Archived Messages from Sunday October 3, 1999 to October 19, 1999

Americo Tue Oct 19 18:27:19 PDT 1999

Just to wish good night to everyone. It's 2:26 here.
Jon also sends good-night.
Tomorrow you will be better, Rhoda.
It is raining here. Isn't this amazing? I thought it only rained in Winter. I guess I have been quite distracted and do not even know when Christmas is. I do not like Christmas. Bad memories, you know. I hope you all love Christmas. It should not rain so much on Christmas.
Competitions can be good for you if you win first prize, Jay. Otherwise that can be bad. But you will win firts prize.
BTW: why do we never speak about poetry? Lena spoke about poetry. I miss her. I love poetry.

Jai Tue Oct 19 17:53:04 PDT 1999


I know how you feel Rhoda. That would have been me if I hadn't been able to get back to sleep last night after waking up at 3am because I was worring about a manuscript I sent off yesterday. Only a short story mind. But for once I actually think it has half a chance.

Ah the life of a writer :)

Does anyone else have difficulty considering the possiblitly of entering the Ron L. Hubbard competition? It's such a nice clean contest yet I've heard so many bad things about Scientology ( sorry if I offend anyone here ) that just the vague connection is enough to put me off. It's weird to think you don't have any prejudices then realize that really you do.

I think I'll try and squish this one under my heel next time I get the chance.


Rachel Tue Oct 19 15:36:31 PDT 1999

Hi all

Hi Arik:)

Rhoda - Hope you feel better soon, thanks for the notification on change of address.

Take care all

Rhoda Tue Oct 19 14:00:13 PDT 1999

To all my friends and folks who wish to e-mail me:

My ISP got bought out and I am forced to change my address. The one noted here is the correct one.

Rachel, and Americo,

I want to get those edits out to you. I have a head-ache, and I am afraid I won't be able to get to it until tomorrow.


Arik Nesis Http:// Tue Oct 19 13:27:25 PDT 1999

HELLLLOOO people... sorry I haven't been here for a long time... what's new?

Rachel More funnies from Allein Tue Oct 19 09:19:44 PDT 1999

Okay - so it's just one funny that I just received from a friend of mine.

A man and a woman who have never met before find themselves in the same
sleeping carriage of a train. After the initial embarrassment they both
go to sleep, the man on the top bunk, the woman on the lower.

In the middle of the night the man leans over, wakes the woman and
says, "I'm sorry to bother you, but I'm awfully cold and I was
wondering if you could possibly get me another blanket?"

The woman leans out and, with a glint in her eye, says, " I have a
better idea, just for tonight, let's make pretend that we're married."

The man says happily, "OK!" AWESOME!"

The woman says, "GOOD ....get your own darn blanket!!!"

Rachel Tue Oct 19 09:17:38 PDT 1999

Allein - How could I say no (smiles) Hope your server problems clear up soon.

All - These are some funnies from Allein, who currently can not get at the notebook, but did not want you all to have to go without some good laughs.

Take care all

Slightly Less Common Latin Phrases

Die dulci fruere.
Have a nice day.

Mihi ignosce. Cum homine de cane debeo congredi.
Excuse me. I've got to see a man about a dog.

Si hoc signum legere potes, operis boni in rebus
Latinus alacribus et fructuosis potiri potes!
If you can read this sign, you can get a good job in
the fast-paced, high-paying world of Latin!

Sona si Latine loqueris.
Honk if you speak Latin.

Ne auderis delere orbem rigidum meum!
Don't you dare erase my hard disk!

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad
caput tuum saxum immane mittam.
I have a catapult. Give me all the money, or I will
fling an enormous rock at your head.

Gramen artificiosum odi.
I hate Astroturf.

Furnulum pani nolo.
I don't want a toaster.

Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare.
I think some people in togas are plotting against me.

Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.
I'm not interested in your dopey religious cult.

Noli me vocare, ego te vocabo.
Don't call me, I'll call you.

Cave ne ante ullas catapultas ambules.
If I were you, I wouldn't walk in front of any catapults.

Canis meus id comedit.
My dog ate it.

Illiud Latine dici non potest.
You can't say that in Latin.

Vidistine nuper imagines moventes bonas?
Seen any good movies lately?

Nullo metro compositum est.
It doesn't rhyme.

Non curo. Si metrum non habet, non est poema.
I don't care. If it doesn't rhyme, it isn't a poem.

Fac ut gaudeam.
Make my day.

Braccae illae virides cum subucula rosea et tunica
Caledonia-quam elenganter concinnatur!
Those green pants go so well with that pink shirt
and the plaid jacket!

Visne saltare? Viam Latam Fungosam scio.
Do you want to dance? I know the Funky Broadway.

Re vera, potas bene.
Say, you sure are drinking a lot.

Utinam barbari spatium proprium tuum invadant!
May barbarians invade your personal space!

Utinam coniurati te in foro interficiant!
May conspirators assassinate you in the mall!

Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
May faulty logic undermine your entire philosophy!

Radix lecti
Couch potato

Quo signo nata es?
What's your sign?

Romani quidem artem amatoriam invenerunt.
You know, the Romans invented the art of love.

Spero nos familiares mansuros.
I hope we'll still be friends.

Mellita, domi adsum.
Honey, I'm home.

Tam exanimis quam tunica nehru fio.
I am as dead as the nehru jacket.

Ventis secundis, tene cursum.
Go with the flow.

Totum dependeat.
Let it all hang out.

Te precor dulcissime supplex!
Pretty please with a cherry on top!

Magister Mundi sum!
I am the Master of the Universe!

Fac me cocleario vomere!
Gag me with a spoon!

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.
I can't hear you. I have a banana in my ear.

Prehende uxorem meam, sis!
Take my wife, please!

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota
monax materiam possit materiari?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck
could chuck wood?

Nihil est-in vita priore ego imperator Romanus fui.
That's nothing-in a previous life I was a Roman Emperor.

Aio, quantitas magna frumentorum est.
Yes, that is a very large amount of corn.

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem!
Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial business.

Oblitus sum perpolire clepsydras!
I forgot to polish the clocks!

Vescere bracis meis.
Eat my shorts.

Sic faciunt omnes.
Everyone is doing it.

Vacca foeda
Stupid cow

Fac ut vivas.
Get a life.

Raptus regaliter
Royally screwed

Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
Let's all wear mood rings!

Insula Gilliganis
Gilligan's Island

Americo Tue Oct 19 07:24:06 PDT 1999

Good morning, everybody!

This page has lost some of its previous cheerfulness. Is it because of Fall? Let us react to that and give it the warmth which so pleased me and others in the past.

I have been working on S* full time. The book is approaching 300 pages (1 !/5 spaces) and is becoming quite promising. My bet is that, after having been the most successful round robin in the Internet ever, will be an easily publishable novel soon. Rachel, Rhoda and I have high hopes for it. Aline and Jack are still struggling with the last pages of their contributions, but they write so well and are so nice people that they will certainly be final co-authors despite their chronic procrastination. Let us pray for their future. Hail Mary, full of grace, etc.

RLH _ Jon loves chili and was grateful for the recipe you sent him. He is also grateful to all the Notebookers who sent their favorite treats by e-mail.

As for me, Jon, my favorite dish is Cat Casserole. I do not know the ingredients but I can tell you I love the dish. Red wine to go with it, please.

RLH Mon Oct 18 19:59:34 PDT 1999

Hello Tara: From one Texan to another, how about this weather! Cool, rain, what a change from 110. I love Texas, it's just that I hate it in the summer. I hear you Tara when you speak of so many ideas in your head. The novel I am trying to publish kept me on a spin for 2 years. Sometimes the ideas come so fast my fingers can't keep pace. I am a 3 or 4 finger typer and this makes for a tiring routine. Still , what the heck better to have tired fingers than a dull mind. Jon, like chili? 2 lbs chili meat; 1/2 cup shortening; 3 tbls chili powder; 1 sm garlic, minced; 2 tbls. flour; 2 qts. soup stock or water; 1 med onion; salt to taste; 2 sm red peppers, minced. Heat shortening, add meat, onion, pepper & garlic. Fry till brown, add chili powder & flour. Fry 5 minutes, while stiring. Add water or stock. Simmer 2 to 3 hours. From Fredericksburg Home Kitchen Cook Book. (Increase chili powder and peppers and this stuff will make your eyes water & your ears red. RLH

Jon Mon Oct 18 17:46:11 PDT 1999

Dear fellow writers :

would you please send me a recipe of the dish you like best? I am collecting material to write a book on international cooking. This is going to entertain me for some time and certainly cause the rage and appetite of some of you. Americo promised to write a fine review on the book, to be published here immediatly after I put pen to the first recipe. I am sure you will love the dishes as they will represent the tastes, both cultural and gastronomic, of writers in the five continents.

PS. No recipes based on cat meet, please.

Your humble servant,

Americo has asked me to humbly apologize for not sending you today any of his terrible messages. He is writing a romance: boy meets girl and both fall in love — the usual. The setting is a desert with many trees and exotic animals — and their children. I cried a lot when I read the first chapter. The second was hot stuff ; Pussy adored that, I did not AND I TOLD HIM. He blushed. I grinned. Pussy smiled. The usual romance stuff. That is what he writes. I prefer lexicography or cooking.

Jai Mon Oct 18 16:42:36 PDT 1999

Thanks Tobias!

I'm not usually one to read my stuff out loud but when I tried reading "The Council of Elders" out loud I found it much more cohesive than when I read it silently.

I believe it was mearly my preconceptions getting in the way.

I think I'll stick with the third person present tense after all though it gets a little muddled when the main character has a flashback. Most of the story is fairly fast paced and it works ok.

Welcome Tara, I hope you find the crafting of word scapes a fullfilling as the rest of us.


