Archived Messages from March 5, 1999 to March 9, 1999

Caroline Heske Tue Mar 9 22:07:25 PST 1999

Allein - I did once steal all my sister's barbies and rip them apart because she wouldn't play with me. I'd never play with dolls - I think this was less because of any early feminist drive than that I was scared of them. They seemed to me so clinical. I reacted the same way to my little pony. I think it was the plastic/rubber stuff they were made out of. I did, however, have an enormous affinity for dinosaurs (well, I don't see how the scientist KNOW they weren't coloured royal blue with golden stars and rainbow striped tails). You know, this was the BIG stuff. Who wanted a unicorn when you could smite the un-[insert cause here] with a T-Rex? Perhaps it wasn't the plastic, perhaps it was my friends' devotion to these little ineffectual lumps? (Then again, maybe not - with 6yo wisdom I approved of lego, teddy-bears, and baby dragons)

W. Olivia Tue Mar 9 19:46:25 PST 1999

Hi all. Stopping in briefly to see how my vitual pals are doing. I have been alternatively drafting my short story in my brain (don't ask) and reading. I am in a restless, goofy mood and the energy I had this weekend has dissipated.

I still haven't quite figured out chat but will try tomorrow anyway...

Anyway, good writing all.

"We only come out at night, the days are much too bright" (Smashing Pumpkins)

Casey Tue Mar 9 18:23:21 PST 1999

Hi all,

Just stopping in for my daily visit before I'm forced to go sketch my life away in order the please the Color Nazi (aka my Color Theory teacher who wants 5 sketches for our project tomorrow. )

hmm... there's nothing much new in what I referr to as a life. Just work work work... I haven't had the time to sit down and write since Saturday. :( All the ideas are getting cramped up, and the pressure's starting to build. I'm going to have to release it some time soon, or else my head'll explode. And that might just ruin my whole week.

My religion class today actually ended on an fairly interesting topic, for once. We're "learning" about Christianity at the moment, and my professor brought up the topic of miracles. We had a little group discussion about the faith involved, and the skeptcism... which ended up in a conversation between my friend Nancy and I on the way back to the dorms. Personally, I'm very open-minded to the idea. I've never seen a bonified religious miracle, but I won't tell someone that they don't exist. My lack of faith has nothing to do with the truth of the matter. Anyways, I consider the smallest things to be miracles in their own rights. So who am I to act like I'm better than a woman who sees the image of the virgin mary in a tree stump? To each his own... and anything is possible.

Well, I must leave you all now. Now now, don't cry... I'll be back tomorrow to see what's shakin'

tu de looo


"The mind's eye can nowhere find anything more dazzling or more dark than in man; it can fix itself upon nothing which is more aweful, more complex, more mysterious or more inifite." - Victor Hugo

Lena Tue Mar 9 17:19:26 PST 1999

Oh, and Casey, thank you for the information on shoe-dreaming. It was interesting, even though (like you) I am not sure I really trust this stuff. That part about dreaming of feet as being "sexy" was... well!

Those feet - who would have guessed?

Lena Tue Mar 9 17:13:32 PST 1999

Hullo all,

Agsousa - Sorry your, ah, smash crashed. Last year Mat died on me and I just about had a heart attack because I had no backup disks on anything I had written. (Mat is the name of my computer... oops, I mean smash!) Luckily none of my files were lost and I quickly made copies of all my stories as soon as he was better.

Yes, yes. I realize it sounds odd to have such a relationship with your computer (Smash! I meant to say smash!), but he's my Mat and I was near hysterical when he flickered his screen at me and fell over unconscious. Made me wish I knew computer CPR... so I quickly called 911 (a friend) and loudly and fervently insisted my computer had died. We got him into surgery, finally, and the problem was diagnosed as a bad power source... he hadn't been eating well. Sometimes I get the funny feeling that I'm married to that computer... he certainly annoys me enough at times, although at other times its pure love. I've written all my stories on Mat, he and my muse get along quite well.

I hope you did not lose anything permanently, Agsousa.

Staying on the death, illness, and dying subject (I love talking of cheerful things), the commotion caused by my posting that I did not feel well made me wonder what would happen if something really DID happen to one of us. I doubt anybody I know would think to inform my online friends of my untimely demise - not that I'm, uh, planning on it, but well... you know. Sometimes only knowing someone through the smash has its drawbacks, and the dis-connection to real life would be one of them. Shadows in a dream, indeed.


Litter Tue Mar 9 16:11:56 PST 1999

Hi all,

I am alive if only barely. SNArly - I've just ordered Dragon Point and Speak as it is compatible with AOL (and they have it on offer just now) and my fingers have nearly given out on me, Still this one is cheap and I'd still like your opinion if you get any such like program.

One of these days I'm gonna be able to read some of the Workbook postings.

Had a goodly conversation with Rhoda on ICQ a few days ago and it worked fine. I'll probably try to make the Wednesday meeting, althought it will be thursday for me at 1.00 am and early to mid afternoon in Oz.

Until then y'all be good now.


A tiger without teeth can still give you a bad suck.

S.N.Arly Tue Mar 9 13:56:21 PST 1999

Jack - Could go with GMT, that's what ham radio operators have been using for years. Then it is just a case of everyone adding or subtracting the hours to their own zone to determine local time.

Agsousa/Amerigo - Sorry to hear about your smash crash. Hope you get everything back up soon.


Jack Beslanwitch Tue Mar 9 13:29:46 PST 1999

Thomas: Yes, I had heard about swatch, but had not really explored it until you mentioned it. If anyone is interested you can find information about it and the actual conversion software at However, I have to say that I would have preferred something that would have done a simple conversion rather than coming up with a whole new time mechanism. Still, it is intriguing.

agsousa Tue Mar 9 11:43:10 PST 1999


"At first I liked to think of them as characters in a book of fiction. But then I realized they were rather like shadows in a dream. Faceless, wavering outlines composed of ideas and words, never resolving to form a complete picture, but clinging to their tenacious existence in my mind. Have you ever danced with a shadow? Well, I have. Countless times. The bodies that I, three times a week, lead as graciously as the art of tango permits, through rooms of music and the smell of loneliness desguised as learning lust, are just shadows, indeed, just a little more real than the figures I see on the television, but perhaps less real than the words my friends in America write in a notebook which will slowly be transformed into a book of fiction. What's reality, after all?"

agsousa Tue Mar 9 10:07:09 PST 1999

I've just read this page very quickly. I found two or three interesting texts for "Shadows in a Dream". Two of them by Anonymous (it could be me, actually, but I think it was Perry), one by Thomas (the menu for the dinner — exactly what we want: life, everyday life is great book stuff), Allein's usual pearls of everyday observation — actually we need a more developed description of your party, but we'll invent it ourselves — and a quick sentence by Lena, who has shown she has understood the spirit of the thing. And so has Perry. We have the plot and the outline in our minds. However, for the sake of concreteness, I'll write it here soon (if I manage to get connected, that is.) Stay tuned and do not procrastinate (too much). Now I'm going to read the archives.
Ashling: I have nothing else to show now. I had two more chapters of Alexander's Betrothal ready for posting, but they have been wiped out in the most recent crash. It's funny how many people had computer problems over the week end. Well, it's a terrible experience. I lost work of years: about 500Mb of "works in progress", and many programs: "Quark Express", for instance. And the problem is that I have books and CD-Roms and diskettes and pieces of papers in a complete disorder, everywhere, even under the bed. I wish I had never bought a computer. I miss my old Remington.

PS. I can only connect to the internet via an external Hard Drive with an older system!

Lena Tue Mar 9 09:53:42 PST 1999

Just saying hello. I will be checking in the chat room periodically during the next hour or so, please drop in and chat for a few minutes if you can.

Stayin’ alive,

agsousa Tue Mar 9 09:17:55 PST 1999

Hello, everybody!

I lost you! When clean installing my smash, 500Mb of files and programs, including fevorites and bookmarks, were wiped from the hard drive. And now I'm having trouble to use all my browsers and I'm constantly being disconnected. I haven't read any messages yet. Our Shadows in a dream are probably finished by now. I'll try to publish this post and come back if I can.

