Archived Messages from May 12, 1999 to May 25, 1999

Martin Tue May 25 11:01:13 PDT 1999


Yo me pensaba que portugués se ha hundido con todo la tripulación dos cientos años antes.


Americo Tue May 25 09:42:26 PDT 1999

Jack, if you survived the aftermath of "Star Wars" and are still in (reasonable) good health, see that the notebook has already 170K and we need room for sending you happy birthday messages on the 27th. Thank you.

Martin, I referred to the novel of Albert Camus "L´Étranger" and not to any French newspaper.
Tell us something more about you: where you live, what kind of books you read, if you have already published something or are preparing yourself for publishing soon... The better we know each other the better friends we'll become. (And do not call me Professor, please : I am almost on holidays...)

Professor Martin Tue May 25 08:47:00 PDT 1999

No I did not know that Allein speaks German; but I kinda of had an idea, for Allein is German and means »single«. Though judging from reading his homepage maybe he should change that name....
What about your fishing trip? Are you going real FISHING... like Papa used to do? But pleas no The Old Man And The Sea scenario!
Wow. My first dissertation. Did I any good? What kind of degree do I merit? Professor?
As much as I know, »L’Ètrange« est une journal française, with different kind of stories in it. Therefor it would pitifully misfire as an novel.

»We all are the kids of Americo«

Tue May 25 08:36:23 PDT 1999

Americo Tue May 25 07:35:34 PDT 1999

Old Man
"This is all fun. But let's go for something to eat."
Port. trans:
"Tudo isto é divertido. Mas vamos comer qualquer coisa."

Why do you sign T.O.M.? What does it mean?

We all thank you for using the workbook. I sometimes read the stuff published there. If I like it VERY MUCH, I tend to send an e-mail to the author. It happened only a couple of times, for instance when I read a wonderful text by Howard.
I do not think it is shameless promotion to tell us you have published there. On the contrary, it was kinf of you.

And, people, be aware of the following: no writer can survive in this world of ours without some sort of promotion. This is not the 19th cent., you know. There is too much competition and struggle for life is a matter of life or death. I hate self-promotion. But I am the best...

Allein : you sure it was only arm rubbing? And how about your big novel?

Weston Tue May 25 05:43:31 PDT 1999

Does anyone check the workbook? I posted a short story there on Thursday. What is the proper etiquette? Am I impatient or shamelessly self-promoting? Well, it's there. Have a look. Let me know what you think.

The SF manuscript came back - another addition to my collection of rejection slips.

There is something about sending off a manuscript. All the time that it is at the publisher, there is anticipation. There is the possibility of acceptance. Each day that I go to the post office I go with expectation. No mail is good news. Then, one day the post office box yields the yellow slip that says there is an article too large for the box and hope dies as I report to the counter to retrieve the returned manuscript. There is no longer joy in a trip to the post office. I take comfort only in the knowledge that such is common in life for the writer.

I shall further research the market and send it off yet again to find it's way in the world, or perhaps expand it to a full length novel, for it has such possibilities. Perhaps I will find time to post an excerpt on this site for critical review.

Recent comments about language reform here have been interesting and welcome. I welcome the view from outside the ethnocentric world of english. This is not to say that I will soon become fluent in another language, it still takes considerable effort and concentration to make these english words march in an orderly row.


John Irving dor Avater Tue May 25 05:18:15 PDT 1999

Blieving that you are a writer won’t magically turn you into a Charles Dickens.

It is just the essential first step on a long journey....


Allein Mon May 24 21:07:17 PDT 1999

Hi everyone. I know I haven't been posting as much lately but with finals coming up in three weeks I've been quite busy.

Old Man - I'd suggest finding a different translator - I've used Alta Vista and it's a very bad way to go.

Agsousa - You've never heard about Peter Pan. He's the boy from Never Never Land who doesn't ever grow up. :) I thought it was you who left that message because you leave me messages like that sometimes.

I just saw Star Wars Episode One. For those of you who haven't seen it - I would highly suggest it. It's a very good movie. The special effects are nice, there's not too much action - which kinda sucked but overall it was a great movie.

Well, hugs to all,
Bai bai,

The Old Man Mon May 24 20:34:54 PDT 1999

It said, This is all fun. But let's go for something to eat.

I tried to have a little fun with the translator on, but it does not seem to work as well as it should. A little bit like me, these days.

Vaya con Dios, camarada.

The Old Man Mon May 24 19:03:42 PDT 1999

.....damn AltaVista translator!

Amnerico Mon May 24 18:49:45 PDT 1999

Ó velhote!
Que queres dizer com isso? "Estou-me divertindo muito" deve ser a primeira frase. Mas a segunda não compreendo. tenta outra vez!
(Translation: Oh, old man! What do you mean by that? "I am amusing myself a lot" may be the first sentence. But the second I do not understand. Try again!)

The Old Man Mon May 24 17:33:16 PDT 1999

Este e todo o divermento muito. Mas por que nos justo nao vamos comemos o alimento delicioso?


Jon Mon May 24 17:13:51 PDT 1999

Hey, Jack, long time no see. How are you? How did you survive "Star Wars"? I am the guy who invented the phamous slogan: "Make Treks, not Wars." Pussy is very much in favour of George Lucas and keeps shouting from morning till I silence her with kisses: "Make Wars not Treks." Americo suggested that perhaps we could make wars and treks, but he is an ignoramus. Jack, you posted and I am glad again. You are the best (next to me, of course, as I am the CEO of Shadows Inc.)

Jack Beslanwitch Mon May 24 17:04:35 PDT 1999

Well: Just got a moment to jump in for a moment. Been doing in house ministrations trying to get an air conditioner installed. Also, on Saturday I finally got my chance to see Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on the newly refurbished Cinerama here in Seattle (Thank you Paul Allen for having a few spare millions to save it and actually refurbish it). Loved it. Yes, there are quibbles that might arise, but it was one hell of a ride. Really rocks. I definitely will be back to see it again for the truly awesome special effects if nothing else. Take care everyone.

Americo Mon May 24 16:58:18 PDT 1999

I've been studying this notebook and the news is grim. Tomorrow, the 26th, it will be my 4th month here. This means I am about to go fishing. Statistically, at least. I trust Pnokio and Martin will give this page the blood that was drained out of it. We are not amused.

Pnokio. Sviatoslav Richter was also my favourite pianist. We probably have many things in common. Perhaps a culture. A sensibility as well. Like you, I think a writer is an artist and the rest is business.

Martin. Thanks for your dissertation on the German spelling reform. You probably know that Allein speaks German. Well, she can at least say, Ich liebe Nathan. (This probably sounds vicious to some people behind the curtains...)

Martin. Isn't it intriguing that "L'Étranger", which has around 75 pages of (thin) paper is a novel — ein Roman? We'd expect a novel to have at least 200 pages! And, however, the book of Camus is a great novel. Extension is not everything to define if a book is a short-story, a novelette, a novel. It's more the contents, its density, son poids.

Americo Mon May 24 08:41:30 PDT 1999

I've just arrived!
And saw big posts from Pnokio and Martin about the spellimg of the name of the great little Italian hero and the German language reform. Thanks, folks — that's good stuff requiring attentive reading from us all. And Allein has done something serious because he speaks about adulthood. I must read this with the utmost attention. Who is Peter Pan? I am not Peter Pan!
So, after the usual greeting, I am going to read the email, try an answer or two and then sleep. That's what the week is for.
Did anyone see the desertors? No? Oh, well.

Martin Mon May 24 03:47:58 PDT 1999

Guck Guck! Are you still carving out that answer? That was no peanut I gave you there?

Allein Sun May 23 21:32:27 PDT 1999

Sqrl - I'm so sorry that happened to your uncle. My heart goes out to you and your family and I pray to God he gets better. And I pray that God gives you and your family the strength to get through this and give each other support and comfort. Many hugs to you and your family.

Peter Pan (probably agsousa) - Too late. :( Wish I could stay a kid forever, but we all know that's not gonna happen.

Bai bai all,

Sqrl Sun May 23 19:46:59 PDT 1999

Hi again!

Allein and Jack,

thanks for the hugs and all. They're really helping out right now!

oh I was able to visit my Uncle today! It's not good. He was so emaciated, it wasn't even funny. It's hard to comprehend...this once great man, now nothing more than a mere skelton, with skin, in a wheelchair. I held his hand for a bit...cold and boney. He kept saying "I wish I could walk out of here. But I know I never will." He didn't remember me at first. He just looked at me, in this way, that I could tell he was thinking, "Who is this person? I know I know her from somewhere." Then he remembered my afiliation with/too (what ever!) him, but he couldn't remember my name! So he kept getting my mom and I confused...I'm gonna miss him. He's one of those people that you tend to think of as being invincable!

Sorry, I wish I had good news. I really do!


Peter Pan for Allein Sun May 23 16:08:19 PDT 1999

Don’t do it! Forever refrain from adulthood!

in caring love

Peter Pan

Martin Sun May 23 02:51:27 PDT 1999

Some time ago someone asked for the definition for novel. Doing a little research I found the following:

If we sought a definition of the "novel" sufficiently comprehensive to embrace Lazarillo de Tormes, Don Quixote,
Tristram Shandy, To the Lighthouse, Finnegans Wake, Watt, and Hopscotch, we would likely conclude that the form is so
diverse and amorphous that the only adequate definition is its own unbridled history.

Nevertheless, at some point in the evolution of prose narrative, an identifiably new form did emerge. The paradigm of this form is neatly captured by the OED's entry under "novel":

"A fictitious prose narrative of considerable length, in which characters and actions representative of real life are portrayed in a plot of more or less complexity."

Most literary historians would elaborate the phrase "a plot of more or less complexity" to underscore the notion of a
complex but unified plot, so as to distinguish the new form from the picaresque narratives with their relatively discontinuous episodes. And the same historians would stress the plain style of the novel, which departed from the mnemonic devices of the oral traditions (which evolved into the poetic devices of the epic). Thus we have the following qualities of the novel as a new thing ("realism" derives, by the way, from the Latin word "res," or "thing"):

1. An extended, fictitious prose narrative. This distinguishes the novel from earlier, shorter prose narratives like the fairy tale and the folk ballad, from the epic (in verse), and from the drama.

2. A work that strives for the illusion of reality. This is the essential quality of the first novels, in that they consciously departed from the earlier romances and pastoral fictions, with their Arcadian settings, their idealized love affairs, and their noble dramatis personae.The novel represents a plausible reality derived from the experience of ordinary people.

3. The portrayal of believable characters whose actions reflect the readers' experiences. Such plausibility of character goes back to Aristotle; but the "modern" twist is the Wordsworthian element of real people engaged in the activities of daily life.

4. A complex and unified structure. This distinguishes the novel from episodic fictions, like the picaresque, whose unity depends largely on the presence of the central character (who often exhibits little psychological complexity or evolution).

5. A style that eschews elaborate verbal patterning or manifest self-consciousness. The notion here is that the verbal patterns of the epic or the lyric are selfconscious- ly "artistic," and depart from the "natural" patterns of daily speech, while forms like satire depict their subjects from a self-consciously critical and witty vantage point. The novel seeks to efface its methods and perspective, to give the illusion of presenting unmediated reality. (Just as a clean window invites the eye to pass through to view
the scene on the other side, and tricks the eye into forgetting the window's frame, perspective, and exclusivity.)

Rachel Sat May 22 16:06:56 PDT 1999

Hey all!

Hi Allein - Congrats! Way to go! Have fun!

Take care all


Allein Sat May 22 15:46:10 PDT 1999

Hi everyone,
I have my Confirmation today. For those of you who don't know, that's a ceremony in which I'll be recognized as an adult and therefore a member of the Church. I got a new dress and everything. :) I'm so excited. We're having a potluck dinner at the church afterwards to celebrate. Well, I'm off.
Hugs for everyone.

Martin Sat May 22 02:49:57 PDT 1999


Well it is pretty hard to tell somrthing about the German spelling reform, if you don’t speak that language.

I think, they are still a little bit into the old ‘Keep our language clean thing.’ The reform tries to Germanize foreigner words - mainly from Italian and French. With its big brother the English, they went more carefully, stating that the English langugage is used worldwide and therfore it would do no good to Germanize the words that crept into German so hideously. I.e. We used to go to the Friseur (French for Hairdresser) no we go to the Frisör, which still gives me the creeps. This problem though is easily solved, for I still can use the French word. In Switzerland, there are three languages spoken: German, French and Italian and since I speak all three you maybe can understandmy loathing for Frisör.
German is the only language that uses a capital letter to begin a substanitve and this can become very confusing. I.e. Ich stehe kopf (I am standing upside down) The last word Kopf (head) is definitly a substantive but was writen in non-capital because it was uses in connection with a verb
stehen (to stand). Now with the reform they have changed that, stating that every substantive is written in capital. Now it is written Ich stehe Kopf. I really enjoy this new ruel for it makes German a lot easier.
Writing letters to your friend I used to write the personal pronoun Du (you) in capital but this is no more in use, though I do not understand why. As long as English is so selfish to write I in capital I do not understand why I should write du instead of Du. Only in the polite phrase Sie/Ihr (you/your?) the personal pronoun is written in capital. I am sure that my pen pals do not mind if I keep on highlighting there person with a capital Du.
Many German words are compounds having the same root but are written differently. I.e. Hand(hand, the root), einhendig (onehanded), hantlich (handy - Is a handy really handy?). The new rule states that in compounds the root is always written the same - Hand, eihnändig, handlich. Now this rule is definitely handy.
Some new rules about separately and together written words. Befor the reform you could make a difference between ‘Wegen schlechten Noten wird der Schüler sitzenbleiben.’ ( Because of bad grades the student stays down) and ‘Der Schüler bleibt, trotz einer Aufforderung des Lehrers, sitzen.’ (Despite the teacher asked him to raise, the student stayed seated.) The new rule states two verbs are always written separately. In the first example the infinitive was written sitzenbleiben, compound of the verbs to sit (sitzen)and to stay (bleiben),or two verbs and in the second it was sitzen bleiben.With the reform both exapmles are written sitzen bleiben. Here I can not agree with the reform, because it takes away a nice playground for a kid like me.
On the other hand riding a bicycle once was written together ‘Radfahren’ and is now written separately ‘Rad fahren’, it makes sense for Rad (wheele) is a substantive and fahren (here to ride) is a verb and you can not squeeze together two different nouns.
A complet new rule states, that you can write words with a hyphen for lucidity. It is mostly used for technical terms coming from English (see Germanizing above). I.e. Desktop-Publishing or Midlife-Crises.
German has a deep love for the comma and of course they could not resist to come up with some new comma rules. Here is the most important one.
Before the reform complet sentences after and, or, but had to be separated by a comma. This was canceled with the reform. What a pitty. One of the few comma rules I ever got a grip on. I usually put them where I feel they have to be putten and most of the time I am right. language-Instinct I call it.
Want further information? E-MAil me!