Tara Mon Oct 18 15:34:29 PDT 1999

Hi gang! I've just discovered this site and thought I should introduce myself. Live in TX, empty nester with a significant other. I've wanted to write since I was in 5th grade and wrote a Nancy Drew screenplay for my class to use as a rainy day project. I've toyed with it, fumbled through it, nibbled at the edges, but I've never sat down and really done it. I'm 46 now....looks like maybe I should get started. I have so many ideas flying around my head that I'm now searching for the self-discimpline to set one down and flesh it out. Hopefully, I'll hear some encouraging words from this corner.

Jon Mon Oct 18 10:37:31 PDT 1999

Just to wish you good day. I am learning how to cook, so that I write with good knowledge, a cook book. Suggestions and recipes welcome.

Americo be busy. I also be busy but, as always,
your humble servant,

tobias s buckell Sun Oct 17 22:08:43 PDT 1999

Jai: yes, third person present actually happens to be one of my favorites. Ever since I picked up the novel 'Hardwired' and ran across a few of Silverburg's stories... I wrote my first such piece last winter, and I've been writing like that every fourth story or so. It can be quite effective if you're trying to create a rushed time running out mood quality. It's very hard to write since you're always trying to slip out of it. Try reading it aloud often to get a sense of rhythm and see the mood it creates. I find it quite delicious myself if used properly. When in the wrong situation though, it can really ruin a story for me.


Jai Sun Oct 17 17:56:02 PDT 1999

Damn enter key :)

Sorry for the blank message, my finger missed the shift...

Last week I had this brilliant idea for a short ( actually I've had the idea for the last six months but last week I decided to write it ). I decided on using third person but I wanted to give it a sense of imediacy. Present tense might be the option I'm looking for.

Have any of you written a thrid person present tense story? Does such a format even exist? Needless to say I struggled with it, I had to correct nearly every sentance. After days of toil I finished this reletivly small story ( only 2700 words ) but it still doesn't read right. I mean if I look at it objectivly everything seems ok but when I try to read it it feels like every second sentense is scewed.

Perhaps third person present tense should only be used in special cases like a race presenter - "And golden cup is in the lead with white princess half a length behind. They're coming round the last bend. What's this Mongo Bongo is coming up the outside at an increadible speed..."

Arh! I think I'll just re-edit the whole thing and put it back into past tense.


Jai Jai Sun Oct 17 17:36:00 PDT 1999

RLH Sun Oct 17 15:17:38 PDT 1999

Good afternoon everyone. I finally wrestled control of our Compaq away from my 15 year old son and Brittany Spears. Yes, Rhonda the old songs, and new, seem to come up more and more in my writing. A line from Amy Grant's fine song I WILL REMEMBER YOU ..."echoes from the past," found it's way to the title page of one book, along with a blatant use of a line from a Phil Collins/Genesis song ...THE SOUND OF YOUR VOICE CALLING which is in fact the title. So sue me Phil and Amy, what can I say? Rocker Jim Morrison has a line that seems to intrude more and more into my thinking these days. "I've been down so G.. D..... long it looks like up to me."
Rhonda, I was forced into the unenveniable position of writing a novel about the Navajos of northern Arizona. Because I knew little of their culture it was an ordeal.(I don't believe I have ever seen a Navajo.) Forced, because a stunning dream jolted me awake one night, dragged me from my sick bed (disc injury) and I wrote nearly 5,000 words in three days. It was such a dream, so powerful in scope and intensity I had to...and this is no BS, work with a heating pad strapped across my lower back, held in place by a belt over a house coat. My wife thought I was nucking futs! Still does. My son strolled by, hearing the gulping of pain pills, groans of pain, amidst the pounding of keys. He saw me sitting with the electric cord stretched across to an outlet and shouted. "Mom come quick, dad's plugged in." I have an agent in Flordia trying to market "Flowers" for me. But I don't believe it will ever fly. Still I have faith in it and if nothing else it has given me a way to escape the ho hum of everyday life. Isn't that what writing fiction is all about? Escape? Hey, it works for me even if I can't quit my day job!! See you guys.

Rachel Sun Oct 17 12:08:47 PDT 1999

Hi all

RLH - I'm glad to hear that your daughter is okay. Sorry about the transportation (yikes)! and the insurance. Thinking about that would keep most people up late (grins). My insurance is due in a couple of weeks (Ewwwwwwwww). I plan to do the year long, get it out of the way so I don't have to keep thinking about it.

Allein - Hi you! Keep up the great work at school.

Rhoda - How's it going with the Shadows? I read over Jenny_2 this morning. It is really clean, I admire that. Your writing is a pleasure to read.

Take care all

Rhoda Sun Oct 17 10:34:41 PDT 1999


I have enjoyed your posts on the Notebook. It seems like we have some things in common. I have enjoyed many a Texas summer in Waco, Houston, Dumas, and Perryton. A year and a half ago I moved from Farmington, New Mexico where I had quite a few Navajo neighbors. I am certainly not an expert on Navajos, but many of them I knew were fine and generous people.

Funny you brought up "Day Dream Believer." That is one of my all time favorite songs. I still play it on the piano. At the age of eight I fell desperately in love with Davy Jones from the Monkees. Unfortunately he never answered my letters. I suppose it was never meant to be. (We would have been perfect together. He was 5' 2" and so was I in those days). Davy went on with his own life, and I went on with mine. But "Day Dream Believer" is a great song, and I have always identified with it.

I think the title of your book is beautiful. I wish you every success in writing it. Best of all, may you continue to have a great time with it.


Loved the funnies!

Happy Writing!


RLH Sun Oct 17 09:48:21 PDT 1999

Allein: Wow, after all these years so much explained!!! And I thought it was just summer in Texas that had given me so many problems. It's quite a load off my mind to hear that my physical ailments are just related to the aging process. Seriously...thanks for the info, I'll take this to work with me Monday. Should be a big hit with the kids I work with. Speaking of hit, my son has explained that if I'm not off the machine in a minute he'll miss his connection to Brittany Spears. And WE though we had problems!! However, for years I had a poster over my desk, it goes like this.
When I'm old I want to die like my grandfather did, quitely in his sleep.
Not crying and screaming like the passengers in his car!
RLH gone for a while. (Maybe the kid REALLY does know Brittany. How would she be for a daughter in law?) See you!!

Allein Sun Oct 17 09:16:19 PDT 1999

RLH - Welcome. Mi writer's notebook es su writer's notebook. :) And any friend of Rachel's is a friend of mine.

Now onto the funnies:

1. You and your teeth don't sleep together.
2. You try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren't wearing any.
3. At the breakfast table you hear snap, crackle, pop and you're not eating cereal.
4. Your back goes out but you stay home.
5. When you wake up looking like your driver's license picture.
6. It takes two tries to get up from the couch.
7. When your idea of a night out is sitting on the patio.
8. When happy hour is a nap.
9. When you're on vacation and your energy runs out before your money does.
10. When you say something to your kids that your mother said to you and you always hated it.
11. When all you want for your birthday is to not be reminded of your age.
12. When you step off a curb and look down one more time to make sure the street is still there.
13. Your idea of weight lifting is standing up.
14. It takes longer to rest than it did to get tired.
15. Your memory is shorter and your complaining lasts longer.
16. Your address book has mostly names that start with Dr.
17. You sit in a rocking chair and can't get it going.
18. The pharmacist has become your new best friend.
19. Getting lucky means you found your car in the parking lot.
20. The twinkle in your eye is only a reflection from the sun on your bifocals.
21. The iron in your blood turns to lead in your pants.
22. It takes twice as long to look half as good.
23. Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.
24. Your house catches fire and the first thing you grab is your Metamucil.
25. You look for your glasses for half an hour and they were on your head the whole time.
26. You get two invitations to go out on the same night and you pick the one that gets you home the earliest.
27. You sink your teeth into a steak - and they stay there.
28. You give up all your bad habits and still don't feel good.
29. You get to the check-out line, see how long it is, and decide what you have in your buggy isn't worth the wait.
30. You have more patience, but actually it's just that you don't care anymore.
31. Rocking in a rocking chair feels like a roller coaster ride.
32. You confuse having a clear conscience with a bad memory.
33. You finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
34. You wonder how you could be over the hill when you don't even remember being on top of it.

RLH Sun Oct 17 08:56:16 PDT 1999

Rachel: Little late on responding. Bad day 16 year old daughter wrecked out principal means of transportation on her way to work at noon. She wasn't hurt, thank God, but this explains why I was up so late last night. This cat is usually in bed no later than 10PM Central Texas Time. It seems worrying over the insurance kept me WIDE AWAKE last night. Still nothing adds emphesis to writing like a little personel stress, huh?
Losing myself in writing is so easy, regaining maturity in humdrum events is a drag. "What a drag it is getting old," as Mick and the Stones sing. My escape process leads me to the world of science fiction, science fantasy, war in Mexico, pure lust, sweet love and Native Americans, that is the People...Navajo. My book, WHERE THE ROCKS COVER THE FLOWERS is my vehicle, not to riches and fame but to leave the world of pain and stress for a few hours. Bye you'all! (Wish this darn thing had a spell check!)

Rachel Sun Oct 17 01:08:27 PDT 1999

Hi all

RHL - Hi you (smiles) Well, the trunk thing. I, er, um, well. I've got a couple of boxes and have been looking into a trunk (grins - bet you think I'm kidding - much laughter) I for one plan to publish before I'm dead, but I imagine my kiddies and grand kiddies will find lots of stuff in my boxes and trunks that they may think is worth looking into and that will be up to them to explore.
Two of my children are already published. Admitedly, by a small childrens publisher, but published none the less. My son is working on his first full length novel. He is 8 years old and I am in complete and total astonishment. My hat is off to him and my encouragment is his. He keeps taking bits out and tossing them aside. It is really something. My daughter has just been asked to submit one of her fairy stories. I imagine my kiddies will think that my work is childs play. Ah well, what can I say (grins). They both tease me for not being published. I think they are lovely!
Take care you

RLH Sat Oct 16 22:30:26 PDT 1999

Rachel - writers fearful? Writing builds confidence, it did in me. My written words may be totally useless but by Jove I did try. Published or not, who cares! Put the WORD down, perhaps you're grand kids may find it locked in a trunk one day and sell it for you!!!

