Archived Messages from April 22, 1999 to April 30, 1999

Cassandra Thu Apr 29 22:23:15 PDT 1999

Hi all,

Just stopping in to acess the damage. Geez, I'm going to have a lot to catch up on.

I'm working on a pointilism project at the moment.. seeing dots everywhere. Seruat must've been insane.

Anyhow, I am alive, and hating 'hell week' (our colorful name for finals week). Once this is all over I'm going to sleep a straight 24hours, and then wake up, shower, and start writing (for shadows and otherwise!)

ta ta


Allein Thu Apr 29 21:08:32 PDT 1999

Rhoda - My growth is already stunted, so Star Trek or not, I'm already screwed (pardon my language).

Bai bai,

Rhoda Thu Apr 29 19:52:37 PDT 1999


My son tells me that he would be delighted to correspond with your son.


I am not at all depressed, just glad to hear from you. I think one of the good qualities of the Notebook is the ability and freedom it affords to share feelings that are not always merry and light. I lost my mom nine years ago. Few things change a life so much as the loss of a parent. The pain at her passing has lessened, but there are times I miss her so much.


I too am glad to see that the Notebook has taken a better direction. Nothing thrills me more than writing or reading other posts about writing.


I don't know what is wrong with you. You don't like Star Trek!!! Horrors. Your disdain for that show will stunt your growth and give you heartburn. It will doom you to early wrinkles and grey hair. With all that in store for you, I wouldn't have the heart to give you a severe beating (I hope you realize I am just kidding).

Well I had better get to bed. I've done all I can to prepare for the conference. I'll be out of pocket for a few days. Take care, everyone,


Jerry Lee Thu Apr 29 17:33:18 PDT 1999

Yo, All,

Thomas, It's fer pushin' a fish.

On the subject of language, it ain't what you got, it's how you use it...remember Huck Finn?

Jerry Lee

Litter Thu Apr 29 17:01:56 PDT 1999

Rachel, Rhoda, Howard, All

I am still here, a little the worse of spirit since the death of my father, 3 weeks ago, and a whole lot of other stuff not worth mentioning.

With all the talk of guns and Kosovo and death - guess I just wanted to stay out of things until they got around to something that spoke of love and passion and fun. Selfish, I know, but that is why I did not impose.

Time passes and things have to return to some semblance of normality, so they say, but my father was a kind, generous and loving man and I did not know how much I would miss him just being there, at the end of a phone or a few miles away by car.

He liked to write - not stories as such but just for the pleasure of writing. Feeling he was not long for this world he wrote more. He wrote letters to my mother, to me and to my siblings. Mine was the most loving and beautiful thing I have ever read. It was also the hardest thing I have ever had to read - so much love, expressed in dried ink on plain paper, but read with the knowledge that he had gone on to his maker.

This isn't as maudlin as it seems. It is an exorcism of my own unwillingness to communicate, jealously protective of my grief and my final point of contact with my father. But his memory and spirit will not allow me to dwell over long, they are an inspiration, to me, to be all that I could not before he died.

Do not feel pity for me - this was for him. He had a good life and a good death (In terms of the Celtic Tradition he so loved)

When next I write it will be with new purpose and positivity. My apologies to those I have succeeded in depressing. It was not my intent.


Hootie Thu Apr 29 16:28:26 PDT 1999

S.K.S.--Speaking of inaccuracies in the Star Trek universe, how about that military structure? Can you think of any officers that would do so much work? The ones I met usually just took the credit for the enlisted men's ideas. And where are the Starfleet enlisted ranks? Like you said, a good enough story will make even the most obvious errors invisible.

Hukt on foniks wurkt for mee!

Rachel Thu Apr 29 15:42:25 PDT 1999

Hey all.

Allein - I'll let Carling know that a letter is on its way. She will be excited (grins) Today and tomrrow she is fasting for (I forget what) I'm glad I don't have to see Carling over the next few days. She is a real RAG when she doesn't eat. That combined with the lack of sleep that this overnight event will cause will leave her not such a charming young lady (laughter)

Rhoda - Let me know what your son thinks of my idea. It was nice getting to chat at you as well.

Jack - I'm glad to hear that Fran is all right.

Take care all


Thomas Thu Apr 29 14:54:27 PDT 1999

Talk about creative spelling -- what's a finfer?

Thomas Thu Apr 29 14:52:53 PDT 1999


Thanks. Didn't he also write Miniver Cheevy? Love each poem.


Richard Cory poem -- E A Robinson -- is a bout a man with everything who blows his brains out in the end.

I agree with you about the American penchant (a French word, eh!) for not teaching foreign languages. I think it is our collective superiority complex at work.


I agree with you on those idiot teachers who believe in creative spelling. Why not teach kids creative electronics -- forget the law of grounding and voltage, just stand in a tub of water and stick your finfer in a live socket; or maybe the teachers should do that. Creative spelling sure is an oxymoron, with the emphasis on moron. By the way, to truly be logical shouldn't phonetics be spelled fonetiks?


Nice to talk writing again.

Lydia Sweet Thu Apr 29 14:39:25 PDT 1999

Oh, surely not a tribble. If you have one you have too many!

Allein Thu Apr 29 14:11:43 PDT 1999

Jack - I hope your wife is feeling better.

Casey - Hope you are feeling better too. I'll be on again tonight - same time if you want to chat.

Rachel - I sent a letter to Carling.

Spelling and language were/are my two best subjects in school.

Star Trek - hate it and will say no more for fear of severe beating.

Bai bai,

Lena Thu Apr 29 13:12:07 PDT 1999

Spelling was my worst subject in school. It still would be, if not for the lovely fact that I don't have a spelling class anymore - thank god for small miracles!

Did you know that some elementary school teachers encourage their students to make-up their own spellings for words? It is a technique called "creative spelling" and is supposed to teach phonetics. Has it occurred to any of these people that "creative spelling" is an oxymoron and completely defeats the purpose of teaching spelling in the first place? Grrr! Things like that really annoy me.

SKS - It's the McGuyver Theory... that, using only a roll of duct tape and a credit card, the hero can escape from the burning building, defuse the bomb, rescue the girl, and still have great looking hair. Of course, the great looking hair is probably due to the hairpiece... perhaps he has a tribble living on the top of his head?

Jack - Wish your wife well.

Must go, have to cut the grass. Good day and good times,

Rhoda Thu Apr 29 13:11:11 PDT 1999

Rachel and Steve,

It was good catching up with you both on the chatroom if briefly.


I am glad Fran is feeling better. Antibiotics are used so frequently, we tend to overlook the fact that at times they can have a negative effect on us.


I was hearing on the radio today that the bald look in men is popular right now. So now scalp-impaired men can throw away their bad hair pieces and end their Rogain treatments.

Take care, everyone. I must go and work on that synopsis. I've run out of excuses not to do it.


"Why can't the English teach their children how to speak. This verbal class distinction by now should be extinct. If you spoke like she (Eliza Dolittle) does, sir, instead of the way you do, why you might be selling flowers too.

An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him. The minute he speaks, he makes some other Englishman despise him. Use proper English you're regarded as a freak, Oh, why can't the English learn to set a good example to people whose English is painful to your ears. The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears. There even are places where English completely disappears. In America they haven't used it for years." -- Learner and Lowe's MY FAIR LADY

Michele Thu Apr 29 12:47:17 PDT 1999

Sorry Rhoda forgot to mention that I have never been to the Orkneys... although I have visited bits of both Scotland and Ireland...


Thu Apr 29 12:46:05 PDT 1999

Michele Thu Apr 29 12:44:00 PDT 1999

Hi gang...

I don't know - I miss one day and you start talking about all sorts of interesting things, like Star Trek and languages...

Americo & Rhoda - have to tell you that English is always undergoing spelling changes, word changes, meaning changes - just that none of it's official - and it has to be said that "yanks" (not my word) get blamed for most of the changes... Someone way back at the start of my linguistics course was damning the Americans (he was polite) for the changes of spelling that you use - such as color, check, etc. and I had to point out that a lot of the spelling American English uses are based on old English spellings - just that we changed things and American didn't... I actually defended American English - that was a FIRST - until I got on the Net I was pretty anti-American I can tell you - but people like the guys and girls that hang out here - and other online friends made me see how prejudiced I was being - particularly as I didn't know any Americans... The Net is a wonderful place - cured this Englishwoman of prejudice anyway !

Re : Esperanto - the whole point of Esperanto is that it doesn't have a country - it was invented to be used by everyone, the aim being that a language without a country, and therefore, without an army would do more for global relations that a language with countries and armies... trouble is no one expected the Internet (and therefore English in American and British forms) to take over nearly the whole world... !

Interesting fact - the French hate the fact that the Net is so pervasive because it's nearly all in English (US or UK). Did you know the French, under the GATT agreement, limit the number of English films that are imported, the amount of air time English music gets, etc. ? True fact - we were told in our linguistics class on Monday...

And it was Kirk with the bad hairpiece and the paunch... not that I ever watched the Original Series on a regular basis - I only became a fan after they launched the Next Generation - blame that versatile (and very sexy) actor, Patrick Stewart for that one !

SKS Perry

Of course you don't need any more than a screwdriver or a pair of tweezers to mend a tricorder, matter/antimatter drive, dilithium chamber or communicator - silly boy ! This is the future we're talking about ! grins I am teasing you...

Anyways I am going to go and see what condition the world is in according to my newspaper - talk to you all again soon...


Study is like the heaven's glorious sun,
That will not be deep-search'd with saucy looks.
-- William Shakespeare Love's Labour Lost Act I, Scene I, line 84

Eddie French Thu Apr 29 12:42:54 PDT 1999

I hope Fran is well by now. A similar thing happened to Anita, (my wife) a year or two ago. She had a violent reaction to Augmentin (An antibiotic) during which she actually went from her normal appearence to resembling a puffed up blowfish within seconds. The human body is not well designed to accomodate such rapid change so we too ended up in the A&E department overnight. Good luck Fran.

I have never been to the Orkneys but I can tell you that there are many places around the UK which are just as dramatic. You should see Mount Snowdon in winter, the Isle of St. Michael as the tide receeds and the causway appears. Last year Anita and I went to the Isle of Mann and that too was breathtaking. The Celtic theme runs strong in all of these places and the local museums and exhibitions are fantastic.

Sorry, my oral German gets better as I get to the end of my frequent travels around the Rhur Valley but alas, my written skills are abismal!. I only got half of the last comment. But in essence, Time will tell!. I'm not sorry that 'awoke your talent' I have been known to post strange things on these pages. I have been inspired to write some very vivid tales by all sorts of external influence. Apart from the very powerful smell to memory link (Which is now commercially exploited by the big retailers), I have been moved to write many stories on the emotional effect of a musical note (Mainly the Minors, which seem to evoke some strange chemical response in me!) Peter Gabriel knows all about this, just listen to the album 'Shakin' the tree' and try not to write afterwards!. Another powerful emotional influence mainfests itself upon the onset of winter. This is a very unsettling feeling and as Steve and I agree, may be attributed to the one time hibinatory habits of our anscestors. All these influences should be embraced by writers as they can only help to paint wonderful pictures in the mind of the reader. To me, a good story should paint pictures, in fact, if I am reading for pleasure then I will put the book down very quickly if I can still see letters and words in front of me after the first paragraph.

Less of the 'different age bracket stuff' I am only a few years older than your good self sir!. Yes, I do agree that our Military background and the crazy situations we have experienced have helped to shape a similar world outlook on life. It's difficult not to take the philosophical view in most situations once you have learned just what is important and so to be cherished in this life.

Talking about the Rhur Valley, I am off again on the 14th May To 28th May (Did I say 21st to you Americo?)Sorry! While I am over there I will pop into a cyber cafe to say hello to you all and let you know how things are in Germany.

S.K.S. Perry Thu Apr 29 10:37:57 PDT 1999

Hey all,

Thomas, I got the reference to the paunch and the bad hairpiece right off. I must watch way too much Star Trek.
Speaking of which, you know what annoys me most about every incarnation of that show? The fact that no matter where they are or what limited resources they have, they always manage to be able to repair or modify their communicators or tricorders or matter/antimatter dilithium powered orange juicer with nothing more than a screwdriver of a pair of tweesers. Speaking as a technician myself (Goodweed, maybe you can back me up here) I'd have trouble repairing anything, not to mention converting my telephone into a tractor beam, without at least a schematic and a soddering iron, and maybe a piece of wire. But the miracles these Star Trek people accomplish - that's like the TV repairman coming to your house (do they still do that?) and fixing your TV by poking it with a sharp stick!

And what, you might ask, does any of this have to do with writing? Us Sci Fi and Fantasy types are always being beaten over the head with the idea that whatever we write must be believable. But, if done well, sometimes you can pull the wool over the readers eyes if you sound like you know what you're talking about. Take the time to do a little reasearch - learn the jargon, whether it's "military speak," "tech talk," or "Olde English." Even if your theories aren't technically sound, they'll appear to be, and sometimes that's all it takes. Hey, it worked for Star Trek.

And the English Language? Try being a Canadian. We use British English spelling in Canada, but if I'm writing for the American market, I have to use American spelling (I have a whole bag full of 'U's" and extra "L's" and "T's" Howard. Maybe I can swap you for some commas.) Add to that the fact that Canada has two official languages - English and French - it's a wonder I can spell at all!

Be Well, Live Well.

howard Thu Apr 29 10:29:02 PDT 1999

Jack -- I only hope that I can find those Esperanto books when I need them! They're packed away somewhere, along with probably 500 other books that I didn't have room for when we last moved. I find it difficult to throw away a book, although some of the more recent ones I've read seem to cry out for the incinerator.
Rhoda -- You could write and self-publish a cookbook, maybe specialize in 30-minute meals. Mix in some short inspirational or how-to pieces (every mom *has* to have some of those) to spice it up. Then distribute copies at farm markets, fruit stands, grocery stores, etc. At $5 per, you might just make it! You could solicit recipes, and I'll even contribute one or two!

Hootie Thu Apr 29 10:26:04 PDT 1999

Jack—Keep us informed about Fran’s recovery. We’ll keep her in our prayers.

Thomas—I couldn’t remember the poet of Richard Cory either, so I looked it up: Edward Arlington Robinson.

Lydia—We’re writers. Doesn’t that automatically make us at least a little unbalanced?

Americo—Isn’t it our job as (fiction) writers to answer the question that your poem (to Have and to Be) put forth?