Pnokio Sat May 22 00:39:41 PDT 1999

Hello Everyone.


It was good to hear from you. I'll return your email sometime this weekend. Well, as you probably figured out, I'm the type of guy who when someone says, "it's a left here", gets it wrong anyway, and turns right. I do. Given a 50% chance of error, I'll go for it and come out 100% wrong! Because that little saying I use, to make me feel better in all kinds of situations, especially when just about everyone seems to be way ahead of me, should have come out like this:

'There is a writer writing today who is the very best writer in the entire world, and no other writer, no matter how good, can write as well as that one'.

I think it all began in a talk about Sviatoslav Richter, said to be the greatest pianist in the world at the time. And that's what I said - I just said he was the best, only to find myself pinned against the wall. There were many other very great pianists around, and these pins were pressed home by people who wanted their boy, or their girl, tops. So we got around to thinking that there must be some way of weighing-up the technical things that go together to make a great performer, very shrewdly deciding that the one who gathered most points from such a system would be top girl, or top boy. So that was okay.
I just said any such method would have to come out in favour of Richter, if it was any good.
And then we started all over again!

(((Sub rosa, sotto voce: the fact of the matter is, Rachel, that having looked at the original posting of my quote, I think that one might be better!!! What d'you think?))).


Then we are friends, and that's that. I'd like to be friends with everyone up here. But I'll be your best friend, if you like, Americo. As your best friend I have to tell you we both spelt Pinocchio wrong Thursday (me: Pinnochio, you: Pinochio), and that name's something so precious we have to get it right. - Hmm, well, even though I can't see it, it's possible I can be prickly as you seem to be saying of yourself - and so maybe I have my price. I really don't know about that. You can tell me though, when I'm being provocative, and then - and then we'll shake hands and still be best mates. How's that? - But you were speaking about males being emotional, being able to weep as well as laugh. Oh yes. The Tough Guy image is a burden. Although it may be artistic temperament that causes the extreme emotional reactions - I believe Jack touched on that recently. It comes out a lot when I'm writing, as well as when I'm lost in my thoughts. Some things I write sting and smart a lot, although sometimes I can't stop myself laughing.
Hey, maybe everybody laughs at what I do!
Or does it make everyone cry?
Well that's how it is, anyway. The emotional response usually comes with first draft, sometimes with the dawning of an idea even, and it's a big clue whether or not I'm heading where I want to be. I have to trust my emotions, just as we all do, and that's a bit tricky. Subsequent rewrites in the cold light of day tell me if I'm somewhere near - and then chopping and changing, cutting and pasting, and a lot of deleting, and all of that.
Often I think writing is a way of finding out who you are. Especially autobiographical stuff. Well, although we think we know pretty well all there is to know about ourselves, it's amazing what you can find back there. I remember a friend of my late brother writing to me, asking me to tell her something about myself. He'd been a kind of family figure to her, she not having brothers and sisters of her own. She had no family at all. Well, once I got started I just went on and on, from the story of my birth ('Begin the Beguine' was playing somewhere, right on cue), to illness, five years of special schooling for recovering children, my awakening, first love (I was nine years old when I first saw Pamela, and still I dream of her, her lovely face and yellow hair, and I wish I'd been able to tell her how it was - being so young I didn't know what had happened, or what I might say, or if there was anything to be said at all ((well, Dante was nine years old when he first saw Beatrice - why wait for stubble to fall in love with a girl?))) - and then to awareness, oh and all kinds of peripheral stuff. Teachers and mentors figured prominently, both kinds, and just about anyone who helped. We all need lots of that. Anyway, the letter was over sixteen thousand words long, and shortly after I'd written it I began to realize why I was who I was - no one in particular, that's to say, but everything there is in the world.

For my friend Americo, and for Rachel - but if anything's touched on here anyone would like to say something about, or argue about, then do.

I'd like to challenge something I read here the other day. Someone, maybe Casey, when speaking of the English language breaking new ground, casually mentioned the demise of the semicolon. Well, no one ever told me so; and I have to tell you I think it's an extremely valuable device. The groundbreaking will go on and on as always, but nothing should be discarded. That's what I think.

Now I go Americo, otherwise there'll be another sixteen thousand words. Tell me off if I talk too much. You're allowed. ((((But you'd better watch out!!!!)))).


Lovely, lovely happy days of bliss and life, as beyond forgetting as she who looks out at you when you sit before your mirror. Lovely, lovely happy days of life and bliss, as beyond forgetting as the little picture of you, silently reflecting behind his eyes.

Bye Everyone.

Allein Fri May 21 23:05:24 PDT 1999

Hi everyone!!
I just got back from a date with my boyfriend. Yes, I got a boyfriend - we started going out yesterday. His name is Nathan - he's very nice.
Tonight we went skating - he's a good skater. I'm out of practice because I haven't done it in awhile. It was funny tonight though, because when we were cuddling in a corner (and doing nothing more than cuddling - I was leaning against him and he was rubbing my arm affectionately) these little boys - probably 8 or 9 years old - skated by and said "Get a room!" Nathan and I busted up laughing. My brother says that to my parents when they kiss or hug or cuddle.
Well, later, he did kiss me - my first real kiss (this isn't counting the guy who pinned me to the wall and frenched me - I slapped him and turned him into the school office - but anyway...) and the boys skated by again and were making hooting noises and cat calls and saying "Tonsil hockey! Tonsil hockey!" over and over again. This was absurd though - we weren't frenching and I have no tonsils. But anyway, Nathan went over and talked to them - I don't know what he said to them, but whatever it was, it worked.
Unfortunately, Nathan and his friends smoke so I came home smelling like smoke. My parents don't mind if I date someone who smokes - but if I do it, then it's a different story. But I choose not to smoke - mostly because of what it can do to your body, but also because it's disgusting. This is only my opinion - I'm not trying to offend anyone here who smokes.
Anyway, I should go. I'm quite tired. Nathan and I are probably going to the movies next weekend. The only thing I regret is that he went out with my best friend too. She wanted to date him, he didn't want to date her because he was interested in me but he dated her anyway for like three days just so she'd stop pestering him. Then he broke up with her and asked me out. Supposedly, she's ticked off at both him and me - yes, your classic soap opera plot.
Well, that's enough, Good night.
Hugs to all,
Bai bai,

Cassandra Fri May 21 18:44:56 PDT 1999

Hi all,

Long time no post for me. My summer is in full swing, as I'm left frantically searching for a job.

Tonight looks like the first night in a while that I'll have to devote to writing. My head is about to explode from all of the ideas and words locked up in there.

If anyone is looking for collaborators/conspiritors for Shadows I'm game. :) To those already in my sinister plans, I will try to post by Sunday. After that, the fun and games begin *evil smile*.

jerry lee-
Nice page! I've been sorrowly lacking on new additions to mine. I'm having a small problem with the scanner card... so until my older bro fixes that, there won't be any new art work up there.

I may or may not be online tonight. It all depends on when I'm heading over to my friend's house. I'm scheduled to help her with a garage sale tomorrow.

well, onward and upward, and good writing to you all. :)

ta ta

Jerry Lee Fri May 21 15:06:57 PDT 1999

Thanks for being the first person to visit, and for enjoying the simplicity of my page. Knowing me, if I knew how to add the bells and whistles, I would...but at least for now, it's pretty basic.
I loaded pods on Wild Weasels, the AF version of photo recon, but it didn't take long to find out what flight line work was, and so I crosstrained.
I knew a guy in the Philipines that was stationed on a carrier, he said it was the worst. He told me all about it, and I give you credit for living there for any length of time.

By the way, where is everyone...gone for the weekend?

Take Care,
Jerry Lee

Weston Thu May 20 19:03:12 PDT 1999

Jerry Lee--
Excellent web page! Just the way I like them; no geegaws, bells or whistles, just a lot of good text and the occasional picture. An old friend, by the way, the Navy version of the Phantom, shared the flight deck with my planes, the RA-5C Vigilante. It was Photo Recon and faster than our Phantom escorts, but alas our squadron lost one over Hanoi in '73. Pilot taken prisoner, navigator killed. The Phantoms got the Mig that did it, though.
A shame, all the way around, that war.
Well, enough of the old war stories.
Good story on your web page. Excellent treatment of artificial gravity. You have constructed a scenario that makes it work. I am content. (It appears that I fell into a rut. Let this be my last comment about gravity, too heavy a subject for this place.)

13wpm? I have been stuck at 5wpm for the past year. Not enought practice. Been busy building RDF, ATV & VHF SSTV stuff instead. Also help maintain the local repeater.
Not to mention writing.

Thank you for the e-mail.


Jerry Lee Thu May 20 17:39:20 PDT 1999

Yo, All,

As you can see above, I just opened a web page. It's not much, but it's home.

I haven't figured out yet how to put e-mail on it, but give me time.

Welcome, Chuck and Rose! I'm sure you'll like it here, it's so warm and cozy.

All, I think it's a swell idea having input from the Chelsea, if you ask real nice, maybe they'll add something to 'S' themselves...writers are everywhere, not just Key West, after all.

Take Care,
Jerry Lee

Americo Thu May 20 10:52:19 PDT 1999

Welcome, ChuckC.
Tell us your life and works and you'll see you'll become one of us. This a fantastic site. It is like our first serious girl/boy friend. We love her/him so much that sometimes we wish we'd never met her/him.

Well, people, you must do something to avoid the her/him thing. I do not find the same difficulty in any other language. A little reform, perhaps? (Sorry, here I am with my jokes...)

ChuckC Thu May 20 09:13:09 PDT 1999

Having just discovered this site, thought I would just drop a note and say hello to anyone else that might be posting here. I have read some of the other postings and am quite impressed with some of your accomplishments. I am only newly accomplished, unpublished as yet, but a writer all my life. Feel free to drop me a note anytime.

Americo Thu May 20 08:47:39 PDT 1999


you may not believe but I read your post with tears in my eyes. My opinion about emotion in males (of whom I am a humble specimen — not the latin macho of "S") is the following: if a man can laugh, why can't he cry? So I cry and laugh whenever I feel like it, and I am not ashamed of any of my reactions (except when I get mad, also a man's right, though).

You see, two of my dearest friends deserted this notebook last weak. They have the right to do it, and I will certainly leave one day as well, that's life. But I have the right to miss them and be sad. Even because I feel a bit responsible for their desertion. They are serious people and have not much patience for "mundanities". I am also a serious writer, but I can be childish and annoying sometimes. That is my temperament and I do not wish to change it. My father was an extremely serious person, he rarely laughed. My mother was laughing all the time, and sometimes laughing at his seriusness. I loved them both very much, and I have inherited their psychological features in equal proportion. I can be serious, but, mainly when I write, I feel so happy and so free that I can turn this serious globe called Earth into a foot ball which I kick like when I was a boy. I am the child that one day read the "Adventures of Pinochio" and became a kind of Pinochio for ever. I am always inventing characters, even for myself, and as easily as our common hero created imaginary events serious adults call "lies".

Your post told me that I cheered you up on a bleak morning. This is what we are here for — to comfort and to help, to quarrel and make peace, to kill and take flowers to the grave of our victims (see? I cannot resist joking a little...)

This is a family, no one has the right to desert. Capisce? Understand? Compreende? Verstehen? Comprenez? (How do the Spaniards say? And the Japanese? Well, we must learn Esperanto — and solve all our communication problems.)

I'll be dropping here jewels of my life from time to time, Pnokio. For the moment, just know that I loved your post and I will always be your friend.

Americo Thu May 20 07:43:04 PDT 1999

Good morning, everybody!

Thanks to Rachel, our woman in Canada (pending agreement of Lena and Eddie), you can already visit the Chelsea at

For newbies, if you click the webpage address "upstairs" you'll be in the Chelsea in a second. I think we could ask Mr Stanley Bard, the owner of the Hotel, to sponsor "Shadows" — just a thought...

Thomas was also kind enough to send me yesterday information about the façade and locale of the place where we are going to have the best days of our life.

I am going to read the post of my friend Pnokio and answer some e-mails, and then I'll come back here. Stay tuned.

Pnokio Thu May 20 04:53:34 PDT 1999


That was very sweet of you, to say those lovely things of me. The day looked pretty bleak when I awoke this morning, but now I'm set for anything. I win today. Thank you.

You ask who I am. I'm Pnokio, an affectionate play on my Christian and surnames (which you can see from my email address) that my friends sometimes use. But perhaps it's because I tell lies, and my nose betrays me? Anyway, Pinnochio is where my heart is, and 'When You Wish Upon a Star' is the loveliest song I know, and I believe in it. I live in London, England, in a place called Nunhead, and I work in a busy area called Brixton. I'm a writer. I have to do other things for a living, but that's what I am. But perhaps I'm an artist first of all - a pen for a brush, and words, adjectives, nouns, verbs, for colouring. Much has been said on this page recently about what a writer is. A writer is an artist. If I go to my local park, as I often do, and see people sitting at easels, drawing and painting, I have no need to ask what they might be, and I imagine they would not trouble to ask themselves. If I were out on the common myself, my dictionaries, thesauruses, reference books and such, all piled up around my WP, pretty much in the mess they are now, I imagine no one would query what I was doing, and certainly I would not have to question myself. It's a simple and quiet thing, something to be glad about and thank God for, something to love and cherish.
That's something of me, Americo, and if need to know more I'll say more.
And who are you? I've seen your postings from time to time, and can always easily accept your generous thoughts and opinions. But you could say some more if you want, and although it isn't necessary I think it would be very nice if you did.

Thinking about Writing.

All the happenings of our lives are possible passing focal-points, or even climaxes, of stories. Here are two or three, as yet unwritten.

When I was a young boy in a very tough situation, someone came in among us one evening. It was another boy, whose people had furnished him with coloured pens and pencils, and some paper. He sat beside me, effortlessly, magically drawing, and I watched as what was inside of him was coming into the world. He took my breath away. Later, before we went to sleep, matron read, 'The Tinder Box', and the same thing happened, but with greater intensity.

