course, you can nitpick to your heart's content. And nevermind calling it procrastination. Sometimes the going must be slow in order that we may use a magnifying glass to scrutinize our own prose. Scrutinization cannot be done in a sweeping, fast-paced manner. Finely tuned work must be scrutinized.

So there you have it, folks.

Just walked home from dropping off the *&#%^)@ car at the shop to have it tuned up, and on the way my windshield wipers went on the fritz - and it was pouring out! Imagine my dismay, having to hang my head out the window, trying to see, receiving a nice cold soak to boot. When I got home, I saw the bag of winterizing lawn fertilizer I bought the other day for the front lawn, (did the back already and ran out of the stuff) so I figured - why not? It's raining so I won't have to water the grains into the lawn. So, there I was, at 2 am, hand-sprinkling fertilizer on my lawn. I got back from work late, and had to stop by the 24hr. grocery store too. It was a beautiful walk home, looking at the gorgeous homes in the area (the little garage I took the car to is only five blocks from home) and enjoyed a coffee on the way under my umbrella. It was great being able to see through the rain while walking, rather than HOPE when I was driving (super slowly) between that middle yellow line and the dashes of white! I was lucky not to get pulled over - at 1:30 am on a Monday, there are very few cars out on the road other than police cruisers.

Goodnight all,
and to all a happy autumn (except to Teekay, a happy spring!)


Mark Mon Oct 23 19:58:16 PDT 2000

JACK -- Peace and Love, brother.

HEATHER -- Is there a plan here? Looks like ghost story won the vote. Now we seem to need a locale and maybe a plot. Someone suggested a character list. Seems like main characters, main plot line, and general location wd b good for continuity. Then what? Pick a number, wait in line and carry on from where previous writer left off? Alternatively, we could write simultaneously if we all had enough sense of the big plan. No, Howard, not *that* big plan.

Howard has wonderful stories of his youth. Do you notice there's a touch of mischief there? Howard, are you the guy who'd go out on Saturday to sow his wild oats, then on Sunday pray for a crop failure?

AMERICO -- First) -- I'm reading technical material right now, getting ready for a database upgrade at work. When I take a break from it, I pick up an old anthology; I like to read the selections and the editors' comments on how those pieces came to make it into the book. I also have a really awful Zane Grey story called "The Lone Star Ranger."
Second) -- Sorry to disagree, but the bible *does* count. Everyone should read it, then read it again by a different translator. Very instructional. I'll bet 80 percent of our colleges offer a course called "The Bible as Literature." I did a small study comparing Genesis in the King James and Genesis in an early English translation of the Douay; they clearly had different audiences in mind.
At age 14 I was in 9th grade. As a class project for Latin, we translated Cicero and Caesar. The point of it all was to discover the ways such different thinkers could put their ideas into words and look at each for the way their presentation fit their purpose. In-yer-face Caesar and poetic, imageful Cicero. Age 14! What the schools do today is another diatribe.
We read Caesar's speeches to the Senate, a collection of Cicero's poems and his(?) translation of the Odyssey (we even had a class argument over whether Cicero wrote the translation). In college, 25 years later, I used those skills in the Genesis study.
Jungians will tell you that the bible touches all our archetypes and contains much of the core of Western thought.
Yes, the bible counts as reading material.


Rosemary Mon Oct 23 16:06:23 PDT 2000

Hello everyone,
JACK, I have been through the waiting for a peaceful release for a loved one and my thoughts are with you and your family.

It has been a crazy weekend here. I live out in the county, across the road from a railroad track. (you get used to it except when one goes by while you're trying to talk to someone.) About a month ago, a car with two teenage boys was hit by the train at a crossing a mile down the road. Saturday, a van was hit across the road from me. It was the strangest sound I have ever heard. I looked out the window to see if I had heard what I thought I had and cars were already stoping along the side of the road. The train was still going but starting to slow down. I called 911 immediately, without going out to see what had really happened. This was within 2 minutes of the wreck. They made me go out on the porch to see if anything really had been hit. The remaints of a van was scattered along the side of the tracks.
The one last month killed both boys but this time the lady was lucky. She was wearing her seatbelt and the air bag protected her. Also, I think she was almost across the tracks when she was hit. It looked like she got away with only a bad cut on her forehead, but of course there could have been other damage I wouldn't know about. I felt it was promising that they took her away in an ambulance instead of bringing the helecopter out.

Then, Sunday night it started storming. It poured, crashed, howled and did everything it could to keep me awake. We got about 4 inches of rain out of that mess but it had already been raining off and on the last two weeks. In this area, that much rain in a short time closes down the town.(outlying areas of San Antonio, Tx. This is almost a desert situation the last few years.) Schools closed, roads were barracaded (sp.?)and rescues launched for the idiots that went around the warnings. They charge those people a lot of money and give them tickets if they live through it.

Anyway, my reading list for right now is Anne Perry's latest book. The title has Obsession in it. It's set in the 1860's and one interesting aspect is the British point of view about the Civil War in America. The main character and his wife get mixed up in The Battle of Bull Run.
Also reading Laurell Hamilton's latest novel of magic, elves and other wierd people in a detective agency.

I realize this posting is way more than any of you want to read but I feel better.
Proof reading is a necessary evil,

Hallee Mon Oct 23 14:10:42 PDT 2000

JACK: Your family will definitely be in our prayers.


Jerry Lee Mon Oct 23 13:34:21 PDT 2000

Yo all,

Jack, My best to you and your family in this hour of change.

Take care,Jerry Lee

Americo Mon Oct 23 11:12:15 PDT 2000

When must a writer put an end to his book?
Theoretically when he has nothing else to say. But if the themes appear endless and the ideas keep jumping forever like a foot ball kicked by Figo? If the prose seems far from perfect?
And then there is the suspicion that the writer hates the confrontation with the publisher and the public. There is the suspicion that perfectionism is the mother of all kinds of procrastination.
I wish I were a footballer and not a writer. I'd kick the ball and it would be gaol. Or far wide, as the shots of the Italians of Arik's favorite team in the latest European Cup.

Tonight we'll put an end to the troubles in the Far East. The Israelis will go back to their legitimate borders and the Palestines will stop throwing stones. And both peoples will give their hands and will sing together: "Alla-u-ackbar". In their respective languages and invoking their respective Gods. They are the same after all, translations of the same unreality: illusions of immortality or expressions of identical truths. As you like it.

Americo Mon Oct 23 05:28:29 PDT 2000


I don't know what to write. I hug you.

Heather Sun Oct 22 23:23:17 PDT 2000

Sorry, everyone, for my absenteeism, when I said I'd write up the intro for the next round robin and post it to Jack. Since Jack is going through a difficult time right now, I will wait a while before emailing him about it.

Jack, blessings to you and your loved ones in this time of great transition.
If she was gentle in life, she shall go gently on her journey to beyond.

This weekend has been filled with home improvements (I shudder to call it 'home work') and I took some great snapshots of the kids in a great huge pile of freshly fallen leaves, their cheeks ruddy and eyes shining.
I'm almost finished staining the deck before it gets too cold, just installed some new window blinds, fixed the ripped-out hinge on the front screen door (I love my drill); fixed my dryer pulley (it shreaked an awful lot), fertilized the lawn, hardwired a new reading lamp for my daughter so she can read in bed, fixed the drawers in an ancient dresser that had fallen through, re-arranged my studio, framed a few photographs I'd been planning to hang for almost a year,
and finished caulking the bathroom tub. (WHEW!) And I still have ten things left on the blasted list!
(And a deck three-quarters stained.)

What a weekend. And you wondered where I was hiding? Under an avalanche of leaves, behind the drill, wrapped in extension cords and surrounded by every tool I own. You might say I'm the fix-it lady; but my husband is just as 'handy', however he is much busier with work than I am. Friday was the first day off he'd had in six weeks - he was even working weekends. Have to have a gigiantic transformer perfectly assembled before the month is out, and they've been at it for five weeks already.

Anyhow, I shall get on the creation of an introduction for ghost stories (round robin) - that is, if no one has been frightened away from the project. For now it will be just for our enjoyment, with no pressure to write for publication. I will edit the works, with a little help from Mark and anyone else who would like to give critiques.

What I'm reading these days:

Many Mansions, (The Edgar Cayce Story) by Gina Cerminara (I have about three pages to go!)
Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, by Richard Bach (I open this one at random and read a little bit every once in a while)
The Meaning of Liff (not a typo) by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd (This one's one of those read-a-page-or-three at random as well)
Three issues of National Post (almost tabloid, so be afraid)
MacLean's (boring this week)
Ikea's 'Space' magazine (they have to many ads)
The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran (excellent)
Songs from the Land of Dawn, by Toyohiko Kagawa
(Interpreted by Lois J. Erickson) (very excellent)
(The Tragedy of) Antony and Cleopatra, by William Shakespeare (I'm trying to wade into it)
Guelph Tribune and Guelph Mercury (if I ever finish last week's papers)
Parent's Magazine
Chickadee and World (no shit, I really read them)
and that's about it.

(I have more time to read since I haven't been able to write - at least not until the new system is hooked up and everything installed!)

Take a breather, everyone, and (oh, muck) it's monday again.


mary Sun Oct 22 22:33:05 PDT 2000

A Prayer
Let me do my work each day;
And if the darkened hours of despair overcome me,
May I not forget the strength that comforted me
In the desolation of other times.
May I still remember the bright hours that found me
Walking over the silent hills of my childhood,
Or dreaming on the margin of the quiet river,
When a light glowed within me,
And I promised my early God to have courage
Amid the tempests of the changing years.
Spare me from bitterness
And from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.
May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world know me not,
May my thoughts and actions be such
As shall keep me friendly with myself.
Lift my eyes from the earth,
And let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others,
Lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
But walk calmly in my path.
Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;
And keep ever burning before my vagrant steps
The kindly light of hope.
And though age and infirmity overtake me,
And I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
Teach me still to be thankful for life,
And for time's olden memories that are good and sweet;
And may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.

Max Ehrmann

Jerry Ericsson Sun Oct 22 21:41:31 PDT 2000

Jack you and yours will be in my prayers.


Tina Sun Oct 22 20:44:17 PDT 2000

Jack, blessings and peace for your family.


Tina Sun Oct 22 20:42:54 PDT 2000

EVERYTHING I'm reading right now? Oh lets see...
Botany for gardeners....
Pale Blue Dot....
Discover Magazine....
Popular Science Magazine....
Calvin and Hobbes....
Through the Telescope....
Advanced Skywatching....
Sky News Magazine....

That's it for now.


howard Sun Oct 22 18:43:37 PDT 2000

JACK -- Your family will be in our prayers. We've been there, and know what you're going through.

JERRY -- Zane Grey!? Good reading! "Wilderness Trek" is a great one too!

AMERICO -- Reading some classic SF right now -- "More Tales of Pirx the Pilot" by Stanislaw Lem. THis guy rocks!

ALL -- Check the October 2000 issue of Readers Digest for an article by/about a guy who makes a living writing "novels" to order. It's called "The 60 Second Novel." Interesting!

anybody in the chat room?

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Oct 22 17:57:52 PDT 2000

Sorry if I have been a bit absent of late, but we are in the midst of a family emergency. My mother-in-law who has lived with us for the last twelve years is in the midst of passing on. Lots of family and lots of waiting. Hospice is involved and I have been distracted to say the least. For those so inclined, this time around pass your prayers for one who will be going to the other side. This is a special, gentle person and she deserves all the peace and love and care that she has given to others. Take care everyone.

Jerry Ericsson Sun Oct 22 17:40:20 PDT 2000

The above web page should be of interest to anyone who likes to write, it is a place where independent writers can find current markets for their wares.

Reading? Well I have been reading a little of late, beside my chair lays the manual for the computer that I am working on, called PC100 SUPER 7 Mainboard manual, also the Hard drive bible, lays beside my chair, along with a rather large book called Building and Repairing Computers. Beside that, a book called Wanted Dumb or Alive, the tales of America's dumbest criminals. Additionally, the magazine Remedy, from which I was reading an article on pain management. Besides that, I am also reading a text called The American Short Story. Also reading Zane Gray's Riders of the Purple Sage, several articles from The American Rifleman (The Journal of the NRA) and Writers Digest. Other then that, I haven't read any good books of late, been too busy building another computer to sit beside my chair so I don't have to sit in the uncomfortable office chair in the dining room. It is complete now except for upgrading the processor, the upgrade which in in the mail and should be here soon. Then I can get back to reading for pleasure again.


Americo Sun Oct 22 16:30:55 PDT 2000

Oh, I should have given the example and tell you what I'm reading or just read. I finished "The Fifth Child" by Doris Lessing, a short novel that I recommended here because I know that some people like suspense, mystery, aliens and all that. Doris Lessing shows how to use those elements with art and even psychological and sociological interest. Her writing, almost without adjectives, is terse and to the point. I'd like a bit more poetry in that book, but I respect her style and understand that she does not use it. A great writer is this: someone we might not not agree completely with but whose style and methods we respect.

Now I'm reading the latest Lobo Antunes, "Go gently into that dark night" (small letters please, the title derives from a verse by Dilan Thomas) and Thomas Pynchon's "V." I do not promise to finish any of these books. I have so many books to read that I do not hesitate giving them up the moment they are not teaching me something new.

But above all I'm trying to write the very very very last version of a book which has been occupying me for many months now. I simply cannot get rid of it, though it's more than finished. A new kind of disease I did not know I suffered from: the opposite of writer's block, or perhaps a subtle kind of procrastinating the next.

Hallee Sun Oct 22 15:26:43 PDT 2000

Sadly, I'm not reading anything right now. Reading just doesn't sound appealing. The last book I read? I think it was the latest J.D. Robb..she writes a futuristic series of detective stories that take place in NYC in 2059. The protagonist is a woman who's a homicide detective. Very good books, if you're looking for a good story line and mindless action.


Tina Sun Oct 22 13:32:33 PDT 2000

Me again. Wow is this place quiet!
The votes have been placed from those interested, and ghost stories is the easy winner. What happens from here? This is just for the experience, not for publication, right? Do we post drafts, or just the finished piece?

I'm currently reading 'The Great Gatsby'. I bought it for a friend and decided to read it before giving it away, and I'm glad for it. It's a great read, and the story's not at all what I expected. Quite a contrast, given that the previous books I read were 'Harry Potter'! ;-)

Back to editing!

Americo Sun Oct 22 10:08:14 PDT 2000

Do you see, Heather? You mentioned a round robin and people ran away. Tell me if you need Jon's help and mainly his wip.

Just a moment, you ran away yourself after the election. Not a very nice thing to do, as Pussy would say. What a bunch of lazybones!

Tell me, people: what are you reading? Or perhaps an easier question: what was the last book you read?

The Bible does not count.

Tina Sat Oct 21 19:31:18 PDT 2000

Heyo Hallee! Isn't that the best sensation? Who needs drugs when you can have a writer's high? Haven't had one in a couple months, so I'm jealous, just a bit.

Arik, I'm glad to hear you're safe.

Heather, sorry I didn't post a shortie. Just not enough time. :-(

Here and gone again, again!

Hallee Sat Oct 21 15:28:30 PDT 2000

Wow - the last post was from 2:30am Notebook time. It's been quiet in here today.

I just came off of a major writing "session". Really dizzy, hungry, tired, and have a very bored child, but I wrote 2 chapters, so that's good.

Okay - I was just checking in. Have a great Saturday evening all.


Sat Oct 21 02:35:17 PDT 2000

Arik Sat Oct 21 02:26:54 PDT 2000

Guys. I thank you a lot for your concurn! I wil be ok. I missed you too guys :-).

Jerry - The song had nothing to do with the stone.... I just like the song. I am not going to go and throw stones! The song is talking about someone that is ni a senaterium, and he is gettin more and more insane. At the end, he descides to kill someone so he ill get out of there, even for a few days!

howard Fri Oct 20 19:41:49 PDT 2000

Remember -- In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king able to sneak into the girls' locker room and take videos...

Americo Fri Oct 20 16:25:49 PDT 2000

Perhaps we could write something about stoneheads... stonehenges... stone hearts... oh, I give up.

You're welcome, Rachel. Hope you solve all problems.

Jerry Lee Fri Oct 20 13:57:28 PDT 2000

Yo all,

Arik, It's good to see you back! I'm glad you made it through the stone throwing with enough wits about you to still be coherent.

You not being religeous, you may not have heard one of us Christian's favorite passages, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Certainly one of my favorites, but it doesn't mention the second stone.

Your song mentions a second stone. And kill is definately not a friendly word.

Take good care,
Jerry Lee

Rachel Fri Oct 20 12:30:55 PDT 2000

Hi all:)

Howard - I enjoyed our chat the other night. It was nice to meet up with somebody in there!

Heather - I know a guy who is into computer sciences. He has said he would take a look at my computer. I don't hold much hope for recovery of info. I am lucky that Americo has some of my work. He has sent me a couple of files and plans to send me more as he comes across them. I do have notes on my novels. One I wrote out long hand before I put it onto the computer. The other I have masses of notes on and I know that it is on disk. Then there is Shadows and I have it on disk, in hard copy and now once again it is in my computer. All that makes me happy. I have friends who have hard copies of other work. I have found that I printed some things up myself. Most of my poems were at some point scrawled across a scrap of paper. I just need to sort through my masses of paper (yes, be afraid - grins). As for the rest of my writing, partial novels I can re-write. It will take time and it isn't what I really wanted to do, but it can be done. All that I have lost can be replaced. In a way I guess I'm lucky ;D

Mary - WONDERFUL! Thank you so much.

Jerry - Hum, shoot the computer... Hum... Naw, I think I'll just get the hard drive replaced, then it should run along nice as can be. I once worked in an office and we had a Tandy computer from Radio Shack. I think that we should have shot that thing (grrrrrrr). How I disliked that computer. I danced the day it was replaced. I really did a dance. My boss had a laugh about it. I made him dance as well (No I didn't need a gun to get him to dance).

Arik - I have been worried about you. I am happy to hear that you are going to be okay. Please take care of yourself and keep your head and all your other body parts out of harms way.

Tina - I'm not really angry about my hard drive dying. I'm not excited. I'm not pleased. I'm just kind of blue about it from time to time. I have had a few moments when I feel little bursts of anger, but nothing lasting. It quickly fades into a sigh, oh well sort of feeling. It takes a lot to get me really fighting mad (grins). It would take more than a disk melt down. Still I had a nice little mental play with the ideas of shooting at the computer and beating it to bits.

Americo - Thanks for the stuff you have sent me (big hugs)!

Take care all,


Pussy Fri Oct 20 09:01:49 PDT 2000


why did you hit the stone with your head? Not a nice thing to do. Hope stone and head are fine.

howard Fri Oct 20 08:19:53 PDT 2000

ARIK -- Yes, it's good to see you're okay! Please stay that way!
I like the song, but have no idea who wrote it. Did you?

Hallee Fri Oct 20 08:15:14 PDT 2000

ARIK: It's good to see your post - I hope your head feels better soon. And...listen to our wise Jerry - duck. (smiles)


Jerry Ericsson Fri Oct 20 07:51:41 PDT 2000

Arik, very happy to hear that you are OK. We were all beginning to worry about you with all the violence in your city. Take care of your self, and heal fast. Next time duck.


mary Fri Oct 20 07:09:26 PDT 2000

ARIK: !!!!!! I am so glad that you are alright. I have been worried sick. Big hugs to you, and wishes to stay safe.

Arik Fri Oct 20 01:37:38 PDT 2000

Hey people. Well, I was in the hospital after a stone hit my head. I don't like arabs! I am ok now.... still hurts. How are you? what's new?

I saw a nice song, I want you to tell me what do you think about it:

Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
Welcome to where time stands still
No one leaves and no one will
Moon is full, never seems to change
Just labeled mentally deranged
Dream the same thing every night
I see our freedom in my sight
No locked doors, No windows barred
No things to make my brain seem scarred

Sleep my friend and you will see
That dream is my reality
They keep me locked up in this cage
Can't they see it's why my brain says Rage

Sanitarium, leave me be
Sanitarium, just leave me alone

Build my fear of what's out there
And cannot breathe the open air
Whisper things into my brain
Assuring me that I'm insane
They think our heads are in their hands
But violent use brings violent plans
Keep him tied, it makes him well
He's getting better, can't you tell?

No more can they keep us in
Listen, damn it, we will win
They see it right, they see it well
But they think this saves us from our Hell

Sanitarium, leave me be
Sanitarium, just leave me alone
Sanitarium, just leave me alone

Fear of living on
Natives getting restless now
Mutiny in the air
Got some death to do
Mirror stares back hard
Kill, it's such a friendly word
Seems the only way
For reaching out again.

Whoever knows who wrote this song, please don't tell. It is a suprise to show people that the world has more then 2 faces :-).

howard Thu Oct 19 18:28:37 PDT 2000

Okay, I wrote this a while back, one or two folks here might have seen it before, but I just trimmed a whole bunch of stuff out of it. Tightened it up a bit, I think. I hope it posts okay. I wanted to try an exercise all in dialog.

Howard Tuckey
wc wc 515

"Are you asleep, Goodman?"

"I was -- until now -- but I guess not any more."

"How are you this morning?"

"How are you this morning? Always 'how are you this morning!' What do you care how are you this morning? I don't even know what day it is and you want to know how are you this morning. It could be yesterday still, or even tomorrow. What makes you so sure it's this morning? Hah?"

"I just wanted to be pleasant, and make some conversation to pass the time."

"Pass the time? What pass the time? Pass away would be pleasant!"

"You know and I know that you don't mean that, Goodman."

"Well maybe someday I will, maybe someday."

"That's good, then I guess I don't have to worry. If you don't know if it's today, how are you going to know when it's maybe someday?"



"What now?"

"Did you hear Roy Rogers died?"


"Roy Rogers. Dead. He was 83. "

"I'm 83"


"I'm not dead."

"No, you're not dead."

"I'm 83."

"He didn't die from being 83. It was a heart attack, or something. Did you hear about it?"

"As a matter of fact, I did. You told me about it yesterday, or maybe it was today, since we don't even know what day it is. You'll probably tell me again tomorrow."

"Tell you what?"

"Roy Rogers is dead."

"I know he is, I told you that yesterday."

"Yes, you did. That Doody guy too, Buffalo Bill, whatever his name was."

"Bob. Buffalo Bob"

"That's him, Buffalo Bob… Dead."

"They're all going."

"Not going, dummy, gone. Burns, Sinatra, Riley. Now Roy Rogers. All gone."