Rachel Sat Oct 16 22:08:36 PDT 1999

Hi all

THIS IS TO ALL WHO LURK, THOSE WHO ARE KNOWN AND UNKNOWN (SMILES) - Welcome to one and all of you. It is so strange to think that you could all be sitting out there like I once was. So breathless, so fearful. Don't be afriad. Speak up! Come on, talk, tell us how you feel. Share your thoughts, your dreams. C'mon guys! C'mon!

Take care all

RLH Sat Oct 16 21:57:13 PDT 1999

When the WORD comes, first, from dreams, one has a problem. When the desire to mate words, dreams & paper drives the author into the world of their novel it becomes part of their life, good or bad. Like it or not, to create charactor and situation focuses the God complex upon YOU. Writing has a way of maturing as it forces you to be a day dream beliver.(The old Monkeys song.) Day dreams are why employers always ask potential employees if they want to write for a living. Writing from dreams, nay, driven to write dreams, so vivid they jolt you awake at night may be a curse. Influence directs dreams, stress relief for the common man. But what influence? From whence does it orginate? Why would a retiree dream of Native Americans in northern Arizona? Why would he dream of such an unlikely scenerio as rocks covering flowers? (Excuse the spelling)

Amanda Sat Oct 16 20:54:29 PDT 1999

Good question, Philip. Why don't romance, science fiction, and fantasy rank as high in literature as mainstream literature or poetry? There are certain types of all of them, of course, that should have been left alone (every romance novel on the shelves of super markets, pretty much all the spin off books of major sci-fi themes, for example) but they all require just as much talent and creativity (if not more so on the part of sci-fi and fantasy). I may be slightly biased, I don't know, since my current story is science fiction, but my intersts cover almost every realm of writing; from children's stories, to sci-fi, to murder mysteries. I'm guessing it has a lot to do with personal preferences, as in everything.


Americo Sat Oct 16 19:38:58 PDT 1999

I can see your point, Philip. No hard feelings on this peaceful spot. Do not give it a second thought. I will tell Jon to stop thinking of making minced pie of Australians writers... He is a bit pissed off because his soccer team lost 21-0 tonight but sends you greetings.

Rhoda: I've just sent you Sebastian_2 in rtf. Tell me if you got it. Your corrections were admirable. Quite professional.

philip Sat Oct 16 17:43:36 PDT 1999

HELLO EVERYONE: I've said it many times here, there are some who have never been published who are more in tune with publishing and editors and better educated than myself. Whether you've published works of literature or works for Mills and Boon it doesn't matter, everyone has an opinion ... as I do. Political or social sciences subjects may not be your bent, you may prefer children's books, that's okay. Your opinion and advice are as valid as anyone's.

GOODWEED: how are you? How is it up on the lakes? I spent the occasional weekend near your town when I lived in Toronto. Are you still searching for an agent or are you dealing direct now?

AMERICO: you are funny. And boy did you rise and take my bait ... sucked in ... well stung. Good for you old fella. But I WAS only joking to prove my point and I laughed to see my rouse was successful. My topic of exercise was barbed satire or critical comedy: is it cruel or is it valid (i.e. Don Rickles in the USA)? Some say it is straight out character assassination. It's like the fat jokes or the short people jokes. Are they valid or not? Is it vilification?

On another line, be fair and honest: your postings have included lots of political finger pointing over various international flashpoints. We are all perfectly able to point on these pages - I'm sure you realise it stings.

I wonder if people will pick up on the genre writing topic you raised? Romance or Sci-Fi or Fantasy, should these rate as highly in literature as other works? There is no doubt they don't. But why not? I'll come back on that - I think it's interesting. I'd be curious to know what others think?


Americo Sat Oct 16 16:15:59 PDT 1999

Rhoda : I got it (and with blue observations which will certainly prove most useful). I'll sent you more stuff as soon as possible. Perhaps even today (or tomorrow: I am dreadfully busy). Today I have worked on some of your texts for the third part (in the hotel). Added some lines to deepen the character and role of Jenny . Hope you like. Thanks.

WE could give here a course on creative writing just by speaking about S* in progress and giving examples! But of course, some people would immediately start protesting. They just like to speak about wars and the nuclear and all that... (three dots, humor) Well, I certaily like to speak about everything.

Goodweed: I sent you an e-mail (why should we not start calling it letter, I do not like the word e-mail) applauding your initiative of a new round robin. I am sure that Avatar would love to take part in it.

Jon had something interesting (as usual) to tell you but he is watching soccer. He has finished reading me his dictionary at last. Great stuff. Yet we must revise all the entries of letter S* again and again until we make a masterpiece. I am sure we will do.

Good night, all!

Rhoda Sat Oct 16 14:25:49 PDT 1999


I sent you the edits to Aliene-1. Let me know if you received it.


Avatar firewings79 Sat Oct 16 09:24:30 PDT 1999

Okay, people, down to business.
I am currently making a foray into the world of D & D-which is (for those of you who don't know) a role-playing game called Dungeons and Dragons.
A thought occured to me while I was preparing for the role of DM (dungeon Master-person who takes characters through world) that we all make our own little worlds, day by day, year by year. Each of us live and breathe in places of our own perception. Some may be worse than others.
Now this came out of the blue while I was creating my world for the other people (Player Characters) to walk through. Come to think of it, I'm still making it! ;)
The same thing goes for writers, no matter what kind of genre we write. The only thing different is that we create a new world for others to live in on top of the one we create for ourselves.
So don't feel too bad if you are having trouble with your writing because of something similar. "Rome was not built in a day" as the saying goes and there certainly isn't enough God-like qualities in any of us to build it in seven. Just keep slogging along and maybe,just maybe, it will become something akin to an Olympus among the rest.
Now if I could just remember that myself!;)

Anyhoo, that's my philosophical thought for the day.

Americo- I left an e-mail on your desk. Just remember to look me up the next time you're doing an S'-similar project. Hopefully, I will have more experience and be able to mold to the group better.
No hard feelings, 'k?

Sending all the best wishes

Goodweed of the North Sat Oct 16 08:53:09 PDT 1999

An interesting, yet sobering round robin project might be a story in which several characters are placed in the "afterlife". Each collaborator to the story would select one of the characters and have him/her interact with the other characters. The interesting and unique part of this would be that each character exist in the belief system of the writer, i.e. the character might be a resident of Vallhala, Pugatorie, Heaven, Hades, or whatever version of the afterlife we want. The characters would have to recognize the other versions of afterlife, with each set up as a seperate, but coexisting village, as it were.

Maybe the characters would have to come to terms with the idea that theirs is not the only "true" viewpoint. This would provide the tension in the story, rather than having a true protagonist.

Whatcha think, is it a possibility to get another round robin moving? No one but myself and K. Allen Cross seem to be interested in "When Darkness Descends" which, by the way is an interesting and, so far, fast paced work.

I don't know what happened to Jack's round robin "Them Bones" which was another great begining. I was sad to see it missing from the round robin site.

I'm glad to see I'm still remembered aroud hear. Hello to all my freinds, Rhoda, Rachel, Toby, Phillip (one of the first persons on the internet to offer me encouragement for my writing), Hayden & wife, (from whom I hear entirely too little), Americo, and all others I occsionally see pop in and out of this forum.

Jack; Again, thanks for maintaining this site. It's a worthwhile place to be.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Allein Fri Oct 15 22:34:39 PDT 1999

Yes, it's time, not Wheel of Fortune *pushes Vanna White out of the way*...ALLEIN'S FUNNIES!!! :)

Tips on love by kids age 5-10.

"Once I'm done with kindergarten, I'm going to find me awife." (Tom, 5)

"On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that
usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date."(Mike, 9)

"You should never kiss a girl unless you have enough bucks to buy her a big ring and her own VCR, cause she'll want to have videos of the wedding." (Jim, 10)

"No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something
to do with how you smell. That's why perfume and deoderant
are so popular." (Jan, 9)

"Like an avalanche where you have to run for your life."(Roger, 9)

"If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don't want to do it. It takes too long." (Leo, 7)

"If you want to be loved by somebody who isn't already in your family, it doesn't hurt to be beautiful." (Jeanne, 8)

"It isn't always just how you look. Look at me, I'm handsome like anything and I haven't got anybody to marry me yet."(Gary, 7)

"Beauty is skin deep. But how rich you are can last a long time." (Christine, 9)

"They want to make sure their rings don't fall off because
they paid good money for them." (Dave, 8)

"I'm in favor of love as long as it doesn't happen when 'The
Simpsons' is on television." (Anita, 6)

"Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it.
I have been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the
girls keep finding me." (Bobby, 8)

"I'm not rushing into being in love. I'm finding fourth grade hard enough." (Regina, 10)

"One of you should know how to write a check. Because even if you have tons of love, there is still going to be a lot of bills." (Ava, 8)

"Don't do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain't the same thing as love."(Alonzo, 9)

"One way is to take the girl out to eat. Make sure it's
something she likes to eat. French fries usually work forme." (Bart, 9)

"The person is thinking, Yeah, I really do love him. But I
hope he showers at least once a day." (michelle,9)

"Spend most of your time loving instead of going to work."(Tom, 7)

"Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you
never take out the trash." (Randy,8)

Quick Wit:

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

Insanity is my only means of relaxation.