I was working for the Express in Fleet Street, on the production side, and one day walked out into a warm September evening, for a break. The traffic pounded relentlessly away beside me, heading homewards across Blackfriars Road, and straight on through the City. As I stood at the crossroads I could hear barking, as familiar a sound to that place as a daffodil to winter. I turned, looked along Blackfriars Road towards Clerkenwell, and there, between roaring rows of traffic, a young Alsatian dog, lost and frightened, screamed and howled, jumped and danced in a flickering nightmare of headlights all along the centre of the busy road - ran past the parked ambulance, then sped out of sight down towards the flyover.
It was all over very quickly, and just a few minutes later, still standing at the crossroads, out of the corner of my eye I saw a girl, no more than twenty years old, knocked down just across the road from where I stood, by a car that sped off up towards Ludgate Hill. She'd been hit by the back as it turned, the wheels hitting the kerb, and the driver may have been unaware what happened.
At the kerbside people stooped to help her, settling her head and covering her legs.
I ran to the ambulance, opened the door and shouted, "A girl's been knocked down - look, just there, by the pub on the corner!", and they went to help.
I had to get back to the presses, but I stopped by the paper-seller on the corner and listened for that dog, now that he was gone, to remember him, to hear his terror again; and I looked over for the girl, to see and remember her, remember where and how she had fallen.
And I looked about me at the scene, to remember that; and in all directions the traffic pressed relentlessly on as people hurried home.
It was as though nothing had ever happened, or ever would happen.

RACHEL! - Writing on the 14th.

I agree with you so much, think you are so right. Just keep on. Write. No one can take it from you. Here's something I say of many things, just to get some kind of perspective on whatever it might be, so I can carry on in the world; but here of course it has to be of writers: 'There is a writer writing today who is the very best writer in the entire world, and all other writers, no matter how good they may be, can write as well as this one'.

But what a gift it is, Rachel, and isn't it such a lovely thing!

Americo - thank you again. Believe me, it came just at the right time.


Americo Wed May 19 19:30:15 PDT 1999

Thank you, Allein. What you said was very interesting to me. Do not forget that I once loved a Japanese girl... I was also curious about the novel you have been writing for over one year. I am sure it will be good stuff. A very special good night to you.

And good night to everyone. Sleep well, or better, wake up well, since some of you have been sleeping since last friday.

Allein Wed May 19 18:42:58 PDT 1999

Agsousa - I'm here, lurking, but have nothing very interesting to say, except that my Japanese teacher says I'm doing so well that if she can teach me all the sentence structure learned in second year (not much more to teach me) that I might be able to skip second year and move onto third. It's a very high privilage - very few students get to do that. I'll have to work harder at the vocabulary and Kanji, but she wouldn't have reccomended me unless she thought I could do it.

Rachel - Haven't heard from you lately, what's up girlfriend? :)

Hugs to all of you!

howard Wed May 19 17:56:43 PDT 1999

Welcome, Rose! Check with Jack for access to the workbook -- that's where we leave excerpts/samples for peer review. It's been quiet for the past few days, but we keep hoping for parts of the family to return.
All -- The new Writers Digest magazine has a great interview with Terry Brooks (Shannara, etc). He was chosen by George Lucas to do the novelization of Phantom Menace, and has lots to say about that, about writing in general, and has some very interesting things to say about writing for publication.
Martin -- I still haven't forgotten you!
Steve and Thomas and Rhoda whoever else -- Come on back! Please!

Pussy Wed May 19 17:15:44 PDT 1999

Make Wars, not Treks

Jon Wed May 19 17:08:30 PDT 1999

Make Treks, not Wars! Wed May 19 17:06:37 PDT 1999

Where is Allein? And the other folks? The notebook is better today but still a bit dead for my taste.
Rachel, I'm afraid your letters have arrived all muddled today. Check that microwaves of yours, please.
And I have news from someone you miss very much, but I won't tell you anything. Cry, babies, cry!

Rose Secrest Wed May 19 13:14:12 PDT 1999

Do you folks have a place for excerpts?

Anyway, I haven't had any penpals lately who write, so I thought I'd try here.

I wrote a Star Trek novel at 16. I then wrote a historical novel about Charlemagne at 17. I wrote lots of essays and short stories throughout college. All of this was thrown away. At 23 I wrote a book about Walter M. Miller, Jr. At 24 I wrote a science fiction novel. At 28 I wrote another. Since then I have been attending school, working when I can, and writing reference articles for pay. I don't know whether to try to write scholarly stuff (I intend on writing a book about Kornbluth.), more fiction, or both. Wed May 19 13:08:25 PDT 1999

I forgot to say that Jon and Pussy are having serious conjugal problems. She keeps shouting, from morning till night, "Make Wars not Treks"; Jon answers "Make Treks not Wars". I don't know what to do. Please help me!
BTW: did you know that George Lucas is of Portuguese descent? Like your own John Philip Sousa, for that matter. I am a little bit patriotic, now that I think of that... Contradictions of a world citizen.

Lena Wed May 19 13:06:54 PDT 1999

I am counting the hours until I get to see Star Wars... currently four and one-half. I am so excited! I am going with Katie, Dustin, and Josh... Katie and Dustin are boyfriend & girlfriend, so that leaves Josh (a person I have never met) and I in the uncomfortable position of being the odd couple out. Katie was joking around and said it could be a blind date, and I informed her that it was fine with me, so long as Josh was the blind one. You know what? I think she thought I was kidding.

Definitely a non-writing related subject, but oh well! Can't wait...

Americo Wed May 19 08:21:48 PDT 1999

Avatar, your topic is as good as any and it was not your fault it raised some minor opinion differences (actually a good thing in itself). As a member of the Portuguese Association of Writers for many years, I know the answer to the question: we accept as a member any person who has published at least one book, provided two of the old members consider its/their quality acceptable. But this does not mean unpublished writers are forgotten. We have a literary contest every year for them: the winners will have their books published commercially — and they will become members of the APE if they wish.

There are two other important associations or societies of writers here, all of them with international links. I may speak about them some other day. Having a book published is the sine qua non condition for any individual to become a member of those organizations.

However, we know better. We know that some published writers are not as good as they should be, and that some aspiring writers are wonderful. In this forum, I consider everyone as a writer — and some of us very good ones, for that matter.

There are no taboo topics in a free, democratic society.

Avatar, your blind creature, be it an elf or a person, seems to fit well in "S", which has recently acquired the fantasy dimension that was in the program (read the introduction to the round robin, please). Let us have more of your beautiful pieces.

Fantasy does not preclude reality and I expect the novel to be fairly realistic. Dreams are part of life as shadows are the reflections of our bodies illuminated by the sun (or any other source of light).So, write on, people : we are doing a good job here, both theoretically and practically. At least it has been a lot of fun.

Martin, if you are still around give us some details of the aims and contents of the German spelling reform, please.

At this precise moment, Thomas is having a look at the Chelsea, on my request (I hope). And Steve Perry is probably finishing his chapter on the jam session we'll all take part in (Dr. Kirk in his own way). Incidentally, JON the cat told me he does not like "give-upers" (he is reinventing the English language).

Xavier Wed May 19 07:57:45 PDT 1999

Hello everyone!

Well, today are my last two finals, and then no more internet for me, at least not easily. I am having problems getting my 486/ 33 to accept communication software for the internet at home, but am working on it.

Americo was kind enough to inform me that a few of my sentances in Shadows were a bit muddled, and I will try to correct them soon. I am going to read the new posts on Shadows right now. I enjoy Shadows alot.

It seems that a few tempers flared, and people are being a bit unfriendly. Well, all I can say is I'm still going to be around after everyone leaves for getting their feelings hurt.

On being a writer: I don't write becouse I want, I write becouse I have to. I have no choise but to put words on paper, or go mad!

OK, I'll see you again as soon as I am able.


Lena Wed May 19 05:47:33 PDT 1999

I meant to post last Friday, but our school received a bomb threat and the building was evacuated just before I could get my message up... Murphy's Law in action. And this weekend I went on a writing kick, got quite a lot of my story revised. I love writing when there is a storm outside... I open the windows wide, light a few candles, and lose myself in the story.

Thomas, Snarly, and Rachel all had very good points on what makes a writer... the only problem is that they refuse to see the Other Side, and because the word "writer" covers a very large spectrum it also has many often conflicting definitions, as Wes pointed out. Instead of arguing over it, accept each viewpoint as it comes for what it is - one person's personal view on what makes him/her a writer. Thomas believes himself to be a writer because of his careful study and because it is his profession. Snarly believes herself to be a writer because she loves to write, and so does. This is how they define themselves, and so how they define the word at large.

Perhaps there is a difference between a writer and a Writer. I would consider myself to be more of a writer than a Writer... I truly love to write, but writing will never be more than a passionate hobby for me. While, on the other hand, Jen (remember her?) is a Writer - she wants nothing more in life than to write and be published, and she has a wonderful gift for writing than I envy at times. We are both writers, but there is a difference, I would think.

Jeff - Welcome. I wish I could help, but I cannot seem to think of a single idea right now.

Avatar - Lovely.

Good day all. I am going to see Star Wars today, opening night (I got tickets!)... may the Force be with you...

Jack Beslanwitch Tue May 18 22:45:15 PDT 1999

Sqrl: Let me add my HUGS to Alleins. Seems like between car wrecks and personal illnesses or those of our loved ones, has made for fertile ground for our creative processes here on the Notebook. Or, we should try to make it so.

Also, just for everyone's information. I have taken on another major responsibility. If you will note the URL above you will note a Westercon bid. I am the bid chair for bringing Westercon to the Seattle area July 3-6, 2003. This may sap some of my time. As if I did not need any more time synchs :-). Still, I have some definite ideas about what I want to do with this convention and making it very very writer friendly is at the top of my agenda.

Allein Tue May 18 21:06:18 PDT 1999

Sqrl - good for you and your uncle! I sec in that YAY!! (((BIG HUG)))


Jerry Lee Tue May 18 19:37:04 PDT 1999

The boy was small for his age. His Grandmother stood with that look on her face that the boy just hated to see.
His light brown hair was still slicked down with bay rum from the barber's shop. Grandpa had told the man to give the child a "little boy's haircut." The barber understood completely and took out his loud electric trimmers.
The cookies were missing.
Had he had something to do with it? His Grandma was from Georgia and was every bit the southern belle. "Well?"
The boy stood silently looking at the untied shoe on his left foot.
"Did you take the cookies?" she demanded, more firmly this time.
Slowly, and with the complete knowledge that she knew better, he said, "No...".
She understood completely the turmoil in the child, but couldn't supress the giggle as she looked down at him. "Are you telling me a story?"

This was my first experience in the idea of being a story teller. Although the meaning of the word may have changed, I've been 'telling stories' since that hot Arizona day so long ago.

Am I a writer? Sure, because I write down those stories. If I didn't write them down, I'd just be a story teller.

It may not be a good enough answer, but it's good enough fo me.

Take Care,
Jerry Lee

Sqrl Tue May 18 19:23:35 PDT 1999

GREAT NEWS!!!!!!! MY UNCLE IS IN REHAB FOR HIS HIP!!!!!!! YEYEYEYEY! As it turns out, the wonderful huspital overdosed his morphene shot! (please excuse the extremely bad spelling today. I am very excited and am having a hard time getting my fingers to corperate with my mind!)

Also I started physical therapy today! YEY! It'll be a while before I can drive again. No real big deal! My car probably won't be fixed by time I'm better.

night ya'll

Jon et. al. Tue May 18 16:51:42 PDT 1999

WE make the words of the previous speaker our own.
(How do you translate this thought into English?)

I give up. Goodbye.

I will never forget you. Goodbye.

Not goodbye.

Americo Tue May 18 16:43:10 PDT 1999

Oh, dear! Oh, dear! Rachel did it again! Yet a new, magnificient addition to "S", after the two orgastic (is this a word?) explosions of talent of yesterday. And Avatar did it as well. Jack, sorry for the competition but "Shadows" is becoming more popular than the notebook! I suspected it, when I saw this place so quiet. I thought, everybody must be writing, and I was right. I am so proud of you!

I am becoming an expert on the archives. So much life, so much joy, so much good writing there. I like to imagine the whereabouts of Trudy, Britomart, a wonderful Canadian whose name I can't remember now but has a B, and all those Australians. What a lovely place! And, since there was no war getting on our nerves and our consciences, people were so friendly! The past was a much better country... But this is the present, a much better moment! Let us take advantage of it, people.

Allein Tue May 18 16:17:23 PDT 1999

Jeff Loyd - First of all, welcome!! (((BIG HUG))) I'm the hug committee. :) Anyway, perhaps you should try to maybe leave the story alone for a while. Think about it, develop it. If it sticks in your head long enough, then you'll keep your interest in it - I've been working on a novel series for almost two years - most of that time was spent plotting out, making characters, writting short stories about those characters and then I got to writing this story. I have 15 chapters so far - and this is only in last year's work. So, perhaps you could spend time plotting and planning and if it sticks in your head - then this is the story you are meant to write and if not, maybe a better idea will come along.

Rachel - K.

Casey - haven't seen you around much. Answered that survey yet?

Bai bai all,

Hootie Tue May 18 13:55:52 PDT 1999

Avatar--thank you for summing up such an explosive subject with such beauty.

Rachel Tue May 18 12:59:22 PDT 1999

Hi all

Just wanted to drop a post off to say hey to all of you.

I have added two new bits to Shadows, I know Agsousa has added as well.

Anyone else ready to add something.

Take care all


PS - Allein I will be getting to that e-mail. Sorry to be taking so long.

Tue May 18 12:55:23 PDT 1999

Avatar Tue May 18 12:55:18 PDT 1999

I am truly sorry that I inserted the question of being a writer. Sadly, it has torn a few feelings as it was being run through the grindmill here.
After reading all of your posts on the subject, I think I have come up with an opinion of my own, and hopefully this will be the last mentioned of it.


Worship words,

Keep knowledge,
Love language,
Die in death,
Live in life,
Receive riches,
Forgive failures,
Find friends,
Gain greatness,
In the simple truth
Of their words

Remember my friends. No matter what the opinion, everyone here is a writer. And that makes all the difference.


Americo Tue May 18 04:04:49 PDT 1999

jeff lloyd - welcome to this fascinating place. Your problem seems to be "time and plot" — a tricky subject. You did not say if you are writing sci-fi or just mainstream. If it's mainstream do not worry about plot — just go on writing, that is to say, using language, and you'll see that you'll solve all problems as "time" goes by. In case it's sci-fic. there are here excellent advisors on that most entertaining of genres. I believe you'll find feedback from them.

Pnokio — I'm going to read your longish message with more attention. It looks a very good one. I should probably know you a little better, but I don't. Who are you? Another name for somebody else in this forum? Or an autonomous creature? You seem an intelligent and lovely personality.

All — good morning!

Pnokio Tue May 18 01:49:59 PDT 1999

Hello Everyone.