Spelling and language—It would be nice for language to be an easily organized, logical system that could be both learned and taught easily. But human beings have been playing with language for a long time. If the bible is correct, then the languages were confused by God to separate people, and we’ve been doing it on our own ever since. A different language, whether it is just jargon or something completely separate from the vernacular, gives a group of people unity and automatically excludes the outsider. Look at ebonics (sic?) which is just an attempt to formalize the inner city slang. Even Esperanto, for all of its claims to be a “world” language, has only been learned by a few. And Klingon? If you have no interest in Star Trek, what use is it?

In the sense of inclusiveness, English is the most universal language. Everything is fluid, from vocabulary to spelling to meaning. And it takes on regional tones that distinguish different groups while still allowing them to communicate. But it is an aggravating language, especially for someone who is not a native speaker.

Writer’s Block—This is usually a term for not being able to finish any one project. And sometimes, that’s not a bad thing. I know that when I get a great idea, I can go overboard trying to stuff it into a story, sometimes where it doesn’t belong. That’s one form of writer’s block, and it’s overcome by trying different things until you find what works (and keeping your ears open for inspiration). But when you have a lack of ideas, that’s a completely different beast. It is often mere laziness; ideas are plentiful, but their execution is often tedious and/or frustrating. It can also be a sign of depression, or an onset of the flu. The point is, if you really want to write, I think that most writer’s block is just a temporary condition, a minor obstacle; keep putting words together into sentences, and eventually you can put those sentences into paragraphs, and so on. SNArly’s tendonitis is a better example of a true writer’s “block”: the physical inability to write.

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
—T. E. Lawrence

Lydia Sweet Thu Apr 29 10:19:49 PDT 1999

Hi all,

Rhoda, hope you enjoy your conference. Don't let your nerves keep you from doing what you love most and sharing it with others.

Jack, reactions to drugs can be really scary. I know! Tell Fran we wish her well.

Agsousa, languages are so very important and the American School System wait until our children are in High School before even offering them. It's a crying shame. European schools require foreign language in the lower grades. We now have an extremely large Hispanic and Asian population trying to blend into this great nation. How much easier would it be for them and for us if we spoke each others language or a language that all could share. However, on the other hand according to the Christian bible the world spoke with one tongue, once upon a time, then decided they were as good as God. He was a little upset with the notion and gave us all our lovely, diverse languages. How close to God do we wish to get before he boxes our ears again?

I have added another addition to "S" and I think it will fit well with some of the other plot lines I see developing. Take a peek and let me know. The "Lydia" in "S" is a bit on the unbalanced side. Maybe she is me and maybe she isn't.

Lydia Thu Apr 29 09:58:20 PDT 1999

You're right, Arly, thanks for the correction.

We have had "Star Trek" here, Rhoda. I loved it. Klingon did not seem to me a proper language, with rules etc., just an interesting fact of imagination (Anthony Burgess also created a "language" in "Clockwork Orange"). Esperanto is much more than that.

Thomas — the notebook is quite motivating to me. I think it's doing good to my personal projects. I do not mind "wasting" ideas. If somebody else takes advantage of them so much the better. I am not stingy at all! (smile). And you are also helping me, by speaking about Romans and food and wine. I will go back to Pompeii very soon (I hope). I have printed the 5th part of your lovely book and I am going to read it all this week-end. I will tell you everything about my impressions (and possibly Maria Emília's — who does not know English but I tell her heaps about you and everyone here). Tell me more about the poem/poet you mentioned, in conection with which of my "poems" (the haves and bes/ or oranges?)

Beijinhos, everyone.

Thomas Thu Apr 29 08:52:27 PDT 1999


I said Esperanto was established with care to be easy to learn, not Klingon.

I suppose I should have been more clear about the paunch and hairpiece too; I meant the Trek star, what the hell is his name, Shattner, Shrapnel, Shaboom!


The fact that you write everyday on the Notebook proves you have not got writer's blosk; you have writer's diversion.

Your poem reminds me of the poem, Richard Cory. Can't remember the poet offhand -- Geez I am getting old!

On another writer's site (sorry for the adultery) we have discussed spelling, or the lack thereof. Some want to change words like light to lite, or through to thru, but to me that is ridiculous. Simplifying spelling for words that already have more than one meaning, or words constructed with roots of antiquity to give clues to their meaning would simplify a lack of clarity. Word meanings and spelling evolve over time; I prefer they take a long, long time to do so. Besides, I have memorized them and I do not want to change course.


You forgot to mention that Latin and Greek play a role in the English Language -- a big role. In fact, many word spellings and definitions often get confused because we have lost or do not undertsand their ancient root.

$750.00, hmm. We need the house cleaned nearly everyday, but I pay peanuts -- literally. Have a nice conference.

I get to go to New York City next week and the week after next for wine and food tastings -- tough job, heh! But I do write about it.


Hope Fran is well.

Rhoda Thu Apr 29 08:11:33 PDT 1999

Tomorrow I go to the Romancing the Rockies conference in Boulder, Colorado. I am extremely nervous, though I am looking forward to it. I do need to take some time to revamp my current synopsis of VALERIE'S SONG before I go.

Does anyone here have any idea how a housewife with three children at home during the summer can earn $750.00? I suppose I can offer my services for math/science tutoring, mowing lawns, and perhaps (teeth clenched) babysitting. Any ideas would be appreciated. However, anything I would do must be legal and moral. RWA has a great conference in Chicago at the end of July, one week before we were going to fly in there anyway to pick up our rental car and head for Harbor Springs, Michigan for vacation. It is a long conference and hotel rates are expensive. I cannot think of going unless I earn some extra money.


Do you have Star Trek in Portugal? Klingons originate from that series. Klingons are a particular group of people from the planet Klingon. I believe there are Klingon lexicons you can buy, and that Klingon is truely a language with the Star Trek convention crowd. I also wish to warn you, Americo, not to think of tampering with our language. I agree that many of our spellings are insane, but I hope we never change them. I would hate to see people do to English what they have done with French over the past hundred years. French has been so worked over that those who learn modern French cannot read French classics in their original form from the first half of the nineteenth century and earlier. Everytime in this country a panel or committee gets together to do something, they invaribly screw it up worse than before. So please don't wish such a thing on our language.

The inconsistencies of English give it character and color. English was never designed to make sense, and it never really should. English also has, I believe, the largest vocabulary of any European language. Its very make-up tells the story of Germanic origens, civilized by French via the Norman invasion, and then the varying influences since then. With every new inclusion, nothing is thrown out.

Eddie and Michele,

I read a wonderful article in a six-month old National Geographic magazine about the Orkney Islands. Have either of you ever been there? I have decided that I will definitely visit them if I ever get to Scotland. I could see where time spent in such a place would be a great inspiration to writing.


I am still reading your book. I am almost finished. I just wanted you to know that though I have been slow reading it, I haven't forgotten it. I hope to finish it after I return to the conference.

I miss Litter. Where has he been?

Happy writing, all


S.N.Arly Thu Apr 29 07:45:59 PDT 1999

Americo - Doubt it's a language thing. I'd guess it's more related to the size of the country and the consequent population. There's a lot of us vying for the few readers that exist in America. Therein, I believe, lies the true problem. Not enough Americans read anymore. Many of us (writers) do delve into foreign languages, although it rarely comes out in our work because it is often irrelevant to the story. Or maybe that's just us SF & F writers.

Was that supposed to be Krieg? Am unfamilair with Kriek.

Jack - Sorry to hear about Fran. Hope she's doing well. How very writer of you to take your personal response as fodder for future writing. I am glad to hear your adrenaline rush had a reasonably happy ending.

Thomas - I don't know that I'd call Klingon "easy" to learn. I still haven't mastered the whole grammar thing. And there's no verb: to be. Makes it difficult to translate Shakespeare.

Hairpiece? Gotta love that awsome Klingon hair.

"Sein oder nicht sein,
das ist hier die Frage."
- Shakespeare

Americo Thu Apr 29 07:24:15 PDT 1999

Jack — What's "Klingon"? A universal, rather than a terrestrial language like Esperanto? If it is a universal language, I will go for it. Otherwise I will learn Esperanto, which is based on Latin (partly like English), is easy and useful. Useful in terms of communication and culture. You can't know English without having a certain knowledge of Latin. American English is creative, pleasant but lacking rational basis. I prefer the English of England — which is also irrational but much more beautiful in terms of pronunciation. Both American English and proper English (sorry for the "proper") need a spelling reform. Perhaps we could discuss this in a constructive way.

Thomas — writer's block exists. I never had one but I know writers who suffer from that. It's like depression. You never know when and why it comes.

On this Notebook — I (as probably most of you) keep a personal notebook. I write everything on it : my literary projects, my headaches, my preoccupations. Maybe I will publish it one day (it already has 14 volumes). THIS notebook should be like one's personal notebook. I can't speak about literature if I am worried about war. This notebook seems to me better than the 101 writers's sites I know, because there is freedom of expression here, and there is a lot of love going on among us — even when we get angry. THis is a living beast. Let us make it even livelier!

Americo Thu Apr 29 07:09:12 PDT 1999


To Have and To Be

He had a house,
he had a garden,
he had a car,
he had a wife,
he had a son,
he had a mistress,
he had a heart,
he had a gun,
he had a God,
he had everything money can buy.
He shot himself yesterday.
— Why was he unhappy?

Thomas Thu Apr 29 06:04:35 PDT 1999


Great piece of news about your father's friendship with the Esperanto man, and that you have dictionaries of it.

Seems to me the main reason the language failed in its mission is ebcasue it is a language without a country -- no dilpomats, no commerce, no wars. Sad, isn't it?

I will one day find time to learn it; probably not until winter -- when spring and summer come, I get swamped covering the local wine industry for newspapers and magazines.

Maybe I will call on you later regarding Esperanto. I have looked at, and bookmarked, their Web site.


Klingon surpasses Esperanto, but the latter was invented with special care for ease of learning. When I try it, I will report on that aspect of it. I never tried to learn Klingon. Perhaps Esperanto needs a good television and movie series! But I hope the star tries hard to keep his paunch in check, unlike the other star with the terrible hairpiece.


There is no such thing as writer's block. If you can't write on one particular project, write on some other project. In time, it all winds up getting done.

You use the Notebook to vent your writing. Try not to waste the good ideas for your novel, for once they are spent they are hard to recapture -- that produces a prolonged "writer's block" (which I just said does not exist; I contradict myself -- a writer's great sin). Why am I telling you this. You are two years older than I, and by now should know such things. Are you testing us? Is this how you tango?

pnokio Thu Apr 29 02:37:41 PDT 1999

Hello Everyone.

There's a little story in the Workbook inspired by Jackwitch. That is to say, when he gave me the keys to the place he said a few words about plagiarism, which I though about, wondering how anyone could ever have the gall to take something from someone's mind and call it their own. But then they'll steal your car and do it. If you read it and would like to know more about it, the genesis of it, Michele has the details and my okay to publish them here. (Okay Michele!). It would be really nice if someone would say something about it, either by email or right here on Notebook. And if someone could read Looking for Micky and say how it comes to them, my cup would run over.


I tried to email you with a critique of your poem Reverie. But my Talk21 email-server isn't talking to anyone right now - although sometimes it breaks out and says the same thing twice! Anyway, I've not been here on Notebook or Workbook too long, and only last week got around to looking at the posted poetry. There's some really interesting and well-written stuff in there, but I read Reverie several times, and I think it's a beautiful piece of work. As I tried to say in my email, this will come with me now - wherever. It's a lovely piece.

Michele and early reading - comics.

I don't think I ever did any work at school, and the only reading I recall with fondness is The War of the Worlds. I did only what I had to do, and coming top in English and Science is a wonder I don't understand. That ain't saying much, believe me, because though I loved my school it was the kind of school that soled the boots of the academic machine. The Avenue. That's what it was called. The Avenue - to no place much. Before then I'd been a sick kid attending a special school for recovering children. That was paradise. A mixed school - a million adventures including first love. I remember at The Avenue (all boys) looking at the elderly female secretary coming along the corridor towards me, and thinking in boyhood terms, "Has it come to this?". Nice woman - but you know? And at the back of all this there were a million comics in my bedroom, almost all science fiction, and all about good guys winning. Then I was outside a bookshop, in a place called Tower Bridge Road (it's the road where Tower Bridge is), and I bought a science fiction book - 'Cee Tee Man'. It was about wishing and hoping for some magical breakthrough, something impossible and wonderful and marvellous that would win the war and the girl. Cee Tee Man did that. Then Bradbury, the greatest of all influences on my interest in the arts, the fantastic mentor-magician who showed me so much. I remember reading a little story of his, 'In a Season of Calm Weather', the one about the Picasso-adoring man meeting Picasso on the beach, making figures in the sand with an ice-lolly stick, with the tide coming in. I was in a trance. And Bradbury mentioned Girl Before a Mirror in that story, and Guernica, and I went to the library and got the book so I could look at these things, and later bought a book of Picasso's works. I remember reading paragraphs and in innocence thinking, 'now how has he done this, why am I feeling so terrific about what I'm reading', and reading it through again and again.

'Bye Everyone,

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Apr 29 02:16:59 PDT 1999

Re Esperanto as a small factoid, Klingon has overtaken Esperanto as the most popular invented language spoken.

Well, this has been an interesting couple of days. I heard a crash upstairs and ran up stairs to find Fran passed out on the floor. She had been on the phone with a consulting nurse because of acute stomach pains. I picked up the phone and discovered who it was and was told to call 911 immediately. Which I did. Ambulance ride for Fran and a long night at the emergency room. Up shot is that Fran is fine and it is likely an aftermath of her being on antibiotics. However, I have to say that there are those who thrive on adrenalin. I am not one of those people. And I certainly do not like being that freaked out. Still, as I run it through my head and take stock of the emotions I felt I think it might be somehow useful. Certainly, something I can mine for inspiration. Take care all. Still quite busy with some commercial distractions, but hope to get back to 'S' I have some definitely ideas about what I would like to add. Talk with everyone soon.

Jerry Lee Wed Apr 28 20:45:51 PDT 1999

Yo, All!

In 1978/9, I worked at a little weekly newspaper in Colorado called the "Littleton Independent". We published not only the 'Indy', but 40 other papers/magazines/newsletters. As the computer operator/proofreader, it was my job to run the paper tape through my two half-ton computers, develop the positive of the type and then read it for errors. Many of the things that I read there were what you would refer to as a 'dime novel'. A simple cover of thicker paper surrounding about a hundred pages of type. I'm sure the Indy wasn't unique in their printing of so many things, and I'm sure that if you check with your local newspaper, they'd be happy to give you a price for a small run of a hundred or two dime novels.
It was always a lot of fun reading things like that as a proofreader. Good luck to you on your newfound effort.

