Archived Messages from February 7, 1999 to February 12, 1999

Allein Fri Feb 12 21:14:40 PST 1999

I see Valentine's Day as a pointless holiday overemphizized by candy, card and flower companies to really haul in the money. I think (I heard this a long time ago) that Valentine's Day was a Christian holiday (there IS a St. Valentine) but then the candy, card and flower companies got a hold of it and blew it all out of whak. The only thing I enjoy about Valentine's Day is that boxes of chocolate are 50% off the day after. The moral of this little steam blow off: I NEED a boyfriend.

But, I do tend to get into the spirit every year. I drew two pictures getting into the theme. In one, Rean is in a video store complaining to Troz that Allein wants them to watch Titanic together. Troz claims that Cassidy already made him watch it and, he hates to spoil it, but in the end, the ship sinks. The other one is entitled "What we REALLY Mean." In the first panel, Allein is looking at Rean with this icky sweet expression saying "Oh, you don't have to get me anything." The second panel - the Translation - Allein is pointing a knife at Rean saying "Get me something that will melt my little heart or I'll remove your reason for wearing a jock strap!" (my brother actually helped me with the diaouge - the original was the ever famous "Get me something nice or, I'll kill you!" But, of course, Allein isn't the violent type :) Rean has this scared look on his face. My friend said it was priceless.

But, for those who will be with their sweetheart on V-day (and even those who won't) I wish you all the best. :)

Well, bai bai all,

W. Olivia Race Fri Feb 12 20:33:47 PST 1999

Hi all, hope everyone has a "Happy Cupid's Day" as I prefer to call it. My office was in an especially jolly mood today, probably because most of the gals got flowers. I didn't-- if I said I wanted flowers my husband (actually ex-husband, but THATS a long story...) would buy me a darn rosebush!!!

SKS: I read "Wet Ware" a while back and neglected to tell you just how much I liked it. I usually tend to enjoy more dark fantasy stories rather than science fiction, but, IMHO, it was very good. I think you'll get it in print eventually so hang in there. Rejection stinks, but I have to admit that I actually like getting ANY response these days. Since I was on THE EDGE for about two months, I am just getting stories ready for submission in between polishing "Bad Mojo"--the novel that will not die.

Anyway, I plan on reading "Bag of Bones" by Stephen King and editing this weekend, so good writing all!

Rachel Fri Feb 12 16:45:49 PST 1999

Hi all

Eddie - Yah I'm real.

I was just reading Dan your post and he started laughing and said "Oh my God Rachel, maybe its just one person posting to you with a dozen different personalities. Maybe the site is full of people with multi email addresses, and the guy writing science fiction is also the girl writing romance. Maybe one person is sitting on their computer arguing with themself and trying to draw you into it!

Uh, I think I'll go with the your all real approach. As the other notions just make my head spin.

SKS - You will be published. It might take some time, but I am confident.

Howard - Hi you, I don't think I've ever read anything by you that wasn't very considerate and well thought out.

Allien - I will go check your site out again in hopes that I do not crash out.

Take care all


Jai Fri Feb 12 15:30:01 PST 1999

SKS or should I say Warrior of Light, that's a great nickname, be careful it might stick :P

And congrates for getting the first laugh out of me, this note book has often made me smile and sometimes even chuckle but your story actually made me laugh.


Hootie Fri Feb 12 15:13:58 PST 1999

Eddie, I’ll add my yea, and also a sympathetic nod from my wife to yours (it is your wife that’s questioning your sanity, isn’t it? I know mine always does). As proof, I’ll add a weather report from Salt Lake City, Utah: 39 degrees and sunny. Not bad after the snowstorm day before yesterday.

I suppose that you could look on computer plotting as just another tool for stimulating the old brain cells into the actual writing. I don’t know how those programs work, although I have this image of a glorified “Magic 8 Ball” (I’m not even going to try and explain that one to those who don’t understand). But no matter how bad the software, I am reminded of Watt-Evans' Law of Literary Creation: There is no idea so stupid or hackneyed that a sufficiently talented writer can't get a good story out of it. And don’t forget Feist's Corollary: There is no idea so brilliant or original that a sufficiently untalented writer can't screw it up. And since we all fall into the former category, I don’t think it matters if we get our ideas from a computer program or while dreaming and driving (isn’t that illegal in most areas?).

S.K.S.—I spent six years in the navy, and I can say for certain that you should never try to joke with those whose crew cuts evidently extend into their brains. And which archive is “Wet Ware” in?

Happy Valentine’s day to all those who will be off line this weekend!

Jai Fri Feb 12 14:26:26 PST 1999

Greetings on another fine morning,

What exactly is Episcopagan? Should I be offended? Though you would need to do much more than throw some word around to offend me.

Plotting - Well I have some vague idea how I want the story to end and I spend many hours thinking about what all the people in my land are up to and how that effects things. Unfotunatly some things don't work and I have to scrap pages of text and try again, though I have always got it right the second time so far. I havn't finished a novel yet so I don't exactly know how stable my ending is, I wouldn't be suprised if the story carried me away and wrote its own ending.

Eddie French - Yea and I know how you feel, I feel so silly talking about by friends on the net, I can just see peoples' eyes start to glaze as they think "nerd!".

Computer Plotting and writers software - The article I read the other day about computer writers software went along the lines of a tutuorial. Asking questions and giving examples to help you write. More of a glorified reference book than a automatic plotter. I can't see anything wrong with this idea but would prefer a paper(or live) one myself.

Your real live friend,


Thomas Fri Feb 12 14:20:53 PST 1999

Oh man. I had this great post. I mean, it was literary, poingant, deep and pholisophical yet accessible. I was on a roll, reeling off wrods or wisdom and joy and sorrow and all that. Then I went to hist Publish My Message and the computer crashed. Can't remember a thing I wrote.


Thanks for sending us the miserable weather you described. We were at 60 degrees F a few hours ago (what, 17 centigrade?). I raised my head from a few hours writing and I see it is not snowing outside -- it is icing. Oh give me a home where the Mediterraneans roam, or is that Rome?


I had such a funny response to your question -- wish I could remember it. Just assume a yea over here, even if I am not human but a large (handsome, I might add) standard poodle.

Have you been to Ireland? My wife is Irish/Welsh. She has been to Wales and wants to get to Ireland. I welcome reading your story.

Well now, I must be off to the kitchen. In this house I do the cooking. Oh yes, the only plotting my computer is good at is gainst me.

S.N.Arly Fri Feb 12 13:54:44 PST 1999

Avatar - Thank you! I'd actually expected Allein to cap that one off. As for Germany, it's worth it, so find a way. If you're of age, I'd say get a job, even if it's stinky fast food. It's worth greasy french fry hair. I financed my foreign exchange trip through babysitting (and lots of it) and working at the ole DQ.

Thomas - No. I don't get sick off alcohol, though I've yet to meet a WINE that I honestly like. Must be my Irish/German/Gypsy heritige showing up.

Agsousa/Amerigo - Have a nice weekend. I'll also be "unplugged" for the duration. And thanks for checking out my site.

Litter - prejudices are never illegal, although discrimination is, and there's lots of discrimination that's legal yet.

Eddie - Gosh I hope I'm real or you're really warped and twisted.

SKS - I have 9 rejects on one story right now. I honestly think it's a kickass story and there's little that could be done to improve it. Granted I haven't read it in two months, but it's a good bit of SF. Don't let it get to you. If you're receiving correspondance back then you are at least trying.

On topic - plotting is never a problem for me. Most of the time it just happens. Other times I like to daydream my plots out. People who use programs to do this work for them make me sick. If you don't do it yourself, where's the beauty? where's the passion.

Gotta scram and pack for the trip out of town. Later gang.

I am the terror that flaps in the night.

Lena Fri Feb 12 13:14:13 PST 1999

Eddie - Nea. (figure that one out!)

SKS - Warrior of the Light? LOL! You have my admiration for that one.

Well, I am headed off for the weekend into the wonderful world of camp... I work as camp staff at a nearby Girl Scout camp occasionally. It promises to be a near sleepless weekend, but fun nonetheless.

Be seeing you (seeing your words?) in a few days...

Lydia Sweet Fri Feb 12 13:08:45 PST 1999

Yea. Gee, I fell all warm and fuzzy inside. We like you too.


In regards to what the press will report on now that the impeachment issue has been settled, Dan Rather says they will spend the rest of '99 explaining it all to us. You know us poor knitwits that can't read, hear or see. Duh.


S.K.S. Perry Fri Feb 12 12:36:09 PST 1999


Eddie French Fri Feb 12 12:21:16 PST 1999

You know, (I'm musing, I always start with 'You Know') Anita and I were out today doing a bit of shopping for essentials, nothing special, just food and coffee etc. All the time we were wandering about the town centre I was wondering about you lot here!
I kept thinking about Steve and his thickening skin, about Rhoda and her sincere beliefs, about hemp wine, Australia and Portugal. The problem other people you don't exist! You may as well be my imaginary friends. To others you are just...'those on the internet' followed by a head nodding in the direction of the study. I'm not sure if this is just a British thing or if it is the same for everybody. (Over here in the UK the net is still a 'nerd' thing.) But you must be real or I wouldn't be thinking of you all whilst doing the shopping....would I?
Well.....Are you real? Yea or nae will do.
The thing is, you have become a part of my life and I consider you all as friends. If it wasn't for my being a 'nerd' then I would never have met? any of you.
One of the finer products of technology?

The recent debate on religion has borne fruit in another direction (for me). I have a story inside which has lain dormant for over 20 years. It is not science fiction or fantasy, which is what I thought I would write exclusively. It is the story of a young soldier on the streets of Belfast and Londonderry. I suppose I have always known that I would do it but the debate triggered that itch. You know that one which starts as a single thought and grows until you are writing it in your sleep. Ahh well...I'll probably just have to run with it.
I'd like to see a computer plot that one. I'd come out like Rambo and solve the NI problem in two hours.
Later all.

S.K.S. Perry Fri Feb 12 10:53:31 PST 1999

Hey all,

Thomas, this morning it was balmy weather, then it got cold, then it started to rain, then freezing rain. Now it's snowing. What's next--locusts and volcanic ash? I think all this talk of religion has got me spooked.

On the subject of using software for plotting. What criteria does the software use to create a plot? I'm just guessing, but it must be based on a standard formula--remember the discussion just last week on the evils of formula writing?

Lydia, having read most of your novel, the thing I like about your villan is that you do a great job of showing that in his mind, he's not a villan. Even though he's done something reprehensible, there's a part of you that can't help feeling sorry for him because of the predicament he's gotten himself in.

Lena, I'm happy that you find such amusement in my personal failure. (Just kidding--I'm not offended. Man, I'm going to have to have and EDIT button installed. Case in point--the Major asked me why I was so fanatical about fitness and the martial arts, yet I never join any of the base teams. I told him it was because I was a Warrior of the Light, and I was prepare to do battle in the coming Jihad at the dawning of the Millenium. Then I walked away. Now I have to go see the base councillor. Some people just can't take a joke!)

I think maybe my posting the trials and tribulations of "Wet Ware" is a good thing. Thanks for the idea Howard. By listing the pitfalls and successes, and the steps along the way, it might give others here insight, and maybe they won't make the same mistakes, or can point new writers in the right direction. By the way, if you haven't read it, it's archived in the Short Story Workbook. It might give you an idea of the quality of writing that was submitted, and maybe you can see why or why not it is rejected or accepted. If in your opinion it is something that's good enough for publication, then you have an idea of the problems even a good story has getting published. If you don't think it's good enough, then maybe it simply points out the fact that sometimes those who whine about not getting published don't have a leg to stand on, and editors aren't so stupid after all.

Be Well, Live Well.

Lena Fri Feb 12 10:24:29 PST 1999

Thomas - Please, goodness, no conversation on Clinton. I only meant that sentence as an example of what might be considered a touchy (?) subject.

Thomas Fri Feb 12 10:12:56 PST 1999

Oh yes, SKS, are you in Canada? If os, lift up your head. Canada Geese just flew over the Finger Lakes region (over my property) on their way north. That white stuff shall be done away with soon, soon.

Thomas Fri Feb 12 10:09:50 PST 1999

Hey all,

On the computer question: like Howard, I think using software to plot stories is not only silly, it is sad. It denotes how far we are dropping into the abyss of technology, and how more and more we believe that electronics can make us better at everything, even thinking.

Unlike your computer, Howard, mine refrained from putting the above thought into politcal terms, mainly because it does not think computer technology has much to do with politics, except for its ability to create a true (forgive its use of that nasty word) Big Brother society.


We just got through religion and you want to start a conversation on Clinton! As we used to say in Brooklyn, fuhgedaboudit.

Did you hear the big sigh across the land? The Senate just acquitted the President: on perjury, 55 not, 45 guilty, 50-50 on obstruction. I wonder what all the journalists are going to do for the rest of 1999.

Lena Fri Feb 12 09:55:06 PST 1999

If we are going to let the computers plot the stories, why not just have a program that actually writes the story? Put in typical characters and situations, how to fit sentences together into a paragraph, and the average length of a chapter and let that machine loose!

SKS - I don't know why, but in a strange, rather sadistic way I enjoy hearing about your trials as a writer. Another rejection, but I can't help but feel you are that much closer to getting published, and I am that much closer to being able to pick up your work at the local bookstore. Keep a'chugging along, because you're gonna make it!

I second Caroline's suggestion about labeling possibly controversial opinions... this way we could continue to discuss all topics and hopefully avoid unintentionally hurting others. Perhaps we could use the term "SOAPBOX" to denote a strong opinion or controversial bit. For example...

Soapbox: Politics - I think Clinton is a really messed up individual whose saving grace is the good economy.

What think you?

Howard Fri Feb 12 08:22:12 PST 1999

Thomas >What do you all think about using software to guide your writing?

Sounds like HAL wants to do an autobiography!

Seriously, given the talent and creativity I've seen on this forum and in the workbook, who would entrust a machine to do what the human mind can still do better?
It's true that software can catch grammatical and spelling errors. But, with a bit of practice, so can the mind! I find that the more we depend on those infernal machines, the more we depend on those infernal machines!
It might be a good SF plot though -- imagine a world where the leader cries "We need to educate our kids, but I'm too busy educating an intern right now, so I'll turn the job over to my trusty assistant algore. He'll install computers and make everything right."
And the algore does his best robot imitation, and shows us all the benefits of modern technology, especially the part where we all unscrew our brains and replace them with something off the shelf from microsoft that's politically correct and environmentally friendly. And all the owls live happily forever after. And have snail darters for lunch.
My computer wrote this, so it's not my fault. :-)

Lydia Sweet Fri Feb 12 08:18:16 PST 1999


A quick apology for the use of Episcopagan. I have also been called a back door Catholic. Neither offends me becuase I consider myself Christian. Pot shots taken at my religion don't bother me because they will not change me no matter what church I happen to go to on Sunday and that could include any temple on the earth, Christian or non-Christian.