Just after I joined this site there was some talk about Point of View, and I wrote the few words below on it at that time, but I couldn't bring myself to post them. Also included in the discussion was Showing and Telling, and I have some separate thoughts about that area - even though it seems to me it's pretty well intertwined with Point of View. When I thought about it, Showing and Telling, what came to mind was just how difficult it is, and that it's right at the heart of creative writing, and my thoughts turned to Balzac, to Somerset Maugham and Pasternak, and to a French writer whose name I can't recall, whose advice in this area was to "murder your darlings". He was speaking about how, when the spell is upon us, we are very much inclined to "trot out our darlings" again and again. What he then said was about the next day or the next week, that on returning to it we must "murder" those darlings - because otherwise it would be all too unbearable for anyone but mother to read. So he was talking about rewriting, and that's where cutlass and dynamite must be used, where the thousand and one props are cleared out of it to leave what we want to show, and thereby hopefully tell what we have to tell in the way that shows what we want to show in the way it needs to be shown. But I'll come back to that another day, with some help from the named writers. Because this posting is a valedictory prelude - I must have feedback on what I write, and there hasn't been one word. In a few weeks time I'll post a little story in Workbook, and then retreat down the line. This is a sci-fi piece, something I've never tried before, although I once read warehouses of it, and I love it still.

Point of View - some late thoughts.

Jack, I'm not too clear on what you wanted about this, but my instinct on Point of View is to keep it out of it as much as possible, to say what you have to say while appearing to have no point of view. It'll be there anyway. Believe me, I'm no scholar, but I found myself thinking about Salinger and Chaucer, and many others - all the others I know. I've got an old copy of Salinger's "For Esme", an antique hardback I bought with all the original excitement caught by the review clips. John Betjeman wrote, "Mr Salinger is an attractive writer because he observes people accurately without either turning them into clinical specimens or disliking them". (Would this perhaps be what people call English Reserve?). Both points are excellent I think, but the disliking bit sounds particularly important. Salinger it seems to me is very angry in "Bananafish" and "The Laughing Man", and as far as I can remember that's how he is in the other stories as well. But you might not see it unless you come to the them with your own humanity in some kind of place. In Chaucer's The General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales it might be possible to imagine he loathed none of the less likeable pilgrims - with the possible exception of Huberd. No mistake about that. In particular I remember being mesmerised with his portrayal of the Prioress (I still am), at first not seeing how critical he was of her- although there's no loathing there. But as with the Salinger, have your humanity in tow and you can't miss it when he raises his voice.

Where you are in what you're saying, how you feel about your characters, I think that's best shown when you're not intruding too much into what goes on. Everyone has to get in there and say what they have to say, of course, put their point of view somehow - because otherwise there'd be no point. But I think it's a fine line the writer has to negotiate. And if we think that that's what's happening, that we're saying too much through the duke or the doorman, then we should go right back in there and pluck it out. The point of view will be clear anyway if things are written okay, and the reader will hear it. Although of course the reader will probably pick-up incidental side-issue things as well, and may very well interpret other than was intended anyway. That's life. But the writer has to find the line, and that line will vary, and market and genre will make their demands.
Here's something I've found very useful in all aspects of any art-form I attempt, or try to evaluate, as well as finding it a very useful life-guide generally. I remember a violinist speaking here, on Radio 3, of a lesson he'd had from Heifetz (sp), which'd gone pretty well, and as he was leaving Heifetz pulled him up and gave him an, "Oh, and by the way, Joe", in which he told him that whenever he was playing, and just thought he might be playing out of tune, that he usually was. Nice?



jeff lloyd Mon May 17 20:02:28 PDT 1999

hey, this is my first time at this site. i'm 20 years old and i am in the process of writing my first novel. i have been working on it off and on for the last few years when i find time. i am having a hard time advancing the plot. my book is so far 12 chpters long little pages, and i have only covered about a two week period, and origionally i wanted the story to cover about a six month period. do any of you have any advice about how to make time pass, without the reader losing thier imediacy to the story??

Americo Mon May 17 17:45:27 PDT 1999

(I am laughing)

Here's Jack on his post of Dec 1, 1996 — a very good vintage year for this beloved page, by the way:

(thinking of a new topic for discussion:) "I think good sex scenes has been done."

Well, people, click on the "workbook" button, look for "Shadows in a Dream" — and marvel. First you have a chapter, by Rachel, worthy of the best Hitchcock. And then you have me, in my most devilish vein.

Aren't you proud that you have talents like this among you? And this is just the first version!

Well, wake up, if you do not want me to write something about somebody else who also smokes cigars!

Rosemary Mon May 17 14:09:02 PDT 1999

Hello everyone,

My first observation is that anyone who can use "spellingly" correctly can't be all bad.

The main reason I'm piping up is, I found a new website, (new to me) that I thought some might enjoy. It is --- (see above)
It includes all kinds of si/fi, fantesy info. including search facilities.

About the responsibilities in being a writer, I remember the remarks of a published mystery writer at a conference. She said she was always very careful not to give instructions on how to do a murder and get away with it. I'm sure that's probably not what Jack meant but it was the first thing that came to me. I would think (on my own) that the fiction writer's responsibility is to entertain and try to make sense.

More power to writers

Kawinkiedinks (all 3 of them) Mon May 17 11:14:52 PDT 1999

This place has improved a little morally and spellingly of late. WE'll keep watching you.

(Hope this is a good motivation)

Impala Mon May 17 11:12:43 PDT 1999

I would like to get some further information about some recipes I read here. I tried the mashroom potatoes one — delicious!

Pussy Mon May 17 11:10:52 PDT 1999

If you talk to me, I shall talk to you.
I am a good moneycrat (sorry, democrat) now, since I married last month. Although late, I can still accept you marriage presents.

Jon Mon May 17 11:08:32 PDT 1999

Steve Perry,

Better than most men here, you know what discipline and obedience to your superiors mean. I told you to report to this page as soon as you could. What have you been doing that you have not been able to come and greet me yet? You do not want me to use my imagination, do you? And where is that free jazz session chapter? I do not see it in "S".

ALL — I hear you behaved very badly in my absence. I am thinking of the fine you will have to pay. Thomas told me he was going to play marbles (he invented this sentence, not me) somewhere else. Geez! Some people can't stand a joke.

Bai, bai

Americo Mon May 17 10:58:26 PDT 1999

Okay, people. Back to business.
Short-stories, novellettes, novellas, novels, romances, tales : this is important stuff and I really need to know what YOU mean by these (and other words). To begin with I'm going to have a look at a little classic on that, "Aspects of the Novel" (of the author of "Passage to India" — who is he? who is he?).
Secondly I'll think about this and what Foster (just add what is missing... this test is becoming too easy) said in his (how many?) lectures given in ( fill in the blank), (there is still the where... fill this as well) what Foster said. Then I will contradict whatever that (British/American? Pick up one) author wrote and finish by stating my own truths on the matter. I said truths, of course. Finally you'll kill because you do not agree. And to cap it all with strawberries and cream, we'll write a sample of each of those items. That will make a good creative writing. Ten day to complete it.
(Am I not a teacher, with all a teacher's small defects and extraordinary qualities?

I want to see everybody here in , let us say, five hours time. With poetry, music, jokes, profound thoughts and


Jack Beslanwitch Sun May 16 14:16:20 PDT 1999

     I like the notion of the responsibility of writers. Well said indeed.

     I would like to propose another topic for discussion as well that might spark a bit of discussion hopefully:

What is a story - whether short, novellette or novel?

     What makes a short story different from a novel or vica versa. One writer described a short story as writing that is short and changes the reader. Is this all there is? Or is there more? Does it mean that a novel writing is long and changes the reader.

Bon Appettit

howard Sun May 16 11:12:51 PDT 1999

I missed a paragraph in my writers post!

One of the other possible adjectives or attributes describing a writer is responsibility. We
speak of gun control because we fear what an irresponsible or intemperate person would
or could do with firearms. Consider the damage a person can do with words. Like
firearms, words used indiscriminately or with malice can do much damage. And like
bullets, they cannot be recalled once discharged. It does not matter the calibre of the bullet
or the calibre of the word -- used correctly each can provide enjoyment , sustenance, or
protection. Used without regard for the consequences, they can cause great harm and
destruction (perhaps we’ve seen some of that here?).
The writer, then, shares with the marksman the same responsibility for prudence in using
the tools of choice. It comes with the territory.

Jon Sun May 16 09:31:49 PDT 1999

Steve, please report to this page as soon as you can. Drinks available (soft and hard).

Cheers, o dilectus amicus!

Americo Sun May 16 09:27:30 PDT 1999

Beautiful poem, Howard.

People start talking about "Star Wars" here. I hope it is a good film, like "War and Peace" or one of my favourite movies ever: "Death in Venice". There is room for everything in this world.

A big hug to all of you.

I must rush to my sunday.

Sun May 16 03:37:36 PDT 1999

howard Sat May 15 17:55:28 PDT 1999

I just received this from a friend, and thought it would somehow fit right in here. It's a bit long, but I think you'll like it.


The paradox of our time in history is that we
have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider
freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend
more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it

We have bigger houses and smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time; we have more
degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but
less judgment; more experts, but more problems;
more medicine, but less wellness.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced
our values. We talk too much, love too seldom,
and hate too often. We've learned how to make
a living, but not a life; We've added years to life,
not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet the
new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but
not inner space;
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul;
We've split the atom, but not our prejudice;

We have higher incomes, but lower morals;
We've become long on quantity, but short on

These are the times of tall men, and short character;
steep profits, and shallow relationships.
These are the times of world peace,
but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less
fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition. These are
days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier
houses, but broken homes.

It is a time when there is much in the show window
and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology
can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can
choose either to make a difference, or to just hit delete...

--Author Unknown --

howard Sat May 15 17:49:43 PDT 1999

Americo -- Yes I’ve quit smoking. I quit “cold-turkey” on the day the surgeon removed a
lung-sized tumor from my right lung. That was on 6 July 1982, and about 4 months later,
on 31 October 1982, he removed a fist-sized tumor from my left lung. They were benign,
but were also a definite hindrance to one of my favorite habits -- *Breathing* !

Martin -- Be careful with “For the truth is whatever you believe it to be.” That started one
of our more memorable flareups. Check the archives if you’re interested. Or e-mail me if
you want an argument on the subject. :-)

Xavier -- Yes I meant that if one is minimally aware of what goes on around him, school is
never over. It’s just a bit less formalized.

All -- What is a writer? Very simply, one who writes. Who can dispute my claim to be a
writer? No one, I think. It is, after all, an objective term. Now, who can dispute my claim
to be a good, great, drop-dead-knock-yer-socks-off writer? Anyone can! That evaluation
is a subjective one, depending on the moods and mores of my peers, and of the reading
public. It’s the adjectives that count -- words like prolific, hard-working, sensitive, lazy,
accurate, careless, conscientious, formula, attentive, hack, perceptive...and sooner or later,
if I get it all together and if the right ones fit -- professional (published). The balance
comes in remembering that not everyone has all these words in mind when reviewing my
writing. They bring their own baggage, and it’s up to me to be mindful not to trip over it.
I needn’t let someone else’s itinerary dictate *my* journey. And if that’s Disney-esque,
well, have you checked the prices lately at the Magic Kingdom? “When You Wish Upon
A Star” does pay well, occasionally. Capice?

Skulkers (and sulkers) -- Come on back! It takes two to tango/discuss/fight/love/get
along, and I can’t help but think that one day a long time ago in the Balkans somebody got
angry, and picked up his/her toys and went home. And stayed there.

Allein Sat May 15 16:41:53 PDT 1999

I've had quite a day. My first on the job and I did pretty well. :) I mowed my neighbor's lawn and washed his van. It was kinda difficult. The lawnmower was more powerful than what I'm used to and, I'll admit, I'm a little out of shape - okay, a LOT out of shape. I also had a little difficulty with the van, since I'm, as we prefer to be called, vertically challenged. I had to stand on a stool to wash the top.
I think after Church tomorrow I'll take a walk up to the Asian food market and spend some of my earnings. I love Asian food. I liked dried fish, rice candy and pocky.
Anyway, I'm going to take a shower and rest.
Bai bai, big hugs to you all!

S.N.Arly Sat May 15 13:54:22 PDT 1999

On being a writer: Rachel & Jerry do a pretty good job expressing my point, although I tried it in the single sentence version. I would like to correct those who think that my comment was simple, Disney, or otherwise ill thought out. Economy of words does not necessarily point to a lack of thought or euphoric attitude. Likewise an excess of words does not necessarily imply a great deal of thought. And when I say that you are a writer when you believe you are, I'm talking about being totally honest with yourself and what you do. Saying that I believe something and actually really meaning it are not the same.

I was a writer when I was 13. Granted I've improved in my style and general writing skills, but that doesn't mean I was any less a writer then. I was simply less likely to get published. I'm the kind of writer who is always trying to learn more. I attend the university of life, where sometimes the tests are not so easy, and sometimes they are hidden. I refer to myself as an info-sponge, because I believe the more I learn the better I will write. This is my style of writing and I would never in a million years presume to force anyone else into the mold I have chosen. Each of us is different in the way we approach our writing and creating. Each of us will find different things useful to achieving that end. I don't believe it's necessary for every writer to be in a state of constant learning. I believe it's right for me.

SKS - If you do happen to be lurking, I'm sorry to see you go, however I will not beg you to stay. I understand entirely. It is no fun to go to a place where people of a common thread can not respect each other and their differences of opinion. As I just passed my 13 wpm code today, I should be e-mailing you soon about the martial arts stuff. And again, sorry it's taken so long.


"Do or do not do. There is no try."

Jack Beslanwitch Sat May 15 13:48:59 PDT 1999

OK: Everyone take a deep breath. Exhale. GROUP HUG :-).

The discussion about what it is or it is not to be a writer has been lively and interesting. Do not let it drive you away or if you need a breather, please lurk and come back. If you go back through the Archives there seems to be an occasional temperature rise about once every six months or so. This one was very mild by comparison to those in the past. So, Pax Notebookitus or something like that, but remember as the Purpose of the Notebook spelled out above states:

It is requested that we all respect the feelings of each other, but strong emotions, strong opinions and strong comments have been expressed here. We are writers and creative personalities. Be happy that we are.

Besides, strongly felt and strongly worded comments mean for strong writing and interesting discussions. Take care.

Weston Sat May 15 12:42:53 PDT 1999

At the risk of prolonging an old discussion, I need to correct myself. I perviously stated, in response to Howard's question, that the original word for left was sinister.
That is not so.
Martin wondered, in an e-mail, about the eytmological link between the two words so, with Martin's encouragement, I share the research with all of you.

Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (I recommend any of the Webster's Collegiates - even an old one) gives the word origins in a sort of shorthand as quoted here:

left ME fr. OE, weak; akin to MLG, lucht, left fr. the left hand's being weaker in most individuals.

sinister ME sinistre fr. L sinistr- sinister, on the left side, unlucky, inauspicious.