"Guns don't kill people, ignorant parents do." Stacy Curtis, Political Cartoonist

Americo Wed Apr 28 19:03:15 PDT 1999

Thanks for the information, Howard. I have just a little grammar book, which, incidentally, I tried to find today but couldn't. Thomas gave me the idea of learning Esperanto. I know it is not difficult to learn. Perhaps some of us here in the notebook could try it. It would be nice to write some sentences in Esperanto!
I really think that knowing foreign languages is very important for a writer. Not exactly to communicate, but to read in the original (translations are usually poor in any language). (This paragraph does not apply to Esperanto, although I heard that there are books originally written in this international language.)

Howard Wed Apr 28 18:21:51 PDT 1999

Americo -- I have in my collection of books several relating to Esperanto, including a dictionary and a history of the language. As you know, Esperanto was supposed to be the "one world language" that would draw this world closer together. Based on Latin, it was (and is still) a pleasant language, but it never did become more than an interesting diversion for many. One of the movers and shakers trying to get the language started was Raymond York, who was a friend of my father. He gave me the books back in the early 1950s.

Jon, CEO Wed Apr 28 17:53:51 PDT 1999

Nice addition to "S", Lydia. You are so sweet!

Cassandra — It's agreeable to be understood. My neighbour is more handsome than Dustin Hofman but not so hansome as your father. I am the most handsome of the three. Pussy is tops. Wed Apr 28 17:45:33 PDT 1999

I read the posts of Lena and Eddie and my writer's block evaporated immediately — which leads me to conclude that writer's block is just lack of somebody else's fire.

Well, Eddie, sprechen sie Deutsch? Sie mussen es sofort lernen. Niemand spricht Lateinish oder Esperanto auf jener wunderbares Land. Wie geht ihres Erstes Minister, Mr. Pepsodent? Noch reinigen die Americanishe WCs? Wir mussen etwas machen um das Kriek zu beenden! Wir konnen die Amerikanishe unsere Lander, Frauen und Kinder nicht zerstoren und sterben lassen!

I have written the above in Germany because it's not nice to write here about criminality. My vignette on oranges also reflected my wish to comply with the laws of decency and decorum beautiful writers must abide by. To express strong feelings, only in a foreign languge. That's what can be called good Republican manners. Applause.

Eddie, why did you wake up my talent? I know why. Your post is one of the best that has ever been published here. If you know Proust you know I am not flattering. He wrote the 1000-odd pages of his "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu" because one day, having tea in his aunt's home, the taste of a biscuit called "madeleine" brought his mind to the past, and thus he recovered all his life and the life of his best friends. So he wrote the best French novel of this century. You discovered the strength of smell, and you started the book of your life. Do not forget what I've just said, sir.

Allein Wed Apr 28 17:18:20 PDT 1999

I'm happy today. I got my report card - 2 A's, 3 C+'s and a P (passing - that's for a teacher's assistant which can't be given a letter grade). I got a 2.98 GPA for this quarter but my cumulative is only 2.7 something (I didn't do so well in math last semester). But, two grades rose, one stayed the same, two classes are new, so no comparison, and one fell. I got money for my report card so I'm going to the movies on Saturday with my friend. :)

I'm also happy because I just received a two page letter and a bunch of pictures from my pen pal in Canada. She loves to write and draw just like I do. She likes my story (Rachel gave her a copy).

Well, that's all folks,
Bai bai,

Good advice: Never pet a burning dog. :)

Jai Wed Apr 28 17:13:47 PDT 1999


I made up this saying yesterday --

It isn't the adult that lives in each child that makes all humans equal regardless of age,
It's the child that lives in each adult.

Anyone heard this one before? I was kind of hoping it was original and not something my subcontious dug up.

Also wrote this poem -- Autumn

Constantly radiating warmth, my palms. A counter to the contented beat of my heart. Outside the day is frozen grey, it leaves me feeling tender, a new born joy.

The icy wind howls and deep inside my own wolf takes up the challenge. I am a child and I run forth into the winds teeth with only my gentle heart to warm me.

As the cold brings tears to my eyes I look forward to the brightness of tomorrow.

Just thought I'd share it with you all.

Michele - Glad your feeling better, we all need some R&R in life.

Patrick - Welcome. Would you like to write fiction or non-fiction? Personally I've only researched the fanstasy/sci-fi writers market. I don't know what a "Dime Novel" format is but I think the size of story your wanting to write is the Novlette (something between a short story and a novel, say > 10k words and less than 50k ). I believe these can be pretty hard to publish but there is avenues, though I doubt you'll find one that uses a pamphlet style, Magazines and books ( Antholigies ) are the only styles of publication for novlettes that I've come across.


Cassandra Wed Apr 28 17:00:55 PDT 1999

whenever I'm tired, or sick, I always mess up the URL to my website!



Cassandra Wed Apr 28 16:58:29 PDT 1999

Hi again notebookers,

Today seemed like a pretty good day, up until my last class. Right in the middle of it, it felt like someone was poking sharp objects into my head.

Growing determined to take a nap, I came back on campus to find my friends waiting to talk to me. They all decided to hang out in my room. And while I love them all dearly, one with a killer headache can only stand so much. So I tried, and nicely as possible to get them to go away.

*yawning* It's been 3 hours of off and on sleeping now...

My father used to, and still gets told that he looks like Dustin Hoffman. My brothers and I thought the same when we were little. Now that he's older, the resemblance isn't as strong as it once was, but you can still see it.

I really don't worry about Jon. Cats are aloof, and mostly arrogant creatures. I've just about given up on trying to please them. I'll just go about my business, and do whatever I see fit (in other words behave like a cat). Seems to work on my felines.

well, duty calls...

ta ta

Casey Wed Apr 28 16:36:14 PDT 1999

I am here, but I don't know what to say. Could this be writer's block?

Ah, perhaps I'm tired of using English. Anyone for Esperanto? I do not expect any of you to understand Portuguese.

I had an idea. Could the wilderness of contemporary American literature be ascribed to the lack of knowledge of foreign languages of USA writers? I can't imagine how a writer can do without French, for instance.

When was the last time an American novel was translated in Portugal? I think it was in the 60's but I can't precise the date.


S.N.Arly Wed Apr 28 16:12:50 PDT 1999

Patrick - We're currently devolved on war and gun topics, but will eventually return to writing if you'll stick around. By all means check out the workbook section of this site, as well as the main page which is chock full of great links that Jack has dug up for us. You may want to check them out while you're waiting.


Eddie French Wed Apr 28 15:49:05 PDT 1999

How goes it?
It's warm today.
So...You have something against cold weather do you? :¬)
The tale of the Michele Nodes' Challenge
Turning the Notebook on this morning, I found myself confronted with yet another of its fanciful foibles to contend with. It was growing bolder daily. I sat and thought about this latest test for some time. I thought about it through breakfast. This was all I could come up with.

And it was too!!

Allein Wed Apr 28 15:35:23 PDT 1999

Casey - I will be on again around nine tonight. If we don't catch each other, well then, that's life.

God Bless you all,

Eddie French Wed Apr 28 15:26:01 PDT 1999

Hi all,
Well, Spring finaly arrived here in the UK today...(In Cheshire anyway) I renovated the gas BBQ so it's gleaming again after spending a winter outdoors. I also managed to mow the lawn. (Which almost burnt out the mower....lots of rain lately...) We are ready to entertain from today so I'm looking forward to a few good days out in the yard this summer. How many of us have had that sudden jerk of vivid memory which is triggered by a forgotten smell? What an experience!! Today while I was cleaning up the BBQ it happened to me. I had stripped the metal stove section from the stand and started to clean it up while waiting for the paint to dry a bit on the stand. I went out to the local DIY store and bought a tube of 'Stove Black' to polish it up. No sooner had I begun to rub it into the top when the smell got me. The memories which that smell brought back were so vivid that I remembered specific summer days in my childhood that were (I thought) forever buried. It was so powerful! I could see my grandmothers fire and I even remembered the black and white movie which was being shown on the Monochrome telly, ( Which my Grandfather was watching silently) on the day we visited their house in Litherland (Liverpool). I remembered the cobbled road outside and the crumbling wall at the rear of the yard. The most powerful memory that the smell brought back was ...the smell...I used to black my grandmothers range with stove black and later on that smell used to remind me of cleaning the fire. I wonder how much of this was my recollection of a memory and how much was actually a first hand memory.
I must be getting old, sitting here reminiscing like this.
Now...if I can just get this ground in black from under my fingernails.

Lena Wed Apr 28 13:35:44 PDT 1999


Counting words. If I remember correctly, the words "the," "a," and "an" do not count in a word count... correct or no? Are you supposed to count them? Do computers?

La de dah...

The middle school in our town was evacuated yesterday because of rumors of a bomb threat... my younger sister was thrilled because "nothing exciting ever happens here." The high school in the next town over had 250 kids absent who were scared of rumors of a hit list made up on athletes. About an hour's drive from here, some kids set off three small bombs by a school building. In Michigan alone, five schools were closed today as police investigated bomb threats. A friend of mine put it well... it is now a "fad" to call in bomb threats. All this does not really bother me much. It is very annoying, though.

Americo - I love crosswords. Liked your orange story, very nice.

The Great Gun Debate - Why can't we all just get along?

I read a short story once, a science fiction story which was a parody of censorship and political correctness. It was set in the near future, where an English teacher wants to teach Shakespeare to the students. However, so many protests have been lodged against various parts of Shakespeare's plays that he finds he cannot even have the students read the entire play. For example, because Polonius (sp?) is stabbed behind a curtain in Hamlet, the Drapery Defense League files a protest that "Curtains don't kill people, people kill people." Therefore, the curtain scene is outlawed, and so forth. Finally, the teacher whittles down the play through all the protests and comes up with only two lines from Hamlet:

"How goes it?"
"It is warm today."

And that is all his students got to read. Restrictions have their place, and then there is a thing called blatant idiocy. It is sometimes hard to find the line between the two.

"Open endings. Huh! Unanswered questions. Huh! A sensible reader craves not these things... Where lies the sense of fulfilment in a tale of which the telling remains unfinished? Where lies the challenge for the author?" (anonymous)

Rachel Wed Apr 28 12:35:44 PDT 1999

Hi all

Welcome Patrick.

Take care all


Michele Wed Apr 28 12:34:09 PDT 1999


Forgot to say that there's a prize of £1000 (that's one thousand pounds) for the Mini-sagas comp. although I've no idea if it's open to anyone outside the UK - I don't see why not but...

And is it me or has this page got VERY long ??


Howard Wed Apr 28 11:36:10 PDT 1999

Michele -- thanks again!
Patrick -- welcome! Check with Jack for access to the workbook, and post away!
All -- The 4/26 edition of TIME magazine has an article on the "Your Health" page (p108) that's rather interesting:
"Researchers say writing about stressful experiences can improve symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis and athsma patients.And though patients wrote only 20 minutes a day over three consecutive days, about half of them experienced positive effects that seemed to last for months." They didn't post any numbers or demographics, though, and no pointer to the full report.

Michele Wed Apr 28 11:14:05 PDT 1999

Hi all

I feel a lot better today - see how much difference a day makes - I slept like the proverbial log last night - and a day of doing very little obviously helped !

Re: the Mini-sagas competition, Howard emailed and asked me for the details for entry, so I am posting them here - but to be honest I think the competition "stinks"... But being fiction writers you may consider the terms acceptable... If you want to post entries here - or email them to me, I might well be prepared to put up a small prize (remembering I am a poor student !) for the one I deem the best - and I won't charge you an entry fee or take your copyright... !

Here's the details of the Telegraph's competition :

Mini-saga to be 50 words only with a title of no more than 15 words. Deadline for entries is May 22 - but it's snail-mail entry only and there's a £5 entry fee (ouch !) Cheques payable to Arvon Foundation - address is:

The Daily Telegraph Mini-Saga Competition
The Arvon Foundation
Kilnhurst Road
OL14 6AX

Entries should be on separate sheets or postcards with author's name and address clearly legible and enclosed in envelope with entry fee. Entrant, by entering, assigns property & copyright to Telegraph Group Limited. (If you want full details of entry terms email me and I'll send the address to get them from.)


Americo Wed Apr 28 09:07:30 PDT 1999

Patrick — Welcome. The workshop of this site is a wonderful place for you to publish your material and have it read. If what you write is really interesting you will certainly have a word of incentive. If not, well, everyone is very kind here... Tell us about your life, your problems, your health, and how many cigarettes you smoke a day. People here do not smoke, do not drink, do not do anything special except on saturdays — but I do, so you have company.

Avatar — would you kindly tell more about that famous character of yours? E-mail me. In any language, including my lates discovery — Esperanto.

Cassandra — I know that you are up for great deeds. Do not be afraid of disappointing Jon, our illustrious CEO. I like your attitude towards literature and life. And I look frighteningly like your father, though only one woman told me that I ressembled ... what's the name of the actor? I am more handsome than he — and not so vain.

What else? what else? I could not read all the posts and I am in a hurry. I have those students to "entertain", you lazy bones. Just playing war ganes in your PCs, while I have work to do. It's a wonderful day in Portugal, sunshine — sunshine and strawberries with chantilly. Humm... (how do you mimick that sound).

See you later, aligators.

Patrick McDermott Wed Apr 28 07:17:25 PDT 1999

I'v slowly come to realization, I like to write. I write a lot of technical stuff at work and I find I take a great deal of pleasure seeing my words in print (on screen). Alas, the documents are becoming larger and larger. This is OK by me, but it's begining to wear on my readers (bosses, customers, etc.). So, I have to find another outlet.

It's not just enough to write--some one has to be reading it, too. Initially, I took pleasure in in the visual experience of seeing the word on a page. Now, it just isn't enough. I think more than anything it was the idea of sparking a debate or striking up a conversation about ideas and life doctrines. It's gone way beyond that now. I just might want to entertain readers. I think I could.

How does one get started? I've been surfing the net and contacting sites of personal interest (hobbies). I've even concidered (considered?? jsut a word about spell checkers--they are so handy that I've become dependant on them. They should be available on these sites. ALthough I could probably just paste a note in here). Any way, I've considered publishing miniature paper-backs (pamphlet style) booklets.

Can any of you who've been successful in finding an audience let me know your secrets.

Does any one know a small publisher/binder/printer who could do something along the line of the 19th century "Dime Novel" format?

Thanks for any help.

By the way, is it OK to put stuff here for critique?

Is there an online writers workshop?

That's it--really


Avatar Wed Apr 28 07:03:52 PDT 1999

I have one question....