"Riley the cop, the one on the corner. Gone."

"Yeah, Riley."

"All gone."

"Not many left any more."

"Even less, if you don't let me be...okay?"



"Say Goodman?"

"Now what?"

"Do you think she'll come by today?"

"Do I think who'll come by today?"

"You know who -- do you think she's coming by today?"

"How do I know is she coming by today? You're the one who's goofy over her, mister order-me-some-flowers-for-my-case-worker!"

"Never mind, it was for her birthday, and you're just jealous!"

"What jealous? She's too young for either of us. Besides, she's got a hyphen."

"A hyphen?"

"A hyphen."

"How could she still have a hyphen? She's married."

"In her name a hyphen, moron. You know, two last names, with a hyphen in the middle?"

"I told you, Goodman, women today are different."


"Anyway I like her big brown eyes."

"It was your eyes that were big, and it wasn't her eyes you were looking at!"

"You're crazy."

"I think I'll take a nap."


"Well there you are, Mister Goodman! I've been looking all over for you! I do wish they wouldn't leave you in here all by yourself all morning. I just came to thank you for the lovely flowers! How are you feeling today?"

"Not so good today, I think -- did you hear? Roy Rogers died..."

© 10/2000 Howard Tuckey

Heather Thu Oct 19 18:03:25 PDT 2000

Howard - post it here!

It doesn't matter if it's more of a short than a shortie short!

And here is my contribution for the evening:


"You talked to her and she said it was ok? I mean, she didn't whip out the dragon claws or anything?" He sat, chin leaning over his cooling cup of cafe au lait. One eyebrow was so high it slid under the whisps of hair that fell on his forehead.

"Santo, how many times has she actually growled at me?"

"I don't know! You said yourself that she hates you."

"Well, believe it or not, she didn't even get that look." Fawn sat back in her chair, one arm bent over the gaudily upholsered back, her hand swirling as if stirring his beveredge.

"THE look? The death ray?" He leaned forward further still.

"She didn't bat a single two-foot lash."

"Then you're going to switch."

"I just walked into her office, didn't even sit, and blurted out that I wanted chemical instead of mechanical. She just asked me one thing. That was it." One side of Fawn's mouth grew into a strange smirk.

"Well, what was it?"

"She wanted to know what my middle initial stood for."

"What? Why the hell would she want to know that for?" Santo's eyebrows knit into one large plait, his chocolate eyes staring.

Fawn stifled a laugh with the back of her hand. "I guess she was curious. With a name like Fawn B. Braun, you gotta wonder!"

"What did you tell her?"

"I said it stood for Brooke," Fawn smiled, sipping her Oolong tea.

"Does it?"


"Fawn Brooke Braun. Were your parents at Woodstock, by chance?" Santo slopped his spoon around in the muddy froth of his cup.

"My parents will kill me for switching half-way through the year." Her eyes roved the ceiling for something.

"Guess not."



howard Thu Oct 19 15:13:16 PDT 2000

There's free image editing at the url above, and also at and

All three look good (I've used the first one) and all three are free!

howard Thu Oct 19 15:04:47 PDT 2000

I found out.

We now return to our regularly scheduled broadcast.
HEATHER -- Where do you want our shorties? Here, or in the workbook?

howard Thu Oct 19 14:56:40 PDT 2000

This is a test

sorry to take the space

gotta find out

Heather Thu Oct 19 10:11:37 PDT 2000

Wow, Mary, that little ditty is sure cute. I've been wondering who those tech support guys were. They're U of G undergrads, and it's not Doom anymore, now it's Karmageddon.
I know - last time I called tech support, I heard the screeching of car wheels and a creepy voice coming over the line while I was on 'screw-you!-you're-gonna-wait-for-the-game-to-end hold'. Must have been some crossed wires.

Ever wanted to just drop by the server office and squeeze into the little back room, saying you're the new techie they hired? Yeah, and I brought the latest version of SimCity.
Let's build.

Short shortie night is coming up...

I have to think on my contribution too!


mary Thu Oct 19 08:12:03 PDT 2000

ASHLING: i cant take to much credit for those enigmatic line breaks. that is just what happened when i copy/pasted the thing. oops. sure makes the post look longer than it is.

JERRY: ha. the only type of outburst i have ever had like that was when i was sewing a little dress for my daughter. there was a particularly difficult piece of smocking i wanted to inlay into the top..and try after try i just couldnt get it. i walked calmly into the kitchen, placed the dress in my soup pot and lit it on fire. my husband looked up from his paper long enough to say, "you really should do that kind of thing outside."

boy, that felt good.

Jerry Ericsson Thu Oct 19 07:48:57 PDT 2000

Rachel and Mary - many many years ago, when I was but a rookie cop, we had a computer at the PD that always crashed. Every time we tried to do the simplest thing, it would go down, and we would need to get the techie guy from radio shack over to repair it. The day we replaced the horrid machine with a shiny new computer, running the newest operating system, with the newest software, we took the aging giant out to the firing range, and each took turns filling the aragent child of Bill Gates with bullet holes. Never have I been so satisfied following a firearms training session.


debra Thu Oct 19 05:45:16 PDT 2000


Unless I am wrong, I think you were the one whom started me protesting in the first place.



Ashling Thu Oct 19 03:04:26 PDT 2000

Dear Mary:
LOL. Hard to pick a fav, but the 2 techies playing Doom & the search engine that narrows it down to somewhere on Earth are real rib ticklers.

I am a bit puzzled by your line breaks ... there seems to be no rhyme or reason to where they occur. I'm reading a fantastic children's novel written completely in verse that employs a style similar to yours--Out of the Dust, by Karen Hesse. You might find it enjoyable--it won the Newbery Medal & other kudos.

Hi all!
Barnes & Nobles bookstores held free writers workshops nationwide last Saturday. I met two local upcoming writers and picked up a few tidbits on novel writing.

Hope everyone is Musing right along ... Back to chapter 13 for me.


mary Rache, this ones for you! Wed Oct 18 22:19:18 PDT 2000

I want to hurt my computer.
I want to buy a software program that, when
run, causes my
computer to suffer grievously, though not

When my screen freezes or turns blue, I want a
special button I
can push to make the CPU start squealing like a

I want a device that stores an electrical
charge in my telephone.

For every minute I spend on hold waiting for
technical support to
answer, the charge would increase in intensity.
When the guy
from tech support finally answers, the
electrical bolt of energy
would be discharged into him.

This should not affect my ability to hear
what's going on at the
other end of the line, of course.
And a special function would allow the volts to
double every time
a tape-recorded message urges me to continue
holding. "Your call
is important to us," the caressing voice always

I want my phone to be outfitted with a
translation program which
will reconstitute this irritating reminder into
the truth:
"Actually, we already have your money, so we
couldn't care less.
Our technical support department consists of
two college kids,
both of whom are busy playing Doom.

Eventually, one of them will come on the line,
but it will be the
one who doesn't speak English."

I want my modem to sense when my PC has
committed an "illegal
function" and issue a warrant to arrest Bill
Gates. When my
system crashes and I lose a file that has taken
me more than an
hour to create, I want someone from the
computer company to come
out and retype it for me.

There should be a rule that when software
engineers buy a new
car, their old cars should cease to function.
If they don't
understand why this is happening, they should
call me and I will
explain it to them.

How come when my computer catches a virus, I'm
the one who misses

I want to know why my printer always jams on
the last piece of
paper or the last sheet of checks. When this
happens, it makes
me want to put sandpaper into the manual feed
and print the
Emancipation Proclamation.

I want to know what good is a Web search engine
that returns
324,909,188 "matches" to my keyword. That's
like saying, "Good
news, we've located the product you want. It's
on Earth."

I want to know why, when I had a tiny hard
drive, my operating
system was virtually crash-proof and took up so
little space. My
new operating system is five times the size of
my original hard

Now I've found out that my PC no longer
my floppy drive! How could they not recognize
each other? They
live together in the same little tower!

Please understand, I don't hate my computer...
I just want to
hurt it every once in a while!

Tina Wed Oct 18 20:55:17 PDT 2000

Hello all!

Howard, I stand (sit?) firmly chastised and have sent you an e-mail!

Heather, I'm thinking about the shortie. Will try.

Rachel, when all that can be done is done - hopefully with some success along the way - I'd take that box of circuits out to a deserted gravel lot and do something nasty to it. Something to pay back the grief it's caused you... dump water on it... string it up by its little wires... drive over it... smash it with a bo staff...
Yes you might say I can be a teeny touch vindictive...

Here and gone again!

mary notdotcalm Wed Oct 18 20:28:45 PDT 2000

wow you guys have been busy beavers.

wonder if the wacky wizard put a whammy on the notebook..took forever for me to load today.

anybody looking for something to do that takes less effort than a short shortie....lets try our hand at tongue twisters shall we? hehe..Mark..i especially look forward to your contribution. something with a little sauce on it perhaps? winks.

with all the humour flitting about lately there ought to be some pretty good ones...or maybe i have just had a little too much cheap merlot.

i will be back to post mine later...hic.

Heather Wed Oct 18 19:46:35 PDT 2000

'The Fifth Child' sounds interesting. I like Stephen King's 'Shawshank Redemption', and stories in that 'vein' that he has written.

Debra: Here are a few Italian words that I know!

Scaraza [sic] means fart.
Streiga [sic] means witch.
Fongula [sic] means fuck.
Tortellini means funny noodles.

Any combonation of the above words is giggle-fodder if you live in an Italian neighbourhood. Not so good for you if they hear you, however.


Heather Wed Oct 18 19:41:56 PDT 2000

Howrad! Just saw your post now... I don't think 500 words is too large, so post away!
I always enjoy your stories.

All dialogue, you say? Now you've got me curious!!!!



P.S. Thanks for the hug yesterday (or was it today) Christie! I did need it.

((((( hugs right back ))))

Heather Wed Oct 18 19:38:55 PDT 2000

Rachel: I am so sorry to hear that your computer has been deemed irretrievably broken. Take it to another place, or even try your local University - the Computer Science department. Believe me, my brother is a computer scientist with a master's degree in the same, and he can save many a harddrive that those who work at the computer shop would never be able to fix.
He fished out my original manuscript in big enough chunks that I could have used it to re-write from, (minus the odd section) but instead I chose to use the time the computer was away to start over from scratch. It worked out well - my second complete draft is pretty much my final copy (with months of work and editing, of course). BUT I'm still not finished. I have to finish re-writing chapter 5 when I get the new system, and then I have loosely planned to have the book end by chapter 9 or 10. I realized that though I had wanted to end it by 8 chapters (seeing how large each chapter is, and gauging it by that) I know now that more detail is needed, and more time for my characters to really blossom to life for the readers, and then progress along to a suitable destination by novel end. Which basically means that my novel won't be completed by the close of chapter 8.

Anyway, I truly hope you can rescue your novels. Oh, what a tragedy if you cannot!
But it may be just your blessing in disguise, as the poofing of my first draft ended up to be. Mysterious ways, indeed!

Take care of yourself, Rachel, and hang in there! I hope you have a lot of what was in the drive on disk - that would save you much angst.
I'm glad your mac has proven to be more reliable. Stick with that system, my friend! (And tell everyone to buy you computer paper for Christmas!)


howard Wed Oct 18 19:26:05 PDT 2000

HEATHER -- Shorties? How many words? Is 512 too many? (It's all dialog)

TINA -- Where'd you go? Did you get into that story yet?

DEBRA -- Doth protest overmuch, methinks!

RACHEL -- Thanks for the chat!

nite, all

Heather Wed Oct 18 19:21:33 PDT 2000

Well, I read a bit more of the wizard person's superfluous 'blurb'; not a single sentence in it could be called a proper sentence, and what constituted as a 'sentence' did not have complete thoughts or ideas in them. There was not a single clear point in any of what I read, and believe me, I was searching.

I quit reading about half-way through, as none of it made sense - and I know a little bit about the conflict in Israel and surrounding area because of this week's earlier discussion going on between Arik and GS and other NBers. Any small resemblance to this previous discussion was merely name-dropping, and any understanding of this person's points was so clouded by his grammar, punctuation, and poor word choice that I could make no decision as to what his argument even was.

Anyhow, that's enough of that topic - I'm sure the reason he or she posted here was to grab our attention for what little time the 'speech' could keep it.

Jon, I have no idea what the topic could be tonight - but tomorrow night is SHORT SHORTIE NIGHT!

The short shortie will be disclosing information from one character to another. The information can be anything you like. Give us a quick sense of who the characters are, and what it is they're talking about - unless you want to subject of their discression to be mysterious!

Think on it for a night, everyone, and let's see what you've got in the storehouses of your writerly minds.

Mark, where are you? Arik?

Kisses upon kisses for you, Jon. Mermaids always pretend they don't like you - they are just protecting their soft oyster hearts. You must prove you are non-malficient; in other words, you must prove yourself of the loving kind, the sort of chap that is not out to harm a sacred sea-lady.
Mermaidens can be very prudent, which is understandable.
They don't have many visitors, and of those that do come by, most would rather scare the locals and rape the ocean of its wealth than take a lovely sea-lady's hand. She's show him the true wealth of the ocean if he would only see.
Best fishes for you, Jon! Remember not to use your claws, and don't eat any of her friends.


Debra Wed Oct 18 19:15:15 PDT 2000


I'm definately not sure it's the correct spelling.

I wrote them how they sound


Jerry Ericsson Wed Oct 18 18:02:00 PDT 2000

WOW that Johnney Wizzard can sure write one long sentence, I think that set some sort of record, for those who subscribe to such things.


Americo Wed Oct 18 17:23:36 PDT 2000

I've finished reading a short novel by Doris Lessing, "The Fifth Child". I thought that those who like Stephen KIng but wish something a little more sophisticated would enjoy this book.

are you sure that the words you wrote are Italian? Well, Jon is going to be delighted. He's always trying to learn new vocabulary and new languages.

Debra Wed Oct 18 16:32:36 PDT 2000


I also know munga



e o teamo

So that's it


Debra Wed Oct 18 16:02:56 PDT 2000


The only Italian I know is stunad and choclate, which is stupid and chocolate.

Oh yea moose is supposed to be mouth.

That's all I got. My grandparents speak it.

They are not members of the notebook.


Jon Wed Oct 18 15:00:45 PDT 2000

Kisses to you too.

Translation in Italian please? No a capito niente.

I had an idea. Since this is an international site perhaps we could post in several languages.

So, Debra will use her best Italian, Arik his best Hebrew (or Yiedish if he prefers), Heather her best Canadian, an so on. I'll give the example writing a message in my own language:

Boa noite a todos!

Jon Wed Oct 18 14:52:09 PDT 2000


Long time no see.
Give us a hug.

Debra Wed Oct 18 12:29:53 PDT 2000

I would just like to point out that this prediction of Sasquatch showing up of Jon's and then he shows takes all the heat off of me.

Just so you know.


sasquatch Wed Oct 18 12:03:33 PDT 2000

no, jon creature, i sasquatch do not have to do with seafood except to eat, and think mere maid not to my taste. not tough and stringy as cat but much heart burning after. i must go.

Hallee Wed Oct 18 11:58:52 PDT 2000


***Kisses*** to you


Debra Wed Oct 18 11:47:45 PDT 2000


Where have you been?

I hope all is well?


Jon Wed Oct 18 10:59:51 PDT 2000

Heather, any program for tonight?

It's very lonely under the water. I'm in love with a mermaid. She's called Lucy. But she does not like me. If you want to write me, I'm under the Pacific Ocean (not Mediterranean or Atlantic). Send me kisses.

The usual greetings to all.

PS. Lucy, the mermaid, told me that sasquatch is coming for a visit. I can't believe.

howard Wed Oct 18 10:56:09 PDT 2000

RACHEL -- (and anyone else who's worried about losing stuff) There's a free backup service at driveway (see the url above) that looks pretty good. You can store files, folders, etc there in a secured environment, and keep it available for use, nd even for sharing, if you wish. Looks pretty good, and fairly straightforward/easy to use.

ALL - for those who haven't heard, there's a new Email virus out. Something about PRESIDENTS, FBI, with an attachment ending in .vbs
It hit the campus where my wife works, and mucked up their internal email pretty badly. Just be careful opening attachments, even from folks you know, as it's one of those self-sending things.


Rachel Wed Oct 18 09:31:09 PDT 2000

Heather - I have started to print off what I write. I have some of my old stuff in print, some in hand notes, some in very messy point notes. I still have the ideas, I'll just need to re-write. It will take time and it will be better, of that I have little doubt.

I got the word back yesterday that my old computer is toast. They can't do anything with it. Can't even reformat the thing. It is as dead as dead can be. I of course am having a bit of a hard time accepting this and plan to take it in to once more place. Hey, you never know (grins).

Either way I'll save that crusty old hard disk. It marks a very important time in my life.

Thank you for the sympathy. It is exactly what I was looking for (grins)! It really was. I had the poor me thing going on about my computer troulbes.

So far I have had no trouble with my iMac and I hope it stays that way.

Have a great day you.


PS - I wish you all the very best with the round robin.

Rosemary Wed Oct 18 08:52:34 PDT 2000

Hello All,
Did anyone else get an email trying to sell a lot of search engines for approx. $29? At the end of the message it said to cancel I had to call an 888 number. I deleted the message and I'm not calling any 888number. I've heard of people being charged a lot of money for just calling that kind of number. And, they can send me all the bills they want, I'll just forward them to what ever officials handle that kind of scam.

Dear Mr. Wizard,
I read the first 4 lines and the Post Script of your posting.

Do you realize that in your PS you said you would take any job EXCEPT corporate sponsorship or well paid jobs. Who would hire a writer that can't tell ACCEPT from EXCEPT?
You also need to learn how to edit. I will be amazed if anyone reads your whole posting. Especially someone looking to hire a writer.

That should be enough of me being mean for today.

Write happy,

Debra Wed Oct 18 08:32:15 PDT 2000


That's ouch twice removed.


howard Wed Oct 18 08:13:05 PDT 2000

DEBRA -- And George with his wooden teeth!
..."Martha! You got slivers where???"

Debra Wed Oct 18 07:51:28 PDT 2000


If I do the math, the third hopper and the grandmother twice removed that would make the push up bra how old?

Maybe it's Martha Washington's push up bra.

There's a picture for you.

You know Martha in a push up bra.



howard Wed Oct 18 07:42:22 PDT 2000

JOHNNY -- johnny, johnny... What are we going to do with you? You completely ignored the effects of Johnathon Winters and the Piltdown man on the efficacy of dehydrated yeast at an altitude of 7000 feet when the moon is in Aquarius and the House of the Rising sun is flooded due to a push-up bra being dumped down the third hopper from the left on your grandmother's side! (twice-removed)

Heather Tue Oct 17 23:09:10 PDT 2000

Whoever the wizard person is, I couldn't get past the first two lines. I then scrolled down to see how long this windy thing would be to read - and made a quick decision not to bother. Never have my posts - or short story postings for that matter - been that lengthy. Ego problems come to mind for a rant that long. Not even Dennis Miller....

Rhoda, we'll miss you while your computer is wrapped up.

Rachel, my heart goes out to you! Sometimes it doesn't matter if you save it a hundred times, to disk and harddrive. Sometimes the novel just gets sucked into the big void. I sincerely hope yours do NOT - I pray with all my might all of your efforts won't go poof. If you cut practically half of what you write, you effectively write two novels in the course of refining one. I guess I haven't counted how many words I've edited over time, but I don't think they equal half...
But I accidentally had the whole 30,000 word thing edited once...(POOF)

The only thing I know for sure, is that to save things permanently (barring fire or flood) you've got to print out your ms at every opportunity - such as before you start editing, and after. It is so easy to read on paper and edit that way as well. It's easy to re-type parts you end up wanting to 'uncut' too. And that way, if calamity visits, you still have every word in hand, and if it is worth it to type it all back in again, you can.
Or scan it back in, and onto Word again, if that's possible.
I'm sure it is. I know it requires a lot of paper, but here in Guelph, we recycle EVERYTHING. Including 'wet' (food) waste, which gets made into compost, and sold in the spring to gardeners. So using that much paper isn't so guilt-endowed for me.

Printing it out sure beats memorizing the whole manuscript.

Jerry Lee, good point you've made!

Goodnight, friends.
Need to have my thyroid glands tested tomorrow at Dr.'s. Have to have my son's leg checked again, and my daughter's heart, and my husband's back. I pray my beloveds are perfectly healthy.

Off to listen to my self-made subliminal tape, daring to build my confidence, but NOT ego. I wouldn't trust a subliminal tape that someone else made, as you never know what exactly it might fill your unconscious cavities with. Better to trust your own script.


Rhoda Tue Oct 17 19:21:15 PDT 2000

It is time to put the computer away. Talk to you folks in a few days.

Take care and God Bless,


Jerry Lee Tue Oct 17 19:14:01 PDT 2000

Yo All!

Rosemary, Please add my name to the A vote. But don't worry, I probably won't participate. But it sounds like the most attractive option, open to anything.

Heeeyyy Misssterrrr Wizzzeeerrrd!, (Remember that cartoon?)
How long did you have to save up your negative thoughts to compile that long bit of nonsense? While this page is inherrently a great place to vent, to literally fill it with that kind of tripe is just what you had's rude.

Well, better go before I begin to vent too much myself.
Jerry Lee

Rhoda Tue Oct 17 16:21:34 PDT 2000

Tonight is my last night to post for a few days. The packers come tomorrow and I must put up my computer before they get here.

I once visited a web-site sponsored by a guy in England who provided select tours of Southern England. He was an ex-college professor and lived in an old mansion or castle. His guests stayed in the rooms and took their meals at the castle. Perhaps this might be a nice starting point for the round robin. In a mysterious location such as a castle we could incorporate ghosts, foreign espionage, romance, and even science fiction. It all depends upon the guests. I also like the old ship idea T.O.M. had. Think about this.

I must go now. I will try to post one more time before I put everything away.

God Bless,


Rachel Tue Oct 17 15:18:24 PDT 2000

Teekay - YOU SWEET THING! I loved that you would wish something so nice for me. Thanks (big hugs).

Americo - I send you hugs.

Rachel Tue Oct 17 15:15:45 PDT 2000

Christi - Thank you for your kind words (hugs).

Heather - Thank you also. I didn't forget that it was you and Christi who spoke up last time "Shadows" came up.

