Archived Messages for February 19, 1999 to February 26, 1999

Allein Fri Feb 26 18:16:13 PST 1999

I like the Java chat - just visited - no one's there, but I like the idea - so simple.

Well, I should go.
Bai bai.

"No quote, sorry."
- Allein

agsousa Fri Feb 26 17:18:12 PST 1999

Jack: Everyting seems to be all right on this side the pound. I tried the indicated link and found a wite page saying something like: "Just checking(...)". As for the URL, I found a blank page (the chat room?). The Notebook has now 177k and is a bit slow.

Tom: How come your Mac crashes? Some odd extension? Mine(s) rarely do(es), except with some stupid program of the thousands that come in Magazine CD-Roms. Netscape isn't so reliable as Explorer (version 7.5 is out now), though I have a lot of sympathy for the former. By mainstream literature I mean everything except sci.f or detective stories — two very specialized genres. But I may be wrong. My English is not so good — let alone my American — as it may look to generous people. This is not an excuse for some interesting irreverences of mine. Irony was always my problem and my charm. My father never understood it and just looked at me severely when I said one of my own. My mother had humour in her veins. She was always pulling someone's leg, even when she cried. I understood them very well and loved both equally.

Lena: are you sure you've read the story of someone's life? If the book was in the first person, you may be sure that it was not autobiographical. Autobiographies are written in no person at all.

Michele and other loners: WE are never alone with schizophrenia, as the famous graffiti goes.

Allein Fri Feb 26 16:08:16 PST 1999

I hope this shows up on my computer screen, or I might have to go on a killing spree!!

Fri Feb 26 16:03:43 PST 1999

Fri Feb 26 16:00:32 PST 1999

Allein Fri Feb 26 15:59:31 PST 1999

Okay, last time I left a second message, my first one showed up, so I'll leave this here and if my first one doesn't show up, I'll be very pissed off and then write it over.


Fri Feb 26 15:58:06 PST 1999

Allein Fri Feb 26 15:57:38 PST 1999

PLEASE!! PLEASE!! Have the chat on Sunday when I'm not busy. Saturday night I'm going to a dance so I have to get all my chores and stuff done before hand (makes me feel kinda like Cinderella).

How do we get to the ICQ chat? I haven't used ICQ before.

On the brighter side, I had a good day, except that I found out that I have a test in history next Friday, which wouldn't be so bad except that that's my birthday. Maybe if I tell my teacher that, he'll give me an A on the test - yeah right!! But right now, I'm excited about the dance, it was the kind where the girl asks the guy. I asked my friend Derrick so we're going together, which is cool.

Well, I have to go. Check the notebook later.
Bai bai.

"HANDWRITING: To their credit, men do not decorate their penmanship. They just chicken-scratch. Women use scented, colored stationary and they dot their i's with circles and hearts. Women use ridiculously large loops in their p's and g's. It is a royal pain to read a note from a woman. Even when she's dumping you, she'll put a smiley face at the end of the note." - Matt Groening

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Feb 26 15:53:59 PST 1999

OK, everything seems to be working at this point. If some of the folks on the other continents, i.e., UK, Portugal and Australia could check out the link to this web site and let me know if you get a valid web page or a page not found it will tell me if has made it around the world. Also, if you are interested and you did in fact see the page I indicated above please visit the following URL and see if the JAVA chat room works for you. This possibly is another less technical way of meeting with each other. I still want to modify it so that it has our name and other features. But take a look and let me know what you think. Also, due to the change a number of forms are probably not working on including the workbook. I literally do not have time to work out the details at this moment, so feel free to email me directly to suggest things or request Workbook login and password information.

Michele Fri Feb 26 13:14:54 PST 1999

BTW ! I forgot to ask - what time GMT is the Chat at the weekend ? (And which day ?)


Michele Fri Feb 26 13:12:57 PST 1999

Hi gang !

Boy have you all been busy with this board... I checked it this morning before starting my essay - but told myself I had to write my essay before I posted here - and you've gone and chucked another 20-odd messages up - by 20-odd I mean 20 plus not 20 "odd messages" - just before someone gets offended on me... I think that's an Anglicism saying "20-odd" when one means "20-plus" - sorry ! Anyway where was I ? Oh yes... I've written a 1200-word critical analysis of Robert Frost's "Mending Wall" - and I think it is good... but what would I know ? Anyone here desperate enough to want to read it ? No ? How sensible ! Actually I wouldn't want to inflict my inane ramblings on anyone - which is why you'll never find any posts from me in the Workbook - as a non-fiction writer I'd feel like an intruder in the Workbook - I feel enough of an intruder here !

Anyway, I talked to an English tutor of mine who marked the last essay I wrote and he told me that if I'd slightly reworded one or two things I'd probably have had nearer an "A" instead of the "B" I had - doesn't that just stink ?! So I am going to rewrite the dratted thing and see what he suggests - he won't remark it but I want to see if it's then worth that "A"...

Oh well enough already, time for to go read the paper and find out what happened yesterday before it's tomorrow... !

BFN, Michele

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. -- Albert Einstein

Thomas Fri Feb 26 12:40:15 PST 1999

I have no idea if this message will get through. The board is loaded and when that happens my Netscape crashes whenever I try to post.

Hal, I mean Agsousa,

Mainstream fiction? What's that? I thought there was fiction and there was fiction. When I write a short story (fiction) is that mainstream or am I once again swimming against the flow?


Do not take what I say to "heart". I am toying with you. I did not expect you to know of the song, Hey Lena. It is one of those obscure R & B cuts of the nineteen fifties that only a music junkie of the period would know of it -- I am guilty of never having suffered a fifties R & B jones.


Emailed you about the chat. If it is 4 or 5 pm Saturday, New York time, I can be there. But remember the Mac version of ICQ allows for no color selections. All I have is white background and black font. We had trouble with that the last time I got on the chat. Since then, Rhoda and I have had many chats, black on white.

Must get back to my work on a short story (mainstream?) for which I believe I have a ready market.

I am going to try to post this now, so let us pray...

Hootie Fri Feb 26 12:30:10 PST 1999

Lena—I know I’m a little late, but here’s my story: when I was four, my older sister (who had just started first grade) thought it would be really neat to teach her baby brother (me) the things she was learning. And so I learned to read, and loved it, which really annoyed her because she never did. As for writing... I’m not sure which book first inspired me, but I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember, and a good book still makes me want to write.

Agsousa—I have promised my wife a “mainstream” novel for years (she hates fantasy), but I have never gotten to it. I sometimes feel like you, only the other way around: I *could* write a mainstream novel, but have never been inspired enough.

Goodweed—Tell Gwty that if she doesn’t behave, we’ll satirize her. It probably won’t be as effective for us as it was for the ancient bards, but we can try. And BTW, I finished my one and (so far) only novel while overseas on a Ticonderoga class cruiser.

Rachel—Tell your son to start posting to the Notebook. We always need the experienced voice of published writers.

For all those with unfinished stories/books/ideas—I keep all of my scraps in a file (well, closer to a drawer, now), and when I feel particularly uninspired, I go and read through it. It always surprises me what I’ve come up with in the past, and how good it is, but at the same time, it lets me see how much the actual writing has improved (or how bad it used to be, for all you pessimists).

Howard—Get plenty of rest, and get better soon. We miss you around here.

“If my doctor told me I had six months left to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.”—Issac Asimov

Lydia Sweet Fri Feb 26 12:23:05 PST 1999


Sorry, romance. Contemporary, historical and time travel. I don't have a subject that drives me to write mainstream.
I don't think I have a "Dangerous Minds" or "Clear and Present Danger" in me, at least not at this point in my life.


I wish I were able to join the ICQ, but I only have access to the computer at work and the model I have is not capable of handling the ICQ. If anyone decides to use the JAVA chat on Excite let me know. I do have access to their chat area.


If you think prison is hard, try going to work everyday.

S.K.S. Perry Fri Feb 26 11:42:55 PST 1999


I never dared you to write one in a day. I just dared you to write one, and get it published in the North American market.

S.N. Arly,

I can't tell you how many great ideas I've lost (really, I can't) because I thought, "Hey, I'll remember this one. Ya, right. My inspirations usually don't come from my dreams, but I do find that in the wee hours of the morning, when I've just woken up and am lazing in bed before I have to drag myself out of it, that I'm am the most creative. Things just come together for me then.

"My Zen instructor asked me to show him the sound of one hand clapping--so I slapped him!"

Be Well, Live Well.

S.N.Arly Fri Feb 26 11:23:54 PST 1999

Marv - Many writers have learned the computer lesson the hard way. I had those nasty old 5" floppies go bad on me on a regular basis in the days before I learned how to defrag. I also came exremely close to losing my first novel when my house was broken into and my computer was stolen. Now I keep a backup at my parents house, and my own backup and hard copies don't live in the same place.

Howard - Ouch. Hope you're feeling better soon. Which ones did they fuse and what the heck did you do to yourself to begin with? Gonna do some heavy PT after recovery?

Litter - Ever been to Clannada na Gadelica? It's my favorite site.

On chat - Must decline. Maybe next time.

Off topic (what is the topic anyway?) - I had this really wonderful horrible idea last night just as I was falling asleep. What a spectacular story it would make, though I'm a little alarmed that the idea came out of MY head. It was so vivid, I thought I'd remember it in the morning, and I didn't really want to share the it with my spouse and dog. They might lock me up for the night.

But this morning all I could remember was that I'd had this great dark story idea. Nothing about it. This is why I keep a notebook by my bed, I kept telling myself this morning. What was I thinking, not writing it down... oh yah, can't write. So partway through typing up a letter at work I remembered. It really is the sort of idea most writers prefer to toss back into the pit, so I must have been trying to hide it. May be my next story. We'll see.

"Be like the water."

agsousa Fri Feb 26 11:17:23 PST 1999

Howard: Welcome back. I have been *joking* with the Celtic blood and Litter in particular. The *gloves* were metaphorical. I hope you recover quickly.

Eddie/Perry: All those hours for chats seem too complicated to me. I never said I would be able to write a sci.f. novel in a single day. I said I could write one "any day" —i.e., sometime.

I came here to post two more chapters of my *1981* novel. But I see that Eddie has posted a new chapter of his work and I don't want to come upon him. Sometime in the future, perhaps.

Thomas: I'm not Hal but you have an interesting way of putting things and therefore I like you.

ALL: isn't there a single soul here that writes mainstream fiction as well? I feel very lonely indeed among you, ladies and gentleman

See you sometime, folks. Happy week-end.

S.K.S. Perry Fri Feb 26 10:23:12 PST 1999

Hey all,

I just got back from the gym. I found out that a buddy of mine that I work out with there ocasionally won 250,000 dollars on the Ontario lottery wednesday. That's tax free in Canada. As he said to another friend, it's not enough to retire on (he's only 35) but it's enough to keep him stress free for the rest of his life. (Well, at least from financial worries, which is a major part of most peoples stress in one way or another.)

Be Well, Live Well.

Lena Fri Feb 26 08:54:10 PST 1999

I stand corrected. After thinking it over, I do have one (male) friend who writes. He is currently writing a novel in which he is the ruler of the world... make of it what you will, he is strange. I also have a friend who swears "Moby Dick" is his favorite book and loves quoting "Moby Dick" at odd moments. And so I prove my own theory wrong.

Oh, and I had fun reading everyone's life story. Very interesting.

Thomas - I've never heard that song, and I have never before been accused of "playing with male hearts." I'm still trying to decide how to take that one! But I do enjoy asking (pardon the pun) provocative questions and getting involved in debates... be it with a male or female heart!

I have not written anything in My Story for nigh on a week, this is beginning to bother me. I hit a natural lull in the story and I can't seem to write anything. Really, really bothersome. I know eventually I will find the right sentence and the words will pour out (it happens this way for me) but in the meantime I am stuck staring at my computer screen with nothing to add. Enough to drive an author crazy.

Crazy? I was crazy once. They put me in a round room...

S.K.S. Perry Fri Feb 26 06:28:10 PST 1999

Hey all,

Marv, The White Mountains was one of the first books (a series actually) that I read also. I was in grade five when I did, and our school librarian was smart enough to point out that I should read War of the Worlds first.

Once I got hooked on reading, there was no stopping me. I'd get really caught up in the stuff too. I'd read before classes, between classes, sometimes even during classes if the subject matter bored me. I could tune out everything around me and get lost in the world of my books. Once my grade six teacher interrupted my reading to ask me what I'd got on the spelling test, to which I replied, "What spelling test?" I'd managed to read right through it, even though they'd handed out papers and the kids had taken them up right after the test!

Eddie, If I'm not mistaken, you are proposing the Chat for sometime around 4-5pm Saturday afternoon my time (EST) which is good for me.

We haven't heard anything from Agsousa for a bit. Maybe he took up the challenge?

Be Well, Live Well.

Goodweed of the North Fri Feb 26 04:34:20 PST 1999

Lena; My first written work came when I was a third grader. I wrote a short western and earned an "A" for my efforts. It was based on a comic book I sometimes read called "The Two Gun Kid". Comics were my first books and I read them voraciously as a child. I graduated to ny first novel, a SF work called "Doppleganger" at the age of twelve. After that first novel, there was no holding me back.

I didn't try writing again though, until I was 20 or so years of age. I then wrote a short science fiction story.

I didn't seriously write anything else until I was in my early thirties floating on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. I started my first fantasy then. I put it aside after the cruise. Life and family took up all my time. Then, when in University, I decided to finish the novel (about 36 years old then) and have been writing ever since. I'm still not published. I haven't put in much effort there. My story has to be as close to perfect as I can get it before I'll send it out.

I have written a fair share of poetry as well.

Got to go. Work raises it's ugly voice and beckons. I hate being a slave to the corporate need for profit (and the government neet for taxes).

To quote my favorite movie line (as stated by Mel Gibson),
"I don't make life complicated. It gets that way all by itself."

Sorry for the bit of negativity. My fifteen year-old son is being selfish and unreasonable again, and has started a fight with his 12 year-old sister who responds with the same. The definition of discouraged = my teenagers.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Marv Fri Feb 26 00:19:08 PST 1999

Lena- I started reading regularly at about 6 or 7, I read mostly children's novels. What really got me into reading was John Christopher's "The White Mountains" (yes, I know titles are underlined, but this is the best I can do). I must have been 12 when I read that. By the way, I'm 19 now. When I was 14 the combination of "Dune" and "Red Mars" (still today my favorite book) inspired me to write. Quickly I churned out a novel and handed it in to my english teacher, who said he generally was not a fan of science fiction, but this was good. Since then I've had probably a dozen ideas that I've written on, but only one finished novel, although I got about 150 pages into one.

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Feb 25 23:39:07 PST 1999

        I have a 20 inch Q100 Viewsonic myself. I am quite pleased with it, but I am waiting with baited breath for some of the flat screen thin monitors to fall even further down in price to where I can justify the cost. When they hit $1000 for an 18 inch viewable area I will start itching. BTW, it has not happened yet, but when I start noticing that has moved to its new digs on the databases from here in Seattle, I will ask those of you off our North American shores to check and see if is viewable. It is a dummy file I set up only on that server. I am still trying to decide whether to move the Notebook back there or just leave it here. I will keep everyone posted.
        Let me know on the ICQ Chat. I will post the time there when it is decided upon. One thing I would like to point out if I have not already, one of the features of the new server is a JAVA Chat Room up to 10 people. It does come with a banner ad, but one the heck. When has moved, I will set that up as an alternate area to try getting together on. As I think I also mentioned, the programming team for Westercon 52 has been meeting once a week or so on a chatroom on Excite. Take care all and I will try to get around to archiving here. The slowness that someone mentioned is due to this locale getting up over 150k. Bon Appetit.