Forget the health food. I need all the preservatives I canget.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they are sticking to their diets.

Allein Fri Oct 15 20:12:33 PDT 1999

Rachel - Hiya. :) I pitched the idea to my brother and he said (and I quote) "Hell no". So, I'm sorry - maybe for Halloween. I just got back from dinner with Aaron and his family. It was very nice. :)

Rachel Fri Oct 15 19:17:26 PDT 1999

Hi all

Americo - What a brat! I certainly hope you will send it to me so I can read what it is that you are talking about.

Take care all

Americo Fri Oct 15 18:23:57 PDT 1999

No, Rach, you don't. I made the passage much more specific. A finding of genius. And I do not think I have shown it to you yet .Have I, well, I can't remember anymore. No, I am positive, shouldn't I say negative? I have not!

I will only show it to you if you send me some sort of scented e-mail with a great sentence like... Well, I can't remember any great sentence now.

Sleep well.

Rachel Fri Oct 15 17:27:47 PDT 1999

Alline - I am still laughing over here as I try to picture your bother in tights. He does not seem the type to pull on a pair of tights (grins and much, much laughter) So how are yah? Got a hot date this weekend? Hope all is well with you.

Americo - I have read the revised Shadows and I know exactly why Sabastian had a green tongue.

Take care all

Americo Fri Oct 15 16:05:41 PDT 1999

Tobias — no need to e-mail. But you can do it if you like, and I will be pleased to answer if you come in good faith.

Look, Tobias. After all we agree entirely. I also think that the USA should not be the police of the world. People in the USA must, however, be aware of the importance of the USA in all world affairs. It is simply impossible not to look at the USA as a good or a bad example. In the case of the (land?) mines and of the nuclear tests it was a bad example. How can you criticize or stop France (or China) for doing the same now? There are already enough nuclear bombs on earth. The thing was already tested and proved highly dangerous.

Jack— speaking of yard sticks: when will you send me the ending of your agent/publisher story? S* is crying for it. (You said five days, remember!)

Topic of the day (you can also call it Jon/Americo's editorial...)

I have published seven books and scores of articles but I consider myself an appprentice and hope I will always consider myself an apprentice. You never finish learning in this activity, exactly as you are always learning in life. For me life and literature are complementary and I believe that many writers would agree with this.

One of the things apprentice writers such as all of us here and everywhere need to practice is the art of polemics. This forum is an ideal place for that, as it is frequented by people of several countries and different cultural backgrounds. To surmount the traps of language, the difference of opinions, the inevitable national and personal prejudices is quite a challenge. And a very useful exercise.

Though I have a little handicap because English is not my language — not a single drop of English blood in my aristocratic veins (the aristocratic is for fun) —, I would like to discuss here all kinds of topics because I believe that everything is stuff for a novelist. I am aware of the fact that some of you here are sci-fiction/fantasy writers. I am a mainstream writer and do not intend to change. Though the genres some of you practice are considered subliterature here (an opinion which I do NOT share), I have always shown respect for your particular talents, and expect from everyone equal respect for the genre I practice.

Except a discussion about which of the two — mainstream or the other(s) — are "superior" (it would be a futile discussion) or if nazism can be acceptable (it would be an immoral discussion), all kinds of things can be good topics if dealt with with good faith. My motto as a novelist is Gide's phrase "tout faire entrer dans le roman" ("everything must go into a novel ").

I cannot be more coherent or more explicit than that.

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Oct 15 11:56:36 PDT 1999

    Americo and all: Discussion of the worlds woes, wins and other foibles are appropriate for here. Always. Only, when stronger words are being voiced I tend to hold up a yard stick of how it relates to writing and the writing life. In some measure I was holding the yard stick up to myself and finding myself potentially wanting :-).

    The way we could approach this is to see what kind of characters or plotlines we could use events in the world to inspire. For drama, Pakistan is an interesting mixture of confusion and characters. I would like to hear from others what events or people in the news lately would offer a plot or character we might wish to toss around. Just a thought. Embellish on it if you wish.


tobias s buckell Fri Oct 15 11:18:18 PDT 1999

Actually Americo I'm not patriotic. In the slightest. I live here only b/c my stepdad and family moved here. I'm British by nationality, and was born in Grenada. _I_ was invaded and am highly critical of US politics due to the fact I've stared down the tank muzzle of a US tank and seen some of what american soldiers do abroad when they think no one's looking. I'm not patriotic, but since childhood I've noticed everyone expects america to solve the world's problems. I'm machiavellien (spelling, ach) in my ideology, if anything. And I'm not mad, I'm just surprised that everyone still thinks america should 'fix' everything. We should be defending Chechyneya right now if moral absolutes were all that war depended on.

Anyway, I won't argue anymore in respect to Jack's wishes. It is his forum and we should respect it. Please feel free to email if you want to continue the debate.

Tobias S

Americo Fri Oct 15 09:27:22 PDT 1999

Tobias : Why do you, people — Americans, residents in the USA, sympathysers of the USA, get so upset (if not angry) when that country is mentioned? What is that complex which I do not understand? Patriotism? If so, that notion must be revised. The way it is sometimes shown sounds dangerously blind.

I mentioned the USA because it was there, in the cradle of modern democracy, in the source of the nuclear, in the most powerful nuclear country of the world, that an agreement towards the banishment of nuclear tests was rejected — a decision which affects any citizen in the world giving him/her, therefore, the right to protest.

I remind you, Tobias, that that agreement was rejected as it was rejected, some time ago, an agreement against the use of mines. Those mines that kill and maim, for many decades, after they are cowardly disguised in the ground, thousands of innocent people! Go to Africa and you will see the outcome of those mines, which incidentally the USA keep selling without any audible protest of their "patriotic" citizens.

It is very good that you love and respect the name of your country or even of any country you love. But more important than that is the safeguard of your life, my life, our children's life. Writers have a special duty to protest when decisions that affect human values are taken, be that in the USA or in Patagonia.

Jack, I believe that the problems of the world and of the human soul are the most serious and valid topic discussions in a "Writers' Notebook". There are other sites where these problems can be discussed. But not by writers.

I would like to see these topics discussed here as well. Do you think I am wrong? Why? Please answer before I stay or leave.

Billy Marshall Stoneking Fri Oct 15 09:09:02 PDT 1999

Dear Jack:

Read with interest your comments about you trip to Australia. I am an expatriate Australian/American, currently residing in the Catskills, working on a new play. If you have readers who are interested in Australian writing, they can direct questions to me. I was very much at the center of poetry and theatre in Australia and made my living there as a freelancer for close to twenty years. I am now living in the States, but may return to Oz soon. There are many fine poets downunder, living and dead. A few of the living ones include Pi O, Dorothy Hewitt, Christina Conrad (, Bruce Dawe and Nigel Roberts. Among those no longer with us, I recommend Donald Campbell and Barrett Reid among many many others.

For years I lived in Central Australia among the Pintupi - the last major tribe of Aboriginal people to have contact with European culture. The last documented family group made contact with "the whites" in 1984! My book Singing the Snake, is a poetic document dealing with my time among the Aborigines. Selected poems from that book can be read at my site ( Should your readers like a paperback copy, signed by me, I can send them one for US$25. (incs p&h) The book is 100 pages and profusely illustrated by Aboriginal tribal elder, Tutama Tjapangarti.
just email me at for details.

Again, if anyone has questions about Australia, Australian writers and writing, and/or Aboriginal culture, please feel free to contact me!

Billy Marshall Stoneking

Jack Beslanwitch Fri Oct 15 03:22:03 PDT 1999

     Let me suggest that we move away from the test ban treaty. I will admit that I emailed Rhoda separately to indicate that I attempted to call my Republican Senator (the right honorobable Mr. Gorton) here in Seattle to express my anger over the defeat of the treaty, but was not at all surprised that they were not answering their phones. From this you can surmise my take on this, but I suspect that unless we can find a way to relate it to writing and the writing life it should be carried off line.

tobias s buckell Thu Oct 14 20:23:21 PDT 1999

Americo, why point the finger at the US? Why is the US always blamed. Keep in mind that I live in the US but I'm not a citizen, only resident in passing. I grew up in Grenada that was invaded by the US for rather petty political bullying reasons. But it really bugs me that everyone says 'the only way the world will get rid of nuclear weapons is if America steps down first.' Why America? Why do you single out America? Maybe because America is the only democracy with nuclear power? Why does no one ever say 'if only China would get rid of their nuclear weapons everyone else would to.'

America doesn't have the moral will to impose a ban on the rest of the world. What is America, ruler of the world? Sometimes it would like to think so... but if you're willing to accept ceding your political state to become a part of the US right now that really doesn't make sense. Everyone wants all the benefits and none of the work. There is the rest of an entire world out there that should be bringing pressure, but they're not. How does that make them stand morally?

Foreign politics has nothing to do with morality. Morality is the sort of thing that enslaves native populations and has them tortured to bring them to the true faith, converts them, and causes messy holy wars. Morality is the worst reason in most cases to go to war. Politics is based out of necesity and dealing with situations as they are. And as it is, America is under nuclear threat by the other countries. And unless it takes over the rest of the world, as you seem to want it to, by maintaining its own nuclear power, it prevents itself from taken over in kind. It's not pretty, but there it is.

I do think it is possible to be a political entity w/ out nuclear weapons, but I really have to wonder whether Europe would not already be under invasion where it not for the fact America seems historically allied to its other white/euro brethren.

So if you look at this treaty, consider it really. It is a treaty signed only by mostly by lots of other nations that DON'T have nuclear power, and one nation that can no longer really support it. All the other nuke carrying bullies refuse to sign. It's an international joke, really, because all the people signing aren't really the one's who are in a potential to need to have to sign it.