In the case of "left", the word sounds like or is akin or related to the Middle Low German (MLG) word "lucht", for the left or weak side in most people. The word was carried to England around the 5th century by migrating Germanic tribes. Isolated in England the language evolved into Old English (OE). By the 12th century the language evolved into Middle English (ME) and although "left" still meant weak, the association with the left hand or side remained and today is the primary meaning.

Sinister comes directly from the Latin (L) "sinister" for the left side, or unlucky or inauspicious, and appeared in England by the 11th century, possibly during the Norman Conquest. The meaning of the word survived intact through the Middle English, though today is more associated with things ominous or evil.

Both words sprang from a negative or perjorative sense then that remains, in a mild sense, today.

Not being content to let things rest, I did similar research for the words right and dexter, but I thought perhaps one of you out there would enjoy the challenge of reporting that information here.

For those who enjoy this sort of thing, I suggest "The Browser's Dictionary", "A Second Browser's Dictionary" and "Good Words To You" by John Ciardi.


(The dictionary) is a very interesting and useful book....I have studied it often, but I could never discover the plot. --Mark Twain

Americo Sat May 15 09:21:52 PDT 1999

Dear fellow writers,

As the most fortunate of you know, I promised you not to touch internet on weekends. One needs some leisure for other activities (walking by the sea, shopping, discussiing politics with friends, read the newspapers, writing for "Shadows" ……… that sort of things.) But whenever I manage to come to my den, I can't resist sending everyone a great hug and many greetings. That is what I am doing now.

I haven't read the posts yet but I think I am going to enjoy them all. I saw the name of Thomas somewhere, and my heart rejoyced. Was it in connection with Rachel's? Ah, that would give a good thread — they are two of the greatest talents here (next to Jon, of course), and both of them are my dear friends. Will Hootie clarify the transcendental doubt I asked him in 1733? And has Howard described in detail the beauties of the Europe he has visited some years ago? Things have changed a little, Howard — for the worse, as they must ... Things must change for the worse, so that writers have topics to write upon and subjects to protest about...

And how is everybody going? Have you stopped smoking? I am trying, since I read Allein's description of a certain taxi-driver. But not too hard... Have you stopped drinking? Well, water is fundamental for your bodies. Do not cease doing everything, otherwise you will have problems with the police. Drive more carefully, and pay particular attention to impala, if you are fortunate enough to have impala there. Why hasn't this word plural? Okay, reform you language, but do not exxagerate.

All these and other questions I am going to satisfy reading your posts. My curiosity is great. And my love to you all as profound as the Atlantic Ocean that kisses our two continents in a sweet embrace. (I like this sentence.)

Now behave yourselves if you do not want Jon to "smash you into smithereens"... (Just kidding, he is as pacific as the Ocean with the same name...) Let us give a good laugh from time to time, okay? And my ISP has just disconnected me... He can't see me in a good mood, that b**.

I think this is a nice post, don't you?

Martin Sat May 15 09:21:50 PDT 1999

The discussion aobut ‘What is a writer?’ sounds a wee bit like a concussion or the ever never ending discussion ‘Is there a God, or is ther not?’. There is no answer because there are no proofs. Everybody has to come up with its own solution. Even if that solution does not work with others, who have diferent ideas and thinkings, it is very important, that the solution works with you. For the truth is whatever you believe it to be. So the question is not ‘I am a writer or not?’ but ‘Is my believe that I am a writer strong enough to survive those moments of naging doubts?’

Read a few biographies, that will help you a lot. My favorite story is what John Steinbeck made to write ‘The grapes of wrath’ or what did Miguel de Cervantes do before he wrote ‘El don Quijote de la Mancha’?
Read Rachels post every day five times until there is no more doubt about writing.

Here are few proofs writer love to dream about, but are false:

I am a writer when I am published.
Publishing and writing are certainly not the same profession. Of cours it would be nice to be published,
after you put so much effort into your book. As you can see, publishing only comes after writing and therefore it can not be the same as writing.

I am a writer when I pick up a pncil and write words on a piece of paper.
A child who learns to write does the same and is not a writer.

I am a writer after I spent tent housand Dollars on a ‘How to write’ course or when I have the proper education.
What kind of education did Miguel de Cervantes have as he wrote the best book ever ‘El don Quijote de la Mancha’? (Feel free to send E-Mails stating that ‘El don Quijote de la Mancha’ is the worst book you ever read)

So writing is magic and here is the magic saying:


Ashling Sat May 15 04:19:10 PDT 1999

Geez! Forgot to fill in the info at top of form - I have been away a while.


Sat May 15 04:14:26 PDT 1999

Hi y'all. Apologies - typed last 3 letters of my email wrong last time. My correct address is still

THOMAS: It was thoughtful of you to try to email me direct. I've no quarrel with your definition of writer. Our details differ somewhat, but we're on the same wavelength. You expressed quite well the study aspect inherent in being a writer. Guess I assumed that the need for study was understood - unless you're one of the few geniuses each century produces. Only took reading a few posts today to remind me that nothing can be taken for granted here.

JACK: Still trying to keep the peace, sheriff? :^)

SKS: I took a break from another squabbling board to visit here & what do I find? ... I wish you well, hope you find an intelligent publisher soon (one smart enough to publish you.)

HOOTIE: Hi ya! Great to see you, hope the Muse is being generous with you, as usual.

RHODA: You're moving!?! Hope your new place is most of what you dreamed of ... and that you're back online soon.

Moi? Been doing lots of research lately ... Trolling through old newspapers on microfilm - 1800s in London, 1970s in Alabama - all connected to a true crime project. Also began a short story ... words tumbled onto the computer screen like a waterfall & then dried up about page 3. Have no idea who these characters are, but they seem interesting - so I have high hopes they can be revived from their catnap. Still struggling with my first novel.

Attended several writing functions lately. A small writers conference in April, a Book Fair & a Reading/ Book signing.
My creative writing instructor & his wife co-wrote CLEAVING:
The Story of a Marriage (Dennis & Vicki Covington). Haven't finished it yet, but it's definitely interesting. No Sci-Fi, just regular every day life, including the 3As - Addiction, Abortion, Adultery.

To the new folks: Welcome! And Happy Writing to all.

Take care,

Hootie Sat May 15 02:33:27 PDT 1999

Okay, that last post was due to my cat walking across the keyboard--and hitting enter first.

Martin--The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body. In other words, everyone sees the right as dominant, even though the left controls it.

Steve--Where will we be without your cynicism to balance our Disney attitudes?

Sqrl--As long as you don't expect logic or a conclusion, Douglas Adams is a great read. Hitchhiker's was one of the first books that made me laugh out loud--and laugh a lot.

To all--I think I'm going to go with Weston on this one, and add: if we can't all express our opinion without getting upset, then we might be writers, but we're not necessarily mature writers.

We all express ourselves with words, but by doing so, we take on a responsibility. Words are our tools, and we should be careful about using them as weapons. Turn the sword against the common enemy of inept editors and complacent readers, not against each other.

Agsousa--you'll get your answer today, I promise!

Hootie Sat May 15 02:21:54 PDT 1999

Martin Sat May 15 02:15:09 PDT 1999

If left really means sinsister, I wonder why the logical thinking is happening in the left hemisphere of the brain and that todays life is founded on logic like science, computers and so on. Are we all wrong?

Weston Fri May 14 20:33:59 PDT 1999

I have no engineering degrees, but I earn a self-employed living providing electrical and mechanical engineering services. Do I have the right to claim the title engineer, or am I just a gifted shade-tree mechanic?
At my best moments I an capable of writing perhaps 200-400 words per hour. My twenty year old daughter can do a thousand in the same time. My writing draws upon over twice her number of years of experience. Hers often reflects her limited scope but is spontaneously creative and excellent nonetheless. (This is a proud father writing.) I aspire to write for income. She, as yet, harbors no such illusions. (Or is it delusions, in my case?) Which of us can claim the title writer?
Are modifiers allowed, or required? Letter writer? Casual writer? Aspiring writer? Published Author? Professional Writer? Or even, Not Very Good Writer.
Do we qualify equally if we write profound prose and poetry or drivel and doggerel?
I cannot accept the premise that "if you want to be, you are". I did too many things that I was never very good at. The audience or the market told me so. However, I do believe in possibilities. And if you want to be, and you work at it, you might be.

More questions than answers here.


Sqrl Fri May 14 19:28:26 PDT 1999


thanks for the hug! :-)


Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (great book! still haven't finished it...mainly because I got part way into it on Sunday...and had the accident on Monday...perfect timing...)

And to answer the question "What is a writer?" (I believe the question was...please forgive mind isn't back up to parr...concentration is to a minimual...speeling gone bad to worst! grammer ain't up there either.):

One cannot completely define what a writer trully is. Because of each persons' biased opinion, clouding the way. It is like a raven trying to define flying to hawk or vis versa. Each has it's own definition, as to what it truly means to "fly."


Jack Beslanwitch Fri May 14 19:22:04 PDT 1999

       Let me add my voice to those that hope that SKS does not to leave us.

       All of this said, I will add my meager thoughts on the issue of what is and is not a writer. For me being a writer is an inevitable out growth of the love of reading. The pure exhilarating joy of passing eyes across word after word after word and marveling that someone else has placed those words on the page. The profound experience of those words, those characters, the tapestry of elements that fashion a short story, a poem, a novel, all build to a point where there is no choice but to place your own words on paper or screen. It is the agony and the ecstasy of our own encounters with our muse that mark us as writers. The driven necessity to put words down whatever the dividends or the public praise.

       Yes, study is important. But study can be little more than that self same reading and drinking in by osmosis the words that we love to read. It certainly does not need to be a formal education in writing in an academic setting. As others have alluded to in past posts to the Notebook, the experience of formal education for writing can be precisely the opposite of what is needed to birth a writer. If the story requires research, the need to do the writing will provide the motivation to do the research. If the need to communicate more effectively is required, the need to write will force this as well.

       Let the discussion of writing and being a writer not exclude, but include. As writers we should celebrate our love for the written word. And, too, remember that the writers here, published or not, are at many stages in their own dance with their muse. Please take this into account. Yes, we are all creative individuals and as such have strong feelings, but if possible lets be gentle with each other. That is one of things that has characterized the Notebook and hope that it continues. Take care everyone.

Cassandra Fri May 14 18:03:00 PDT 1999

I understand the feeling. Unfortunately, I suffer from middle child syndrome (I try to fix every rift between people... great moderators we middle children are). So instead, I feel compelled to stay, and try to right what's wrong.

You'll be missed, at least by Allein, and I :).

It's your choice... But to quote Allein: PLEASE DON'T LEAVE US!! We need more non-arguementative people to improve the atmosphere...

Don't be a stranger.

Luv ya


Allein Fri May 14 17:38:04 PDT 1999


Bai bai,
Many hugs,

S.K.S. Perry Fri May 14 15:56:21 PDT 1999

Hey all,

Over the past few months, I have found that this site has become a bitter, cruel, and viscious place. I refrained from posting much for a while in the hopes that it would mellow, but alas, it has become worse.

For that reason, I'm afraid I'm going to have to take my leave of you. Believe it or not, at this moment I feel great sadness in doing so. For many of you, this will be no great loss. For those of you with whom I've developed a friendship, you still have my Email address, and I still have yours. Keep in touch.

Be Well, Live Well.

Allein Fri May 14 15:20:44 PDT 1999

In order to be a writer, you must have the desire to write. To me, this is the most important thing a writer needs. A pen, paper or computer never hurts either. But most of all, you need the drive to write. If I'm not motivated, I don't write (this could also be called: writer's block) but if I'm motivated, I can write up a storm.
Well, that's all from the peanut gallery,
Bai bai,

The Old Man Fri May 14 15:12:59 PDT 1999

Casey, Michele,

Hear, Hear!

Cassandra Fri May 14 15:01:40 PDT 1999

Hi all,

On the topic of what it takes to be a writer:

I agree with Michele and Thomas in a way. The difference in opinions, I believe stems from the interpretation of the word study. Studying does not entail a formal education, classes, or some sort of lofty degree. All studying takes is a keen eye, a ready, open minded attitude, speaking to others, and reading on a semi-regular basis. That's all, and yet some people aren't willing to do that. Let's face it, A LOT of people aren't willing to do that.

More and more I find myself listening to High school poetry in coffee houses. Since when was it a crime to have poetry mean something, and make some seblance of sense? Just a tangent, ignore it if it strikes you as odd...

Observation is my studying, watching people move, talk, work, listening to the ideas that societies breed in people. Looking at the world as a child does, open-eyed, and not tainted by stereotypes. Have you ever watched two people shake hands, and wonder why people do that? Ever looked at lovers kissing, and wonder how touching lips came as a sign of love?? That's what I do, and that is the majority of my training, just simple, honest observation.

The rest of it is smoke and mirrors, tricks, phrases, words picked up anywhere I can find them. Pirated from memories, television, novels, comic books, music... anything I touched or felt...

Sounds simple to me, I guess. Maybe all it takes is a mindset, a writing untensil, and willpower. (I have to work on the willpower part... time is in rare demand lately)

That's all I have to say, take it or leave it

ta ta


"He seized a pen and paper
Set down everything he knew
And reunited God and devil, since
He shared all secrets common to the two." -Alden Nowlan

Michele Fri May 14 13:33:05 PDT 1999

Oops. That second "anonymous" post was mine - that's what comes of posting to the Notebook in haste 2 minutes before you get the bus.


I have to agree with Thomas (no doubt someone will accuse us of a conspiracy or something), that your remark was trite. Which was why I was angry - nothing to do with not feeling I am a true writer. I know I am a "true" writer (btw what's the definition of a true writer and how is that different from merely being a writer ?) Go to my web site and read it and then tell me I am not a writer... I know I am a writer because my tutors, my web site "readers", even my friends, tell me frequently how well WRITTEN my work is, whether that's my college essays or my web site pages... On Wednesday a tutor told me I was a good writer... and on the essay I got back on Monday, my tutor had commented on how well written it was (he must have meant it too - he gave me 75% for it)...

Thomas is right that one needs to study to be a writer - if nothing else you need to study the craft of writing - which entails reading other writers' work, looking at what makes their writing good, and seeking to emulate it. It also helps to study language - by which I merely mean, how we use language, how to use it effectively, how language can be used to construct meanings, and having a good grasp of vocabulary... And no, you don't need a degree to do all this - but having one doesn't hurt, assuming that it helps you learn to think, to develop your ideas and imagination, and gives you the chance to practice your writing skills.

If you are trying to build worlds, if you use history as the basis for your fiction, if you are trying to report people's lives (biography), trying to write poetry, you still need to study - whether formally at degree level or not... you cannot create realistic, believable, fictional worlds without having studied how this one works and survives... I think you are confusing the meanings that are attached to the word study - I think you are being rather narrower in your understanding of the word than was intended when the word was used...