She's in one of those time warps and I can't get her out, you know the ones that have you doing the same thing over and over again? There aren't that many thugs to kill, so she's gonna get a bit bored after a while(just kidding)
Anybody? Anybody at all?


Cassandra Wed Apr 28 07:02:10 PDT 1999

Good morning!

I hope that everyone is feeling well today, cause I'm determined to make this day a good one. (one of my rare, optimistic moments, take notes!!)

You'll just have to wait and see what I'm planning... I only hint, and foreshadow. My characters is a trifle unpredictable, a trait that she shares, in part, with her writer.

Perhaps I'll act alone, or maybe I have a few friends out there.. ;) nevertheless, it will be interesting. >:)

Sorry I missed you last night. I had a self portrait to do sketches for, and a friend was sleeping over. Perhaps we'll catch each other on tonight.

ta ta

Thomas Wed Apr 28 06:14:00 PDT 1999

I remember in grade school and in junior high school -- that middle ground -- we were made to read some important stuff, and i rebelled, not because I didn't like the stuff (The Citadel, Catcher in the Rye, et al) but because I hated then, and still do, being told what I should read. So I read William Saroyan, Damon Runyan (loved his writing), Jack Kerouack and all the so-called weird writers.


Not academic at all -- it is about what a word means. We have made the word democracy the definition of a free society, but it isn't.

Democracy refers to active civil engagement by all citizens, not just their representatives. Civil life in Athens once demanded that all citizens engage in social debate, discourse and solution through voting. The slaves stayed on the property to do the hard work; they were not allowed to be citizens. That was democracy, and I do not think the slaves would have called it a free society.

S.K.S. Perry Wed Apr 28 06:08:20 PDT 1999

Hey all,

First off, I'd like to thank everyone for the birthday wishes. I had a great birthday and got a lot of neat stuff. My wife spoiled me rotten - as usual.

On the war in Kosovo. Why is it that countries have no problem getting together and deciding to go to war, but can't get their act in gear when it comes to enforcing a trade embargo. Remember that old concept of shunning? How long do you think a country (or dictator) would carry out these atrocities if every other country suddenly decided that the offending nation no longer existed. No trade, no foreign aid, no loans, sharing of information - nothing. I can't think of many (any?) country that could stand alone nowadays, at least not for long. Wouldn't this be a more peaceful, or at least nonagressive and nonviolent solution than sending our men and women off to kill and die?

On guns. Most criminals don't have a permit for their weapons, and none of the laws (and our gun laws are a lot tougher here in Canada than they are in the U.S.) restricting the sale of weapons have done anything to prevent them getting their hands on them.
Passing legislature on owning guns only keeps these weapons out of the hands of law abiding citizens, which in itself isn't neccessarily a bad thing either. Let's face it, how many people do you know that you could honestly say you trust with a gun. I'm in the military and it makes me nervous to know half these guys could have one. If you have trouble making accurate, snap decisions that you can live with at the office, at home, or in everyday life, what makes you think you can make the snap decision to use a firearm when needed.

As for using them for hunting, people hunt for the challenge of it, not to mention the fact that some people really like the taste of wild game. It's a sport that tests your skill like any other sport. You may not think it's very challenging (shooting at some poor deer from a couple of hundred feet away with a high powered rifle doesn't seem all that difficult) but if it is so easy, how come a lot of hunters come home every year empty handed? As for why we have to kill poor defenceless Bambi - well, Bambi had a hell of a better chance (and life) then that steak your chomping on for dinner. Having said all that, I personally don't hunt. I find target shooting just as challenging and tests my skill just fine, and if I need more of an interactive challenge, there's paintball (which is a real blast, by the way) which has all of the fuss, and none of the muss (no killing.)

I don't know if everyone should have the right to own a firearm, but I do know that everyone should have the right to protect themselves.

Of course the problem with both of these statements (the war in Kosovo and the problem of firearms) is that there is always someone who will mess things up. There will always be that one country, that one company, or black market operation, that will trade with the shunned nation. There's just too much money to be made. There will always be that one warped individual who brings his gun to school and decides to check out and take everyone with him.

There is evil in the world, but sometimes it's not the BIG EVIL that is out front and obvious that commits the real atrocities. It's the little evil that undermines good intentions and peaceful solutions, lurking in the shadows and waiting to take advantage to make a buck no matter who gets hurt.

Gee, if I had a soapbox I get down of it right now. (We use liquid detergent here, and it's really difficult balancing on those little bottles of Tide.)

By the way, if you haven't noticed I've changed my Email address. Hotmail has simply become too unreliable, so please contact me at this new address.

Be Well, Live Well.

Jon Wed Apr 28 04:32:38 PDT 1999

Someone wrote a 4-letter word in one of his additions to "Shadows in a Dream". I warn Dr. Kirk that this a distinguished place, with children lurking in all the time. Pussy enjoyed it tremendously. I did not find it funny. Damn! I am delighted with the talk about war. I like invasions and all that. Go on killing yourselves. There will be more place for cats.
Sunshine, I love you.

Americo Wed Apr 28 04:25:53 PDT 1999

Jerry Ericsson — a big hug to you. We will be looking forward to your return.

Howard — Bravo! Now you have it. It took me a lot of trouble to make sure it were 51 and not 50 words. But now it's perfect. I will try the little exercise myself. It's more difficult than I thought.

Thanks to Michele for bringing the idea into this honourable place. Anything that deals with words is welcome. Except crosswords — I hate them.

Jerry Ericsson Tue Apr 27 21:25:33 PDT 1999

Agsousa - Thank you it is good to hear someone say they like what I write, we don't hear the nearly as much as we would like. I am falling way behind in my posts with Shadows, it seems that since I won my case against the Workers Compensation burea, and they began paying me for lost wages (it has been a three year fight) that they now feel that despite the fact several doctors, and their judge say I am permanently disabled, they need more proof, thus they are again sending me around the state of North Dakota, seeing their Dr.'s and physical therapists. I have been running from city to city at their demand, and should I refuse any of their demands, they can immediately stop paying me lost wages, and I would be forced to again live on the meger wage my wonderful wife brings home from her job as a nurse's assistant at the nursing home. I will again be on the road the rest of this week to take care of some old business up in North Dakota where I used to live - must sell our old house up there if I can. Will spend the weekend with my sister and her family up there, and am taking my 75 year old mother along so she can visit. When we return, hopefuly I will be able to again sit down and write more.

Howard Tue Apr 27 21:21:38 PDT 1999

I checked the second post and caught the error. I had omitted a space between words, causing the word counter to see the two as one, thus the extra word. Still having a vision problem I guess.
Writing is starting to be fun again!

Howard Tue Apr 27 21:10:16 PDT 1999

That'll teach me to trust the word counter in MS WORKS! I checked again and counted 50 -- then counted them manually and got 51! Here's the corrected version:
Like a moth to a flame he approached the screen. Bright patterns belied darkness beneath.
Gates slammed shut, imprisoning his mind and soul. He struck at the windows, to no avail.
The machine had won, and now it slept,awaiting another. The patterns began again,
looking strangely like flying toasters.

Passer-bye Tue Apr 27 20:05:20 PDT 1999

What happens to people here when the sun sets? All vampires, I guess.

Américo Tue Apr 27 18:42:47 PDT 1999


Oranges are orange. The sky is blue. Grass and the sea are green and blue. There are no mysteries. Colors are colors, shapes are shapes, lemons are lemons. Let us give things their names, simply and without second intentions. Just like a child says father or bread, and a farmer says tree. Yet, be careful with earth. Earth is more delicate. It can be planet, it can be mother. To dust, however, let us call it just dust. Will it not be better that way? To know that wood is only wood, not cross; lamb only lamb, not God; and woman just woman, nothing else?
AGS Tue Apr 27 18:40:37 PDT 1999

Lydia -You are right about what people in the world think about the USA. Couldn't the Americans do something to change the world's opinion? I had the first laugh to-day with the name you gave the man : Moliscivitch. I thought of inventing a character with that name, but I won't, as the subject is too sad. I am following with attention your collaboration to "S".
Cassandra — We sometimes can't hide our feelings. What are you concocting for "S"? I heard it's something great!

Rhoda — When this war started you wrote me an e-mail with which I wasn't entirely in agreement. I see now that you were right and have thought about it. (I told that to Jon!) I think that writers should discuss everything, though.

Howard — I counted 51 words. You lost! Try again.

Jerry — your father taught you to shoot at nine? At that age, my primary school teacher was teaching me not to damage birds nests and to love all living creatures. But we never learn anything with teachers or fathers... I am glad you have no gun now (I sincerely hope this does not sound funny in English.)

Thomas — but can't a republic (or a monarchy, for that matter) be a democracy? Your distinction seems too academic to me.

Hootie — the children and juvenile authors my generation read were La Contesse de Ségur (girls, mainly), Jules Verne, Emilio Salgari and...(surprise, surprise) Mark Twain. I loved Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer (I still do).

Hootie Tue Apr 27 17:07:41 PDT 1999

Howard—Submit it! I’ll bet you could win that contest easily.

On the current WRITING topic—I learned to read when I was four. My sister was six, and she had just started first grade. She thought it would be neat to play teacher to her baby brother, and was somewhat upset when I started demanding more than she knew. My first book was “The Yellow Bandana”, although I always wanted to call it “The Yellow Banana”. I progressed rapidly up to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, but my favorite was “The Lion, The Witch, And the Wardrobe” by C. S. Lewis. I continued reading the Chronicles of Narnia over and over as I grew, and still enjoy them. There is always another level or layer to explore in these “children’s” books. It also helped to shape my love of fantasy.

Agsousa—I think you might be surprised by the caliber of literature that Americans lump under the category of “Children’s” or “Juvenille”. As Lena pointed out, a lot of classics end up there now, despite their content. But even new books in those categories are often bold and inventive, at least in theme. The structure is fairly old fashioned, I’m afraid.

I don’t know when I progressed to “Adult” books. I never really discriminated, and read everything I could get my hands on. Even though I now have fairly well-defined preferences, I will still pick up anything that has words and at least skim it to see if it’s interesting.

“What is history but a fable agreed upon?”
—A. B. Alcott

Thomas Tue Apr 27 16:43:06 PDT 1999

Jerry Lee,

You make good points. Just keep this in mind: the United States is not a democracy, it is a republic. A democracy gives one vote to every citizen, and the vote counts; a republic employs a system of representation to "bundle" votes. Neither system reflects a true majority, the former could be 51 to 49 percent to pass, the latter relies on who has the most powerful voice, and at any given moment that could be the minority.

Allein Tue Apr 27 16:17:22 PDT 1999

Casey - I will be on a little later than usual tonight. I'll be on sometime between 9:15 to 9:30 (my time - always my time) and then we can talk. :)

Toodles everyone,

Jerry Lee Tue Apr 27 15:20:43 PDT 1999

Yo, All...

The entire reason that America included the second amendment in the constitution is that when this country started, the founding fathers weren't sure it would work. They made certain that the inhabitants had a way to fight back in case the whole thing blew up in their faces.

History shows that the longest that a democracy has ever existed is about 200 years, so we're over-due for some kind of shift in government. Owning weapons keeps that from happening...or at least make those who would attempt it think a little harder before trying.

That said, I own no guns. I am prepared to defend my home with a "Louisville Slugger". My father taught me to shoot at 9 years old, and I enjoyed it very much. It wasn't until some years later that I figured out that I was actually enjoying my father's company while doing "guy stuff". Nontheless, while in the military, I was a very good shot, and only had to qualify every other year. They asked if I wanted to go to sniper school, and I said no. I was not willing to take a human life, as a locksmith there is virtually no reason to do so.

I agree that this is a page on writing, but are writers not just people? Are people not effected by the things that happen around them? Someone said that a man is the sum of his experiences, so learn, discuss and argue everything under the sun to become a better writer, right? Maybe it would be a good idea if Jack started a page that would deal solely with current events.

Anyway, I'm glad you are all doing so well in your various and sundry persuits as am I.

A little politics..."Dislecsics of the world, UNTIE!" Anon.

Jerry Lee

Howard Tue Apr 27 12:56:28 PDT 1999

Michele -- yes I got your reply, and thanks for the kind words.
FIFTY!?!?!? Oy!
Like this?????
Like a moth to a flame he approached the screen. Bright patterns belied the darkness
beneath. Gates slammed shut, imprisoning his mind and soul. He struck at the windows, to
no avail. The machine had won, and now it slept,awaiting another. The patterns began
again, looking strangely like flying toasters.

Rhoda Tue Apr 27 12:55:30 PDT 1999


Please don't impune us. Those of us Americans on the Notebook have little to do with the war in Yugoslavia. Not one general or the president or member of Congress asked any one of us how we felt about launching bombs on Yugoslavia. Personally I am not for the war, but I will not state my reasons. I do think that if this thing is badly handled there is more than enough blame to go around, and it doesn't rest primarily upon the United States.

I think as others have stated previously, we are a writer's forum and all of us come from many backgrounds and persuasions. It is probably best that we not fight these issues out here on this board. I respect opinions viewed here that are different than my own. I know sometimes I have been guilty of stating my opinions too strongly. But oftentimes strongly stated views do lead to misunderstanding and hurt feelings.

Well I must run. Happy writing!


Cassandra Tue Apr 27 12:48:21 PDT 1999

Hi all,

*sigh* I see the gun debate is still continuing in here... I pledged that I will not continue it furthur, because no good will come of it. Opinions aren't about to change because one person continues to complain.

agsousa- No citizen in the US gives a damn to help. Of all of the people of voting age I've talked to, very few approve of the actions of NATO. Most of us (that I know of) are angered at our own government for defying public opinion. A lot of close friends concer that this probably just President Clinton's way of getting attention off of himself.

I have a test for my world religion's class in a few hours, so I ought to get to studying.

Allein- I'll be on IM later tonight sometime. We've got a big concert on the lawn here on campus, so sometime after that finishes up...

ta ta!


Lydia Sweet Tue Apr 27 12:15:52 PDT 1999


I find the European point of veiw on such things as NATO intervention and the US "help" of great importance. On many issues you would find the average citizen agreeing with you wholeheartedly. We don't want war, nor do we want our young men to die uselessly. Each time one of these "little wars" gets started and our government tries to make like a hero, our country gets bombasted around the world as a bully. This is not an impression I like to think associated with myself. The government of our country and of Yugoslavia is playing games with lives, but who is right and who is wrong. We see many refugees crossing the borders to relative safety, supposedly to flee from the Serbs (according to the information we are given) who are slaughtering their menfolk and raping their women and orphaning the children. Our feelings are contradictory on what we should do. Our country hesitated before it committed to take on Hitler and his associates. Do we wait again while a race is anihilated? You see where our confusion arises? How much of the information we receive is accurate or twisted for a desired effect? I saw some of the news that was being shown inside Yugoslavia. It was very one sided. I wouldn't expect any less from a government trying to justify the attacks of foreign powers against them. But Moliscivich(?) wants his people to believe he is serving them, not destroying his country. How many people do you know that truly hates a person because he is different to murder him? We have race division and hatred here in our country and it is a shame upon us, but so far we have not declared war against our neighbor because of this. We try to live side by side. Not always successfully, but we keep trying. Do we now turn our backs on entire people in the name of non-violence?