Rachel Tue Mar 9 08:54:24 PST 1999

Hey all

SKS - I knew it was you. If it hadn't been I would have been very surprised.

Take care all


Michele Tue Mar 9 08:40:25 PST 1999

Ooops ! Sorry that last post was mine... !


Tue Mar 9 08:39:37 PST 1999

Hi there...

SKS Perry

You weren't the person I had pegged for the second Anonymous posting - congratulations on fooling me !

I had a less-than-successful day doing my fieldwork... I got rained out whilst trying to sketch a couple of buildings... Sighs I'm getting just a little tired of getting wet lately !

And I ran out of time trying to find the reports I wanted in the microfilmed local paper...

Oh well there's always tomorrow...


I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
-- Galileo Galilei

Thomas Tue Mar 9 06:54:54 PST 1999

Well, I was wrong about the second anonymous. Now why did I admit that? I could have said I knew all along it was SKS. Actually, I thought it was one of two others. But, lying to my cyber frineds seems more difficult than lying on my resume to strangers.

Jerry Lee,

Speaking of lying on resumes, which I really don't do, I am a college dropout -- completed two years under the GI bill, and then decided the first thing I would have on college graduation would be a massive debt, so I quit. Before departing, howver, I got some good writing training and of course, I read a lot (important to be a writer).

The point is, I have been published in national magazines, and write for a number of newspapers. You do not need an education, you just need to know how to write well. The one thing school has yet to do is to make somebody talented -- it does have a way of reversing the process, however, if you aren't careful.

Michele, SKS, others who check out Java Chat,

I have talked alone on thing nearly every day since we got it on the board. Quite interesting things I have to say to myself, none got me anywhere though. Would love to caht at 2 today, SKS, but I happen to have an appointment. My usual check-in time is 4 EST. That is when I finish my work.


Have you heard of the Swatch time? It is an Internet time standard that is set so that anyone, anywhere in the world has the same reference point. I mean to look up the site, but haven't had the chance yet. Swatch is a clockmaker, I believe Swiss. I read about it in the Sunday NY Times.

S.K.S. Perry Tue Mar 9 05:16:23 PST 1999

Hey All,

If anyone's interested, I usually check out the Java Chat everyday about 2:00pm EST.

I got another rejection yesterday for "Shadow Side of God." Hopefully I'll mail it out today to another publisher. I think that's three rejections for that one.

S.N. Arly, I received your story and will get back to you on it soon. Thanks for the opportunity to read some of your work.

Michele, I confess, I submitted the anonymous "Notebook."

Be Well, Live Well.

Michele Mon Mar 8 23:18:04 PST 1999

Hi all,

Here I am - it's 7am (no one has emailed me overnight) so I am sitting at the PC reading your posts and wondering whether the weather will brighten enough to allow me to take photos later (for a local history project for college) and considering how I am going to spend 2 hours staring at a microfilm reader whilst I research the history of a WW1 memorial (for another college project)... such an exciting life that I lead...

Anyhow, I don't think you lot should be encouraging me to talk to myself - people think I am weird enough as it is...

Anyone know where Toby is lately ? Haven't heard a peep out of him... and is someone going to 'fess up to being our second Anonymous writer ?

Oh well, better go get some breakfast...


Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
-- Albert Einstein

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Mar 8 22:44:34 PST 1999

      I was listening to NPR (National Public Radio) on the road as I was picking Fran up from work and crawling back on I-5. And I have to say I am a relatively passive driver with an aggressive edge in terms of speed when the opportunity presents itself. This comes of learning to drive in Montana where the speed was safe and prudent and the average speed of the cars going between Laurel and Billings, Montana, was 93 miles an hour.

      To my point, at any rate, Garrison Keeler of Prairy Home Companion fame was talking about his current book, a spoof on Governor the Body Ventura of Minnesota. At any rate he made a quote that I absolutely loved in reference to dropping a writing project that was going nowhere to pick this one up.

Writers crave interruptions

As soon as he said it I had to just laugh and say yes, yes, yes, yes, don't we all. Take care everyone and welcome to the new people.

Allein Mon Mar 8 21:54:20 PST 1999

Hi all,
Just dropped on in to read the posts. Lemmie see, don't really think I've been doing anything interesting lately. I'm working on a poem called "Crimson River" and I'll post it in the workbook when I'm finished. Actually, it's for my story. When Allein is in the hospital again, Rean comes to cheer him up by reading some of his cousin's poetry (Kachik is not happy when she finds out).

Anyway, lemmie see, anything else. Oh yeah, how many of you played with Barbie when you were little. Yep, guilty as charged. I collect them now (I've kept them in surprisingly good condition - well, except for Totally Hair Barbie, who is not not Totally Hair Barbie - oops!) and just realized that she is turning forty this year. I saw a very interesting TV show about it last night and an interesting fact is that if Barbie were a real person, she couldn't even live because she'd be 5' 10" and only weigh about 90 lbs. Her bust would be only 33" (contrary to popular opinion), her waist only 18" (about the measurment of a toddler's), her hips 30" (she couldn't even consider having children), and her feet 5" (small enough to fit into a size 4 toddler's shoe). Anyway, I just thought that was rather interesting and no one else I know was interested, but I thought that was kinda cool so I decided to share it with you.

Well, anyway, I'll stop taking up valuable space and work on my homework. :)
Bai bai,

Jeff England Mon Mar 8 20:04:21 PST 1999

Hello everyone,

Thanks for the welcome.

First off, Good Weed: On your story theory, I seem to remember reading something not too long ago on that very subject. I think it was in Science Digest (or maybe Popular Science, I'm not exactly sure). A couple of scientests did not think that the universe's expasion was omni-directional but on a twin axis. I'm not exactly sure on the exact theory or anything, but it might be worth checking out. I think the article was about a year old or so, and I haven't really heard anything else on it, so maybe it was disproven.

Lena: Before this notebook was more or people responding to Jack's questions (which wasn't bad, by any means). Where as now it's more like holding a conversation with friends. I tend to like this format better, especially with such civil people.

I am currently on yet another rewrite of my story (some of which has been posted here somewhere). I'm just worried it maybe getting too long, especially for a first book. I've heard publishers don't like taking big project for new authors.


Jerry Lee Mon Mar 8 19:23:25 PST 1999

I somehow got the impression that the literary world was like the rest of society; if you're poor, stop trying.

It heartens me to see the responses teresting and no one else I know was interested, but I thought that was kinda cool so I decided to share it with you.

Well, anyway, I'll stop taking up valuable space and work on my homework. :)
Bai bai,

Jeff England Mon Mar 8 20:04:21 PST 1999

Hello everyone,

Thanks for the welcome.

First off, Good Weed: On your story theory, I seem to remember reading something not too long ago on that very subject. I think it was in Science Digest (or maybe Popular Science, I'm not exactly sure). A couple of scientests did not think that the universe's expasion was omni-directional but on a twin axis. I'm not exactly sure on the exact theory or anything, but it might be worth checking out. I think the article was about a year old or so, and I haven't really heard anything else on it, so maybe it was disproven.

Lena: Before this notebook was more or people responding to Jack's questions (which wasn't bad, by any means). Where as now it's more like holding a conversation with friends. I tend to like this format better, especially with such civil people.

I am currently on yet another rewrite of my story (some of which has been posted here somewhere). I'm just worried it maybe getting too long, especially for a first book. I've heard publishers don't like taking big project for new authors.


Jerry Lee Mon Mar 8 19:23:25 PST 1999

I somehow got the impression that the literary world was like the rest of society; if you're poor, stop trying.

It heartens me to see the responses to my query, Thank you. I asked the right group.

When you wake up in the morning thinking of your story and drift to sleep with variations of character points coursing through your mind, it's necessary at some point to write it all down, and now it seems less futile. I appreciate it.

"Come down from your fences, open the gate..."
The Eagles

Jerry Lee

W. Olivia Mon Mar 8 18:48:38 PST 1999

Hi all. So hard to drag myself back to work after being
locked in all weekend. Traffic did not help. The main roads were clear but traffic CRAWLED. I am not a patient driver.

I started a new short story that doesn't quite know where it's going (story of my life). Scary, but I look at what I've written sometimes and go 'where the heck did THAT come from?'