Clyde Dixon Thu Feb 25 22:19:06 PST 1999

A 17" monitor, at last! OK, so it's my wife's and I just get to try it out for a month--a Viewsonic G773. Seems big enough. I had been thinking of getting a 19". Anyone have any reccommendations on sizes, brands, or models to buy or to avoid? I'll use it for graphics, programming, and writing.

More new people! Always great to see that this is a living and evolving place. Like Xavier, I too have tons of stories scribbled on various scraps of paper, and I sometimes loose interest in a story if I think it through too much and leave nothing else to discover in the writing process. It is a delicate balance, enough thinking and planning to start writing, enough mystery to keep it interesting.

I really enjoy thinking up and developing ideas, but I tend to do this when it is impossible for me to write. Then sometimes when I do try and run with a fresh idea, I run into the "unknown" and have to start thinking and planning more. Frustrating, I just can't tell when the idea is at the correct point to start the "writing." My pile of scraps is developing nicely though.

Good Writing,

Rachel Thu Feb 25 20:32:04 PST 1999

Hey all

GUESS WHAT!!!!!! Somebody in my house got published!

Not me, but my youngest son. He printed up his story and he sent it off to his kids writing club and it was printed in the local paper.

I think that is so cool.

That is all I've got to say for now.

Take care all


Ashling Thu Feb 25 20:00:36 PST 1999

EDDIE & JAI --- Thanks for your ICQ willingness & the math work (my worst subject). 4pm (16:00) Central time is fabulous for me. I can flex to anytime Saturday or Sunday afternoon, or after midnight, you know -- 1am Sunday or Monday mornings.

Eddie, I emailed you my ICQ # ... Let me know if I need to do something out of the ordinary to authorize this chat line ... This is virgin territory for me.

Will post my profound thoughts to all later tonight ... Okay, okay, my ramblings then. Enough thinking about writing --- my goal of two pages a day of rewrites beckons.

Take care,

Rhoda Thu Feb 25 19:36:31 PST 1999

Ed, Jai, Thomas, SKS, and all,

The chat times sound good to me. I will be at church Sunday morning provided one of my children doesn't get sick. Saturday moring is good and so is Saturday night or even the wee am hours of Sunday. I want badly to be in on this chat, but if Sunday morning works out best for most people, no problem. I'll try to make the next one. I think we should try it and see what happens. You'll never find a time when everyone will make it, but as long at least a few show up, it is worth while.


I know many men who write. The men in the last writer's group I belonged to numbered just under half, and some of them were quite young. I read a column by Peggy Noonan a few weeks ago where she talked about the deplorable performance of boys in school compared to girls. The cover story in US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT recently was about how girls in US colleges now outnumber boys. More boys drop out of school than ever before, and many of them don't even try to go to college. Perhaps what you are observing is a generational thing. When I was in school, there was no lack of scholarly boys who read and wrote. I don't think it is inherently a male trait to be borish and intellectually lazy until maturity. Modern feminism has supposedly been so apt on concentrating on girls and seeing that they succeed that boys are ignored.

Well, I've used up my wise quotes for the day.

Happy writing,


howard Thu Feb 25 19:32:57 PST 1999

Hi all! Thanks for the prayers and goot thoughts! Things did get a bit complicated, and I'm not feeling up to writing at all yet. Can't even really see my keyboard, c
'cause I can't bend my neck. They had to fuse 4 vertebrae with a 7cm metal plate and pieces of bone from my hip, and had to do some radical temporary relocation of minor things like carotid artery, jugular vein, trachea and esophagus in order to do it. Had a bad reaction to anesthesia, and now can't swallow anything. Dr says it will take a few days longer to heal, but I was able to come home almost on schedule -- only 6 hours later. This new health insurance is amazing! Surgery at 8:30 am on Tuesday, check out at 8PM on Wednesday!
More later -- Oh, and more about my brand-new grandson too! Stephen Patrick (good Celtic name there, eh Litter?) born at 12:11 MST (in Arizona) 2/25/99. I get to see him as soon as I can travel!
Lots to be thankful for!

Thu Feb 25 18:31:11 PST 1999

Hi All,

Agsousa -

“Litter: Where is your celtic blood? I've been waiting for you in the box ring with my best pair of gloves — and nothing.”

Celtic Blood is much misunderstood. We are a passionate and hospitable people who take offence only when provoked by something we regard worthy of our energy and our disdain. Have you done this? I didn’t notice. And what’s this about gloves? I don’t think gloves would be an option. It was not gloves that made ‘the heids o’ mony a Sassenach tae dance.’ The word Sassenach does not just apply to the English!

Even the Portuguese would find a welcome in Scotland, provided they were civil and courteous. As we say ‘Ceud Mile Failte!’

The most worthy thing I ever herd was from the lips of an alcoholic street-sweeper just a few short weeks before he fell asleep under the wheels of a bus:

“You ken son, if you don’t say anything, no-one ever listens!” Worthy, well I’ve changed my mind, this is profound!!!

All Good Things,


Eddie French Thu Feb 25 17:50:37 PST 1999

Sorry for not responding earlier to your efforts at setting up a chat date. 10pm gmt would be 17:00 on the eastern Seaboard. That's tea time. 16:00 central (I think), still tea time. (For school kids) and 14:00 est. If I'm not wrong that's about 9-10 am for you Sunday morning. I'm willing to shift a bit on this. I'm sure we can get a consensus in the next 24 hours. (I'm not being awkward Jai, I am just thinking of the quality of our time online. Sometimes I go online and find people who are also online and because of the timing I can't endulge in chat. That makes me think that my friends online think that I am trying to avoid them and that makes me feel guilty for no good reason)
I am prepared to open the chat room anytime between 10pm and 2am Sat/sun coming. Anyone who finds that inconvenient please post early. I am flexible.

Thomas Thu Feb 25 17:28:19 PST 1999

Hey Lena,

When I was in my teens -- so long, so long ago -- there was a doo wop song titled, Hey Lena. It was about a girl who toyed with the boys' hearts. I assume you are toying with our male hearts with your observation about us.

I began writing as soon as I could, and was encouraged to write by teachers who said they saw talent; the latter was when I was twelve. I have never stopped writing since. I think I read anything that was stuck under my nose when I was in my youth. Hope I have more sense to be selective now that I am a so-called adult.


Who's Bill and Monica? I must have slept through something.


Thanks for that rather long and incomprehensible reply about ICQ. I'll take your word for it, whatever it is.
As for your response to Agsousa, it is wasted and I figured out why. Agsousa issues challenges becasue he is not really a person -- he is a computer like Hal, toying with us. Maybe he and Lena are in on the conspiracy?

I am not paranoid, and even if I am, why shouldn't I be with all these computer people against me? No, no, no I don't want to wear that jacket...don't let, no

Eddie French eddie Thu Feb 25 17:07:08 PST 1999

Missed that last one as I was compiling my last offline.
I learned to read fluently at a very early age (I think I was somewhere between 3-5 years old. I started writing at about 9 years old. I will always remember my first 'Novel' It was 10 pages of hand written script. It was the story of a young child (Me, I suppose) who got on the school bus one morning and instead of going to school, the bus carried on past and ended up careering off the pier ( I lived in a port at the time) and into the sea. The child was suprised to find that he could breath under water and immediately made friends with a magnificent dolphin. (We) had an adventure and still got to school on time. That's me in 'Them Bones', but with skin.

Eddie French Thu Feb 25 16:48:25 PST 1999

Howard, if you are lurking but don't feel well enough to post yet, get well soon. good luck mate.
Steve Thanks yet again, you drive me back to work at least once a week.
I will finish something
I will finish something.
Five words to describe myself, or was it four?
Honest, (The most popular polled) Distant?, Strange, Loving, Loyal, and lastly 'Dad' ????
Surprising really, as the words 'I' would have chosen are:
Intelligent, Creative, Introspective, Responsible and Honest.

You volunteered to test the common chat room on ICQ. We have yet to do a full test of all of the features but it seems to work anyway. I suppose we will find problems as they appear. Being the chat host means that I have two ICQ numbers. One for personal use and one for the chat room. When you see NoteBook Chat online in your ICQ window that is me online. When you see Ed in your ICQ window, that is also me online. I have to change the registered user in the 'Security' option to switch between the two. It gets confusing sometimes because I have to manage two contact lists. You are all on my Personal List and the Chat list. The benefit of having the chat list is that the 'host' of the chat can go offline and not interupt the current chat session. It appears that if we were chatting on a personal ICQ chat server instigated by a particular member and that member got dropped by their server, then the chat would fall apart. With the chat (NoteBook) ICQ server in action then the other participants of the chat session would carry on chatting until the last member drops out.
That's how I see it anyway, according to the Mirabilis blurb.
You are at it again, being dynamic and provoking! OK. Go ahead, write a science fiction/fantasy novel in a day! We would be happy to give you an honest crit. But it will have to be in by Saturday morning. (You can't really win you know, because if you do it then we will know that it is an old one. Then the game would be over for you. You would have shown yourself to be a closet sf writer.)
I have posted yet another piece to the Novel Workshop. It is the story with the strange opening chapter which nobody got. I have ommitted the first chapter and dropped a sub plot. The story now concentrates on the Highland Warrior, Jamie, and it goes a lot further, delving back into his time in the Highlands of Scotland and then into the (almost) meeting with Myriam, the Crell Oracle. Anyway...see what you think. (Don't let the fact that Myriam is married deter you.)
I have a lot more of this tale in hand but I am working hard to edit out the sub plot. This gives me problems in dealing with Myriams ancestral roots but I'm sure I'll get through it. I was to be a SF/F crossover but I'm steadily removing the tech stuff.
That will be a story in itself anyway so no great loss (I hope!)
I should have added Exhausted to my list of descriptives earlier. I could not begin to do a word count of my production over the last few weeks, but who's complaining! Get it while it's going I say.
Enough of me for now.

Jai Thu Feb 25 16:41:34 PST 1999


Lena you are wrong! Perhaps most men don't get in touch with their muses until they are older but not all. I began writing at 15 and have been loving it ever since.

Marv, I'm a Fantasy/SF though Fantasy is my passion. Welcome.

Perhaps you should try writing without an outline. Try creating an interesting character and an imaginative world then let things come as they come. Don't think ahead just write about what is happening at the time. When you sit down to write, let the present moment of the world sink into your mind before seeing what comes. This may help keep your interest.

Hootie, Lena - I found lord of the Rings slow as well when I read if for the second time but it still poseses moments of brilliance. I much prefer The Hobbit though.

Chat! OK since nobody else is game to actually organize a time ( Rohda! ) 8am Sydney standard time, 10pm GMT, 4pm CST... ( Sorry agsousa this is midnight for you ). The best day is probably sat/sun, sunday for those in Australia, saterday arvo for those in America and Saterday night for those in the UK/Europe ( possibly early sunday morning )

Can you tell I've had to orginise this sort of thing before? I just hope that the other Australians here don't mind an early start on a sunday morning.

So how does that time sound to everyone? That's in just two days....


S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 25 16:30:02 PST 1999

Hey all,

Lena, the first real book I ever read was Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I was nine, and immediately saved all my allowance so I could buy the other 25 books in the series. I wrote my first story when I was ten. It was supposed to be a class assignment of at least 200 words. I handed in a SF story about overpopulation and gov't enforced birth control in the U.S. and a young couple's attempt to flee to Canada so they could keep their child. It came in at over 5000 words and I got an A. My teacher framed it because she "just knew I'd be famous some day." We're both still waiting on that one.

That pretty much started me down the SF and Fantasy trail, although I did read a lot of animal adventure stories (Big Red, about an Irish Setter--can't remeber the author, but it was a series; Ring of Bright Water, about otters, Owls in the Attic--Farley Mowatt; and just about anything by Jack London.

That intelligent enough for ya!

Be Well, Live Well.

Lena Thu Feb 25 16:10:45 PST 1999

On writers not being all that common... and for all those who are male on this site...

When did you discover your love for writing? Most of the teenage guys I know don't know the front of a book from the back of one, not saying they are not very intelligent, just not literary-oriented. Did you write as a young man? I have this strange feeling that men don't get in touch with their inner muse until they get older... am I wrong or right?

"If you have to hit someone, hit low."

Marv Thu Feb 25 15:30:59 PST 1999

Hey, sounds good.

Agsousa- What I meant about about my novel is that I got to about 100 pages and then my roommate made it to where I have to rewrite them. Don't ask me how, he's a computer engineering major and the whole process is really technical (or at least I guess it is). I made sure to put everything in hardcopy, just in case something like this happened. Yeah, I know I should have put it on another disc, but what can ya do? Live and learn I guess. So the novel remains at about 100 pages. This is just as well I guess since I'm at a critical point and have to do alot of thinking and plotting to go on.

As for the guidelines of chat here, it all sounds fine to me. I get tired too of hearing about the witch hunt going on in our nation's capital and I tend to get myself into trouble talking about religion anyway, so it's just as well. And hey, now I have some people to talk to about writing, we're not all that common, ya know.

Marv Thu Feb 25 15:30:55 PST 1999

Hey, sounds good.

Agsousa- Wh

Allein Thu Feb 25 14:26:03 PST 1999

Well, the rain is gone and Mr. Sun has come out to smile upon us - but some streets are still flooded.

Lemmie think - four words to describe me. Crazy, kind, thinking, perfectionist. There, that wasn't so hard - yeah, I had to sit and think about it for like 5 minutes. :)

Well, I have a project that due tomorrow that I haven't even started on. So, I gotta go.
Bai bai,

Number of days till Allein turns 17: Eight (I'm thrilled).

S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 25 14:08:15 PST 1999

Ok, for S.N. Arly. How do I perceive myself using my own four words? indomitable, loyal, multifaceted, bored.

Be Well, Live Well.

Hootie Thu Feb 25 13:28:10 PST 1999

Lena--I am also reading "The Lord of the RIngs" right now, but it's my first time. I've attempted it several times before, but Tolkein has been copied so many times that now he feels almost hackneyed. It also moves at a much slower pace than most current novels, and so I battle my impatience as well.

"A closed mouth gathers no feet."

Lena Thu Feb 25 12:30:21 PST 1999

Hullo all!

Agsousa - Have no fear, my creative writing teacher does not attempt to make us to conform to conventional literary devices. My creative writing teacher does not even attempt to teach us anything. She just hands out assignments, gives us a due date, and tells the class to be quiet and write something. I now have a free hour every day to do whatever I want, be it writing an essay, composing a poem, pondering my own story, or just thinking. Some days I take down a thesaurus and look for words that spark my interest; other days I will spend hitting my head on the desk as I attempt to think of words that rhyme (poetry and I, let me tell you, we do not get along). It is an agreeable situation (although my head sure does hurt somedays!).

Marv - I generally write fantasy. I will read anything I can get my greedy little hands on.

At the moment I am re-reading "The Lord of the Rings." I read the books once, when I was younger, but I did not remember much of them besides the fact that I loved the story. Now that I am older and wiser and more lovely and intelligent and... well. Quite enough of that. It is amazing to see how many of the fantasy cliches that have developed came out of "The Lord of the Rings," how many of the little ideas and even plot lines can be traced in that story. Ignoring the fact that it's a really good story, I am glad I am reading Tolkien again if only to catch myself from falling into the pattern of writing fantasy exactly as Tolkien did.

Xavier - I can relate to that lonely feeling you get as a writer. Fortunately, I found someone (in real life, even!) how writes as I do, and we sit and talk and dream and talk and write and talk... and have I mentioned talking? Well, it helps. This board helps too, but for different reasons - I get to listen in on discussions on insanity and dreaming, how to develop characters and tension, the meaning of words and getting published. I have learned so much, and not only about writing.

No quote from me today - sorry!

S.N.Arly Thu Feb 25 11:37:16 PST 1999

Oops. That was me.

Say Jack. Posts seem to be really delayed in coming up. Should we be concerned?


Thu Feb 25 11:35:47 PST 1999

Casey - Brooklyn's Ambassadors of Love! Yes! I'm saving up for a piece of string.