I also am working on a novel. I have said before that I like to edit. I still do (grins). I can be brutal when I edit my work. I will cut thousands of words without so much as the blink of an eye. I will save an idea and maybe a sentence and hack away the rest of the rot. The piece that I'm workiong on now is at just over 15 thousand words and I have likely edited out the same amount. In my old computer, I have three completed first draft novels. I have three half completed novels, not to mention countless story starts, poems. You name it. I'm feeling a little sad today about having so much gone. My computer is now in for service. Maybe it can be saved, maybe not. I guess what I'm saying is my heart goes out to you while your system is down. I hope that anything that is wrong can be sorted out and that you do not loose much. I hadn't really thought about how much was locked up in my computer till the other day at least not in an inventory of loss sort of way.

Don't feel too bad for me. I have much of my stuff on disk. I'm just not sure what at this point. That will teach me not to save stuff (grins).

Okay, that will be enough of a tantrum from me.

Johnny Wizard Tue Oct 17 15:10:27 PDT 2000

Welcome one and all to this world of wonder

Hi everybody, especially my Russian and Chinese friends
who share our same world like everyone else does. We
see ourselves coming to our own extinction, and the
corporate automatons seem to have taken to much control
from us to save our own lives. Monsanto managers have
yet to even be publicly condemned, or even hunted down
for questioning by the corporate media, while
continuing to work at destroying all of life, which
includes yourself in our deteriorating environment that
is a part of us all in every country. That most in our
governments have very little respect for as ourselves
it would seem. Our real scientists are being ignored,
along with our economists, and our public interest
groups are being considered outsiders. We've worked
longer than you can imagine believing that we could
succeed together at this juncture in history, by simply
addressing those who are profitizing off our suffering,
but the literacy rate is so unbelievably low in
America, and their ability to reason, is far from your
average Swede or Cuban. Many, if not even 99.9% know
and feel we're being ignored by the corporate news
machines, and feel desperate to stop Monsanto, and
others of the same who are just really dumb, attempting
to silence you, as those that try with their ignorance
of God to stop us from trying to help yourself, ha, but
I can only commit myself to do so much as John, Jesus
or Satan, who doesn't want to tell you what to do, only
what you think is right for yourself by reviewing the
facts on your own. Vote Nader! There is plenty of
room for everyone including Monsanto employees but
sadly, they're starting to fall to pieces already,
trying to take you with them, instead of admitting to
our error, and that there is indeed a heaven and hell,
with me as saviour. I forgive, you forgive, let us
work with Monsanto to stop them from ignoring us all
wether they want to or not, okay? Heaven is here for
you by simply trying to help ourselves. No, really,
it's this easy. Simply passing this magical document
to someone you care about provides yourself with
immense God like power while working with the universe.
It's a simple request offered from yourself, hi, in
this, the twilight zone of infinity, like in a fractal,
or mandelbrot, that you too, by choice can be a part
of, because you really are, no question about it.
Newspapers have shown to be a representation of our
weakest and most cowardly, probably because I guess, I
can be pretty frightening, who instead of learning by
mistake, or thinking of me as just a man on a mission
with a really big ego problem, leave us all to die in
hell from their deliberate ignorance and fear of
stupidity. Again, I tell you, as anyone else familiar
with this would, billionaire Monsanto board members
have no arguments or defense. (These are the kind of
people Bush wants to give a huge tax break to, instead
of a tax saving universal health care program for
living people that benefits all, and is cheaper, along
with better pay for doctors.) This is why they offer no
comment like the WTO or the World Bank representatives.
This is the unacceptable excuse of America's corporate
news services that are presently trying to feed you, by
claiming this isn't newsworthy by ignoring us like
themselves. This is why Monsanto must be stopped at
all our costs that you don't really have to pay, I was
just kidding. Just because they say they own our genes
doesn't by Johnny law, require us to give up living
free. Period. Farmers, please for the love of God, do
not use their mutant seeds, and after Sept. 15, 2001,
feel free to do what you will to these demons of hell
for trespassing on our property, if they haven't
already by that time been completely shut down by
ourselves. Watching CNN can make me sick. They have
some great people, and a thousand computers, but where
is the news? CNN covers the Israeli conflict like it's
a Jewish thing! These armed soldiers who gun down rock
throwers aren't Jewish. Sharon isn't Jewish, but a die
hard nazi. He walks into the holy site with a hundred
soldiers, knowing that actual Jews are not allowed by
God lest they tread on the holiest of holies. Common
knowledge among us Jewish. We need practicing Jews in
Israel to name him rightly a heretic! A fascist! An
anti-Jerusalemite! He has committed the most heinous
insult to all practicing Jews as Palestinians who
believe in a God. The Palestinian police didn't fire
back until the forth day of conflict, with good
reasons. There was one single death of a non-Jew
soldier two days into the slaughter who's facts are
very shaky, along with the much later, sacrificial
lambs who took a wrong turn because I guess they
weren't familiar with the area. The real God loving
Israelites from both sides of the fence marched
publicly in protest. Most Jews do not support the
American nazis in the region, but want diplomacy. This
is a highly American tax payer paid for Pentagon
equipped military with tanks, fighting, well, picking
off civilians with maybe a couple or twenty riffles and
sling shots! With Arafat willing to call it an actual
war, because public discussions are not his forte.
Here's a man who for thirty years has turned the
faithful against their friends. King Hussein of
Jordan, the Lebanese, and Kuwait. Sounds a little like
me unfortunately. But CNN is working to divide us by
telling us these right wing fascist nazis propped up by
the state department represent the dumbing down of
America, and actually believe in a all loving God who
believes in equality, and a love for our fellow
comrades. What with so many Palestinians losing their
land and houses, businesses, and families, just like
many of the victims of WWII under similar
circumstances. Jews should be outraged! Don't get me
wrong, some of these Palestinians aren't innocent
angels either, and a small few will burn in hell I'm
sure. Let us not fear the truth okay? Arafat walked
out of an agreement that would have provided the
Palestinians with much, with no explanation on his part
that I am aware of, because I'm not completely clear on
where Arafat wants to stand. Like Bush, I'm sure he
believes he cares. I know of many great men and women,
who have brought representation for us humans in the
conflict, and many are of the best that God is as us,
trying with all our minds to offer resolution to a
fight with brainless savages using deadly weapons. We
believe that the Palestinians who represent all
religions in the area have a rightful claim, more so
than anyone else, as anyone who knows half or more of
this history would agree, but they have very little
political representation in the western corporate
media, largely because Arafat doesn't speak English,
and CNN rarely if ever likes giving information out to
the public. Although Frontline did do a documentary a
couple years ago, that anyone who watched it, would
have too easily been angered against the right all the
timers who commit themselves to hatred in Israel, and
so doing, find sympathy for the devil. Let us be
honest with the facts. They've had their possessions
stolen, and kicked off their land they lived on for as
far back as history takes us, including biblical
writing that can be taken the wrong way that we did in
a different world. The Palestinians would and do have
a vested interest in having Jerusalem available to all
religions because they are comprised of just that,
unknown to Americans and Arafat though of course
because this truth the warmongers at the Pentagon do
not want Americans to know about, because it's where
they steal billions from tax payers, and where Arafat
get's to play his leadership roll, and where the right
wingers try to confuse the weaker, more poorerly
educated claimed American Jewish people, that the land
must be governed by a group that does not believe in
any God as creator of all things considered. I mean,
come on, is it pretty hard to believe. The right all
the timers are atheists trying to deceive the Jews into
believing they don't have a rightful claim as a part of
the eternal universe through God. The world community
has repeatedly since the late forties condemned them
for treating the people of Israel unjustly. So your
living in your house and farming the land, that your
great great great great great great great great great
grandfather has left with you, and some American nazi
pounds on your door, and tells you to get out and live
in a ghetto with your family immediately because of
your rightful heritage, and take only the clothes on
your back or be shot, or put into prison, and corporate
America says Americans, who believe in freedom of
religion, and who are against discrimination, and
criminal theft, and who would say they were apposed to
Hitler, can't take a side. Huh? What about life, good
food, and a loving family in the presence of an
omnipotent God thing, you know, like in most of the
bible, Gunsmoke, and The Waltons? What about treating
ourselves as others! Hmmm... I feel like I'm failing
here, but I don't know what else to say. America must
demand the Pentagon tanks to move away from Ramallah at
the edge of Gaza to stop the conflict, or prepare for
extensive American military action ONLY against
Israel's right wing military insurgency, along with
demands to institute the Oslo agreement that was made
but not enforced, with a U.N. tribunal against nazi
jews who continue to try to sabotage, but their cowards
who murder innocent families routinely, and are run by
the always lying to us public nazi themselves, so it's
the right thing to say, but likely they won't stand up
for justice, or the truth, while these stupid evil
ignorant people attack civilians who mostly want peace
to live free like everybody else does. Did you know
the nazi pentagon troops in Israel working with Sharon,
have repeatedly attacked villages in Lebanon, killing
innocent families for nothing, no justifiable reason
whatsoever? That trained American fighter pilots
deliberately with plan and intent, strafed down
children along with Kuwaiti families, running for their
lives with no where to turn in an ambush of perhaps
close to the most evil crime ever committed, not
counting Hiroshima that was dropped when they knew
Japan was already going to surrender, who's fight began
in Pearl Harbor that had functioning radar? Illegal of
course, but as usual no unamerican commander has even
been court marshalled by a real American, and CNN
doesn't want to talk about it, or what justice is, or
show the footage, and some anti-american soldiers are
so flag waving patriotic to the point of using
bacterial agents against all Americans, including those
unarmed Mr. Heston! Justice and truth are, hmmm,
almost independent, and with an understanding of their
important functions, we would be able to defend
themselves from self destruction. There never was any
agreement to steal this land from those who lived
there, just the opposite. No where in the Balfour
declaration does it say these nazis from WWII, or
anyone else, can displace the people of Israel, and the
man involved in the declaration was appalled at finding
out how his interest in helping his fellow Jew was so
thwarted against his intentions. But every time
someone brings up the facts to the floor, the nazis try
to ignore us because their stupid, and hold positions
of power with no ability for our coppers to get to
them. This my friends, was the result of us all losing
to america's Hitler. The World Bank crimes for
example. There is no police organization presently
capable of investigations into their wide open crime
spree. The Morris report covering the World Bank and
those criminally responsible for silencing it, while
displacing two million people, along with farmers, to
leave them live in a garbage dump, and, oh, it's a
nightmare. In the world I am, and will institute, a
crime of such magnitude against humanity, would
guarantee a 25 year sentence with all personal assets
seized, minimum. This is a crime where I have to ask,
why is it that I don't favor executions? Did you know
these evil bastards still even steal there working our
lives, with no corporate news coverage because they
don't allow us to protect ourselves? The U.N. is the
only capable organization to manage such a world
corporate crime division, but we as humanity can't even
presently deal with Toronto. Although, I am in every
respect a nazis worst fear in this new world with
eternity. We are forgiving, and I try to never take
the offensive, only defence that becomes something that
far exceeds in toll what anyone could barely attempt
with violence, like in judo where we together are the
force. E=MC, hmmm, squared. I am willing to concede I
could be wrong if someone can offer an arguement to my
contentions, and I know I have room to grow. This
paper would only offend the ignorant and stupid who
hate others blindly for no good reasons, or can show me
through words how I am being wrong in my assumptions.
If you feel you can't help yourself from hating me, too
bad. I'll be reaping in a town near you shortly, and I
have your time to spare, and the quicker your mindless
hatred is out of our picture, the better for all so we
can party forever. I would like to apologize for being
so hard on the Rockellers, I do believe what I've
stated to be true, but I sometimes forget who I am, and
that we are all only human. The world community
through the U.N. has repeatedly condemned the U.S.
funded military in the region against the children of
Israel, many times with resolutions that the corporate
American news machine refuses to acknowledge exist in
newscasts. Crimes have been committed over and over
again by only the lowest forms of mankind in the area,
usually bred racists who have a hard time thinking
otherwise, people who call themselves Jews
sacrilegiously, who with the help of soldiers, who
again, are not practicing Jews, go into areas with nazi
soldier protection like Gaza, to committed despicable
crimes protected against those that are not, and
innocent, with the known criminals still being left
unconvicted, and not condemned by America, against a
people attacked for only their religions, you know,
Catholics, Muslims and Jews, in a story told before, by
nazis hunting down those who would be deemed unworthy
by themselves. Will we ever learn? This is why
corporate American republicans fight against education.
They know if the public was smarter, they'd hold no
power. The right wing fascist nazis to the core party
of Israel often discriminate against all which includes
themselves, Palestinians hold many religions, and many
views, while the right wing nazis in government hold
none, other then trying to get our respect in being
evil to God as our bothers. These bastards have
ignored their previous agreements, and their word.
Despicable, deplorable, evil, and against all religions
including the atheists. Most, being more than half the
people of Israel support freedom of religion, and
sharing the land that the situation has brought before
us as God, or just me as Johnny. The corporate media
often doesn't provide them a voice though, as they
don't for us others here either, and are our
representation of our most cowardly, to protect your
fear of ourselves. **** us off with your hatred for
us, and I as John may just return the favor. Vengeance
seems to be mostly mine as God I guess. Live and let
live, or ---- off and die. Brain washed un-american
commi soldiers gunning down civilians, using bio
warfare weapons on Americans, Pentagon people who are
billionaires, and bankers who know better than anyone,
they've done nothing for no one, to pay themselves
outrageous wages off our backs and mortgages. Who are
constantly working to keep us divided and at war with
each other. With corporate welfare condoned by those
who leave the homeless to fend without land for food,
or a clean spring to drink from, or in some cases, even
a park to sleep in, like in Toronto Ontario. Oh dear,
we are not doing very well, and if we don't do
something about this, your all going to be done for by
mother nature. She's a babe, but we together can take
only as much as we can take before spewing back this
crap in return. Life is unfair sometimes, well so far
mostly it seems, and I still as the redeemer have not
been publicly introduced, because I guess I'm such a
wild and crazy dude. As I've said, I am prepard to
debate politely the facts with anyone who even wants to
call me names, facts regardless of weather I speak them
or not. I will continue to demand corporate board
members who murder us with their deliberate ignorance
no longer to be tolerated. The nazis from Maryland who
put MMT into our lungs to kill us must be stopped now
at all costs. They must be put into prison
immediately, or be shot. Again, the same problems in
judgement by our stupidest, who give the most evil and
corrupted an excuse to continue, do so by saying,
everything will kill you. I want these monsters in
hell now! Strychnine is natural as is to water, and
cigarettes will kill you, but our rage could be
quicker. Come on CNN, help yourself as if you were
actually living human beings and not a cog in a
corporation. Republicans are generally, but not
always, weak and thoughtless, and could be exposed if
you would challenge them on their facts, or math to put
them in their rightful place, not where they often
could only be gotten by fixed elections. The numbers
just don't add up. Like in America, where the public's
government has fallen so far now, that corporate
America has gotten away with privatizing public
balloting secretly. CNN doesn't want to talk about it
though, or 435 odd pre-registered pre-counted people
with a poll out an hour after the two person debates on
what they thought. We'd like to see that phone room
along with where they got the list to make such
outrageous claims. Generally, I like Jewish food, well
I like all food just about, and most Jewish friends I
have are knowledgeable, witty, and agree with the truth
when they are presented with it, and tell me useless
but very interesting facts on things too sometimes.
Commi right wingers of all nationalities, who work
intently to divide us by religion, sexuality, or skin
tone, do so for our money and often cause our deaths,
because they refuse to believe they are not adults yet
like the rest of us. Your average self proclaimed
right winger's ability to deceive is extremely poor,
and near a dummy puppet level because they don't
generally think or listen for themselves, but for
private publicly funded welfare non-living entities, or
are directly funded by bankers with what is public
money for their private interest to continue robbing us
all, because more often than not, they just don't know
any better. I've addressed this mechanical device in
"Stand Together Or Don't", quite well if I may say you
should read it. They think with our rules toe to toe
they would fail, when they could instead grow and
become better individuals along with the rest of us on
our journey to forever. We're not really that cruel
despite the only way they are presently capable of
conceiving the world as us together. Bankers largely
believe private banks are their private business, when
they are clearly in the wrong on what is our currency.
We've had bank closures in rural areas in Canada
because they weren't taking enough money of ours for
themselves, taking a profit, but just not enough to
suit their tastes for our fine arts and needless waste.
This is not the action of our government, but the cause
of inaction in government to govern ourselves, instead,
leaving our interests in the hands of private bankers
with public funds. Mr. Bush's nightmare coming true.
They're are life positions in Texas that rule above and
over the governor and the people, a state who's minimum
wage is $3.25. Strange eh? We have banks that are
privately contracting their own private but separate
publicly researched and paid for ATM machines, while
removing their own to charge us double! No, triple,
well not exactly, they will take as much as they can
from you until they are stopped by ourselves by you
waking up. No, really. We need immediate and swift
regulations on these bankers now! They're crazed!
They are not working with or for us, but against us, by
bleeding us to the grave, or trying to drive us to war
against each other like they have done time and time
again up until God made the scene to draw this
contrast. Attacking all of us by taking our money and
lives when clearly they have no right to. The World
Bank demands developing countries to close down their
federal banks, if the bought off politicians want to
help exploit and destroy their country's development.
What the hell is a 2% return on social security? How,
tell us CNN, is this possible in America, the land of
freedom? Are you telling me every savings account in
America has less than a 2% return on deposits, while
private bankers first multiply by 10 then, what, take
10%? That goes where? Who's money is that? It is
certainly not no private bankers, share holders, bond
traders or anyone else other than us who are being over
charged, or just plain robbed against our will and
interests, while increasing inflation that burdens upon
us all as pilgrims. Greenspan, if anyone, must know
this stuff no? Billions and billions taken from us
every year to go into the pockets of one or two
un-elected family bank presidents, with a couple hand
outs to the lower echelons, from each bank building who
do nothing for it but the devil work to steal it, and
often use this same money of ours to purposefully
exploit the third world, and think they're personally
worth it, and, I'm laughing now, with some left to
dream they get to do this to me forever over all our
dead bodies! But I'm sadly dead already riding along
this sentence that I see before me never ends. Weee!
We got no ending and I'm Jesus Christ all mighty! An
old old man is me, but, I can compete with any of ya
young whipper snappers in a match of wit by playing the
secret, I'm stupid dumb and ignorant bamboozled triple
ploy. Hiya! Your on a road to nowhere buddy, so come
on along with yourself this could be fun! Castro was
recently commenting on the American people, on CBC
world wide television, comments that are of course
denied from American television to listen to by the
lifeless corporate news departments, and he said of the
good people, "Although they have been fooled many times
and have defended unjust causes, they tend to be
idealistic, and for them to defend a bad cause one must
lie to them first. Therefor, when they believe they
are doing what is right, they support that cause
although it is unjust; but when they discover the
truth, they are then capable of changing their minds."
One example of course was the kidnapping of Elian.
Once Americans learned that not one single person has
ever been executed in Cuba since Castro over threw the
CIA drug runners, murderers and torturers, that the
child's father in fact responded officially in 24 hours
despite all corporate American news saying otherwise,
that the boy was kidnapped by a disgruntled mother from
the father who had custody, and that life is a great
deal better in a country that respect themselves as
family, even under tyrannical attack by dumb
republicans who feel proud for supporting nazis in the
Jewish state of Israel. Castro also stated that "In
our country, hatred against the U.S. people was never
instilled; we accused the government's politics, but we
were not fanatics." "We don't have any blockade, any
hostility, any aggressive measures against the U.S.; it
was the U.S. administrations that adopted these
measures against us." "...They believe (under corporate
controls) they have the best system, (highest human
depravation rate, lowest literacy, highest
imprisonment, private for owner profit schools funded
with public dollars, universal health care left
unguarded because these private corporations have no
defence with the argument, trillions taken from the
average investor in the market place that repeats
through CNBC things are even better than ever, bla,
bla, bla,) and we believe we have the best system in
every sense." This is why corporate America won't allow
Americans to decide for themselves with the facts that
are availible to everybody else in every other
industrialized country that has universal health care,
a federal bank, and a trying to serve the public
national news department. If the corporate news
censors actually believed their own bull, they wouldn't
deny these arguments from the American people that are
well documented facts. Castro continued, "..We can
demonstrate, mathematically, what our system is, what
it does for society, what it has always done, what it's
life and behavior has been, despite the deluge of lies
and slander." But you see Americans, this is how the
corporate America machine deliberately works against
you. CNN allowed statements continually from criminals
in Miami to lie to you without allowing ever, any
rebuttal. Castro again, " Not one extrajudicial
execution, let them search for one. No person ever
tortured, let them search for one. It does not matter
how many times this slander has been repeated, let them
look for one and see if they can find just one.
...Travel around the whole island and ask the people if
they known anyone who has been tortured, yet that
slander has been thrown at Cuba billions of times."
Yet, in America, a person can be imprisoned for life
without trial as a political prisoner if they don't
succeed at making it to the border to claim political
asylum here in Canada, in Cuba, their offered the
facts, living wages, or a trip back to their bank
bosses in America. Cubans are free to travel the
world, while Americans can not. When speaking on
republican corporate blockades against the Cuban people
Castro said, " These events deprived us of practically
all our markets, all our trade and placed our country
in such a terrible situation that only a high level of
patriotic and political consciousness and a great
spirit of sacrifice have made it possible to overcome
such trials, which no other country in Latin America
would have been able to overcome. When 30,000 people
were missing in Argentina, (murdered by the nazis at
the Pentagon) nobody broke off relations with
Argentina. The Argentine military (supplied by the
nazi Pentagon) collaborated in Central America in the
dirty wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Nobody broke
off relations with the Central (republican nazi
Pentagon funded) American countries which disappeared
more than 100,000 people. (I've heard the bastards at
the Pentagon murdered closer to 300,000, with the
primary target being teachers and preachers.) You know
(speaking to Canadians who aren't denied American
history, like in corporate America) what happened in
Central America, you must know about it. You must know
what happened in Chile and you must also know who was
behind the coup d'etat in Chile. Where are the guilty
parties? (Still cashing the public unaccountable
American tax payer checks at the Pentagon, that's
where.) Why do they not talk about the guilty parties?"
I think Americans have the right to ask themselves
these questions too when CNN covers American politics,
don't they believe in a democracy of a free America,
that sustains itself with justice and liberty, along
with the awesome power of truth to allow the impossible
dream to come true? If you can't see why Castro is a
hero, it's only because you don't know any better, or
are ignorant and stupid, or likely as an American, have
some difficulty in reading this, just the way the nazi
fear monger private bankers like you, complacent as
slaves attacking each other like hungry and homeless
savages looking for some else to blame. Lot's of good
people in the American nation governed by murderous
cowards, don't get me wrong, but this world revolution
business is intense from a Johnny prospective. I am
still offering my time for maybe a weekly entertainment
show on CNN if they'll have me. Oh, well. Anyway, I
should be arriving in Washington in a few days, along
with a spotlight on myself in one of the brave local
papers, and I'm hoping Mr. Clinton will grant us an
interview to explain why he has not yet taken war
action against Monsanto on behalf of ourselves. See
you there!