Jerry Lee: No sheepskin required, just a thick hide and a love for what you're doing.

Michele: I talk to myself all the time. I even answer myself on occasion. I think thats the only reason I have a private office at work!

Goodweed: Huh. No, seriously, the science of your theory sounds solid, but then Harlan Ellison I ain't.

Lena: Glad you feel better.

And now I have to go. The story I'm writing is dying to get out!

Good writing all...

S.N.Arly Mon Mar 8 18:41:37 PST 1999

Jaaaaack, Save Me!

I've misplaced the workbook address. Again. I think I still have my pasword and stuff, but not the URL. I know I promised I would keep better track of it, but then we wiped our drive and reloaded and I can't quite find my old bookmarks. Hate that.


"The D and the A and the M and the N, and the D and the A and the I-O-N, lose your face, lose your name. Then be fitted for eternal flame."
Squirrel Nut Zippers

Goodweed of the North Mon Mar 8 18:39:43 PST 1999

Has everyone forgot the round-robin stories? No one has posted on them for quite some time. They are both getting interesting. The plots are just starting to emerge in both. Though I bow to Jack as proprietor of these sites, I invite all to jump in. The water is fine. If you are lurking out there, Hayden, I would love to write with you on either story. That goes for everyone else too.

I thank you for the sugestion that the universe in my story is open to my interpretation. I will give its description my best shot, then post to the workbookfor critique. I promise that I will once again peruse the wrokbook and offer my own humble opinion in an effort to aid others as you have done for me.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Mar 8 17:24:55 PST 1999

OK, I will set one of the times for potential chats in the chat room. Starting on Wednesday, I will attempt to be in place in the chat room starting around 5:00 PM Pacific Standard Time. I am not sure how that breaks out re GMT or any of the Australian time zones. But, at least I will try to be a bit of a magnet to collect around. Tonight and tomorrow I have other things filling up my time.

Hootie Mon Mar 8 15:49:11 PST 1999

Well, I managed to fascinate a couple of friends with a synopsis of the story I’m working on right now. That gives me hope that I’ve got a good story. Who knows, maybe I’ll even post a couple of chapters soon.

Lena—I don’t think you need to try any harder. You worried everyone enough for a few months.

Goodweed—I was beginning to wonder if you’re kids had finally driven you over the edge. Instead I see it was a lot of pondering on the nature of the universe that did it. But as for your idea, I agree with SNArly: you’re biggest problem is not with the physics, but with getting it into the story without making your readers’ eyes glaze. But I think you can pull it off.

Michele—Talking to yourself isn’t a problem. Even answering yourself can be excused. It’s when you get bored with the conversation and start looking for ways of excusing yourself without being rude—now that’s a problem!

Jerry—Welcome to the Notebook! And as far as needing a college education... well, editors want a lot of strange things it seems, but a diploma (from any institution) is not one of them. If you can read and write, you can be a writer. I think the only requirement is stubbornness and a strong desire to tell a story.

The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.
—Robert Benchley

Jerry Lee Mon Mar 8 15:39:37 PST 1999

Hi, y'all.
As an aspiring writer speaking to anyone at all with an opinion, could you tell me how big a part that education and credentials play in the publishing process?
Having a somewhat turbulent and less than wealthy background, I am among the vast majority of people who could not catch a break as far as education is concerned. Barely graduating high school, college was simply out of the question, but this does not lessen my need to put on paper those things which I feel should be shared.
Can you tell me, honestly if a guy without sheepskin has a chance of getting published?, or should I just curl up and await the inevitable?
Thanks..Jerry Lee

Michele Mon Mar 8 13:28:34 PST 1999

Shucks !

For the second time I've wandered into the Chat Room to find myself alone... I talk to myself all the time - I don't need to be online to do it....

Sigh ! Some you win....


The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
-- Alan Kay

Casey Mon Mar 8 12:55:28 PST 1999

Hi all,

:) Classes are out of the way for the day, so I decided to stop in and see how everyone's doing.

Lena- I hope that you're feeling all right, and that you're healthy. I looked up shoes, and feet in a dream dictionary, to see what us loosing our shoe's means. I'll email you the results of my search.

Xavier- Do you realize that we're both in the Albany area?? You're over at HVCC, right? A few friends of mine go there too. What are you majoring in?

I should go get to sketching out ideas for my next unit project in Color Theory.

Til next time, good luck, good health, and good writing


"Although I don't spook easily, it has occured to me, transformation's in the air. Are the heavens conspiring to show me this new thing or has it always been there?"

- Squirrel Nut Zippers (they're a band, for those of you who haven't heard of them)

Lena Mon Mar 8 12:21:51 PST 1999


I am sorry for worrying everyone - I feel much better. I don't know what it was yesterday, but I felt completely dead and awful. I went to sleep right after dinner, but when I woke up this morning I felt like my usual self. And I don't think that had anything to do with my sister fainting, she fainted from a combination of dehydration and locking her knees (aka restricting her blood flow). So, whatever it was, I am recovered and very much alive. (sorry to disappoint, I'll try harder next time!)

But, um,thank you very much for your concern. (blushes) I always feel embarrassed when sick, it bothers me when people make a fuss over you, but still thank you for caring.

Jeff - Out of curiosity, what did you mean by the notebook being more 'personable' lately? Just wondering...

Goodweed - Your physics certainly sounds plausible enough, good luck with the story.

This Anonymous thing is getting interesting!

Michele Mon Mar 8 09:54:17 PST 1999

Hi gang !

Hello Jeff - lurkers are welcome to become contributers... that's how I started here too - stumbled by one day and read and laughed and came back again, and eventually began contributing my 2 cents worth...

Lena - I hope you are well - sounded to me a bit like the onset of flu...

Thomas - hmm... not sure - I knew it wasn't yours because it's not the same style - I can think of someone whom it might be....

C'mon Anonymous - 'fess up ! Thomas did !

Anyway I've recovered from last week's blues (thankfully) but I had the most wearisome morning... on a Monday I have two 2-hour classes back-to-back - so I go from 9.15 am to 1.15 pm without a break - I don't even get a change of air because both classes are in the same room (unusually)... First class is "Language, Culture & Society", an interesting mix of linguistics, psychology, sociology and something called human geography... but this morning was wearisome as the speaker (not our usual lecturer) could not make up his mind what he was trying to say - it was a bit like listening to a lecture in French (my French is not good !) - I had to really concentrate to follow all his parentheses and tangents... and he could not stand or sit still whilst he was speaking - also tiring !

This was followed by my "Introduction to Poetry" class - which is also interesting as a general rule - but for some reason this morning we went at a break-neck speed through all these various varieties of sonnets... and there was not enough time to think about each one carefully... and on top of my previous 2 hour class, it proved mind-numbingly wearying - I staggered out in a state of acute hunger and wanting fresh air...

Anyway I feel better now... but I must bend my mind round Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience and how they demonstrate the 2 contrary states of the human soul !

Yeah right !

Must go - by for now....


People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
-- George Bernard Shaw

Xavier Mon Mar 8 09:52:02 PST 1999

Hello y'all:\

Just thought I'd drop a quick note, and thank all the responses I recieved to my query. I also feel that to write well you must read alot. As for formal training, I think I will wait for now, and see how I fare in the editor's eyes.
Well, have to go take a test now, see you soon.


S.K.S. Perry Mon Mar 8 08:21:45 PST 1999

Oops, Sorry. That last post was mine.

Mon Mar 8 08:19:10 PST 1999

Hey all,

S.N. Arly, the best way is to e-mail me and send the story as an attatchment. Of course, if you post the story to the workbook, that works fine too, and you'll probably get more feedback from it that way. Either way is good for me.

Be well, Live Well.

P.S. Has anyone heard from Lena? - that last post worried me and it was from last night.

S.N.Arly Mon Mar 8 07:35:54 PST 1999

Wow. Gone a weekend, and there really weren't too many posts. Normally I feel like I've been away for eons

SKS - Oh, no problem. No problem at all. I think I'm probably in need of some feedback, because I'm apparently missing whatever's wrong with Street Level. Would it be better to post it here, e-mail it to you as a file, or include it in the text of an e-mail? I use WP 8.0. And for feedback I'm happy to be as accommodating as possible. It's SF, with medium to light SF elements, and sort of dark.