One of the main reasons America does not wish to sign this, is because lately it has been developing an system that can sucessfully stop the penetration of ICBMs into its airspace. In other words, defend against a nuclear attack. The old system of detente will no longer be applicable, and so things are moving around a little.


Americo Thu Oct 14 19:37:33 PDT 1999

Rhoda: I suppose not. Shall we then resign ourselves to a nuclear disaster? It seems inevitable if the nuclear powers do not stop testing and making more and more powerful weapons. Something has to be done. Your line of thought does not seem constructive to me and leads to a cul-de-sac, though I can understand its dangerous logic.

Rhoda Thu Oct 14 19:19:01 PDT 1999


Do you really believe that anyone will get rid of their nukes because we do? Will China destroy theirs let alone stop pointing them at our major cities? Would Iran miss the chance to blow away the Great Satan? I don't think so.


Americo Thu Oct 14 18:41:15 PDT 1999

Rhoda: if the USA does not stop with the nuclear, no one will, and the USA will not have any moral to impose its banishment from the face of the earth. Having said that, I must concede that I do not know the terms of the agreement which was rejected there today.

Jon Thu Oct 14 18:36:31 PDT 1999

Jack — I asked you to bring from Australia a kangaroo but not such a little thing... And a very old one for that matter. Very disappointing. The fact that he is a friend of yours makes things even worse. I suppose I'd better go fishing. (Woops, probably a tired European joke, sorry!)

BTW: I am African and proud of it.

Rhoda Thu Oct 14 18:36:14 PDT 1999


My dear friend, I hope you will not hate me when I admit that I called both my senators and urged them to go ahead with the Test Ban Treaty vote and to vote AGAINST it.

I have no desire for a treaty that means nothing. The terms of the treaty could not be verified, and the nations most likely to use Nuclear weapons, North Korea, India, Pakistan, and Iran would not sign it. The United States policy is not to test nuclear weapons anyway. We haven't done it in years. I believe the well-being of our nuclear arsonal is not only beneficial for our security and freedom, but for that of the free world.

I realize that many would disagree with me, including some of my fellow countrymen. I respect that. I just hope that those who don't agree with my stance would understand that I don't support or desire nuclear proliferation any more than they do. I just don't believe that peace and harmony will be achieved by the free nations tying their hands while unstable and potentially hostile nations build their arsenel, tests their weapons, and carry on whether they sign treaties or not.

I hope for a day when nuclear weapons will be obsolete, but until the world is a more stable place, and until the day comes when petty dictators don't gain power in nations around the world, I don't think things will change.


I am sorry to hear of the passing of Morris West. Not only was he a writer whose work you respected, he was a personal friend.


Great to see your post on the Notebook.


My work is doing well. I am busy working on "Shadows" which I see as an extremely worth-while project deserving of my time and effort. I am writing a third novel about a widow whose husband squatted on a Mexican land grant in California during the time of the Gold Rush.

Adore you all. Please don't think me a horrible, blood-thirsty hawk.


Americo Thu Oct 14 18:28:10 PDT 1999

Very well said, philip. Nothing like a master's voice to put things straight.

It is not the first time that my friend Jon is attacked. He is conveying a message and knows what he is doing (while you don't). Without the space occupied on this page by his posts, the Notebook would be a blank. I did not know, however, that you are so much worried about Jack's back-up drives, and I promise to tell Jon to to go meow somewhere else. (I can't promise he will listen to my sound advice.)

The family topic was as good as any other. I feel that family, if not disciplined, can be a distraction for a writer, and I am as much entitled to my opinion as anyone else. It is not, obviously, a distraction for you, as you have already published three books (three!!!). You are a great example for us all to follow, humbly and on your illustrious track. Carry on with the good works, son.

philip Thu Oct 14 17:08:51 PDT 1999


A little about Morris West. His first book 'Moon in My Pocket' (1945) was written under an assumed name, Julian Morris and sold only 10,000 copies. It was many years later before he published another. He went to live in Italy where he wrote his first notable success 'Children of the Sun'. The Devil's Advocate and Shoes of the Fisherman quickly followed - all were international best sellers. Other major best sellers by him include Summer of the Red Wolf, The World is Made of Glass, Lazarus, The Ringmaster, Vanishing Point, A View from the Ridge, Testimony of a Pilgrim, Eminence etc ... 30 in all. As well as Italy he has also lived in London and New York, only recently selling his luxury homes in all these places. He turned 83 this year.

About spouses and families of writers. I agree with Gary that they are, we are, as diverse as any other group in our community. It's a nonsense to suggest that writers all fall under one typical social category. Some are more obsessed about their work than others but no more than many obsessed stock brokers, actors, singers, ballerinas or bankers. Neither are huge egos the exclusive domain of writers. A Countrepoid: I have met many humble, introverted writers .... and property developers ... and financiers ... and film directors ... and performers.

Anyway, while we are jocularly characterising some here on the Notebook the Jon and Americo team seem to have avoided any commentary. Self description does not count. For the benefit of newcomers, we have a fabrication on these pages that smacks of bestiality - a very old has-been Portuguese romance writer puts forward his alter ego in the guise of a cat. Often the cat being the only one he relates to ... that being himself. They hog the pages, taking up 33% of the space here with tired European attempts at humour.

Only joking Americo/Jon :-) ... you really do make me chuckle ... as far as I'm concerned, hog all you want.

I wonder what a consensus here might be about writing of comedy or satire and its strategic or political use. I remember one of Shakespeare's characters said "... there are many true words spoken in jest". Do you think writers shelter behind sharpened barbs of cutting wit - "I was only joking".... "Can't you take a joke". And you may remember there have been famous court cases in the USA in which people have claimed to be vilified by cleverly written comedy routines. What do you reckon?


Americo Thu Oct 14 16:17:37 PDT 1999

Jack— I have just posted the following message in the Notebook Chat:

"Jack; the chat rooms PROBABLY works. The problem is that between clicking on the button "Chat" and the appearing of the applet where people can chat too much time goes on without nothing happening. I think that the message Rhoda left here tells more or less the same ."

Yes, the chat room is too slow for being useful. It can be because of my computer.

Rachel : How are you this evening? Is your computer out of order or it is just lazyness? Guess why Sebastian's tongue is green.

I would like to reproach the people in America who did not sign the agreement for putting an end to nuclear tests. Some time ago it was the question of the mines. The USA should be leading the best and not trailing behind the worst. In the meantime India is certainly rubbing its hands. I am glad to say that Bill Clionton is not very happy either.

And, yes, writers should worry and be the first to point their fingers at the wrongs of the world.

Jon Thu Oct 14 11:53:41 PDT 1999

One of Morris West's books was translated into Portuguese back in the 60's (or was it 70's?) with the title "O Advogado do Diabo" (The Devil's Lawyer). It sold very well and is still selling I believe. I knew about his death on the weekly "Expresso" on Saturday.

If I have to die (which I doubt) let it be when I will be making love. But, honestly, I do not want to die at all. Death is not healthy. I believe in reincarnation. Most people do if you come to think of it.

Jay: your dream means that you would like to have a little restructuring in your life. I do not think you heard any noise when the chess pieces dropped on the floor. That's an amazing thing with dreams: you do not hear sounds, you feel them. Much prettier.

Goodweed: "The Darkness Descends" is a good title and the stuff in the round robin is a pleasure to read. Good luck for that project.

Amanda: Americo would like to send you a little kiss but that man is so shy! Let me kiss you on your ckeek for him. I have been submitting him to electric shocks (220 volts no more : I want to keep him awake till I read him all my dictionary) so that he watches his green tongue. The problem with that writer is more common to writers than it is usually confessed: he fears competition and he is envious of me, for instance. Quite flattering actually!

Chat for 5 minutes in the chat room, people! Your chance to meet me and, with a bit of luck, to get a discount in my dictionary.

Rachel Thu Oct 14 07:23:34 PDT 1999

Hi all

Philip - I am saddened to hear about the loss of Morris West, he sounds like he must have been a lovely man. I think it would be wonderful to die doing something that you loved. I hope I can be so lucky one day.

Goodweed - Hi you, nice to see you again. I wish you with great sincerity the best of things with and for your book. I can remember reading posts by you quite some time back that gave me a glimmer of understanding for the sort of thought, research and effort you put into your writing. I am sure it must be an excellent work.

Jai - That dream sounds wild! I can just imagine the sound that all those pieces would make. Of course for me it would be a very large chessboard in the middle of some massive stone hall, so the sound would be amazing!

Americo - Good afternoon - Did you get my edit on Emma_5? Hope it got through, my computer is a little out of sorts (grins). If you didn't get it, just let me know and I will try, try again.

Take care all

Americo Thu Oct 14 06:08:16 PDT 1999

Good morning, everybody!

Hello Jai, Goodweed, Amanda and Philip. Hello, Jon. Nice to see you back and blossoming. The Notebook needs your collaboration. So keep smiling and posting. Sorry for the dead of Morris West, Philip. We knew here that he was not in good health. He was translated in Portugal and quite popular actually.

Jai Wed Oct 13 22:36:26 PDT 1999

I had a dream last night about chess peices falling, very symbolic. It's funny I can almost feel what it means but it still makes no sense. Oh well.

Rhoda, how's your novel going?

Hiya Goodweed! Your daughter still writing masterpeices?

Philip, sorry about your friend, good writers shouldn't die, it's just not right somehow...


Goodweed of the North Wed Oct 13 21:28:16 PDT 1999

Hi all. I've been in lurker mode for some time now. The summer, and fall so far, have been incredibly busy for me. I am still participating in the one continuing round robin curently in progress. I invite everyone to join in. The story is interesting.