SKS - But how you percieve you and how others percieve you aren't the same. Some of my karate students think I'm rather graceful. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

I believe a well-known SF writer once mocked fantasy as being rather easy to write. He was offered a challange similar to the one you granted Agsousa. Several months later he apologized, having realized that fantasy isn't any easier to write than SF. In fact no one kind of writing is really any easier than another. One might feel easier because it's where your interests lay, but that's all.

Thomas - In the writing world, it's hard not to get a bit cynnical from time to time.

Agsousa/Amerigo - I find color distracting. In fact I've painted everything in my house a nice uniform beige. Even the dog. I never learned to color coordinate, afterall.

I'm sure we've come up with plenty of good things since the... er... media-zation of Norma Jean. We've got the Corvette, don't you know. And our home grwon physical therapy equipment rocks.

Piss-ye? Think I miss something in the translation? That i-smash mouse may look neato in purple (or berry or whatever they call it) but it's damn uncomfortable to use.

Marv - I write mostly SF & F with a smattering of straight fiction and horror. Likewise that's mostly what I read, too. I prefer to write novella or novel length, but have been focusing on shorts for the past two years.

Xavier - Writers are creative and complex people. It makes sense that we could be two things that are polar opposites.

In the grand tradition of St. Paul, gleefully ad hoc about everything

Xavier Thu Feb 25 10:58:46 PST 1999

Hello again fellow writers!

Being fairly new to this board myself, I would like to welcome Marv. As to his question about my writing preferances, I would have to say that I mostly write drama, with a tragicly- romantic bent. I have the outlines for 8 novels and about 4 short stories in various stages of disrepair and non- completion. I also like to write comic- book stories, mostly serious ones geared twoards an older crowd. I have about 20 outlines for them as well. I am published monthly in a magazine about comics, but this work is commentary, not fictional. Manly, I get fired up on ideas, begin an outline, solve the entire story in my head, then loose interest and put it aside. Some books are 100 or more pages, some are scribbles of ideas on old paper or napkins. I think part of my apathy to finish a story sometimes is the fear of failure. I have convinced myself so well that i'll never be happy in life if I'm not a writer, that I'm afraid to do it. Kind of an odd situation. the urge to create, however, NEVER leaves me, and I feel empty unless doing it.
As for describing myself with 4 words, they would be: Creative, lonely, contemplative, and impulsive (I know the last two are opposites!) I'm an odd person, I guess.
I enjoy this board, as it helps give me insight and it helps with the feeling of being alone in a thought or desire.
Its nice to know others are driven too.

See you in the funny papers,


S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 25 10:46:20 PST 1999

Hey all,

Agsousa, So you can write a Science Fiction novel any day can you? Well go ahead. I dare you. And then try and get it published in the North American market. You're right, a badly written Sci Fi (sorry Jack) novel is crap, but then isn't any badly written novel crap regardless of genere? Perhaps the challenge for you would be to write a literary Sci Fi novel, where plot and characterization are unimportant. Now that I'd like to read!

Marv, It's probably obvious from my above statement to Agsousa that I write SF and Fantasy, although apparently I cross generes at times and throw in a little Horror or Historical stuff (don't ask me why or how, I haven't a clue.)

And though we prefer literary topics, we often stray and rant about anything and everything, so feel free to tell us how you're day was, or why you hate the colour blue, or about the traumatic experience you had with warts in the third grade--somehow we'll twist it into something to do with writing!

Thomas, Rhoda, and anyone else who's interested. I'm game for ICQ. Usually sometime on the weekend is the best time for me, but I'll make myself available whenever if that's not convenient. (I believe Thomas and Rhoda and I are roughly in the same time zones with maybe an hour or so difference.)

Oh and Thomas, I promise to make snide remarks about Jimmy Soul whenever I'm on stage until he pays you the money he owes you.

Be Well, Live Well.

Rhoda Thu Feb 25 09:21:02 PST 1999


There are hardly any restrictions about topics here. Agsousa informed you to avoid religion. Perhaps out of prudence he is right. As a person who once got offended here because of a religious discussion, I encourage you to discuss the topic whenever you wish. I wisely will ignore the topic. Pure and simple. I don't have the stomach for it and I admit that, but I will not encourage others to stay away from topics simply because I am sometimes too emotional.

Jack has said before that this is a Bill and Monica free zone. Please respect that. So far that is the only tabu here.

Happy Writing!


agsousa Thu Feb 25 08:29:04 PST 1999

Marv : You asked if this is a sort of writers' forum. It is indeed, but a very special one. Here no one thinks he/she is better than the others. We are all great writers and therefore we know that everyone is the best, congratulations. You can't be a decent writer without being a man or a woman before. That's why we freely discuss everything, from wines (Tom is the expert) to the *Piss-Ye* (SN Arly kisses one every morning). You don't know what a *piss-ye* is, though you probably use one: it's an object trying to imitate the *smash-an-toss*, but ugly, vulgar and obscene. I myself used three of them before converting to the true religion.

Religion is a nice topic here, but you better stay away from that. As a Portuguese I'm a catholic, though I don't swear on any thing created by the human mind. We are limited and so is our religion. There are no absolute truths, but don't tell that to Howard, who is recovering from a light surgery on the neck and has Moawk blood in his veins. Send him a word instead, telling him that we are all praying, in our own humble, awkward way, to his quick recovery. Don't use acronims like IMHO, BTW, BRB, MOMPL, RL, VI, RSN, IC,4ME, but you can use LOL from time to time for the sake of Jack. There are no special conditions to be a member of this wonderful group, except: not to be a fascist (you can be one for a second but you'll be immediatelly smashed by evidence and my neighbour's cat's paws), not to be extremely patriotic (though you can say, if you are American, that you live in the land of the free — we like a good laugh here in Europe), and not to be a technoid : as writers we love beautiful words and hate the ugly ones.

You also asked something about literature. May I address you to the archives? Try reading the posts from the 16th January on. Some writers here like fantasy and science fiction, but they privately confess that mainstream literature is their absolute dream. I just like literature, that's all, and don't believe in separate genres. I can write a science-fiction novel any day, though I prefer dealing with the everyday, earthly tastes, noises, smells, colours or problems. A badly written science-fiction story is just crap (most of them are); a beautifully written text is wonderful, though without story, plot, characters, climax, dénouement and all those artificial elements, useful for average writers but dispensable for artists. Language, the wind, rain, a hole, the dimensions of your room, the eyes of a woman or the texture of her skin are the ideal subjects for contemporary fiction. I won't give examples of great novels having such diaphanous things as themes, but I am positive that I am not talking about poetry — it's about fiction I am talking about. But now I'm addressing this forum in general and not you in particular, Mav. People here are all very stubborn and, because of ignorance or tendency, don't accept evident European trends, so old as the century. But you'll see, in ten or twenty years, that Allein will be one of the greatest American writers, and his future book about the softness of a cat's fur will be awarded the Nobel Prize, while Lena, the great best-seller, will not be accepted outside little Montana or whatever state she will be working in— until she forgets everything she is learning now in laughable creative writing courses and invent her own kind of fiction : something she will do, I'm sure.

Rhoda Thu Feb 25 08:14:57 PST 1999


Here goes. I'll not cop out this time. I will try to decribe myself in four words. Passionate, Disorganized, Sensitive (in the sense that I tend to wear my feelings on my sleeve), and Optimistic. If I weren't optimistic, I wouldn't be writing. I'd have given up long ago.


I read history and historical romance. I write historical romance. The two books I've written have been set in Dark Age Britain shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire. I have a life-long interest in King Arthur and I use him as the backdrop in my novels. Now I am trying to tackle a Regency novel. My goal is to write one or two shorter, lighter more marketable novels this year.


I hope you can get on to ICQ. I am intrigued that you are writing a story taking place in Ancient Ireland, and I would like to know more about it. I too stay up late at night if I have indulged in too many caffinated beverages during the day. I would enjoy chatting anytime.


I have your number now.

Thomas and S.K.S.,

I would love to have a group chat. Let's just do it. Someone announce a time and I'll try to be available.

I did three pages on a new novel yesterday. Hurray! Now I had better go so I can build some momentum.

"If you see a bandwagon, it's too late." Sir James Goldsmith.


Thomas Thu Feb 25 07:04:13 PST 1999

Damned computers. I hate them and I hate them more -- crashed just as I was sending a profound notebook message.

Who was it brought up the word "Jones"? We used that word to mean withdrawal or need for drugs just before I withdrew from my youth in the early nineteen sixties. We used to tag a "dope fiend" and there were plenty in Brooklyn back then, with the phrase, "he's on a jones."

Agsousa-Americo and all the ships at sea,

ICQ 27365230, but I am sure I am on the list.


Got your ICQ message and have authorized. You have been on my list for some time.


I volunteered for something on ICQ a while back. What was that? Anyway, I have in the "Waiting" section that Notebook i.d. you gave us and Mannam. Seems these have not authorized to accept me.


Not sure I understood your page 100 problem, but to answer your question: I read history, biography, novels, essays, short stories in magazines and newspapers. I write about wine, food and history, plus business writing, essays and short stories, not to mention those weekly shoping lists that my wife loves to read.


If you were to consume the strength and volume of espresso each morning like I do, you would understand how heightened one's senses becomes. I mean, I went easy on those descriptions.

So, you are counting my posts. I'm getting out of here before I am accused of goldbricking.

Hootie Thu Feb 25 06:48:47 PST 1999

I realized that I forgot to leave a pithy saying before, so here goes (and it descibes me accurately): "I started out with nothing... and I still have most of it." And one for you, Allein: "A day without sunshine is like a day in Seattle."

Hootie Thu Feb 25 06:47:14 PST 1999

I realized that I forgot to leave a pithy saying before, so here goes (and it descibes me accurately): "I started out with nothing... and I still have most of it."

S.K.S. Perry Thu Feb 25 06:07:04 PST 1999

Hey all,

Agsousa, I do most of my posting here and E-mail replies during the day when I'm at work. I check the site several times a day. Once I get home, my wife generally hogs all our Internet time. The only time I get on at home is when she's working, which is usually on the weekends. I don't have ICQ set up here at work, but I'll check for your message once I get home. It's 08:52 am here and I'm not off work until 04:00. I'm in Ontario, Canada, which is Eastern Central Time? It's -5:00hrs from GMT. We are on daylight savings time and I'm never quite sure how that effects it (does it add an hour or subract another hour from GMT?)And by the way, I have an excellent sense of humour pal, so fire away.

I'd really like to get on ICQ with a bunch of you folks and set up a real time chat. I usually check to see if anyone is online on ICQ, but unfortunately the only time that I've found someone online, I didn't have time to chat--go figure.

Anyway, this is probably only one of many posts today (it looks to be a slow day at work) so post away Agsousa (or anyone else.) There's a darn good chance I'll get back to you.

Has anyone heard how Howard's doing? He told me he'd probably be back home by Wedensday. I'm sure he knows we're all rooting for him.

Be Well, Live Well.

Hootie Thu Feb 25 05:24:25 PST 1999

Ashling and all you other night owls: I usually visit the Notebook first thing in the morning, between 6 and 7 AM MST (that's an hour later than the time at the top of each post). And then I try to visit a couple of more times during the day, but since I only have the internet at work (for now), I can't be on too long.

Marv--I write mostly fantasy, but I try to read a little of everything.

Agsousa--I am reading (and enjoying) your novel. And one of these days, I will get mine posted, too. Promise.

agsousa Thu Feb 25 04:51:02 PST 1999

This page has become rather slow since yesterday even on my G3/300. The postings are also less frequent. What gives?

Jay: it's high noon here. A very good day to you.

Eddie: I'm up and running on the ICQ. Similar to AOL instant messenger, I guess. I sent a message to you. No reply yet. I suppose I need buddies, now. My ICQ nº is 32179200. I hope this is not a secret. I'm against nicknames and all that. Everybody should use his/her proper name on the Internet — that would avoid a lot of evils. I'm probably naive, of course.

Marv: I think I have something to talk to with you on the subject "novel writing". I have to read your message again, later. I'm in a hurry now.

SN Arly: My neighbor's cat woke me up this morning saying that he is gooing to buy a "Piss-Ye". What the hack does he mean? I recomended him a smash-an-toss instead. He didn't seem convinced.

Tom: I didn't find you on the ICQ list. Need to check better.

Perry: I also sent you a message ICQwise (?).

Well, everybody, I need buddies. Kisses all around.

Ashling Thu Feb 25 04:48:43 PST 1999

ALLEIN .. CASEY .. HOOTIE .. LYDIA .. MICHELE .. RHODA .. S.K.S. & S.N. --- Hi ya! Anyone lurking? Hello & welcome.

AGSOUSA --- You're welcome to all the words you need or want. I'll peek at your novel post tomorrow.

JACK --- : ) : ) !!! If your wife & my husband ever meet, they can co-write a horror novel about us.

JAI --- I stay up until dawn in Central time zone of USA, but except for Jack & an occasional wandering insomniac, I never see ANYONE around here. Rather like conversing with ghosts ... yes, feels very lonely many nights.

LENA --- Affectionate, Creative, Enthusiastic, Smart-Assed.
Great idea of yours ... I'm going to apply this exercise to the bio sketch I write for my characters.

MARV --- I have written: Short Stories = Mainstream & Fantasy. I am writing: Creative Non-Fiction book. I'm researching prior to writing -- True Crime book & Historical Novel set in ancient Ireland. Reading??? You have time to read you lucky devil? Other than research, I try to read somebody humorous once a month, mainly I'm stretching beyond my old favorites, trying new authors.

THOMAS --- Bit of overkill for Java sipped in suburban kitchen ... Thanks anyway. BTW, not to worry --- Looks like you still had room to post 5 times on Wednesday ... But who's counting, right? Some days are like that.


Take care,

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Feb 25 00:59:24 PST 1999

    Well, I called and set up the account. There is really a lot there to digest. However, I suspect that things here will roll along as always. If for some reason there are snafus and you cannot get in, the notebook is secure here at Not that I think anything will go wrong, but I subscribe to Frank's Corollary of Murphy's Law. Everyone know 'If it can go wrong it will go wrong and at the worst possible time'. Frank's Corollary is Murphy was an optomist.

    Four words that describe myself? Well, let's see. Creative - Procrastinator - Stubborn - Loving

I would probably throw compassionate in there as well. But what the hey. Take care everyone. Between trying to finish the other web site and moving I am a little bit of a busy camper. Just to let everyone know, among the other things that the new server has installed is a JAVA chat room, a keyword search capability and more, much more. This will take some head scratching to work out.

Marv Wed Feb 24 23:06:45 PST 1999

Hey, that's just four. I guess forgetful too

Marv Wed Feb 24 22:58:45 PST 1999

Jack- Thanks for the help. I didn't get time to look that stuff up cause I have a spanish test somorrow and have to get to sleep. However, maybe tomorrow of this weekend.

I also want to ask what kind of stuff everyone is writing. This is some kind of writers' forum, right? I'm working on a novel which has hit some rough waters around page 100 cause I'm using my roommate's computer and he's been putting it through hell lately. I might as well try this out too, five adjectives to describe me (in order of magnitude) are creative (hopefully, anyway), cynical, persistant, and quiet. Also, what does everyone here read?

Jai Wed Feb 24 18:56:09 PST 1999

agsousa -

I know how your feel. I read this page first thing in the mornings. Then check back when I feel like a break, unfortunatly no one posts in this period. Mainly because it is late night/early morning over in the US of A.

Just take heart in knowing how much more isolated we would be without the notebook.

We need to be brave in this silly, silly world of ours..


agsousa Wed Feb 24 17:38:35 PST 1999

I suppose everybody is reading Alexander's Betrothal.