W. Olivia - More consumers need to be like you. Loyalty shmoyalty.

Goodweed - Uuuuh... unfortunately cosmic physics is not my strong point. Usually if you can give a reasonable explanation (which you did, but in the story you'll want to be sure it doesn't come off as an info dump) you'll even keeps the physicists happy, since most of this stuff is theory anyway.

Jack - OUCH!

Jeff - Lurking before posting is good, I commend you on your common sense. Welcome, and feel free to jump into the fory at any time. We don't really bite. Well not hard anyway.


Thomas Mon Mar 8 06:20:51 PST 1999


Everything ok? Hope so. SKS gives good advice.


Come back whenever you feel like doing so, and don't settle for ten years -- try hard and cut the time in half.


So, who's the second anonymous? It was not this fellow. I have two guesses in my head -- that is all the room I have in there right now.

Later all -- I have writing to do, as in work.

Allein Sun Mar 7 19:00:15 PST 1999

Hiya all,
I just got back from the movies. I saw "She's All That" and it was pretty good. I like Rachel Leigh Cook - she's a good actress. I especially like the end of the movie - those of you who saw it know what I'm talking about. It hit a little close to home though, since I'm kind of an outcast at my school - but at least I'm accepted and (somewhat) understood here. :)

Well, I'll post here later - all that popcorn made me kinda sick.
Bai bai,

Jeff England Sun Mar 7 16:42:57 PST 1999

HI all,

I haven't really posted here a lot, but I have been around, lurking for some time. It seems this place has gotten a lot more personable of late, which is a very good thing.

My name is Jeff England, and I have been writing fantasy for some time. I don't have anything published, but I keep plodding on anyway. I guess if stubbornness counts for anything I may have it made-say in ten years or so.

Anyway, just thought, I'd drop a line to say "hi" to everyone.


Jack Beslanwitch Sun Mar 7 15:28:23 PST 1999

W.Olivia: I posted your story up on the Workbook. It was a bit strange, the server had an initial problem posting even for me, but I tried it again and worked fine.

For the other Workbook critiquers out there, I am sure the author would delight in all your insights.

S.K.S. Perry Sun Mar 7 15:11:38 PST 1999


Why did your sister faint? If you have a headache and have trouble concentrating, isn't it possible that you may faint also, and that there is some common cause? I hope you are not alone, and that you have someone check you out immediately. Set our minds at ease and take care of yourself, and keep us informed.

Be Well.

Lena Sun Mar 7 14:54:03 PST 1999

I am in a strange mood. Don't know... my family went to an outdoor show today and my sister fainted, I caught her and sat there with her head in my lap while the security people all swarmed around in confusion, trying to find a nurse. When we got home I went outside and shoveled snow for an hour in a t-shirt and jeans because I felt like it. Now my head hurts and I am having trouble concentrating. I tried to read a book and could not concentrate on the words, so I started some laundry and decided to check the notebook. And here I am.


Anonymous Sun Mar 7 12:43:30 PST 1999

I am the Notebook. Without me you are but as ghosts to one another. Ethereal wisps of consciousness without focus or form. I am as Stonehenge, a nodal point for the lines of power that originate in the hearts and minds of those who strive to impart what wisdom they may. I am the culmination of many, and as such entertain all of your strengths and weaknesses. How much more human can one be?

I can be whimsical; I can be sarcastic. I may educate, or merely entertain. I am a voice lost in a gale wind of injustice, or a scalpel excising the malignant tumor of ignorance. I am as real as any of you, for who among you will not miss me when I am gone, and remember me fondly.

Michele Sun Mar 7 12:03:08 PST 1999

HI !


I didn't guess at the time that I read it that you were the author - it was only on thinking about it late last night that I twigged... I was sitting here thinking of who it might have been, and suddenly guessed it was you... I don't know how I guessed - sixth sense I think... When I am very tired I develop a startling telepathy/intuition - I think the most vivid remembrance of its working is embodied in a little incident some 15 months ago, when I was still working... I was in the office with a colleague, it wasn't yet 8 am and her phone rang... she wondered aloud who it could be, and I very casually said "That'll be Jim"... she picked the phone up, said hello and then looked at me in utter amazement... finally she said into the phone "Jim, that's incredible !" He must have asked what she was referring to because she then told him what had just happened... It was quite weird - my colleague was in awe of me for the rest of the day... I just *knew* by a 6th sense who it would be... I think that when I am mentally and physically exhausted my 6th sense kicks in - as much to preserve me from harm as anything else...

Oh and don't let the thought of me guessing stop you from almost loving me (only almost ?!) grins - if calling you brilliant is all it takes.....

Anyway I have to go read some Shakespeare sonnets for my poetry class tomorrow - I only hopped online to see if anyone had emailed me - they hadn't - Sundays are *such* a quiet day for email !



Life is what happens to us while we're making other plans.
-- John Lennon

Casey Sun Mar 7 11:18:05 PST 1999

Alas, my spring break is over. No more free food, and laundry... no more showering without flip-flops... no more sleeping til noon, and writing whenever the mood struck me. Excuse me while I cry into my keyboard, causing it to malfunction, and ultimately loose one of my more important writing tools.

My roommate left her frog Chloe here. I'm surprised that she survived with no food, and very little water to swim in. She's a resiliant little creature. Got to respect that natural will to survive. Another few days and she might've been a goner.

Thomas- Good job with the Primary Color's piece. Really inspired. :)

Goodweed- The universe's collapse seems very plausable to me... are you going to post the finished product? I used to read scifi all the time, but now I've crossed over more into fantasy work.

Anyways... I have to book it. Someone wants me to send them my cartoon self portrait, so I can't dautle around here much longer.

Catch ya on the flip side


"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."
- J. R. R. Tolkien

Thomas Sun Mar 7 11:13:22 PST 1999


How did you know I wrote it? Am I transparent? I admit to having hung on your description of it as "brilliant." I think I loved you. But now that I know you knew...

Sunday here, and after a second snow storm I am in the house trying to determine if I want to do anything other than read the NY Times, which I just finished doing. I think I am going to spend the day frivolously revising the 200 selections in my 1956 jukebox. Always makes me fee young when I play with the juke.

Forget worrying about the third crash; mine did so a few weeks ago. I lost the complete contents of an external drive I use as back up. Luckily, cynic that I am, and old hand at the vagaries of computer life, I maintain two back up systems. I managed to reconstruct all but one particular block of information.


The dinner went well; a fitting for this hothosue winter shut in to function. The wind keeps blowing over the little pathway I must have cut out of the snow fifty times. I quit. Let the whole place be buried and me inside. I have enough food for a month.

Michele Sat Mar 6 23:54:51 PST 1999

Hi all...

it's fairly early Sunday morning and here I am with no email (sobs) to answer, so I wandered on over to read last night's posts on the Notebook...

Thomas - you were the person I guessed as author of the Anonymous posting... and I remember Primary Colours (not that I ever read it - just read about all the furore it caused)... very clever and most impressive...

Allein - glad to hear that you had a good b'day - all chocoholics doubly welcome to me ! :-)

Jack - sorry to hear about the disk crash... Eddie had one recently too - EVERYONE BACK UP - these things usually go in 3, so guys and girls back up your data !


A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems.
-- Paul Erdos

W. Olivia Race Sat Mar 6 17:39:13 PST 1999

Hi all. I cannot remember when I've had a more productive weekend. I finished one short story that had been languishing on my hard drive, read two books, and started another short story...and I still have one more day. Of course, my weekend started on Thursday since thats how long I've been unable to get to my car, but I will pat myself on the back anyway!

I too found the DelRay site and found it pretty interesting. I read two postings from some of our recedent Notebookfiles.

Hootie: I read a book on the writing of the short story by Orson Scott Card recently. Some I agreed with and then he started with diagrams and such and I mentally blanked out. Too much like math to me and way too impersonal an approach. Which is funny, because the man has done some amazing stuff.

Thomas: Hope your dinner party goes well. Your menu made me hungry.