Plotting my stories has never been the problem. They show up in my mind with a beginning and ending, and quite often even a middle. The fun part is filling in all the blank space in between. Adding additional characters for depth or comic relief. The villians are usually quick to assert themselves. I think I might need to work on making a villian that does not appear villanous until the last chapter and "all is revealed".


Thomas Fri Feb 12 06:50:47 PST 1999

Hey all,

On plotting. Interesting that over at another forum I happened to drop in on a discussion about computer software to help writers plot their stories, among other bells and whistles.

In my simple, humble manner I ventured an opinion, and the discussion grew.

What do you all think about using software to guide your writing?

S.K.S. Perry Fri Feb 12 06:48:24 PST 1999

Hey all,

In answer to Howard's question (hi Howard!)I've sent "Wet Ware" out to two Magazines so far: Analog, and Fantasy and Science Fiction (hey, if you're going to dream!) Both responded in around 5 weeks, which is pretty darn good considering I'm mailing from Canada.

Analog responded with their standard form letter, the one that tells you all the things that may have been wrong with your story (and the same one Asimov's uses--in case you didn't know, even though Analog and Asimov's are two different magazines with seperate editorial staff, the are both a part of Dell Publishing group and actually publish from the same address.) Analog did send me a second form letter with my rejection stating they have a new address. For those of you considering submitting to Analog or Asimov' the new address is:

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, (or Asimov's Science Fiction)
475 Park Avenue South 11th Fl.
New York, NY 10016

I'm telling you this because they still haven't changed to this new address on their respective web pages, even though apparently this has been their address since mid Jan.

By the way, I've read that it's a good idea to find the name of the editor or one of the editors of the magazine and adress it to them, so that's what I do. Has anyone else heard this or any conflicting information?

Fantasy and Science Fiction sent me a Personalised, typed rejection with a hand written signature, which said: Many thanks for giving me a look at "Wet Ware," but I'm going to pass on this one. I'm afraid this SF story didn't quite grab me, alas. Thanks anyway for sending this one my way, and best of luck to you with it. All in all, a rather nice, polite rejection.

So there you have it, the rejection history of Wet Ware to date. If anyone has any other questions, please feel free to ask. Just do so on this forum so that maybe the answer can benefit others here.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Fri Feb 12 06:35:41 PST 1999


To quote Woody Allen: "80 percent of success is showing up". Stay persistent, but also stay open to suggestions from those who reject, should any actually tell you why they reject, which has become fewer and fewer lately.

Another axiom seems also to hold up in the writing business: "it's who you know". I encounter this one many times in my work. Sometimes I get assignments not because the one hiring me has seen my work, but because he/she was told to hire me by someone else who either has seen my work or just plain is a friend or relative -- from there, many things emanate.

Yet, if I didn't persistently remind people what it is I do on this computer all day, even friends and relatives would forget.

Eddie French Fri Feb 12 06:19:16 PST 1999

I'm with Hootie. I get a gem of an idea (it has to be a good one) then the characters seem to direct the plot for me. I usually know where I want to end up, but the characters usually get there in their own sweet time.

Howard Fri Feb 12 06:09:38 PST 1999

ANOTHER rejection? At least you're trying -- I haven't even sent one in lately. Are they giving you any clue as to why they're deep-sixing it? Also, how long does it take for the notice to come back? Might be good for the NKOTB* to know that. There's also a web site called Black Hole (can't find it right now) that tracks submission response times.
It's good that you're persistent though, that story should be published, along with NEED TO KNOW. Both excellent.
howard *new kids on the block

Hootie Fri Feb 12 06:08:08 PST 1999

I was home sick yesterday, with no computer, and I feel like it was a week or more. I have to say, we as a group can cover a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. So before I go to Jack’s topic, I just want to say one thing: as writers, we should constantly seek inspiration for what we do. And all this conversation was done with words, which makes it that much easier to use in our own works. Look at how calm some people were, and how passionate others became, and think about using those things in a character sometime. Also, the theme of religion, as Jack suggested, is something often encountered in literature, however subtly. If we sometimes bring up all of our feelings about it to the surface, then the next time we write, it will be there in the back of our mind and hopefully make our work richer (and this goes for anything we feel strongly about).

THAT is how it all comes back to writing (IMHO).

About plotting: I can only tell you how I do it, although I’m not terribly consistent. I usually let the characters determine the path of the story, with only a nebulous idea of where I want it to go. But I also try and do at least a simple outline, even if it’s only a few paragraphs, to help me keep the big picture in mind. Is that the kind of thing you wanted, Jack?

S.K.S. Perry Fri Feb 12 05:50:25 PST 1999

Hey all,

Eddie, I concur. I can't think of anything to say on the subject that you haven't already expressed to my satisfaction.

To tell you the truth, Rhoda's post threw me into a funk for most of yesterday. First, it bothered me that something I may have said upset her so much, and secondly, it irked me to be chastised for expressing my opinions. Quite the predicament eh?

To top it all off, when I got home, there was another rejection for "Wet Ware" waiting for me in the mail. That's two now (I've decided to keep a running total here on the Notebook for that story--let's see how many rejections I can pick up for it, how long the story is out there, and if it's ever accepted.)And though I may be a frustrated writer, maybe I'm becoming a little more professional (or thick skinned)about rejections. It didn't really drive me to depression like it usually does (or maybe I didn't notice it because it was burried in the funk from Rhoda's post.) I simply mailed it off to the next publisher in line. I hear persistence is everything.

Be Well, Live Well.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Feb 12 05:13:20 PST 1999

       One approach and possibly a nebulous one is to explore how religious and spiritual details can be used as a short hand in character development or in an archetypal way to develop a character or frame the plot.

        In science fiction one of the least likely genres to deal with religious issues, you find again and again transendence on a personal or a universal basis springing up countless times and religious themes used as the backdrop, the ironic intention and other. James Blisch's City of Flight is a good example where the protagonists are themselves the basis for the next big bang and the re-emergence of the universe. Or The Star by Arthur C. Clarke where a Jesuit Priest on a space ship is part of a starship crew that discovers the remnants of the supernova that shined over Bethleham and the archeological remnants of a beautiful race of aliens who were killed by it. Islam, the Bedouins and the Arabian peninsula, form a rich backdrop in a greatly altered version for the creation of Dune in all of its multiple incarnations. And lest we not forget, remember the Canticle of Leibowitz, where a good Jewish boy's grocery list was the basis for his becoming a good and well respected saint.

        Lastly, perhaps the richest example of all are the fantasies that grew out of the fertile minds of J.R.R.Tolkien, C.S.Lewis and Madeiline L'Engle that are subtly embeded with archetypal religious themes.

        On second thought, since almost all of the above dealt with plotting, lets set the religious question aside entirely and look at plotting. We have not really looked at that in a while. Enough chatter from me.

Eddie French Fri Feb 12 05:06:42 PST 1999

I am surprised and a little disappointed to hear some people actually espousing the cause of censurship within this forum. I have no problems with the views recently expressed on these pages. Rhoda expressed a wish that the debate/discussion about religion be terminated on the grounds that:
a) The subject had been beaten to death in previous exchanges.
(Which denies the opportunity to newer members of the group to discover the complexities of such a discussion and therefore POSSIBLY depriving our younger members of an opportunity to practise valuable communucation skills)
b) That certain members of the group had embarked on a 'religion bashing tirade'
(Rhoda, I know that to you this may seem trite, but I believe that free speech has to be the keystone of our multi-racial, multi-denomination, multianythingyoulike world. I am certainly not endorsing any sort of religion bashing, or any other sort of lifestyle bashing (except maybe fascism) but I do passionatley believe in the right to express my views in public. Early Christians were denied this right and were reduced to expressing their views behind locked doors or in deep catacombs. This movement could never have risen from the tunnels without some sort of struggle against the state. Can you really believe that the denouncement of the many gods for the one true god was accepted as a literal truth without thousands becoming as defensive as you have become about your religion?. No, the early Christians fought to get their beliefs accepted, and the forum was not as civilised as this one.)
That is my view and I exercise my right to express it.
Having said that, I was disturbed by the word episcopagan. It carries derisitory overtones which I am not comfortable with.
Rhoda, you are a valued member of this group and you will be missed if you depart. I have visited your web site on a few occasions and therefore have an insight on your beliefs. Perhaps if more people visited members sites on this forum we would find out more about each other. I am not proposing that we should 'pussy foot' around delicate subjects thereby revealed, but it would I think, be beneficial.

Caroline Heske Fri Feb 12 02:06:22 PST 1999

Ashling - Good point, but I don't think I agree. After all, writing is one part saying something, and five parts having something worth saying. I don't know about everyone else, but discussing issues - and hearing other people's views on them - is the way I live and the way I write. I've loved this group because it covers such a broad range of topics. I'm not ready to publish yet, and I know quite a few other people aren't also, so I tend to skim over the stuff about agents and rejection (or acceptance, for lucky people like Thomas) letters.

Ashling Fri Feb 12 00:40:24 PST 1999

Hi all. Here's a wild & risque idea -- Let's confine the debates on "outside issues" to ICQ chat rooms and/or private email. Otherwise Jack needs to delete the word WRITERS from this page. I haven't done anything but skim read for a week
--- if & when Writing Topics show back up ... so will I.

May the Muse Be With You


Allein Thu Feb 11 21:26:08 PST 1999

I kind of agree w/ Rhoda that for a writer's notebook, we have been concentrating a lot on religion. I also like Caroline's idea of posting a topic if we want to talk about something like that.

But - PLEASE STAY RHODA!! You're a nice person and we like having you here.

I've been writing a few more parts to my story - mainly about Allein and his uncle (I've been thinking a lot about that part lately). So, I fill up my extra time in class filling up my journal with stories about that. Perhaps I'll post some in the workbook (the not-too-sick ones - I've written some that get pretty graphic). If I post one, it'll probably be one centering around violence, not sex - I like the one where Allein "falls" down a flight of stairs. That one also seems to be a favorite of my friends.

Just thought I'd tell you what I'm doing with writing. I haven't been working much continuing my story considering I have school, church, and a social life (because of school and church it's on life support, but I DO have a social life).
Well, bai bai all,

Caroline Heske Thu Feb 11 20:35:55 PST 1999

Hey, if you're going to post on a sensitive topic, simply put a warning at the top - then those who want to discuss these issues can, and those who don't wish to (like Rhoda) don't feel they have to leave.

Please don't leave, Rhoda...

howard Thu Feb 11 20:29:01 PST 1999

BTW -- Allein -- Your site is great! Got there with no problem, and enjoyed my stay. Keep up the good work!

Howard Thu Feb 11 20:21:14 PST 1999

That was interesting! I say that I believe there is an absolute truth, and the discussion
instantly turns to religion. What if this truth was not compatible with *any* religion? What
if it was totally separate from anything we "know" or "understand?"
I too am frightened by fanatical adherance to "religion" -- any religion. I've read about the
evils done in the name of religion -- whatever its name may be -- and they have made me
SKS, you say that I believe in God. Is that my religion? I think not. The two are separate.
Someone else made the comment that those who live by faith must often alter reality in
order to accommodate their faith. If there is no truth, then upon what do we base that
reality? How do you know that it has changed? Without a completely separate (and
self-defining) fixed point of reference there is only chaos. And chaos is what leads to the
atrocities we’ve all heard about.
If there’s no truth, then what difference does it make how many young men are crucified
on a church wall? It simply doesn’t matter, because it’s all in someone’s own reality. I
didn’t see it happen, didn’t experience it, so how could it be a part of my reality? (It really
is, because it’s so like other atrocities I *have* seen.)
Someone made the leap from truth to Christianity, and there followed the usual litany of
all the evils done in the name of that religion.
The crusaders who pillaged their way across the middle east were doing so in the name of
a truth they did not understand or know. That truth said to “Love your enemies, and do
good to those who despitefully use you.” Can anyone show me the danger in those words?
The priests who burned the Mayan scrolls did so in the name of a truth that they wished to
hide from the common people. That truth really said “I am come that they might have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly.” Scarey eh?
The Salem witch hunts and trials were conducted in the name of a truth that they wished
to use as a bludgeon to keep their citizens in line. That truth says “Neither do I condemn
you -- go and sin no more.” Better put a lid on that before it becomes popular!
Wait -- one more -- Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, right? But they forgot (or
chose not to remember that what the truth said was “Father, forgive them, for they know
not what they do.” Now that’s really something to be afraid of.
Better to fear the person who weaves his own “truth” out of whatever he chooses to
believe on any given day -- like that priest you spoke of, SKS -- or the person who, simply
because it is inconvenient, chooses to ignore the truth.
I hope that was civil enough for this forum -- I hate to ruffle feathers! :-)
Ladies and gentlemen, a good evening to you...

Evan NOOOOO2 Thu Feb 11 20:12:05 PST 1999

Beauty is life.but what is beauty?

Beauty is in everything as it was made, in any of its forms. many profess that nature is the only beauty left. i refuse to agree. there is many a splendor in the concrete world. the grace of the huge buildings, the genius of the architecture. beauty is in the gray cloudy days of heavy thunderheads looming above your heads. The grace with which the clouds move, the amazing color scale of grays and filtered sunlight. and especially after it has rained for the last three days and as you venture out in the early morning the sun breaking over the horizon, shining the leaving clouds with a brilliant red. the grass is greener, life is brighter, swelled to bursting with the need to move again. your breath, visible in the air the crisp winter chill. the reemerging sounds of familiar birds, the chatter of squirrels.

Beauty is in humanity too, despite how cruel we may be. in the rosy cheeks of a beautiful woman. But even in the most conventionally ugly person, there is beauty. in their soul, in the shape that they were born with. once a human tris to be something he or she is not, with nips and tucks, with implants, he or she becomes something they are not, and that is the only truly ugly thing.
even in the most bloodthirsty animal,the deadly spiders and even in the slugs and other small animals, they are beautiful. especially, in insects. insects possess an alien grace. their many eyes, their shells and interlocking segments of their bodies. their life and views must be so amazing.
and so i end my tale of beauty and life.

W. Olivia RAce Thu Feb 11 17:59:34 PST 1999

Hi all. I have been "lurking" for the past 2 days until the tensions die down a little. I think we all have to learn not to take everyone's opinion to heart or to judge. As writers, we have to expose ourselves to *all* ideas or we never grow.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 11 15:57:41 PST 1999

Sorry Litter,

I've been in that foxhole, and I still don't believe.