"I'm jonesin' real bad" - thanks for that one, Ashling.

agsousa Wed Feb 24 16:24:17 PST 1999

Rhoda: thanks again for your prompt commentary. Sorry if you've received two or three replies: I thought I was online, sent the first, found out I was offline, repeated... that's "Outlook Express" for you — complicated even on a Mac. I wish I had never abandoned my old Remington. But then how could I meet such nice people as you are?

SN Arly: Smash-an-toss, really! Whenever I go to the shop to buy one of those ugly things you use, I always come back with a new...smash-an-toss. Why can't you make them blue, orange, rainbow? Are you colour blind or what? The smash-an-toss is the best thing America has produced since Marylin Monroe. How can one be a good patriot without a smash-an-toss?... (For nothing, Steve)
PS: So you have a sense of humour? I like that, o free man of the land of... (well, today I promised myself to be serious).

Michele: Deranged, hein? I am also a little bit, but only when I write. I think this tells everything about me, Lena.

Ed: Downloaded the ICQ. I'll try to organize the beast when I can. You'll be my first guest in the chat room. Thank you.

Litter: Where is your celtic blood? I've been waiting for you in the box ring with my best pair of gloves — and nothing.

Jai Wed Feb 24 15:55:38 PST 1999


Four words, me in a nutshell. I am Serene, compassionate, listless, and thoughtful. Interesting exercise that one.

I always have this problem when writing here. I read everything the forget it all. Now what was I going to say?

Allien - I used to live in a town that had the second highest rainfall in Australia. I loved it when it rained solidly for weeks and all the bridges went under. I love the rain, it is an amazing thing, water falling from the sky, almost divine.

My mother also writes, I've pointed her to this site, perhaps she will drop by sometime.


Thomas Wed Feb 24 15:36:31 PST 1999


I am hurt. You spent money on Jimmy Soul. He owes me. he did have a fantastic falsetto.
'Tis a small world. And no, I ain't never seen no Keg around these parts.

OK Michele and SNarly and I already got Rhoda and SKS,
I get the point. I am too cynical when it comes to editors. You are all correct, I am sure. I like SKS' possible scenario: that they might want to offer me a job. Seeing that the operation is in Piedmonte, Italy, I would like that an awful lot.

Oh yes, on studying the market. I have come to the conclusion that unless you stay in one, genre, and get to know it well, the only way to break into magazines is by first becoming a major book author, or the old "Know somebody" standby. On the other hand, studying the market is a lot easier than trying to come up with ideas to meet the whims of editors who give you no direction beforehand, which of course means you have to have read every issue of their magazine (from who knows how far back) so you don't duplicate.

Allein Wed Feb 24 15:14:48 PST 1999

Okay, I will try this again.

HELP!! I'M DROWNING!!! It's been raining here since yesterday - but then it rains here over 200 days out of the year. I can't wait until I go to Florida.

Well, I just dropped in to complain.
Bai bai.

Allein Wed Feb 24 15:11:18 PST 1999

HELP!! I'M DROWNING!!! It's been raining here all morning and afternoon and last night. I hear they might cancel school tomorrow because of flooding. But that's just what you get when you live up here in the great northwest. I can't wait until I go to Florida - that'll be over spring break.

Well, gotta go and do my homework.
Bai bai.

"Did I kill him? No, I did not. He died of a heart attack when I was stabbing him with the kitchen knife."
- heard this at school

S.K.S. Wed Feb 24 14:20:02 PST 1999

Oops! That's The Keg, not the Key.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 24 14:17:40 PST 1999

Oh ya,

Thomas, when my wife and I first started dating (about five years ago) she lived in Oshawa and I in Trenton, which is about an hours drive apart. We would meet in Oshawa at The Key (they have those in the U.S. don't they? If not, they're a chain of family steak houses.) We'd play a game of pool, have some nacho's and play the jukebox. The song my wife always picked? "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life," by Jimmy Soul. We later bought the CD as a momento. Small world eh?

Be Well, Live Well.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 24 12:41:49 PST 1999

Hey all,

Ok, four words that best describe me. I contacted a few of my friends and asked their opinion--other than nuts here's are the most poplular ones: adventurous, chivalrous, passionate, enigmatic. (I had to look up that last one to make sure I wasn't being insulted!)

S.N. Arly, I'm with you when it comes to market research and queries. What ever happened to the good old days when you just sent off what you wrote and someone read it and decided whether they liked it or not (or did those days ever actually exist?) Nowadays just writing the Great American Novel (or Canadian, Portugese, Australian, British....)just doesn't cut it. You have to have a degree in advertising so you can write all that mediaspeak (remember 1984?) that will catch an editor's eye while at the same time trying not to piss them off.

Be Well, Live Well.

Michele Wed Feb 24 12:36:21 PST 1999

Hi gang !

I've had the most wearisome day today so I am sitting here reading everyone's postings and giggling or chortling, and refusing to think about the Robert Frost poem I'm meant to be doing a critical analysis of - I am too tired to think straight enough for writing a bit of BS ! :-)

Four words to describe me ? Why only 4 - I could give you 44 probably ??!! Anyway here goes (Agsousa perhaps this'll help you know me better ?) :-

Obssessive, unemotional, loyal, deranged, cynical,
(the last is one that's mostly applied to me by others - I say I'm realistic but others call it cynicism...) Oops - just noticed that was 5 not 4 - but whatever... I did say Maths WASN'T a strong point !

Thomas - you were spot on with the Browning quotation - I like that poem... Oh and be optimistic about the publishers wanting more samples of your work... !

Hootie - loved the summarising - you have a neat line in precis !

I bumped into one of my tutors this morning and made his day by thanking him for a lecture he gave last semester because it had inspired me in writing my English essay for his course - he was SO pleased that I conclude he doesn't get thanked very often and vowed to make more of an effort to thank my tutors for their good lectures - I know they get paid for doing it but that's not the same as being thanked...

Anyway I will now pop online to post this and see if anyone loves me enough to email me... :-)

BFN, Michele

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
-- Albert Einstein

Casey Wed Feb 24 12:34:04 PST 1999

Hi all,

Just stopping in after missing a day due to a large and persistantly annoying color theory project... I had 2 hours sleep last night, so I'm keeping this post short (like post
like postee :) so that I can nap.

Lena- I never thought that I'd find another person that lost their shoes in their dreams. Everyone looks at me like I've got five heads and breath fire (I really only have one head) when I tell them about that. I wonder what sort of psychological meaning that's supposed to have... I'll have to look it up and get back to you. :)

4 words huh? creative, sarcastic, sensual, and hyperactive

Well, I really should catch some winks. It's karioke night hear on campus, and I fancy myself an amature singer. Haven't been in a choir class since 8th grade... but that doesn't stop me from making a complete fool of myself for the enjoyment of others :D

ta ta my lil chickadees


"There's only one thing that I know how to do well, and I've often been told that you can only do what you know how to do well, and that's be you. Be like yourself. And so I'm having a wonderful time but I'd rather be whistling in the dark"- They might be giants

S.N.Arly Wed Feb 24 11:42:15 PST 1999

Agsousa/Amerigo - I supposed I deserved that for my Mac slam. But me and my bro call 'em smash-n-toss for a reason (oh geeze, there I go again).

I had an instant of creative reading on one of your recent posts. My brain misread betrothal as brothal. Oops. Sounded a little out of character, but then some of my writing seems out of my character too.

SKS - I think we can probably grasp concepts without the words that define them, but we may have trouble expressing them.

Thomas - Oh yah, I'm soooo freaking rich it's unbelievable. Can't figure out why I'm wasting my time here.

Maybe they want to see clips to see what other kinds of writing you do. They may want to keep you in mind for future freelancing.

Allein - The emperor after Mulan leaves to go home. Right before he says, "you don't meet a girl like that every dynasty."

Good luck with your mag. I worked on one for my HS two years running and it can be very rwarding. Frustrating at times, but worth it.

Lena - We had to do that in my 12 grade English class. It was, I think, four words to describe you, something to describe you angry, something to describe you happy and one thing that you know (a truth or what have you). So, here's a shot. I am: jaded, cynnical, tall, and clumsy; When angry I am fire, when happy I'm a sapphire (hey that rhymes!), And the one thing I know is that humans are a lot more adaptable than we like to give ourselves credit for.

Rhoda - I find the whole market research and query letter thing very bothersome. I'm often all out of sorts when I'm done with it. I'd guess it's just the one aspect of writing that doesn't seem as much fun, and I'd rather spend my writing time having fun.

Litter - Thanks for the info on Howard. We wish him well.

"I tried to dance at a funeral, New Orleans style
I joined the gravedancers union, I had to file..."

Lydia Sweet Wed Feb 24 11:23:56 PST 1999

Hi all,

Ok, Lena, I tried to be honest and I even looked up the different conotations of the words I am using. Not all are flattering terms, but I wanted you to see what I think of myself.

Misconstrued, maternal, bossy, undiscovered.

The last is not just by the world, but by myself as well. I'm still trying to decide who and what I am. Do we ever stop the discovery process?


Thomas Wed Feb 24 10:18:31 PST 1999


You misunderstand. I was describing me by adding argumentative and free spirited to your first two adjectives.

Thomas Wed Feb 24 10:15:47 PST 1999

SKS and Rhoda,

You guys are right. I grow so weary of the tons of abuse and negative responses (or no responses at all) that I tend to doubt the possible sincerity of those who would buy writer's works. Thanks.

I did like the story about the bar manager. It hit close to home; in my youth I dabbled in the music world. Left many of those clubs without having gotten paid. One time the guy who ripped us off was our lead singer -- never heard from him again until he re-surfaced as Jimmy Soul singing "If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife..." Even the record company we recorded for ripped us off.

Chicken or beef stock are of course great for adding to rice dishes -- can't make a risotto without chicken stock. Good in soups like pumpkin or beet; necessary in a good osso buco. I also add wine, but I know there are those who disbelieve in that process, and I see it as their flavor loss. Rhoda, I think you have the idea.

Lena Wed Feb 24 10:09:07 PST 1999

Thomas – Remember, these are adjectives I feel describe myself, and others will probably have a different opinion. What one feels and what others see are often two different things.

I noticed nobody has tried to describe themselves here besides Hootie... c’mon people! I would love to see how people describe themselves.

Oh, and Thomas, what do you mean I’m argumentative? I’M NOT ARGUMENTATIVE!!!

Hootie – I liked your ‘summary paragraph’ of all the topics we have touched on. ‘Twas quite fun! And I think the smell of warm asphalt after it starts raining is a musty gravel scent that you taste more then smell, thick and with a slight taste of tar and exhaust. Maybe? I know what you are talking about, just having trouble putting it into words.

“The only thing I know about money matters is that it does,”

Hootie Wed Feb 24 08:23:48 PST 1999

Hey all—I have been out of town for a few days visiting my in-laws, and although I tried to keep an eye on the Notebook, I didn’t get a chance to post anything. So here’s my attempt to catch up:

I did well in math, but never much liked it, because I was usually not allowed to do it in the way I wanted to. I am an IBM user, despite my frustrations with Microsoft. I did pretty well in high school, despite my tendency to sleep. I went to college, but dropped out due to frustration and lack of ambition. Six years in the Navy convinced me that there is a reason to put up with all the garbage in higher education. I put tension in my story by leading trying to lead the reader to wonder what’s going to happen next, or putting in a scene that makes the reader question what the characters are really doing. My dreams are usually a reflection of my anxieties, or worse, they are my very realistic scenarios of the near future (which can be confusing). I also have “mini-dreams”, usually when I’m just falling asleep. Everything makes sense, but I can never remember it when I wake up. I’ve always wanted to describe the smell of warm asphalt just after it starts raining. I would describe myself as quiet, withdrawn, inquisitive, and easy-going. I haven’t had a chance to get on the workbook recently, but I will. Does that cover most everything?

Agsousa—Thanks for the compliment, and for your friendship. I love your posts, because I’m never sure what to expect, but I’m always delighted.

Gwty—Your nickname sounds perfectly Welsh, and would be pronounced “Gooty” or “Goody”. Keep writing, because you obviously share your father’s talent.

Lena—Your writing class is certainly providing some interesting things for us. Hope you’re enjoying it, too.

Ashling—I’m glad you found my story. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

I think that’s it for now.
“They’re coming to take me away, ho ho, hee hee, ha ha!”

Rhoda Wed Feb 24 07:47:11 PST 1999


I don't have a lot of varied uses for stock, but I use it a lot in the things I normally cook. I make rice with it. I use it for sauces, say with Chinese food. I have also been known to substitute it for water in casaroles. I didn't try garlic. I guess I should, for I like garlic in most things if it isn't overdone. Congratulations on making a good impression with your article. When in a situation like the one you describe, I try to give the people the benefit of the doubt. S.K.S. could be right; they might want to broaden your horizens and use you on a regular basis. They might, on the other hand, be suspicious of you. You really don't know, but if you must believe something, believe the positive. Most people are kinder than we give them credit for. I have found that to be true. Besides it never hurts to give your self-esteem a boost now and then. So either take it as a positive or put no significance on it at all.


That is an interesting exercise. I would say all those and many more apply to me. It all depends upon my mood and the time of the month.

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." Robert Frost

Happy writing!


S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 24 07:19:52 PST 1999

Hey all,

Thomas, I have given up trying to figure out what passes through the minds of editors and publishers and their like. Your asssumptions may be correct (they sound plausible enough) or they could be way off base. Who knows, maybe they like it so much they're considering offering you a regular column and they want to check the quality of that piece against others that you've written to make sure you're not just a flash in the pan. (That's my hope for you.)
All I can say is, send them what they want--what can it hurt?

My band was playing this really nice bar once, and things seemed to be going well. After our first set, the bar owner walked up to our manager/bass player and said in a no nonsense tone with a face that looked like he'd been sucking on lemon juice from concentrate, "I need to talk to you in my office--now." Obviously this didn't sound good. Bar managers are notorious cheats, and as fickle as publishers ever were, and the bass player dragged me with him into the office as I was basically our bands enforcer, making sure we got paid and didn't get ripped off or anything. Anyway, this guy takes a seat behind this massive desk, and says with that dead pan face, "You guys are great. You're just what I've been looking for and I'd like to hire you as our house band." You could have knocked us over with a feather (as long as it was attatched to the end of say a sledge hammer or something.)

All I'm trying to say is that you can never tell what someone is thinking, and when you try, probably ninety percent of the time you're wrong. We as writers are so used to the abuse and totally illogical antics of publishers that we automatically assume the worst, when who knows, maybe he just wants to offer you a house gig.

"More are taken in by hope than by cunning."--Marquis de Vauvenargues

Be Well, Live Well.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Feb 24 07:19:12 PST 1999

Hey all,

Thomas, I have given up trying to figure out what passes through the minds of editors and publishers and their like. Your asssumptions may be correct (they sound plausible enough) or they could be way off base. Who knows, maybe they like it so much they're considering offering you a regular column and they want to check the quality of that piece against others that you've written to make sure you're not just a flash in the pan. (That's my hope for you.)
All I can say is, send them what they want--what can it hurt?

My band was playing this really nice bar once, and things seemed to be going well. After our first set, the bar owner walked up to our manager/bass player and said in a no nonsense tone with a face that looked like he'd been sucking on lemon juice from concentrate, "I need to talk to you in my office--now." Obviously this didn't sound good. Bar managers are notorious cheats, and as fickle as publishers ever were, and the bass player dragged me with him into the office as I was basically our bands enforcer, making sure we got paid and didn't get ripped off or anything. Anyway, this guy takes a seat behind this massive desk, and says with that dead pan face, "You guys are great. You're just what I've been looking for and I'd like to hire you as our house band." You could have knocked us over with a feather (as long as it was attatched to the end of say a sledge hammer or something.)

All I'm trying to say is that you can never tell what someone is thinking, and when you try, probably ninety percent of the time you're wrong. We as writers are so used to the abuse and totally illogical antics of publishers that we automatically assume the worst, when who knows, maybe he just wants to offer you a house gig.