I am the revolution,

Your King,

Johnny Wizard

P.S. I am still excepting corporate sponsorship, or
well paid job prospects. Hey! I could write about
restaurants as a critic easy to please! Or, maybe I
could be a clown in a traveling circus, or as a
magician in a show of life's extraordinary magic by
just being myself. God, I think I'm getting giddy, I
love you like too crazy!

Hallee Tue Oct 17 14:54:49 PDT 2000

You looked like you needed a hug.

If A is picked - mine will definitely be a mystery. I couldn't stand the thought of it not. No ideas yet, but something will come.


Heather Tue Oct 17 13:23:26 PDT 2000

Sorry to hear that you are short on time, Americo.
With Jon and Pussy tied up for the moment under the Atlantic, (or was it the Mediterranean?) you might need to hire yourself a new secretary. I think Anne Rice might be free. And, does Mediterranean have two d's, two t's or two r's?

What a freaking mess the kitchen is. I still haven't bought our new computer system yet, so I am afraid to write on my novel lest I foul up my disks. I have been editing and unable to go into the ms and change anything yet, so my editing has actually taken on a different light. I can actually read through most of a chapter without stopping to re-work what might otherwise get overworked. I've corrected the minors, and caught back up with my latest thought threads. Another amazing thing about having to take this long a break from writing is - the OTHER reading I've been up to has actually contributed nicely to concepts I was struggling to put into words before. You know you have a point to make by all these actions and words, but somewhere during the course of writing and also trying to stay cognizant for the long haul, you may discover your initial ideals have been somewhat diluted, forgotten for the slush pile of scenes, back-dropped for the instant gratification of a spicy metaphor. I haven't forgotten, but in the flurry of my 'molasses progress', I felt the superior focus of the novel was shelved too often while nitpicking over details. No, nitpicking is not to be laughed off - but there must be a balance. One must keep our sights on the final outcome, while also keeping one eye on the immediate work. You want a balance of an intriguing surface with a thoroughly engaging depth.
So, the point of this was to say, in this time that I have been unable to write, through editing I have brought the purpose of the novel, the understated point of it all, back into focus. (whew)

How's that for balled up and knotted?

A very tangled skein it seems, to weave a novel with bare hands. I have heard it said that 'writing is excruciating, but editing is even worse.' It came to mind, I don't know why... and I thought I'd order a reverse epiderral today. Freeze me from the head down.

Voting for C is like voting for A:
If you vote for A you can make it a mystery anyhow.

Singing in my sinuses,
Echos fly and gallop
'tween my brows and hitting
sockets, with finesse
I asked for treatise
I heard my own words
reply ~
"If you don't like the frequency,
Then jam it in yer eye!"

I don't know what possessed me, friends.
I had better check my email before I cave in.


Rosemary Tue Oct 17 12:08:29 PDT 2000

Hi there,
I'm going to vote even if I have to email my submission to someone to get it posted.

I vote for---I think it was C. Every one seems to want a ghost story and I like some mystery to most things. That leaves the "GHOST MYSTERY" selection. Actually I just finished a short ghost story (1,100 words) for a writer's group so if I voted for A, I'd already be finished.

It's raining here for a change. This has been the wetest month this year. We got about 4 inches at the beginning of the month and a few dribbles since. I think that's probably more than the rest of the year.

I tried to read from the bottom up, but it just irritated me. I've been reading from the top down for at least five or six years, I guess I can keep it up.


howard Tue Oct 17 06:49:21 PDT 2000

MARK -- like I said -- a veritable repository of useless trivia. I should probably try to connect with Philbin or Trebeck and make something out of it. Tried out for Jeopardy! once. Shouldn't have taken my meds until after the test. Missed it by just that little bit.

HEATHER -- No, Geiser (as in Dennis) is the guy whose name is a few spots above mine on the Pheresis Plaque at the Red Cross Blood Center. You want geyser, as in "Old Faceful."

LITTER -- You didn't mean "B&D" did you? :-) And that's quite a collection of CDs! I hang mine on fishing line in the garden and around the fruit trees and berry plants. The reflections as they twist in the wind are unsettling to the birds. I get more berries that way!

Mon Oct 16 22:17:05 PDT 2000

AAAaaannnnnndddd they're off!!!!!!

And (A) makes a fast break from the gate and is in the lead as they head for the corner! The pack is falling back, holding together but the race is still early and anyone could take it!......

Christi Mon Oct 16 21:03:10 PDT 2000

My oh my, what a fun day in the notebook! Too bad I'm too braindead to join in the fun.

On round-robbining: I am voting for B through E because they are the underdogs and I always vote for the underdog. Let's just hope that B doesn't do anything rash. I hear he's already on Prozac and this just might be the straw that broke the camel's . . .

Hope to visit the Workbook soon and read all the new stories but I must go right now before I fall asleep and drool all over my keyboard, thereby shorting it out. (Thereby? Did she actually say thereby in that nasty run-on sentence?)

I stand all amazed. I don't think there's a support group for CD rom addicts, but there ought to be. Now you behave!!!

XOXOXO to all,


PS Sorry everyone. Am a bit scitzophrenic tonight. May be better tomorrow. No promises.

Litter Mon Oct 16 19:38:54 PDT 2000

Since there isn't a DD choice in the selection I suppose it is silly to buck the trend so I'll stick with A for my vote. After all, this is fiction not reality, right?

Speaking of which, Heather, you forgot the section for those who save up all the CD ROMs (even the AOL ones) that come in junk mail or on magazines. I'm designing my 2001 summer collection of CD ROM lingerie collection, for which I need some very peculiarly shaped female models… (My CD ROM tally stands at over 200 now.)

Ciao for now


Americo Mon Oct 16 18:46:24 PDT 2000


thanks for the honour you'd like to bestow upon me, but I cannot accept writing the intro to this new round robin. The reason is a dramatic lack of time.

Needless to say that I wish you, as main editor, all the luck for your "Ghosts Stories" (or whatever idea that wins the election).

Do not fear any coup d'etat from Jon or Pussy. I've just locked them up in a relatively safe place (below the Pacific Ocean) when I saw that they wanted to intervene in the poll and, who knows, falsify the results. They hate ghosts and ghosts stories, and they are not democratic at all in questions of literature and taste.

All the best for you and do not forget your novel.

Rosemary Mon Oct 16 17:15:04 PDT 2000

That story was disgusting and great at the same time. I loved it.


Heather Mon Oct 16 16:46:11 PDT 2000

Who's tabulating the votes? Criminy! Was it supposed to be my job? I think A) Ghost stories has already been voted for five times, with no other votes to anything else.

I'll start composing the intro to send to Jack...

...if that's our final decision. (Unless Americo would like the honour?)

Voting continues for two and a half more days...

...I'm jumping to conclusions, of course, on the matter of ghost stories being voted in...

...Jon! Don't you think this is fun? Don't let that infamous Pussy talk you into a coup. A coup d'etat, not a chicken coup!

or was that chicken soup...

Hallee, loved your chicken soup for the man's soul submission. Jerry - they might not use the one about your first night on the job - chicken soup stories are the 'feel-good' type... your recount of the evening is well written, but doesn't leave me with that good old inspirational feeling.


Jerry Ericsson Mon Oct 16 14:51:10 PDT 2000

Mary - thankyou, I needed a laugh today.


Heather Mon Oct 16 14:24:47 PDT 2000

P.S.S. Jerry! Since you need only a .23 cent excuse to go to the hardware store, throwing away all of your garage stuff merely created something for you to do now!
I never walk out of the hardware store with only the original item I had intended upon, either. I sometimes stock up on things because it is damned annoying to run out of caulking or nails half-way through a project. When we built our deck I had to go back three times to get extra pounds of galvanized decking screws and another two trips for new driver heads. I think I managed to keep it down to one trip for sandpaper, cement, and so forth, and one trip for the initial supplies that were delivered. Even for the roofing supplies I had to make four trips - I needed four new vents but the first store only had three left of the kind I needed, and then we forgot to buy the stupid tar paper!

I think hardware stores know you can't walk out with just what you came in for, so they place items in the store that are supposed to go together in odd places so you forget something and have to come back.

If they don't then it sure appears that way.

Oh, and Jerry - one more thing - it's not the new supplies that I'm throwing out all the time - most of what I've been tossing out are old, broken or obselete. Tell me you don't have a bookshelf in the basement that won't stand up straight or keep a shelf in it without a mile of duct tape? Please!

Here is a test to see if you are a certifiable packrat:
Answer TRUE or FALSE for each.

1.) I always keep wads of used tinfoil, no matter how much turkey flesh is still stuck to it. I'm making my own TV antenna, three stories tall. (someday)

2.) I whine and cry whenever spring comes around, because I know my (husband/wife/parent) will sneak into my closet at midnight and throw away all of my string bits, broken balloons, bent thumbtacks, spent staples, chewed gum chunks and holey underwear; and I've just gone to so much trouble to avoid their discovery over the whole year.

3.) I have sabotaged the vacuum cleaner in my sad attempt to save what is left of my lint collection.

4.) If I could be anybody in the world, I'd be Madonna - 'cause she lives in a castle with the biggest basement and the longest row of garages ever known to man.

5.) Every time my watch battery dies, I save the old battery after I change it. Hey, you never know - they could invent a machine someday that zaps dead batteries back to life. I could open up my own store.

6.) I have an extensive collection of empty toilet rolls, toothpicks, cotton balls, silver foil, and old cutlery. I plan on inventing a new musical instrument on my hundredth birthday, and cleaning my ears for eternity.

7.) I just might need those little white plastic things they put in the middle of the pizza box for something someday.

8.) If there's ever a tornado, we could re-build the whole house just with the supplies in the fruit cellar.

9.) If there's ever a flood, we might need that leftover insulation to keep in precious body heat. Nevermind that we have fifty winter coats each.

10.) I'm keeping my toenail clippings in case they ever need to find me with a DNA sample.

If you have between 1 and 3 questions marked 'TRUE':
--You are already at the danger point, my friend! Instead of keeping the soup, you'd rather keep the can! Watch out - there may be a can opener shortage someday. (EVIL LAUGHTER)

If you have between 4 and 7 questions marked 'TRUE':
--The trash police have your number, and they call you whenever someone in town has had their recyclables stolen. You have too many lawn ornaments for your health. You are, at this moment, sitting under three tonnes of packratted stuff which could very well fall and kill you. Ironic, isn't it - those are the supplies you've been storing up in case you could use them for personal rescue.

If you have between 8 and 10 questions marked 'TRUE':
--You know, deep in your heart of hearts, that you are a bonafied packrat, tail and all. It's not just the shiny things anymore. You hoard not only inanimate objects, you are actually hoarding up spouses, kids, pets and other relatives!
This will definately backfire on you. BEWARE! Your kids might not like that you're collecting neighbours. The neighbours might not like it either. Mr. Jones has to go to work now. He says to tell you 'thanks' for the week at the beach, but he really needs some personal space. And I know how you got the beach...
Out there, in your yard, is the testament to your deranged persistence: every time you've been to the sea you've packratted sand and seashells! Now, all you have to do is keep going back with 2L bottles and you'll have your own ocean. If they don't slap a funny white jacket on you first...

Proof required for those scoring over 5.


mary my apologies if this offends anyone Mon Oct 16 13:57:56 PDT 2000

here is a little humor relating to our round-robin topic.

An extremely modest man was in the hospital for a series of tests, the last of which had left his bodily systems extremely upset. Upon making several false alarm trips to the bathroom, he figured that the latest episode was just that, so he stayed put. Suddenly, however, he filled his bed with diarrhea and was embarrassed beyond his ability to remain rational. In a complete loss of composure, he jumped out of bed, gathered up the bed sheets, and threw them out the hospital window. A drunk was walking by the hospital when the sheets landed on him. The drunk started yelling, cursing, and swinging his arms violently, in an attempt to free himself of the sheets. He ended up with the soiled sheets in a tangled pile at his feet. As the drunk stood there, staring down at the sheets, a hospital security guard who had witnessed the entire incident, walked up to him and asked, "What the heck is going on?" The drunk, still staring down at the sheets, replied, "I think I just beat the crap out of a ghost."

Hallee Mon Oct 16 13:51:05 PDT 2000

I vote "A"

Heather Mon Oct 16 13:36:17 PDT 2000

...and he stroked his... and taking the shaft in hand he... she squealed just as the shaft poked into the... he needed no lubrication, but a cloth for his forehead to soak up the sweat...she gasped in delight... his muscles were taut almost to the point of shaking, as he strained to...screw in the last bolt on her bicycle. At last, the seat was firmly in place, and the brakes working again.

What? You people are acting like you've never been out in the garage on a Saturday morning! All those tools make me horny.

I don't know the mini-project of the day, but I think I already completed my part.


P.S. Howrad! You are a veritable geiser of information!

Mary Mon Oct 16 13:35:40 PDT 2000

HEATHER: my mother fondly refers to my father's garage as 'the big front loading dumpster'. you two would have great stories to swap.

mary Mon Oct 16 13:26:43 PDT 2000

MARK: hehe

Mark Mon Oct 16 12:37:53 PDT 2000

HOWARD -- You've done it again! "Naked Came the Stranger." I kept hitting against "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold." I knew it was "Somebody Came Somewhere" but didn't know the porno part. Should have, what with all that coming.
Porno. Now there's a suggestion for the round robin. That's a subject I could get into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into, and out of, and into
Until I just run out of breath.
"Hey, Honey. Come on out to the garage. Let me show you some parts."

howard Mon Oct 16 11:10:27 PDT 2000

OK, lessee if I got this right:

Sherlock Holmes comes back to investigate a theft of autumn leaves and corn shocks used for decorations at O'Hare International Airport, but is sidetracked by a group of aliens in orange robes who want him to help them create a diversion to allow their treehugger buddies to liberate a shipment of Nodding Boobies just smuggled in from Canada, but that turns out to be merely seven moulting penguins and a notorious member of the Writers Notebook, out doing research for her latest pot-boiler, an expose of the legendary Sasquatch).

Should be a piece of cake!

Debra Mon Oct 16 10:45:39 PDT 2000


This whole thing with your wife's chair makes me wonder. If it isn't the most beautiful or the most comfortable then what? Could she be extracting some sense of the previous owner? Could you go back to the antique store and find out about the previous owner?

It might make for a very interesting ghost story. You might not even have to emblish.

Just a thought.

Your wife sounds like a hearty, dynamic person.


mary Mon Oct 16 10:39:43 PDT 2000

i vote A.

Jon Mon Oct 16 10:31:04 PDT 2000

Sorry to interrupt, folks. Any program for tonight?

Hope you are all well, haunted or not, sciencefictioned or not, roundrobined or just thinking.

Kisses all around.

Jerry Ericsson Mon Oct 16 10:21:18 PDT 2000

Heather - HOW COULD YOU?? Throw away all those treasures! NO say it ain't so!

I had a similar collection when we lived up in New Rockford, but was forced to part with almost EVERYTHING. Now I wonder what the heck I was keeping it all for in the first place. A quick trip to the hardware store is now an almost every week excursion. Once there I always pick up something that I used to have up in NR. and when I have to buy one, I buy 3 or 4 so I have the spares, just in case I need them. Today for example, the wife sat in her favorite wooden rocking chair, the one she found after searching every furniture store, both new and used for over 30 years, and the back gave out. Now this chair is very old, yet not worth much to a collector, and in fact I would never have brought it home from the second hand store where she found it, but it is after all her very favorite chair, and the only one she has sat on since she got it. There is a perfectly good rocker that she received when her aunt died, and I think it is much more comfortable, and if fact it is a very good looking chair, yet she has never sat in it except when company comes and someone else sits in her favorite. (All the while sending needles and pins from her eyes at the poor soul who happened to unwittingly take her chair.) Anyhow, the back broke, and she fell out of the chair backwards (luckily she was not injured, except maybe her pride just a bit when I laughed at the sight.) The chair needed repairs when we first got it, and I had to buy a several different size dowel pins to make the repairs. One of the pins I had not replaced had given out. When I bought the pins up in New Rockford, I bought a three foot length of each, so I would have spare should this ever occur again. However when preparing for the move, the extra dowel pins were tossed. (Now how much room could those little sticks of wood have taken anyhow?) So I was forced to make the trip to the hardware store. (Fast becoming one of my favorite places, sort of like Cheers, when I walk in everyone knows my name and greets me.) While there I bought the dowel pin for .23 cents, and since it seemed so ridiculous to walk out of the store with only a .23 cent item, I stocked up on other things I might need in the future, those things I used to have before they were tossed for the move. Total cost of my trip to the Hardware was only $37.23, but when the wife asks about the amount, all I can say is: "Well I had to replace the dowel pin that YOU tossed away before we moved!"

See the cost of tossing useful items? At any rate, her chair is again in good shape, and she should be able to use it for another five or ten years before I need to replace another dowel pin. Wonder if I will be able to find the rest of that 3 foot piece that I had to cut the 1 inch length off for her chair? Oh well if I don't find it there is another trip to the hardware store.


The Old Man Mon Oct 16 09:39:03 PDT 2000

Greetings and felicitations,

I would like to say a hearty 'Howdy-do' to all the new names here and would also like to suggest:

A great location for a ghost story might be a salvaged and restored cruise ship. It would be filled with people from all over, guests and crew...and who knows about the ghosts...

Take care,

Heather Mon Oct 16 09:23:25 PDT 2000

*Warning, long-winded post to follow*

If it counts any, I think just plain A) is the best choice. Let it be a general topic, and your stories can be as varied as you wish - including mystery, intrigue, or sci-fi; western setting, airport setting, nature setting, restaurant setting, what have you and all that comes in between.
If I think of 'airport' or 'restaurant' as the only choice in setting, I immediately get writer's cramp. Or is that writer's stifle?

So, henceforth, I vote for A)Ghost stories. Make them whenever, wherever, and about whomever you wish. Write in whatever genre you wish. Or, make it a bonne lettre. (The origin of Literature.)

But, case in point, that is just my opinion. Vote away!

When we have decided, I will put the idea into words and submit it to Jack... unless someone else would like that job?

Gariess, if only I had a garage. I have a basement (soon to be filled again)of things my husband has deemed over the years to be 'possibly useful someday'. The moment I attempt to throw it out he runs to the rescue, fearing he will require its useful quality most desperately once it's gone, and be forced to purchase a new 'whatever it was'. Not that he worries about the cost of buying it, rather he could not be bothered hopping into the car and having to - gasp! - go shopping for it. But he sees the two hour house-search for the obscure item as worth his time! I know where practically everything is, because I'm the one who goes through it and organizes. But, GOD FORBID I'm not home when he goes in search of the AC adapter for a broken cordless phone we threw out six years earlier, or the leftover coaxial cable brass end-bits he stuffed into the pocket of a souveneir hockey bag. Now where did that crimping tool go? ("On your workbench, below the wrenches and on the left side of your screwdriver set, honey!!!")

Most of the time he doesn't need all of the things he has packratted away, and never will - I know because I've thrown some of it away and he in fact, did NOT need them the moment the trash was collected. Imagine all the things that would be taking up space in the basement as permanent residents if I did not get in gear twice a year and go through things?
We had a dumpster bin in the driveway just a while ago to catch all the old shingles when we had the roof done. We (I mean, I) decided to use the opportunity to get rid of some junk piled up down in the nether regions of packrat heaven. Here is what I threw out, when he was at work: A broken plastic side table for the deck, a jiggly old set of shelves that he'd secured with duct tape but wasn't stable enough to set feathers on; one old tire (was supposed to be a tire swing, but we have a swingset, and no trees that have just the 'right branch' to hold a tire swing anyhow), duct- taped hockey trapper and blocker far beyond repair, sixteen burnt out lightbulbs and five empty paint cans, twelve rolls of hockey tape that was so old it wouldn't stick to anything, a bundle of odd shaped lumber bits, all smaller than 5 inches each, and pressure treated so they can't be used for indoor projects; a roll of ripped and scissored window screen that the kids attacked, three old pairs of gym shoes with holes so large his toes hang out and he's got four more good pairs, two broken wood planers (from an experiment several years ago) six befouled chemistry beakers no one can use twice, fifty feet of hose without end pieces and quite a few leaks, a dead dust-buster, a long deceased weed-wacker, extension cord with the prongs ripped off, a packet of plastic milar that had no pieces large enough to use (it makes nice dollhouse window panes); tubes of dried up caulking, defunct tap valve kit we removed from the ceiling pipes in the basement, a rusty rake with prongs missing, a shovel with no handle, and twenty five feet of eavestarter (we have a new roof, and won't need a new one for at least fifteen years - by then eavestarter might be obselete!). And that's the stuff I got into the bin before it got hauled away or RETREIVED. I forgot an old carpet and underpad I had wanted to chuck, and a few other odds and ends, so now I have to make a trip to the dump after all.

BUT --- I can actually go down to the basement and BREATHE again! And of course, now there is a lot of empty space for him to fill up again with the ever-expanding oddsortment of 'treasures' and potential projects. And that's just my husband! I have two packrat kids, too.


But, Gariess, I must say, I do NOT nag at him. I know better. I just go and do it myself. If I ask him nicely, he will actually vacuum or load the dishwasher! I'm lucky.


Tina Mon Oct 16 07:22:06 PDT 2000


The ideas that have come out are all solid. All that seems to be required now is a decision. If it's ready to go to a vote, I imagine that allowing three days to let everyone get their choice in is fair.

I just scanned the last weeks worth of posts and the main choices/suggestions for the fall 2000 round robin are.... (drum roll please)

A) ghost stories

B) Mystery/detective

C) Mystery ghost stories

D) Central location; airport. Time, undecided.

E) Ghost stories around a central location.

F) Nature theme

If I've missed any, do add it in! The general opinion seems to be for a project without emphasis on publication.
Here we go! Get your votes in, even if you've just been lurking! ;~)

My own choice is (A).