Litter Thu Feb 11 15:08:06 PST 1999

Rhoda – Take no notice. It seems that prejudice against Christian’s is one of the few prejudices not yet illegal. Substitute Black, red, yellow, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, etc., and you may find trouble – Christians are an easy target. Strange though, how so many people disparage what they don’t know, don’t understand or are afraid of? (Or, of which they are afraid, if ending on a preposition disturbs you.)

Definition of an Atheist – One who has no invisible means of support.

I really have to admire the faith of Atheists. After all, if Christians are wrong then they will just cease-to-be when they die – end of story, but if atheists are wrong and Christians are right then someone is in for a whole heap of trouble. Seems to me that it requires a great deal more faith to be atheist.

I heard an interesting comment from a US soldier interviewed during Desert Storm. It was: “Sir, there aint no such thing as an atheist in a fox-hole.”

Now let me see…

I think therefore I am!
I think?
Think? Think what?
That I am, or only think I am?
But if I only think I am, How do I know I am?
Because I think!
.....................I think?
............................. I think?????

BS? Tosh? Very probably, but who decides?

Ciao y’all


Allein Thu Feb 11 14:02:27 PST 1999

I was able to go to my site with no problems, so I don't know what could have happened. But, if you want to read my story and ask REALLY nicely, maybe I'll send it. :) Who am I kidding...I'm such a sweet person, you know I'll send it.

Bai bai,

Allein Thu Feb 11 13:53:51 PST 1999

Hmm...two people have complained of my site crashing their computer. Well, I'm going to check it out. We just had a virus in our computer so, maybe that affected it, but I don't really see why it would. Anyway, I'll check it out.

Bai bai,

agsousa Thu Feb 11 13:38:24 PST 1999

Just to say goodbye to those of you fortunate enough to be online over the weekend. I try not to: Maria Emília would be not so happy — you see, she hates computers. So I am going to Lisbon now and be with her all the time, and read the newspapers, and a good book or two, and watch soccer on the tely, and perhaps read her some of your stories, and tell her how Rhoda is a bit angry but we all love her, and I did not read all the messages but think it's 'cause of religion. And, Arly, thanks for the *polyglot*. You have a very nice site. I'll explore it in more detail when I can. Well, as Allein once said VIVA LA KITTEN! (best sentence of the week).

Yours aye,
Amerigo Vespuccii

Jai Thu Feb 11 12:52:52 PST 1999

Greetings all,

Let me tell you a tale -

There is a beautiful river valley somewhere on the north east coast of Australia, it was a nice sunny spring day and three young lads decided to go on an expedition up to the end of the valley.

So hoisting their backbacks on they begin walking, along a narrow dirt track besides the exuberent river. The valley is a magical place, filled with greens and they are enjoying the attmosphere so much they dicide not to walk all day and instead to find somewhere nice to camp and have a relaxing afternoon.

Finding a most beautiful place in the bend of the river the begin putting up their camp, unfortunatly on a nest of nasty big ants. Much confusion and eventually they move. No sooner have they finished and began to relax then a swarm of marchflies decend, biting and biting. Instead of a relaxed afternoon it becomes and extreamly uncomfortable one like the land itself is unhappy with their presence. They persevere and night soon decends. Lying in the darkness in their cossy beds they talk ( as three boys will ) until Daniel, the boy on the right noticies something crawling on his hand.

"Ahh, what's that," he cries as he flicks it away. It's too dark to see but the creature flys right over Jai and lands on Ramana's neck.

"Now it's on me." he says as he flicks it off. Jai feels something land on his hair, he has long hair. He dosn't panic like the other two and reaches up placing his hand flat next to the creature, it crawls onto the proffered hand, large and hairy. He moves his hand up into the bush and after a moment it crawls off.

"It's gone now," he proclaims.

"We better see what it is," Daniel says.

And so the dig the touch out of thier bedding and gather around, searching until they find it. There in the light sits a funelweb spider, the most deadly spider known to man. It had landed on them all here hours away from civilisation, one bite would have been fatal.

Being young it was just a little to spooky and they ran from that place and hiked all night until they found a lift back into society.

So what's the moral of this tale, I don't know but it was a pretty big event in my life and I just thought it would be nice to relate. BTW I love spiders, have some sort of affinity with the little devils. Hope no one here is arachnaphobic, sorry if you are :-) but hey it was my life on the line not yours.

Anyway I agree with Rhoday perhaps we should drop the religion thing.

Sorry it wasn't the best retelling but I've never put it down it text before. But now I have it I'll do some editing.

Have a geat day all!

Jai (which means Victory in Indian)

Thomas Thu Feb 11 12:40:27 PST 1999


Didn't say anything was wrong with hemp wine. In fact, what I tasted was ok. It isn't made from hemp; it is regular wine with an infusion of hemp oil. The oil costs $1,000 an ounce and it comes from the Netherlands; it takes about 5 ounces to affect 5,000 gallons of wine. But what do you care? Weren't you one of the people who said he gets sick on alcohol? Or was that SKS? I get the S's confused, and it was so many posts ago.

Hemp is the base of about 25,000 products from food to kitty litter to plywood -- and now -- to wine. In fact, it is illegal to grow it in the United States but our money includes hemp paper, or it used to -- maybe the new design doesn't.

I am writing an article about the product I tasted a few days ago, and about hemp.


Sorry you feel the way you do. But for the record, I don't think in my posts will you find a direct slant against or derogation of Christians, which of course is how I was raised (Catholics are Christians). I talked about "truth" and the way it has been used as an excuse to oppress and as a synonym for faith -- no more, no less.



Avatar Thu Feb 11 12:39:44 PST 1999

Rhoda- You are right of course. This discussion is being beaten into the ground (apologizing to the horse) and I think we have finally discussed everything we can right now without frying our brains(sizzle). Though I want to ask you- where would we be without religion?

I do have a question. I have recently been chosen as a semi-finalist for a Student Exchange to Germany. If i make it to the finals then i would go. Unfortunately, the cost of such an endeavor is four thousand dollars(in standard U.S. currency). Anybody have any ideas on how to earn such money? This project will terminate unless money or a way to earn such money is not shown to the project manager by the twenty-ninth (i.e. Mom).

O.K. enough about problems, lets talk about writing. Not just writing, good writing. Anybody want to start another discussion?

Somehow I'll
make a man
out of you!

May your pen always be true

Lena Thu Feb 11 12:23:53 PST 1999

Rhoda - I am not going to stoop to your level and call your opinions petty, prejudiced, non-stereotyped, or even narrow-minded. You have a right to your own opinion, and so do we. I have to say, however, that I think this whole discussion on religion has been very friendly, with different beliefs being vocalized in a non-judgemental manner, and to balance the stories about the bad aspects of religion there were also stories of the good religion does. Did you read Eddie's story? Thomas's story? How was that "religion bashing"?

And, I would like to add my plea to SKS's: Please don't leave us!

Agousa - Your teachers sounds like one I once had. She was my english teacher, and managed to destroy my confidence in my writing so thouroghly that I did not write a single story for around four years, because I truly believed I was a bad writer. I lost those years as a time to learn and experiment with writing, all because of her.

Half-frustrated writer? Try totally frustrated! I have this great story (and it even has an ending!) and I am having trouble getting past this one certain point. I am a linear writer, so skipping to another part of the story won't work, and it's really starting to get on my nerves. Why me?

Eddie - I am constantly amazed how much all of us have in common. From sleeping problems to martial arts, from a strange taste in music to vague points in philosophy, I believe we are uncovering the unspoken laws of being an author!

"Go on the internet and share the wisdom of the ancients, and you will be ignored. Spout jibberish and you will be proclaimed."

S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 11 12:21:05 PST 1999


I do not presume to know what you believe, or why you believe it. Nor do I care. You are free to believe in anything you like, and I will defend your right to do so with my life. For the record, I only mentioned God as an example of Truth, and other's carried the ball from there. And you are the one who assumed that I meant your christian God--I could have been refering to Baal or Thor or the Great Spirit for all you know.

This is the reason it is said that one should never discuss politics or religion. There is always someone who will take it to heart, and become offended.

Rhoda, I never meant to offend. You may not want to discuss these things because you have found your Truth and are convinced of it's validity. I have not. Would you deny me the chance to learn? Be removing your voice from this forum, you take your experience and your truth with you, and deny others the chance to benifit from them. To me it amounts to nothing more than a childish temper tantrum. That's your perogative, but it's not very productive.

I was NOT religion bashing. I was simply sharing an experience to contrast the "enlightened" priests that Thomas and Eddie talked about. There are two sides to every coin. I had a dark side to show. It was none the less valid for being so.

If in fact you decide to stop posting here for a while, I for one will miss you.

Be Well, Live Well.

Rhoda Thu Feb 11 11:36:32 PST 1999


I could not agree with you more. I am really sick and tired of this discussion too. I will think twice before I ever define another word here again. I merely chose to define truth as others had who posted before me. Never did I once write the "G "word. That was S.K.S.

I do not share my faith on this forum, for this is a WRITER's NOTEBOOK. Words and concepts such as truth are meaningful here, but not Religion bashing. Because I know the nature of religious discussions and how sensitive they are to people, I try to avoid them unless I am talking one to one with someone I know very well. S.K.S., you haven't a clue what I believe. You only assume, and I leave you to your assumptions.

I respect all the beliefs posted here as I respect the people whom I've talked with and laughed with these many months since being on the notebook. However, I tire of all the "here are my examples of putrid Christians," type stories. I have never put down atheists or agnostics on this Notebook or said anything about them being destructive, narrow, or otherwise. I do not believe in such generalizations. I'll leave that for the simple-minded.

Until this discussion becomes more productive, I am off of here. S.K.S. and Thomas, you may discuss all these stupid, evil Christians to your heart's desire, but I frankly have better things to do.

Have I internalized this? Yes! I know hundreds of Christians on many different levels, and very few are like the ones Thomas and S.K.S. describe. When you take the worst examples of any group of people and deride them, that is bashing, and a petty display of predudice.


S.N.Arly Thu Feb 11 11:13:58 PST 1999

Thomas - What's wrong with hemp wine? Hemp is incredibly versatile. Too bad it's the target of largely unfounded political crap.

Agsousa/Americo - I think it's polyglot, but we get the gist. And yah. I'd bet a good number of us here are half-frusterated writers, at least some of the time.

Lydia - I think the adage came from the fact that nothing is ever resolved or accomplished when discussing religion or politics. I've been over this same discussion on this forum and others and in-person all too often and frankly I'm tired of it. I don't care anymore what other people think about gods/goddesses/the great nothing. I think discussion is great. Disagreeing is fine. I like to debate, but not about the same things over and over and over and over (I think the horse is dead now... I'm really pretty sure he is.... I think you can stop whacking him with that baseball bat now...). You get the picture.

OOh, we're getting ice rain and snow junk on top of it. How nice the drive to Self Defense will be...

The cows are not what they seem.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 11 11:05:18 PST 1999

Hey all,

I met a priest in Sarajevo, a Roman Catholic Croat. He offered up his church as a place of refuge to the Orthodox Serbs when the shelling started. When the soldiers arrived, he led them straight to the refugees. He watched as the crucified a young man to the church wall beside the image of Christ, then left with the army. I trailed him into the mountains and stole him from the camp, then turned him over to the Serbs for trial. Later, I went back to the village and burned the church to the ground. Maybe I'll go to Hell, maybe I won't.

Be Well, Live Well.

agsousa Thu Feb 11 08:56:44 PST 1999

Eddie: interesting point. But aren't some of us here half-frustrated writers? I certainly was not, but I haven't been publishing since 1995 and I don't know anymore.

Jai: Suicide rate higher in artists than in other professionals? That's something worth discussion.

Thomas: Wunderaltermannimafraidthosearejustabouttheonlywordsiknowintherespectivelanguagesexceptfrench. Well,Finnegans Wake on the menu for the weekend, as you can see.

Jack: What would have been of most Western sculpture and painting without Catholic statues and images of saints? Protestant hatred of those *symbolic elements of representation* sounds blind puritanism to me. (Not that I am a believer). Would't you agree?

Allein: I tried to visit your site but my Mac crashed. The same happened when I visited oneofourfriend'shere's site. I didn't have any problem with Arly's site. I'll try again, though. If I'm successful and like your story very very much I'll tell you something. If I just like it or can't manage to get to your site, I won't say you anything. An aspiring writer has to be very determined and not pay much attention to other writers' opinions — just follow his instinct and his self-criticism. I had a teacher who used to praise my essays as the best in class. Till the day I told him I wanted to become a writer. He laughed heartily and said: "I had students who wrote much better than you, and they never managed to become writers." I was so furious that I locked myself in my room that summer and produced my first novel. It was not great stuff, but not too bad for starters. That's the spirit, Alone!

Eddie French Thu Feb 11 07:29:58 PST 1999

Even more in common then.
It's really incredible the way that the people in this group have or have had so many similar experiences. Could it be that we are slowly uncovering the hidden laws that result in the making of a writer?

Thomas Thu Feb 11 07:28:21 PST 1999

Hey all, once more on the subject of truth.

It scares me how many poeple connect online to web sites professing to spout the TRUTH, and then simply believe what they read.

During some research I came upon a site called TRUTH. It is about Social Security and the U.N. The problem is: it makes a statement of seeming fact, but offers absolutely no validation nor a way for the reader to seek validation, and of course it starts its small diatribe by slamming those nefarious "liberals" (I dislike the use of labels as shorthand for messages of hate, let alone messages of ambiguity.)

Lydia Sweet Thu Feb 11 07:07:15 PST 1999

Hey Jack! I'm Episcopagan myself. Welcome.

Why the old addage "never discuss religion or politics"? Would one be afraid to have their opinion heard or are they afraid to debate their stand? I'm not trying to revive the whole conversation again, I'm just wondering why, in general, people think there has to be an argument involved in these discussions. As shown here we have many different views and many points as to why we think the way we do, but I saw no animosity. Point - counter point. Debate. Discussion. Even laughter. No boogey bears here.

If I don't share with you what I believe or think, how will you know me? I have learned much about the personalities in this forum in the last couple of days as I am sure they have learned more about me.

I hope this relationship continues for a long time. I am, as in any new friendship, learning more about you each.


Thomas Thu Feb 11 05:52:44 PST 1999


Of course, I would mess up the punchline: episcopagaN

Thomas Thu Feb 11 05:49:45 PST 1999


Oooh, on the light thing!