Tell me how to feel. I don't know anymore.

Lydia Tue Apr 27 11:54:20 PDT 1999

Jerry Ericsson — you did not interfere with my freedom of expression. No one did. It was just a pre-emptive strike, in case anyone should think of that... (big loving smile).
You are a nice chap, I suppose. And — you write very well. I try to avoid praising the posts in "Shadows", in order not to distinguish any of the collaborators. But this is perhaps a good opportunity for me to say that I enjoy your writing. Please do not kill anyone in the Chelsea. If you can't resist the temptation of using your arsenal, shoot Dr. Kirk... well, in a leg, or something. Do not hurt Sarah, or you will repent yourself for the rest of your days.

On guns: you do not need guns. There ane no more Indians to kill, blacks to slave or buffalos to slaughter. Sorry but I can't say this in a milder way. Notice that the Portuguese of the past can also be blamed for crimes against humanity. We are ashamed of them.

On dictators: that is not the issue. The problem is that you said you wanted to help the people from Kosovo and they are much worse now; and you are not helping them at all. They are starving and dying. And I do not like the scenes I see everyday on the telly. Do not destroy Yuguslavia, it's a beautiful country with beautiful people. Do whatever you like to Miloscevic, if he is the dictator they say he is, but spare the children, the women, the men, and also the buildings. The attack to the TV building was a stupid thing to do. Here we get reports from both sides, from Belgrad and from the borders where Nato have abandoned the Kusovars to their fate. Many Portuguese are starting protesting, and I am one of them. In the beginning I was divided. But I never thought this war would be what it is. It is a stupid war which is not solving any problem. Politicians should sit down and talk. That's what we pay them for. The least they are showing is incompetence. It's to them I shout, not to you, Jerry, though your fascination with guns would also deserve a comment or two.
And another thing: you will never win the war in Yugoslavia. You should know that, after Vietnam and the other subsequent Vietnams. With all your missiles you are losing all the wars you get involved in. Think of that, and forget about what the American mass-media may be telling you.
And Nato is a bunch of idiots, entirely in the hands of the USA, England being the best behaved of the American colonies in Europe. That is a country I love, for personal reasons, but the laughing stock of Europe in terms of foreign policy. No other country in Europe gives a damn for American "help".

And now I am going to be left alone, all of you being Anglo-Saxons and that kind of thing. Allein, I think I need your help once again. Sorry to disturb your sweet seventeen. What do you think of the way Dr. Kirk disposed of you in "Shadows"? At least you were her hero for some chapters. Not too bad, hein?

The topic in discussion is still Children's Literature. Forgive me, Jack, for giving vent to my latest nightmares. I know you hate guns as well.

Michele Tue Apr 27 09:47:00 PDT 1999



I thought we'd done discussing guns ? And no that still doesn't explain it - sorry but I don't see the attraction in shooting small defenceless animals for entertainment...


Got it thank you ! I did email you back - hopefully you received the reply... And congratulations on being deemed fit for work...

I came to the conclusion today that I have been studying too hard - I am practically wiped out - either that or I have a virus... so I apart from attending lectures I shall do no work this week (next essay's not due until May 26 so I can cope without studying for a week) - I am going to try and catch up on some non-college reading. Hopefully I'll feel better by next week - particularly as it's a public holiday on Monday - so I don't have to start the week with 4 hours of lectures - Hooray !


Jerry Ericsson Tue Apr 27 09:08:29 PDT 1999

Americo - God knows I would never wish to interfere with your right to free expression.

Many here to are against the war, what does it matter to us setting all the way across the Atlantic Ocean what some second rate dictator does to his citizens. Why should one American boy have his life laid on the line to protect the people of europe, even when they call for help.

Maybe we should have sat back in the 40's and let the second rate dictator Hitler take over Europe, maybe not. Who am I to say?

I was not defending our love afair with the gun, just trying to explaine where it comes from. Myself, you can have my guns, if you will just re-emburse me for the cost of them, I can no longer use any but the handguns anymore due to my disability anyhow, and the only thing the hand guns are good for would be to either defend myself from a home invason, or to end my own life, should the urge overtake me (No, I really don't think that will happen).

Living here in America, we watch the rest of the world, and compare it to what we see all around us, much like you in Europe must do. While I have been out of the borders of the U.S. it was only at the behest of my country when sent to fight another war in Viet Nam (one which I never supported either), and short excursions into Mexico, and Canada.

I would realy love to travel in Europe some day should my physical condition allow it, as we yet have relatives in Germany and Sweden. I am told that both nations are very nice places to live now, and have corresponded with the relatives in Germany from time to time although I have not heard from them for several years now, and they may have passed on, as they were very old.

Tell me though do you support the ethnic clensing that is supposadly taking place in Kosovo? Do you think that that is a crime, or is the bombing a crime?

Americo Tue Apr 27 08:11:59 PDT 1999

I thought that if anyone here is interested in practicing his/her Spanish, that person can e-mail me in that language and I will answer in Portuguese. Those languages are similar in vocabulary, though different in pronunciation.

Of course, since no-one answers any requests made in this Notebook, that was a silly offer.

By the way : (for the stingy collaborators of Shadows) — the motion that each collaborator should keep his/her copyright on the material each collaborator publishes in that round robin, in case the book is not published, has won — not a single vote against.

I am against all guns and the Americans' right to keep them is just one of those things civilized Europeans do not understand. I may elaborate on that, but some of you will be hurt in your "patriotism" (what a ridiculous word!)

I do not know for how long are the Europeans going to allow the Americans to destroy Europe. Here everybody is vomiting against the war (and against our government, which is accomplice of that crime.

No one dare to interfere with my right of expression, okay?

Rachel Mon Apr 26 22:09:59 PDT 1999

Allein - Ohhhhhhhhhh THAT e-mail (smile)

I plan to get a new print stuff for my printer tomorrow (doesn't that sound like I know lots) LOL. Then I will run a couple of prints off for Carling and her friend and I will answer that e-mail.

Take care you


Jerry Ericsson Mon Apr 26 21:18:48 PDT 1999

Michele, why would anyone want to own a gun?
My first gun was a gift from my father. It was a .22 LR cal rifle with a six shot magazine, and he gave it to me when I was in the seventh grade in grammar school. I used it for target practice, and shooting rabbits and other small animals. My best friend and I spent many happy hours with our little .22's walking the pasture land north of our homes. When I got older, I worked for one of my uncles on his farm, and as part of the pay he gave me a .22 semi-automatic rifle (he didn't have a lot of money and gave it to me in leu of cash). I quickly traded this with a young man who was in the a custom combiner from Oklohoma for a single shot pistol. I loved the little pistol despite the fact it had a bent barrel and I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn with it. I must have been fifteen by then. Eventually I sold the pistol and used the money for beer, which was a favorite beverage around this area at that time for teen-agers. (This part of the U.S. didn't see the influx of drugs untill the early 70's) I don't remember owning any more hand-guns after that time until I became a police officer, however I did own two .22 Rifles and a .12 ga. shotgun, which I used for hunting. I joined the US Army, and served for four years including a year in Viet Nam. During that time, I only saw those firearms that the Army issued to me, and left my rifles and shotguns at my dads house. When I got out of the Army, I joined my hometown police force. It was at that time I was introduced to handguns, and since I had to carry one as part of my duty, I became rather found of them. I practiced until I got quite good with them, and eventually purchased one of my own. Then after about a year, I became dissenchanted with the police department, and kind of missed the Army (Yes, I actually enjoyed Army life) so I resigned and re-enlisted in the Army. I kept my handgun and brought my small collection with me around the country while serving in Texas, and later in Arlington Va. (Suburb of Wash. DC.) My love of firearms grew, as I played I'll show you mine if you show me yours (handguns that is), with my pals in the Army. When my son came of age to start school, I looked around and saw the schools in the area were not to my liking, there was much violence on the play ground, and I wanted my kids to grow up where I did, with the advantage of small mid-western schools, where the student-to-teacher ratio was much smaller then in the major cities. When I returned home, I again began work on the Police Department, and while working there became friends with a couple of gun-nuts on the force. From them I learned about guns and ammunition, I began to re-load ammunition so I could shoot more often, and began joining in shoots to see who was the best shot. It became a sport for me, and very enjoyable. My collection increased, to at one time over twenty-five handguns, and nearly fifty rifles. Over the years, I have sold off most of the rifles, and gave up hunting completely following my back injury which took me out of the ranks of the police. All I have left are a few handguns, my duty weapon a .45 caliber automatic pistol, and some old back-up firearms I carried from time to time, and about ten long guns (rifles and shotguns) I was very tempted to rid my house of them after all that has happened, but decided they will do no harm here in my house, where they are secure then if I were to sell them. I don't know if this gives you any idea why a person would want to own a gun, just why I did. Many of my friends and relatives own and use guns regularly, none of us would use them against another person except to protect ouselves or our loved ones. Many of my friends live on farms where a shotgun is a necessary to protect the farmstead from predator animals that would eat the chickens or kill other farm animals. Most hunt deer, as I did for many years, so own a high-powered rifle. (I still have my deer rifle, and several I was working on when I was injured). I also worked as a part-time gun smith, and have the last rifle I built for myself to use with the Department should we have needed a sniper type rifle. It is a very nice piece, I once loaned it to my sisters boys for a hunting season, and between the three of them and their father, the rifle killed eight deer (each took two using the rifle).

Many use guns as tools, some feel they need handguns for protection, although I don't realy believe it is necessary here in rural South Dakota with such a small crime rate. However I have heard it said that the reason we don't have any drive-by shootings up here is that if you shot into most homes, the owner is liable to return fire with his 30-'06 deer rifle.

I hope this can give you an idea where it comes from, I guess we just grew up expecting to be able to have a firearm if we wanted, part of our freedom and all that.


Howard Mon Apr 26 21:04:08 PDT 1999

Welcome, Eileen -- nice work! Might want to post it in the poetry section of the workbook so it stays around for a while.
Jerry -- We must be about the same vintage! I remember Alice and Jerry, and their dog Jip. "Run, Jip, run!"
It's strange, but I never read the Hardy Boys books. I do remember the Boxcar Kids, and Swiss Family Robinson, but the original Tom Swift (not junior) and Lucky Terrell (he flew Spitfires in WWII) were tops!
I also remember the very first Science Fiction book I ever read. It was "Mists of Dawn" by Chad Oliver.

Michele -- I'll send you a copy of the essay.
I'm now officially released to go back to work, etc etc. The doctor says all is well with my neck, and except for the propensity to ring the buzzer at the airport (due to the chunk of metal screwed to my neckbones) I'm back to normal (whatever that might be)!

Allein Mon Apr 26 21:01:29 PDT 1999

Rachel - I got that e-mail. Actually, I was talking about the survey. I probably should have been more clear. Oh well. I'll see it when I get it.
Bai bai, many hugs,

Rachel Mon Apr 26 20:53:52 PDT 1999

Hey Allein - This time I did answer your e-mail! I just went into my mail log and have forwarded it to you again.

If you don't get it, let me know

Take care you!

Allein Mon Apr 26 18:55:40 PDT 1999

Just a few short messages to people.

Lena - did you get my e-mail?

Casey - I'll be on around nine (my time) tonight if you want to talk on IM. I'll also send you the rest of that short story (I alomost forgot).

Casey and Rachel - please answer my e-mail.

Well, I think that's it. I'll write more when my life is off of life support and I have something to write.
Bai bai,

Dr. Kirk Mon Apr 26 17:44:50 PDT 1999

Sarah, I am having Internet problems this dark evening (that must be early morning to you, my shining sun) and I do not know if I can kiss you mid-night as I usually do when I had enough blood to drink and feel contented. I wanted you to know that our terrible deed has just been published in the hole where we hide our regrettable behaviour. Let pagan gods, such as Mercurius and other Roman attrocities forgive us; more more gods cannot. Good midnight my accomplice, my my, my pronouns are shaking in terror. What a genius you are, my beloved.
Incidentally, I love your husband as well. Tremble, oh my creature!

Jai Mon Apr 26 16:59:37 PDT 1999

Heya all,

Rachel, Hi. I am still out here. Lurking, watching and softly chuckling.

Glad to hear you are all happy, I too am happy. I've finally finishe chapter 4 and have already started chapter five. Anyway got to run before I get in trouble.

Take care all,


Lena Mon Apr 26 16:47:53 PDT 1999

I base many of my characters, at least partially, off myself. I can point out particular traits in certain characters... for example, Corbin has my philosophy of life, Lia has my wariness of relationships, and Mirabel has my forthrightedness (whew, is that a word?). I do this because I need a starting point for my character, but after awhile the character becomes their own person. Corbin is lethargic to a degree, Lia is overly hostile, and Mirabel is... well, she is still extremely forthright. Didn't I mention that?

Have a friend who rps (roleplays) a lot... she tells me that the best method for getting to know a character is to pretend to be them online. I have never tried this, but it sounds like it could work very well.

Took the writing and reading Michigan proficiency test today... I would laugh so hard if I failed. The irony would be beautiful (I doubt I'll fail, though.)

I realized yesterday that I have not written anything for Shadows in a lo-ong time. Oops - apologies to all. I have written little of anything lately, except for school assignments. Will beat myself with a willow stick and sit down and WRITE!

"Women, serfs, and willow trees, the more you beat them the better they be." I think in this case the willow is getting its revenge. If you see a tree sneaking up behind you, watch out... you never know these days, what with all the civil rights movements and all.

Thomas - Government is a necessary evil. The other solution is anarchy - then we'd really need those guns!

"There are two rules for success. First, never tell everything that you know."
-Lena Mon Apr 26 16:29:31 PDT 1999

On what children read.
They do not. Watch TV from morning till night. Mainly the hard core movies. An audio-vidual generation.
Do not read. They don't know how.
Play war games in their PCs. Do not know how to read and they could not care less.
Middle-aged men.
They read. Sports magazines. Mainly soccer.
Middle-aged women.
No time for reading. They are running the country.
Third age.
They read that collection of comics they did not have time to when they were children.
Fourth age.
They play droughts and cards on garden benches.
Fifth age.
They die of exhaustion because they read too much.
Sixth age.
They complain of schools not motivating people for reading. They would like to start reading but they cannot because of sight problems.
Seventh age.
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything — they write essays day and night.