I am once again finished with my "final draft". I'll start sending it out again as soon as I put together my "A" list of agents and publishers. I wish everyone here good writing and success.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Amanda Wed Oct 13 20:25:05 PDT 1999

Give me a few days, Americo, and my passion will soon wear off. I'm on a big high right now for many different reasons. And I need to get settled down and familar with everybody before I can really relax. But, since I am a newbie, I will respect your description of me, and work on improving my silly going-on's about my "passion for writing but now they connot write because they have to go shopping and they absolutely adore fantasy." That was slightly screwy. OK. I have just completely lost my train of thought and I know I've confused everyone. I'm going to bed now.


philip Wed Oct 13 19:48:32 PDT 1999


Around 6 p.m. last Saturday, one of Australia's best known writers, Morris West, died with his pen in his hand writing his last work. Yes, he wrote long hand.

Morris was a neighbour of mine and a member of our local writers' group. He was a very generous member, not in monetary terms, but in his attendance and advice. He had a profound understanding of writing and writers and the publishing business. I believe he was a generous man with his money as well - he was an extremely wealthy man. I read where his book sales averaged 6 million per book - he wrote 30 books - with royalties at 10-15% you figure it out.

I knew him for a brief time, only six years. I just came from his funeral service in our small Catholic community church.


Jon (as Americo's secretary) Wed Oct 13 19:39:47 PDT 1999

Translating: Rachel is brief and kind, Allein funny (and can also be sentimental, everyone is in love with her here), Rhoda is the brain of the Notebook, Jack is always in a hurry, Gary, Philip and Hayden are too old to be true, Americo is as witty as a stone. But a rosy lovely beach washed by the sea stone and I am his greatest admirer. I did not allow him to mention me... oh, he did. I am so proud!

PS: Now, please no more e-mails protesting from all over the world. He is busy listening to my dictionary. We will be working letter S* for a long time yet.

Americo Wed Oct 13 16:37:45 PDT 1999


Welcome to this Notebook. You will find here all sorts of things. From the antics of a cat (Jon) to the seriousness of Rhoda and the funnies of Allein. You will also find that the most profound post of Rachel is something like "I magoo, I loved you story; I must go now"; the wittiest sentence of Americo is "But what are you, people, waiting for sending me your texts with the commas in their right place?"; the best post of Jack is "beebabaloola she's my baby at that picknick that sorry to be late"; and then there are the newbies. The newbies usually speak about their passion for writing but now they connot write because they have to go shopping and they absolutely adore fantasy. There are also those, like Steve, who expect to find in conventions the right paths leading to publishers... And the old guys. The old guys (Gary, Philip, Hayden...) long for the good old times and just speak to one another. There is also a lovely creature (Jay) who is sensitive and apparently timid but does not post often. And there are others of course. They come and go but, using someone else's Internet account, never know nothing and complain a lot. And there are those who never wrote anything interesting for this page but complain that they cannot see anything interesting going on here. They are TV spectators and not real contributors. Do not expect to find sincerity in most of these people. Either they swallow anything or they have no critical sense. For them everything is wonderful. I suppose this is a defect of Anglo-Saxonic education. Based on manners and not on values, the manners being the standard politically or religiously or socially "correct" things.

Your post was different. It was honest and based on personal experience. Some would see in it a rather cynical attitude towards literature. After all an artist is suposed to live out of his own passion and pure air... I thought your attitude towards publishers, film and theatre and TV producers and other shopkeepers is the right one. A writer must demand a fair pay for his work. And a good page, a good poem should be expensive items. They are usually the outcome of very hard work. Only after this can he (and must he) be generous.

I hope you stay with us. Your post was the most interesting thing that was published here in the last months. Take my advice: get a dog to speak for you when you do not feel like speaking at all.

Allein Wed Oct 13 15:13:26 PDT 1999

Rachel - Cool, a party - complete with chocolate cake and dancing, huh, huh? Let's dance the funky sqrlmunk! I found out that I've got an A in Health for sure and I just got 2 A's on tests today. I'm glad you like the journal. Could you send me your phone number by e-mail for me so I can call if I ever have to. Now that you know I'm not a 400 lb. man in tights, I hope you think it's safe - if you want though, next time you come down, we could put my brother in a cute little pink tutu, purple tights and this gold tiara I have and he could dance around the house for ya. :)

Everyone - Please wish Casey good luck today or say a little prayer for her (if you're religious). She has a midterm and lots of work to do and she's pretty stressed out. I'm sure she'd appreciate it.


Rachel Wed Oct 13 12:22:16 PDT 1999

Hi all

Hi Dave - Welcome to the notebook.

Rhoda - Thanks for the e-mail! I'll be getting back to you (grins and smiles). Hope your little one is feeling better soon.

Allein - You still out there? Hey! Did everyone see how well Allein did with her grades? I think we should all have a party (big smiles). Allein, I plan to transfer my poetry from the tattered and ratty folder it is in, off of the napkins and scraps of paper and into that lovely journal that you gave to me. Then I will seal up my tattered ratty stuff and put it away, but yah know I just can't quite bear to part with it (smiles) Isn't that weird? Still, it will be easier for people to look at if it isn't so beat up.

Take care all

Rhoda Wed Oct 13 11:42:56 PDT 1999


I am so happy to hear that you have developed new enthusiam for your writing. I know I get bogged down by "life" sometimes and my writing suffers. I envy you your horse and your happy farm. It sounds lovely.

Clyde Dixon,

If you are still lurking out there, I just wanted you to know how great it was to see your post. I wish I had acknowledged it earlier. It sounds like your life is doing well. I am glad to hear that you are still creating stories and that you are helping and supporting other writers.


I don't know what you should say really. You could always talk about the effect that technology has on things and how historically it is always detrimental to ignore technology. It always catches up with you and sometimes surpasses you. I think that sounds a little stiff for your style, actually. It would be something I might say. I think you would do better to share about the rare find that you have made. By some accident of fate you have been thrown into the circle of several brillant writers, some of who are undiscovered by the world. Through the Internet, you have the opportunity to encourage these writers to write stories from their hearts rather than enslaving themselves to the talent-wrecking whims of the multi-billion dollar American media companies. You could tell your friends at the embassy about how individuals from three different countries have banded together to write one story based on their Internet experiences. I hope I have given you some ideas.

Well I must run. I have a little one here who was too sick to go to school today.

Happy Writing!


Dave Wed Oct 13 11:13:06 PDT 1999

Dear friends:

Please consider the following article for publication online. I think it says some things that desperately
need to be said and, more importantly, need to be heard.

Thank you.




It's Your Mindset That Makes Or Breaks You

by David Victor

We writers have to decide a few things before embarking on a career of
the pen or keyboard. The prime question that must be firmly settled in
the mind of the would-be scribe or bard is: what status do I wish to
hold, professional writer or part time dabbler?

What is the difference, you might well ask. Pay. It couldn't be more

The key to the pursuit of a career as a professional writer, and this
must become your First Commandment, is: don't give it away for free!
And seeing your name on a screen or in print does NOT constitute
appropriate compensation. If you need that kick so badly, rent a
billboard, but don't let anyone sell you on the idea that you should be
thankful for a bit of exposure.

A writer must decide if his or her output is professional product or a
self-amusement. Either choice is valid, but you must have this firmly
in mind-then stick to it. Because there are so many hobbyists in the
field, to make the way of the wordsmith a profession is to be in a
constant struggle for respect.

In my experience, as a dramatist, for stage, television and film, it's
an uphill battle. The big players seem to realize the pure truth: the
script IS the project. Without the script, actors have nothing to do or
say, camera people don't know where to aim the lens, costumers don't
know how to dress anyone, or even what fabric to buy. More importantly,
without a high-caliber script, the audience has no reason to come to the
cinema or theatre. The serious producer accepts this, and treats the
writer accordingly. For the self-styled mogul, the Cecil B. DeMille
wannabee, however, it's usually a different story.

During some recent forays into review writing, I discovered, to my
delight, by listening to buzz from the people, that the audience craves
narrative. They may enjoy bright costumes, dazzling visuals,
eye-popping special effects, but they don't leave the show talking about
that great lap dissolve, or what an appropriate skirt the supporting
actress wore. They want story. They're hungry for it, in fact.
They've been spoonfed a lot of gruel, and they're starving for some good
narrative that engages them, involves more than just parking their
behinds on cushions, and gives them something to remember beyond the
parking lot.

But many producers treat the script like just another one of the
commodities they begrudgingly must procure, somewhere on the priority
list below lumber and paint for sets. Why else would many of them
gladly pay all the technical (or "below the line") wages but expect the
writer to throw his or her contribution into the ring for nothing?
There may be some vague promise of return when the final product is
completed and sold...more often not even that.

The producer does this for the same reason a dog licks itself: because
it can. So long as there is a naive, neophyte writer who will jump at
such an offer just to feel like part of "the biz", such abuse will go

Another charming little device to get your work from you for free is
called a "contest". Why, when they need scripts for theatre or
filmmaking, do these people persist in holding a Writer's Contest? It's
nothing more than just a cheap ploy to get the use of your material.
The grand prize is usually production, for which they are supposed to be
paying you, not vice versa.

If a theatre needs a new air conditioning system in the hall, could
they get away with holding a contest among the air conditioning
companies in the area-winner gets to install a complete air conditioning
system in return for a mention in the program? Do lumber, paint and
hardware companies scramble to compete to see who gets to give their
inventory away to the local theatre or film producer?

Why do they expect us writers to whip ourselves into a frenzy for the
magnanimous privilege of giving our work away?

Because we're dumb enough to do so.

And there's an absurdly simple solution to the problem: don't.