All those foreign tongues. Per piacere, mon amis, are you some kind of wunderkind?

The only other German I know are the names of wines, so in closing I shall say Riesling.


A wonderful outlook on religion. I, too, was raised Catholic. And I, too, could not understand the rote stuff, and all that ritual, and statues, and infallible leaders.

Coincidentally, I also met a marvelous priest (he was well over 6 feet twoo, this is uncanny). I was in my teens at the time, and quite a messed up kid, I might add. Having heard that Father Kenna was a real person who did not answer every question with a doctrine, I ambled into the confession booth one day and asked, "Are you Father Kenna?"

"I am," he replied.

"I ain't here to confess. I need to talk to you."

"Ok," he said, "let me close this shop and I will meet you in the pews."

He has since left the priesthood because he, too, could no longer deal with the "organization". But over a ten-year friendship to follow, he taught me exactly what you stated about personal God, and it is the rule I live by now. However one imagines that God to look like, or to have once been on this earth, it is how each individual goes about living a life that truly matters, and if that God exists, He/She/It surely will know how we each lived our lives.

But, again, this is a personal truth; just so happens to be coincidental that others might share it. Me, I never try to persuade anyone else to believe what I do; but I do try to stop others from attempting to do that to me, and I also love debating philosophical questions.

As you might have guessed, philosophy and metaphysics was one of my major studies, and I still love the subject.

Anybody ever read Swedenborg? Now there was a metaphysician to the max. Quite insane, yet quite interesting.


Epsicopaga is likely one of the funniest lines I have heard in a while. My question: which finger is up?

To all,

I promise that next week my schedule lightens a bit and I shall check out the workbook for some reading. Who knows, I might get a story on it too -- only heard from three people about my last post to it.

Eddie French Thu Feb 11 05:44:50 PST 1999

Who could see it?

S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 11 05:15:56 PST 1999

In the begining there was Nothing. And God said let there be Light...and there was still Nothing except you could see it.

Be Well, Live Well.

Goodweed of the North Thu Feb 11 05:01:42 PST 1999

I think I posted something last night. I don't see it here this morning though. Maybe I'm going nuts. But wait! I'm a writer (or so I profess to be) so I must be nuts.

Anyway, in reference to wondering where everybody lives, I am truly of the North, with respect to the continental U.S. anyway. I hail from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, right on to the Eastern tip of Lake Superior. I was born here, raised here, moved away for about ten years, came back to attend university, and stayed.
Time to get to work.

Seeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Feb 11 02:16:48 PST 1999

       Religion? Although currently attending an episcopal church, one of my friends heard tell I was doing so and said I was more likely episcopagan instead :-). At any rate, my favorite religion statement about religion, god and spirituality is a variation on a zen koan that was quoted by D.T.Suzuki in one of his books.

     Observe the finger pointed at the moon.

     BEWARE! Do not mistake the finger for the moon

Take care everyone.

Jai Thu Feb 11 01:41:04 PST 1999

Wohoo! I sat down and struggled and struggled ( some of you know how hard it is to write after a full day's work ). But I did it I wrote and wrote and, well you get the picture.

I just read in some artical or another that the suicide rate in artist is something like eight times greater than average. So keep happy you all, no getting depressed OK. Actually I think this forum is a great help to us, as others have already stated, you really need to be a writer to understand and it's soooo nice to be understood.

Anyway enough raving, gee I've posted alot today ( shut up, shut up stop typing you evil fingers )


Ohh and just a little bit more ( No no no no stop it leave them alone ) Ow, please..... eek ( I bitem that'll teach em hu ).

Allein Wed Feb 10 20:19:10 PST 1999

Agsousa - I wouldn't really call it an essay, but I'm glad you liked it. If you want to read some of my other work (like my story - I won't beg, but PLEASE read my story :-) ) it's on my webpage.

Well, I'll see ya all later.
Bai bai,

agsousa Wed Feb 10 19:18:28 PST 1999

Salinger, sorry.

agsousa Wed Feb 10 19:15:41 PST 1999

Eddie French — Parlez-vous français? Votre education m'a rappelée celle de Joyce et la mienne aussi. Au revoir!

Thomas — I'll certainly draw, to show my friends, a better map of America than the other Vespucii, though that part of the world is perhaps not so beautiful as in his day and age. My name is really Américo (no kidding) and read as if it were the masculine of America. Like in "Olé!". I love Italy as well. Chau!

Allein — I read your essay about dogs and cats. It reminded me J. D. Sallinger — but much better ("The Catcher in the Rye"). Buenas noches!

Everybody — Today it was not so funny, but I drink to your health all the same. Aufwiederseen!

Geez! I'm a poliglot (how do you spell this word?)

It's past 3 am on this side of paradise. Must go to bed. Farewell. Até amanhã.

Eddie French Wed Feb 10 18:32:38 PST 1999

At last, we find a common thread. When I found this forum it changed my life. We do not agree on all matters but the kindredship (is that a word?) pulls us together like an irresistable power. (that word again).
Age, sex and racial differences magicaly vanish as we use this unique medium to communicate.
I am not a religious person though I was brought up as a catholic. The most profound thing anybody ever said to me about god or religion was a short statement made by my priest at boarding school. I was 11 years old and really had no option but to attend mass every Sunday (dressed of course in my Sunday Best).
Father Christopher stood 6ft 5inches tall and walked hunched over as though he had grown tired of straightening his back after all of the doors he had stooped through.
We were discussing the doctrine of the Catholic religion and of course I, (being me) was questioning the rigid catachism we were made to adhere to. He taught me that religion is a personal thing. Hardly a week goes by without the picture of this gentle man springing to mind. And that short statement:
'The most religious thing that I do, young master French, is get up out of my bed every morning, I do it for the love of God'.
Some mornings I know exactly what he meant.
If I heard that now for the first time I would probably think that the person who said it was attempting a glib throwaway remark just for effect. But I was 11.
I suppose what I'm saying is that if there is a god, then he will know you. You don't have to conform to any religious doctrine to be a good person. your religion is within you. It manifests itself in the way that you treat your fellow man and the way that you live your life. The laws and rules which you impose upon yourself are infinately more powerful (that word again) than any imposed from an external source.
That's my feeble input on the religion debate.

Thomas Wed Feb 10 17:41:21 PST 1999

Welcome home Vespucci. But this time, draw up a better map.

Goodnight all. I have to write a story about a new product: Hemp Wine. No kidding. Tell you all about it later.

Thomas Wed Feb 10 17:35:41 PST 1999

Hey all,

I had this dream last night, well actually the dream was today, while I was driving somewhere, which is my favorite time to dream -- while driving, that is.

Anyway, I dreamt about this party I threw and all of you were invited, and you all came too. Even the police came, especially when they heard about the many sixteen year-olds attending. I digress.

So at this party we all began to talk deep, deep things, and after about an hour of that, I found myself speechless, in awe that we could be so different and yet so alike.

That is what I am now, speechless.

Oh yeah, Agsousa brought the wine, especially the two he recently mentioned. I am glad he did, because I hadn't tasted them.

Agsousa, I like wine -- all kinds. Owned a small winery for eight years, and then I went broke; but I shall never lose the taste. I was in Italy last April. Did you know they grow about 4,000 different garpe varieties, and every wine is good? I also love Italy.

My cat likes to sit and watch me hit the keyboard. Sometimes she tries to type too. The best is when she turns my telephone answering machine off, especially after a day of too many calls.

This is the truth: my neighbor has a cat who uses the toilet in their house: sits on it to pee. learned it by watching her master. Now that is funny to watch -- strange, but funny.

agsousa Wed Feb 10 17:20:21 PST 1999

This is not an easy place, having people from several nations, with different ages and cultural backgrounds, speaking a babel of languages disguised as English with soft shades of Internetese. I accepted the challenge because I can't see a blank space without immediatelly scribbling on it. New to the Internet, and finding it very boring (it is also expensive here, because, besides the ISP, we have to pay the phone company for each second we are online), I found this site two or three weeks ago. It changed my life! I have been looking for similar pages, but either they have publicity, or are ugly, or pedantic, or smelling to computers — and I go away. Here one can write everything. Small talk is sometimes as motivating as intercourse of deep thoughts on venerable subjects, such as education, the nature of art or how to — scientifically — throw a cat from the Empire State Building without hurting the feelings of The Society For the Protection of All Living Creatures Alive or Defunct. After all you read only what you like and skip the parts you are not interested in. I read only about 50% of what is published here — a statement that might as well be an apology for questions not answered, or suggestions not accepted, if any.

What makes this page somewhat difficult, at least in the beginning, is to know who is who when someone is someone else. Allein is not Alone, Goodweed of the North is perhaps of the South, and Jack, who could be the Ripper, is the best of friends. Definitely, "Who is Who When Everybody Is Somebody Else"? (I picked this one from a book I'm reading).

Now, who am I? Well, Amerigo Vespucci.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 10 16:44:55 PST 1999

Hey all,

Goodweed, Same here. It nice to agree, but it's fun to disagree! I value your opinions, especially since they aren't always my own. That's how we learn and grow--by being exposed to new ideas and conflicting viewpoints, especially when they are presented to us as intelligent discourse as is the case here on the Notebook. Once again, thanks Jack for allowing us this forum.

Jai, you're belief system and mine appear to be similar. As I've said here before, I catagorize everything in my life as "maybe" and "maybe not." I have seen too much and been through too much to believe in absolutes--if I did I would probably have been dead by now. It was my ability to believe in the impossible or improbable that has kept me alive many times, when a "saner" man would have given up because what was required "just wasn't possible." It's amazing the impossible things you can accomplish when there really isn't any other choice.

Be Well, Live Well.

Goodweed of the North Wed Feb 10 16:07:32 PST 1999

It is a wise person who once said ,"Knowledge is like climbing a mountain. The higher our understanding takes us, the more we see there is still to learn."

I apologize if I seem rigid to some of you. I really am not. I do look for cause and effect relationships. A good bit of technical training has helped shape me thus, as well as my own natural tendancies. I do not say that my views are the only valid views, simply that they are the beliefs I have chosen to build my life around.

S.K.S., I have said it before, and not to be condecending (not sure if that's the right word) either. I value your posts imensely. There have been but a few times we have disagreed. But that's alright. We wouldn't be individuals if we all agreed on everything.

Thomas, I have to say the same to you. I enjoy our dialogue. I value your input. The difficulty lies only in our differing veiwpoints concerning things to which there are no definitive answers. And those are merely a matter of personal opinion. My opinions are certainly no more valuable than any others.

I must also confess that I realize that there are those who follow their "leaders" because they are following some ideology. Maybe the word idiot comes from the same root. I know that I wont blindly follow any man, woman, or child. I will always be a truth seeker. My own perceptions of the universe have changed several times in my own lifetime. I suspect that they will continue to evolve as my knowledge base grows.

As for my spiritual belief, I can only say that personal experiance has shaped that. Unless you have felt those same experiances, you will be of a different mind.

I'm not trying to soapbox, but just to agree that it is quite alright for us to be different. It makes for a rich and exciting group. I'm glad to be in such good company.

Hayden; I lost all my e-mail addresses due to a software snafu but will contact you when I can. In the meantime, say hi to your lovely wife. You're still on for that race by the way.

I hope everyone here has a great evening and gets much accomplished, whether in play, work, or relaxation.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

agsousa Wed Feb 10 15:39:39 PST 1999

Hello, everybody!

I've just managed to get connected, after an hour of "no carrier signal" warnings, and I'm eager to reading all your posts since my wonderful story of a constitutional cat. I loved your jokes about cats yesterday. Do I smell a rat today?

Thomas: How about Quinta da Bacalhoa? And Bucelas? You are really a connoiseur!

Allein Wed Feb 10 15:35:10 PST 1999

I have my opinions and stick by them, but, I don't usually participate in group discussions. I live by the rule, it is better to remain silent and look the fool rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Racheal - Yeah, okay, I know how frustrating it is when cats do their business in your garden (my mom has this problem every year). Actually, it's not so much what he leaves behind that bothers her (that makes good fertilizer) it's that this cat who likes to use our garden also likes to dig up our plants.

On religion - I believe that people have the right at birth to believe in whatever they choose. I'm Christian, but I have friends who don't believe in God at all and some who take the Bible a tad too seriously and that's fine with me.
There are some religious differences in my story. Rean brings Christianity to his planet (yes, they know about us, but we don't know about them). King Quachik, who is a priest devoted to his religion isn't too happy about that (of course, he's thrilled when his daughter wants to become a priestess). Many of the slave characters, Rags, Patches, etc. have given up on religion all together. I try to show that maybe some of the conflicts and problems on Earth can happen elsewhere too (for those, like me, who do believe in aliens).

Well, bai bai all,

Rachel Wed Feb 10 15:27:05 PST 1999

Hi All

Jai - I am relieved that you do not view the old with such contempt. Going back and re reading your post I got the dirft, sorry abut that I've been sick of late and am still a little muzzy in the head.

Eddie - As for Mr. Kitty trying to make me like him. I have to admit he is growing on me. sometimesx the odd thing even follows me down to the mail box like some sort of escort. He'll walk me down and then walk me back to the end of my drive way and lay down in my garden as if testing my tolerence for him. Truth of it is I don't care if he has a nap in my front garden, its the crap that I mind.

On the age of people on this site. I think its great. Its exciting to get to read so many different views and opinions. You just don't get this kind of diversity sitting in the coffee house with a group of friends your own age who share many of your interests and beliefs.

I look at life as one great big adventure full of twists and turns that take us places we never thought we'd go. Some of these things are good, and some are not so good, but all are valuable and expand our thinking. I view other peoples opinions in this same way.

I have finished one of the two stories I was working on. The one that I have done with is for my mother. She has been asking to read something that I write, so I wrote her a story. Wow, nothing like the opinion of a parent to make a kids gut lurch.

Yipes what a blabber. I think I will zip it up and get back to some writing.

Take care all


Jai Wed Feb 10 14:22:05 PST 1999

Lena -
If Grug spoke to me than he would become one of the theories I follow through life, in other words I would think he is probably pretty real. If the then went on to tell me he had a god I'd add just figure he may or may not be right. Can't just go around believe anything a god said just because they are supose to be all knowing you know.

It is fasinating to note the similarities between different religions. It seems they all believe in some great force be it god, the great spirit or Karma.

I was thinking further on the bus. I am most skeptical about any belief based on fear ( the world is going to end in 2000 or we will all burn in hell unless we go to church ). In my experience these types of beliefs have been most misleading.


Lena Wed Feb 10 13:34:35 PST 1999

Avatar - Yup, I got the e-mail, thank you very much.