These, brethren, are the seven ages of men as far as reading is concerned. Do you still want to be writers?

My story is different. I always coonsidered children books ridiculously childish (except some comics). Once I went to the municipal library and asked Chateaubriand's "The Martyrs". The library's most important guy was called to see the phenomenon. "How old are you, boy?" "Ten, sir." "Ten and want to read a French classic? You'd rather read *The adventures of Pinochio* "Only in Italian, sir," I answered. And turning my back to that adult I went to the beach to play soccer with the other kids. That is what I have been doing ever since.

You can call me an elitist. Reagan, the educator of the American masses, would be delighted.

Rachel Mon Apr 26 14:19:59 PDT 1999

Hey all

Well, hum. I doubt I really have to tell you this, but I'm going to anyway.

In Shadows my character could get up to some mishcief and adventure, but it is just a character. The actions, perceptions and beliefs of the character are not necessarily those of this writer and creator of said character.

I admit that I have to this point based the character strongly upon myself but do plan to part company with my own good sense in future entries.

I think it will make for some good fun.

I don't know why I am stressing over this. I guess its just part of who I am. The one who still hesistates to share her writing with anyone.

I hope that makes sense.

Incidently. I chickened out on sending in that story. Dan has begun to nag me ruthlessly. He thinks its a good story and wants me to send it in. I think I will. I'll let you know.

Take care all


Thomas Mon Apr 26 14:19:20 PDT 1999


True, government is supposed to make, enforce and act out the laws. But particular government and particular rule of law do not always go hand-in-hand, even when a government is under some form of constitution. Think of dictators, fascists and sundry other nice guys; often they nullify their constitutions and place arbitrary restrictions and demands on the populace.

Americo Mon Apr 26 13:28:11 PDT 1999

I started writing here three months ago this day. I thought that you could give a silent, invisible party in your hearts. Listen to "Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa, my great ancestor, and eat cucumber sandwiches. I will come back in some hours' time to see if are still alive and kicking.

Dr. Kirk Mon Apr 26 13:10:05 PDT 1999


I have just sent you an attachment in rich text format. Please tell me if you received it and managed to open it. Try e-mailing first so that no-one knows about our incredible secret. But since you probably have a PC rather that a proper computer, use the notebook if you cannot reach me any other way.

Michele Mon Apr 26 12:45:45 PDT 1999

Hi all


I missed it - do you have a copy of the story you could email me instead please ?


I have a new writing challenge for you all... It's even more entertaining than writing vingnettes... It's called "The Mini-Sagas" and the challenge is to write a grammatically correct complete story in fifty words... Yes I did say FIFTY words - that's 50 !!!!

One of the national papers here runs this competition every year... The story can be about anything you like but it must be exactly 50 words - not a word more nor a word less... So go to it... anybody who wants I can give the paper's email address and you can send it in if you like (although whether they accept email entries is a different metal container of swimming amphibians... !)

Handed in my overlong essay this morning and got my "Introduction to Poetry" essay back... got the sort of mark I expected for it... I am just no darn good at writing critical analyses of poetry - at least not in a small number of words ! (1500 is small to me....)

Anyways I am going to go take a bath and then ring a friend before hitting the hay - I've been up since 5.15 am (it's 8.40 pm at present) and am shattered it being killer Monday...



A good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to alife beyond life.
-- John Milton Areopagitica, 1644.

lydiasweet Mon Apr 26 12:40:45 PDT 1999

Hi all,

I've been away for awhile and when I came back I couldn't download because of the volume.

SKS. Sorry I missed your birthday, but was unaware until today so "HAPPY BIRTHDAY".

Thomas. I began reading real literature in about the 4th grade, but was also a comics addict. In high school I read "Gone With The Wind" in the 10th grade and by the time I reached my senior yea,r my English teacher gave up on my reading the required reading list, but because I was such an avaricious reader, we would go over the books I had already read or was in the process of reading and pick a book on which to do my report.

Cassandra. When I began my characters they were mere images and as the story evolved they took on flesh and blood qualities. Now I have to talk to them or step into their skin to make sure a scene is genuine, is as the character would truly react or speak.

You can get some strange looks as you drive down the highway carrying on a conversation with an invisible character, even if you see him clearly, to the people in the next car you are talking to thin air. Have I gotten some looks!


Jerry Ericsson http://www/ Mon Apr 26 12:35:11 PDT 1999

Ah, the comic books - growing up in the 60' how could a kid not read the comic books, along with Mad magazine, Crazy Craked, and the pulp horror magazines. Loved them even the classic comic books. The first thing I remember reading, though was the old True Stories - my two older sisters always snuck mom's True Story magazines upstairs in our old farm house, and by the light of the kerosene lamps, they read them from cover to cover. In helping me learn to read, they had the magazines up there so they taught me to read from them. I don't think this had a great impact on my youth but I guess it was different. I do remember the Alice and Jerry first readers, in fact my parents tell me that my first name came from that series. Seems my father wanted me named for his father Arthur, so that was the name on my birth certificate. Mother said she could just see the neighbors saying "look at little artty" and hated that nick name. They discussed it when my eldest sister, then in the first grade came in and said I should be named Jerry after Jerry in her first reader. Today I prefer the writings of lawyers, after studying law for two years (paralegal course) I guess my understading of the law makes me lean toward such authors as Grishem, however in my youth I too read the entire Hardy Boys series from the local library, and loved the tales of Zane Gray.

Cassandra Mon Apr 26 12:00:05 PDT 1999

Hi all,

Have you ever read Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud (I'm not sure if that's his name)? I think you'd be interested in it. It's all about the historical start of and artistic validity of Comics. Very interesting book...
it's writen all in comicbook style.
I've been a fan of comics for a while, although I don't get to read them as often as I used to...

I read all sorts of things as a child. I read almost the enitre juvinile section in the Schenectady public library. I read anything that I could get my hands on, including the classics, and 'adult' literature.

have to get going... catch you all later
ta ta


Lena Mon Apr 26 11:12:45 PDT 1999

Oh, I admit to reading the Babysitters Club, the Saddle club, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Little House on the Prairie, etc. I started reading “adult” books when I was perhaps twelve... I remember, in seventh grade, my teacher made everybody in the class keep a log of what they read. He kept me after class one day and asked me if I was telling the truth when I said I had read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” Well, I did. (though it is one of the most boring books I have ever had the honor of reading)

Do you know what annoys me? When a book is deemed fit for children merely because it is a classic. I found the novel “The Scarlet Letter” in the juvenile section of our library. I have also found “Johnny Got His Gun,” one of the most gruesome war novels I have ever read, in the juvenile section. I know we want to share our culture with our children, but I think some things can wait until we are grown up.

Thomas, you said – “Incidentally, I have as little faith in government as I have in anarchy, so do not count my Constituional bent as a vote for government; it is a vote for the rule of law.” Maybe I am reading that wrong, but isn’t that a paradox? A government is the rule of law.

Rhoda - Are you merely moving into a new house, or is it a Big Move? And, either way, good luck.

Xavier – I agree, comics are just as valid a source of literature as novels and plays. We suffer from the unfortunate connection of the words “comic book” and “childhood”... not a bad thing, but not a good thing.

Allein – Sounds fun.

The bell is going to ring, school is out, gotta go...

Lena Mon Apr 26 11:12:36 PDT 1999

Oh, I admit to reading the Babysitters Club, the Saddle club, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Little House on the Prairie, etc. I started reading “adult” books when I was perhaps twelve... I remember, in seventh grade, my teacher made everybody in the class keep a log of what they read. He kept me after class one day and asked me if I was telling the truth when I said I had read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.” Well, I did. (though it is one of the most boring books I have ever had the honor of reading)

Do you know what annoys me? When a book is deemed fit for children merely because it is a classic. I found the novel “The Scarlet Letter” in the juvenile section of our library. I have also found “Johnny Got His Gun,” one of the most gruesome war novels I have ever read, in the juvenile section. I know we want to share our culture with our children, but I think some things can wait until we are grown up.

Thomas, you said – “Incidentally, I have as little faith in government as I have in anarchy, so do not count my Constituional bent as a vote for government; it is a vote for the rule of law.” Maybe I am reading that wrong, but isn’t that a paradox? A government is the rule of law.

Rhoda - Are you merely moving into a new house, or is it a Big Move? And, either way, good luck.

Xavier – I agree, comics are just as valid a source of literature as novels and plays. We suffer from the unfortunate connection of the words “comic book” and “childhood”... not a bad thing, but not a good thing.

Allein – Sounds fun.

The bell is going to ring, school is out, gotta go...

Xavier Mon Apr 26 07:58:51 PDT 1999

Hello everyone!

Just a quick note to say hello. I have been working on my next 'Shadows' installment, and will post it soon. By the way, I've noticed that a few people read comic books as kids. I collect antique comic books to this day, and find the as a decient literary device. The are not pure text, as books are, but they often convey real, adult and thought provoking stories. Some like "Maus", which told the horrors of the holocaust, won a Pulitzer prize in 1986! Others have also won major literary awards. Some are just for kids, thats true, but if someone were to ask me about some adult, powerfull stories published in those funny pages, I could send you a list 10 pages long with titles of stories just as good as any novel.

I also am published monthly in a collectables magazine (it's mostly local), and write in it about comic books and the hobby of collecting them.

Just curious how others see them, thats all.

"See you in the funny papers"
My tag line for ending my articles


Rhoda Mon Apr 26 06:49:02 PDT 1999


Welcome back. I cried reading about your experience at your retreat because it brought back memories of similar retreats I had attended. There is nothing better than taking time away and focusing on the object of our faith. There is also something special about spending time with people who have a similar purpose.

My daughter is ten. She reads Babysitter Club and Nancy Drew. She just finished L.M.Montomery's Emily series and loved it. Like Michele, she is gravitating more and more to adult level books. I've seen her thumbing through a few of mine. She and my younger son also like The Boxcar Children and they enjoy reading Archie comic-books.


I have wonderful memories of Zane Grey. I started reading him in junior high.

I was eleven when I read my first adult novel. It was some Dorothy Eden romance, and it was not very good. Seeing that I had an interest in romance novels, my mother introduced me to my first Victoria Holt book, Menfreya In the Morning, and I was hooked. I don't think I read another kids book after that.

Moving is difficult, but we are making progress. We hope to be completely in the new house by the week-end before Memorial Day.

Happy writing,


Thomas Mon Apr 26 06:32:04 PDT 1999

It seems to me a prerequisite to becoming a writer is to have read, and that many of us started doing so at an early age.

When I was four I broke a kneecap and had to spend time in the hospital in traction. The nurses were flabbergasted that I could already read a little and that I was uninterested in Dick and Jane; I wanted Madame Bovary; well, not exatcly, but something more substantial; they gave me comics.

Allein Sun Apr 25 22:01:35 PDT 1999

Oh my goodness - I've written a small novel here. :)

Allein Sun Apr 25 21:47:04 PDT 1999

Honey, I'm home! I've missed out on a lot of conversation. Anyway, the retreat was great. I felt like it brought me closer to God and closer to the people in my confirmation class. There were some touching moments, some funny moments, some moments that seemed they would last for eternity - like when the priest stood up there and talked and talked and talked (rumor has it we were up until three in the morning, but I wouldn't know because we weren't allowed to have watches). The first night, we made masks of our faces. It went along with a talk about how people put masks on - they change their clothes or their hair or even their name so they fit in and so no one gets to see the real them. Then we went to our cabin and found goodies hidden under our sleeping bags. The next day we played a game where all of us stood on narrow boards held up by bricks and we had to get the two people at the end to the other ends and basically reverse the order without stepping or falling off. The leaders complimented us on how well we worked as a team despite our differences - color, size, there's even a boy who has a mental disabiliy. But we all worked together without prejudice. They said they were proud because we learned to do in sixteen or seventeen years what some adults don't learn to do in their entire lifetimes - work as a community. Then we walked down to the beach (we were on Vashon Island). The path was narrow, winding and very steep. Going down was fun, but coming back up was tiresome (maybe you haven't noticed, but I'm not in the best physical condition). I was breathing hard and I could feel my heart beating hard and fast and the pulse viberating through my body. It felt like my heart was going to explode - I had to rest before I collapsed. This really cute guy at my school named Anthony Rodriguz - I think that's how it's spelled - waited with me and my friend Deidra until we got our strength back (and yes, he IS a baseball played and yes, his nickname is A-Rod). Anyway, when I got up, I was hot, sweaty and my hair looked a fright so I went to our cabin to take a shower. No use. There was yarn strung all over the cabin and ballons in the shower stall. The team pranked our cabin. So I took a shower after our barbecue lunch. After that, there was another talk about matrimony (since young people tend to marry early or have children too early). The couple that talked about it is happily married and you could see it in the way they communicated with each other - they were holding hands and smiling and you could see the love in their eyes for each other (this is how I want my husband and I to be). The girls and the guys had to describe what they perfect mate would be like. The girls wanted a guy that was sensitive, intelligent, he knows who's the boss and is a member of the "honey do" club (honey do this, honey do that). The guys wanted someone with a good sense of humor, who was shorter than them, and who had (as one guy put it) an "elegant glutius maximus" (AKA: nice butt) - teenage boys! Anyway, then the priest arrived and talked to us on that subject a while. We went and got dressed up for dinner. Following dinner the priest answered some questions we had about religion, we got to have Reconciliation (I really needed that) and then we had Mass (the first part of which I slept through - oops!). Then we got envelopes with letters from the team and loved ones. One was from my mother and it really touched my heart (or was that just heart burn?). She told me in the letter that she loved me and she was proud of me for choosing to strenghthen my faith. I mean, I knew she loved me and all, but sometimes, it's just nice to hear it. Then we went to bed at three. We woke up at eight and then went down for breakfast. After breakfast, we prayed the rosary and talked about what we enjoyed at the retreat. People were crying out of emotion and happiness. Then we packed up and left. Anyway, we got to stop at a park on the way home to eat lunch - I loved it. I played on the swings. It felt like I was flying and I remembered to when I was a kid and you couldn't get me off of the swings. I was laughing and had that carefree feeling (too bad tomorrow it's back to school). I was extremely tired when I got home and I fell asleep.