"More are taken in by hope than by cunning."--Marquis de Vauvenargues

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Wed Feb 24 06:31:03 PST 1999

This is addressed to all, but especially to SKS.

I wrote an article last year for a magazine that folded before the article was published. I got paid for it, so that was ok, but I have sought a place for the story ever since. Two days ago I found a place interested in looking at it. I was told I could email the article. After they read it, I was also told they liked it, but before they decide whether or not to publish it they would like to see clips of my writing.

My question: if they like what is in front of them, why do they need to see clips?

Possible answer: they publish only those who have been published before. Another possible answer: they think I am an imposter.

Sad situation, isn't it?

Thomas Wed Feb 24 06:21:55 PST 1999


You had so many posts I needed to go back to make sure I am addressing the correct person. Re: coffee smell, how about "the acrid aroma of herbs burnt in an outdoor pit of fading embers" or "the pungent smoke from a two-day old forest fire".


I certainly believe I share your first two descriptions, but boy do we part company on "trusting and vulnerable". I guess I'll have to chalk that one up to age. In fact, a character who is both trusting and vulnerable would make a great subject for a story about disaster.

So, added to sarcastic and intelligent I will take argumentative and free-spirited.


Since they are difficult to chew, I imagine bones have been seeped since they were discovered underneath the meat of animals; our standard poodle thinks they should be chewed without interruption.

Hope you add a littel garlic to your stock. What do you do with the stock afterwards? In what preparations besides soup?


Whatever you said about the transfer, I concur. You lose me with all that tech stuff.


Re: "Windows" crashing. Speak to SNarly; he knows it is superior to Mac OS, which crashes only once a week instead of once a day.
I think crashes are written into the software so that we remain under the illusion that the next upgrade will be better and we wastefully spend our money on each one that comes along.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Feb 24 02:18:05 PST 1999

Ashling: Aside from not drinking blood and occasionally being able to subject my skin to the rays of the sun with some distaste, you might mistake me for one of those children of the night. About the time the sun starts rising is when I start running for my of blankets that I cacoon under next to my beloved wife. The fun part will be next September when I will post to here from down under. Then I can watch as the posts do not even come up with the same day. Take care everyone and glad to see that you found your way here.

Ashling Wed Feb 24 02:15:05 PST 1999

I'm 2 hours AHEAD of the Notebook. Arrgh!!! I promise I won't post again ... Think I need to go to bed early.


Ashling Wed Feb 24 02:11:26 PST 1999

JACK --- Oops! I'm on Central time (always get that mixed up, television advertises movies on Eastern time)- so I was & still am -- 2 hours behind the Notebook time. Only took a minute to fly through the ether.


Ashling Wed Feb 24 02:05:46 PST 1999

HI JACK --- Just a trial run to see how long my posts take to arrive during the moving bit. I'm in USA - It's now Wed. Feb. 24th 04:09 am Eastern Stardard Time -- In the past, I believe the Notebook was on Pacific time ... 3 hours earlier than me.

Are you a nightowl too --- or just working extra on "moving day?"

Take care,

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Feb 24 01:30:09 PST 1999

I went ahead and took care of the temporary relocation of the Notebook as well as moving all posts here as well.

Jack Beslanwitch Wed Feb 24 00:54:34 PST 1999

      Marv: I did a quick cursory search on anthropology on Infoseek and brought up Exemplary Writing - Principles of Anthropology Course and Discussion on Anthap Listserv Regarding Identity as Applied Anthropologists I suspect that you will find a large body of applied anthropology work posted to the web. And you might take a look at the life of other earlier anthropologists. Margaret Meade is one that comes to mind as much for her flamboyant and gutsy personality as a women in a man's world as much as the quality of her scientific work. Still, this bit of a look around took all of five minutes to do. Granted, I pulled the Margaret Meade URL from my Encyclopedia Britannica DVD, but it highlights what is available within easy reach on the web. That might be an additional topic that we might want to consider. What are the best ways to set about researching a topic area on and off the internet.

      Also, I am giving the call tomorrow and starting the process of moving my domain to the new ISP. What I will do sometime tomorrow is create an automatic meta forwarding address to a temporary new location at Some may recognize this as the old location for the Notebook. Do not worry about redoing your bookmarks. What will happen is that when all the IP Address databases catch up around the world you will get sent again to when I set things up at the much more inexpensive web server. Any messages that get left over on the halcyon server I will archive. So it will be a little bit of a guessing game as to when different parts of the world will all be pointed at the same location. This, of course, goes for everything else on as well.

Marv Wed Feb 24 00:25:58 PST 1999

Hi everyone. This is my first time posting here and I was wondering if anyone could help me out. Does anyone know what anthropologists do (specifically) when they immerse themselves in other cultures? This is for the book I'm writing. I'd appreciate any help

Rhoda Tue Feb 23 18:28:23 PST 1999


How could I possibly stay away from here and stay mad? I certainly couldn't go though life knowing you were posting your thoughtful, provocative, and sparkling posts on the Notebook and not let myself read them, let alone respond to them. I assure you that the affection is mutual, so here I am. I copied your posting from the Notebook to my Wordperfect file. I intend to print it out tonight and read it. If we are to be friends, I must read your work.


I've spent most of the day simmering chicken stock. Naturally when I am doing some culinary project, I think of you. How long have people been boiling bones for stock? Probably forever. I have Graham Kerr to thank for my appreciation of meat stock.


You put me to shame. I've been trying all week to get to "In the 70's" and here you put two other works upon the Workbook. I will read them after I get them copied from Wordperfect.


Thank you for sending me your story. I will try to have it read soon.

I've spent the whole day getting out query letters, and I am depressed. I don't fear rejection, but I am really tired of putting out all this effort and getting the endless piles of form rejections that say absolutely nothing except "No." If I sent a letter handwritten that had absolute gibberish, would I get the same response from my agent friends? I have been tempted to try and see. But I won't because I am afraid to know. Now, I must help my son with his homework.

"If it weren't for the last minute, a lot of things wouldn't get done." Michael S. Traylor

Lena Tue Feb 23 18:28:03 PST 1999


Agsousa - You have a wonderful gift for giving compliments without becoming self-conscious. Thank you.

My e-mail is STILL not working. You never realize how dependent you are technology until... well. Is anybody else out there having trouble with their hotmail account?

No deep thoughts or meaningful paragraphs from Lena today. I was up late last night reading a new book, did not get to sleep until 4:30 in the morning, and got a grand total of two hours of sleep. I have been in a daze all day. And the ending of that book wasn't even worth it...

Oh, I do have something to write (you can't shut me up that easily!). Casey, you are not alone in that shoe-dream-thing. Now, I rarely dream but one of the most vivid dreams I remember is one in which I am constantly wondering where my shoes are. In that dream, my house gets blown up, I am running for my life, my family dies, but my biggest memory is of missing one shoe. Where did that shoe go? It is bothersome.

How's that for strange?

BTW - I had to write a poem in which you had to describe yourself with four adjectives. Mine were: sarcastic, intelligent, trusting, and vulnerable. Out of interest, how would everyone here describe themselves?

Ashling Tue Feb 23 18:22:16 PST 1999

LITTER --- Hi there! Thanks for info on Howard, I emailed him.

Take care,

Ashling Tue Feb 23 18:09:54 PST 1999

HI RHODA --- Good to "see" ya.

OLIVIA --- How's your latest writing progressing? I always enjoy your posts ... Hope you drop by more often.

AGSOUSA --- Welcome back. Thanks for your provocative posts. Here's an American slang word for you: Jonesin' = Coined to describe drug withdrawal ["I'm jonesin' real bad"]. It was later expanded to describe physical & emotional pain incurred from being separated from anything considered vital to your life. Fits what you felt during Internet malfunction, huh?

S.K.S. PERRY & THOMAS --- Nice to hear machines can't describe smells either (My PC nearly convinced me it's omniscient). I get my caffeine in Pepsi - don't drink coffee, but adore the aroma. Tried for weeks to describe the smell of early morning coffee for a story ... doubt I did it justice.

EDDIE --- Your productivity inspires. I'm posting a long story on Workbook after finishing rewrites, hopefully by next week ... Maybe sooner if you have your Muse "do lunch" with mine.

ALLEIN --- Good luck with the Literary Mag. It took me 3 tries to find a f-t-f writers group where everyone consistently shows up, ready to work. Hang in there.

HOOTIE --- Found your story again, "Sacred Hospitality." Will email you.

JACK --- Hi ya. I know you're out there somewheres.

Hello & Happy Writing to all. I'm in a great mood. Creating a FUN writing project for a change.

Take care,

agsousa Tue Feb 23 17:25:30 PST 1999

Litter: I didn't know you had Celtic blood. I thought you had no blood at all.

By the by, Portugal 5, Scotland 0!

See you in the bull ring, o bard of the Highlands.

Yours aye,
Amerigo Vespucii

agsousa Tue Feb 23 17:12:33 PST 1999

Now, be silent, everyone.

I have just published in the novel section of this wonderful site the three first chapters of *Alexander's Betrothal* — the best title I could think of to translate the untranslatable: *Os Cornos de Cronos*. It's a fantasy/realistic novel. How can you translate realismo fantástico*? I know magic realism — the one of Garcia Marquez, for example, but fantastic realism doesn't sound good. Get a word for me, please, oh descendants of the wuthering heights!

Litter Tue Feb 23 17:11:38 PST 1999


I don't know if Howard has said or not, but he has been in for surgery on his neck today. I'd like for those of you of a religious persuasion to pray for him, and those who are not to wish him well with his recuperation on his return. I know he values both prayers and friendships.


Litter Tue Feb 23 17:08:23 PST 1999

Hi All,

Seems we are back to busy again!


I’m glad you got on before I did – now I won’t sound so strange? Dreams and even Nightmares are wonderful things, for, devoid of the safeguards of consciousness, the subconscious is free to break all the rules and if you can only but remember what you have dreamed this can give insight to much. Like Eddie I have learned to manipulate dreams to the extent that I can wake myself when things aren’t to my liking and immediately fall back asleep having sorted out what does not appeal to me. Don’t knock it – it works! Although I’m not quite sure how I learned to do this and even less sure of how to teach someone else…


I has long since been held by some psychologists that we can with practice learn to extract answers to questions whilst dreaming. Many years ago as a student I used to use this ‘technique’. It didn’t always work but it did work often enough for me to be a convert. There is nothing mystical about this, especially if it is a work or study based problem, or a ‘where did I leave it?’ problem. The information is in your memory, in some dark recess, and probably there because you didn’t attach much significance or importance to it. It seems that thinking about the problem as you are falling asleep ‘programs’ the subconscious to keep searching and you wake up with the answer. Doesn’t help much though if the question was in yesterdays exam paper :o)

It seems the answer to how much or how little you dream depends on the extent how much your mind is stimulated (and I mean really challenged) before sleep – well, that’s how it works for me.

Agsousa – “I used to be a bit cautious about Celtic-blood blokes” Have I been insulted here? I don’t feel like I have been, just asking???

Allein Tue Feb 23 15:48:23 PST 1999

Hi all. I just got back from my afterschool meeting for the literary magazine we're planning to put out. The others liked my poems, but we didn't read most of the time. For half an hour we stood (or sat) around telling jokes (mostly about sex). That's because most of the people didn't even show up.

Anyway, I've graced you with my presence and now I'm gonna leave.
Bai bai,

"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all."
- Fa Zhou
"Mulan" - even though I can't remember hearing this anywhere in the movie.

Eddie French Tue Feb 23 15:15:11 PST 1999

Thanks Bill! (Once again)

Ohh that ^... I had just finished half a page to post and my computer crashed! I am really getting fed up with the amount of crashes I have to endure with windows.
Flame over.
Hi Agsousa,
I just know that when I see your name up top that I am going to have to get a good answer ready but you stumped me this time. Thank you for your honesty.I sent you a link to ICQ (mirabilis) some time ago and you are on my future users list. The link is at the top of this post if you wish to check it out. I am not really diplomatic to our American friends, I merely reciprocate. You should see some of my postings in alt.writing. We are all the same...we treat people as they treat us. I have found the people here to be genuine and not at all pedantic. This is reasonably rare on the net. (Among the writing fraternity).
Yes...You are absolutely right, I am the original 'fears and frustrations guy'. But I know how to handle it. I have learned dream participation over time and I can sometimes direct the way that I dream, and I have a wake up device. Like Dorothys' heel clicking.
I used to believe in writers block but now I put it down to lack of self motivation. (I am quite prolific at the moment so I am being smug.) In fact I have just posted yet another first chapter of a short story on the workbook. I think I have started five new projects in the past month or two. (I hope I can finish them all).
I have also started reading all of the Isaac Asimov 'Robot' series for the third time around. I read about a hundred pages every night. (Less time to dream) I don't work any more so I have plenty of time to read and write.
Now hands over ears while I send a private message.
I know that you are lurking out there so when are we going to hear from you. If you don't get in here then I will not draw up those plans for your conservatory. Capishe!!
Ok.. you can listen up again now.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Oz. I visited back in the seventies and loved it there. I stayed in the warm part, Darwin and then over to townsville. (I just missed the Typhoon) I hope someone is looking after the shop when you're gone. You know how quickly the notebook gets to 200k.
I could write all night but I wont. I want to get back to my work...if I can decide which one to get on with.

Lydia Sweet Tue Feb 23 14:21:41 PST 1999

We enjoy your company as much as you seem to enjoy our.

(Shoot! Don't you know I would trip over my tongue.)


Tue Feb 23 14:19:57 PST 1999


You enthusiasm is contagious. We have enjoyed your exuberant contributions to the forum as well. You have contributed some very thought provoking topics. We hope you continue to enjoy company as much as you appear to enjoy ours.

I think you were referring to me when you mentioned Linda in your post. (Actually that happens to be my mothers name), but in any event I think you would find me rather tart than sweet.

This is an intriguing topic of words, but as Russia lacks a word for privacy, think of the countries that have one word that has many meanings, the only difference is the pronunciation. A guttural sound from the throat or a hiss from the teeth can change its entire meaning. I believe Asian countries are known for this. (Of course I could be totally off base.)

I am happy to say my writers block has passed. Now if I can just steal the time to write. (Sigh!)

My posts have been very few the past week or so because I have been very busy at work and was out of the office to attend a class last Friday.

Have a good day all.


S.K.S. Perry Tue Feb 23 12:32:17 PST 1999


A psychologist friend of mine was working at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, doing research on developing senses for machines. Some where easy (or relatively so) such as vision, hearing and smell (though smell was one of the more difficult ones--they had no problem getting a machine to differentiate between odours, it was in labelling them that they found the difficulty.) The biggest problem was in developing a sense of touch. How do you get a machine to recognise oily, or slimy? I found it fascinating and spent more than a few hours at the lab helping them out--until the administration found out that I didn't go to Queens and gave me the boot--their loss too, it was one of my ideas that sparked a breakthrough they'd been struggling with for months. I think it irked them that they still had to give me credit for it--them being the administration, not the staff.

"The less I need, the more I get. Make me chaste, but not just yet."--Sting

Be Well, Live Well.

Thomas Tue Feb 23 12:13:46 PST 1999


It was I who mentioned the lack of a Russian word for the concept of privacy. The fellow who told me that explained how it made his stay in Russia enjoyable to learn such things because he developed a better understanding of the society and culture.

As regards describing sensations through words, I have always felt that the weakest link among humans is the link of language and words; that's what makes writing such an important profession or avocation; it is a test of our abilities. In my wine and food writing profession I am frequently called upon to describe tastes, and it is not an easy task.


Despite the derogations of Snarly, a Mac can handle ICQ. I have been using it and I use a Mac. I find that those who hate Macs often have large shares in Microsoft stock -- how rich are you SN?