But this is only my opinion - you don't have to agree with it, although I shall refrain from suggesting you stick it anywhere... if you don't like it, leave it where you found it...


Jerry Ericsson Fri May 14 12:58:51 PDT 1999

Darn - forgot what I came here to talk about in the first place - for those of you who are looking for a deal on Linux - the latest flavor 6.0 now comes complete with Word Perfect for Linux Suite 8.0 (90 trial version) I bought my copy from for 11.00 (after shipping and handling.)

Jerry Ericsson Fri May 14 12:53:06 PDT 1999

On being a writer - Many years ago when becoming interested in computers, I began writing basic programs. While they could not be read in the normal way, they did effect the lives of others, and I was paid for them, therefore at that time, I was a "writer of programs." Later, when the gun grabbers in congress first made their attempt to ban the semi-automatic rifle, I went to DC to lobby against that bill, on my return, I wrote several lengthy letters to editors, some were published as "guest editorials" and again at that time I concidered my self a writer.

When I attended college following my disabeling injury, I wrote many essays, and according to my english proffesors I was a fledgling writer - again I was a writer. Later in my college days, many of my essays were published in the college magazine, and by my peers, I was considered an accomplished writer. When I wrote articles for the college newspaper, I was considered a reporter,(writer of news reports) and political commentator.

Today, I write fiction, while I have yet to be paid for these stories, I am collecting rejections. Again I consider myself a writer.

When is one a writer - well according to Writers Digest - if you consider yourself a writer, if you call yourself a writer then you are a writer - but what do they know - they just want to sell more of their magazines. I guess it comes down to what each and every one of us thinks in our minds what the deffinition of a writer is.

Still waiting to be published.

Jerry Ericsson

Thomas Fri May 14 12:24:45 PDT 1999


You can disregard anything I post, if you believe it has no merit; you have that right. There is no law that compels you to post your opinion of my opinions (on writing, they happen to be educated opinions). But no matter. You do not have to study to be a writer if you don't want to do so. Declare it; you have that right. You can also cover your eyes and ears; you have that right too.

Rachel Fri May 14 10:53:48 PDT 1999

Thomas - Platitude - A commonplace or trite remark.

That is just your opinion, and your opinion is a thing that I do not value in the least.

My decleration is NOT a platitude, it is who I am.

Rachel Fri May 14 10:42:06 PDT 1999

Thomas - Whatever, anger boy

Thomas Fri May 14 10:21:50 PDT 1999


My response was intended to sound as I felt -- angry at one individual's crass post. The fact that you take the posts personally is something I cannot control.

"I believe I am a writer and therefore I am" is merely a platitude. Platitudes do not create writers; learning the craft creates writers.

Rachel Fri May 14 09:03:42 PDT 1999

Hey all

Thomas - Do you have any idea how bitter you sound? I feel free to say this to you, because you certainly are free with your opinions.

All - What makes a writer?

It is a good question. One that come up time and again. It is also a question with no single answer.

There are those who would say you can not write without formal education. This I do not feel is true.

There are those who would say you can not write if you do not spell perfectly. I also do not agree with this. Why else would we have spell check.

I read what is posted by some of the people on this site and I wonder why they are so angry.

Could it be that they feel they are not true writers?

If this is the case. I am sad for each of you who feels this way.

The above mentioned would explaine why they feel the need to lash out and keep telling others that they are not TRUE writers.

I now will once again declare to the wolrd that I AM A WRITER.

I am a writer because I believe I am.

Writing is not like being a doctor or a mechanic. I'm sorry to be the one to point this out, but anybody with a grade one educatuion can write a story.

I am not saying they will all be brilliant, but anyone who sits down and puts a story onto paper will have been a writer.

That is just this gals opinion

If you don't like my opinion you can take it and shove it anyplace you would like.

You can write me nasty notes, that drip with sarcastic overtones and I will not care.

My opinion will not change.

Take care all


Thomas Fri May 14 08:42:33 PDT 1999


The first post was mine -- unintentionally left out my name. the second was not mine. I no longer add my email address because of the garbage emails I began to get from lurkers.

But your total lack of class, plus your asinine Disney-moment about writing (if you wish it, it is so) are tiring. Your attitude is tiring. You shall receive no more responses from me to your posts -- life is not long enough to waste time on the Internet.

Writing is a profession and it requires study and work. Sorry to disappoint you.


I sent the following email to you, but it came back undelivered.

Writing is a profession, authoring is ownership of what you write.

The profession of writing requires not only the discipline of putting words to paper (or screen) but the discipline of research, gathering experience, knowing about words (their spelling, their grammar and their power). A writer is a student of humanity.

A writer must begin with raw talent for communication and end with refined study and knowledge, however that study and knowledge can be gained.

One is not a writer just because one writes. I play piano, I paint in oils, but I consider myself neither a musician nor a painter. I have not studied either enough to know their depths, and I am incapable of delving into their disciplines. But I am a writer; I have delved the disciplines of the profession.

Perhaps receiving many rejections are a condition of becoming a professional writer, I certainly know about rejections. It is to the writer's credit to find out why it takes thirty years of rejections for some and not for others. There is always the possibility that some rejections come about because the writing isn't good enough or professional enough.

Hootie Fri May 14 08:29:12 PDT 1999

Xavier—Was it Charlie Rich? I remember it was my favorite song when I was six, but it wasn’t until years later that I realized how sad it was.

Agsousa—I’m still around. And you may even get an e-mail later today. I’m working on an installment for Shadows, too.

On being a writer—To the world in general, writing is a artistic (read: lazy) profession. Most people don’t understand how hard it is to write, so don’t appreciate those of us who are driven to do it. When do we actually become writer’s, though? I think it happens when we can no longer deny the desire to shape the world on a blank sheet of paper, using only words. The number of words doesn’t matter, or if we ever get paid for them. It’s all the fragments of poetry and half finished stories that mark us.

On world building—Of course any culture you dream up will have a reflection somewhere in history somewhere in the “real” world. We humans are remarkably flexible creatures, and no matter how alien or fantastic you make your creatures, the social structure has probably been instituted or attempted by someone.

The thing is, building worlds isn’t just for fantasy and SF writers. Even “mainstream” or “contemporary” writers have to create the internal logic of their stories—their world. The difference is that the reader does not have to be convinced to accept the unacceptable or the impossible. And when you mention Sony, you don’t have to make sure that the reader understands that this is a ubiquitous electronics and entertainment conglomerate. But when I mention the Vernicans, I have to get across the fact that they a powerful trading nation based in the Eastern Abiterrnean Sea, all without stopping the action.

As for Character v. World, which is mostly a F/SF problem, I think that I would rather have strong characters than a highly detailed world. This is a reflection of the way I write. When creating a new world, or even a new country in a world, I usually start with a character and think about who she is and what she believes, and develop the culture from that.

Ashling—It’s good to know that you’re still around. Thanks for the encouragement for us busy people.

And has anyone heard from Michele? I miss her.

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
—Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

S.N.Arly Fri May 14 07:30:55 PDT 1999

Agsousa - Very tacky. Even for you.

Lena - Yes. Good clarification. I think difference between writing and other "careers" is that it's primarilly artistic/creative. Quite a difference between writing and surgery, which is not a creative career, at least not in nearly the same way. I also forgot to mention that I also tend to build my world around my characters. I'm big into character building. Someone in my writer's group is very big into world building, and he sometimes creates new worlds just for fun.

Ed - I received Forge of God and Anvil of Stars for my birthday and just haven't gotten to them yet. Hopefully this summer.

To the anonymous poster - If you haven't got the balls to claim your posts, don't bother.


Rhoda Fri May 14 07:10:19 PDT 1999

There has been a change of plans. Instead of moving out next week-end, we are doing it tomorrow because everyone who has offered to help us will not be around next week-end. So I must break the computer down today and there is no telling when I will get on-line again. So I am afraid my new installment to Shadows will have to wait a little longer.

Well, I must be going. There is much to do now.


Xavier Fri May 14 06:55:05 PDT 1999

Hello fellow writers!

Unto Lena: Yes, it is a quote, from a popular song from the 70's(?), perhaps a bit earlier. I believe the singers name was Buddy Rich or some such. My mom used to play that song when we were kids, after the divorce, and weep. I'm glad you liked it, a rather touching song.

Casey: I hope you find your notes, as I am patiently waiting for your next post. I know moving can be tough, so just do your best. I just enjoy your writing, so it's hard to wait.

Unto the other colaboraters: Glad to see my little comment got some notice and defiance around here. Shadows is going, in my opinion, very well and I look foward to every new addition. It is great experiance for me to work with such talented writers, and get to know a little about the here on the boards as well. This is the only writing related board I call, and I take pride in being a member. Now, if I could just work on my poor spelling!

Unto Howard: I think you mean that school is never over becouse life is one long lesson, right? If so I agree. Or, perhaps, do you mean it like how war is never over, you live with the nightmares forever? I hope its the first answer.

Well, I'm off to check the Shadows for new posts.

"get down with the get down"


Martin Fri May 14 05:22:31 PDT 1999

The German language is currently undergoing a spelling reform, too. But as it seems there is no difference between Portugal and Switzerland, Germany and Austria. All you said about the laziness and hope is true for these countries, too. If you ever tried a German dictionary you will sooner or later stumble across 'The Duden'. Whatever the word is spelled, the way it ist spelled in the Duden is the right way, even if it is wrong. The most sarcastic story goes that the selling numbers of the Duden were sloping down and the Duden editors launched this spelling reform, so they could sell millions of new copies - and they most certainly did.

Thank you for the little help there. My mother language is German and English my first choice. No surprise then, that I missuse one or the other word. I thought something could submerge from within yourself but obviously only submarins can perform it. Such kind of help is always welcom.

Sí. Sí. Te escucho, muchacho ....

One more word about the world building affair. You have problem with the fauna and flora? Why don’t you plan your next vacation in the jungle?

Dexter Gordon ... Hmm ... great saxaphone player. You put a spell on me!!!!!!

Ashling Fri May 14 01:50:23 PDT 1999

Hi y'all. It's good to hear your "voices" again.

I'm a writer - and have been for over 30 years - because I write. Becoming an \b{author} - i.e. I get published and paid - requires writing consistently ... Most authors I admire wrote every day for years & years to get published.

AVATAR: I keep forgetting I don't have to finish writing something every day ... just need to start it. I've never had "time to write" in my entire life. Acquiring the self-discipline to sit down & spend 15 minutes writing one paragraph \b{every day} ... well I'm still struggling with it. I've been questioning my career choice for days ... and not writing a word. Tonight I wrote for an hour and a half and got reminded \b{again} that I was born a writer ... and I have no intention of dying without becoming an author. What I heard in your words may not be what you intended, but I thank you anyway for the inspiration & the feeling that I am not alone.

Tomorrow I'll go to work, wash my dishes, spend a couple of hours on volunteer service, spend time with my husband, play with my dogs, touch base with family and friends, and do a million other small things. I won't watch television - that's where I'll steal the time to write from. Saturday, I'll steal the time from somewhere else.

Although I can't come to this message board often, I carry you all in my imagination's back pocket - everywhere I go. Thanks for being here.

Take care,

Thu May 13 23:40:57 PDT 1999

If you're a writer when you believe you are - simply by the power of your personal belief - then logically I am rich, beautiful and talented - well I believe it - so it ought to be true... the fact that I don't have money or good looks is obviously irrelevant on that premise...

Allein Thu May 13 21:06:58 PDT 1999

Squrl: Sorry to hear about your uncle. I hope he gets better soon. (((BIG HUG))) to you. You and your uncle will be in my prayers.

That's about all I got to say.
Bai bai,

Sqrl Thu May 13 20:30:37 PDT 1999

Hi there...

I just wanted to say thank you to Casey, Rhonda, and SNArley for your kind comments. :)

My uncle has had a turn for the better, so we may not lose him just yet. Yippie!! :)

My head is acting up (spinning and such...) So I'm going to be getting to sleep now.

Night night

Cassandra Thu May 13 20:25:07 PDT 1999

Hi all,

I am alive, and relatively well. I have serious work to do on shadows, and on Allein's survey. I have reason for slaking so...

My older brother just recently reinstalled my modem into my computer. I was, for a short while resigned to using my dad's old (ancient more like it.) laptop. I can't reach hotmail from there (without a lot of trouble) so that addy has been neglected as of late.

I haven't gotten to my hotmail addy for a little while, and that is where you survey is. I will do my best to have someone in my house strap me to a chair tomorrow, and force me to type out my thoughts about your story. Thanks for being patient, I'm just an aweful aweful procrastinator.

Oh, and the IM thing... I was signing off right when you emailed me. At home the response time on sign offs is astronomical.

I have to release a search party for my notebook which has the page or two start of my next shadows installment. If I can't find it by Saturday, I'll just write it over...

I've seen the most beautiful girl in the world. Trouble is she's too darned shy to step out of my mirror. (just kidding... I'm not ThaT attractive!)

Hang in there hon. Everything seems to go wrong at once, and the good things happen sporatically, like gold littered throughout a mountainside. If happiness weren't as rare, perhaps it wouldn't be valued so highly. Just take pleasure in the little things (esp. the love and attention of your friends) and Get well soon.

well, off I go, into the wild blue yonder.

ta ta

Allein Thu May 13 18:54:54 PDT 1999

I have never been to Europe but I plan to go someday. I also plan to go to Asia. The only foreign (if you can even call it that) country I've been to is Canada - and that was just across the boarder. Canada is so close to the US in custom and such that I'm not sure I could even count it as a foreign country. It's a nice place though and I plan to go back. Infact, my family and I have been talking of maybe going up to Vacouver this summer. They have a Chinatown up there - Chinatown = Anime. Sounds like a sweet deal. Except that we'd be driving there so I'd be stuck in the car for three or more hours. But we also want to visit the rainforest in the Olympic Mountains, so I'm not sure we'll go.