So, catching up on some conversation. Ban guns? They can't ban guns! Under the second amendment of the Constitution we have the right to bear arms. Maybe they could ban semi automatic weapons and such. I don't know, but to completely ban guns is unconstitutional. Infact, my father has a shotgun for protection (we've never had to use it - thank God - and he keeps it hidden). So, guns can be good or bad and I guess that the good has to come with the bad. But they can't ban them. And I know I probably sound like a stupid kid babbling on about things I don't understand but anyway, that's just my opinion.

Well, I have to go get more sleep. Big hugs to all of you. God Bless you all.
Bai bai,

Howard Sun Apr 25 19:49:32 PDT 1999

Michele -- your question about early reading -- "The Summer I Swam the Panama Canal" was kind of an autobigraphical answer to that. I started early too, and the treehouse happened in my 13th summer. Dunno if you saw the essay or not -- I posted it in the short story notebook, but now it must be in the archives, which I cannot get to for some reason. My teachers quizzed me on books I had read too, and Mrs Wilkerson -- the teacher to whom (she insisted on "to whom")my essay was dedicated got rather miffed when I read ahead in "Beach Red" and spotted all the 'nasty' parts. One line from the book that I'll never forget (probably because it was the one she caught me repeating) was "Goddammit Joe, keep your pimply ass down!" That was just before the guy got blown away by Japanese snipers.
I remember reading Frank Yerby novels back then too -- "The Foxes of Harrow" was one of them, but I think Zane Grey was my favorite author then. I can still smell that mesquite smoke.
But the earliest books I remember were the "Bedtime Stories" series, and the "Uncle Wiggley" series. Nurse Jane Fuzzy- Wuzzy was quite a gal, and I'm still looking for the proper shade of skybluepink -- AKA "skilligmink".
Now, my grandkids read stuff like "Beyond the Sidewalks" etc etc. I try to encourage them.

Michele Sun Apr 25 11:49:43 PDT 1999


Well I finally got my essay typed, printed and into a folder to be handed in tomorrow morning... phew !

Regarding teen reading in the UK, I gather that Point Horror, the Baby Sitter's Club and the Goosebumps series are all popular with both the pre-teens and the teens. I also know that Fantasy in the shape of Terry Pratchett's Discworld and Brian Jacque's Redwall books are also popular (they're also very popular with us adults as well !) And I hear book versions of films do fairly well...

To be honest I was already reading books for adults by the time I was into my teens - but I always was ahead of my chronological age in reading terms. I remember age 8 being told by my teacher that I couldn't possibly have finished reading a book already - and he made me tell him the plot of the story in great detail - and in front of the entire class - before he left me borrow another book... I still haven't forgiven him for humiliating me - and he never apologised either !

It took me until my twenties to start reading poetry and literature - the "classics" as I supppose I should call them with true appreciation...

So what about anyone or anywhere else ?


Dort, wo man Bucher
Vebrennt, vebrennt man auch am Ende Menschem.

Wherever books are burned, men also, in the end, are burned.
-- Heinrich Heine Almansor (1820-1), l.245

Jack Beslanwitch Sat Apr 24 20:25:09 PDT 1999

Hello Trudy Hope things are going well for you. All is well with Fran and I. As for topics of intensity, I concur with taking them off line. However, any aspect of them that lends itself to improvement in writing is always welcome. We might have a discussion of what written material seems to be of interest to young people in different parts of the world. If there are those in the United States that relish items of a Goth nature or vampiric aspects ala Neil Gaimin of Sandman fame, what is the state of interest in writing among younger people in Australia or the UK or Portugal. Being the downside of past forty without kids of my own, this would be an interesting bit of discussion to me. Of course, I could be way off base on the relative interest of the dark side of the force among American youths. With open ears.

Trudy Sat Apr 24 14:54:19 PDT 1999

Hi all, especially Jack and any others who might recognize my name. It's ben awhile since I've been here due to health reasons some of you know, but suffice it to say I'm doing fine, just prioritizing life differently. I wanted to say hi to everyone and say how great it is to see this site still running with such intensity. I was looking for someone and it took me to the very first archives of this site and I found my first post on July 13, 1996. I can't believe this has been here this long! Great job Jack. Hope all is well with you and Fran....and with everyone else who checks in here.

Happy writing!


Cassandra Sat Apr 24 13:21:28 PDT 1999

Just because the UK has less shootings, doesn't mean that it's the laws that make it so. Perhaps because it always rains when I forget my umbrella... one could assume that my ignorance creates the rain. What I'm saying is that there are more differences than laws between our countries.

If you wish to continue the debate, please take it to email. Because I for one don't like bringing intense topics such as these into the peaceful place that the Notebook has become for me. I Will Not continue this debate further here.

No matter how far-fetched the character, I've had some kind of odd connection to them. Even if their beliefs were completely contrary to mine, I can always understand why they feel the way that they do (even 'villains' and 'psychos').

It's good to know that I'm not completely insane, or if I am, that I'm not the only one. :)

I miss you! Come back and make us all smile again. Hope you're having fun on your retreat. Have fun, relax and rest up! *bighugs*

ta ta all


Kristina Sat Apr 24 12:33:43 PDT 1999

Well, I've been dying with strep throat for the last five days and I'm kind of glad I missed the gun debate...I have my opinions on that but it sounds like there is enough energy floating around on the issue as it is, so I'll keep my opinion to myself for now. Have a nice day everyone.

Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say. -William Watt

Eileen Albrizio Sat Apr 24 12:24:20 PDT 1999

Storytelling in formal poetry...what do you think?

a rimas dissolutas
by Eileen Albrizio

Steam from the egg-drop soup kissed my lips
as I watched you crack the stubborn shells
of cherrystones, raw and plump and pink.
Tomato shrimp simmered to a boil.

Layers of china, mismatched with chips,
dressed the table. Lemon-seafood smells
poked at my nose. I stood by the sink
avoiding the hot, spattering oil

that crisped the battered squid. I stole sips
of wine, distorting the rhythmic swells
of clanking pots, splashing water, clink
of glasses. You added to the soil

on your apron as you swiped your hips
with floured hands. Distant Sunday bells
announced it was time to eat. To think
of the feasts, remembering you toil

preparing those sumptuous banquets strips
the lines from your hollow cheeks, and quells
the hunger for days when food and drink
were joyful for you. Now you recoil

at nourishment, and the IV drips
sustenance into your veins. Your spells
of suicidal hysterics shrink
with medication. Your stockings coil

at your thin ankles. Every bone rips
through the skin at your joint. The nurse yells
for you to eat. Your eyes barely blink,
and the shrimp, like the memories, spoil.

Americo Sat Apr 24 11:03:53 PDT 1999

Maria Emília and I came to my den, in S. João do Estoril, to see if the fridge was still in the same place and empty as usual (I tend do forget eating when I am left alone, that is, from Monday to Thursday). There was still half a tomatoe and two patatoes eaten in parts). Maria Emília said that if I did not eat I would die and forced me to eat everything. Now I am going to be very fat and you will not love me any more. Women only think of food.

Sorry, I have to go before she forces me to eat something else. Ciao. Do not forget that on the 26th it will be my third month with you. We are going to have a party, aren't we? Ciao again.

Hootie Sat Apr 24 10:55:55 PDT 1999

Cassey--It used to be that I didn't have to imagine myself as my characters, but that was because most of my characters were me in one form or another. Now that I am growing as a writer, I feel the need to stretch my range (I'm not THAT complex ), and yes, I do talk to my charcters, and "try them out". I think about how they would handle different situations, not just in the story, but in everyday life. True, I may be writing about a bard in an ancient Celtic society, but how would he react to someone cutting him off on the road? Or a rude waiter? Or having a morning off, all to himself? I think that the way someone deals with anger, aggravation, and relaxation define that person, and you can get a feel for it if you just let your character ride around on your shoulders.

He used to be my twin,
Now there's a stranger in the mirror.
--Randy Travis

Rachel Sat Apr 24 08:22:28 PDT 1999

Hil all

Barb, Hayden, Goodweed, Jai, Litter - I was just wondering if you guys are still out there? If yes Hi yah!

The rest of you have a good weekend and remember we are all here because we love to write, and that the only thing our venting our feelings about political, relgious, cultural things will change are the opinions we hold for one another, and that could be a shame as the above really have little to do with the writing that most of us do.

I'm not telling anyone not to talk, I'm just sort of suggesting that maybe we be a little careful when walking over the hot coals.

Feel free to blast me, I'm working on thickening up my skin. (worried grin)

I have come to like the bunch of you and I would hate to see anyone stop visiting the site because of subjects more or less unrelated to writing.

Take care all


Jerry Ericsson Sat Apr 24 07:54:14 PDT 1999

Guns are certianly a cultural thing, and yes, I used to hunt deer when I was still able and if I could I would continue. The hunt was more then just going out in the fild and shooting bambie's mom, it was the interaction with frinds during the hunt, followed by the adrenalin rush when you chase up the deer, the thrill of the chase followed by the actual shooting, the gutting, and even the following days spent cutting up the carcus and making the sausage and jerky. I sure do miss all that, but my disability prevents me from hunting anymore

Thomas Sat Apr 24 06:59:54 PDT 1999


I refuse to get into a gun debate just as I refuse to get into religion, political or any serious cultural debate on this site. I prefer writing as our subject. But I will say this: if the Constitution or one of its amendments is outdated, we have a political system whereby it can be updated. If it is misinterpreted, that is a completely 'nother story.

Incidentally, I have as little faith in government as I have in anarchy, so do not count my Constituional bent as a vote for government; it is a vote for the rule of law.

The question we should ask is: how does the subject of the shooting in Colorado or anywhere else, and the subject of gun control fit into our lives as writers? It is a writer's job, among other things, to stir people to think -- and I know I am out on a limb with that philosophy.

Michele Sat Apr 24 03:36:36 PDT 1999

HI all


I find that argument specious to say the least... if guns weren't readily available people would find it harder to kill or maim others with them. Guns are less readily available in the UK - WE have fewers shootings...


And what's wrong with British tyranny.... ? grins ! I do live with it myself, you know ! I jest of course... We had no more right to rule the US than anyone else... but guns proliferated here a couple of hundreds years ago as well - but we don't have them now...

I think this is one debate that will never end - it's definitely a cultural thing I feel...

Anyway I am off to Gloucester to find a birthday present for my best friend... talk to you all later - about something other than guns probably !


Eddie French Sat Apr 24 02:29:32 PDT 1999

Happy Birthday Steve

Back later with a real post.

Cassandra Fri Apr 23 21:07:31 PDT 1999

Hi all,

Guns, guns, and more guns.

Why must people always blame inanimate, unfeeling objects whenever tragedy strikes? Blame Beavis and Butthead, cause some kid had access to a lighter and burnt down his family's home... Don't even ask "Where were his parents?" or "Why didn't he know the dangers of fire?"

Maybe if I were to run down the street with nytroglycerine in my pants, people would blame the chemicals! Forget the fact that the chemicals are rare, or that I'd have to be insane to do so... No, some chemicals are to blame, and we shouldn't have those chemicals. Then the magic word appears once more: BAN.

How impersonal, and easy it seems... deal with the objects which don't feel and speak...

But I'm growing tired of this tangent. I've debated this over and over and over again, ever since ninth grade, and the arguement never changes. Some people never learn that the world is a dangerous place, and protecting oneself is not what makes it dangerous.

I was wondering if anyone in here dreams of their characters. Or possibly had characters speak to them in their dreams (or in meditation)? Or do you find yourself "trying on" your characters as if they were coats, or shoes... and walking around our "real" world with a different personality??

I know that sounds a little crazy, but I tend to have Very close ties to my characters...

well, onward and upward... and hopefully an end to incessant bickering over a lesson that may never really be learned.

ta ta


"Those who do not learn from history mistakes are doomed to repeat them."
added thought: If gun control hasn't worked before, perhaps the lesson to be learned, is that it won't work at all.
And that's all I have to say.

Rhoda Fri Apr 23 18:12:34 PDT 1999


If Americans hadn't had their own guns back in the seventeen hundreds, we would still be part of the British Empire. Privately owned guns helped deliver us from British tyranny. I don't own a gun and hope never to do so. I am terrified of them and I could never rest easy having them in the same house as my kids. But if I lived in some high-crime areas of the United States, then I would probably have to consider owning one.


The second amendment is no more outdated than all the other ones. I wish I had the confidence in government that you appear to do. If this govenment ever gets to the point where freedoms are taken away and where elections cannot change the abuses of freedom, then revolution is in order and revolution will never happen if some degree of citizens are not armed. I am convinced that that is why we have the second amendment. Once people start ignoring one amendment, then it is easy to ignore others. Is freedom of assembly outdated? Is freedom of speech outdated?

With the criminals that the American Judicial system allows to walk the streets, citizens need to be protected, because the police alone cannot do it. If we would get dangerous criminals off the streets and exercise justice more consistently, then many of the people who have guns would probably give them up. Furthermore, we should enforce the gun laws we do have, and we should force people who misuse guns to pay consequences.

If banning guns would make some people more comfortable, then that is wonderful. It would be great if a few simple laws banning guns would make our schools safe and give parents peace of mind when sending their children off to school. But banning guns will not solve anything. You can kill people numerous other ways if that is your desire. As long as there is a demand for guns, the black-market will always provide them. Why don't people consider the real reasons some young people commit such brutal crimes? Why don't we punish the people responsible instead of pointing the finger at everything else. But then again doing these things would be a lot harder than banning guns, and Americans are always game for the easy answers.


Happy belated Birthday.

Happy Writing!


S.N.Arly Fri Apr 23 14:21:05 PDT 1999

Michele - I don't get it either. I am a tree hugging vegetarian, too, so I'm afraid I don't even get the hunting part.

Ok. Here's my response to Howard's Challange. I managed to use every thing, and it was harder than I expected.

The Beach

The west end of the beach was a picture of chaos framed by the orange of the sinking sun. Donna watched, curiously detached and ignored the sand that was creeping into her shorts.

The wind blew her hair into her face, and she reached for the purse she'd never wanted. Mothers' purses were always full of scraps of paper, crayons and trash. She dug through the folds of the imitation leather bag, pushing aside the comb. Her hair would only re-tangle in this wind. She was too much like her own mother, she thought, as she shoved the empty wrapper from a stick of gum into a corner. There it was. A tattered green ribbon lay twisted around a McDonald's straw in the bottom of her purse. One never knew when they might need a straw. The ribbon was short, but it would hold her hair back for now.

She scooped up a handful of sand, plucking out the quartzite pebbles and precariously piling them on her knees. Once her collection was complete she wiggled her leg, dropping the carefully gathered stones to the sand. Destruction always made her feel powerful.