I went into the Air Force on Pearl Harbor Day (Dec 7) 1966, at the height of the air war in Vietnam, and joined only because I was being drafted to become an Army grunt. I lucked out and was not sent to South East Asia, but did have to do penance for one year in an isolated tour at Thule, Greenland. I was there the year a B52 crashed into the ice -- what a trip that was, for the dead crew and the rest of us on land. The event toppled the Danish Govt. at the time because we were flying nuclear warheads over Danish soil in violation of an agreement.

During that tour of duty I learned about loneliness, alcohol and Eskimos (the latter two went hand-in-hand, thanks to our freely dispensing to the poor locals; of course, i had my share of it). Somewhere during my tour the Air Force stupidly let me go home for Christmas. It took them 45 days to find me again. I figured the worst they could do to me was to send me to Greenland, and that is what they did.

Thanks for listing me as a friend, even if, sadly, we are but cyber buddies. Now you see that my maturity is a physical reality.

As for dreams, I have been a dreamer all my life, both asleep and a awake. Sometimes, I have trouble telling the two conditions apart, and then I truly write something good.

"A man's reach should be beyond his grasp, or what is heaven for?" Browning, I believe. A true dreamer, he was.

S.K.S. Perry Tue Feb 23 11:47:25 PST 1999

Hey all,

Something got me thinking (actually, lots of things get me thinking, but something got me thinking about a particular topic.)

I think it was Agsousa (probably was, because you're a big trouble maker and I love you for that!) who mentioned that in Russia there is no word for privacy. It got me to thinking how difficult it is to grasp a concept when you don't have a word for it. How real is that concept for you? Does it even exist at all? Have you ever tried to describe how something tastes that just doesn't fit into simple terms like salty, sour, sweet or bitter. Try chocolate (my personal favourite) or butterscotch (another biggie on my list.) Even words like salty only mean something to us because most of us have tasted something salty, but if you never had, how would someone describe it to you. It would never be a real sensation for you.

Maybe this hearkens back to that discussion we had on the power and magic of words. Still, it got me to thinking, what other concepts are there that we take for granted that aren't universal, and which ones are (Hey Rhoda, maybe you're right and truth is a universal concept!--Nuts, I learn something new every day.)

Agsousa, I'm honoured to be counted amoung your friends, and though I'm sure it is a less dubious honour to be counted amoung one of mine, never the less, it is so.

"Truth exists, only falsehood has to be invented."--Georges Braques

Be Well, Live Well.

agsousa Tue Feb 23 11:21:09 PST 1999

Everybody seems to be writing much better since I left to the Algarve. I like to think of some of you as fiction characters. What is hidden behind your words? In some cases, it's not difficult to guess. But there are people here who are still a mystery to me. After one month of this intimate (though virtual) contact, I've made a choice of friends. Here's the list: Thomas for his understanding of my idiosyncrasies (c'mon, the word exists and has a plural); Eddie for living in England, a country I very much love, and for being so diplomatic with the Americans (also for being a potencially good writer); Hootie for his dedication to serious topics (though he has also a grain of humour hidden in his sleeve); Perry because he told us something I loved (when one of his stories was rejected and his wife brought him exactly the magazine that had rejected his story — and also because he speaks about rejections with the right spirit: steps to future immortality); Lena, an obvious talent to the near future, pity she's wasting time with creative writing courses (incidentally, I have been invited to give one of those next academic year in one of the Lisbon universities: I haven't refused yet... they can be a lot of fun, I guess); S.N. Arly for being a sport (in Gatsby's sense) and for knowing nothing about computers; Rhoda for having corrected her regretable decision of not writing to this forum any more; Allein, the greatest writer of us all despite his/her tender age (how tender?); Jack for personal reasons no one here will know — but, as a contributor to this page, he must be prepared to my neighbour's cat unforseeable observations; Howard because he always knows what he speaks about (though he is wrong about the nature of truth); Rachel because she's a sweetheart, and so is Linda, and so is everybody. I'm prepared to make more friends tomorrow as much as I'm prepared to lose some friends today.

There are also people who I don't know yet very well. I used to be a bit cautious about Celtic-blood blokes until Portugal won 5-0 to Scotland. With an Australian I used to speak about theatre till the day he directed "Coriolanus" (that was summer and strawberries, you can't watch Shakespeare eating strawberries with cream). Well, I must interrupt now, someone's knocking at the door.

S.N.Arly Tue Feb 23 10:51:47 PST 1999

On dreams - I dream all the time and quite often they're nightmares. So it has always been.

Agsousa/Amerigo - Welcome back. We also have carrier signal problems from time to time. During last summer's storms we had such difficulties often. ICQ is a program for establishing/holding internet chats. I believe even those less fortunate souls with Macs can use it (that's a joke. I know I said I wouldn't be sarcastic with ESL folks, but I just can't help it).

SKS - I'm having trouble opening that image and will let you know if I either just can't do it, or if I ever to get it open. I'm eager to see what you, and your artistic bent, might do to stonehenge.

"How on earth did I get so jaded, life's mysteries seem so faded..."

agsousa Tue Feb 23 09:24:56 PST 1999

Michele and everybody: what's ICQ? Can a Macintosh user use that as well? And how?

Jack: Serendipity? Nice word. Give us examples, please. The discovery of America, for instance? We have no proper translation in Portuguese for that. What's the Spanish word? By the way (or BTW), I heard on the telly some days ago that *Saudade* is registered in the Encyclopedia Britannica meaning a misture of nostalgia and hope.

Thomas: Were you in the US Air Force during the Vietnam War? You must be more or less my age (though you seem more mature than me). At that time I was doing my military service in Cape Verde Archipelago, on an almost desert Island called Ilha do Sal. I learned the meaning of the word loneliness during those two years. I was in love with Shakespeare, tape record players and little creole girls. I was also a hippie, of course. My favourite writer of the time was Jack Kerouac (oh!, *On the Road*!). Coming back to Portugal and University I wanted to write a thesis on Kerouac. Refused: Portugal was very conservative at that time. Even Kerouac was suspicious. So I wrote my M.A. thesis on the American Poet Vachel Lindsay — who was even more hippie than Kerouac. But nobody knew him here. I passed!

PS. I'm reading your last week posts. More answers in a minute or twenty, depending on motivation and technology. I'm very excited to be back.

Michele Tue Feb 23 09:06:28 PST 1999


Just thought I'd mention that I went mad and installed ICQ on the old PC.... !

That's it !


agsousa Tue Feb 23 08:28:53 PST 1999

Hello, everybody!

I spent some days in the Algarve preparing the translation of some chapters of my second novel to offer you with kisses. I came back yesterday to Lisbon. I tried to connect myself to you right away but, oh! frustration, I couldn't connect myself to Internet, due to "carrier signal" problems (do you also have problems of that kind there?) After 24 hours and hundreds of exhasperated trials, I managed. But I'm afraid the connection will go soon. I'll be back when I can. Lots of things to tell you.

PS. I haven't read any messages yet since last week. But I've seen RHODA'S name. Has she returned? My heart rejoyces.
Sorry for the errors in English and spelling. No time to check that.

Xavier Tue Feb 23 08:12:19 PST 1999

Hello again.
My, My waiting two days to read this board can equate into some legnthy reading! I'll be sure to check in more frequently in the future. Thus far, i only have internet access at school, but I am fixing that problem by getting a service provider for home too.
On the subject of dreams, I'd like to say that I wish I was having one right now, as I am tired. Sadly, however, my dreams are rarely pleasant, and often disturb my sleep. Still, right now I'll take my chances.
On the subject of injecting tension (I think someone mentioned it WAY back!), this is a skill that seperates the excelent writers from the good writers. For me, its the energy of a high powered scene that keeps me reading, or the romantic- tragety of a 'Trinity' type story. I try to inject my storys with plenty of both, as its easier to appreciate one when the other is present. I feel that most storys are too heavily laden with only one element, and the charicterization often suffers considerably. When in doubt, I opt for the more melodramatic side, as this is often the more real of possabilitys (as apposed to having my charicter jump from a plane simply to keep the story moving.) Maybe I'm the one who has it wrong. I was wrong once.;(
I went to an independant film fest this weekend here at the college, where the area directors and writers showed off there stuff. It ws touted as true genius work. Personally, I think it was crap, as I often feel when viewing some modern pictures. They are 'dry', without any emotion or charicterization injected. Even the drama was forced and goofed up! After the third movie, i walked out. These were not fellow students, mind you, for i would have encouraged their worst efforts! No, these were 'Professionals', and when I approached them to ask to get involved, they looked me up and down. It was as if I was below their standards. Man, that pissed me off!
well, thats about enough out of me, mates, I'll take my leave now. But I know where the real genuises are, and I'll
return here!
Xavier (this is as long as a book, sorry.)

Jai Mon Feb 22 20:51:22 PST 1999

Hul diddley oh,

Dreams are indead an interesting topic, often used in fanasy to help the plot or increase tension. Because no one really understands them can use them in our writing in any way we feel like. I've heard a lot of people relate their dreams and nightmares as I'm sure you all have. The only thing in common is that they are all different, though rumours abound that some people have dreamed the same thing. I have a friend who can ask "god" (for lack of a better word) a question and then dream the answer, he has found many a lost item in this fashion and it seems to work. Stranger and stranger.

What is a dream?

Who knows, another of the mysteries that make life so much fun.


Casey Mon Feb 22 18:16:14 PST 1999

Well, on the subject of nightmares, I hardly ever have them. Whenever I do, I'm always running from something.

Actually, I have a weird thing that keeps repeating in my dreams. I constantly look down to see that I'm not wearing any shoes. Then I spend a while searching for those shoes, and ultimately end up forgetting that I lost them in the first place.

My dreams are always weird, enigmatic things... I have absolutely no idea what they mean. I just had a dream not more that 2 hours ago, that it was Halloween, and I was over my boyfriend's house(odd thing was, he wasn't in the dream at all), and I was handing out candy to younger versions of my cousins... Weird stuff.

Gotta go get some work done. See ya later

"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it." -Jack Handey 'Deep Thoughts'


Allein Mon Feb 22 16:22:11 PST 1999

Nightmares - hmmm. I don't really have many nightmares - most of my dreams are just plain weird. There is a part in my story that involves Allein having a nightmare - during class. He screams, sits straight up in his seat and just looks around nervously. The teacher comes up and simply says "Is there anything you'd like to share with the class?" Or something like that. Allein is just embarrassed and blushes. Something similar happened in one of my classes - the one right before lunch. This guy fell asleep and the teacher took a yard stick and slammed it against his desk very hard. He sits up and the teacher says "Now that you're awake..." And then she asked him a question that he couldn't answer because he had been sleeping. He got a detention. I fall asleep in class too - 2nd period anatomy seems to be my favorite class in which to take a nap. Although, it is kind of uncomfortable to put your head down and sleep on a desk, but I manage and my teacher never seems to notice, or if he does, he doesn't say anything about it. Perhaps this little sleeping ritual was one of the factors towards my C- in that class. My friend had a problem with falling asleep in 4th period and said that he wishes that 4th period was a nap period - I reminded him that 4th period already WAS his nap period regardless of what his schedule said.

Whoa, I am getting like way off track, so I'll just leave and let another person post their two cents.
Bai bai,

"Blessings on him who invented sleep."
- Cervantes
"Don Quixote"

Rhoda Mon Feb 22 15:14:17 PST 1999

Regarding nightmares. Nightmares are terrifying while you are having them. It helps afterwards to dissect the dream. In my case it is often pent-up frustration. We have been looking for a house for over six months. In the meantime we live in an inadequate rental here in Perryton. A couple of months ago, I looked at a house on a 2 acre lot out in the country in another community. In the front of the house was a cross. We figured a pet dog or cat might have been buried there. My kids had fun with that thought. On the way home from seeing the house they constructed suppositions about a person being buried in the front yard.

I had the dream a few nights later. A woman had been murdered and buried in the house we bought in this same neighborhood. Needless to say, in the dream, this woman would not stay buried. I woke up terrified. Then I worked it out and figured why I dreamed it. Has anyone ever contracted for a house and feared they had bought the Amityville horror? I don't mean the gateway to Hell, but I mean perhaps there are libilities you did not foresee when you made the deal--a toxic waste dump, a parolled child molester in the neighborhood, bad wiring, cabinets that fall apart, anything the housing inspection didn't catch--and here you are stuck. Furthermore, I like Perryton and the idea of locating to another town and in this case another state, though close by, is frightening. Will the schools be any good? Will we be plagued with the gang problems such as they have in Liberal, KS (just a few miles away)? Will we find a good church? There are a lot of unknown variables and anxieties inherent in choosing a new house or a new community. That dream was merely a reflexion of my fears.

Maybe, Ed, there are inherent fears and frustrations in your life. I have them; my husband has them. Just about everyone I know has them, but we express them in different ways. No doubt the subconscious has its own expression also. Unfortunately for some of us, that takes the form of nightmares.

"I am still learning." Michelangelo


Eddie french Mon Feb 22 13:53:53 PST 1999

Could you take a look at the short story workbook area.
It's busted.

Michele Mon Feb 22 13:00:49 PST 1999

Hi !

Nightmares ? - very rarely have them as far as I'm aware - not that I haven't had them in the past - but the last time I had a nightmare was absolutely months ago - and now I don't remember what it was about ! :-) Guess there's a lot to be said for being so dog-tired that you sleep like you're dead, huh ? Mind you 4 hours worth of lectures from 9.15 am on a Monday morning is enough to tire ANYONE out (she says with a huge yawn !)

I discovered today that both of my lecturers - who only met me last Monday - already knew who I was ! Scary stuff ! I made *that* much of an impact in the space of a 2 hour lecture ? Was it my genius ? (I doubt it !) My wit ? My charm ? MY Sophistication ? Probably in at least one instance it was because I was one of the few students to bother contributing in the class - and the only student doing the course out of INTEREST instead of necessity or having nothing better to do ! I can't help liking linguistics, now can I ? :-)

Anyway I've had an exhausting day so I'll go read the paper and then crash into bed...

Goodnight all !


Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so.
-- Bertrand Russell

S.K.S. Perry Mon Feb 22 10:47:35 PST 1999

Oh ya,

I barely ever remember my dreams, probably because in my case I'm sure most of them are nightmares and that's my way of handling it. The few dreams I do remember are always very vivid, in colour, and make no sense what so ever. I'm am very detatched from my dreams, as if watching from the third person, even when I'm in the dream, and nothing that happens seems to elicit much of an emotional response in me. Again, this is probably a saftey feature.

Be Well, Live Well.

S.K.S. Perry Mon Feb 22 10:32:27 PST 1999

Hey all,

Eddie, I didn't mean to imply that action was required to resolve the tension. I thought I was making just the opposite point. I think you did a good job of building tension in the story--the Sgt's use of humour to relieve tension told us that obviously tension was present in the first place, and the implied threat of the man at the bus station--the phobia of being watched--is a definite tension builder. The mention of the Red Berrets and there apparent lack of fear seemed incongrous--I wasn't sure of their significance--and that in itself can add to the tension by adding an element of strangeness and the unknown. In all these instances you built tension without any overt action taking place. That sets an atmosphere of tension, and can build slowly, where as tension created by action is usually more immediate and requires a solution sooner. All in all, I think you're on the right track (though I did notice the odd typo!)

Be Well, Live Well.

Eddie French Mon Feb 22 09:37:45 PST 1999

Steve, Yes I agree with your comments on the insertion of tension and although this may seem like an extremely elementary aspect of writing it seems to me that the subject merits some further discussion. For example, tension and action may not necessarily go hand in hand. Sometimes the anticipation of action or disaster can generate massive tension which, if handled correctly can be even better for the lack of action as a climax. The skill, I think, is in determining how often you could get away with building the tension without resorting to the 'inevitable' active conclusion. Isn't that the basis of a good 'Ghost Story'? In practise though, this is difficult to achieve in a contemporary fiction novel. Writing about an experience involving tension is difficult to do. In my story 'Soldier' formerly 'The 70's' in the Novel Workshop, I attempted to relay the emotions I felt as I passed through a certain terminal for the first time. I had to achieve this without resorting to passive narration of the feelings which I experienced at the time. The way in which I attempted it was to suggest an implied threat against the people already boarding the bus outside. (The reasoning being that if there was no threat, then why was it mentioned at all.) I can't say that I succeeded in conveying all of this to the best advantage but it was the best method I could come up with at the time.
Any suggestions for alternative methods?