It boggles my mind why anyone would approach the very content of their
precious project with such contempt and still expect it to win funding
and box office success. I've made the determination that I will not
stand for it. In the wonderfully succinct words of Paddy Chayefsky in
his unforgettable character of Howard Beale from the film "Network":
"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Of course, there are brave ventures out there, where someone is trying
to make a film or mount a play on zero budget, volunteer spirit and
good, old-fashioned elbow grease. I say: more power to 'em! My
policy, when asked to participate in that kind of project, is: if it's
a communal effort and purely volunteer, I'm there; but if anyone is
getting paid for anything, the script's not free.

It is important to remember one truism of human nature: people
associate the value of something based on what they've had to pay or
give up for it. If it cost them nothing, there's no sense of value or
urgency about it. Therefore, if they didn't have to pay for your hard
work and vision, they will attach NO value to it! Believe it. You may
think that if you give them something as valuable and as paramount to
the project's success as the script, they'll remain beholding to you,
afford you all the respect you could wish and the next time, they'll pay
you handsomely, right up front. It only makes sense in a just and
honest society as ours, doesn't it?

Don't hold your breath.

A series of hard-knocks has brought this issue to a head for me.

I had a dismal experience with a national theatre magazine in my home
country of Canada. While covering summer stock absolutely for free one
summer, which required a substantial output on my part, including
gasoline and time to travel to the out-of-the-way theatres, I was
generally treated like garbage by the editor. At editorial meetings
(which I had to drive another hour each way in order to attend) the
management would gripe about having to hand the printers an extra $75 to
cover some printing errors, while around the table, listening to these
tales of entrepreneurial woe, sat those who were supplying the
magazine's very content, and receiving no compensation whatsoever. How
many people are going to mail in their subscription to a magazine
because they like the shade of the ink? It's the content that defines a
magazine, or any other media project. This editor treated her stable of
writers in a way that a volunteer in any milieu should never have to
endure. I would have to be in a plumb job, earning a sizeable sum of
money, to be motivated to tolerate such nonsense-and yet I was doing
this for free! Never again!

In the most recent collision between my sense of self and professional
esteem, I encountered a television producer who planned a series of
short financial news items with a comedic flavor to them. Though this
was to be produced at a major television network and he had been
advertising for months for a comedy writer, it soon became clear to me
that he was offering me nothing more than my name in the credits.
Politely and professionally, I approached him about the money issue.
His final communiqué to me contained all three of the warning signs, to
which the wary writer should be attuned.

First, he got angry.

Allow me to digress for a moment. When I was a young announcer on
radio, I got some side work in the evenings as a disc jockey in a disco
(these were the seventies, and I have the garish polyester to prove
it). After a shift or two, I realized that pay had never been discussed
in any specific way. I was young and naive-of course, today, I would
never proceed to the first step of a job without such details being
clearly and unambiguously established. But many of us grow up afraid to
ask for what we're worth. Some of us are still struggling with that
issue to this day. During a break on the second evening, I asked the
owner of the place when we were to get paid, and he responded with
fury. He dashed off a measly check and told me to hit the road. Since
that day, one of my first rules is to distrust anyone who shows anger
simply for asking the legitimate questions about pay. It's purely an
intimidation tactic and nothing more.

The second telltale clue that the television producer's motives were
less than honorable: he downplayed the role of the writer in his
project, saying that he had financial experts writing the basic items,
all he needed was a comedy writer to "beef them up a bit", therefore the
comedy writer's contributions were not that important. Wait just a
moment. The TV viewer can find financial advice from hundreds of
different sources. Why does this producer's project even exist?
Because he wants it to be done with humor-that's the whole point of what
he's doing. This makes the comedy writer's job the most significant in
the project. Don't let them imply that your contribution is not
important enough to warrant proper payment.

Thirdly, he resorted to personal attack, labeling the samples I sent
him as merely marginal. Why, Mr. Producer, would you knowingly hire
"marginal"? If they offer you the job, dear writer, don't buy that
you're anything less than the best they could find.

Shell-shocked and battle-weary, I have developed some basic guidelines
for judging whether to trust a producer or an editor in matters of pay
for writing craft performed:

* If you consider yourself a professional, remain one at all times, and
insist on professional behavior from all you encounter, especially the
person from whom the paycheck is supposed to come.

* Hold your calling, your talent and your output in high esteem, or
absolutely nobody else will.

* Never tolerate a personal attack. It's simply meant to intimidate
you into giving everything you've got for nothing in return.

* Don't allow anyone to downgrade the value of your work or
contribution to the project. Remember: the story IS the project.
Without your work, he or she has nothing.

* While it can be an honor just to be considered, that in itself does
not comprise payment for your work.

If you encounter this type of unprofessional behavior on the part of an
engager, do not walk from such a situation-run!

I don't pretend to know why this world seems to have a love/hate
relationship with its writers. Is the culture of a nation not derived
from its art and, specifically, it's written texts? Have the names of
theatre owners in Elizabethan England made it into our daily lexicon?
No, the words of Shakespeare did. Are we inspired to great heights by
the color of a book's cover or the font in which it's printed? No, we
are inspired by the words of Homer, Faulkner or Hemmingway. Did we
gather around the watercooler at work to discuss the lighting or camera
angles used in TV's "Seinfeld"? No, we spent all that time ruminating
over the latest witty lines and twists of story from that landmark show.

The word's the thing. And never let anyone convince you otherwise.


Americo Wed Oct 13 07:42:36 PDT 1999

Good morning!

I am going to the Brazilian Embassy in Lisbon in order to attend the launching of a book and to see an exhibition of Brazilian books published by the Federal University of Ceará, whose rector is a good friend of mine. The Brazilian Embassador, who knows that I am wasting my life on the Internet, expects me to say some words about Internet collaborative writing. I have not made up my mind yet about what to say (or even if I will say anything). After all Internet for me is ONLY this Notebook. In case I speak what do you expect me to say? I can tend to be sincere, but I will try to be kind.

Jon has been trying to convey the message that I, Americo, have been working on Shadows day and night. He has not much patience for procrastinators and other types of... (he has just taken away the keyboard from my fingers. This lovely cat protects me a lot).


Amanda Tue Oct 12 20:27:09 PDT 1999

Wow! Something has happened to the iron grip on my brain that has prevented me from writing anything worthwhile for so long. It has loosened some, and even though the words are only trickling through right now, they are coming! Yay!!! My poor story (or at least my favorite) which has been started three times now has had a complete revamp (sp?). But I think it might be a more believable now. Happy am I.

Jai, thanks for your encouragement and insight. I do find my family and friends to be a great help in some way or another. Though, I realize they will never quite understand this weird need in me to create characters whose lives become just as, and sometimes, more important to me than my life and those in my life, they still listen to my ideas and they still try to find something to inspire me when I get down.

I agree with you, though, that you need to expeirence everything you possibly can to be a believable writer. I also believe that you have to have something to get away to when those above characters start to drive you insane (or more so than usual, as the case may be), something that allows you to escape from the other horrible things that aspiring writers have to, unfortunatly, deal with (work, school, love life, etc). For me, just being with my horse (the only thing that competes with my writing in my life) is an incredible release. My mother has dubbed the farm my "happy place" (it also serves as a drug free relief for my unmerciful headaches).

Anyhoo, I seem to be in a slightly talkative mood tonight for some reason. If I rambled some, forgive me, I tend to do that often, as you will so learn. Oh, and PLEASE forgive the weird...umm...metaphoric (I guess) writing at the beginning of this post. Sugar, freeze pain, and a new lease on life have a tendency to do that to me. ;0)


Jon who else Tue Oct 12 17:26:04 PDT 1999


I usually do not speak to humans. But as you sound like a semi-god I deign to lower my brow at you.

My language is a kind of Mandarin indeed: meow, meow... But I also speak Ebonics.

I am not a communist. Unless you need one on this page: it will be $100 a message.

I started reading letter S* to Americo. Even I am being sorry for this slave. S*S*S* day and night. Working for the community (yes, I am communist after all) and not a single soul to say thank you.

On a different and more merry tone: I decided to lower the price of my dictionary. It will be only $500 -- but only for students with good marks like Allein.

Americo told me that he will not give you another topic. You must talk about family in your life and work (I mean, if you work of course, which I doubt)

The Old Man Tue Oct 12 13:43:01 PDT 1999

Greetings and felicitations,

Jon, are all cats communists? My cats cannot bring themselves to speak of anything other than the long-dead ruler of China. It's all I hear from them, "Mao, Mao, Mao."


Jon Tue Oct 12 11:48:43 PDT 1999

Look who spoke: Steve Perry. Americo sends you greetings. He has just recovered from a shock of 220 volts : he dared to yawn when I started reading letter M for the third time.

I have been telling you a parable since last week. A parable of what? Does the letter S tell you anything? Does the chair to which Americo has been chained tell you anything? I have been speaking metaphorically and no one seems to understand. No one understands me. It is so hard to live with this intelligence I was respectufully given by the gods! I will make a discount in my dictionary to anyone who guesses what I have been referring to in the last few days!

S.K.S. Perry Tue Oct 12 10:15:00 PDT 1999

Hey all,

I just got back from a SF&F Writers convention in Columbus, Ohio, and it was a blast. I spent three days schmoozing with authors, and attended a workshop as well. They showed us a few neat techniques for generating original story ideas. For instance--take a cliche SF plot and try to turn it on it's ear. Instead of machines developing Artificial Intelligence and then wiping out mankind, what if they developed A.I. and just ignored us, and we spent all our time trying to get their attention?

We did a lot of little exercies like that, that were both fun, and instructional. If you ever get the chance to attend one, I highly recommend it. Try for the smaller cons though. You get a lot more personal interaction with the authors and publishers that way.

Be Well, Live Well.

Rachel Tue Oct 12 09:34:08 PDT 1999

Hi all!

Gary - Hi you (smiles)

Jai - I will look forward to reading something new from you.

Karli - Hi you, welcome

Jon - Naughty kitty.