Jai - What if Grug tells you he himself has a god? What then?

"Wisdom is two things: Knowing, and then keeping your mouth shut."

Avatar Wed Feb 10 13:03:22 PST 1999

Now I'm glad I was out of it for a couple of days. I hate religious discussions!

SKS-Too true, too true

Lena- Did you get that e-mail I sent yet?

SNarly- What's the path of the wolf? Forgive me but I'm young and liable to be blunt if this is a bad topic to discuss.

And hello to Gypsy, whenever you get back that is.

On the subject of names meaning something I have a character in my work-in-progress novel that is named Halcyon. Anyone guess why?

May your pen always be true

Jai Wed Feb 10 12:40:24 PST 1999

BTW: If you get funny overlapping words as I seem to at home but not at work ( internet explorer? ) You can just save the notebook somewhere on your disk and it looks alright when you load it from there. May have something to do with the backround giff...


Jai Wed Feb 10 12:35:09 PST 1999


Note the nasty email address, this place seems notorious for junk bots.

Rachel - I never said I didn't like old people, I just said that we as a socienty don't treat them as well as perhaps we should. Personally I am someone who believes in ageism so all people are equal regardless of age. That's why I have some hair clips with angles in them in my treasure box. At least the little girl who gave them to me said they angles lived in them. I keep them around for good luck, you never know she may be right. The same goes for the older generation of course, they shouldn't be ignored because they remind us of death and have lots of wrinkles. When people became so obsessed with the beauty of the young and began ignoring the seniors I will never know.

As for truth politics and religion, I like to not believe in anything. So while there may be an absolute truth there may not. There my be a god and there may not. Of course to get through daily life I have to have some loose philosophies based on my own experiences. So I think a gravity like force seems to exist thus I don't walk of cliffs and I have noticed that objects are often solid so I usually walk around them. But I wouldn't say gravity HAS to exist or obects MUST be solid.

Sometimes I do strange things. I do have a god and his name is Grug. I believe in him thus he exists. He is my god. He is my personal god who watches over me and he is nice and friendly. He looks like the hairy Grug from those kids books.

I don't really believe in Grug but I like to think about him sometimes and wonder what he would be like if he really did exist. Sometimes when I am being harranged by christians I believe in him. They ask, "do you believe in god" and I say, "Yes." Thinking about Grug watching over me of course then they leave me alone.

So believe in your own god and create a god today.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 10 12:31:05 PST 1999

S.N. Arly and Lena,

To know, to dare, to keep silent. Hmm. My dad always told me if you don't have anything intelligent to say, then keep your mouth shut. And even if you do have something intelligent to say, why bother? Eighty percent of the people probably won't understand you anyway, and the other twenty percent are too busy talking themselves.

Be Well, Live Well.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 10 12:02:03 PST 1999


April 20th,

Be Well, Live Well.

Lydia Sweet Wed Feb 10 12:01:57 PST 1999

Ooop! I actually married two. Never said I understood the species. Just love it.

Lydia Sweet Wed Feb 10 11:58:16 PST 1999

Don't get me wrong fellas. I love the species. I married one after all.

As to the other two species. Well, you can't love 'em all.

Lena Wed Feb 10 11:51:27 PST 1999

When I am online I prefer to not bat my age around, because I happen to like the respect I receive from those who assume I am an adult. I am 16, but do not lack for opinions (as you can all probably tell by now). The only thing that truly bothers me is the way I write, because my writing style seems to cry out “young, unexperienced girl” to me. I have a propensity for slang and strange sayings which I try to keep down, as well as watching my grammar.

On a different note (la?), I was doing a bit of an experiment yesterday you might find amusing. I used the word “licentious” several times during the day, both in and out of context, with different people. Only one person knew what the word actually meant, and she stared at me with a look of surprise. Everybody else just nodded wisely, pretending they knew what I was talking about. If people don’t know something, they should just ask instead of blowing it off with looks of Wise Contemplation. You can really make an idiot out of yourself that way.

SKS – April what? My birthday is the 8th

A long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile...

S.N.Arly http:/ Wed Feb 10 11:18:02 PST 1999

Dang. I keep forgetting to do this when at work. That was me.

Wed Feb 10 11:16:35 PST 1999

Afraid I have to bow out of the truth, justice and all associated discussion. Been here before. Can't be civil. Have learned it's in my best interest to recognize this sort of weakness and stay out of it.

Hayden - What if I like my toast dry?

Allein - while I agree that you can have an opinion at your age and it is also valuable, it is also to your credit that you don't just barge in on unfmiliar territory just because you feel you should say something. If you don't feel comfortable trying to discuss such lofty theories, that's fine. You're not allein on this one. Wise is she who knows when to keep quiet. Took me a while to learn that one.


I'm told I'm an old soul, so you're not the first to think it. And I guess it's preferred to the wet-behind-the-ears response I usually get when people meet me in person. I look all of 16 most days.

I walk the path of the wolf, does that make me another species? Sometimes I wish I were.

To know, to dare, to keep silent.

Eddie French Wed Feb 10 11:02:50 PST 1999

A comment on perception or truth:
90% of what collects in your vacume bag is dust created by humans 'shedding skin'.
To those who Perceive this to be a truth I say
Get A Cat!
Cats always know if someone is not so fond of their kind, and knowing this they work on these people all the more. I think it's called Public Relations. This is a truth.

Thomas Wed Feb 10 10:10:17 PST 1999

Anyone who knows this joke, please don't give the punchline away.

A man takes his lethargic dog to the vet. The vet tells him he is sorry but the dog is dead.
The man wants a second opinion. The vet brings out a Labrador from the back. The dog licks and sniffs the man's dog, looks at the vet and barks. The vet tells the man that the Lab says the dog is dead.
The man wants one more opinon.
The vet brings a cat out from the back. The cat walks up and down the dog, sniffs, scratches, looks at the vet and meows loudly. The vet tells the man the cat says the dog is dead.
The man is satisfied, but when the vet hands him a $650 bill, the man screams WHAT! Just to tell me the dog is dead you want $650!
The vet tells the man, "I charge $50, but it's $300 for the Lab work and $300 for the cat scan".

Lydia Sweet Wed Feb 10 09:26:47 PST 1999

And here I thought men were another species. Just like in-laws and bosses.

Rachel Wed Feb 10 09:03:25 PST 1999

Hi All

Hootie - I agree with that quote you left in your post.

Jai - I happen to think old people are beautiful. I love to look at their eyes. Give it a try I think you'll see them differently, but, maybe not.

Allein - I do not hate cats - I would chuck anyone who came and took a dump in my front garden. My relationship with this particular cat amuses the life out of his owner. Mr. Kitty seems to draw joy in tormenting me. He has taken up residence on my front step, is always looking for my attention and follows me round my yard all summer. I think this cat has adopted me. Only trouble is I do not want to be adopted. I don't get cats, never have. Ah, but Mr. Kitty no longer dumps in my front garden I think he and I have come to an understanding on that.

Take care all


agsousa Wed Feb 10 08:58:19 PST 1999

I told my neighbour's cat (I have no cat) that his race had been maltreated in this forum yesterday. He was so indignant that he decided to write a hot Declaration aimed at the rights of all creatures in the universe. When on his parchment (made with the skin of other animals) I saw, in angry red, sentences such as: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all cats are created equal", etc., I suggested that we ought to make the document more universal, if not more original, and at least add dogs to the list, since Truth is an absolute, and some truths are self-evident to everybody, including Enemies, Arabs, Aliens, English — and their dogs —, he frowned visibly, and has just called me to say that he is drafting the ultimate document on truth, independence and animals' protection, based on the undisputed principles of Cats' Perspective.

I fear all dogs will be eliminated, before he adds dogs to his Constitution — as he now calls it.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 10 08:07:12 PST 1999

Hey all,

On a lighter note, I find it amazing and enlightening that we have people here on the Notebook of all different ages, from teenagers to the...ahem...elderly. One of the things that make this such an interesting forum is the different perspectives offered, not only from people here of different nationalities, races, and sexes, (species would be cool..any takers?) but of different age groups.

What I find even more interesting is that often, had the person not identified his or her age group, I wouldn't have guessed it from their insights here.

S.N Arly, no offence, but when I first came here, for some reason I thought of you as an old woman. I have since downwardly revised my estimatition of your age (not due to any perception of diminished intelligence or maturity--simply because of some things you've said here that make me believe you are much younger than I first thought.)

I love that people here are taken at face value soley on the merit of the written word--where age, race, religion or physical appearance are irrelevent. So Allein, please post your thoughts here often. We can always use a young persons perspective of the world.

Is that way cool, or what?

By the way, I'll be 38 in April.

Be Well, Live Well.

Rhoda Wed Feb 10 07:10:50 PST 1999


I disagree with your statement that you know almost nothing about history and politics and what is going on. Someone might take you to task about something you post, but that doesn't mean that your ideas don't have merit. I admire any teenager here who feels comfortable about entering into the arena of ideas with older adults. It shows a great deal of maturity. Your ideas benefit the more physically mature minds and bodies here. Don't be afraid to be shot down once in a while. It happens to all of us here because we are different people with different ideas. Though I don't always agree with you (and this disagreement is rare), I find your comments insightful and interesting.


Why not send your manuscript to both an editor and agent? Though it is good to be agented, it is not always a necessary requirement when submitting to an editor. In this day and age it is hard to find editors who will read unagented material, but if you do find some editors willing to see your manuscript, you should submit it.

Finding an agent is almost as difficult as getting published, so don't wait until you nabb one. Also if you have submitted to an editor and you got a good response, you will have an easier time getting an agent. You will be breaking no rules of the business when you submit simultaneously to an agent and editor. If I were you I would submit to one editor and several agents.

After you have submitted sample chapters to an editor or agent, got rejected, and then revised those chapters, is it advisible to resubmit to any of the same folks who rejected the material before? What happens if you wait six months or a year? If you resubmit a project without their invitation to do so, will the agent or editor consider this an impositon? Please advise.

Happy writing,


Thomas Wed Feb 10 06:48:29 PST 1999

Whew! This notebook really is stimulating. Let's see, where to begin.


Before sending a book to agents or publishers, have someone you trust and who will be honest, and who has experience, read it. It is best these days to have a nearly complete and revised book, since both agents and publishers have dropped the once civilized practice of editing and working with talent.

Jai and Agsousa,

On Mature: I have been being facetious all along about the word. With regard to age, since I was born in 1945, I am likely considered mature (but not quite a senior citizen, and the first person who calls me that will know my wrath). That my outlook makes Jai think I am young, I think, is a good sign that I have stayed alive to what goes on around me.


Agsousa, when I close my eyes it is not dark. You would not believe the images that dance in their. But then, I spent twenty years designing and scripting audio visual presentations, before I got smart and began to write while my wife earns a living.

When I turned fifty I found a pearl in an oyster at my birthday party. It reminded me of my father telling us to look for the pearl every time we ate oysters when I was a child. My novel deals with the irritations in life that sometimes consume us and sometimes are resolved by the pearls we encounter. But my novel is on hold right now.

I am working on selling a near-complete book tracing the parallel histories of garlic, wine and olive oil and how they became a Holy Trinity of food for Mediterraneans. The story begins in Mesopotamia and ends in Brooklyn, NY, where I grew up as a second-generation Italian American. It is a combination history, memoir, cookbook with illustrations. I am getting close to interesting at least two publishers.

I also like Fareira (sp) Port, and am fond of Vila Morena, 1996 Borba made from the Periquita, Moreto and Aragonez grapes -- I like Quinta de Santo Amaro wine too.


Some of what you wrote makes good sense -- some, not all. The least of the good sense you show is to think that because we talk of other things we are off the subject of writing. Every time I learn something about someone or something else, I put it into my bank of knowledge and I apply it, if I can, to what I write.
For me, writing is imparting and reading is opening up to ideas.


We seem on the same wavelength. Some misunderstand attitudes like ours as negative. I believe it is realism that we espouse. Often, those who live on faith alone have a hard time accepting reality, so they alter it to meet their beliefs.

Lena Wed Feb 10 06:34:15 PST 1999

Hullo! G'day!

One fact that fascinates me about the American Civil War is that Abraham Lincoln made it into a war for slavery only to give the war a focus. Lincoln was once quoted as saying that if he could save the union without freeing a single slave, he would do it. Most people tend to forget that Lincoln was a very shrewd and smart politician, and used slavery to further the war, not the other way around.

The reason I am mentioning this, it goes along nicely to SKS's comment on the reason wars are fought, and this idea relates so well to the story I started writing, I actually figured out how to END the story! Can life be any better? :-) I was watching a documentary on the Civil War and my mind was wandering and wham, I saw how the whole story was going to be finished. I like it when things happen this way. I really, really like it.

Allien - Just 'cause you're a teenager doesn't mean you don't need an opinion on religion, politics, etc. Why shouldn't you have an opinion? If your ideas are stupid, well, then you can blame it all on being young and inexperienced, but why not try out an opinion anyway?

I wish I had some pithy quote on life, the universe, and everything to end with, as everyone else seems to have, but I don't. So...

Have a nice day (a philosophy in itself!),

BTW - Lena means "light" in latin!

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 10 05:51:21 PST 1999

Goodweed, you scientific types always kill me with your "there are laws to the universe" and "we know this." Bah, humbug. We know nothing. We suspect many things, and we assume a lot more, but know?

When cars first came on the scene, scientist told us that it was impossible to travell more that 60 miles and hour, or it would kill us. Then they said it was impossible to break the speed of sound. Now it's the speed of light. Sometimes I think the greatest impedance to real scientific break-through is our insistance on the things we know.

Despite the vast knowledge that humankind has accumulated, especially in the last fifty years, it becomes a totally irrelevent quanty when compared to what we don't know. Breakthroughs often occur when someone comes up with a totally radical new concept that negates or at least ammends our so called laws of science and the universe.

And for a truth to be absolute it should be universal. Sorry, I just don't buy your examples, and that's my truth.

As for your statement that quite often wars were fought for political or economic reasons, you're right. Usually they were the real reasons behind the war. But those reason's are not the ones the average soldier--the one doing the killing--fought for. He usually could care less about economics or politics. Politicians start wars for political reasons. Soldiers fight wars for idealogical ones.

But hey, go ahead and believe whatever you like. I'm OK with that, as long as I'm left alone to do the same.

While these discussion may have nothing to do with writing per say, many of the ideas discussed here help to provide opposing viewpoints, and have often been a source of information and inspiration. This is the only forum that I know of where I can discuss religion, politics, and the nature of cats with civilised people who, while not always open to views other than their own, are at least willing to debate said topics without rancor or malice. I think that's a useful tool for any writer, of any genere.