Just another little comment on the unwritten laws of the writing persona. I occasionaly experience terrible nightmares. I never dream of monsters or murderers or mad axe men. In my nightmares I experience the raw emotions of fear. I never know what is causing the fear, just that it is very close and extremely threatening. Any others?

S.K.S. Perry Mon Feb 22 06:23:44 PST 1999

Hey all,

Eddie, Is tension a hook or merely a tool to be used in a hook? Both, although I don't think a great opening line builds tension. Tension is usually a slow buildup of things, something that's pretty hard to accomplish with one line.

Depending on the type of story you're writing, tension can either be a long slow buildup with one final release, or several shorter crests that build tension in waves--"a non stop roller coaster ride" as they say in the movies.

And while I agree that action scenes are usually best written in short, concise sentences, tension is more a matter of mood. Take any of Edgar Allen Poes work. He was a master of building tension, yet used two pages of long, run on sentences just to describe a woman's eyes. Sometimes it's not how you say it but what you say that creates tension.

Tension may not be the initial hook, such as that snazzy first line that gets you reading, but it is what keeps you reading.

"Fiction gives us a second chance that life denies us"
Paul Theroux

Be Well, Live Well.

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Feb 22 03:33:06 PST 1999

Eddie: I concur about math. Being probably learning disabled in terms of math meant a never completed graduate school in Psychology and an MA in Applied Behavior Analysis due to my absolute cluelessness about Advanced Statistics. So long as you are speaking of logic and even symbolic logic I am comfortable, but start talking algebra and, deities forbid, calculus and I am drowning. It has created something of a paradoxical mix for me as someone who loves computers and software and tinkering and still am resigned to my affliction with mathematics.

      So, on to a must more comfortable subject in my estimation, injecting tension into the mix in a story. Tension and action go hand in hand. To best flavor a story with action you use... Short. Sharp. Quick. Sentences that jump out at you. Neuromancer, William Gibson's opus and first novel that garnered a remarkable Hugo, Nebula and John Campbell Award (think I got that right) all in one fell swoop, began with the other element for injecting tension into your work, a powerful first sentence. "The sky was the color of television tuned to a dead channel" leaps you into a sense of place and tension and forboding in much the same way that "It was a dark and stormy night." does to the point of cliche. You need something that grabs your reader by the proverbial cajones and does not give them a choice but to read the next word and sentence, page and rest of the book. You need to set the place in quick and sharp clarity and imbue it with the emotions and the emoting words that remind the reader that are intimately committed to the outcome of this character, this story, this sentence. No recourse is possible, but to find out what happens next.

Eddie French Mon Feb 22 02:54:20 PST 1999

Just to get away from Math....yuk!
How difficult do you find it to inject Tension into your work?
I have been working around this subject in my latest works. It is easy to say 'Show don't tell' when we describe the method of injecting tension into a story but that catch all phrase doesn't really help to creat the overall effect.
How long should the build up be?
Do you start it slow and accelerate to a climax?
How long can you keep it going before it loses the desired impact?
Should it be used in the opening paragraphs?
In other words, is tension a hook in itself or merely a tool to be used within a hook?
what do you think?

S.N.Arly Sun Feb 21 19:14:19 PST 1999

Hey all. Just spent the weekend trying not to use my hands. Any idea how hard that is? Think I need to make some sacrifices to the gods of tendinitis. They are not pleased with me.

Allien - I was also a math flunkie, almost literally. We all have our weak points.

Gtwy - Welcome Goodweed the younger (aka Lisa). I read your story back in December and liked it a lot. You write well beyond your age.

Lena - I will make every effort to read your new piece.

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me...

Allein Sun Feb 21 18:43:27 PST 1999

Lots of mixed feelings about math - well, I have mixed feelings about school. Last year I had two teachers who were best friends and they must've had a consperacy because everytime I have lots of homework in one class I also had lots of homework in the other. I just have to wonder...

Anyway, I pretty much just dropped in to say hello.
Bai bai.

"My mom always told me that if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. But my mom's not here and so @#*l(@*3!#$*!!!"
- I have no idea where I heard this, but I thought it was kind of funny (actually, the last part was bleeped out).

Casey Sun Feb 21 18:07:18 PST 1999

hiya everyone

Thanks for the welcomes. Feels good to know that someone noticed that I'm here. :)

I'm in the middle of working on a unit project for my Color Theory class. The abtraction of movement and sound... yippie... At least I made it fun by making the subject of mine slinkys. hehe :)

I'm trying to get as much as possible done tonight, so I'll keep this short, and sweet: Luv ya guys and wish you lots of luck on any and everything :D


"he who laughs last, thinks slowest."

Jai Sun Feb 21 17:02:09 PST 1999

Casey -
Goodweed the younger -
And welcome all those friendly people who have come recently to our little corner of the internet. Pull up a comfy chair and let our soft chatter lull you into a happy place of colourful dreams.

Ohh and don't forget to write..

Jai Sun Feb 21 16:51:27 PST 1999


Math was aways something I was good at, so you are not alone Lena, writing on the other hand is not so easy. Maybe that is why I enjoy it more. Though I suspect it may infact be the creativity that lures me back to the empty page. Maths on the other hand just isn't FUN, sure it can be satisfying sometimes when you solve a particulary difficult problem, but fun? I think not.

What do I do for a living? Maths, I never thought I would hate it but I could live with not doing it five days a week.

I suppose I'm just frustrated since my life isn't exactly what I wanted though it is what I made it. Expectations and future planning are strange and ficle things.

"The slow worm gets eaten by the early bird"

Lena feylena Sun Feb 21 16:37:48 PST 1999

Rhoda - My math teachers probably had something to do with my enthusiasm for the subject. I attend a math, science, and tech school for part of the day, and the teachers there are excellent. I love the way we can sidetrack them on some technicality of an obscure theorom, or get them riled up trying to explain why we NEED half of the stuff they teach us. It makes class so much more interesting.

Ed - Glad you're feeling better.

Just a general announcement that my e-mail is messed up, and I might be a bit slow on responding to e-mails for a few days. If you don't hear from me, never fear, I still like you! (well...)

Gwty - Hey, welcome aboard! I will make it out to the workbook soon and read your part of "As Darkness Descends" soon, and your other story. Be seeing you around...

Goodweed the Elder - I would appreciate that recipe you promised. I made whatchagot soup last night, where I throw in anything that sounds vaguely edible, and it was surprisingly good, considering the ingredients. I had celery and beef gravy and potatoes and noodles and peanut butter in there... don't laugh, it was one of the best stews I have ever made! Sometimes I wish I wrote down my recipes.


Eddie French Sun Feb 21 15:48:14 PST 1999

Hello again all,
I'm back on my feet after a back injury. (Bet you didn't even notice I was away)
I have spent the day getting on with my latest work about the 70's in Northern Ireland. I have just posted the results on to the Novel Workshop. (I think it's going to go past a short.)
I will catch up with the latest discussions later. Just letting you know I'm still here.

Ashling Sun Feb 21 02:07:20 PST 1999

Hi everyone! Too sleepy to write long ... Getting up early for my monthly writers club f-t-f meeting.

Recently discovered the glories of Arthur Rimbaud's poetry. IMHO some are much better than others ... Read ROMANCE last night, which begins "No one is serious at seventeen ..."
Wow! This one I love.

This message is typed on a Compaq brand PC. Since it was given to me practically free, I feel it can do no wrong ...
Almost. : )

JACK --- Thanks for the info & posting help.

Nite-nite all ... Have a wonderous, serene, fun, creative Sunday with the Muse of your choice.

Take care,

Michele Sun Feb 21 00:49:05 PST 1999

Rhoda : It's not a case of thinking I don't do well in Maths - I *KNOW* I don't do well - at 16 I had to redo my Maths O level before I could progress into the last 2 years at school because I failed my Maths O level and was told I needed to pass it to do computing... Guess that now I've given up computing I can forget the Maths, huh ? :-) I can at least do mental arithmetic - which more than most kids or teens can... I just get hopelessly lost on all the other stuff... but as I don't need the other stuff I no longer worry about it... :-)

Casey : What *is* a thesis ? (Just jesting !!)

Anyway I have to go read some poetry and some linguistics for tomorrow's classes... talk to you all later...


Rhoda Sat Feb 20 18:29:27 PST 1999

Math, a subject close to my heart. I have mostly been a mediocre math student, but I always learned all I needed to get me to the next level or to carry me along in my Chemistry training. My brother, on the other hand, had a great gift for math and never struggled with it as much as I did.

It is a little frightening to see how many people here don't think that they do well at math. I never found it that difficult--it was just one of those things I wasn't thrilled to study. But I usually made A's and B's, mostly B's. My good grades never came easy. Sometimes I made an occassional C, but that was only in college. Perhaps the reason that most people here have had so much trouble with math is that writers tend to lean more towards liberal arts and don't have a great interest in math. That certainly is understandable.

I have noticed within my own family and with young people that I have worked with, that many folks go along smoothly in the study of math until they hit a snag in school. My cousin was quite good in math until they accidently stuck her in a remedial program her first year of high school. I really have to wonder if the problems might lie in the instruction of math. Are there just too many teachers out there who either can't teach it or who can't get anyone to be enthusiastic about it?

Many of us here have discussed how there are so many people in college who cannot construct a simple sentence. Unfortunately there are far too many people in college who can't do simple math either. My father, a retired Chemistry professor, found this a problem his last few years of teaching.

Goodweed, the younger, and Casey welcome. Xavier, I love your name. A few months ago I gave it to my hero in a western I tried to write--Don Xavier Fernando Ortega.

"Having is oftentimes not as good as wanting. It is not logical, but I have often found it so." Mr. Spock


Allein Sat Feb 20 18:17:15 PST 1999

Hi all. I know I usually drop in and leave my two cents in the morning on weekends and actually, I was here, I just didn't post. I felt more like watching TV and sleeping. I feel much better than I have, but I've been really tired. It sounds like everyone's well - I hope that's true.

Well, I have to go. I think I'll take a nice hot bath. :)
Bai bai,

"Please tell me why being such a modern guy makes me feel like a bearded girl." - Trent Lane

Goodweed the younger Sat Feb 20 17:27:44 PST 1999

Hiya everyone!
I am Gwty (Goodweed the younger). I'm goodweed's daughter. I am also the auther of the story my dad posted about the freezing of Siberia. I am 12 years old and a seventh grader at my local junior high. I am an honor roll student. I am in advanced math also(basically 7th and 8th grade math in one year). If I had to rate my writing skills on a skale of 1 to 10, I would give myself a 6, better than many, but still having tons of room for improvement. I just thought I should introduce myself in case any of you saw my part in the round robin story "As the Darkness Descends" and were wondering who I was. Hope I can learn lots from everyone.:) <---thats a smily face in case you didn't know(I know my dad didn't!)


Goodweed of the North Sat Feb 20 16:59:59 PST 1999

Lena: Sorry 'bout the age mix-up. You're still impressive. Thomas; Now the schools make us do the nit-picking, anytime some student at school ends up with the nasty little parasite, parents go crazy checking the kids. I'm glad my kids are old enough to take proper precautions now. Vaseline smothers the critters too. I saw it on the news about two weeks ago.

I must now bow out as I have to get supper going. By the way, I have just created a great new multi-grain, oil-free pancake recipe that came out very light and fluffy while remaining moist. Lisa were playing around in the kitchen this morning. I'll share with anyone who wants it (modified just a bit, it would make a great desert crepe recipe to be served with fresh or preserved fruit).

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Casey Sat Feb 20 16:18:55 PST 1999

hiya guys,

On the subject of math, I used to be really good at it, until I reached high school. Then it just got to be a big frustration for me... guess being an art student affects you after a little while. :)

As far as Macs go, I don't really care for them right now. But since I'm a graphic design major who hasn't had a class using the computers yet, I'm not going to swear them off. I know that eventually I'll have to make my peace with the lil devils, because they're the only computers that the school uses for the arts.

Essay writing is definitely important, but it's not really important to any of the art classes that I've taken so far. Art is probably the only subject that is removed from that necessity.

It suprises me that my fellow students have such a limited understanding of essays, research papers, and writing as a whole. I almost laughed when someone asked our teacher what a thesis was... some of them didn't even know how to make an outline.

Kind of makes me appreciate my high school a lot more.

Still it depresses me to think that my personal statement to the college made my own mother cry (something she doesn't do often), and yet I find myself sitting next to someone who can't put a sentance together properly.

well, I have to get work on my final sketch for a project. So, good luck to everyone on their writings. :)

ta ta


Hayden Sat Feb 20 15:24:05 PST 1999

Hi gang

my network keeps dropping out. I'll spend more time with you all soon. Keep writing.

Lena Sat Feb 20 13:55:44 PST 1999

Goodweed - It's calculus as a junior in high school, not junior high, but thank you nonetheless. And I would love to be "introduced" to your daughter - does she write as well?

I seem to be the odd one out on the subject of mathematics. Math is my best subject, and one of my favorite, for some strange reason. 'Tis me. Working out a tough equation and manipulating variables is more of an interesting challenge then the torture most people take it for.

I love my Mac (it is the only computer I write on) but I like the IBM also. I am a double dipper, and mores the power to me!

May the force be with you,

Thomas Sat Feb 20 09:31:14 PST 1999


I can still taste that polio vaccine. And let us never forget the search through our hair for nits. Did you know that olive oil smothers nits? That is why the teacher likely never found any in my hair. I used to use olive oil to keep it silky soft; the stuff was cheaper back then.

The teacher was so disappointed in me not having nits that she made me the cookie monitor, knowing full well she would one day catch me stealing cookies. She hated us little immigrants.

So Howard, you never said what ever happened to the Julian date.


I love my Mac, if only to be that much out from under the claws of B. Gates (I know, he has a piece of Mac too). My wife is a graphic artist -- swears by Mac and she got me hooked.


My sentiments exactly. I am limiting visits starting this week. Got a story I need to write.

Goodweed of the North Sat Feb 20 06:23:15 PST 1999

Leaving!!! May rumors of my departure be laid to rest here and now. I love this place. I have weathered the storms, the flame wars, seen people come and go from this site, watched it grow in both quality and quantity. No, Lena, I can not be gotten rid of so easily. This group is stuck with me. But I still need to do more writing.

Also, I have a straight "A" student in my houselhold who in 7th grade is taking more difficult courses than her 10th grade brother. But calculous in junior high, I am impressed and extremely jealous. Though I understood it well enough, I did miserably on math tests and had to take each of my math courses (especially calculous) twice during my degree program. I was a straight "A" student in all classes not requiring a ton of math. I especialy enjoyed classes which used essay questions on the exams.

I am going to introduce you as a role model, and hopefully, freind to Lisa.

Got to get some writing done now, so;

Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Michele Fri Feb 19 23:41:01 PST 1999

Hi all

Rhoda : thanks very much for your remarks - unfortunately the UK isn't really a land of literary giants any more - a lot of people consider that old hat now... But I continue to walk my own path - I've never been much of a conformist and I'm not going to start now ! :-)

Anyway I must go eat some breakfast (it's 7.40 am if anyone's interested) and then go and get some books from town that I *AM* supposed to read (just for a change !)

Allein - well done ! Maths is my worst subject too !