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Mar 6 17:35:42 PST 1999

     Well, the best laid plans of mice and men eventually come up to bite you and bite you hard. In all the experimentantations with Linux, it inadvertantly corrupted my secondary hard drive and made it unreadable. I might have salvaged it, but I did something that lost me all the data, including all archived email for the last year and a half. I thought, no problem, I have it all archived to a week ago. Tried to access my JAZ disk and discovered it was toast as well. SIGH :-(

     The element that effects everyone here is that my entire archive for the Workbook when down with my email. I have a backup list of just the emails up the 2/19/99 and no addresses for anyone. This also took out any archived stories I was backing up from the Workbook as well. Well, this has taught me to do double redundancy and backup in two locations. I got sloppy and got swatted. I will leave things as is on the Workbook. I am thinking of handling things in a slightly different way. I will be thinking about it.

If anyone had link requests for me for the last month and a half, you will have to resend them. They were wiped out as well. Take care

Allein Sat Mar 6 15:52:49 PST 1999

Hi all,
I had a nice evening yesterday. We went out for dinner then came home. I had a friend over for cake and I opened my presents. I didn't get much - two books, a CD, candy and a Taco Bell dog that says "Yo quiero Taco Bell" It's cute. My friend and I watched the Michell Kwan special on Channel 4, then she went home.

So, today, I've been resting. Actually, I did my chores which included cleaning out that mess in the rec room I call my gerbil cage.

Well, bai bai all,

"I think that I shall never budge,
From this cake of frosted fudge,
O, chocolate taste I love so true,
Nothing else will ever do."
- This was written on a B-day card I received - I'm a chocoholic. :)

Thomas Sat Mar 6 13:24:05 PST 1999

Such a writer I am. Of course I am good at more than just beginnings. What I meant was I am good at writing beginnings only.

And Lena, instead of reading a good book I actually spent the day claening the house and shoveling snow to prepare for a dinner party I am hosting tonight, which is what I do to cheer up.

The menu

Escarole en brodo.
Osso buco
green salad
pears poached in red wine

The wine: Pinot Grigio from the Veneto
Warre's Port

Thomas Sat Mar 6 13:10:46 PST 1999

Hey all, obviously you guys haven't heard of or do not remember Primary Colors -- the book written by anonymous about our president.

Anyway, it was I -- not the one who wrote Primary Colors, but the one who Primary Notebook.

My humble thanks to those who mentioned it. I thought perhaps we could use it as a base for the novel with Notebook as the central character. But I am only good at beginnings, so someone shall have to pick up the ball.

Margaret Sat Mar 6 12:33:14 PST 1999

I am a contemporary romance writer, and would love to hear from other romance writers, for support, critique and possible collaboration.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Goodweed of the North Sat Mar 6 12:27:29 PST 1999

Anonymous; I found Notebook's perspective a tremendous bit of writing. It made me feel contemplative, thankful, a bit superior (I am sentient and can interact with others), and a bit frightened. Such computer characterizations such as the nameless monstrosity in "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream", HAL from "2001 A Space Odesey", the machine from "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, and even the computer driven robots from the now classic comic books "Magnus, Robot Fighter" come to mind. Though it is not, it affected me the way a good Robert Frost or Carl Sandburgh poem does (I prefer strong meter and rhyme in poetry).

I don't know who you are, but I applaud your short piece.

Caroline; I checked the DelRay sight and found hope there. I read your chapter and was impressed. I did find a bit of an error, but it might just be me. I'll e-mail you and let you know my critique. Better yet, I'll do so through the DelRay site. Thanks for sharing the site with us.

Need a bit of help from my fellow SF writers. I have a story in which the universe started from an infinitely small point which could not hold the immense forces within it, hence the "Big Bang". In most scenarios, the bang flung matter and energy in all directions, one big expanding ball if you will. Necessay to my story is the collapse of the universe back into that infinitely small point. The wrinkle is that is has taken possibly billions of years for the expansion so far. It must collapse within 25 years.

Here is my idea. Because our perception is so limited, the universe appears to be expanding omni-directionaly. For the sake of the story, it becomes clear to the characters that all matter and energy is actually following the path of a huge, squat football shape, but with parabolic ends, similar to a giant watermellon. The shape is that of the time/space curve. The big bang occured in the center of one end and sent matter hurtling through space along the space/time curve plane, and through its center toward the other end. We are somewhere in the middle, traveling at the same speed, but in a straight line. This makes other galaxies and stars, which follow the outside path, seemingly recede due to the longer path they follow. The matter and energy have reached the point of maximum expansion and are now accelerating due to gravitational toward the other parabola's center, thus recreating the next "Big Bang" when all matter and energy overload the black hole. It took billions of years to expand because the black hole on the other side exerted a constant negative acceleration due to its own immense gravitational field. With no friction in space, acceleration is endless.

Does it sound plausible?

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Lena Sat Mar 6 12:18:52 PST 1999

Hullo all,

Blizzard of 1993 - I remember that one. I was living in Alabama at the time, just a little south of Huntsville in a small town called Athens, and was in school (fourth hour, Mr. Jones' class) when the power went out. We were told to stay where we were, and so we stayed in that classroom until our parents could come pick us up. At first it was fun to have nothing to do except talk to friends, but soon even that become boring. The room was dark (we had only two small windows for light) and it became increasingly cold with no heat. We had no power or heat in our home either, so we had to drive up to Huntsville on the icy roads and rent a hotel room until the power was back up, which did not happen for a couple of days. It was an adventure, to say the least.

Thomas - Cheer up, dear! Find a good book to curl up with and forget the world outside, or pour yourself a glass of that wine you seem to like so much. ; ^ ) It is of no use to brood yourself in a mood, though March is the perfect month to do so in (I do agree with that - my birthday is in April, so I have no problem with maligning March!)

Hootie - I have been to OSC's website, and you are right... he is a man of strong, if sometimes debatable opinions. But definitely worth checking out.

Ashling - Have no fear, I did not lose any sleep. Slept a good solid fourteen hours last night, making up for the lack of sleep during the week. I love weekends.

Shall we write a novel of the Notebook taking up an identity in order to communicate with the writers on it? If so, I believe it might be fun to use ourselves as characters, with name changes if wanted. And, whoever you are, Anonymous, that was lovely. Thank you.

I stole the title "Shadows in a Dream," Agsousa, and wrote my own poem off of it, but my poem has nothing to do with the Novel-To-Be of the same name. I will perhaps post in on the workbook, but it is a poem I wrote for a friend and is a bit personal, so we shall see. I just wanted to say that the subjects and ideas that are bounced around on the this page often do help me in writing, if in unexpected ways, and I hope that is the same for all of us.

"To steal an idea from one person is plagiarism, to steal from many is research."

Michele Sat Mar 6 12:17:21 PST 1999

Just one question ? Who is "Anonymous" that wrote the piece about the Notebook ? That's a truly convincing piece of writing - I might even go as far as calling it brilliant...

So come on - own up....


A person who won't think has no advantage over one who can't think.
-- Paul Lutus

Hootie http:/ Sat Mar 6 12:13:05 PST 1999

Since we've been talking about teaching writing, I thought I would provide the website for Orson Scott Card's "Writing Class" (it's above). I hope I got it right, and I especially recommend lessons 4 and 5. But be warned: he is a man of strong opinins, and not everyone will agree with his concept of good writing.

Experience; that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.
--C.S. Lewis

Thomas Sat Mar 6 06:56:25 PST 1999


Thanks for the weather wish, but...

The blizzard of March, 1993 was followed a week or so later by another snow storm of sizable proportions. The blizzard of March, 1999 is followed -- today -- by another estimated six to eight inches of the blasted stuff.

It is Saturday morning. My wife is out of town, it is cold and dreary, the season has finally taken its toll on my psyche and, apologies to all born in March, it truly is a miserable month in the Northeastern U.S. Its only saving grace is that daylight reaches twelve hours duration in March, which is good because when the power goes out we have a better chance at seeing our noses in front of our faces for a few minutes more each day.

And by the way, a belated Happy Birthday to Allein.

Interesting characterization of Notebook anonymous.