Be Well, Live Well.

Hootie Wed Feb 10 05:46:01 PST 1999

To follow Goodweed’s advice, I have a question for everyone: I have a complete first novel, in what I believe is a final draft (I keep finding things to tinker with), and I was wondering if it’s better to send it to an agent or to a publisher first? I have heard people advise both ways.

P.S. Hayden—that’s ponderous, man. Really ponderous.

Hayden Tue Feb 9 22:12:19 PST 1999

Me being profound.....

Truth is like buttered toast.

Reality (the bread of life) gets burnt a little, has an animal product (rhetoric/semantics/religion) slapped all over it and then we eat it to feed some hunger or perceived hunger.

Feed it to a cat (the buttered toast) and watch how they react to it. It makes no difference to them. They lick the animal product of it and leave the rest, then wander off to sleep in some warm spot.

SOME of us need to be like cats!

Some of need to burn the toast more often.

Some of us just need a warm spot to sleep in.

I just love cats!


Goodweed of the North Tue Feb 9 22:02:08 PST 1999

Truth; and interesting topic indeed. I have to agree with Rhoda and Howard, but with a twist. There is truth. If I release from my hand and object more dense than the fluid surounding that object (air is a fluid, check your physics manual), in proximaty to the Earth, that object will move toward the center of the Earth until its progress is halted by some other force.

There are other "truths" which we choose to believe or disbelieve.
One such truth is; there are universal laws, such as the laws of justice and mercy. The law of justice must be met. When one wrongs another, that individual will be made accountable in full for that wrong. However, there is a law of mercy which may allow the law of justice to be met while still allowing the perpetrator to repent of their actions and change for the better.

I disagree completely with the idea that wars have been fought over religeon and fundamental beliefs. In all cases (I'm stepping into dangerous teritory by being all inclusive here, but it's what I belive, my opinion) individuals or groups have used religeon and politics as an excuse to further their own greedy agendas. The power of the Catholic church in the dark ages wasn't the fault of the Christian doctrine, but rather the distortion of that doctrine by those in power to justify there abusive actions. The same can be said of governments, buisnesses, local law enforcement, doctors, etc.

I have met very good people from many parts of the world, not of my faith or nationality, who have been, or are labeled as dangerous by our society due to their nationality.

Almost all religeons of the world teach charity, love of ones fellow, be they of the same faith or not, and selflessness. It is the persons who falsley proclaim to follow those standards, but who bend the rules to fit theri own desires who are dangerous.

Granted, their are those who are dangerous because of their beliefs, but they are few compared to the great majority of those with strong convictions.

I have extremely strong convictions that the church I belong to is the true church of God. Yet it is in our doctrine to seek good wherever it may be found, to never talk down another faith, and to never push our beliefs upon others. If someone asks, I'll do my very best to answer. But I'll not tell you that you are wrong because you believe something different than me.

Truth is truth. Belief and faith are not truth, but what we choose to follow. They are intangibles.

It is a truth that energy can not either be created or destroyed. It is a belief that Jesus Christ is the Savior. It is not a sureity. That is why they call it faith. It is what I choose to believe. Only death will tell me the truth of the matter. I'm not that desperate for absolute knowledge. I'll wait three of four more decades (maybe longer if I'm fortunate).

Let's get back to the topics of writing and getting published. We are writeres after all. As a group of intelligent individuals, and I stress both intelligent, and individual, we tend to digress. It's fun but doesn't really help with our writing skills. For any who have emailed me lately, I just re-loaded Windows95 and can't seem to get my email to work. I use the machine at work when I can but that is rare. I'd have to show up at 6:00 a.m. to get on the net there. I'm dedicated, but not that dedicated. I do need my beauty sleep (lots fo it). Which reminds me, It's bed time.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the north

Allein Tue Feb 9 21:10:04 PST 1999

I forgot in my last post:


Cats are cute little balls of fluff and should be treated with respect, just like every other creature. There's a teacher and I who do not get along because he hates cats and I adore them. Every test he gives the first question is something like: If Fluffy is launched from a cannon at so many mph and at such a degree angle when will he go splat on the freeway and get run over by cars? This teacher also has one of those beanie babies of a cat that's hanging in a noose and has tire tracks down it's back. He named it 'Splat the cat'.
But I'm an animal lover - of all animals. Well, I mean, some of them I wouldn't want to run into in the wild - such as lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) But they're nice to see pictures of. I also have a fear of dogs - especially when they run over to you and bark and jump and slobber (I was attacked by a dog when I was younger - traumatizing really). There are dogs that I know who are absolute sweeites but if it's a strange dog, I'm scared of it. I also like that chihuahua on the Taco Bell commercials. He's funny.
But the subject is cats. Cats are my favorite animals (some of my characters are cats.
VIVA LA KITTIES!!! (and viva gorditas!!)
Bai bai,

Allein Tue Feb 9 21:00:20 PST 1999

Agsousa - yes, my name does mean alone in German. It's actually not my real name (but for safety reasons, I don't use my real name on internet) it's my character's name. I gave it to him because he's kind of a loner - he only has a few real friends. This is the character we've been discussing that's being molested. But, yes, that's what it means. Many of my character's names have a meaning significant to the character - such as Lunika's name was taken from the word lunatic, because, honestly, she is one and there are others.

Well, I have to go.
Bai bai,

S.N.Arly Tue Feb 9 19:55:53 PST 1999

SKS - I gotta agree with you, and likely for the same reason.

Rhoda - You are correct that nothing ever happens or changes unless someone has strong beliefs or convictions. But even in your examples there was the other side. Those who felt their opinion/belief was the one and only truth. The fact that Louis Pasteur stood up against this adversity says a lot about his personal strength. Not everyone is so lucky. And not everyone who stands up for their belief lives to tell about it.

It's well and good to have faith in yourself and your beliefs. But humans have not learned to be accepting of differences. We kill each other over differences. When we no longer exhibit this behavior I think those of us who currently fear those who feel there is one overriding truth (or several, whatever) will have less need to do so. And boy was that a long sentence.

For those who were waiting, I now have 6 of 9 pages up on my website. Sorry SKS, the Martial Arts one isn't ready yet. That one may be another several days in the making. I'm also still trying to relocate a few writing links that I seem to have misplaced. Oh well. Welcome to a state of flux. It's a nice place to live.

Gotta go do some German translation before bed. I knew it would come in handy eventually! Hoorah for geneaology! It validates the foreign laanguage experience.

"...with all the strength of a raging fire, mysterious as the dark side of the moon."

W. Olivia Race Tue Feb 9 19:37:46 PST 1999

Hi all. Geez leave you people for a moment and I come back and find you discussing politics and religion....

I tend to avoid both subjects. Organized religion gives me the creeps to be quite frank and politics..I won't go there.
I am what you'd call a "mongrel" -- my family background being a hodgepodge of English, West-Indian and American Indian. I've always told my daughter that people are people, forget what they look like when you first see them, and remember that always. So far, I think it's worked.

All the cat cruelty makes me want to hide my own in the basement. Oops, I forgot, ever since she's been incontinent thats where she is....never mind

On the writing front, I left work early today (kid was sick) and, inspired by an article in Writers Digest magazine, I wrote a complete synopsis for my novel. Once you get rolling it isn't really that hard. Actually the whole project gave me ideas for cleaning up my draft. God, I love writing sometimes!!!! I'm thinking positive and am probably wrong but I want to send the synopsis and the first three chapters to an agent. Then, if they're interested (I hope) , I can always send the complete, clean MS (which will be clean and ready by then, I hope.
Talk at me, please if this is "bas-ackwards".

Regarding truth: "It takes two to speak the truth--one to speak, and another to hear." H.D. Thoreau

Good writing all...

Jai Tue Feb 9 19:27:54 PST 1999

Greetings again,

agsousa - The negative conotations of Mature stem, I believe, from the childs perception of stuffy boring adults. It may also have something to do with the discrimation that our society has against the older folk, thier ugly apperance and our own fear of death.

When you describe someone as mature you usually mean they are past their prime or that they act in a socially responsible thus boring manner.

When used to describe objects it takes on a differnent meaning, thus to describe a wine as mature you mean that age sits well and has a positive effect on the wine.

If you wish use mature in a possitive context with a person then it is usually good to only use it against certain characteristics.

So Thomas is mature of mind but young of body.

Though Thomas has a mature outlook on life his actions often reflect the feedom of youth.

Of course I may be wrong in assuming where Thomas is coming from and I'm sure he will correct me if this is so.


agsousa Tue Feb 9 18:46:18 PST 1999

I don't know yet what mature means to you. All dictionaries tell me it's a good thing to have.

Niepoort? Yes, sir, very good taste. Try Tailor's, though.

Wouldn't you think that any discussion about the concept of truth is sterile? (Sterile, is it right)?

I would like to know more about your novel. I have a little bit of experience on that field, having published six novels so far. I am stuck now. I have many projects but no wish of publishing until I find something really good. It's not a matter of writer's block. It's just that I am fed up with my cleverness, my humour, my tendency to plot and character — my style. I honestly think that the reader here is more demanding that in richer countries like your own. Why? Perhaps because, being a small market, only writers or would-be writers buy novels. And this is a country of poets.
The thought of publishing for money is heretical here. Rightly so, I believe, but I'll not go into that topic again. When I started this subject, weeks ago, I was not aware that there are some science-fiction writers in this forum. I don't read much sci-f., but I like the genre. Of course, they should use the conventional elements of that genre, but I wonder: why can't I read much of that stuff? It's because even the traditional need refreshment — nothing like a good port, now. (I'm glad I spoke of port wine). It's 2.43am here. I don't feel like going to bed. It's too dark when you switch off the lights, and even darker when you close your eyes.

Allein: doen't allein mean alone in German?

Allein Tue Feb 9 17:53:39 PST 1999

Hiya! Oh! I've missed you and I've missed the computer!! We've had a virus in our computer so it's been down for the past day (almost two). But now I'm back (insert evil laughter here).
So, lets start from the top:

I am going to drop the politics and history thing on my end because I'm just a teenager and know almost nothing about what's going on.

Caroline - I assume that you're talking about Allein and his uncle when you wrote the thing about drugs. Allein is given drugs - a sugar cookie with something his uncle says is powdered suger, but isn't and other drugs. But his uncle has to throw it all out when Allein's little sister OD's on something and gets sick.

Well, I have to go now.
See you in the funny pages. :)

Thomas Tue Feb 9 17:48:24 PST 1999

Last week Agsousa calls me mature; this week Hootie lumps me in with the civil; I must be growing.

Agsousa, you will not trick me with your Port question. Like truth, the best wine is a matter of perception. But I do strongly favor Niepoort products. Of course, you probably keep the best in Portugal.

Rhoda, you seem to have shifted from truth to conviction, which are not one and the same albeit the latter is more provable. A person can have quite strong yet also quite negative -- even murderous -- convictions, and sometimes in the name of truth. I think that was SKS's point, I know it is one point of mine.

I refuse to be drawn into a debate on religion or God. I stand on my convictions about truth, however, or lack thereof.

I like this quote that comes either from Socrates or Plato:
"The appearance of truth is not truth". Certainly raises the bar of proof.

The cat jokes are killing me. Everytime I look at Flash, (that's my cat's name) I will conjure ways to off her.
The first name she had was not Flash, but one night a visiting friend, dazzled by the cat activity around the house and under the table, asked how many cats we have, and since we only have one we thought the name Flash fit this dashing, raucous-maker quite well. Of course, since my wife went and bought a standard poodle, the place is one big nervous jitter of a household -- I can't take it anymore; I shall have to finish this novel and cut off my ear (oops, the wrong art?)

Hootie Tue Feb 9 17:05:07 PST 1999

I thought about jumping in on this, but then I remembered my father's advice for keeping the peace: never discuss politics or religion. I will commend the people who have, however, because it seems to me that there are many strong feelings all around, and yet the discussion has been civil and open minded. That's quite an accomplishment.

"I may not believe in what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." --Voltaire (I think)

agsousa Tue Feb 9 16:40:42 PST 1999

If truth is in the wine (in vino veritas, Pliny) you must be all drunk, as you have said many truths today.

What's the best port, Thomas?

Rhoda Tue Feb 9 16:40:09 PST 1999


I do not know exactly where you are coming from when you say that people who believe strongly in truth are dangerous. For some reason you fear people with strong conviction.

There are many people who have done wrong things, but it wasn't because of their strong convictions. It was because of their intolerance, impatience, meaness, and a whole host of other reasons. Perhaps their convictions served to salve their consciences.

I wish to name some good things done in the name of strong convictions by people who were absolutely convinced that their cause was right and just. First there is the French Underground during WWII. No matter how comfortable and popular it might have been to follow Hitler and let France go blithely along with the Axis powers, these people risked their lives to drive the Nazis out of France and to aid the Allied cause. They believed in a free France. Winston Churchill had strong convictions about the soveignty of Britain. In the face of a determined and ruthless enemy and overwhelming odds, he perservered and led others to do the same.

Strong convictions, some spurred by Christian belief, led to the end of slavery in the United States and in Britain. Louis Pasteur had strong convictions about the nature of life, reproduction and microorganisms. People belittled him and persecuted him for going against popular convention. Because of his determination and conviction the belief in spontaneous regeneration has gone the way of the dinosaur and microbiology and biochemistry continues to better our lives. I could go on with countless examples.

A person can never overcome public opinion and obstacles in opposing a bad regime or the status quo without conviction. Without conviction a person is an aimless reed blowing in the wind and subject to the whims of life.

Happy writing,

Dangerous (Opps!Rhoda)

Invisigoth Gypsy Tue Feb 9 15:06:40 PST 1999

Hello everyone,

I used to post here a while back then got out of the habit... Thought I'd drop in again :)

Even though I haven't been keeping up with the discussion, I've gathered that recently it has been at least in part about God's existence (or the lack thereof). This topic seems to follow me around... it's the choice topic of discussion in a 2001 forum I'm in also ;) I think that Lydia's position is very wise. I too believe in God, but I try not to force my beliefs on others. I just do my best to explain my beliefes to those than question them. I walk a very thin line-- I live in the south, and many of my friends are very strict Baptists, with very set beliefs. Some things I believe in cause people to condemn me-- for instance, I believe in evolution and I think the Bible was influenced a lot by human perception, that not every word in it is true. However, most people I know on the Internet *don't* believe in God. I have to be careful ;)

Anyway, just thought I'd try to jump back into posting by rambling a bit :) Until later!