See y'all!

gariess Sun Oct 15 23:55:34 PDT 2000


I don't recall the round robin you mentioned, but the one classic in my memory is the one written by the top mystery writers in the early part of the last century. I think Agatha Christie was credited as the author for publicatioon purposes, but there were others, Dorothy Sayer was included.
It was done in the following manner. The story was started by one writer and then passed on to the next to continue. The exercise was to see how well different writers would carry out a plausible mystery plot in this way. I remember reading the book, and although it was hardly a top notch plot, it was entertaining enough to pass. People had fun looking for the errors in the plot complications. There were a few.

Well, boys and girls, I will enthusiastically participate in any format you choose. I will hesitate at sci/fi, and I caution that different peoples ideas in the sci/fi genre will foster true incompatibility. I will be happy with a mystery ghost story, but whatever.


Sun Oct 15 23:36:03 PDT 2000


Any time I start bemoaning my solitary existence—which I do, but only at times and to myself, I will remember how my last wife used to use "cleaning the garage" as a weapon of final desperation. When all the routine and spontaneous nagging fell dead against my ears she would resort to the time proven "Clean the garage" assault.

For some reason cleaning the garage is a chore that can safely be charged to a husband. It has that characteristic masculine responsibility attached to it that is so confoundingly difficult to counter. Its something of a domestic checkmate situation—the gambit that although is rather cheap, like Queen to Kings Bishop pawn when covered by the Knight on the third move, wins the game none-the-less.

Of course, my resistance to such pressures borders on the pathological, at least enough so that I might give in and spend an hour or so in the garage under the pretext of cleaning it. It isn’t so much the cleaning that’s objectionable as the question of what to do with all those stored invaluables-cartons of things to sort out. I would invariably open three boxes and spend the next half hour looking through phone bills from ten years ago, and then another fifteen minutes wondering what those odd hardware parts were supposed to be used for that have been accumulating for a decade. There would be a gadget that might have held up the old living room drapes or had something to do with the kitchen cabinets that were replaced four years ago. Another might be some indescribable doohicky I vaguely remembered from a gas grille that collapsed in the back yard.

What future need for these things did I anticipate when I put them away? If one starts making decisions about all these hundreds of items there would never be an end to it. One might as well while away the time playing with some old camera parts. And there is always the bird house that I was never able to fit a roof to, looking a bit dusty and deserted on top of the scrap lumber it was conceived from. There always seems to be a good reason to save scrap lumber, but when the theory is put to the test, the best I’m able to produce is an unfinished bird house.

After an hour or so she would make an inspection round to see how the work was progressing. "Are you out here?"

"Over here, behind the boxes."

"Oh, wonderful, you built a fort."

"If you promise not to fuss, you can be lookout."


Jerry Ericsson Sun Oct 15 21:42:19 PDT 2000

Rosemary - you mean you are not supposed to read the notebook from the top down? It never dawned on me to read it any other way, although I will admit that the idea of going from the bottom up does make a little sense, but I have been able to keep up with things quite well going from the top down myself. There are moments of confusion, but they are made clear when I get down a ways.


howard Sun Oct 15 20:01:31 PDT 2000

MARK -- Are you referring to "Naked Came the Stranger" by Penelope Ashe? That was a porno detective story, done as a hoax/satire by the staff at Newsday magazine. There were at least 25 writers involved, and it did become a best seller, even got made into a movie. I never read/saw it myself, but I remember the fuss it made at the time.

That round robin sounds good, and I like the idea of short stories revolving around a central location -- the airport might work fine!

LITTER -- no problem, it was nice talking to you. Lost you and Sasquatch about the same time, though. But I was about ready to head for bed myself.

speaking of bed...

Teekay. Sun Oct 15 19:23:05 PDT 2000

HEATHER: An aye to the ghost stories.

The jack o' lantern thing came about because centuries ago it was to capture the spirits. The idea was this. The spirit on coming to enter the house would catch sight of the Jack o' lantern and instead of terrorizing or possesing the rest of the household he would be busy making conversation with the Jack o' latern whom he felt to be a kindred spirit. While this was happening the watch guard would sneak up behind the ghostie, whip the lid off the lantern, bustle the spirit inside where it would be trapped for all time. It is little known fact that a watchperson would be on the look out all night for just such an event.

Believe it or not!!! Whhhooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Debra Sun Oct 15 18:43:19 PDT 2000


I know.

As a matter of fact I am ninty percent finished with a short strory called Angel.

It will be posted soon.

I spend my day alone with my twins whom play at my feet. they are happy playing and they stay where ever I am. If I am here so are they.

Usually I take them outside for a couple of hours a day. Those are the time with the big Debra gaps. Hehe Just kidding.

Worry about nothing Mark. Actually you will have to work pretty hard if you are angry with me to make me see that.


mary Sun Oct 15 18:30:46 PDT 2000

ROSEMARY: i read the notebook from the bottom up. i cant even imagine being able to understand what goes on here reading it all backwards. hmmmm.

Rosemary Sun Oct 15 14:18:10 PDT 2000

Hello everyone,
My time zone must be a couple of hours earlier than everyone elses because no one is around when I post at about 11:00pm (my time) then the next day, everyone has been here. Oh well,

I don't know if anyone else has read 'The Bestseller' by Olivia Goldsmith(I think that's right. She wrote 'The First Wives Club') Each chapter was a different character's viewpoint for about six or seven characters, then around again. The story revolves around writers and the publishing world. I have noticed the popular thing the last few years has been a large number of POVs. Even Grishem does it. The first time I noticed it with him was 'The Runaway Jury'. I was two thirds through that book before I decided who the main character was.

Anyway, that premise could work for our roundrobin. Each writer has a character the the story should intertwine to a common conclusion at the end. A lack of plot is NOT a good thing.

As a curiosity, am I the only one that reads the notebook from the top down? The only reasion I mentioned it is, occasionally Debra will answer questions that I haven't read yet and her posts don't make any sense until a lot later. Those posts weren't aimed at me anyway so it really doesn't matter, I just wondered.


Litter Sun Oct 15 13:19:23 PDT 2000

Hi All,

My thanks to those who replied to my present disappointment for the kind words and suggestions. It's appreciated.

Sasquatch and Owrahd, didn't meant to leave so abruptly last night but I pressed the wrong button :o|

You people all have machines that answer your phones? Wow! I'm seriously impressed…

Round Robin. OK, I need some distracting. How will the subject choice be made? To me it seems that an event or a place for people to work around seems like a plan -- minor events in the shadows of a major one, or life-changing events around a place of high profile but little consequence??? If it has to be Ghost associated, why not choose a centre of some mythological merit -- Stonehenge, NA burial ground, Pyramids of Egypt or S. America or that place where all the witches were executed… Capitol Hill???

Ciao for now,


Mark Sun Oct 15 11:34:50 PDT 2000

Jesus and the devil had a programming contest. Just before deadline, both suffered a power failure. The devil cursed his way back home, but Jesus was fine. Why? Because Jesus saves.

Who knows the name of the spy novel written as round-robin by writers from Newsday about 20 years ago? Each writer took a chapter in a pre-defined plot. The book made the best-seller list. After it was revealed that 25 different people had a hand in it, critics began saying "Ah, that explains why the wonderful woman in chapter 11 is so poorly done in chapter 19." And such and like. Best Seller.

DEBRA -- no need to say 'sorry.' Keep writing. This is not a place where anyone will say "Write less."

JACK -- Thanks for the site.

Oh, yeah. In today's paper, in the Business Section, Anita Bruzzese (sp?) used 'site' for 'sight'. wow. Two years ago it was hard to get people to use 'site.' Now, because of the web and web sites, that becomes the most-known spelling.

I vote for detective. Will contribute wholeheartedly to whichever is the majority decision.

Allein Sun Oct 15 11:10:14 PDT 2000

Howard - That is very tradgic, I hope everything turns out okay for the little girl.

Arik - I am still praying for the people in your country. I am hoping that this does not turn into WW3.

Ghost stories? There is a ghost in my story - Prince Chélon. He's dead but didn't want to go to heaven, so he hangs out around the castle. He's a friendly ghost. There are none of them spooky ghosts in my story.


Tina Sun Oct 15 09:28:22 PDT 2000


I'm in for ghost stories, as I've already started one. I also like Rhoda's idea. My thoughts on that have been to collectively choose a modern location/time, from a list of suggestions, perhaps, and go from there. As a science fiction writer (sometimes) I'd love a science fiction world, but I know it won't give the lee way we need for everyone to participate.
My two 'location' ideas so far have been an airport or a restaurant. The stories needn't revolve around the location, just touch it, move through it. Then the various styles could pick up the thread of that place but stay within preferred genres. (or go for broke and try something new.)

And hey! If anyone who writes the science fiction is ever interested in a similar excercise based on a fictional world, I'd love to do that, too!

Now, it is an absolutely fabulous day here, with every possible fall colour in flagrant abundance, and it's my day off. I must be outside.


Jerry Sun Oct 15 08:59:44 PDT 2000

I am all for ghost stories, in fact I think I was the first one to bring that subject up. Didn't bring it up again as it didn't sound like anyone else was that interested.


Heather Sun Oct 15 08:35:03 PDT 2000

Mark - love it if you would be co-editor! (Or at least, work with me as you can on this one!) Critiquing minds work well together.

Round Robin: I heard detective stories as one possible theme, and quite some time ago we had all voted for ghost stories. I think it's a good time of year for ghost stories, with all this Samhain frost coming on, the Feast of the Dead, etc. While we're at it, does anyone know the original reason behind carving gourds/pumpkins? I'll let you know if you guess correctly!

On detective stories, this is more of a genre than a theme - though I think either round robin idea would work. I just don't write detective stories. Then again, I've never tried. Ghost stories as a general theme might give us more rein to work with - it doesn't require a specific format. We can write about spirits, phobias, departed loved ones, things like that. We could write a detective story about a ghost...
We don't have to have Casper as the central character.

I also think that 'nature' would be a good theme - lots of versatility there.

I also think that Rhoda had a good idea. I prefer round robins where we do not continue one story, changing things in the course of writing, picking up where someone else left off. That gets too confusing, and people's styles vary too much for that to be a serious project. Besides - that way we have to like the original thread and consciously carry the theme before we can participate.

I don't mean by serious that the round robin has to be for publication, but I think if we write well, and work professionally together, we will accomplish a great collection of short stories and/or essays. Poems could also be included. Anything goes, really. When the round robin is completed, we can decide collectively what we wish to do with it.

Do we have Yeah or Nay on the above proposals?

C'mon, c'mon, everyone, stake your claim. In or out.
Holmes or Casper, Earth or Heaven?


Debra Sun Oct 15 06:33:25 PDT 2000


You are right. Sorry. I guess I get carried away sometimes.


After listening to your remote story I know for sure that you are a big softie. That is the best news yet. It also means that you are a happy man for the most part. Maybe except when the pain gets to you.

I will pray for those times to disappear.


Mark Sun Oct 15 06:26:13 PDT 2000

DEBRA -- I just scrolled through a couple days of posts. Wow, you're 50 percent of the NB. If you could focus all that writing on a single idea, you'd have written enough for a short story, or for a novel chapter.
Now, themes this week:

It's gonna be a busy day today. My wife wants the garage cleaned. We have to get supplies for the painter. I have to move the pool equipment into a shed. I have to get a computer ready to deliver to my mother next weekend.

More later.

Peace and love.
Sun Oct 15 00:16:11 PDT 2000

Heather Sat Oct 14 23:20:54 PDT 2000

We have one TV. We have pledged, as a family, that we will not watch more than 2 hours of TV per day, unless on the weekend we want to watch a movie, and then later on in the evening there's something my husband and I want to watch. Now, that doesn't mean we have not over-run our 2 hour pledges, but with the pledge still in mind, we have kept it down quite satisfactorily. My husband was practically raised by television, but I was restricted. I wasn't allowed to watch a large variety of shows because my parents (chiefly my mother) rightly deemed them too violent. I did see them once in a while, though - mostly at friend's places! But I agree with her ideals. My husband agrees, but not as wholeheartedly as I had initially hoped. His counterpoint is that a hockey game is usually more than 2 hours...
So are a few movies. I'm not so rigid that I'd say "Off with the idiot box!" if the game wasn't over. (Reminiscent of what my mother would say.... EEEKKK!)
But I still believe that watching TV doesn't aid creativity, ingenuity, free-thinking, or anything that reading books does, or playing outside will, etc.; or at least not to the same extent.

As Calvin's father in the comicstrip 'Calvin and Hobbes' said once: "...See, by not watching TV, you had more fun, and now you'll have memories of something real you DID, instead of something fake you just WATCHED."
(To this, Calvin replied, "Nothing spoils fun like finding out it builds character.")

--Quoted from 'Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons', by Bill Watterson, 1992.

But that was pretty much the philosophy my parents had. I have them to thank for me or my kids NOT having 'boobtubitis'. But I did sometimes really miss not getting to see the Incredible Hulk, or The Three Stooges, or even the Flintstones. As a kid I watched a fair number of National Geographic shows. Maybe that's where I picked up the desire to be a wildlife photographer - so long as I didn't have to get closeups of alligators, lions or monitor lizards.

Anyway, about who has the control of the remote at our house? That depends. We don't really have any regular shows that we like to watch. Once in a while I catch some hour-long shows I like, or we both watch 'The Daily Show', or 'Kids in the Hall'. Once in a while there's a hockey game on that can't be missed. Movies are the viewers' choice around here, so nobody needs to fight over the channel; but sometimes the volume controls go through quite a lot of ups and downs.

That's about all, so
and good night.

Now, if only I could curb my hours on the internet! (sob sob :o<)

Blessings your way, Jack!


mary Sat Oct 14 23:16:01 PDT 2000

JERRY: hahaha. i have to laugh over your dual remote story. this was a major power struggle when my husband and i were first married. i was used to living alone..doing what i wanted when i wanted...including what i watched on tv.

so here we are, thrown into the mix...and he takes over the remote. what?? what??

two months of choking it back and i go and buy a universal remote. programmed it. placed it under the pillow where i sit. then i waited for him to come in and boss the tv.

i surreptitiously clicked the channels from under the pillow and acted like i didnt know what was going on.."something must be horribly wrong with the cable honey..really..i dont know what to say."

it took him a whole of 5 minutes to find me out...ended up in a huge tickle fight and now both remotes reside on his armrest and i sit happily at the computer clicking away.

(Except for sunday nights during football season, or any major tennis. those are mine!)

Sat Oct 14 22:02:14 PDT 2000

Jerry Ericsson Sat Oct 14 21:51:39 PDT 2000

Remotes - went through all you have talked about, then there was the arguments and all, we solved it though. Simple really, we each have our own remotes. Ok, so you might imagine me clicking away, and the wife counter-clicking, but not so. The way it works is like this, I set the channel, and we begin watching, the wife uses the volume control to adjust the sound until I can't hear what I am watching, so I give up and start reading a book, or working on my computer, then the wife changes to what she wants to watch.

Well it used to go like that, now it is more like this, I have my shows, which I watch, the wife has her favorites and we both watch them. While I watch what I want, the wife busys herself with her computer, reading the hundreds of emails she acquires daily from friends who send stupid pages like Debs fun pages. I know that when she comes into the living room and sits down, the TV is hers. No arguments, one of her shows is on, and we will watch it. Now we also have a TV in the kitchen who's only purpose seems to be for the wife to listen to the radio on the public service channel in the mornings when she is drinking her coffee. One in the Bed room which is used by my wife to watch the weather channel when she goes to bed. And my favorite, the little portable with the 2 inch screen, which accompanies me on our camping trips, and occasionally into the bathroom when one of my favorite programs is on and I don't want to miss it. When the kids were still home we actually had 3 remotes that were always disappearing, now though one sits beside each of our chairs and awaits our commands. No surfing here though, or at least not much.


Teekay Sat Oct 14 20:37:21 PDT 2000

DEBRA: My voice is on the answering machine coz my hubby told me to do it. :-)

Hubby also has ownership rights of the remote. It was misplaced one time and we couldn't find it for about a week. Bliss!

ARIK: Was it Nostradamus you were thinking of???

CHRISTI: Sorry I missed you in chat.

The funniest answering machine message I've heard to date is this; "Hello, this is Nathan's refrigerator, his answering machine is busy at the moment, please leave a message."

Heather Sat Oct 14 20:03:03 PDT 2000

Howard, sure hope that the little girl on your work answering machine got the help she and her mother needed.
That must have been an awful experience. For all parties concerned.


howard Sat Oct 14 20:01:57 PDT 2000

DEBRA -- No, my phone number wasn't anything like any emergency number around here. That happened probably 12-15 years ago, and I did ask about it, but they're very secretive about those things where I worked. Never saw anything about it in the papers.

Heather Sat Oct 14 19:59:50 PDT 2000

Here are a few of my favourite messages that we used to have on our machine at home:

"...Welcome to Heather and Wayne's Psychic Hotline. Ah, yes, you are at home, and you wish to leave us a message. Press one. Yes, you are searching for someone! Press two now. Oh, and you have an urgent dilemma on your hands and wish to obtain understanding, advice and reassurance! Press three now. We'll get back to you."


"...Hi! You've dialed the correct number but we're all tied up at the moment... *giggle giggle*"

"...Forget who you were calling? That's right! I won't clue you in, but I'd sure love to listen to what you've got to say!"

"Hello - Operator; how may I place your call?"

We had a lot of fun making those up, with the exception of the message that was pure laughter. We were trying to record the message and just kept laughing with every attempt, so in the end we thought the laughing was a pretty neat message in itself.


Debra Sat Oct 14 19:52:07 PDT 2000


That's aweful. Is your number close to 911? Could she have thought she called the Police?

I wish you to find out. Please?

By the way, that must be what he is doing. He doesn't care what is on, he just wants to know what else is on.

All I need now is an antidote.

So far I have a frying pan to the back of the head.

Humm, too messy. You know I'll end up cleaning up that mess.

Then I will have to hear forever how much his head hurts.


howard Sat Oct 14 19:36:23 PDT 2000

Just had a nice chat with Hallee, Sasquatch, and Litter!

DEBRA -- Remotes? The best line I heard about remotes was that "Guys don't really care what's on -- we only care about what else is on!"

Back to answering machines for a minute -- one Monday morning I got to work and my machine was blinking (one of those old ones with the tape in it). I hit the play button and the world stopped for a few minutes for several of us. It was a little girl's voice, crying "My daddy hurt my mommy and she won't move, please help me." At first we thought (hoped) it was just a prank, but she kept crying and pleading for several minutes until the tape shut off. We listened to it several times, and called our manager out to listen, and she called the security department, who in turn called the police, who came and confiscated the tape. I never heard any more about it, but it was quite a sobering experience.


Debra Sat Oct 14 19:23:13 PDT 2000


I think what your wife is saying is that she trusts you completely.

She feels completely safe in the knowledge that your way silly or not is just fine with her.

She must love you very much.

Still my point is proven there.

Now with the kids taking over. My point is proven again. This time it's a little scary. We have all been to those houses were the kids run the place. When they turn into adults, Jerry takes over.

Right Jerry?

If you call my house, you'll get my husband. I am completly fine with not challenging him on that level. In fact when he is trying to be nice, I am putty in his hands. On the other, if he trys to pass an undercooked hamburger to one of the kids, I am on him like a carzy person who fell from the ceiling.


Debra Sat Oct 14 19:08:37 PDT 2000


Let's do the TV Remote.

In my house it's me. The thing is sometimes I am here instead of at the Tv. So he gets it. I don't care what my husband puts on, I will watch whatever he has on if I came in later. I just can't watch him click, click,click.

On the other hand sometimes he will stop long enough for me to see something, maybe a fraction of a second and I will say WAIT. He doesn't say no or yes, just click. So I fall for it everytime. I say hold on. Nothing from him, means to me, okay. But he doesn't wait or hold on, just clicks. I usually just get up and leave him with it. He doesn't like me to disappear and will hand it to me.

On the other hand, when I have the remote, I am nice. I will say what do you want to see? He always says whatever, so I will put on something. He says not that. Still being nice, I will put on something else. He says no, not that. So I usually give it to him. He will go click click click.


When we go shopping he is the opposite. He finds something he wants to look at and puts up roots. I stand and wait wait and wait. Then he doesn't buy it. The way I shop is the way he watchs TV. I just keep walking. If I see something I like I walk right by it. If after a few seconds it still holds my interest I will go back get it and walk with it. I dont' stand there until all the blood drips into my shoes.


Tina Sat Oct 14 19:01:58 PDT 2000

oh Howard!!!! 'What!' I love it.
Our answering machine changes all the time. Sometimes me, sometimes him. We don't have any kind of business thing happening, so we tend to make them a little off the wall. 'Course, we're a little off the wall.

Rosemary, I agree. The experience of the excercise has it's own value, and it'll be fun. I still like Rhoda's idea for a central setting/theme/time and then individual stories around that.

Rhoda, I included the website I mentioned. It has an updated map of the stars every day, and a bunch of other stuff. If you want some awesome pictures, check out

See y'all!

Debra Sat Oct 14 18:55:15 PDT 2000


Regarding the phone machine/power thing. I knew it. I knew it. I knew it. By the way, love the pant pant army thing. I wish I had called that one. I once worked for the Army Reserves in my area. One of the men in charge asked me to put a Marylin Munroe type voice on his machine. I was gone for quite some time and called his phone and it was still there. I was not in power but these were his wishes and he was in power. I'm now wondering what would have happened if your Sgt. Major had called his office.

I know you were not angry or anything. I just wanted to put in my two cents. I just wish we could all see that we are the same. I think that the people on both side love their families and want just to have a happy life. You know what I mean. It all sounds so simple. Why can't we just love our families and have a happy life.

They were there first now we are here, it's hard to understand. I know it has deep and great meaning, but it is hard to see it taking so many wonderful people and still be so up in the air.

I don't know how large of a country it is or how many people are wanting to be in the same spot, but it is possible to all fit? If it is possible could the doors just open and everyone wanting to be there just go there? Of course this statement just tells Arik, how much I don't know. That is all I know.


I have read so many of your posts and stories, I strongly feel I know a lot about the inner workings of you. I'll bet my bottom dollar that your wife did make that message while you were out suspecting you would just fix it when you had time. I think that even though you are on disability that you are and will always be the head of the house because you lead with kindness. That is the firmest hand there is.


mary Sat Oct 14 18:46:01 PDT 2000

Debra: the answering machinge message at our house was pre-recorded on the thing. it is a man's voice though...i have never bothered changing it, and my hubby couldnt care less.