Anonymous Sat Mar 6 06:34:57 PST 1999

Primary Notebook

Notebook was quiet, as it often is on Friday. These are welcome breaks for Notebook, a respite from the feverish pace during the week, a pace that slows down a writer's computer as posts pile one after another, causing a Notebook overload, a muddy path that makes loading slow and deliberate. But what is wrong with deliberating?

Friday night is quiet time, and Notebook uses the time to reflect, yes, to deliberate on the many comments made by the thoughtful and intelligent dozen or so writers each day. So, as many of the writers make plans for the weekend, some to go away, some to spend time with family, still some to spend the weekend working on that unfinished story, Notebook grows introspective.

An outsider might think it peculiar that Notebook hosts so many writers, each unknown to the other, yet all tied together in a string of creativity and passion made alive by key strokes. Itself an enigma, a cyber impulse called HTML, Notebook marvels at the incongruity of it all: so many writers existing as key strokes and Notebook a mere conduit. Yet to Notebook, and to each writer, all are blood pumping bodies and minds with pasts and with futures; with religions and with existentialism; with frustrations and with successes; with despairs and with hope; and with the deepest and most sensitive thoughts that swell from their daily brush with life.

Notebook is pleased to be the link that connects these many minds, but would also like one day to participate, to share itself with its many friends the way they share themselves. It is likely never to be because without a blood pumping body or mind, and without a conduit of its own, Notebook has no means by which to penetrate the writers' minds. No, there is no outlet for Notebook, only the daily hope that one day it will be the conduit for the writer's truth, whatever that truth may turn out to be and however personal that truth is.

Ashling Fri Mar 5 20:16:20 PST 1999

Hi all.

LENA: H-E-L-L-O & Happy Writing! I've tried before to mention everyone in my posts -- no sucess yet. :-( I doubt you lost any sleep over it, but I humbly beg your pardon anyway.

Wishing y'all an inspirational, fun, serene, mentally stimulating, physically relaxing weekend with better weather.

Take care,

Allein Fri Mar 5 15:31:43 PST 1999

Hi all. Had a nice day at school. My friend Michelle gave me a bunch of carnations and a balloon. :) I got two comic books from my friend Kirstin and all my other friends left my presents at their houses - they claim I'll get them Monday (just wait - one will remember). Oh well.

Xavier - got your email. Thanks.
If anyone else sent me an e-mail, I'm checking it after I post here so thanks in advance.

Lena - I'll be a character in the story. Just don't make me too, you know, ditzy.

Well, I'll post later to update you all on what happens tonight.
Bai bai,

"Have fun, be young, drink Pepsi."

W. Olivia Race Fri Mar 5 14:14:27 PST 1999

Hi all. The snow in Rochester has ended (but of course more is coming) I can now see my car but cannot as yet get to it!. Such a cruel month is March. Being an Aries, I can only appreciate the often capricious month of April.

Tried in vain to post a story in the short story Workbook last night. Called AOL who informed me that it was not their program that was the problem but that I needed a better, faster machine w/ more memory. So, I guess that soon I might be returning to C-serve. I am not faithful in the least when it comes to online services. They either deliver or I go elsewhere...

On formal training: I always preferred to be more of a casual student of life than a formal student. I excelled in Highschool and actually graduated w/ college credits that I probably squandered by only finishing a year in college. I don't really think my writing has suffered unduly. My hubby is giving me the gift of a course at the local writers organization here in Rochester (called strangely enough, "Writers and Books" :) ) Upstate Rochester has quite a few well known poets and writers that give courses on various aspects of writing. I figured, "why not". It might be enriching.

"Education is what remains when we have forgotten all that we have been taught." George Savile

S.K.S. Perry Fri Mar 5 11:30:08 PST 1999

Hey all,

On formal training in writing, I have personally tried to stay away from creative writing classes and workshops. We've had a discussion before on formula writing and such, and I feel that formal training will only show you how to do things the same way everyone else is told they should. Learn proper grammar and spelling, read a lot, and write in your own unique voice and style. How else can we as writers be truly original, or at least ourselves.

S.N. Arly, I check out your web page regularly, and I'm still waiting for your martial arts site to be up and running. I do find the rest of your site interesting, however. If you have no objections, would you allow me to read Street Level? I don't believe I've ever read any of your work - other than your column at the Shallow End. I suscribe to Asimov's and Analog, and buy several of the other mags, so I feel I have a pretty good idea of the quality of writing that goes into them. I've read stuff at the Notebook that is as good or better than anything I've read in these mags, so it is becoming somewhat of a mystery to me what it actually takes to get published in one. If you would prefer I not read it, I'll understand.

Be Well, Live Well.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Mar 5 11:10:16 PST 1999


Happy Birthday Allein :-)

     On formal training for writing. Hmmmm. I think the writing itself, the real creative part and the laying down of the words on word or screen, that comes as much from repetition and doing than any listening or sitting in class. Knowledge based components can be helpful at times. Learning about what others have done before and so forth. However, this can be done by the other great repetitive talent prerequesite for being a writer, reading. And reading lots.

     The one area I do think definitely benefits from formal training is the experience of other writers on how to slice through the BS of the publishing industry and something as mundane as taxes to make this work on a professional level. It is why I am already signed up for and going to K.K.Rusch's and Dean Wesley Smiths dog and pony show for the Professional Writer just prior to Westercon 52. BTW, I have been the recipient of their wisdom before. They are good.

Take care everyone.

S.N.Arly Fri Mar 5 10:31:27 PST 1999

Just peeking in before heading out of town.

On formal training in writing - There are two aspects of writing which are needed to make you a good/great writer. These are the technical ability and the creative element (skill/style/whatever you wish to call it). It is certainly to your benefit to learn the first, by whatever means necessary. However no one can teach you the second half. You have to find it and learn it yourself. This is the part that makes one person's writing unique from anyone else's.

On other stuff - I got my 10th reject on Street Level last night. * banging head on wall * See SKS. It happens to all of us. And there's NOTHING I want to change in the story. I like it this way! Oh well. Next place I'm sending it to won't be reading 'till April, so maybe I should give it a quick read to see if maybe I really do need a better hook.

Have a great weekend all. Happy birthday Allein.

"If you call, I will answer.
If you fall, I'll pick you up.
If you court this disaster, I'll point you home."
- Barenaked Ladies

Michele Fri Mar 5 09:54:07 PST 1999

Jack & - thanks for welcoming me back - appreciate it greatly...

Xavier - you did spell my name wrong - but plenty of people do - even people who've known me half my lifetime, so I won't stress about it... To answer the question about whether a writer needs formal teaching - yes and no. No I'm not trying to play games here... I've been a writer (of different disciplines) most of my life, and people who've read my web site tell me I write non-fiction stuff well - but nevertheless, the reason I am doing my degree is to improve my writing skills... You see I'd never done the critical analysis stuff before and hadn't realised that it's mostly a case of BS - I thought there was some secret formula to it (now I know better !) but that said, I think that my writing skills will be honed by doing my degree... but I agree with others who say to read good literature - I would recommend that in preference to doing formal writing courses... My tutors tell me the reason I write so well is that I have read so much good literature - I'm not just talking fiction, but history, essays, poetry, criticism, etc. I have absorbed other people's styles - noting what's good & excites me, what's bad & bores me silly, and that has helped me to develop a writing style that is clear, informative and readable by anyone - whatever level of education they have received... I don't think I could have developed that style if I hadn't done all the reading I have... Now I'm doing my degree I am developing a more academic style - necessary for degree-level study which I can employ for academic papers - but which (with some work) shouldn't destroy my style of writing for a more general readership... I am also learning critical skills and the terms in which to express them, and some of the skills I need for the historical research I still have to do...

I realise that's a long reply - and as a non-fiction writer my case is slightly different, but I believe it's true for fiction writers too - the advice I often hear from established fiction writers to unpublished/would-be writers, is read good literature...

Hope that helps... !


You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

Hootie Fri Mar 5 09:48:32 PST 1999

Allein—HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! And although we can’t be there in person, we’re here in the Notebook.