~Invisigoth Gypsy

Lydia Sweet Tue Feb 9 14:15:16 PST 1999


Believing in the absolute truth of God does not mean I will hunt you down and force belief on you. It simply means that I will pray for you and those like you and I will be there should any of you get curious enough to ask about my belief. Even then I can't change your perception. It definately has to be a personal revelation. (Ok, I'm off the pulpit) The type of truth you refer to takes a fanatic and there are plenty of those to go around. However I can have this truth in my life without distortions and without making anyone suffer my truth. But in this instance it still doesn't change the truth.

The world was born, whether in seven days or over billions of years its doesn't change the fact or truth that it is here. Some things posess "absolute truth" others can change with perception.

And with the "absolute" confidence of a woman who can change her mind anytime she wants to I give me POV.


Lena Tue Feb 9 14:03:22 PST 1999

I am sorry now that I did not check the notebook yesterday, but the school computer network was down and I was at that school until 9:30 pm. Home never looked so good, especially my computer that actually works. But everybody just had to keep on talking, eh?

Let me take your discussion on truth and apply it to history. Perhaps the reason schools teach facts, figures, dates, and names is that these truths are not subjective... it is possible to prove Columbus sailed to the New World. *Why* and *how* he did these things is subjective, because they existed only in his mind. Rhoda, your argument about not believing in gravity is null because that fact is tangible, it is part of the physical world that we can observe, measure, and quantify. Gravity exists outside of one's mind. However, ideas and "truths" such as our purpose of existence, why we do certain things, and whether or not there is a God exist only in our minds, and are not absolute. They change from person to person. Perhaps one day we will break our minds down to a science and be able to asertain beliefs due to chemical reactions and such, but would we really want to? It would take away part of the wonder of our lives. And, besides, it would put all those philosophers out of the job.

In the meantime, not knowing the whys of history can make history class mighty boring. Today it was the Populist party. Let me assure you, I am being completely sarcastic when I tell you I had the time of my life.

If you threw your cat out of a car window, would that make him kitty litter?

My friends and I have decided that, as you get older, you find that all the cute and politically correct crap they taught you in elementry school was wrong. Columbus is no longer a national hero, George Washington married Martha because she was a wealthy widow, imaginary numbers, the US is not the home of the brave and the free (agrousa), and the Civil War was more about politics then about slavery.

I am not a bit Indian. I am a healthy mix of polish and german, and all American. I am not denying the fact that the US government has REALLY mistreated the American Indians, but I believe the view that they are the 'noblest' of us all is stereotyped and typical. They have a fascinating culture, but does that culture make them any better then the rest of us?

Gotta go. I have to type up all those poems I had to write for creative writing. I cannot DO poetry. We just do not get along. When I sing a song. But that is wrong. I wouldn't touch that with a tong.

See what I mean?

Thomas Tue Feb 9 13:16:17 PST 1999

Hey all, just spent many hours re-writing, I need this break.


I don't know where the white goes, but we reached high temperatures today and most of the six inches of it has DISAPPEARED.

As for the cat, I love the little devil, if only because she teaches me the feeble nature of a human's attempt to control pets. She doesn't land on her feet, she lands on my head. And Eddie, I'll trade your claws for mine -- this cat is lethal.

As for truth -- those who argue that truth IS and the rest is perception are going to have to prove to me that they aren't speaking out of their perception. I have heard the Empire State Building argument before -- that is a law of physics, not a truth. Law isn't always truth. For instance, doesn't an airplane defy gravity when it keeps us in the air? And if I jumped off the Empire State Building with a parachute, am I truthfully falling to the ground or am I defying a law of gravity, which if it were the truth, I could not do?

Like SKS, truthsayers make me nervous; are they dangerous? I can't help think of all the human carcass's that were left behind in the name of truth.

Rachel Tue Feb 9 13:05:16 PST 1999

Hi all

In my experience if you get a good spin on the cat and toss him long and low he will not land on his feet. Oh he'll make a good effort, but it just won't happen. Ah, and I've never lost skin while cat chucking.

S.K.S. Perry Tue Feb 9 13:02:05 PST 1999


I do not believe in absolute truth. What is true for you may not be true for me. You and Rhoda believe in God. In faith, you are sure of His existance, and that is your truth. I do not, and that is my truth. What makes people dangerous is their absolute conviction that their truth is the truth. When that happens, they usually have this overwhelming desire to impose that truth on others.

There has been a lot of discussion on the Notebook about conquerors and the conquored. When the Spanish came to Mexico, there was a mass burning of the ancient writings of the Aztec people--some scholars believe some of these writings may have predated any written documents we now have. These writings were burned not by the soldiers, but by the priests with them. The scrolls were sacriligious, and they could not tolerate any truth other than their own.

There are thousands of examples of this type of behaviour, and not all done in the name of religion either. I almost cry when I think of the knowledge lost--all in the name of preserving the truth.

That is why I say that people who are convinced of their certainty frighten me, and why they are the most dangerous type I know.

Be Well, Live Well

Tue Feb 9 13:01:17 PST 1999


Lydia Sweet Tue Feb 9 12:59:31 PST 1999

Oh, yeah, S.K.S.

If you throw that cat hard enough he could end up in the mouth of the pit bull next door. Ask my husband.
(That cat never landed.)

Bye ya'll


howard Tue Feb 9 12:17:50 PST 1999

Oh, and Agsousa -- truth IS what it used to be, is now, and always will be. It's only perception that changes, and tries to hide from truth.

Howard Tue Feb 9 12:14:49 PST 1999

Folks, Rhoda is absolutely -- no, make that ABSOLUTEly right! If there is truth, it doesn't depend on what you or I, or anyone else says about it. We don't have to agree with it, or even know what it is. Like the lady said -- it very simply and fundamentally IS. Perception doesn't matter, but truth does. And there IS truth.
SKS, on what do you base your statement that Rhoda's belief or assumptions make her a dangerous person? Dangerous to whom? Anyone who doesn't believe in a truth?
And if the cosmos is merely one's perception of his or her own truth, then Rhoda and I (and people like us) are YOUR fault! How could we exist without a basis for truth outside that perception? :-)
And if you tie a piece of toast buttered side up on a cat's back, then drop the critter, which way will he land?

agsousa Tue Feb 9 11:34:39 PST 1999


Truth isn't anymore what it used to be.


S.N.Arly Tue Feb 9 11:24:05 PST 1999

Jai - Of course we've thought about time travel. But there will undoubtedly be laws regarding messing with different time lines. Just call them the continuum cops.

Rhoda - Yes. However, while there is a truth regarding historical events, we will never know it. This is due in part because truth is colored by perception, and everyone has a bias of some sort or another. I think Thomas was arguing that we could get accurate historical accounts from free agents, but that's not true either. They will have their own biases that will invariably show up. While journalists (some) may strive for objectivity, it is not attainable at this time. Truth in history is as much an oxymoron as ever I've heard.

SKS - Clouds and clothes. You know how people generally stop wearing white for winter? That's so the now can have the color. Then when the snow melts, the white goes back to our clothes and we can wear them again. And where else would all those nice fluffy white clouds come from? They gotta get their white from something.

"Be as swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon..."

S.K.S. Perry Tue Feb 9 10:48:32 PST 1999

Hey all,

Rhoda, you speak with absolute certainty, and that makes me nervous. In my experience, you're the most dangerous type of person there is.

And as for where the white goes when the snow melts? I'll opt for Avalon. Hey, you never know.

By the way, it seems like a lot of people here have had some bad experiences with cats!

Be Well, Live Well.

Lydia Sweet Tue Feb 9 09:52:40 PST 1999

Truth in history? I am now trying to create a realistic history from the information I have gleaned through others writings. My perception of that history will suprise some and gain approval from others. There will be many historians who are better aquainted with the actual facts, but I like the history as I understand it, so that is the version my reader will get. I am sure the ancients understanding of their history could also be so distorted... or clear. Even facts of the past are someone else's view, vision or philosophy of what they saw, heard or experienced.

How many times have you embellished an experience, a conversation or sight in the retelling? So indeed history is a distortion of the original incident as interpreted by the historian.

As to man's humanity... "He came, he saw, he conquered"...I believe that has been the case since Cain slew Abel and went out into the world and the tribes of the earth were born. The weak or outnumbered are conquered for noble or unnoble purposes. I think that this is still true today. It does not confine itself to third world countries either. Power is in the having, whether it be land, money or control. That battle is never ending. Eventually the conquerers will take that philosophy into space. "I came, I saw, I conquered..." Scary isn't it?


Rhoda Tue Feb 9 07:24:35 PST 1999


Where does the white in snow go when it melts? The color of many substances is determined by crystalline structure--how light is bent or refracted when it hits the face of a crystal. When water freezes in such a way to make snow, it is the stucture of those individual little ice crystals that makes it appear white. Of course ice isn't white, but that is because the water is frozen in a lump.

Haven't we hashed this truth thing out once before? Truth is NOT subjective. Truth is truth. It is unrelentingly, uncompromisingly objective. That is why we fear it and sometimes dislike it so much. Truth, unlike perspective, does not change depending upon your emotions, upon your background, or upon your wishes. It merely is. Without absolutes, this universe could not exist. You might think you can fly, but if you jump off the empire state building, you will fall to the ground. The truth is that gravity exists whether or not you wish to believe it. When truth is tampered with, then a lie is created, but the truth remains. Truth can be buried, hidden or distorted, but it can never be destroyed.

What most of the posts have been talking about is not truth, but perspective. Perspective does change.

Happy writing and happy thinking!


Eddie french Tue Feb 9 07:22:45 PST 1999


I have three of the buggers and doesn't matter how hard you throw them!! (Seems they have these huge extendable hooks at the end of their cuddly paws that shoot out and grab hold of some of the most tender parts of ones anatomy. Thereby achieving two premeditated aims:
1) Dramaticaly decreasing the rate and angle of descent
2) Imparting a lasting impression on the thrower.

Another mystery of the Universe solved!

Hootie Tue Feb 9 06:32:19 PST 1999

Jai-- even if we manage to travel back in time, I don't think we will understand history any better. You still wouldn't be able to see everything, and you still wouldn't be able to crawl inside a person's head. So if you talked to Columbus, he would give you a different perspective than his crew, or Queen Isabella, or the Indians. And you would be right back to where you started, wondering who was right and who was wrong.

Agsousa-- you are right, too. You also have Galileo and Newton, and we have Thoureau and Emerson. So there are exceptions to every rule, but I think in general (a particularly slippery type of truth) the distinction holds.

For Thomas and the rest-- when I was a kid, I used to wonder what reality was, and imagine that nothing was real and that what I saw was just a dream in a void. It made my head spin, and it didn't solve any problems.

What is the quote? "For all the hardship and drudgrey, it is still a beautiful world." --Desiderata (if anyone knows how it actally goes, I'd appreciate the help)

S.K.S. Perry Tue Feb 9 06:30:04 PST 1999


You'll find that truth is merely a matter of perception, or sometimes experience. For example, most people believe that a cat always lands on her feet. In my experience, they just weren't throwing them hard enough.

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Tue Feb 9 06:04:20 PST 1999

Re: the cat -- that is, "to do it".

Thomas Tue Feb 9 06:03:38 PST 1999


In the immortal words of Rick in Casablanca, "...the start of a beautiful friendship." Anyone who mentions the name William James (in a positive light) has my friendship. The brother of Henry was far superior in both intellect and madness. He was not only a philosopher, but through his own madness he created pragmatic thought, which led to the profession of psychology -- not to be confused with psychoanalysis. More importantly, he was a great philospohical religious thinker (not that I agreed with his beliefs).

To Eddie's response to your question about the universe William James would likely reply: smart thinking Ed. William was also a diplomat.

Nice to see you back Eddie. Have you been lurking and laughing?

Not just the universe, but all things are a sentiment. Does the universe exist? Do we exist? Or is this all a cosmic dream? Am I merely a perception to you? Actually, in cyberspace I guess I can only be a perception -- I mean, I could be a raving standard poodle for all you people know.

I recently had a cyber friend with whom I discussed the meaning of "truth". In the end, she began trying to persuade me that the aliens are coming on Jan.1, 2000, and that I had better prepare myself to meet God, who is of course a super smart, interplanetary being, which He likely is, but she described something a little more strange looking than I make God out to be.

Anyway, that is her truth, and a lie to me. So truth, too, is just a sentiment.


You pose two difficult questions: the white of the snow, I believe, goes into my house gutters, freezes, and then causes me to have to climb up to remove it, lest the melting ice (which once was white, but is now transparently disasterous) overflows into my shingles and down inside, along the walls. We had another six inches of the stuff two days ago -- blah!

As for the cat, try skinning the wild SOB I have, and you will know the only way possible to skin a cat is to hire someone else to so it.

Jai Mon Feb 8 20:59:47 PST 1999


I'm disapointed in you guys, saying that we will never truely know what happened in history. Haven't you ever heard of Time Travel? It's a pretty popular subject for sci-fi stories. Who knows next decade we may be able to watch history like we watch TV. Or question Columbus's ghost as to his motives, gotta keep an open mind. And not just about the philosophical mumbo jumbo.


S.K.S. Perry Mon Feb 8 19:13:48 PST 1999

Hey all,

Why doesn't anyone ever answer the really important questions? Like where does the white go when the snow melts? Or what is this one way to skin a cat that we're all supposed to know.

Be Well, Live Well.

agsousa Mon Feb 8 18:12:53 PST 1999

Einstein was a German and William James a philosopher. But you are right, of course.

Hootie Mon Feb 8 17:50:35 PST 1999

My brain hurts.

Okay, let me see if I can remember a suitable quote for you, Eddie: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is inditiguishable from magic." Which is where we're headed, at least on the good days.

Agsousa--questions like that make me a little dizzy. I think that might be another difference between European and American traditions: Americans tend to shy away from the philosophical and concentrate on the concrete. So we end up with physicists instead of philosophers. Both deal in issues that leave the common man confused, and both are regarded as being too smart to be completely understood.

See y'all tommorow.

Eddie French Mon Feb 8 17:38:45 PST 1999

The universe is a sentiment?
Sheeesh! That is an easy one. - Really! -
The answer.... Power! Everything is power.
Sentiment can be powerful. There is power in emotions. The Universe is created from power. Life is power. Just click your heels together three times and feel it. Confused? Just try getting your head around some of the cosmological theories which are bandied about lately.
Serious cosmology is ever so much more incredible than any fantasy tale.

How about a difficult one now! What about 'What happened to Gaia' After all, if we can ponder the merits of being "a microbe dreaming inside the brain of a sleeping beauty" Then we can also ponder the demise of the living planet.
Can't we?