At my parents house, it is my mother's voice on the recorder..but mostly because my father's accent is so thick nobody could understand him.

At my in-law's house, the kids left the message which i dont like the idea of at all..if for no other reason than advertising your kids to kidnappers. (i know..a little extreme of a perception on that one, but i cant help it.)

I think mostly, i like Jerry's concept. whoever is around, and knows how to work the thing when the tape goes capoot is who's voice you get.

Now the TV remote is another story. Just try to swipe it off of my mother and see what you get.

Hallee Sat Oct 14 17:29:23 PDT 2000

Hi everyone. I'm in the chat room for a bit. 8:31 est

Rosemary Sat Oct 14 17:22:28 PDT 2000

Hello all,
About the answering machine sexism or power plays, the preference for a masculine voice could be a matter of security. I know a number of single women who conscript friends or husbands of friends to record their messages. Supposidly, when the burgler calls, he will think there is a man in the house and go screeming off into the distance. My sister didn't go to the extreme of having someone else record for her but she did make her message plural. (We can't come to the phone right now.)

On the round robin; what do we all have in common besides writing? We don't even write the same types of things. My suggestion for a compromise would be some kind of a mystery. Almost all types of books have some mystery in them. A little romance couldn't hurt although keeping it below raunchy might be best.

It really sounds as though it might be fun and Heather would be a great editor. I think the emphasis on publication is a little unnecessary. Perhaps the emphasis could be more toward experience with a side of fun.


Jerry Ericsson Sat Oct 14 15:36:06 PDT 2000

Debra - your answering machine question brought back a memory of when I was an Army Recruiter stationed out in Minnesota. Our supervisor (District Sgt. Major) called one day when we were all away from the office and got our machine. The message we had was a simple one, sort of "Thanks for calling the Army, we aren't in right now..."
Well we thought it was ok, but the Sgt Maj. Didn't like it one bit. He ranted into the machine the full length of the recorder about how we should get something MEANINGFULL on the dang thing. (Censored for public consumption). Well we sat around discussing the call, (there were 3 of us stationed there), and Sgt. Pickle came up with an idea, and made the tape. The next time the Sgt. Maj. Called, the message was something like this.- With a sound effects record of a war zone in the background, Sgt. Pickle gave the breathless message "We can't make it to the phone right now, as we are on a mission (pant pant) please leave your message (pant pant) at the beep, and one of us will get back to you (pant pant) when we get back (pant pant) if we make it!" The laughter of the Sgt. Major took up most of the message, then he related that we had maybe gone a little over board, and suggested a simple go army would due at the end of our old recording.


howard Sat Oct 14 14:19:14 PDT 2000

DEBRA -- My wife delegates the task to me. Dunno what that says about the balance of power, but it's not like I demanded or assumed the right to create the message.
I got "counselled" once at work for my answering machine message: all it said was "What?" My manager had a hard time keeping a straight face as she explained the basics of answering machine ettiquette.

Gariess Sat Oct 14 14:14:54 PDT 2000


No, you are not wrong about anything you said. It is sometimes hard to keep from sounding as though I take issue with someone in the forum. My only direct thought to you was that your philosophical points are entirely valid, I agree with them. At the same time, the philosophical viewpoint is the last one a person considers when the bullets are flying. I suppose under fire, I would say that I agree with you, but we will have to discuss it later.

I believe that the question of who recites the phone message is a matter of the psychology at work in the hosehold. I do know of two that were done by the offspring. I used to have a job that required me to call employees very often. Of the hundreds of calls I made, I never heard one of those commercial pre-recorded tapes, the ones they used to advertise on TV.

Who has any ideas for a round robin story?

Jerry Ericsson Sat Oct 14 12:44:38 PDT 2000

Debra - you may have a point there, or maybe not. You see back when we bought our machine, I put the recording on it. At that time, I was still working and still the Chief of Police for the City of Newrockford. The tape finally wore out, and when we replaced it, the wife put the message on. Now I am no longer working, so your theory would say that back when we bought the thing, I was in power, and in fact I was, I made the majority of the money. Now that the wife is the only one working, she is in power, well I still get the majority of the money with my check from Workers Comp, and Social Security. So as I see it, the power switched when I became disabled. OR, now hear me out on this one, I was not around when the new tape got put in, so the wife recorded the message.


Debra Sat Oct 14 09:18:49 PDT 2000


Can I get off the subject of just a little bit to ask, does any one see this pattern? It seems that the head of the house hold be it a man or a woman is the one who leave the message on the answering machine. I'm talking about households with two people in it.

In my house it's my husband's voice. My mother's sort of the boss at her house. Italian, remember? Over there it' her voice. My sister's house, it's her husband. I see a pattern. Once our power went out, and I set up the phone machine when it came back on. My husband quickly put his back. Hummm?

If it is not a pattern that you have noticed or if it is, I would love to see how egoes and technogoly thrive hand and hand.

By the way, it is not a conincdence that I just leave it as it is, either. That goes for all the other households that I mention.


Debra Sat Oct 14 08:59:03 PDT 2000


To my sketchy knowledge all wars that finally ended, ended by the people involved finally deciding that they all had to live together. Someone in power decided that the last person has died and called an end.

They never ended where one side disappeared never to be seen again. The only resolution, is the resolution of living together. Even with the Holocaust the end result was that they all lived together. I have suffered greatly from that time. I never lost anyone and I was not there myself. I did find out about the tragedy and I will suffer a little more for every time I think aobut it or hear someone else's story. War has many victims. Some of the victims are those people who were never there just suffer the thought of all the loss. So even if war ends now, the suffering will go on and on. That is one of the main reasons why I wish it to end as quickly as possible.

Could I be wrong?

If I am, please enlighten me.


Tina Sat Oct 14 08:05:35 PDT 2000

Utopia? Sure, I'd love to live there. I know I can be an idealist, and am glad to be one.

I freely admit to having seen very little of the pain and strife in life. My quiet little backwater town has had its share of violence, but nothing on the scale I could see on the news. It is far from utopian, though. But I know people, many people, who do their best to live good, solid lives based on strong beliefs and values and principles. They want to live well and die well and hopefully contribute something to others along the way. It could be called a simplistic view of life; I think it is a true way of life.

The world will never be Utopia. Can't happen. But I'll still sit in my little corner of the world and hope that a few more people will see the value of living well.

Sorry, all, didn't mean to sound preachy. Arik, I just hope that the end result is worth the pain, and that few lives are lost. Dying for ones beliefs is good, living for them is better. To my way of thinking. Be well.

Now it's off to work I go! (hee hee, ha ha, ho ho, to the funny farm where life is wonderful all the time and I can see those nice young men in there nice white coats oh they're coming to take me away, ha ha!)

Debra Sat Oct 14 06:53:46 PDT 2000


I don't take issue with Arik's view point. I clearly stated that I don't even understand it. But he said that the women and men do think differently when someone in the family is lost. The women think of it as a total loss. The men think of it as a necessary evil. So yes I don't understand it. Yes, I do consider Arik my friend, but I trust if he had a wife I could hold a conversation with her on a different level. I would be able to count the total losses and maybe her and I might come up with just loss. I thank God everyday that I was born in a time and place where life and living are as important to my country men as they are to me (a women) because we learned some valuable lessons before I got here.

That's all I meant.


Debra Sat Oct 14 06:19:26 PDT 2000


It as a good Oiy for the writing with a little holding of the heart Oiy for the story.

Wow! What can I say? I don't want to follow that long heart felt post with a small one, but I still believe that we finally learned to all live together. Haven't we? I know that we still have a long way to go. Especially when you think or me I should say, that the worst thing I have ever seen on TV was the beating of Regonald Denny. It all started by the beating of Rodney King. I don't agree with either beating but Rodney is now fine and a millionaire and Mr. Denny is never going to be the same. So we do have a long way to go. But we still have learned some major lessons and live together. We do.


I trust that the mothers and fathers in your country have two different views of this situation. The mothers would be happy anywhere as long as their babies were all living and in tact. The fathers want justice. Not so different anywhere there are men and women. I'm sure. Unfortunately, I have seen too many funerals telivised from your part of the world. I see these mothers. I see their pain. They are not crying for land. They want their babies back.


Arik Sat Oct 14 01:16:44 PDT 2000

Debra - I read your post and it touched me. I am not a monther, but a father. I love my kids but I will understand it if they'll die for the country. This is the true way for a man to die. I dont think women will agree with me.

Rhoda - Do you know what (damit, I can't belive I forgot his name....) said... " The WW3, will start at the middle east - between arabs and Jews".... good news, hey?

Jerry Ericsson - Thank you a lot. I'll be ok... I hope so :-)

Tina - That couciety you are talking about is called "Utopia" :-).

GS - I agree with you. Now this is the right way to put things :-).

Sat Oct 14 00:28:33 PDT 2000


I understand the concept you express when you say that no one really owns land. None of us are in any way as permanent as the earth we inhabit. We have only a custodial capacity over the part of the earth we live in. None-the-less this whole question is one that is too philosophical for people to deal with in a situation such as the Palestinian one. The issues are too bare-bones survival in the minds of the people involved. The Palestinians see themselves struggling for a right to a homeland. The Israelis see themselves in a desperate defence of theirs.

It is not as noteworthy that there is so much strife in many places of the world as it is noteworthy that there is so little here. We tend to take living in a land of peace for granted because we live it day after day. Imagine, instead, any large city in the U.S. New York is always good as an example. Picture all the ethnic neighborhoods suddenly without the stability of a central government, a higher authority that guarantees the rights of all the citizens. There are scholars who contend that the Romans, for all their impeachability, were that last ones to maintain peace in the holy land; that as an Empire they imposed Roman law, not to supplant local jurisdictions but as the supreme authority.

Imagine the Italians contesting territory with the Irish. Imagine all the different ethnic groups in conflict, their religions, their customs, beliefs, etc. You would probably have the Bosnian and/or mid-east, Chechnya and any other turmoil ridden place you can think of repeated in example.

Allowing that Arik is our friend, and that I do not take issue with his viewpoint, there is a viewpoint to the Palestinian side as well. Their belligerence was not born in a vacuum. The very difficult part of any world class conflict is to sort every viewpoint out and reduce it to its uncontaminated state. How to adress the elemental issues and reduce motives to their generic credibilty, untainted by hatred and resentment. How to find solutions people can simply live with and not gratify vengeance. Peace has never been achieved where vengeance and justice were both requited. The heart that can put the past behind and move on is the one that everyone must have sooner or later. It demands that people accept a lot of bitterness, it does not demand that they rejoice in the outcome.

When I was a small boy we kids played war games almost exclusively. We were as much at war as those who were overseas. We all had somebody fighting on one side of the world or the other. We used to see them come home without their legs and arms. We knew that they died too. Their deaths and the war were a very big reality of our lives. My mind sees the Japanese and the Germans as people of other lands, just as other nations are, but still not uncolored by their former roles as enemies. I can’t make that go away.

The prejudices born of war are strong. They burn deeply into the soul. As much as we are endowed with peace in our lives and in our land we are all the children of war in some very real way. There seem always to be people in the world strongly engaged in this lesson.


Jerry Arthur Gordon Ericsson Fri Oct 13 21:09:14 PDT 2000

I too ventured into the chat room, only to find it empty. Alas! Maybe next time.


Tina Fri Oct 13 19:59:06 PDT 2000

Christi, I tried to come say 'hi' but I couldn't get in. Another time! :~)

Tina Fri Oct 13 19:52:39 PDT 2000

Hello all.

Arik, I can only echo the sentiments here. I found your thoughts about fearing wrong living to be poignant and true. I wonder what must happen before society - any society - finds the balance and knowledge to find value in lives lived well instead of the accumulation of power and 'wealth'.

Rhoda, I like your idea! I don't know what the format was for the previous round robins - I'm too much of a newbie - but your proposal is intriguing. I'm fond of collective novels where every writers voice can be unique, and I'd love to participate in one. Anyone else? ;~)

Rachel, thinking of you and the wee one :-)

Must go walk my dog. She's giving me the 'eye'. And a wet nose on my arm. Can't say no.


Christi Fri Oct 13 19:51:23 PDT 2000


Thanks!!! Warm {{{{HUGS}}}} back at you!

Teekay! Are you still here? Is anyone else still here? I'm in chat and will be there for a few if anyone wants to join me. Otherwise, I'll just have a Christi-tea party all by my lonesome. ;)

Teekay Fri Oct 13 19:35:08 PDT 2000

Hi All,

HOWARD: Have left a comment about Aunt Aggie.

JERRY: Same with Power (not very constructive though, just a comment really.)

HEATHER: WOW! I really admire your energy. I'll give you any assistance you need only don't ask me about grammar. About the only thing I know about grammar is where the full stops go and that she wears curlers to bed hahaha couldn't resist that last bit, an oldie but a goody. Should I have had a comma in there somewhere??? See what I mean?

RACHEL: Am pouring you a nice hot glass of malted milk and giving you a foot massage with lavendar oil. (That's one of my fantasies.)
Another one is lazing in a hot scented bath with bubbles and listening to an audio tape of a good story while eating ferrero rocher chocolates.

ARIK: I don't know what to say. Hang in there. Am thinking of you.

To all of you, I wanted to say something very inspirational, but I couldn't think of anything that didn't sound incredibly corny and vomit making so instead I'll say
'remove thy foot from thy neighbours door in case he grows weary of you and hates you.' Not too corny and vomituous that one eh? Bit in yer face wouldn't you say. I think that may have come from the bible (you wouldn't think so though would you? The bible's supposed to be a friendly, happy place, isn't it?) or maybe I read it from one of those flip over desk calendars.

Jerry Ericsson Fri Oct 13 16:24:15 PDT 2000

Tried to post this earlier, but something burped and it didn't get posted.

Debar - Is that a good Oiy or a bad Oiy

Arik - I am watching the situation in your country very closely, every hour I become more concerned for your safety
Take care.


Fri Oct 13 16:21:13 PDT 2000

Rhoda Fri Oct 13 15:43:51 PDT 2000


I hope you don't have to go to war either. My father and I were talking last night, and my Dad, a WWII veterern is afraid for our country now because of the tensions in the Middle East and because of the poor leadership that has beset our country. Our military is unprepared for a real hot conflict and we have many enemies around the world who would jump at any window of opportunity to harass the United States. We talked of my two nephews who are both of an age to register for selective service. It is a frightening prospect for a nation that has not had a draft for twenty-five years, but with the low numbers of military personel, a draft is a very real possibility, and it won't be just men drafted, but women also. And in this perverse nation, they would gladly stick women in combat just to show the world and the femininists how progressive we are. When I was young, the prospect of a draft and a war meant little, but now that I have kids of my own, I dread it. I can sacrifice their lives for freedom, for the lives of the innocent, for the nation that has been so good to us, but not for the stupidity of a failed foreign policy and the lack of responsible leadership, but then again troops have been dying for these things since war began. In every war countless lives are virtually thrown away.

Well, enough of that. You are much in my thoughts and prayers.


Debra Fri Oct 13 15:15:19 PDT 2000


I couldn't agree more. We are three things, mind, body and spirit. As a human I fear for all three. It is a total waste when someone screws up their life when they mess with their mind.

Just so you know, if I were a mother in your country and had the same two sons I have now, if we got a letter they would both leave me crying on the floor and be at their destination in four hours. That's the kind of sons I have.

I know there must be plenty of mothers left in that condition in your country. It's terrible to think of. Not just your country but all times and places of war.

My prayers are with you and the mothers of your country.


Arik Fri Oct 13 12:54:24 PDT 2000

Debra - I dont fear to loose someone or to die. Death is a part of life and altho is sound like you'v heard it a milion times, it is true. I also have a fear but not from death, but from wrong living. I afrade people will start drinking and doing drugs and stuff. In my age it is not relevant but I remember that it was a real problem when I was younger. I lost a lot of friends that way. I understand that you have to die sometimes for some reasons - Defending your country is one of them, But there is NO REASON for screwing up your life. This is terable.

Debra Fri Oct 13 12:37:01 PDT 2000


As a member of the human race I find that frightening.

As a mother of two sons, I think I would hide them in a closet. I have feared losing someone to war since I was a little girl. I can't explain that fear, since it has never happened. I also love my sons innocence. One of them is going to be 25 this year. I can feel when I am close to him that he doesn't know that horror. I fear losing that feeling even if I don't actually lose his physical body.

I am feeling really sad for the women of your country. I will pray every day that their saddness is lessend some how. I hope and pray that this ends soon. I hope that the powers on both side realize that what happens in the heart is more important and long lasting than what happens on the land.

Your friend


Arik Fri Oct 13 12:35:39 PDT 2000

Jerry - A great sentance!!! I loved it. I think that thing that makes this notebook so special is the poeple. You, and you and you and everyone! I love you guys :-))

Arik Fri Oct 13 12:26:52 PDT 2000

Debra - Evry man, when he reaches the age of 18, have to do 3 years in the army. After that, he HAS to come to the army whenever the army needs him. Usually you go there for 1 weak a year, but when there is war, The just snd ltters to everyone (onmost, and onlt male). The Israely goverment said that in the situation of this moment, every one who gets a letter have to come to a military base within 4 houers. So every muinnet I can get a letter and I'll have to go. I will love to do it and to surve my country but I hoe that there won't be any need to do it.

Hallee Fri Oct 13 12:26:05 PDT 2000

I don't know how many of you get the Writer's Digest mailing, but this was in today's:



P.O. Box 30880
Santa Barbara CA 93130 USA
Phone: (805) 563-2945

All entries shall be an original, non-fiction work that
is uplifting, inspiring and presents a positive viewpoint.
Essays, short stories and poems of up to 1,200 words will
be considered. The winner will be chosen by a panel of
independent judges.

Prize: The chosen winner will receive (a) paid entrance
to the 2001 Maui Writer's Conference (Aug. 31 - Sept. 3,
2001), (b) Roundtrip ticket to Maui, Hawaii, coach fare,
(c) 4 nights and 5 days hotel accommodations at the
Outrigger Hotel, Maui, Hawaii, (d) shuttle transportation
to and from airport, (e) your story will be considered
for publication in an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul

Established: 2000
Deadline: March 1, 2001
Eligibility: US Residents with proof of being at least
18 years of age
Entry Fee: None

Chicken Soup Writing Guidelines and Official Rules can
be obtained from our website. A completed Official Entry
Form must accompany all entries. Writing categories
include upcoming Chicken Soup titles (Fathers, Grieving,
Veteran's, Grandparent's, Laughing, Jewish, Rags to Riches,
Olympic, Traveler's, Entrepreneur's, Mother-Daughter,
Christian Teen, Man's, Divorced, Nurse's, Celtic, Christmas
Treasury, Fisherman's, Ocean Lovers and Volunteers).


Jerry Ericsson Fri Oct 13 12:21:52 PDT 2000

One of the greatest things about this notebook, is the way it shrinks the world. I now listen just a little closer to the news, and care a little bit more then I did before finding this wonderful site. Thanks Jack, your site is the best.


Rhoda Fri Oct 13 12:02:40 PDT 2000

Re. Round Robins:

I hestitate to say anything concerning round robins because I do not have a good history here regarding them.


I have had some thoughts in the past and I wanted to throw them out. Instead of someone starting the story and various people taking up the plot and others adding and adding, could we not consider finding an agreement on a setting, say a castle or a pub or rooming house. We then each create one or more characters who inhabit this space.

When proposing this idea I think of Master's Spoon River Anthology . These were poems, but they all were discreet poems involving the community of Spoon River. Actually these were folks from a grave yard.

I like this format because it is relatively loose, almost like a collection of stories. I like to think of it more as perhaps like a television series where the characters, the setting, and the universe is all in place, but we each write our own episode.

What do you think? I am open to ideas, that is after I move.


Debra Fri Oct 13 12:00:36 PDT 2000


I am giving you a crit on your story, Power.



Jerry Ericsson Fri Oct 13 11:44:05 PDT 2000

Christi - boy am I slow on the take-up, {{{{{WELCOME HOME}}}}}

So glad to have you back amongst us. You were missed. Take a peek in the workbook, I have posted the two stories that I sent to the Chicken Soup for Men - people, and a third that I wrote for Heather's experiment in POWER.


Debra Fri Oct 13 11:37:25 PDT 2000


Thank goodness you have a chance of being safe. I would like to know how your army works.

Yes my ancesotrs did fight for this land. It started by injustice on the other side of the world and we all finally learned to live together. Although if you ask certain Native Americans, you might get a different answer.

Please tell me whatever you want me and everyone else to know. I'm desperate to understand it.


Jon Fri Oct 13 11:26:10 PDT 2000


I have a question for you. Sometime ago Father Christmas posted here and he appointed me his assistant cat. Then he disappeared. Since then I have been on the dole. Were you Father Christmas? If you were (and still have the job) can I go on being your assistant cat? I would like to start wrapping my presents to my friends, but since you went away I don't know if there will be Christmas this year.

Americo Fri Oct 13 11:19:24 PDT 2000

Wise words, Rachel, and the same big, warm heart I have learned to respect and admire.

There are two ways of looking at a Round Robin. One is as a collaborative work for exercise and fun. I think this is the only sort that can be made on these premises at this historical moment, with people coming and going, different kinds of talent, different schedules and different views on vital subjects. Collaborative work needs friendship and peace.

The other way is something more professional and ambitious. It requires much more time and commitment. No one with personal projects in progress or a difficult family life should engage on such a program, if he/she does not want to havebitter disappointments in the future.

S* was a miracle difficult to repeat. It had its victims and its survivors. No heroes.

SM** was also a delightful project. It was partly successuful, in the sense that it collected some interesting stuff and provided each of its collaborators a chance to try their hand at a very rewarding genre: the short-story.

Why not try it again? Perhaps in a slightly different form, without leaders or editors, just with generous critics and writers? The workbook has recently awaken with interesting fiction and interesting criticism. Tina, Heather, Mark and others have dedicated much time and generosity reviewing the pieces that have been published there. I myself have given here my two nickels to the authors' of the few pieces I read.

Why not continue just like that? In time, talents will emerge, trends will surface, new voices will appear and a masterpiece will be in the offing. At that precise moment, Jon will awake from his world of fantasy, will put his feet on the ground and will shout: Round Robin! And a new S*, or at least a new SM**, will be born.

Or perhaps someone else gets there before and proves Jon a lazybones and a cat too old for giving advice. I'd be delighted if this happened! (And so would Pussy).