Rachel - still haven't gotten that e-mail. :'(

Anyway, really nothing here to report. I'll post later when I have some news.
Bai bai,

Eddie French Thu May 13 18:30:37 PDT 1999

I too love travelling around Europe. I regularly do it too.
Tomorrow morning I will set out early, drive across to Hull, on the East Coastand take the overnight ferry (A leisurely crossing, the best way to go) to the near Continent. I will drive to the Ruhr Valley. (Missing out France this time.) But I will take the route which is so familiar to me...Belgique, Nederlands, (Through the Ardens region.)Germany. Antwerpen, Eindoven, Duisburg, Venlo. The old border stations have been pulled down now and we drive right through. We used to stop for coffee and a bite to eat but even the cafes have gone. That was another age though. I love this drive and remember the first time we did it, the differences just 23 miles across the channel were amazing the first time.(Least of all driving on the wrong side of the road.) In Belgium the farms seemed run down and very very old. The road through Holland was so flat and straight you could sleep through it. The new bridge over the Rhine is an engineering marvel. The E34 runs right through North West Europe and travelling it is a living history lesson about WW2, Many place names are instantly recognisable!. Best of all, you can spend DMs in any country in Europe (Except UK). All cash registers have a conversion facility to allow the use of different currencies, so buying petrol is not a problem anywhere en route. I will be back in two weeks but I hope to find a cyber cafe to drop in. I know that there is one in in Slohss (I don't have the double s symbol, - it looks like a capital B with a tail - on my keyboard) Do you have cyber cafes in America?. There is a whole culture built around them in Europe.
Just a quick word on Worlbuilding. Mr Clarke did well with Rama, through to Garden of Rama and Mr Niven did almost as well with Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers, But the master of worldbuilding has to be Gregg Bear! 'Eon', 'Eternity', Read them if you havn't already done so. While you are at it you could also catch a copy of 'Forge of God' and 'Anvil of Stars'. For those interested in NF sci-fi, try 'Queen of Angels' Inspiring stuff all of it.
Time to go.

Rhoda Thu May 13 15:30:16 PDT 1999


I have not bailed out of Shadows. I just haven't had time to put another installment in. Give me a couple of days.


Happy birthday. I wish I could come to Fran and your social. It sounds lovely. If I don't remember to wish you a happy birthday on the 27th, I will do so now.


With all that has been going on in your life, it is a wonder you got here to post. I hope everything goes better for you.

Happy writing,


Lena Thu May 13 14:23:24 PDT 1999

"Has anybody seen the most beautiful girl in the world? Tell her I'm sorry."

Xavier - Is that a quote from anything? It sounds familiar... it is sad, quite lovely.

Martin - I read a book by Umberto Eco a year ago... name escapes me now, something with a rose... "The Name of the Rose," perhaps... I liked it very much, he is a wonderful writer. I will read "Foucault's Pendulum" when I have the time.

Accountants and surgeons have a college degree. Baseball players play for a national organization. Writers don't get a degree or have to join an organization - how else are you to know that you are a writer? Does it appear on your birth certificate? Nope, all we have is our belief and a dream, because you do not even have to be published to be a Writer.

Not much to add, sorry.

Thu May 13 13:21:37 PDT 1999

"You are a writer when you truly believe that you are."

Does the above go for heart surgeons, baseball players, certified public accountants, and all other professions?

howard Thu May 13 12:57:52 PDT 1999

I tried to post earlier but it blew up.

Americo -- I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Europe. I was stationed near Karlsruhe, Germany from 8/64-9/66. I bought a new VW 1600TL Fastback and drove it through Austria, France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and all over West Germany, especially the Black Forest region. Beautiful country, and beautiful people!

Xavier -- School is *never* over!

Americo Thu May 13 10:07:39 PDT 1999

Xavier — I am still here and we shall reduce all our foes to smithereens (sp?) — as long as there people like you around.
I have already read you latest addition. Was your story true? I was very moved. You sound so true-to-fact.
There are some sentences in your text that seem muddled. If you like, you can e-mail me.
Your friend

Xavier Thu May 13 09:13:20 PDT 1999

No new posts, now I'm really sad.

Xavier (writeme dirtyletters) Thu May 13 09:10:25 PDT 1999

Hello, hello!

Not much to say really, just hello I guess.

I'm a bit sad to learn that some people have bailed out on 'Shadows', but I Casey, Avatar, Americo, and a few stout others are still plugging away. I think this novel has great potential, even if not published, it's still a good experence.
I enjoy it amid the tempest that my clouded life hath become.

Anyhoo, I went to a massive comics convention at Madison Square Garden in N.Y.C. and met some famous writers and artists from that medium. I also met an editor for D.C. comics, and received papers on submittion format. I've always wanted to write for comics, and perhaps will submit something soon. I don't write 'Mickey Mouse' stories, and most are fairly adult themed. Many comics today are geared as such.

School will be over soon, and I'm a bit sad. It took me ten years to return here, and now it's over. (sniff, sob...)

well, I'm off to check the new shadows additions, if any.

"Has anyone seen the most beautifull girl in the world? Tell her I'm sorry."

Xavier Thu May 13 08:08:48 PDT 1999

Arly : "Since then would that be a disability?"
RE: since the moment you asked.

Americo Thu May 13 08:05:13 PDT 1999

Jack's birthday on May 27 reminded me of the time when this page was full of birthday messages and truly collaborative people. I felt the duty of doing whatever I could to fully participate in all aspects of this site. There was only one I was not interested in: chatting. I like to keep whatever I write and whatever people write to me. Chatting messages do not allow for saving what people say and what we say to people. I am not a quick thinker, and chatting demands auick minds and quick fingers. (Sorry, chatters, I love you.)

I said this because, at that time, one of the things I felt my duty to do was to check the notebookers' sites. Some of them are good and, besides their intrinsic qualities, they help us know one another better. I visited Eddie French's site and I immediately became fascinated with it. First prize for its first page. (Not so good marks for the advertising stuff). And some days ago I left a message there.

I thought that some of us could participate in debates in Europe as well. It is not a bad continent, you know. Some of your ancestors came from here, went there for a visit and fell in love with Pocahontas. That is how you were born and that is why I look at you with a very special tenderness. Not a paternalistic feeling, just tenderness. You should love Europe (and Jon in particular) as well. And you should visit Eddie's place in England and leave there your best thoughts and experiences as well. You'd see that your style would change : you'd become sweeter, lovelier and EVEN (I said "even") more intelligent.

Eddie French, a remarkably discreet fellow, will probably disapprove of this message of mine. But I am a free citizen of the world, and the only thing that would lead me to a war (no weapons except words) would be my right to say whatever I feel. And what I feel is that we owe Jack the greatest thank you in the e-net, and all the world the grace of our presence.

S.N.Arly Thu May 13 07:30:25 PDT 1999

Lena - The whole forced right handedness thing was extreemly popular as recent as 25 or 30 years ago. Not as common now, but there are still a few folks out there who believe in standardization. Unfortunately this can cause dyslexia and other learning problems.

Jerry Lee - Are there any other languages thought that use sound-alikes fight right and correct? I know in German they aren't the same, and to the best of my knowl Irish Gaelic doesn't use the same word either. It could be an English thing. It could be a fluke. Maybe not, though, since our society has been pretty harsh on the lefties.

Americo - Since when would that be a disabilty?

Sqrl - Relax and take it easy. I had a friend who got whiplash from what sounded like a much less severe accident, and she didn't follow her doc's orders. She now has chronic neck and back trouble. She may have gotten that anyway, but it is definitely worse because she was noncompliant. As me da always says, The sun will still rise in the East, no matter what happens.

Martin - There is something to be said for not classifying one's nouns to a gender. I never did figure out the female version of friend (but not girlfriend) auf Deutsch. My host family thought it was hilarious that I called all of my female friends girlfriends.

Litter - You are a writer when you truly believe that you are.


A moment of silence please for Shel Silverstein. He enriched the lives of many with stories and poems that brought messages and joy to both children and adults. While his books will remain, the silence of this universal kind of voice will be deafening.

Rachel Thu May 13 07:02:04 PDT 1999

Hey all

Allein - I am here and I am well. I'll e-mail you a note today. Carling will have posted a letter off to you yesterday.

Jack - Hi you, good to see you.

Take care all


Martin Thu May 13 00:02:10 PDT 1999

I write about problems down on this terra incognito. Therefore I can not contribute to the world building problem. One hint, though, I have for you. Before you are finished with the world building read Umberto Eco’s ‘Il pendolo di Foucault’ and don’t be surprised if the world you just created already existed maybe four thousand years ago down on this terra incognito.

What is your favorite word?
Mine is FRIEND.
I like it the most in the english neuter,where it does not say if that friend is male or female

Allein Wed May 12 20:46:59 PDT 1999


Well...I'm not too worried about being in combat since woment aren't allowed in combat and I'll probably be a cook or medical assistant anyway.

Rachel - I haven't heard from you yet? How's goin'?

Casey - How come you didn't respond to my e-mail or Instant Message?

Nothing special happening here. Carry you were.
Bai bai,

Squirrel Wed May 12 19:43:20 PDT 1999

Hello out there! Sorry I haven't been here in a while....not sure if anyone was wondering about case anyone was, I'm still around! I haven't visited in a while because of finals, problems at home, then on Monday I was in a car accident, car totaled, I'm okay, concusion, and whiplash, the other driver's okay as well. To top things off, my Great Uncle, who's like a grandfather to me, broke his hip on Monday morning, and is now in critical condition, he's NOT going to make it!

Good news tho! I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON SHADOWS! (I just don't know where I left off...Will be posting soon.) I have to fill out paper work relating to the accident on Monday night.

The worst thing is that I was not even a block away from my NEW summer job, when I got hit! I also had to miss my other summer job. I might not have them by time the doctor lets me work again.

As I told the paramedics when they were strapping me to the gerni, "I thought the luck of the Irish was supposed to be good! Then again the Polish in me must have crossed it out!"


Americo Wed May 12 19:42:42 PDT 1999

Wow! An almost empty, quick page just for me and my family (Jon, Pussy, Impala, the Kawinkiedinks, a Passer-bye, and other not less mysterious personalities.) Am I not happy?

People : there is something I must confess to you. I am totally addicted
to writing.
I write anything and in any language. I write with my hands and mainly with my feet. Like Françoise Sagan, in her salad days, I write bare-footed. (I wonder if this is a sin

speaking of sins : where is Hootie?

and where is I?( Now I am speaking like the Queen.)

Good night, my angels. Behave yourselves, will you?

Jerry Ericsson Wed May 12 19:14:25 PDT 1999

Welcome back Jack - My birthday is on the 26th of May, and WAY WAY back in 1971-2 I lived in that area - when I got back from Nam, the Army stationed me at Ft. Lewis, and I lived just off South Tacoma Way in Tacoma - Used to love shopping at the B&I Shopping Center with the monkeys, gorillas and other primates. Nice place to live back then but one of my college instructors told me that he had to move out of that area due to gang violence a few years ago - hope that is a thing of the past.


Jack Beslanwitch Wed May 12 18:04:34 PDT 1999

      Well: Sorry, I have been away for a while as I have been considering a complete redesign of my commercial web design page. However, that said, I just completed one contract and have a bit more free time to concentrate on checking through the backlog of link requests and hope to have some interesting new features added to

      Also, for any who are going to Westercon 52 there is now information up about the actual Writers Workshop, as opposed to the Professional Writers Conference that precedes the convention itself. If you are into science fiction and would like to have your works critiqued by professional writers in the field, this is a possible additional place to do it. Also, I have done my level best to craft some interesting panel topics in the Writers Track that should prove of interest to any who go.

      I have also archived back to the beginning of today. As soon as I finish here I will make a stab at getting the rest of the 200k up in its usual place. And, yes, whoever mentioned that the Notebook was loading a bit slow, you were absolutely right.

      Oh, and for any Notebookers in the Puget Sound area you are invited to attend Fran and my social at our house this Saturday, May 15. As a separate non writing question, my birthday is coming up May 27. I was just wondering how many other Geminis we had out there on the Notebook :-)?

Americo Wed May 12 16:45:26 PDT 1999

Litter and Arly — Howard and I have been discussing the right adjective for Jon's (dis)ability since early morning. I asked that excellent latinist what was the word, and he said: "I am omnidextrous." It solved all philological problems... Great cat … you all should love him!

News on the Chelsea.
No meals are served there. The only facility it has is its extraordinary hall, where parties can be given. A Portuguese philosopher, José Gil, is writing a long text in the apartment belonging to a Portuguese woman, who is in Lisbon at the moment. She is going to publish an album of 15 years of photos of that fascinating place. Hiroya, the painter who thinks he is the reincarnation of Warhol, and is nicknamed "the walking stain" also lives there permanently.
After this, is still any writer here not wishing to go and meet me in that fabulous place? I cannot believe.

Jerry Lee Wed May 12 15:35:44 PDT 1999

Yo, All,

It may be a superstition in the west that lefties are somehow sinister, but in Tibet, the monks turn their prayer cylinders only clockwise. They circle the temple only clockwise, and they have been doing so for a couple of thousand years. For their own reasons, left is wrong...right is right. Isn't it strange that we use the word right to mean correct?

Weston, There is something to be said for making a spaceship in a movie a well-thought-out and logical thing, cumbersome though it may be, and then not discussing it in any way. This way, the audience can notice (and think about)the depth of thought that went into creating it and be all the more amazed by the visuals.

On the military subject, I worked for a while as a bomb loader on an F-4 Phantom. The electronics was intensive and extensive, and I enjoyed the job. But...It seemed to me that there would be no real use for a bomb loader in the civilian world and became a locksmith with a simple cross-train. The AF was very obliging and I enjoyed my new job more than the old flightline, where the cold is colder and the hot is hotter. I now have been at locks for 18 years and still enjoy the challenge. Thanks, Uncle Sam, for the training!
If I were doing it over, though, I would probably look into ROTC. Paid-for college and a commitment in the military an officer.

Take Care, Jerry Lee

Rachel Wed May 12 13:38:41 PDT 1999

Hi all

S.N.Arly - You are not alone (grins) I'm also vegetarian!

Take care all


Litter Wed May 12 13:13:20 PDT 1999

Hey All,

Boy/Girl it's getting busy again.

Jon - should not the word for cats being equally handed (pawed) be cat-re-dextrous (Quartre-dextrous???)

I am also reminded of the poor Roman Soldiers who had to march to call of Dexter - Sinister - Dexter - Sinister .... And I pity the poor guy, fourth in-line, when numbering off -
I... I-I... I-I-I... I-V... V & Poor old I-V, he must've got some stick from his cohorts.

Actually I quite like the idea of the word Sinister and the metaphor of left-handedness meaning evil - but then I'm anti-sinistra-dextra!!!

World-building and Gravity - There are many Scientist's taking a different view on forces like Gravity at the moment. Mostly these are regarded as cranks, but todays cranks have a tendency of being tomorrow .s genii... sorry, geniuses. Anyway, one of the ideas put forward was that there are elemental particles or quanta, as yet undiscovered which are the basis of Gravitational force. (Don't knock the idea, science hasn't found the answer to gravity as yet!!!)

Upside of the idea is that if these are found they can be controlled and utilised like other forces are today. Compare the gravity controlled environment of Star Trek, where there is no apparent reason for the gravity that holds the crew to the deck of the Enterprise, with the Space-station in Babylon 5, where the gravity is caused by the rotation of the station.