The thing is Agsousa...we do have wings, even over here in our artisticaly stinted environments.
Don't worry, I'll be landing back on terra firma before my next post.
Pleasant dreams.

agsousa Mon Feb 8 16:49:31 PST 1999


I loved your little post! Not only because it is really amusing, but also because it is so true. "The universe is just a sentiment" can perhaps be explained with a question: "What's the universe? A reality? A dream?" I don't know. I just feel it like a microbe dreaming inside the brain of a sleeping beauty — am I feeling my dream, the beauty's dream or dreaming that I am a microbe dreaming inside a dream?

How do you interpret the sentence yourself?

Is anybody else interested in giving a little hand here?

Thomas Mon Feb 8 13:44:07 PST 1999

Hey all,

Boy, do I love this literate fervor. Before I get into the thick of it I should say I feel good today. A publisher out of California sent me the most encouraging sign that there is life in my latest book afterall. I quote: "There's a good book there, but it's going to take more work..." Asked me to resubmit after the reworking.

I was beginning to lose faith in the project.


Loved the British children's history book. Government or education-sanctioned, or religious affiliation history certainly is slanted. That is why the best history comes from those free agents who do the extensive research and then write good stories -- Barbara Tuchmann was one of the absolute best of them.


You are right about the Phoenicians -- they were Semitic people from Asia Minor but becasue they were the first seafaring culture they made it all the way to the Iberian Peninsula, and of course you know that they came after the Babylonians, who followed the Sumerians, who established the city of Ur, not far, if not where, Baghdad is. By writing and studying the history of food and wine, I have learned much about the history of humanity, and it (humanity) spread by way of war and trade; or was it the other way around?

The Romans likely named Lisbon because of what they heard about whatever its past connections to Greece or Etruscans might have been (Etruscans might well have been related to the Phoenicians). They all learned and stole mythology from each other. In fact, the Romans were the biggest of the thieves in that respect.

You rightly point out what the white man did in this country to the red man, but it is no more and no less than what the white man or the latin or the yellow or any other man has done to conquer some other culture and its land. The disgusting treatment of humans by humans has a lot to do with economics and the survival factor. But the way we produce goods and economies now leaves little excuse for the treatment that still goes on in the world -- except that there must be a strong kernel of evil inside we mortals.

I will look up the Burgess book.

Well, now, got to go to a meeting to find out why a certain company is making a wine that includes hemp oil -- no kidding. This will make one hell of a story.

Howard Mon Feb 8 12:53:05 PST 1999

Allein -- Why would the lies my teacher told me be any more (or less) untruthful than the lies your teacher told you?

Agsousa -- your reference to the "land of the free" reminds me of a "BC" cartoon I saw several years ago. (BC, by Johnny Hart, is a comic strip about cavemen -- quite popular here) In this particular strip, BC sends a message board to his friend across the big water. (A common mode of communication for him) On it he writes that "We live in the land of the free and the brave." The reply comes back: "If it's the land of the free, then why are the Braves kept on reservations?"
Also, >> "the universe itself is just a sentiment." -- I'd be interested in an explanation of that, if you would care to offer one.


agsousa Mon Feb 8 12:25:20 PST 1999

According to legend, the name Lisbon comes from the latin Olisiponis, the city built, or perhaps *of* Ulysses. Of course, that's legendary, I repeat, but, as the great poet Fernando Pessoa says " O mito é o nada que é tudo" (Myth is the nothing that is everything) — and legends are sometimes more real than reality itself, as the fantasy (fantastic?) writers of this forum certainly agree.
For sure we only know that the Fenicians had a trade spot here by 1200 B.C.. As recent findings have shown (you can see their footprints if you ever come to this part of the world) dinosaurs roamed in their hundreds some miles away from the Portuguese capital, 60 or 80 million years ago . So Lisbon already had its inhabitants much before Ulysses and Homer and of course Joyce.
I love a good joke and I am awfully ironical sometimes, a character's feature that has brought me some problems. Please do not hesitate being facetious with me — part of our job as writers is to be able to understand behind words.
I am not a historian, but I incline myself to the theory that Bagdad (or some such city in that vicinity) is perhaps a good hint as to the interesting question Rachel put. The topic seems open to better qualified opinions, of course.

I was not facetious about the Indians. They are the oldest North Americans and therefore some of the people I love. They have suffered a lot in the hands of the whites, and it's hard to me to accept the phrase "the land of the free" applied to a country where millions of people were massacred and made to starve to death (the buffalos killing story, etc.). I was cheking some Americans' reactions to a hot topic of their History. I am glad to see that, 24 hours later, the reactions have been very civilized and intelligent. The Portuguese were guilty of some similar crimes in the past and are very sensitive now to things like justice and human rights and freedom. Think of East Timor, if you are aware of what has been going there in the last years.

As for A. Burgess's HERE COMES EVERYBODY. It's a book, almost a novel, about Joyce's work. I am not excessively fond of Joyce but I think he has written some of the most important pages any writer should read. A book full of good teaching for people eager to learn about the art of writing, such as myself and, I believe, yourself as well. I book I would only recommend to my friends.

HOWARD: Not only are sentiments universal, the universe itself is just a sentiment. I hope this does not sound too badly in your part of the world and language.

S.N.Arly Mon Feb 8 11:28:43 PST 1999

Hayden - I'll have to try the shower thing some day. If we ever get our shower finished. In the movie Say Anything, one character gets all depressed because he's about to be arrested for theft and embezzling, and he sits in a bathtub fully clothed to mope. Always found that a little odd.

And about the crap writing, we all do it. I like to keep some of it around so I can laugh at it later. When I'm in the mood.

Rhoda - While I find colonialism somewhat distasteful, you've got some very good points. When I was going to school, Columbus was seen as a hero. Now he's a scapegoat for all that's happened since. If we want something to blame for all the wrong that's been done, we should blame humanity, because we just don't seem to have what it takes to get along. And we do things without having any understanding of our relationship with the world around us, indeed, our whole causal relationship on the world around us. And then we don't care when we figure it out.

Allein - As for "the truth" on Christopher Columbus, we will never know. We weren't there and we have only biased accounts. Like all history.

Jack - I'm afraid I found vegemite a bit scary. But then my friends from Australia say the same thing about some of "our" food (Lutafisk, for instance).

On history - As I said above, we can never know definitively what happened, or, as Hootie pointed out, why. I have some very old textbooks from my ancestors. One that I was reading just yesterday (oh the irony of it all) was the History of England for Young People. And while I'm not real great with remembering numbers I believe it was printed in 1847. It's a hoot. It's nothing like the history I learned for any number of reasons. It's from a British viewpoint and I always heard the American. It was also a very religiously slanted version of history. See, the druids had a terrible religion. And the Romans (who just happened to be in the area after conquering France) came up for a look-see. While the tribes fought valiantly (and visciously), they were eventually overcome. And it was a good thing the Roman masters were so unrelenting, else Christianity would have never made it there (as the Romans taught the brits as soon as they learned it) to save all those barbaric folks. And those Saxons converted quite quickly because their old false gods never did anything for them. But the picts and scots were a bit more barbaric and lived in wattled huts... bla bla bla bla.

Terrible religion? Druids and picts and scots, Oh My!


Hootie Mon Feb 8 10:06:17 PST 1999

You know, we can talk about history in terms of what happened, but I think that historians recently have tried to say WHY those things happened, which is almost impossible to know. Even when a historical figure keeps a detailed journal, which few enough of them did, those perceptions are still filtered by the person’s beliefs and circumstances.

The point is, we can judge Christopher Columbus or anyone else by our standards and determine he was not a nice person, but it means nothing. Zip. Zero. All we can really say about him, with any truth, is that he sailed west until he hit some islands, and that event started the European conquest of the Americas. All we see is the surface of his life, the things he did, and though we might infer the “why”, we don’t know for sure.

If you want to talk about personality and motivation, then the only truth is to be found in fiction. Only by making up a story can we say for certain who did what and why, and even then, the reader will reject it if it doesn’t make sense. So I guess you could say that truth is only found in GOOD fiction. If we write a story about Christopher Columbus, it might be true in the sense that it describes people reacting naturally and honestly to each other, and it might even follow the events as they actually happened, but it doesn’t make it History.

Have I confused everyone now?

Thomas Mon Feb 8 07:01:43 PST 1999

SN and Toby,

I fear I should not have used the word fear. Normally, I fear little because I am invincible, but then the US Postal service brings me down to earth with its myriad deliveries of junk mail -- I hate mail I did not seek, which is all I referred to, and I am glad that Scientologists do not send you mail. I did, however, have a run-in with that group when I was an impressionable young man. Lucky for me, my impressionable traits ran only so far...


Speaking of impressionable young man, I agree with Rhoda on the politically correct stuff of history writing and re-writing. School text books are normally the worse place to find out about history. If anyone thinks that old Chris was bad, what about the Crusades in Europe, Islamic Expansionism, the Spanish Inquisition, our own "Go West" culture, our own witch hunts and, I forgot who mentioned this, Cortez and other Spanish conquerors in Peru and Mexico. As Rhoda says, Columbus was a product of his times, and times then certainly were not what we identify today as "civilized"; of course we do have the Balkans and some of the Asias to keep us on our toes of civility, now don't we?

The probelm with textbook history is what I said earlier; it is normally written by the winners, and hindsight is always flattering to those who have an agenda.

If you really want to be mad at explorers, be mad at the European virus and bacterial diseases they brought here, both against humans and against plants.

S.K.S. Perry Mon Feb 8 05:31:28 PST 1999

Hey all,

I'm afraid I can't get too worked up over this whole Columbus thing. When I see the word "truth" and "history" together in the same sentence, I tend to become rather skeptical. After seeing how badly recent history has been skewed, even (or should I say especially) with the ability we now have to report on the spot and as it's happening (think Kuwait) I have little faith in so called facts reported several hundred years ago. Events were as politically and religiously motivated as much then as they are now-probably more so.

On a happier note, I just picked up a reference book this weekend at the bookstore. It was on sale for under $20-you know, one of those on display at the front of the store on clearance. Anyway, it's an encyclopedia of fantasy (movies, television, and books.) I can't remember the exact name of it right now (I'm at work) but it has a fairly large listing of fantasy authors and their biographies, and then later lists fantasy characters with a brief blurb on them too. There's everyone from Peter Pan to Elric, Tarzan to Fahferd and the Grey Mouser. It claims to be the definitive book on fantasy, but we all know better. Still, it's not bad.

Be Well, Live Well.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Feb 8 03:47:37 PST 1999

Sorry about making so many posts. Just to let everyone know, I have archived up to Howard's initial post, correcting his double post. This was somewhat arbitrary, but decided we were close enough to 200k to make things difficult for some. Well, here is a tabula rasa for all of you creative writers to put your imprint on. Take care.

Caroline Heske Sun Feb 7 23:03:32 PST 1999

Jack - I'm not sure if we have MSN or AOL - I'm guessing probably not, and I don't have any idea how to get to them, but Hayden and Jai are actually computer people, so they probably know better than me. If you want to get an internet-based one, open up a Yahoo or Hotmail account, and then set your current email to forwarding to that account. (you probably knew that anyway... oh well.)

SNArly - applause for the comment on strong characters needing flaws.

Allein - If nothing else, there are definitely drugs you could give him - a sort of aphrodisiac sedative. Don't know any names, but I'd wager they're out there.

Jack Beslanwitch mailto: Feb 7 22:54:08 PST 1999

Howard: Took a look. I am not sure what you are referring to about your post overriding someone elses. I have eliminated the double post on the Short Story Workshop and archived any stories there that were longer ago than January 7. This has pared down the size of that part of the Workbook to under 100k. This may have been part of the problem. I am still hoping to get done with this one contract that is hanging over my head and get back to using a different script to handle posting the stories so all you download at a time is the single story. Things should be a lot better when that is done. Take care.

Jack Beslanwitch Feb 7 22:36:40 PST 1999

Allein: I emailed you with details.

Everyone from Australia: A quick question. I am considering how best to keep track of email and the Writers Notebook for that matter while I am in Australia. Are either MSN or AOL available in Autralia. Both are online services I could sign onto a month before I left for free, using my laptop. That is given that there are dataports on the phones in the hotels of course. In any case, do I go modemless for the three weeks I am down under or are there possibilities. Oh, also, what sites in your country should I not miss other than vegemite (which I am looking forward to with fear and culinary anticipation :-). At this point we are considering Ayers Rock (spelling?), Kooperpiti (spelling again) and the barrier reef. Any other possible must see sites we should not miss? Email me with your suggestions rather than leaving them here. And please forgive me lousy spelling.

Also, glad to hear that people are not having problems with leaving the Notebook up for a bit longer. I will most likely archive sometime in the next day or so. Take care everyone and am starting to get excited about heading to Australia
Allein Sun Feb 7 21:24:26 PST 1999

Jack - I tried to get into the Writer's workbook through my bookmarked places, but it said it couldn't find the address. Has it changed? Do I need to fill out the password form again?

Bai bai,

Allein Sun Feb 7 20:22:32 PST 1999

Rhoda - perhaps you are right.

Anyone wanting to know the truth about Columbus - pick up a copy of my history textbook called "Lies my Teacher Told Me" at Barnes & Noble or other fine bookstores. You can probably also find it at

Well, gotta get some beauty sleep.
Bai bai.

howard Feb 7 19:54:14 PST 1999

um - Jack - wha' happen?
I only posted here once, but it musta hiccupped and got here twice. Then I looked back at the short story area and my story seems to have overlaid someone else's story (looked like a good one too -- not mine, the other one). Can you fix it, or should we back up and punt? I won't try to repost it until you say it's okay.
BTW -- for what it's worth, I admire Christopher Columbus, but there are many (myself included) who think that Leif Erikson -- or one of his contemporaries -- got here first.

howard Feb 7 19:42:50 PST 1999

Hi again! Sorry I was away so long -- Ive missed yall! My dad had a heart attack, and I
was pretty wrapped up with that for a while. Hes much better now, thank God, and I can
get back to other things.
I havent caught up completely with the archives, but I did see the comment about Native
American stories, so, just for you, Agsousa, I just posted one on the board. I wrote it for a
Native American Literature class in college in 1995, and the professor requested
permission to copy it for use in future classes (as a bad example, I think). The words are
Cherokee (Im partly Mohawk) but the sentiments are universal. I hope you enjoy it.
I hope also that youll forgive my short temper, and accept my apology for the flames in
the notebook. Ive become a bit short-fused in my old age, and sometimes forget that
there are other viewpoints than mine. We may not agree completely, but thats what
makes the world go round (to use a cliche)
Gotta run and continue catching up.


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