W. Olivia Race Fri Feb 19 20:52:58 PST 1999

Hi all. Just dropped in to say a quick hello. Been doing mostly editing. Visited my best friend yesterday to compare out recent trials and errors. She is soooo jealous of the fact that I can go online. She is, unfortunately stuck with a Brother notebook wordprocessor that I gave her last year because it was gathering dust since I bought my current model PC. She'd love to pop into an area like this or the Workbook and get more feedback since her husband, like mine, tends to fall asleep during her readings (trust me, it has nothing to do with the quality of her writing or her voice--some people just ain't literary and we seen to have bagged the two most unliterary persons in the universe).

Anyway, she's begging her hubby for a computer because we both had the idea to start our own newsletter. It's still int he research stages. I can't seem to find many resources on how to start a literary newsletter or magazine. Most of the stuff I found in the bookstore and on the net has to do with self publishing novels, not magazines. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

On the writing front, we sat down with this story I started that was only two paragraphs and she started asking me questions about the characters background, motivations, you get it. Suddenly the whole story was in my head and I started writing in my notebood furiously. Its amazing how a few questions can nudge you in the write direction!!! Those darn paragraph had been sitting in my computer for MONTHS and now they are becoming something I think I'll be really proud of in the end.

Thats my long winded contribution for the day. Gotta go. Everybody have a great weekend and....

Good Writing all

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Feb 19 18:40:50 PST 1999

Well, taking a few hints I have archived up to Caroline's aMuseing comments. BTW, just for everyone's edification I personally feel that puns are the highest form of humor especially for writers.

  Lena Fri Feb 19 18:01:25 PST 1999

Hullo all!

On education - I find school very easy, which is sad because I am taking classes several years ahead of the regular junior in high school. I'm your typical straight A student, which is even sadder because I do not study. I have an excellent memory for facts, I write understandably, and I test well. That's about it. Of course, this semester I got a B- in my calculus class because I slacked off on my homework... I have not gotten that low of a grade since sixth grade! Yikes! I was scared to death of showing my parents my grade for calc, but they certainly surprised me by laughing at me. LAUGHING! And they told me I was now normal like the rest of the world! (then they gave me the obligatory they were very disappointed, I needed to work harder, etc... typical parent stuff)

I also learn things because I feel like it. Why not? There is more to the world then what they teach you in school.

Goodweed - I only check this site once every day or so, and it takes up less time that way. I hope you still continue to visit and not disappear completely! And thanks for the compliment on the workbook story... I was a bit iffy on how to handle Tory and Brian and keep it PG!

I was looking through our Compton's Encyclopedia when I came across the following quote on the genre of science fiction I thought everyone might enjoy: "In Europe the genre was taken up by a few authors of exceptional creativity who produced classics still read today. In the United States most science fiction was published in cheap pulp magazines and written by dozens of hack writers for large audiences." Uh-huh!

Snarly - Yup, my poem "Love-Lies-Bleeding" is named after the flower. The poem tells of the death of a girl who loves flowers, so the name seemed appropriate. As I mentioned before, if you want to read it I put it up in the workbook.

"The realist salutes both the sunlight and the shadows"

Goodweed of the North Fri Feb 19 17:13:32 PST 1999

Lena; Love that post on the workbook.
Jack; You have created a living, breathing monster. There is so much action on this sight that I spend more time reading the postings than working on my stories. WOW!!!

I'm going to have to check it less often in order to get some writing accomplished. I'm spending all my time reading. I really need to exercise some self-dicipline. Time is precious and hard to come by. Life demands so much of it between work, family, and church. There isn't much time left. Well, I want everyone to know how valuable your posts are. I have learned much here and expect to learn a great deal more. But I do have to get on with the buisness and pleasure of writing, or else, how can I call myself a writer?

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Allein Fri Feb 19 15:37:13 PST 1999

Well, I passed my classes - one A, 2 B's, 2 C's and a D in math (but it was really the best I could have hoped for). Actually, I'm not too bummed out.

NIE way, better go.
Bai bai,

"You mean...there's a NEW Mexico?"

S.N.Arly Fri Feb 19 14:58:54 PST 1999

Allien - I work at a clinic and you might be surprised how many 12 year olds have sex.

Hootie - I've been playing with Morse code entirely too much. CQD was the original Morse distress signal. CQ = Seek you (anyone, understood). D = Distress. SOS came out during WWI. Which explains why when the Titanic sank they sent CQD rather than SOS.

Lena - Is it named after the plant? A very interesting flower it has, I'll tell you.

Thomas - That's the problem! You're using a Mac!

On education - Guess I don't fit into that set. I did much better in college than HS. I'm an info sponge and found learning about new things fascinating. All that information is now at my disposal for writing stories.

On muses - I'm not talking about writers block, which I consider to be the desire to write that is somehow hampered by an obstacle (creative, mental or otherwise). I'm talking about general writing apathy. The lack of desire to write. The disinterest in even reading your old stuff for edit.

To know, to will, to dare, to keep silent

Howard Fri Feb 19 14:55:05 PST 1999

By the way, Xavier, (and others) youdon't have to hit the "POST" button and wait for the posting screen to come up. Just scroll with the slider bar on the side of the window, right down to the bottom of this page. Voila! There you are!

Howard Fri Feb 19 14:50:21 PST 1999

Re: Y2K and the Good Life -- I’ve been involved with this Y2K thing for several years
now. Remember back in the early 80s when the US Postal Service announced the 9-digit
zip code? The addition of 4 digits threw programmers into a tizzy. This was still in the
times when disk and RAM space was horrendously expensive. We got to talking about the
problem with fixed and limited space, and someone mentioned the 2-digit date field
problem. He had read that someone in government circles (can’t remember his name) had
predicted a serious computer problem that would be caused by the programs’ date
arithmetic having to deal with the 2-digit instead of 4-digit year field. We discussed this at
length, and some of us (myself included) became concerned enough to send memos to
management, asking them if they were aware of this, and what they were going to do
about it. We got told to mind our own business, and that business and programming
strategy was *not* our business. This was from the same company (IBM) whose founder
(T.J.Watson -- one of my heroes, actually) had once made the statement that ‘One or two
[computers] should be enough for the whole country...I see no useful purpose for them
beyond research and government work.’ Business and government leaders knew about
this, but chose to ignore it. Now we’re paying through the nose for it.

Thomas -- Can you say “Duck and Cover?” Tommy Turtle is here to show you how to
protect yourself from the nasty A-bomb! Was *every* grade school at ground zero? I
know mine was -- at least that’s what Mr Pendlebury used to tell us, back in the “Goodle
Days.” ‘Course that was back when we used to stand in line for oral polio vaccine, and
measles shots, and the school sawbones got his jollies looking down the girls’ underwear,
and checking us guys for (horrors!) a hernia! His hands were cold too!

Writing levels in college? While I was a student at our local community college (class of
‘95 thank you very much) I tutored in a remedial English/writing class. One of my tutees
claimed “I don’t have to know how to write, because I’m going to be a programmer.” I
explained to him just how important it was to be able to write the documentation that
went along with his code. He never did get it, and is now probably writing some
indecipherable nightmare destined to be the *next* computer catastrophe after Y2K.

Several: You’re right on about the possible after-affects of the Y2K thing. How many
people know how to obtain and purify water, keep warm without electricity or gas, fix
things that break, etc etc. Like Thomas and I discussed earlier on -- our dependence on,
and indulgence in, technology has isolated us (in this country anyway) from the
“nuts-and-bolts” knowledge needed to keep things going. Perhaps the Y2K thing may turn
out to be a wakeup call for civilization as we know it.

As usual, this is getting overlong, so I’ll sto

Rhoda Fri Feb 19 14:14:47 PST 1999


Hard to imagine that in the land of Keats, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters, Browning, and countless literary giants that people would think you weird for reading for fun. Sounds like the U.S. (Actually after talking to you and Ed, it is frightening to me how much alike our countries really are). I have encountered the same thing you are talking about all my life whether in school, at work, or in church. I suppose there are narrow people in all walks of life.

I was blessed in college with some wonderful professors who fully encouraged and appreciated independant study. Those few, but special individuals more than compensated for the other professors or students that derided such extracurricular pursuits. I think you very fortunate you have at least one instructor who sees your worth, builds you up and praises your efforts. There are probably more who just haven't said it but who think it all the same.

I have also found friends like myself. I even married someone who also reads and learns for fun. I have children whom I pick up from school and a husband whom I argue with on rare occassions, but I still find the time to read and learn what I wish. The only thing I can't do right now that I would like to do is to go back to school. It is just we never lived close enough to a college town to enable me to do so.

Though some think you are weird, Michele, I suspect that most of these folks secretly envy you.

Should I post another wise saying? Why not!

"Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue." Roger C. Anderson


Thomas Fri Feb 19 13:31:19 PST 1999


When the notebook exceeds 125k I also wait a long time to post. Sometimes, I am barred from posting by some vague and useless Netscape error message that freezes my Mac.

A Y2K thought -- or apprehension. Supposing it is true. Supposing my Mac, which Apple claims is Y2K proof, erases all my writing in file on January 1, 2000, and my backup disks are useless because they are dated too.

A blessing or a disaster? Few get the chance in life to start over!!!

Michele Fri Feb 19 13:04:49 PST 1999

Thomas : Well that's one complaint that can't be directed at me - I have twice had a tutor complain about my less-than-techinical terminology (ie I lapsed into a colloquialism !) - do I care ? No ! I may not be writing in a "scholarly" manner but at least everyone can understand every word I write !!

Xavier : No I don't have a problem reaching "post your thoughts" but then I go off-line to read the posts anyway...

As to being berated - you're under a misapprehension - no-one has ever berated me for reading outside of the set texts - but fellow students do think I'm weird - but as that's a normal reaction from others to me, I don't take much notice... One of my tutors actually thinks I am brilliant and is convinced of the future fame that will attend my career (!) She has already mapped out my future career for me... :-) I don't think most of my tutors are aware of how much extra reading I do - but I doubt that they'd comment if they were aware... the comments about the weird/extra things I read came from a college librarian and some fellow students - most of whom are simply too lazy to read anything extra - although admittedly most of the mature students (ie mums) are too busy to do extra reading - I am in the luxurious position of having no-one but myself to think about, and so can read whilst the mums are collecting kids from school, supervising homework or bath-times, or arguing with their spouses (spice ?!) about who is going to use the computer next !

A couple of my friends envy me having the time to do so much extra reading... and someone told me today I was lucky to be able to begin reading for an essay that's not due to be handed in for another 3 weeks - but I like to work on ONE essay at a time, so I start good and early to allow reading and drafting time before I have to submit the essay... And as I always read right round a subject before attempting a first draft, I need at least 3 weeks !

Anyway I ought to go read up on William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience" for this essay...



Casey Fri Feb 19 11:38:36 PST 1999

Hi everyone,

I just recently stumbled on to this webpage in a lonely search for fellow writers. I've been letting my skills stagnate a little too much since I started college, and was just looking for a swift kick to the butt to start me moving again. And what I kick it was! Are you on steriods?? The past week I've done more writing than I did all last semester.

Thank you all for your help, and some time in the future, I hope to return the favor. >:)

Luv, luck and lolipops


Xavier Fri Feb 19 10:53:16 PST 1999

Hello again.

First I would like to ask: does it take everyone a really long time to reach the 'Post Your Thoughts' screen, or is it the network I'm on? It usually takes 2 or 3 min.
Next, I would like to comment about creative people being beraited by Teachers, Professors, and so on. I think its a sin that these 'educated' people look down so on any extra reading, writing or general interests you might persue outside of class, just becouse it was not assigned! I find their lack of grasp revolting, and find it hard to understand how they can think along such lines. Fortunatly, at the college I attend I have not encountered any such problems, despite my being enrolled in in a technicial degree. I simple do not try to discuss my passion for writing with my electricity theory teacher, as his realm of understanding,( as bright as he is) might not encompass it.
My english teacher, however, has taken a liking to my work, and encourages my efforts inside and outside of class. To find that other teachers truly believe and teach the idea that you should only do whats required of you in life and no more, is scary. Don't they realize that the mind is a very flexable muscle, and that it must be flexed in a variety of ways in order to fully increase it's ability? Perhaps it has been so long since they have flexed thier's that they have lost the ability to do it anymore. I hope you dont allow them to pull you into the same trap.


Thomas Fri Feb 19 06:47:31 PST 1999

Funny thing, when I was in school I did better in high school than in college. In college I discovered that the higher education system seemed merely a higher system of removal from reality.

In my work I often produce newsletters for small businesses. One business asks a particular guy to write about his department in each issue. He is an ex-college English teacher. His writing is aboslutely deplorable -- loaded with a passive, standoff-ish writing style of college professors and textbooks. The guy goes nuts when I edit his sentences into understandable prose. He says I make it too simple. Imagine that. He wants others to find his writing difficult to understand. That, in a nutshell, is how I felt about higher education: difficult to understand.

Y2K! It seems every generation has its brand of apocalypse facing it. When I was a boy we had to crawl under our desks in grade school to "drill" into us the fear that the bomb was on its way, while adults built elaborate underground shelters.

In my adolescence the end of the world was coming from the "Yellow Hordes" and so we engineered the Vietnam fiasco.

In the seventies nuclear power plants were scheduled to blow up every twenty minutes; I distinctly remember people in New York City planning escape routes after the Three Mile Island meltdown.

Now we have Y2K. The thing about Y2K that really bothers me is the problem has been known and discussed among computer programmers and designers for the past two generations. Crisis management groups now reap huge financial rewards for deciding to fix it at the last minute.

What ever happened to the Julian Date?

Michele Fri Feb 19 04:03:35 PST 1999


Hootie... thanks ! I like that a lot ! Most definitely it was a case of baffling with my BS this time !

Toby... I thought it was just me that did that ! One of the college librarians remarked the other week on the weird things I read (she's been keeping tabs on me ??!!) And I thought "What weird things ?" - I was borrowing Aristotle's "Poetics" at the time - seemed perfectly sensible to me to read that before I started my "Introduction to Poetry" course - just because no-one told me to read it, was no excuse not to... ! (Mind you the Intro. to Poetry course is a bit belated for someone who's been reading poetry for at least 2/3 of their life but that's another matter !)

I am always lugging books home from the library that no-one has told me to read (I *HATE* being told I have to read a book anyway !) And what happens - my tutors all comment on the fact that I have a good writing style.... well given how many books I have read in my lifetime (therefore I know good - and bad - writing when I read it), I find this unsurprising - they don't !

I was actually told the other day (when I commented on the fact that all my tutors have made this remark about my writing style) that some undergraduates can't even write grammatically correct sentences, spell or punctuate properly (which doesn't say much for the school system for 5-18 year olds !). When we were collecting our essays yesterday some students found their mark had been withheld because the tutor wanted them to go to a class on how to write, and then to re-write their essay... !

I find that sad... not least because the college is actually prepared to admit students who cannot write properly... I know not everyone finds writing easy but for a college to admit students who cannot put a sentence together properly is a tad worrying ! After all writing essays is a core skill for almost every subject... actually probably every subject...

Anyway so long as I baffle them with my BS I should get decent marks for my English essays - History ones are a lot less complicated !


Caroline Heske Fri Feb 19 01:34:26 PST 1999

Wow! I go away for a few days, come back, and find that a whole lot of you are coming to visit me in Melbourne. (Okay Jai, I admit it, the impression of the whole lot of you being creations of my computer is fairly strong at times).

Mmm... I wonder what's on in June in Melbourne (besides a lot of unpredictable but largely drizzly weather?).

Muses: My Muse has never been a person - as soon as I get to know anyone vaguely well enough, one or the other of us seems to pack up and move cities and we lose contact. Perhaps that's why I write so much... it's really easy to put your writing in a suitcase and take it with you. Can your writing be your muse? Can a character be your muse? (Is this aMuseing? *ouch* *wince* Sorry! Sorry! I didn't really write that, did I? Okay... well SOMEONE had to say it... No? Oh, well.)

Return to or Writers Notebook