The rescuers were still hard at work, their chains clanking together like so many little bells. With the sun as a backdrop, they were featureless profiles. The cry of triumph was quickly followed by one of dismay. Someone in the rescue boat held aloft a dripping empty baby stroller with seaweed dangling from the wheels.


Thomas Fri Apr 23 13:53:32 PDT 1999


I was thinking the same thing, re Jerry's explanation on guns. To be sure, the mania for guns goes back to the 2nd Amend. of the Constitution, although in my opinion it is misinterpreted: I believe it says "...the right to bear arms to form a militia..." which general citizens no longer need to do in this day and age. Back then, we were revolutionaries and individualists, which is where the gun thing truly has its roots -- stay outta my way or I'll plug ya!


Not only do writers use left and right brain, we use the front, the back, the middle and the brains of our spouses and next door neighbors.

A couple of days ago I was talking with a 17 year-old I work with in the Big Brother program. He has been told all his life that he is not smart -- he is quite smart. You should see his chess game.

There is a puzzle where you draw a box and then ask a person to try to draw a semi-pointed shape with one continuous line, without ever crossing lines. Most people will look at the box, try it inside the box and then realize it can't be done. The answer of course is that no one said you have to stay inside the box.

When I presented the puzzle to this 17 year-old he looked at the box, then looked at me and asked, "am I confined to inside or can I go outside the box?" I told him he needn't bother, he already solved the puzzle.

He wants to be a writer.

Howard Fri Apr 23 13:52:34 PDT 1999

Michele -- I own several guns, and am in the process of applying for a handgun permit. I keep them for several reasons, hunting being primary, I guess. Of course, I haven't hunted in several years (except with the camera), but I do plan to do so again. I like the taste of venison, rabbit, turkey, and pheasant, and we have an over-abundance of the first three around here. Don't even have to hunt much for them -- just open the window and bang away! NO NO NO, I don't actually do that! But I could.
Then there's butchering time. It's much easier on the pig (or whatever I'm gonna cut up to eat)-- and on me, if I shoot it first, before using the knife. Also more legal.
Is it a macho thing? I don't think so. It's just a thing. I grew up with it, and for me it's just a part of life. Just another tool.
The handgun? Again, for hunting and target practice -- and for protection. A friend of mine was treed by a pack of coyotes in the woods near here. He was just walking, and they ganged up on him. I spend lots of time in those woods, hunting mushrooms and just relaxing, and I'm not fond of climbing trees. Really, I'd rather just take their picture, but if they press the matter I'll take their hides.
Sorry if that's too graphic, but so is life.

Michele Fri Apr 23 13:13:59 PDT 1999

Hi all

Well I finally got my sociolinguistics essay finished -phew ! Thought I never would ! It's taken me 7 hours spread over 3 days (with interruptions for food, sleep and lectures in between) - that's the longest an essay ever took me !

SKS Perry

Belated birthday greetings - sorry they're late - I've been sort of tied up this week and overlooked the fact that it was your birthday.... and congrats on being a double-brainer !


But that still doesn't explain why anyone needs to own a gun in the first place, does it ? Well does it ? I'm sorry but I do NOT understand this compulsion to own weapons... must be a culture thing...

I am dead on my feet - and want to sleep - always the way when I finish an essay... next one is not due until end of May so I've given myself the weekend off... must get some R&R !


The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-- Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

S.N.Arly Fri Apr 23 11:08:14 PDT 1999

Belated happy birthday SKS. Horray for your brain. For once you got to be singled out in a good way, huh? You're probably right about the brain thing and writers, though. I've often suspected that's why some of us have more dream/sleep issues. Too much communication between the hemispheres.

I responded to Howard's Challenge last night. I'll post it when I get home from work. It ended up much darker than I'd planned.


S.K.S. Perry Fri Apr 23 07:08:45 PDT 1999

Hey all,

Rachel, Americo and Caroline. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I was touched, and not just in the head.

Speaking of being touched in the head, I just spent two days on a "Critical Thinking" course, which is supposed to teach you how to think with both sides of the brain - the right, logical side, and the left, emotional or creative side. Guess what, I found out I already thought this way. The instructor told me that I was a rare example of someone who thinks laterally (not straight line logic, but intuitively, or "outside the box") yet controls it through linear, logical thinking. (He also took me aside later and asked me what I was doing wasting my time in the military, but that's another story.) I would suspect that if many of you here were to take the course, you would find the same results.

I think to be a writer, you have to be left-brain creative, inspired, struck by ideas out of the blue - yet you also have to think logically and linearly in plotting and character developing (or world building as many of us here do.)

What do you think?

Be Well, Live Well.

Allein Fri Apr 23 06:54:13 PDT 1999

Casey - that's fine. Take all the time you need. I'll be leaving tonight to go on a retreat with my confirmation group for the weekend - so it's not really going to matter when you write it.

Well, all, I'm off,
Bai bai,

Cassandra Fri Apr 23 05:11:15 PDT 1999

Hi all,

The concert was LOADS of fun. I spent the whole time dancing. (and according to one of my friends, making the band mess up for time to time because of that that I reply "Who? Me?" and adjust my halo). We met almost all of the members of the band after the show and talked to each of them. Allein, I'll fill you in on the sorid details later ;) hehehe

Don't worry, as soon as school dies down in the next week or so, I'll start collaborating with other characters/writers on Shadows. I've got a few potential plans in the works. (hehehe, lowering eyebrows, and giving enigmatic smile)

I'll get that survey done, hopefully sometime over the weekend. I've got a small party to go to tonight (non-alcoholic of course, seeing as that it's being thrown by one of my friends who is a practicing Mormon.) But other than that, perhaps I'll have some time.

I have yet to check my email, because it seems like the network here at school doesn't get along with hotmail from time to time. My theory is that they were once lovers, and now whenever they work together it's either business as usual, or all out fights...

Well, I must try again, and get ready for class.

Ta ta


Pnokio Fri Apr 23 01:45:52 PDT 1999

In Memoriam

Littleton, Denver

For those dead kids.

For their mothers and fathers, for their brothers and sisters, their aunts and uncles and all their relatives, for all their friends and sweethearts, for their teachers and for America, my heart bleeds with many hearts here.


That was very well said.


Jack Beslanwitch Jack Beslanwitch Thu Apr 22 16:42:50 PDT 1999

OK, I archived and made enough room for all the birthday well wishers :-). Also, I'll take Jon's lead and leave Shadow alone to be a work in progress and subject to edits and rewrites in the future. Take care everyone. Kind of busy at the moment, so I'll only be able to dip in and out occasionally for the next day or so.

Allein Thu Apr 22 16:27:03 PDT 1999

Casey - have fun at your concert.

Rachel - I've begun the pictures for Carling. Just tell her to be patient. Good things come to those who wait (although, I feel that the grabbing things and running method comes in handy too).

I'll be leaving for the weekend tomorrow, but I will be back Sunday night (I know - you're all just glad to get rid of me). :) Just kidding.
Well, gotta go now,
Bai bai,

Rachel Thu Apr 22 11:46:59 PDT 1999

Jon - Me! use commas! Please! Do you think I'm a writer or something? (laughter) I make no bones about the fact that I have spelling and grammar from hell. My sentences run on and on and on. Hum, how many thoughts can I shove in this one little space (grin)

I am a September girl.

Hey I met another cat I liked. He was a dreadful cat who hates everyone apparently. He loved me. He didn't bite or scratch me and followed me everywhere. He slept right next to me and went to his litter box every time I went to the bathroom. I think maybe he was making fun of me or something (laughter)

My neighbours cat has taken up residence in my yard and on my doorstep along with every child in the neighbourhood. I wish very much that my doorbell would stop ringing. I leave the door open so they can just yell in, but noooooo, they all need to ring the bell. I'm about ready to pull it out of the wall.

Take care all


Jon Thu Apr 22 10:12:32 PDT 1999

Now I must apologize!!! Your birthday on the 24th SEPTEMBER, Rachel? Well, I never. Why don't you put commas and full stops in your letters? And mind your HANDwiting, damn! I am terribly sorry, dear writers. Please forgive me.

What month are we in, anyhoo?

Rachel Thu Apr 22 10:04:27 PDT 1999

Hey all

Jon - You wild little cat. I think you are a little mixed up there kitty, kitty kitten. April 24th is not my Birthday.

Wow I am impressed however that you got the date right. I am September 24th and I love when people REMEMBER my birthday. (big grin to Allein)

All - Jon has a point Americo and I have been up to a bit of a writing adventure which he seems to feel could work in Shadows. I for one may blush for the rest of my life, but hey as far as I've found so far a person can not actually die of embarassment.

Still go easy on me if it seems off the wall. (grin) I have decided to trust Americo with this. (laugh) My mind says "Be afraid, be very afraid" Yah, yah I know that is a quote, but I don't have a clue who said it so forgive me and please just apply the credit to whoever should have it.

Steve (SKS) - You still out there? I miss yah. I'm still waiting to hear what your mum and Pen got for you. Gosh I hope you didn't get so fat from all that food that you can't reach the keyboard. (laughter)

Allein - Carling has put together quite the little letter for you. She read it to me and it is so her. She is also sending you some of her drawings (which are great) I just have a tad of pride in this kid. (grin) She's a real little wonder. Oh and it costs 46 cents to send a letter in Canada. Shows you how often I mail stuff it hasn't been 42 cents in ages. (blush)

Take care all


Jerry Ericsson Thu Apr 22 08:33:21 PDT 1999

Michele, Let me try to explain our love-affair with the gun, as a former "gun nut" - I grew up with guns everywhere, in every home in the area, as children we used to admire our fathers guns, and our fathers used the guns to gather wild game for the table. I grew up on a farm about thirty miles from the nearest small town in North Dakota. Many times my father would take me out hunting, (actually poaching) deer or phesants. These are the found memories of childhood and guns were involved. In fact I grew up with a rifle in my hands from about the age of ten. Then there are of course the movies my generation grew up with, staring John Wayne and the likes. Always the good guy had a gun and he used it to subvert or kill the bad guy.

Next of course is the Second Amendment to our Constitution, which is interpreted by all gun nuts to mean that we have the RIGHT to own and carry firearms. Many would die defending that right should Congress make an attempt to confiscate firearms, as was done in your nation.

Even the majority of the rank-and-file police officers, who deal with shootings on a regular basis (although not so much in this part of the country) support the right to keep and bear arms. (I was a charter member of an orginization called Law Enforcement Protecting the Second Amendment founded in 1989 in Wash. DC following a peace officer ralley which ended up with one officer from each congressional district in the US and was followed by a massive lobby effort on our congressmen to stop a ban on semi-automatic rifles)

As Jack has said, where I grew up every pickup truck has a gun rack in the back window, and most of the racks are full all of the time. The trucks are left with windows down in front of the bars at night, yet no criminal in his right mind would steal another mans firearm from his truck. (at least not in the towns I worked as a peace officer, I only investigated such thefts maybe two or three times in seventeen years.)

When I became disabled, I was the Chief of Police of a small police department in Central North Dakota, additionally I was a part-time gunsmith. My collection consisted of around ten rifles two shotguns and several handguns. I have been forced to sell a few of these yet I still own twelved firearms and have over one hundered rounds of ammunition for each firearm. Not unusual for a person who lives in this part of the U.S.

Yet with all the firearms in this area, the last shooting in this area took place over ten years ago, and was done by someone not from the area. He was subsequently caught and is still serving time in the state pen.

I don't know if this clears anything up for you or not, just thought I would try. Most of the people around here think it is their birth-right to own and use firearms. South Dakota was the second state to pass a Right to Carry law, which states that any citizen, who is not a felon, and has reached the age of 21 years has the right to carry a concealed firearm once they purchase a permit from the local sheriff. The Sheriff can only refuse to issue the permit if he knows the person to be a felon, an alcoholic a drug user, or a mental defect.

According to the TV such a law was slated to be passed on the day after the shooting in Col. The congress there was thoughtfull enough to delay the vote.

There are at present so many firearms floating around this nation that to try to get a handle on the problem would take years and years. It is not unusual for anyone in this area to have at a minimum, a .22 Calibre rifle, a high-powered rifle for deer hunting in this part of the state probably a 30-06, a shotgun for hunting ducks and phesants, and many possess a handgun of some sort both for protection, and to carry while hunting to finish off the kill of a wounded deer.

Sorry for spelling errors, it is hard for me to write without my spell checker. Hope this clears up your question.


Jon Thu Apr 22 08:16:46 PDT 1999

(Under the bed and red as a tomatoe).
I never apologize.
Poor Americo did his best, anyhoo.
And since I am the only one to keep this place clean and tidy, I would like to announce that on the 24th it will be the anniversary of the most talented and delightful woman in this forum : Rachel. If you knew what she and my boss are preparing for S...upper, you'd all ring the Pope telling him not to miss reading S...upper in a few days.

Jack — 228k are too much for a page that is going to be filled soon with "happy birthday" messages sent from all over the planet (including massacred Yuguslavia and almost forgotten Kuzovars).

Americo Thu Apr 22 08:03:12 PDT 1999


The Sermon of the Flower

Buddha said in a few minutes something any other man would take many years to say. One day, amidst his disciples, he raised a flower and, speechless, kept it raised for a long time. On that day, Buddha said everything there is to say.


Jerry Ericsson Thu Apr 22 07:59:02 PDT 1999

Thanks Howard, Never realy gave that aspect much thought the other night, I guess it was just a knee jerk reaction. I think I will keep the collection, after all they do look good hanging on the wall. I haven't shot any for over five years but they are in a good spot, and can't hurt anyone where they are.

What happened in Littletown was terriable, and there is little we can do to change that. Just hug your kids a little harder in the morning before sending them to school I guess. (Mine are both grown and gone, but I do hear from them from time to time. Sure miss them though.)

Howard Thu Apr 22 06:30:10 PDT 1999


Who said angels can’t cry? I saw one weeping just now, as he wrote fifteen names in a
book. They were ordinary names -- names like yours and mine. They came to the book on
an ordinary day, and waited for their names to be recorded. They seemed surprised to find
themselves there, and though they had been frightened at the sudden-ness of it all, they
weren’t afraid any more. Wide eyed with wonder they watched as the angel opened the
register and reached for his pen. It wasn’t there. The pen was gone. Nothing to put down
their names. Then he looked at them and shook his head -- he reached out to his wing and
grasped the biggest, fullest pinion. “This will make a good pen,” and he began to pluck it
“Wait!” cried the girl, “If you pull that feather you won’t be able to fly again!”
The angel looked at her, with tears like raindrops running down his cheeks as he began to
“After today I just don’t feel like flying.”

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