Xavier—The question of how to teach any art is a philosophical debate, but here’s my view: the best people to learn from are writers, not critics, and not scholars. What we try to do is breathe life onto the page, and only someone else who has gone through the process is aware of both the joys and frustrations involved. Someone who only looks at literature from the outside will put interpretations on things that are questionable, at best. I would recommend Orson Scott Card, who not only has had a profound influence on the F/SF genres, but also teaches writing. He thinks a lot about what he does, and why he does it, and then writes it all down to share with struggling writers like us. I have also read excerpts from John Gardner’s books about writing, and I like his insights. And there is even an essay written by Mark Twain that I read years ago, but pointed out some common errors that I have since tried to avoid. But no matter where you learn your craft, or how, never forget to continue learning so that you can keep improving.

Ashling—Whenever you get a chance, I would love to hear from you. And your summation of our disparity was perfect.

Lena and Thomas—The Notebook is our friend who introduces us to others who share our love of writing. In the often lonely life of a writer, how could we not cling to such relief with something bordering obsession? The idea of making it the main character in The Novel is perfect.

Rhoda—You caught your mistakes, thereby proving your suitability as a proofreader. Sorry.

Howard—You have touched what I believe is one of the essential truths of art: it helps us makes sense of our world and our lives by striking a chord within us. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.
—Willy Wonka

Howard Fri Mar 5 09:22:59 PST 1999

Reflective mood alert! :-)

How many of us have wrung out our souls trying to create something new and striking --
something that will catch the eye of the discriminating editor? Or, if I may be so
mercenary, something that will catch at the pocketbook of Ms. Average
We struggle and strain, trying to force out something “different” that we hope will
generate a new trend in reading, to take the reader where he has never been taken before.
And after the editorial fires have tried our works we sit there in the ashes, bemoaning the
fact that those editors just don’t understand true genius. We’ve taken them to new heights
and they didn’t enjoy the trip enough to acknowledge -- let alone pay for -- it.
Perhaps our focus is wrong. Perhaps our problem is the very new-ness that we strive for.

Among the several books that I have in my current reading stack is “The Toynbee
Convection” -- a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. Right in the middle of “The
Trapdoor” I realized (again, perhaps) that I *knew* where he was going with this one. I
have a trapdoor in my ceiling too! I’ve stood on the stair and listened for noises from the
other side. I’ve lain awake and wondered what the next sound would be, and where it
would come from. As I continued with the story it was almost as if I was writing it myself,
or watching over his shoulder and giving him direction. Was it because I’m as great a
genius as Ray Bradbury? I think not. It was because he was merely describing something I
knew about already. He very simply took an ordinary event, described it in ordinary
words, and brought it into focus so that I could deal with it in my own way. He used his
talent for observing and describing details to *remind* me of something I might have
otherwise ignored. I already knew the story. I’d never read it before, but I *knew* it, and
he helped me to “remember” it.

Perhaps we as writers should be concentrating more on enabling that “remembering”
process in our readers. Perhaps they’re looking for a common thread in the confusion that
surrounds us. Perhaps we need to let those common threads show more, to help remind
them that there is, after all, nothing new under the sun.

Perhaps you weren’t the only one to hear that bump in the night. The guy down the street
is waiting for someone to tell him just what it was. He’ll be grateful if you can.

Howard Fri Mar 5 09:22:46 PST 1999

Reflective mood alert! :-)

How many of us have wrung out our souls trying to create something new and striking --
something that will catch the eye of the discriminating editor? Or, if I may be so
mercenary, something that will catch at the pocketbook of Ms. Average
We struggle and strain, trying to force out something “different” that we hope will
generate a new trend in reading, to take the reader where he has never been taken before.
And after the editorial fires have tried our works we sit there in the ashes, bemoaning the
fact that those editors just don’t understand true genius. We’ve taken them to new heights
and they didn’t enjoy the trip enough to acknowledge -- let alone pay for -- it.
Perhaps our focus is wrong. Perhaps our problem is the very new-ness that we strive for.

Among the several books that I have in my current reading stack is “The Toynbee
Convection” -- a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. Right in the middle of “The
Trapdoor” I realized (again, perhaps) that I *knew* where he was going with this one. I
have a trapdoor in my ceiling too! I’ve stood on the stair and listened for noises from the
other side. I’ve lain awake and wondered what the next sound would be, and where it
would come from. As I continued with the story it was almost as if I was writing it myself,
or watching over his shoulder and giving him direction. Was it because I’m as great a
genius as Ray Bradbury? I think not. It was because he was merely describing something I
knew about already. He very simply took an ordinary event, described it in ordinary
words, and brought it into focus so that I could deal with it in my own way. He used his
talent for observing and describing details to *remind* me of something I might have
otherwise ignored. I already knew the story. I’d never read it before, but I *knew* it, and
he helped me to “remember” it.

Perhaps we as writers should be concentrating more on enabling that “remembering”
process in our readers. Perhaps they’re looking for a common thread in the confusion that
surrounds us. Perhaps we need to let those common threads show more, to help remind
them that there is, after all, nothing new under the sun.

Perhaps you weren’t the only one to hear that bump in the night. The guy down the street
is waiting for someone to tell him just what it was. He’ll be grateful if you can.

Fri Mar 5 08:40:58 PST 1999

Slips--see what I mean? And you want me to do the mechanical stuff?

Rhoda Fri Mar 5 08:40:07 PST 1999


A little slip there. I meant I am horrible at spelling and proofreading--not writing. I wonder if that was one of those Freudian slip?

Rhoda Fri Mar 5 08:36:42 PST 1999


Buenos dias, amigo. I do not think schooling in writing is at all necessary, though there are many good writers who were English majors. I think it important that training include the basics such as grammer and sentence construction that hopefully a good high school education should provide. Studying literature helps. Always read and study good books and stories whether or not they are classics.

Being the daughter of a college professor and a high school English teacher, I have been taught to distrust academians. Odd, I know, but it is a long story. Back when I was a junior in high school, I told my mother I wanted to be a writer. She responded that I had better steer clear of college creative writing classes, for they would quelch any raw talent that I had. Maybe such a response was a bit extreme. Well, I ended up a chemistry major, and here I am! Looking back I wonder if I should have majored in English. I think I would have been quite good in it. But that is water under the bridge. No, Xavier, I don't believe it necessary, but I have known many journalists and english majors who have done quite well in writing. On the other hand, many marvellous writers have never gone to college. A positive attitude, teachablity, good imagination, discipline, and devotion to the craft are the main ingredients to an aspiring writer--plus, I might add, a good business sense which will stand you well in most pursuits.


I hope you enjoy your convention. I am hoping to go to the one in Boulder at the end of April, though I missed the deadline for the submission, query, synopsis critique. I would be interested to know what you learned from yours.


I am horrible at writing and proofreading. But I am a good sport, so I'll do what you wish the best I can, but don't say I didn't warn you.

"A mind is a terrible thing to lose." Dan Quayle addressing the United Negro College Fund.

Happy writing!


Thomas Fri Mar 5 08:22:00 PST 1999


Perhaps if I keep up with the descriptions I can lure you into loving wine as much as we are all falling in love (addiction) with the notebook.

Isn't it odd, the notebook is a being with a life of its own as it hosts the many lives that dot in and out of it.

Maybe the notebook could be the main character of Agsousa's novel. This inanimate, but much alive thing could take on an imaginary physical and psychological being. We could talk to it, hear from it, play with it, love it, hate it and most of all, read it like a book.

Thomas Fri Mar 5 08:15:15 PST 1999


I meant "lots" not "lost"

Thomas Fri Mar 5 08:01:20 PST 1999


Not sure if my last post went through. This notebook truly s messing me up lately. Anyway, I'll make it short.

With the exception of spelling, grammar and a special field like journalism or technical writing, I believe schooling can be self-administered through lost of reading and perhaps workshops.

Passion, creativity, style and voice are unteachable.

I said it better in this post, if this gets through.

Lena Fri Mar 5 07:45:13 PST 1999

Um. Well, I was going to write that plot for The Novel, but I realized that, um, we do not have any characters for the story. I was thinking it might be fun to just use ourselves as characters (with name changes, of course) but then I remembered the request somewhere for a love story and decided that might become a bit embarrassing. So... if anybody would like to volunteer to be a character, or has a character sketch lying around on a scrap of paper, or just has a neat idea in their head... PLEASE SHARE! If this is going to be a group project, let's start grouping, people! I need help.