It would seem to me that our job as writers is not so much to suspend the belief of the reader as to give them an alternative, with enough conviction, ingenuity and style that they might say "Yeah! That works for me." (Unless, of course, we are writing fantasy then our job IS to suspend belief. This writing business makes my head spin - sometimes with a dexter-rotationality and others with a sinister-rotationality.

If anyone asked me anything or is expecting a comment - remember my poor memory and remind me gently...

All good things,


In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad idea. - Douglas Adam

Avatar Wed May 12 13:03:38 PDT 1999

Hey, all

If you don't write that much, but you try, and you don't know all the rules, and don't work that hard at it because you can't, are you still a writer? Or are you bitterly considered a fantasist who thinks he/she can become something he/she is not?
Are you a writer if you cannot think of living without it, but when the time comes to give it up you can tolerate it? Are you a writer if you feel the urge, but oftentimes the effort proves futile when you sit down to write?

What is a writer?

Times change. People also change. Many old definitions are squandered to make room for new ones. Young people become older by the hour, and old people become young again at heart. Are there different considerations for being a writer according to your lifestyle? I.E. if you are a student of school and time is precious are you still a writer if your average is once a month? Do we really truly have to be serious and work hard at it to be writers? What if we can't, but we still cannot imagine life without it?


Lena Wed May 12 10:14:00 PDT 1999

Jerry L - "Rendevouz with Rama" was written by Arthur C. Clarke, I do believe.

"Ringworld" is a perfect example of a detailed and complex world. I admire Niven's skills at world building - however, I have always thought he was a bit weak of characterization. I think "Ringworld" is a good book based solely on world itself. If I have a choice between a well-written world and a well-written character, I would choose the well-written character.

I will not enter the military. My own personal preference... however, I do believe that in a time of war, it is the DUTY of a citizen to fight for their country. If you want the rights that go with being a citizen, be willing to defend them. "Starship Troopers" by Robert Heinlein dealt with this idea - in his novel, citizenship is only gained by serving a mandatory tour with the military. I think his premise is extreme, but the basic idea is sound.

I toured a WWII submarine this past weekend. The USS Silversides has the best record of any WWII sub still existing, and is well-kept in a dock on Lake Michigan. There was a plaque on the deck of the ship, marking the place where a man had died during combat... a wooden plaque, engraved silver. Most people walked right over the plaque and the very spot where a man had died to defend their country without even noticing. It made me mad - I made a point of stepping to the side.

Martin - You don't copy it. But it can inspire you.

Have a friend, a natural lefty. When she was in elementary school, the teacher tied her left hand down to the desk and forced her to write with her right hand. I think this is awful - is our society that screwed up? She was just a kid.

"We are the youth, and we are knocking on death's door."

S.N.Arly Wed May 12 10:02:46 PDT 1999

Rachel - You're ambi too? I'm not alone!

Weston - Most SF writers avoid the physiological effects of low G with the existance of artificial gravity. I generally go this route, because I don't expect us to get very far into the whole space station and colonization business without it. And since much of my SF takes place in "a galaxy far far away," we'd have to have solved the problem by then. I admit, while most SF writers like to be accurate, it gets old trying to work with readers who are unwilling to suspend their disbelief now and again. We're trying to tell stories and entertain, not write physics and science texts fro the 23 century. Call it poetic license, I guess.

Allein - Statistics can be used to prove nearly anything. I once made an entire presentation (complete with charts and graphs) on how to run a successful chinchilla delivery business (oh Corel Presentations, you are my pal!). You may want to check out the other branches, if military is something you really want to do. They probably all say not to trust each other because they all want as many recruits as they can get and not as many people go for that anymore. And remember, once you're signed on, you can't change your mind.

Answer: three and one bite.

Howard - sinistral (relating to the left side, also a left handed person), sinistrality (left-handedness), sinistropedal (left-footed), sinister (left), I've also heard sinistral dextrous and sinistra dextra used for left handers. It's been a while since my med term class, but I think dexter is one of those words with a different meaning based on it's place in the word. As a prefix or stand alone it means pertaining to the right, but as a suffix it means hand.

Since only about one in ten people are sinistral, it was probably seen as abnormal or wrong, particularly in cultures that like uniformity as a means for control. So ye olde church declares left handedness sinister, the work of the devil as it were, and all lefties had to convert or be branded evil. Differences are bad. Epileptics are posessed and all that. It's neat to see that some cultures look on such differences as good.

I have often found spellcheckers a bit lacking in their thoroughness. Back when I used MS Word, I would sometimes pull a word from the Bookshelf thesaurus and the spell checker wouldn't recognize it.

Americo/Howard - I think it would be quadextrous as ambi means "both" and quaddextrous is a little silly. Why use double letters when you can simply join the word there? Hmmm. Latin is good food.

"Spash! It's an overnight smash!
It sends a ship crashing through your wall.
So you make your grand departure,
from a world feeling way to small."

Americo Wed May 12 09:58:39 PDT 1999

Sorry, Jon. WE know better than that.

Jon Wed May 12 09:57:36 PDT 1999

Ego ignorantis gatus? (I, an ignorant cat?). I do not think I will forget that, Americo.

Americo Wed May 12 09:53:25 PDT 1999

Howard — "The Concise Oxford Dictionary" solves all our problems. It gives ambidext(e)rous (both spellings) as valid alternatives. No need delving into further philological research. The dext(e)rous family can, from now on, sleep in peace. At least as far as left and right- handed people (and other animals) go.

For those afraid of a (most necessary) spelling reform : without stupid patriotism, I must say that I am glad with the spirit of the Portuguese spelling reform — it is based on respect for local idiosincrasies and allows for many variants of the same word.
I am also glad to say that, although I love French, I prefer English to communicate internationally. Why? Because, in terms of spelling and "philosophy" of the language, is more liberal. This has historical reasons (the role played in the past by Academies, etc.) — a subject which would lead us too far, and is incompatible with the physical limits of this page.

In cultural terms the problem is very simple: either you teach Latin and Greek (and etymology in general) to students so that they know the origins of the words they use, or you simplify orthography according to a logic, modern pattern. Otherwise, writing will be just a parrot's exercise, prone to lead to severe errors and misunderstandings.
Your spelling of the word orthography, for instance, seems absurd to me. We used to write that way (with -th and -ph). Since 1911 we simplified, and write "ortografia" now. Much cleaner.
Pharmacy was Pharmacia. Now it is Farmacia. We droped a letter and are therefore less prone to tendinitis (tendonitis?) than before.

This is an issue susceptibe to raise subliminal prejudices and primary reactions. Only mentally developed people are able to discuss it without some blood sharing... I am not prepared to lose a single drop of my precious blood... Least of all because of the English language.
However, let those who are against a simplification of spelling remember that America is the land of a lovely, intelligent man, Mr. Webster, who did a good job, and have pity on those blood foreigners like me who, if they want to correspond to friends in the notebook in more or less understandable English, have to consult a dictionary twenty times for post — unless they do not care about spelling.

Weston — if what you say about Iceland is true, with racial standards for residence and immigration, and state laws to impinge on writers (at least as far as spelling goes) I would not like to live in that country. I hope you can't stand authoritarianism of that kind either.

World-building sounds an interesting topic. I am still digesting the post(s) about it, and see if I can understand what they mean. I have a friend who prefers body-building, but he is just an ignorant cat.

S.K.S. Perry Wed May 12 07:31:33 PDT 1999

Hey all,

Allein, I'd like to offer you some advice on your considering the military as a career, but I can't. The Canadian and American military are two totally different animals. However, I will advise that you don't believe what any one recruiter tells you. You've got time - check them all out and compare lies. :-)

Be Well, Live Well.

Weston Wed May 12 07:24:07 PDT 1999

I too went to sea. Since I had few prospects upon graduation fron high school, it was the Navy or Viet Nam.
(I think I was influenced as a child by watching too many Popeye cartoons.) Had the good fortune to qualify for the Avionics "A" school at Memphis. Came out as an Aviation Fire Control Technician, and thereby hangs a tale. Read on:

I did well in the above mentioned electronics school, so at that time had somewhat of a prefrence in the trade I chose. I wished to be a Tradevman. Nav-speak for TRAining DEVices repairMAN. A shore duty only rate. I wouldn't have to go to sea. I could spend my naval career repairing movie projectors. Good duty.
There were three in the class who chose that job. Myself, another sailor, and a WAVE - a female version of a sailor. My grades were highest so I got the job - temporarily.
Seems that the WAVE had lower grades and was assigned the job of Aviation Fire Control Technician. (Fire Control, as in fire the guns, fire the rockets, drop the bombs) The cumbersome title was abbreviated to AQ.
Problem was that they wern't sending ladies to sea in 1971 - the typical bureaucratic screw-up. The Chief who was handing out the orders looked at the orders, looked at the WAVE, looked at us two sailors, (I was in slightly better physical condition than the other sailor) and promptly swapped my orders with those of the WAVE. I was going to sea. A victim of sex discrimination before there was such a thing. I took it like a man and don't regret a day of my Navy service. Nobody was shooting at me, and the only dangers I experienced were the viccitudes of nature at sea and the carelessness of my fellow shipmates in dealing with these awesome and powerful and sometimes ill conceived machines of war.
Allein, I tell you this only as a warning that some prejudices and resentments still exist in the armed services, and you will have to deal with them.

One of my several daughters visited Iceland several years ago. The official language is fixed by law. New words are allowed only after petition and careful study by the authorities. They do this to maintain cultural purity. There are also racial standards for residency and immigration. Worldbuilding, anyone?
I think I perfer a language that allows a little more creativity. Read on:

The original word for left is sinister. A truly perjorative word. (We sinisters skulked around in the dark corners, hiding our affliction.)
If I am left handed and maladroit with my right hand, would that make me ambisinistrous? I love this language.

Jerry Lee:
Excellent examples of solutions to the gravity problem, but cumbersome. Such considerations would have distracted from the Star Wars movies and the like, so were simply ignored. That was OK as the story line (not to mention the visuals) overpowered the facts.
The writer truly succeeds when he can compell the reader to suspend disbelief.


Faith is believing what you know ain't so.
- Mark Twain

howard Wed May 12 06:29:22 PDT 1999

Martin -- > “and the urge to copy it submerges. Do you do it?”
>submerges?< -- Are you reading underwater? :-)
But plagiarism is never okay. If you read something that gives an idea from which to
springboard to something of your own that’s one thing. But to copy directly, and call it
your own -- never. That’s thievery.

Old Man -- I echo Martin’s thanks for > If you have a decision to make, you lack
information.< It is indeed something to ponder.

Americo -- If we merely substitute the quad (4) in place of the bi (2), the rest of the word
should remain as originally spelt (Did you know that spelt is also a type of wheat?). But
now I’m wondering why the e was dropped at all.
Dexter does relate to the right side, and there are several dex- words having to do with
right-handed motion or position. I just found several that I’d never seen (remember my
penchant for reading the whole page when I look up a word?). Among them is
dextrorotatory -- turning clockwise or to the right.

There is a very interesting study for anyone so inclined, in the history of right vs left. It
gets into royalty and heraldry -- ‘dexter’ is more properly used as an adjective, in the
context of having relationship to a shield or crest. Another word very close to
ambidextrous is adroit, which means, among other things, clever and skillful, but still
carrying the undertone that right-handedness is Good, and left-handedness is undesireable,
or even Evil.
I remember the left-handers in penmanship classes in grade school, who were forced to
write with their right hand, and even punished when they insisted on using their left.
I’ve read that it goes back to Morgan le Fey, who was supposedly left handed and evil,
and an interesting related word is ‘morganatic’, which is used to describe a marriage
between royalty and a commoner.

Enough for now! Go get your own dictionary and wallow in it!

“Let a simile be like your umbrella.” -- philip cohen

Jon Wed May 12 04:39:43 PDT 1999

And I have started doing body-building as well...

Americo Wed May 12 04:34:45 PDT 1999

Howard — we have a bit of a problem here. You are right about the spelling of "ambidextrous". But my dictionary gives me "dexterous, -ly, -ness". So how shall we spell the word we are discussing : "amquadextrous" or "amquadexterous"? The word does not seem to exist, so we are speaking about the sex of the angels, in the best tradition of many discussions about literature. And we still have "fourdexterous" or, perhaps, "fourdextrous" for our thoughts and reflections. It is because of this and similar intricacies of the English language that I have been asking for a spelling reform. But no-one wants to listen to me...

Of the languages spoken in several countries and different continents (English, Spanish, French and Portuguese), only Portuguese has been submitted to a serious spelling reform this century, aiming at uniformity in all nations the language is written. All Portuguese-speaking governments have ratified the spelling agreement three or four years ago, but it seems there is no political courage to implement it.

There are economic and psychological problems involved in this matter. Publishers complain that they would lose money, because they would have to make new editions of old books. Old writers are usually conservative and lazy : they do not want to learn a new spelling. The hope resides in the youngsters. My experience shows me that they simplify spelling automatically — and write according to the new reform (well, almost). As a teacher I applaud the initiative of this wonderful new blood, but my colleagues give me the "withered look"...

My authority on English spelling is "English Pronouncing Dictionary" by Daniel Jones. I sometimes consult Webster's New World Dictionary for doubts in American spelling. Jon uses his own dictionary : "The Only and True Dictionary of Right English without Exceptions". He wrote it himself with the help of friends.

Goodweed of the North Wed May 12 03:54:28 PDT 1999

Allien. My phillosophy on the various branches went something like this. I do not enjoy physical violence, though I know how to handle myself. I would rather not place myself in a position of direct confrontation with another person. I can in good consience support my country by keeping its equipment working properly. Ask yourself which is more important to you. I the thought of saving life more important than doing whatever is necessary to defeat the "enemy"? In retrospect, I believe I would have been more satisfied in the Coast Guard working to help rather than harm people. I chose the Navy as it had the most comprehensive electronics programs available (Airforce tron techs learned their trade in Naval Air Training Center, Memphis/Millington Tn. right beside me). I also didn't like the thought of being shot at. The sea seemed a bit safer to me than does pounding the dirt and hiding in foxholes. Besides, I love the water and am a good swimmer.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Martin Wed May 12 00:43:17 PDT 1999

All Quiet on the Alps...

You are reading a breathtaking, funny, interesting passage that would fit your book perfectly and the urge to copy it submerges. Do you do it?

Old Man
Thanks for »If you have a decision to make, you lack information.« It gives me something to ponder.

I am a thoroughbred lefty. Back in school - Huuh. Let me calculate - twenty-five years ago, my teacher tried to turn me into a righty (ambiguity happened on purpose) but me mother prevented it from turning into a reality. May God bless mothers.

... above the mountainpeaks rose the sun

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