Arik Fri Oct 13 10:59:00 PDT 2000

Debra - I dont think you'll see me :-). I am not the television and fourtunatly, I am not very young. I thank you for your support, it means a lot for me! The war it because 2 "groups", thibnk that the land belongs to them. I won't tell you whois right and who is wrong, but you can't buy a country! The USA also got their land by fighting. I thank you for your support once again. And I HOPE that you won't see me in the army uniform (I am too young to die!!!) :-)))).

Heather - Don't worrie, I'll tell you if I will be sent to the army! I am ok here. They dont bomb us, and I am in 1 of the 2 places in Jerusalem that had no truble... And I hope there won't be! I meat, that maybe they will ask me to go to the army and then I won't be able to post... I don't know if you know how the army works in Israel... If you want to know, I'll tell you!

Christi - Thank you a lot my friend.

Thanks to all of you for your support. It means a lot.

Heather Fri Oct 13 10:15:28 PDT 2000

Rachel, I'm sorry that I did not 'join' the notebook early enough to aid you in the struggles you have just told. I was not part of Shadows** but I did enjoy the SM** round robin, and would gladly edit some of that work in order to have it ready for publication. I have done a lot of research on publishers just in preparation for my own novel, when it is finished, so even though I have only just begun my research, my heart goes out to you in that respect as well. I haven't been able to read any of the work from Shadows, as it was withdrawn from the workbook before I could. I anxiously await, even if it does not see the light of day as a bound volume, to read its contents. Is there anything I can do to help?

Litter, I hear your cry. I can just imagine how frustrating that is. I'm frustrated enough just getting this novel finished, and wading through hundreds of publishing companies. And of course, as soon as I have my publisher list narrowed to around ten, the latest version of Writer's Market comes out and I have to check all my information again. I also have the website of publishing companies that Rachel forwarded me, and I use that as well - but it does take what seems as aeon to sift through all of the information!

I want to say that we face daunting odds. I know that as writers, some of us may face, on top of the odds of being published, the odds of becoming obscure and introverted, alcoholic and insane. Because no one wants to look at all of the efforts we have made, or the art we have practically slit our veins to create. No matter the odds, we must hand on tenaciously - never give up. It only takes one editor to like what we have written and ask for more. It only takes one friend to read it and at the end of the book want to read it again.
It takes years of work to write it. It's still worth writing, published or not. Though, I prefer to try to get published, as I'm sure many do.

Let's keep the spirit high and strong.
Arik, so good to hear you're still ok, and that things might simmer down a bit. I hope.

Is it Italians who heat the world?


Christi Fri Oct 13 09:54:51 PDT 2000

Thanks guys. (*sniff*) There's nothing like a nice warm welcome back to make a girl feel right at home. Love you guys.

I don't think I could put it better than GS and others have, so I echo their sentiments. Be careful! We love you and hope this violence comes to an end soon. It does my heart good to see you still posting here; it means you're okay.

How very disappointing it must be to have to wait. I am not a patient person and can only imagine how frustrating it must be to be first accepted and then told, "We'll get back to you." Please do post here and blow off some steam, but try not to drink too much Malt Whiskey. That stuff's been known to kill a writer or two. Big hugs.

Round Robin?! I say ay ay!!! Kudos to Heather for offering to be editor--not an easy job.

Bring 'em on!

I for one cannot wait to have the opportunity to buy "Shadows", a book written by my dear friends. It would be disheartening to feel that no one cared, but I know that the people here do. Sometimes we all get a little too busy, or maybe do not understand or miss an important post. I'll bet a lot of Notebookers (Here's your drink, Americo, although I think Teekay was the first to come up with that one in the title of her story, "The Notebookers.") would jump at the chance to buy a book written by a friend. I also can't wait to buy Litter's book, although now I guess I'll have to. (Wait, that is.)

I think we are all feeling the trepidation that comes when things in the world are out of synch. It's times like this that I'm thankful to have so many friends from so many places right here in this tiny corner of the internet. What a time to be living in.


Rachel Fri Oct 13 08:32:27 PDT 2000

I see a lot of talk of round robin. What sort of round robin are you thinking of? Will it be short stories or will it be a novel? Either way I doubt very much that I would participate.

Jon's secretary is very busy. Then again from time to time that guy Americo surprises the pants off of me and comes up with the time to do amazing thing. However, this time that he gives so freely comes at great personal cost to him.

The secretary to Jon has a job that needs his attention and serious obligations. There are books to be completed. More than one was set to the side for the duration of the work on Shadows.

I know for myself I was astonished by how much went into the completion of such a collaborative work. It was much more than I had anticipated.

As for seeking a publisher I wish you all the best of luck. That also was a far larger undertaking that I had ever thought it could be. It's the sort of thing that makes you want to give up more than anything else. It's the sort of thing that takes the heart right out of you. It takes endless days of searching thousands of sites (I kid you not). Hey, maybe your seeker would be lucky and walk into an open door. My hat would be off to them.

Then when you have completed the work and you look back at all of the time and effort. When you look at who is left by your side and think of all the changes that you made to accomodate people who never did keep their promises. Then, when all is said and done, a publisher found and you decide to share your accomplishment, I hope that you don't expect any pats on the back. I for one can say that is not what I saw happening here.

There were a couple of people who spoke up but it would have been nice to hear from the others. instead what I heard was resounding silence. It was kind of strange.

I don't know if this post will encourage or discourage you. I don't think it should really make a difference. If you have a dream and it is a round robin then go for it. I really do wish you all the best of luck. I wish you all will stick together and that it will be great.

Don't get me wrong, Shadows in a lot of ways was a great experience. I learned so much and found myself a dear, close friend. I guess that is about the best thing that I could have gained from the writing of the book.

Take care all,


Allein Fri Oct 13 07:15:54 PDT 2000

Hallee - Actually, I didn't have a test - that poem is just posted up in my teacher's room and I thought it was cute so I posted it here. I have a test on Monday though, but it should be easy. My brother has the SAT's tomorrow though. Heh, heh, heh...


Debra Fri Oct 13 05:56:35 PDT 2000


I guess sometimes it seems like a curse. I get no complaints from my husband. Do you wish he would be more of an even keil in that department?


I like being Italian. I have all the heat. He has to behave himself because he has none. That's power. I always use my power for good. HeHe.


It sounds like you are made up of great things. I did see your picture. I can tell you come from the best of the best.


Debra: Fri Oct 13 05:50:42 PDT 2000


I wish you well. I wish you the ultimate power, the power to protect yourself and those you love without being harmed in any way. That's power. I admit I don't understand the fight. Where I live the ground doesn't belong to anyone unless they have bought it and put a home there. No one buys whole cities or countries just a piece for a famlly. I can't understand fighting over land. I know it makes sense in some way or there wouldn't be all this fighting. I think we all share the earth. No one really owns anything. Not really. I always worried about that part of the world. I would see young faces of soldiers and women and children and fought back the tears that their lives were shattered. Now when I watch, I will wonder if that person whom caught my eye was you.

Debra: Fri Oct 13 05:21:10 PDT 2000

Hallee Fri Oct 13 05:16:15 PDT 2000

(SIGH) See below.

Fri Oct 13 05:15:42 PDT 2000

Hi all! Happy Friday!

HEATHER: The first image that came to my mind when I read the word power was a grand hall of a king. Nothing in particular - just the room..with all its richness and splendor.

DEBRA: My husband is half Italian and is like a hot box in the winter.

LITTER: It sucks that happened, but the good news is they didn't bounce it back to you. I hate that you have to wait, but it will happen in time.

ALLEIN: Hope you did well with your test. :)

TINA: Welcome back!

CHRISTI: I have some chicken soup and kleenexes to throw into the pile. You think we have a money making venture here? (Glad you're feeling better)


Have a great day all!

Arik Fri Oct 13 00:21:57 PDT 2000

Thank you everyone. Thank you a lot.

Heather - Thank you. I also hate to watch the news... there is nothing anything good :-).

Hallee - Thank you a lot.

Allein - Thank you :-). I also hope so

Jerry Ericsson - Thank you a lot. The situation now is not very conflect. 2 of our soldiers have been leeched by the Arabs in front of the cameras. The most terable thing is that a wife of one of them caller her hasband at the time of the leech. An arab answered her and told her they are leeching her hasband at this very moment, gave her to listen and laught. This is unhuman!

gariess - I dont have enoughf words to thank you (Not because of my bad English :-)). I thank you with all my heart.

Debra - Not only I live in Israel. I live in Jerusalemv :-).

Heather Thu Oct 12 23:50:53 PDT 2000

Needing more images here, everyone:

What comes to mind when you think of the word POWER?
It could be good, bad, neutral, or imaginary.
It could be




Heh heh

ARIK: Blessings to you, and PLEASE keep your head down.
It's a good thing I visit this site almost every day, otherwise I would have no idea what is currently on the world's plate. I despise watching the news, and I get so many newspapers I barely wade through the first pages before another bundle arrives. We will all be anxiously awaiting word from you, Arik, that you're ok. Pass the LOVE on.

Jerry - I will be roaming the workbook in a few minutes to read your 'essay' on power. I have an inkling it will make me shudder. Wish you'd been the officer to arrive on the scene when I've had to call for help in the past.

Debra - Arik really does live there, in Israel.
I'm a quarter Italian, (the rest of me is English and German and a teeny tad Native Canadian Indian or Inuit), and I have a personal heating issue. I am usually warm while my husband has sub-zero extremities! Why do those who stay cold always have to use us for heating blankets? My husband covers himself with three heavy blankets and flannel pj's even in the summer, while I'm naked and barely covered with a sheet, and still too hot! (And that's with the air conditioner on)...
SO I suppose the 'heater' nickname has more than one reason behind it!

Jerry and all interested in the round robin (regardless of A* and Jon's dissention):

I would take on the editorial position, so long as there is someone who will edit my contributions as well. Of course, the round robin itself is undecided as to topic and commencement, which leaves me some time to keep writing on my novel in the meantime. I will also say that if you agree to my editing proposal, I may not contribute as much work.
I think we could call an election - if there are any other interested parties wishing to stand as editor. Or, on the other hand, we could appoint several editors, all of whom will look at each piece, give a fair and honest critique of each in turn, and work together with the author to arrive at a polished piece. If this sounds like too much work, does anyone else have any suggestions?


Americo - do you have too much personal work on the board to edit the proposed round robin? I'd love if you would participate!


Jerry Ericsson Thu Oct 12 18:46:13 PDT 2000

Jerry Lee - well some of it is from my job, just the end has changed, in reality, I put the SOB in jail for 14 years for what he did to his daughter. The ending is just a pipe dream, the way it should have ended, with him dead, and the family safe.


Teekay. Thu Oct 12 18:31:59 PDT 2000

LITTER: Chin up! Don't you just abhor that 'slough of despond'? I know I do.(((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))

TINA: I saw your post from yesterday. Nice that you thought of me while you were in your garden. Was that the post you meant?

JON: Weren't you the one who mentioned a round robin to begin with?

CHRISTI: Heeeeeeeeeeeeey, I'm sooooo glad you're back!!!

RWOADH: Thanks for the info. Money, money, money, that's what it's all beginning to boil down to. Pity, I would have loved to see it.

Hope all of you are having a grand old day. Chances are not all of you are though.

Jerry Lee Thu Oct 12 17:17:30 PDT 2000

Yo all,

Jerry, Your most recent deposit into the short story page has me shaking. Too much like the bad old days. Great writing, though. It's always better if it turns out the way it should!
Is this another episode you gleaned from your policeman days? If so, how did it turn out for those involved?

Jerry Lee

Debra Thu Oct 12 16:15:53 PDT 2000


Do they want you to wait so long that it would a better idea for you to be free to look for someone else? Can you look and wait simultaously?

You could keep them on the hook unless something better came along? So you wouldn't be hung up and yet still accepted.

Or am I way off.


Litter Thu Oct 12 15:43:18 PDT 2000

Do I speak, or do I stay silent? Do I open myself up to public embarrassment or stay in the shadows quietly licking my wounds?

My Novel, of which I was so delighted to have accepted for publication, is now on hold along with those of other first time novelists. Another publisher, whilst championing the cause of unpublished authors, has landed a 'big name' author to help swell their coffers and divert them from their laudable and much heralded aims.

This is a double edged sword -- one edge thrust deep into the commercial marketplace whilst the other cuts the thread by which we hopefuls dangle…

My novel is still accepted but I (and others) now have the carrot of a more 'respected' and enlarged commercial showcase, with its seductive promise of increased sales potential, to weigh against the 'necessarily' lengthened timescale for us 'list-fodder-first-timers' who have to make way for the establishment. It seems I have been here before.

Meanwhile I will write doleful poetry and work on the backlog of horrific and disgustingly bloody scenes of murder and mayhem that I have thusfar avoided. I shall continue to lurk but will probably not wish to talk much.

Now I will slink back to my personal 'Slough of Despond', slit my wrists and replace my draining blood with 25year old Malt Whisky.

All good things,


Jerry Ericsson Thu Oct 12 14:04:24 PDT 2000

Americo - on your advice, I have begun my search for a publisher willing to work with me. Thanks for the encouragement.


Hallee Thu Oct 12 13:53:04 PDT 2000

ARIK: My prayers are with you and your country. Be safe.

ALL: I love the idea of a writing round robin.

Okay - back to work. Geesh...2 days off and the whole world falls apart around them. (We won't mention the shape of my house after 4 days in bed).

Bye All!!

Allein Thu Oct 12 13:27:10 PDT 2000

Debra - Italian, huh? I'm Irish, Scotch and German - imagine my temperment. :) Actually, no, I normally don't get angry - I'm usually a nice person to be around.

Arik - My prayers are with you and your people. I hope and pray that we don't go to war.


"Now I lay me down to rest,
I pray I pass tomorrow's test,
If I should die before I wake,
That's one less test I have to take!"

Jerry Ericsson Thu Oct 12 13:18:10 PDT 2000

Sure we can do our own round-robin, just need to find someone who is willing to be in charge, do the editing and so forth, that is if we wish to publish our work when it is done. We could of course just do it for fun and see how it goes.

Any volunteers?


Rosemary Thu Oct 12 12:55:40 PDT 2000

Hi Rowhard,
That picture of KFC hanging on the chicken pen sounds like a good idea. My husband use to say he would lay an axe down next to a tree or shrub that wasn't doing well and it would perk up right away.

We had some of the A* chickens that laid colored eggs but they got all mixed up with the Old English Bantems, the Cochens and the Silkies and now most of them have puffy cheek feathers and lay assorted color and size eggs. We (my sister and I) ordered an assortment of baby chicks through the mail about five years ago. That was an interesting experiment.

If Americo doesn't want to do the Round Robin, can't we go ahead and do it anyway?


Jerry Thu Oct 12 12:36:46 PDT 2000

Sorry Rhoda, I got the two R's mixed up.

Jerry Ericsson Thu Oct 12 12:35:50 PDT 2000

Heather - Power huh, well I started a shortie, but it got rather long, so I posted it in the short story workbook, it is all about power.

Arik - I forgot to say, my prayers are with you and your people also. I don't know how far this will go, what with our ship being bombed, and as Rachel said, Sadam on the move, this could very well turn very ugly very quickly. I sure hope not, but I fear it will.


Rhoda Thu Oct 12 12:01:00 PDT 2000


My prayers are with you. My prayers are also with my countrymen that we do the right thing in light that one of our destroyers got bombed and that Saddam is on the march.


Jerry Ericsson Thu Oct 12 11:48:06 PDT 2000

Arik my friend - let me echo the sentiments of the others, please keep your head down. GOD how I hate war, I fear for your safety. Please keep in touch, as you said earlier, what we hear from CNN and what is happening are often quite different. We need you,to be our eyes and ears. We need you to tell us the truth of what is happening in your great nation. My heart goes out to your and your people, be strong, be safe.


Debra Thu Oct 12 10:57:12 PDT 2000


At the risk of sounding like a copy cat.

Please please stay out of harms way.


gariess Thu Oct 12 10:54:46 PDT 2000


From the news reports I have seen this morning I gather that things are likely to develop badly for the Palestinian situation. I want to say, before things alter the political landscape, that you are my valued correspondent in this forum. I do not mean in the sense of a news reporter, but in the sense of one we speak to in freindship and respect. From this point on minds may change, loyalties may shift, and events will ride on the winds of the future. Such things must be expected when great crises erupt, but I hope to keep hearing from you in this forum, and to continue being your friend.

Please come to us as often as you can, and in the meantime we can all hope for the best. Please stay out of harms way.


Debra Thu Oct 12 10:43:55 PDT 2000


Worry about nothing Jon. To quote my husband why he loves the fact that I'm Italian. He says my hands and feet are like heaters even in the middle of winter. I don't know if it is true of all Italian girls. I haven't been that close to even one.

Personally, I think it is because I'm short.

Maybe you could answer that for me.


Jon Thu Oct 12 10:38:41 PDT 2000

Oh, Debra, you Italian. Me Portuguese. How nice to meet you. I did not know that when I spoke so eloquently about Italian girls. If I knew it I would have been even more eloquent. Buona sera!

Thanks, Howard, for the mention. Pebbles are very suggestive things. If you happen to see sasquatch somewhere, give him my best greetings. I think we are all missing that wonderful notebooker.

Notebooker? Hey, I coined this word some months ago. Anyone who uses it must pay me a drink.

Now, who am I in this post? Ah, Jon.

Debra Thu Oct 12 09:10:43 PDT 2000


Can I ask a stupid question? Are you there? I was under the impression that you lived in the US.


Arik Thu Oct 12 09:05:16 PDT 2000

Well people. Seems that this is war. I am sorry I I'll have trouble posting here in the next few days (things will be hard around here).

Good day to all of you.

Tina Thu Oct 12 08:05:31 PDT 2000

Hello all!

Something very very wierd has happened. Last night I posted here (just after Rachel). It was a short post but none the less, there it was. I refreshed my connection and there it was in black and yellow. I read it. It had posted properly. And today it's gone. Honest I'm not crazy. Has this happened to anyone else?

Don't have time to repeat myself. Besides, maybe it will reappear later, from whatever digital twilight zone it's currently in.

Howard, it was a fun chat! It's always a touch surreal chatting with Sasquatch. I got your story and will read it soon.


howard Thu Oct 12 07:55:17 PDT 2000

From CNN:
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Chinese novelist Gao Xingjian has won the Nobel Prize in literature for his "bitter insights
and linguistic ingenuity," and becomes the first Chinese writer to win the prestigious prize.

TINA and SASQUATCH -- Thanks for the nice chat last night! I went out to look for the "Dog Star" last night, but there were clouds in the way. Orion is back, though, and he's left the window open again! Brrrr!

AMERICO -- I like it! The picture of the stone skipping then "never seeing it again" brought back memories.

TEEKAY -- I checked into that SK interview, and found that now they charge for the audio file. The NPR.ORG website has pointers to some very interesting audio stuff.


Debra Thu Oct 12 06:04:39 PDT 2000


I did have my question why do I stay with my children endlessly sort of answered last night. My daughter had a school thing and I went. We were supposed to go from one class to the other in a mock experience of their day. Not only did I remember what kind of student I was, but I also remembered the seat I used to sit in. I would come in and sit all the way in the back on the right side. The right meaning the chalkboard is the top. I sat back there day dreaming and half paying attention. I missed fifth period because I wasn't paying full attention. I spent it in eight grade science instead of Social Studies for sixth graders. My daughter is a sixth grader.

Anyway to make a short story long, my two year old daughter spent the night asking her father,"where'd mama go?" He would answer and she would ask again. It broke my heart to find that out. That must be why. She has a twin sister who was asking too. Double the guilt.


Debra Thu Oct 12 05:56:34 PDT 2000


I'm Italian. My mother was Italian on both sides from when time began. She is full blooded. My father is a bit English. My sir name is my married name. They claim to be French. Apparently when folks came to America their names were changed a tad.

So that big chunk of Italian in me makes my temper boil while that litte bit of English allows me to appear calm and uneffected. It's all done with mirrors.


Jon Thu Oct 12 05:33:20 PDT 2000

Jerry and others:

I do not think the notebook is ready for a new roundrobin. At least a serious one, aiming publication and so on. That involves a lot of work, friendship and commitment. Perhaps Rachel could tell you about how difficult it was to take "Shadows in a Dream" to its conclusion. Or perhaps not.

Moreover, my main secretary is trying to finish a book and has no time for collaborative work at the moment. And Heather must finish her novel before doing anything else. Rachel has to see doctors three times a day because of her baby. And you, Jerry, what you should do is to collect your best stories (including those of SM**), ask a professional editor to have a look at them (but not to spoil your originality) and try to publish them in paper. Do not waste your talent with amateurish contests, mainly those which ask an entry fee.

This does not mean that you, people, should not try a roundrobin without me and my slaves (Pussy and A*). I think you should and you'd have my sincere encouragement.

I'm so sorry I don't know any names of Scottish prisons ( one of the few places where I haven't been yet). But why not invent one for your character? Tell me, Debra, are you of Polish origin? I'm asking because of your surname.

Heather Thu Oct 12 01:00:24 PDT 2000

Christi - long time no post! Good to see you back.

Americo, darling, your words tonight stirred the dream of the sea; she calls me back, and under - and I feel the claws of tiny crabs whisking over my toes.
I may have lived inland for many years, but never a day passes without the rocks, sand and salt air drifting into mind.

I'm sure the ten dollar fee will go to prize money or promotion funds, or to pay for the judges to read all of the entries, or more than one of the above.
I just like to enter a contest once in a while without having to bother going to the bank for a money order.
I usually go to the bank when everyone else has had the same idea, and the kids decide it's time to re-arrange the charming array of minimalist bank furniture, or the monstrous supply of RRSP pamphlets.

I think banks should supply coat racks (or toddler racks) for mothers and/or fathers bringing the gaggle of kids!

Mary, the contest sounds interesting - but do I go for it? Will I have the time!!! Pressure works for me, so I will probably check it out. Does this site run contests often?

Gariess: Funny that I posted atop your post about the bums chasing you - I hadn't reloaded the page before I wrote my post so I didn't see your until later. By the way, I never once chased someone like that - on the street, there really is a big difference between a bum and someone who happened to land on the street.