And I'm sorry, Agsousa, to ruin your careful schedule. Schedules are usually doomed to failure, anyways. Console yourself with that.

Ashling - Well, I'm hurt. I think you managed to mention everyone on this site in your post except for me!

Xavier - I don't believe a person needs formal schooling in order to write well, but it can help take off the edges. And then you can ignore everything they teach you and be proclaimed as a 'radical new genius!' After all, you have to know what to ignore before you ignore it.

Thomas - Nice description. I still don't like wine, but your description made me wish I did.

I am in creative writing class right now and am supposed to be typing up my poetry, but I am being a rebel instead and logging onto the notebook. Shh, don't tell! I think I'm addicted - either that or in love with this place. I think I prefer the term addicted.

Meandering to a different drummer,

Xavier Fri Mar 5 07:06:36 PST 1999

Hello, fellow writers...

I figured I'd post quickly to get the ball rolling (posting is waayyy too easy now, need to croud it up a bit!) In any case, last night I got a flash of inspiration for one of my stories, which was a welcome sight, since lately the flashes have been far and few between. I did not actually write anything (9 hours of tech classes and two hours lifting weights kind of too the strength), but the idea has begun to formulate again and I am happy! When the urge leaves me for too long, I begin to feel empty inside, as if a peice is missing. I usually do not write at all during these periods,
but after reading some of the posts lately, perhaps I'll try it next time.
Beyond that, I would like to ask a question: Do you feel that a writer needs formal (schooling or intense self study) in the art of writing in order to hone his skill, or do you feel its best they use there natural talent to guide them. I've read books that say school is good, and others that say schooling can change a writers style for the wrose. I've never taken any courses in writing, but am begining to wonder if I should. I appreciate any help.

Lastly, but not leastly, I wish to say to Michelle( some how I feel i spelled your name wrong) that i am gald i was able to induce a smile in you. I know that when times are tough, a little laugh can be worth alot.

Thats all fer now, hope I gummed up the works good!

See you in the funny papers!


Lydia Sweet Fri Mar 5 06:34:33 PST 1999

Hi all,

I was thinking about the "Querry Letter" topic. I know there are as many books about publishing and writing as there are fiction, however when it comes to instructional material, I'm need more of a hands on "teacher in the room" approach. I always have a great need to ask questions and clarifiy what text does not always explain. Point? Well, I was thinking that perhaps on the notebook or in a chat session we could have a question and answer session on "Querries and Synopsis'"

We would need the help of those who have successfully submitted querry letters and synopsis to editors or agents.

If this sounds interesting, let's hear from you.

I will be attending a writer's conference on March 19 and 20 at which they will accept and critique synopsis and manuscripts. I have a need to get this prepared quickly.


S.K.S. Perry Fri Mar 5 06:25:59 PST 1999

Hey all,

Ashling, I'm always open to suggestions. The story you mentioned is Wet Ware and I've submitted it already, but as you know, rejections are a definate possiblity, and if you have an idea you think would improve it, send it along.

Agsousa, Me, write an outline? Man, did you pick the wrong person. I've never written one in my life. I don't work that way and I probably couldn't plot out a story to save my life. You want someone to write action, I'm your man, but outlines--the book is doomed to failure before it gets off the ground.

Allein, H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y ! ! What I wouldn't give to be seventeen again (and know what I know now!)

Be Well, Live Well.

Ashling Fri Mar 5 05:36:33 PST 1999

The blizzard of 1993 is immoralized in my erratically maintained journal under the date of Friday, March 12th. This past week -- Sunshiny days, rainy windy midnights, bitter cold nights. It may snow here in the South again any day now. Maybe.

ALLEIN --- H*A*P*P*Y B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y !! I'll be at a friend's anniversary tonight - will eat an extra slice of cake in your honor. I'm more than double your age ... 16 is hazy, but I remember 17 well -- my life kicked into high gear. Slacked off on writing poetry & began writing essays & gawd awful pseudo-stories. First serious boyfriend ...[a member of an endangered species known as Nice-Guy. To avert extinction they require careful nurturing. Eons later, I met another of the wonderous breed & married him. See, I added fairy tales to my unpublished story collection.] : )

RHODA & HOOTIE stated it more eloquently & THOMAS more passionately, but I see widely disparaging, perhaps conflicting agendas in our Notebookettes (Notebookers??) If only one word was needed to define some of the terms bandied about here, the Thesaurus would be displayed in museums next to Brontosaurus Rex.

I seek no converts, just claiming my right to write my own definitions & Muse Bylaws. I was born a story-teller, inheriting the gene from my parents. My daddy was the best, the funniest raconteur in the State of Alabama. My mama was the Queen of Sarcasm, somewhat talented, and she wrote her stories down. I became a writer by writing. One day I will be published in a paying market -- I will then define myself as an author. Since I write every day now, authorhood will arrive more quickly.

"Write every day" is advice given mostly by published writers, mostly to persons who showed up at a writing conference or college class -- most of whom are striving to be published. Those whose "day job" IS writing - THOMAS for instance, have no need of such advice - they're living it. People who don't aim toward publication need not be offended - no one's speaking to them. Perhaps someone will create a webpage called WILL WRITE - WON'T PRINT, so they won't feel left out.

Poetry ahhhh ... Poetry needs to arouse my heart, stimulate my mind, spark my soul, soothe my psyche. How it affects my eyes OR ears is ... fudgy syrup on the ice cream -- a nice extra. The poetry that I write merely amuses my friends.

Mainstream -- Stories written by Fitzgerald, Falkner, and me, among others, which don't neatly fit into the cubbyholes of genre, i.e. Romance, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Westerns, & all their many sub-categories.

LITTER: No worries. Glad to help a bit.

HOWARD: Do you plan on submitting "Annie-Down-The-Street to a paying market? I really liked the kid's "voice." The Mr. Casey-next-door & Annie-down-the-street bit worked well, not at all overdone. Glad you're back online.

CAROLINE: Good luck on the almost-maybe job. Sounds extremely interesting, perhaps because I'm working on a true crime project.

SKS: The only story of yours I found in Archives was untitled. It opens with Will Scot, New Cayman Federal Marshall waking up with temporary amnesia. I have a suggestion -- unless of course, you've already rewritten it to your satisfaction.

RHODA: I read several versions of your Reluctant Barbarian.
A great story line. We'll talk later I hope.

HOOTIE: You created highly interesting characters in "Sacred Hospitality." I swear I'll email soonest.

AGSOUSA: I'm reading your old novel. Have you written anything lately I can read? Do you have a current writing project -- not counting the co-op thing -- but one of your own?

JACK: Don't tech too long. Come out and play soon.

Hi and happy writing --- CASEY, JAI, JULIE, LYDIA, MARV, MICHELE, OLIVIA, RACHEL, S.N., XAVIER and anyone else passing by.

Almost done with rewrites ... Will post on Workbook next week. Thank you all for your inspiration & suggestions. I rarely feel lonely now ... and that means the world to me.
No quote -- I talked past my bedtime as is ...

Take care,

jack Beslanwitch Fri Mar 5 03:08:48 PST 1999

     Archived :-). At 160k it certainly needed it and quite possibly was deterring some from posting. Welcome back Michele. Glad you decided to stay with us. For anyone who would like to catch up on any of the posts from today, you can find them in the Archive.

     I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that we set up three hard and fast Chat Room times per week, one comfortable for those in Europe and the East coast, one comfortable for those of us on the west coast of the North American continent and one comfortable for our visitors from the land down under. Suggestions for when in the week and what time are welcome. Preferably offline. After which I will post them prominently. Definitely on a redesigned chat room page.

     Not promising how much I am going to get done towards making the moves I alluded to. Between continuing to finish up a commercial contract and attempting to install Linux 5.2 on a spare 4 gigabyte drive I have been having a thoroughly Chinese interesting time. For the geeks among us, I have gotten as far as being able to login as root, but not figured out how to get X-Windows up and running. Oh, well. Take care everyone.