I may be one of the few, but I had a happy, terrific childhood. Everything that happened to me was by my own (sometimes faulty) choice. I could never place blame on my parents, and knew it. I think surviving the experiences of my late teens (and on into age twenty) was a matter of strength, skill, and perserverance. I don't know about brave, but perhaps I was. It wasn't something that I consciously considered - all the learning and experience I gleaned while living in such a state has taken three times as many years for me to assimilate as it did to live them; but at the same time, every day I lived that way seemed a year.
It was all a whirlwind sometimes, and at others it was slow motion and stills. Very cinematic.

Because of this strange time differential, I often feel as though I'm twice my age. Then I look in the mirror and find I haven't any wrinkles or gray strands.

I have an art show to produce a piece for - the theme this year (it's a local, annual show) is POWER.
Sort of fits in with what I have posted yesterday and today, in that I learned just fast enough that I had to take my power back or else lose it forever, and die a lost soul without identity or a place to call home.


What comes to mind when you think of power, everyone?

This could be a good stream of consciousness poem or shortie thing.

I'll give it a shot and if it comes out ok, I might just leave it in my post. If not, you'll notice a big blank -

Lightning fast
Conduct your rage
Don't send it, don't crack the wire
Break walls
and loose chained hearts
you scream, and
scream your pain-song
into me.

Twist me into your vessel to
float away
What powers the engine of

You push the plants up and I
take the seed;
I crack husks and find
brittle retreat

Grow little sand crumbs,
grow tiny fright
surge until sunrise
bury this night

Your power persuades me
almost till death
and waking, I see you
for the first time, unwrapped

Red light

The siren of rescue
fades into black
I cry dirt and
step on a crack

Your hands fall away
and I lose sight of
your face
freedom breathes
in this small grace

turning, grinding my heel over
No one has been broken
but me
and it's late

I look up for the first
time and see
a new sky
not heavy or thunderous
now alone
it's mine.

(well, it's just an off-the-cuffer!)

Rachel Wed Oct 11 22:28:10 PDT 2000

Magoo - Well, then, there... GRINS and HUGS!

Americo - I liked what you wrote this evening. I send you hugs.

All - I have enjoyed reading the posts the past few days. I am sending all of you hugs!

Hi to the new folks. Hope you enjoy the notebook.

Jack - I wish all the best for you and those you hold dear.

Christi - Hi you!

Christi Wed Oct 11 22:15:43 PDT 2000

Helloooo all!

No I am not dead. I live. The problem is that I have been sick and then my son got sick and then my husband got sick. Sick people are very boring. They only talk about how bad they feel and whine and ask you for Gatorade and/or 7up. But I'm all better now and I've got tons of leftover kleenex and chicken soup. Maybe I'll auction it off on Ebay.

Did you get my last mail?! I'm soooo confsude!!!! I mena confused . . . I mean CONFUSED!!! H'yuck h'yuck. I got yours and I'll be returning ASAP. ;)

I'm so tired that I appear to be writing in code--code that absolutely no one will understand.
Anyway, I miss the wonderfulness of all you folks and will not be able to stay away for so long. I wish I had time to read all the posts and do more than just say hi, but it is not to be. My sister is in town and there's a family reunion going on, but I'll be back soon so consider yourselves warned!

Messy smooches,


gariess Wed Oct 11 22:06:12 PDT 2000

About the ten dollar entry fee, I think they just want the ten bucks. They probably figure that will cover the prize money and with luck they will have some left over for profit. At times I am the soul of cynicism.


I didn't mean to imply that Adams killed himself WITH drugs, but that from my own reckoning, drugs was factored into his state of mind. I don't recall ever knowing his actual manner of death. It should have occured to me that a search engine might have been useful. I went to the IMDB, Internet Movie Data Base, and did separate searches for Adams and Widmark.
The movie of reference was the only one they had in common. The IMDB is my favorite web source for movie info. The voice -over part they listed for Adams in Giant must have been some kind of post-production work. In the movie it is clear that the voice of Jett Rink was that of James Dean. In this brief moment of clarity I will explain that Jim Backus was the guy I referred to as the one (Dean) played with in the other movie (Rebel Without A Cause.) Tomorrow I will no doubt be unable to remember any of these names or titles.

Now that I recall, there were some links in the imdb about Nick Adams that I didn't have time to bother with. There should be some info there on his death/suicide. I was very surprized at the long list of major films he had parts in.

The title song for the Looney Toons cartoons, you say. Indeed, now that I run it through my head those last bars do fit the title. I don't suppose you know the title of the Three Stooges theme song. I always wondered about that one. I would hum a few bars for you but I am sure you are familiar with it.


Wed Oct 11 21:58:01 PDT 2000

Just noticed that there was interest in Round Robins. Send me the information and I will set separate Round Robins up. It may take until this weekend, but please send the files separately via email and I will get all the back end server chores taken care of and things set up. Take care.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Oct 11 21:56:07 PDT 2000

Finally got enough time away from work to get back and archive things. I apologize for those with lowered bandwidth, but things should move a bit more quickly now that I have reduced things from 327 k down to 27k, retaining messages from Wednesday, October 11.

All seems to be going well and the latest results of a series of MRIs are that my mother in law does not have any signs of metastisized cancer. So her reduction in mobility is other issues and she will likely be with us for some time to get. Which is all to the good. Thank you any and all who had her in your prayers. This still means we were have to be to be ever watchful as we care for her and your continued thoughts and prayers in this regard are always welcome. Rember, that when I say thoughts and prayers I extend across all spiritual lines from Wiccan to Christian to Muslim and anywhere else life has led you in your spiritual walk to make your accomodation with the divine and the bewildering and the always wondrous.

I continue to be inspired and delighted and awed by the presence of everyone here and the continued discussion of the writing life. Let us always know the blessing of words in our existence and know the joy of sharing them with each other and the driven presence of each of our muse. Take care all.

Teekay. Wed Oct 11 20:47:28 PDT 2000

JON: YES! Bring on the round robin. I for one need discipline in order to get things done. Without it I'm much to eager to let things slide.

Tina Wed Oct 11 19:47:23 PDT 2000

Hello all!

Back from my holiday. I skimmed the posts but this was a busy place.

Happy birthday Mary.

I'll send some strength and prayer your way, Arik.

Hello Richard and Amy!

Teekay, as I clean out my flower beds and plant bulbs, I'm thinking of you! Oh, to be setting seeds instead of collecting them!

Congratulations Heather!

Debra, I'll betray my naive youth and admit, half of my toys took batteries. My 'Little Professor' math game that I stayed up nights playing. My Sony walkman, which was one of the few things I had that was better than the other, richer kids in the neighbourhood had. My flashlight that spent many hours under the sheets with me at night, illuminating the printed worlds I devoured. My parents opted for the rechargable batteries, and they saved a bundle of money by doing so!

And, why do I write?

Because there are so many possible people inside me, and writing gives each one life and breath. I can let every aspect of my self out to grow and play and destroy and create and love and hate, by setting them on paper and giving them free rein to live the lives I can't.

I found this quote in a book called 'The Pregnant Virgin' by Marion Woodman.
"On some level she always feels banned from life and yearns for what other people take for granted. Yet while part of her feels abandoned, part of her knows that were she to forsake her own creativity she would be abandoning her own soul."
Every time I feel guilty for the time I put into my various arts, every time I feel societal pressure saying 'do something USEFUL with yourself', I think of this passage. I write because if I didn't, it would be suicide of my soul.

Hello everyone else too!
Have a great one.

Jerry Lee Wed Oct 11 19:18:03 PDT 2000

Yo all!

First...HAPPY 30th, MARY!!!
30 is a nice round number without discrace. You still have one year until the following effects you..."You can't trust anyone over 30." So, don't sweat it. Of course, next year...

I just lost the number 3 as the first digit in my turned itself into a 4. How does that happen? Oh well, I just think of it as half way to 80. (eerie, huh?)

About the $10.00 charge for the contest, I think it probably has to do with keeping the rabble out. I mean if you can't trust your work 10 dollars worth, you won't enter their little contest, right? So only those who really think they have a chance will enter. It also cuts down on them having to read all those un-believed-in entries.

Take it easy,
Jerry Lee

A* Wed Oct 11 19:09:15 PDT 2000

My tonight's two nickels

I started writing because I wanted to have in me forever a little sister of mine who died before I was born. Her name was Alice. I woke up one morning with the little girl in my heart. A strange feeling, a deep belief. It's still there. At least it is now .

I went to the beach and, as it was my wont, I kicked everything alive or dead on the sand. Little creatures jumped when I passed and that made me feel somebody. I threw a pebble onto the ocean and saw how it jumped and jumped only to dive when it got thirsty or fed up of the game. I got the beauty of the motion and the grace of the circle. I had won my day.

I came home and put it all on paper. I never liked to tell my life and, to be honest, never cared much about the others' lives except when they are imaginary. So I tried to write in such a way that no one at home could guess that I was speaking of a yellow pebble on the ocean and the dream of a loner. But those who once throw pebbles onto the water would know what I was speaking about and would recognize in my words the smell of the ocean and feel like dancing like a pebble on the water. Perhaps they could even link the dance of the pebble with the little beasts of the sand jumping around the naked feet of a boy. And my story of the day was only that: some jumps into the salty air, three circles around the waves, a stone that I would see no more.

I had recreated an afternoon and its breeze in my hair. Perhaps I could one day, with much practice, recreate Alice as well and make her as immortal as my dream. I'm still trying.

mary Wed Oct 11 19:06:08 PDT 2000

Hi everybody:

I subscribe to a weekly newsletter for writers that is running a most interesting contest. The object is, that everyone who registers receives an email at the same time including the guidelines you have to follow (and the subject of) a short story which has to be completed and submitted via email within 24 hours of the time you received the original guideline email from them. There are cash prizes, and book prizes..worth checking out I think. Sounds fun if nothing else. The only clincher is that Friday is the cut-off for registration. I havent even read the whole thing myself, but it seemed like something someone here might want to try on...I think I am going to register and see what happens.

howard Wed Oct 11 18:11:09 PDT 2000

GARIESS -- I'm a veritable font of useless information! For example: Did you know that the ending theme song for the Looney Toons cartoons is titled "The Merry-go-round Broke Down" and Daffy actually sang it in one of his earliest lead roles?
The voice for Mr Magoo was Jim Backus, same guy who played the millionaire on "Gilligan's Island." And yes, Nick Adams killed himself, but I don't remember it being with drugs. I also didn't know that he was a voice-over for James Dean. On Nick Adams, I looked him up on the internet to be sure of the dates -- did an Altavista search and found a bunch of hits.
Now if I could only remember to take my medicine...

ROSEMARY -- I occasionally raise Arucauna chickens. They're the ones that lay the colored eggs -- mostly blue, green, or pink. Never raised Polish, but think they're pretty birds. I still have in my chicken coop an old IBM "THINK" sign, with a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket hanging next to it, just to encourage egg production. We haven't raised chickens since the red rooster sent me to the hospital, but I'm thinking of starting again. Maybe a couple of pigs too.

Think I'll check out the chat room -- it's 9:15 EDT, and I'll be there for a while.


Debra Wed Oct 11 17:40:01 PDT 2000


One of my characters is in Scotland. I have her in a prison. I don't know any names of prisons in Scotland. Do you?

I would love it if you would tell me.


Rosemary Wed Oct 11 16:32:36 PDT 2000

Hello Gariess,
I'm beginning to think those Polish Rooster jokes are true. This is the second time I've had to get him away from that dog. You would think once would be enough for most roosters. I've considered getting rid of the dog but he keeps the chickens out of my plants and off the porch.

About those menu's, I've found a rousing game of solitare on the computer during those long waits help a lot. Part of the irritation is that the telephone keypad is in the handset and you have to take it away from your ear to enter your selection. When it gets back to the ear, you get the end of a sentence. I kind of miss the old clunky desk phones. And their loud ringing that you could tell from the microwave or the television.

About the contests, most contests use the entry fee for the prize money, but you wouldn't think Writer's Digest would need it.

Here's to profitible writing

gariess Wed Oct 11 16:04:10 PDT 2000


I'm not crazy after all. Nick Adams and Richard Widmark made only one movie together. It was called, The Last Wagon, and was made in 1956. It was a western so the scene with men in boots in an outdoor setting is consistent with the story. I was surprised that the movie was so old, but in the process of looking this up I found that Adams was born in 1931 and he had a surprisingly large filmography. One interesting credit is for a voice-over part for Jett Rink in the movie, Giant. If you recall, that part was played by... bloody hell, he's on my list too. Well you know who I mean, he was in that other movie, the one with what's his name. You know, the guy who was the voice for Mr. Magoo. Magoo?? Well, this will give you some idea of what I was saying earlier.

Magoo, hmm. Hi Rachel.


Rachel Wed Oct 11 15:39:13 PDT 2000

GS - Hugs back at yah:)

gariess Wed Oct 11 15:31:06 PDT 2000


You’re a whiz, that was the guy. How did you know the year etc.? Is there a web site with that kind of data? I have this list of well known people whose names I can never recall on demand. For obvious reasons this list does not exist in tangible form. I should start one now, and put what’s his name on a paper or a word file. I know others with the same memory glitch. We sit around saying things like, "You know who I mean, he was in that movie... what was it about now? He was the guy who... what the hell was it he did?

It apparently has nothing to do with a name being odd in any way. After all, there is nothing unusaul about what’s his name’s name. All the same, you are right; what's his name was the guy.

Of course, now you have given everyone the clue to my age. Well, I usually tell people I am the same age as Robert Redford. Actually, I am a few months older, but I am a couple of months younger than Mary Tyler Moore, we all have birth dates in the same year. When you think of me, just picture Robert Redford. He doesn't look quite as good as I do, but he is close enough.

As far as the anecdote the guy told, I always thought it was quite funny, I can just picture Richard Widmark staring at this upstart making a mound of dirt to cancel out HIS mound of dirt. Silly things like that resonate with my funny-bone. I suppose it was tragic, the way the guy died, but all that drug stuff that was so rampant got the better of a lot of people. It still does. Some of our Notebookers have expressed a passing acquaintance with this world. Hey, I just thought of a way I might be able to find out the movie they were in. There’s a site where you can match up actors together and they can tell you a movie they were in together, I think. I’ll try later.

Americo, I must also applaud your piece on the passing of thirty. It is a very interesting observation that a writer should not love, but in another sense, a writer must.


I think you are great to have redeemed your life so bravely. You have a fine way with the written word. You have added a lot to this Notebook.

I think a round robin would be a great idea. I was wondering if we could choose a venue that would be a good compromise for the largest number of Notebookers. Some kind of neutral ground that can be trod by the mainstreamers and the super-natural faction as well.


I agree about the phone menus. They are the curse of the modern age. I also had trouble pasting to the workbook until somebody told me what to do. I was doing the same as your friend, and kept losing stuff. The problem you have sounds different, though.

About those Polish roosters or whatever, do you get tired of all the Polish rooster jokes?


(I quote.) "I always think of you when I fly over the Scottish hills covered in purple." How often do we see a flying cat covered in purple? In my case, not since Mrs. Ganderhoot caught fluffy messing in the gooseberry pie. That Mrs. Ganderhoot, the Denver Broncos could use a long yardage goal kicker like her. I must take a trip to those Scottish hills with a telephoto lens one day, and watch the sky patiently.

Rachel, hugs.


Heather Wed Oct 11 12:27:22 PDT 2000

Just wanted to let everyone know that there is a short short story contest going on at Writer's Digest(.com)
Here are some of the details:

They're 'looking for fiction that's bold, brilliant...but brief.' Stories are to be 1500 words or less, anything longer will be disqualified.
Deadline is December 1, 2000.
Top prize winners will be considered for publication.

First place prize=$1,500
Fourth through tenth place=$100
etc etc....

Some of the rules:
Type the word count on the first page of your entry, along with your name, street address, daytime phone, and email address.
Entry fee is $10 per manuscript. You may enter as many manuscripts as you wish, and may send one cheque (check, for you Americans) and one entry form for all of your entries.
All entries must be original, unpublished, and not submitted elsewhere until the winners are announced. Writer's Digest will post the winners at
Enclose a self-addressed stamped postcard with your entry (international entries, use an international reply coupon)
if you want to be notified of receipt of your ms.
All entries must be typewritten and double spaced, on one side of 8 1/2 by 11 white paper. Manuscripts will not be returned.

Complete rules are available at the website! You can likely print out the competition entry form from the website as well.

Mail manuscripts and entry fees to:
The Writer's Digest Short Short Story Competition,
1507 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio,

U.S.A., of course.

So, now that we know, let's get some manuscripts sent in and see what happens!

I think I will, though I think contests should be free.


Rachel Wed Oct 11 11:06:16 PDT 2000

Why do I write? You might as well as me why I breath. I just do it. It is a part of being alive for me. If I were not to write I think a large part of me would die and I would then wander through life the living dead. When I do not write I do not feel complete. I don't live to write, I write to live. That is not to say that I do not have an active, full and happy life outside of my writing, but I would not be active, happy or full of anything without my writing. I can't even go away without writing. I don't want vacations from my writing. I in fact seem to write even more on my vacations. I write journals about them and I then write stories about the things that end up in the journals. I don't consider writing a job or a hobby, its a vocation. There are so many different aspects to writing. Some of them are difficult, some are easy, but all are worth it. I'm happy that I am lucky enough to have found friends who can walk with me in my life as a writer. I don't know if it is something that everyone can understand (the writing life). I think that maybe it is one of those things that can't really be understood, it needs to be felt.

Americo - I liked the writing that you posted.

Rosemary Wed Oct 11 10:56:43 PDT 2000

Thanks for your thoughts. You're right--I can type into all the posting areas but cannot paste into them. I always call the whole process copying--it's easier to type. I was teaching a friend how to copy and paste. After I left, she decided to practice and used cut instead of copy. Somehow it was my fault she had to retype a chapter of her book.

I don't know why my machine has this problem, I can copy from the notebook and paste into Email or into WordPerfect, I can highlite and print sections,(usually Allien's funnies) it's just the posting area I cannot paste into. It isn't Wp either--I tried Works and the notepad. It has got to be windows and I haven't been brave enough to call them. I really hate those answering systems and all that menu choosing.

I rescued our last Polish Crested Rooster and most of his feathers from my dog in the back yard this morning. My good deed for the day is done.

Happy writing

Jerry Ericsson Wed Oct 11 10:42:58 PDT 2000

Americo - bring it on, I am so ready to work on another of your great round robin projects.


Heather Wed Oct 11 10:40:12 PDT 2000

I am open to writing part of another round robin project. In fact, I'm more than open, I've been waiting patiently!

Why do I write?

I write...
* to express the things embedded in my soul.
* to say things that no one has said before, at least not exactly, or in the same way.
* to bring shadows to light, and colour to the brilliance of day.
* to purge my soul of things that need not fester there any longer.
* to reach the minds of other people through the beautiful, melodic nature of language.
* to experience being inside other minds first hand; it makes no difference that those minds are fictitious, or loosely based on truth.
* to shout and laugh without sound
* to cry without tears
* to dance without movement
* to live a hundred lives through the powers of my own mind and perception
* to be anyone and anywhere and anywhen I wish to be, even if it is only for the length of one manuscript.
* to create something beautiful
* to paint with words
* to tell what needs to be told


Debra Wed Oct 11 10:14:48 PDT 2000

Why do I write?

I can't beat the desire to openly pass judgment on people and can't tolerate the way I feel when I do.

So I write.

Debra Wed Oct 11 10:03:24 PDT 2000

My desire to be faithful to my husband is sometimes challenged by my deisre to experience love without limits.

So I write.

Debra Wed Oct 11 09:58:20 PDT 2000

My mother taught me to be late for everything.
If Arik can be late, so can I.

Why do I write?

I write because I can't act it out. I watch people move and listen to them speak. I want to repeat what I just saw and heard. I can't. I'd be terrified to be called insane. Yet, I can't take my eyes off them. I can't get them out of my heart. They do and say things I want to perserve. I write to perserve those moments.

They don't say the rights somtimes at all. I write to correct that wrong. Sometimes I want to change their future and make them easier on the eye. So I write.

I can't escape the math of not being in two places at one time. I sit and ponder what I might be missing. So I write.

I have conflicts with the people I love and try to be the big person instead of proving I'm right. So I write.

I want to feel ultimate freedom. So I write.


Arik Wed Oct 11 09:49:28 PDT 2000

Why do I write? (I know it is too late):

I write to escape realty, that is very booring. I write to feel like a god for a few seconds, to feel I can do enything!

Now what whould I do if I where 30 again... hamm.. a tough one. I think I whould come to this notebook, and won't wait another 5 years :-). I whould of study English better and think that life is great... but then again, I do think so!

howard Wed Oct 11 09:30:38 PDT 2000

I think we've been down this road before...

Wed Oct 11 08:02:34 PDT 2000


of others' minds

Americo Wed Oct 11 08:00:51 PDT 2000

A new style of writing?

Jon is really demanding. He is of the opinion that a writer only deserves that name when each of his/her books has a style of its own. To describe snow you need a white language. To describe Mars you must see with Martian eyes. But this is only the beginning. After creating the style you ought to destroy the snow and the planet, meer pretexts for building a new world. In other words, a book of fiction is a language rather than a story. A writer is a new voice rather than an opinion-maker or a story-teller, a unique charmer rather than a loudspeaker of other's minds. Entertainment must be of a high level: the sheer pleasure of seeing the occult and creating the book. The reader promoted to Creator. That is what Literature is about: the art of suggestion and motivation. The rest is paper.

Now, can anyone be a writer? Theoretically yes, if they are women and men. If they learned how to think with their own head and feel with their own soul. If they surmounted the upbringing they got from mediocre parents and mediocre institutions and learned how to be themselves. This is the most difficult step to become an artist. In practice only a few of us can achieve this miracle. It's worth trying.

Jon Wed Oct 11 06:01:52 PDT 2000

Heather, my most talented flower — I always think of you when I fly over the Scottish hills covered in purple — and all the kind people who greeted A*'s piece on being thirty: you were very generous. A* is a creation of my sublime intelligence and genius etc, not an alter-ego of anyone else. He's my sasquatch, if I may be so bold and immodest. Hope you did not think Americo wrote it.

Now seriously: how about starting a new style of writing on this page? There is enough talent around to write a new round robin as good as "Shadows in a Dream", but I will only launch it when you are prepared for such a great task.

Kisses all around,
Jon, your humble servant

howard Wed Oct 11 05:52:24 PDT 2000

GARIESS -- Was it Nick Adams? He played Johhny Yuma on "The Rebel" and died in 1968 at age 37.

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