Jack - I am sorry to hear about your friend (I send you a hug)

Take care all

Jon Tue Oct 12 05:56:06 PDT 1999

I forgot to say that the purchase of the electric chair for Americo was a great idea of my wife Pussy — she is quite helpful as the wife of a writer. She is the one who reminds me of my name when someone asks me to sign an autograph. Though a writer, I am a goof family cat. I always read my works to the family. This helps the thirteen members of it to fall asleep instantly.

I can make a discout to those ordering my Dictionary till midnight GMT. I will tell them the amount of the discount after they send me a cheque for $1,000 (this alreay includes the discount).

Jon Tue Oct 12 04:22:56 PDT 1999

Good morning, fans.

I would like to thank my slave Americo for a nice thread on the Notebook at last: the importance of family in the writer's life and work -- drawbacks and advantages (if any advantages).

He is chained to the electric chair again and listening to my reading of the entries of letter P. I am referring to my Dictionary of course.

Gary S Mon Oct 11 22:30:20 PDT 1999

Just trying to catch up a little bit.

Hope everything turns out okay with your friend.

I have nothing new for you to read right now. All I have done lately is rework Time Exposure to fix a few things I didn't like, but it is just mechanics, no basic changes.

There are all kinds of writers, and they live all kinds of lives like any other calling. I quote from one of my own characters. "Rule number one is there are no rules."

Welcome back, Clyde and Jai. Welcome to Amanda and Karli. This board is getting quite busy lately; what a good sign.



Jai Mon Oct 11 21:30:55 PDT 1999

Rachel - Hey you, or maybe I should just say hi. I'm working on something special but you'll have to wait till it's finished... You could always send me something...

Amanda - That may be what Americo thinks but I would definatly disagree. Sure a writer must take some time off to write but when not writing he/she should be living life to it's fullest, experiencing something new every day. We are spounges and need to soak up all the rich vibrant colours of life so as we can draw worlds with words from colours other than grey!


P.S. that wasn't my best sentence...

Rachel Mon Oct 11 20:45:36 PDT 1999

Jai! Hi you! How are yah? You keepin outda the trees? Hum (grins). I'ts nice to see yay back. Have you got any new story ideas? Send me something fun, scary, exciting! ( send it on!

Take care all

Amanda Mon Oct 11 20:36:02 PDT 1999

So what many of you are saying is that any life you may want outside of writing, forget about it? Oh, now I'm slightly more depressed than before. Though, I think I'm beginning to solve the mystery to my writing dillema. I have little or no privacy when I write on the computer. Maybe I should go back to the days before the computer where I had to write on- *gasp*- paper! Maybe families are a bad thing in some aspects of writing.

Of course chatting with friends while writing can hinder it some too. (Note to self: While writing, do not talk to friends, stay in the same room with parents, or watch TV). I think I have some experimenting to do now.


Jai Mon Oct 11 19:59:13 PDT 1999

Jack, the chat is very slow for me. I can understand why the first time I tried it it took a long time but even the second time it takes like 5 - 10 minutes before appearing...

Rhoda, thankyou. I should be more visable, at least for a while. Work had been getting me down and when I'm down I don't like to hang around people... Well I'm up now :)

Damn this chat still hasn't appeared! Ah there it is, but empty :(


Rhoda Mon Oct 11 19:39:41 PDT 1999


Enjoyed the chat.


I have missed you. It is good to see your name on the Notebook again.


I was delighted to read your post. Welcome to the Notebook. I also checked out your web-site. Your writing is very good.


Rhoda Mon Oct 11 19:17:28 PDT 1999


I was just at the chat room and it worked fine. Sadly I was the only one in there.


I am sorry for your discomfort and I appreciate your sincerity. I am lonely now, but would be even more so without my family. With my children around, it is hard to scrape enough time together to accomplish meaningful writing, but what would I do without them?

I really don't think my husband gets in my way at all. He is extremely supportive. He was distrustful of this writing thing at the first, but when he figured out that I was serious about what I was doing, his attitude changed.

I suppose that for a writer I am very odd because I am a people person. There are times I need to be alone, but by and large I am happiest with sounds of life in the background. I could never live a life of solitude.

Happy writing!


Jack Beslanwitch Mon Oct 11 19:16:01 PDT 1999

I will hang around the chat room for the next fifteen minutes or so. I just got some really bad news indicating a possibility that a male friend of mine of long standing may have breast cancer. This is very troubling news and so I lost track of time if anyone tried getting on with me. In case you are wondering, yes it really does happen to men and depending can be very very dangerous indeed. This is something that this particular person did not need given that he had other health difficulties.

Jai Shaw Mon Oct 11 18:25:52 PDT 1999

Rachel, you'll be fine, just remember people are people. That is they are just like you or I, put yourself it their shoes and put them in yours.

See nothing scary there :)


Americo Mon Oct 11 18:10:07 PDT 1999

Rachel: the only tifference between a writer and a common mortal is that a writer tells the truth.

Americo Mon Oct 11 18:07:16 PDT 1999

On the other hand, to have a writer in the family is a disaster for the said family. A writer has to be egoist, egocentric and egoeverything. This does not mean he must not defend all just causes in the world. But he ought to say to his wife: sorry but tonight I must work till I finish this chapter. And, no, I cannot go to that charity ball. And, what movie? I hate cinema. What concert? I hate music. What life? I hate life. Life is a book. The rest is thinking about a book.

A writer must not allow anyone to love him, if he does not want to make the world suffer.

A woman writer must love many men, if she wants to have some readers.

I shall not continue because I do not want you to love me for my wit. The only thing a writer aspires if freedom. Freedom to write, think and feel miserable.

Can a writer get married? Yes, but only beetween books.

So, my dear youngsters, do you still want to be writers? You can say yes or no. That will be the same. If you are a writer you cannot escape your fate. And your fate is loneliness. Loneliness is only bad when you have company.

And here is how, without wishing to be admired, I have written some immortal sentences. Just because--for the first time in my life-- I was absolutely sincere.

Rachel Mon Oct 11 17:34:28 PDT 1999

Hi all

Americo - Naughty, naughty! We may think these things, but we may never utter them out loud! Besides I am sure that there are plenty who would defend otherwise. Still I must say, that as a writer, I am from time to time a nightmare partner. I want to be left alone. I want time to think. I don't always want to talk. I think that being hooked up with a writer, must not always be easy. At least that is what my husband tells me (grins). I just sent the mother-in-law off to listen to my daughters piano songs (G-R-I-N) The other in-laws will be here soon HELPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!

Take care all

Jon, Americo and all the family Mon Oct 11 17:26:46 PDT 1999

Rachel: good luck with your family meal.

I am also of the opinion that family can cause a lot of frustration to a writer. The only positive thing about my wife, for instance, is that she reminds me my name when I am asked an autograph. If you, people, are sincere, you must confess that the greatest dream you have is to get divorced and never marry again.

That is my opinion. So that is true.

Anyone for discussing family in the life of a writer? With sincerity and honesty and synonyms? For a lot of sinonyms, get my Dictionary. The best in town for synonyms of family, writer, sincerity, truth and all that.

happy evening (without family around)

Rachel Mon Oct 11 17:06:49 PDT 1999

Hi all

Americo - Glad to hear Jon is a nice cat (smiles)

All - Ahhhhhhhhh, my husband is currently playing and singing for his mother a song that I wrote for him. His mother is always very curiose about what I write, but I am not willing to share it with her. Dang! You people think an editor is scary! You should check out my mother-in-law (merry laughter). I am the creature that took her son away, I am the woman who bore her a grandson, so I am good and evil. She just can't seem to decide, by the same token I can not decide about her (grins). Wish me luck with the family meal (laughter).

Take care all

Americo Mon Oct 11 16:51:20 PDT 1999

Jack, I have a Mac and I managed to fill in all the blank spaces in the chat room. Actually I started a novel there. But then to chat one probably needs somebody else to listen. I did not see anybody there. But it seems to work.

Karli: welcome aboard. This is a fascinating place. But you must say something very exciting to us to be accepted with all honours. For instance: how do you feel when you think you cannot write because you have a family? Frustrated. Sad. Happy. Like having a good scotch. Like... well. You must be absolutely sincery (wife and kids usually do not read this Notebook). In my opinion a writer MUST NOT GET MARRIED. He can have children, provided they never learn how to read. This is my opinion. If you think differently, please say. But be honesty.

Family is very dangerous for a writer's health. This is a topic with great future I guess.

BTW: Jon has been kidding all these days. He is really a lovely cat.

Allein Mon Oct 11 16:08:25 PDT 1999

It's time for Allein's funnies - do the funky sqrlmunk! Oh yeah! *dances like a maniac and only stops when she sees everyone looking oddly at her, grins* O-kay, on with the funnies.

Who said children are getting dumber every year?
Check out the wisecracks below and judge for yourselves:

TEACHER: How old were you on your last birthday?
TEACHER: How old will you be on your next birthday?
TEACHER: That's impossible.
STUDENT: No, it isn't, Teacher. I'm eight today.

TEACHER: George, go to the map and find North America.
GEORGE: Here it is!
TEACHER: Correct. Now, class, who discovered America?
CLASS: George!

TEACHER: Willy, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.

TEACHER: Tommy, why do you always get so dirty?
TOMMY: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground then you are.

TEACHER: Why are you late?
WEBSTER: Because of the sign.
TEACHER: What sign?
WEBSTER: The one that says, "School Ahead, Go Slow."

SILVIA: Dad, can you write in the dark?
FATHER: I think so. What do you want me to write?
SYLVIA: Your name on this report card.

TEACHER: In this box, I have a 10-foot snake.
SAMMY: You can't fool me, Teacher... snakes don't have feet.

TEACHER: How can you prevent diseases caused by biting insects?
JOSE: Don't bite any.

TEACHER: Ellen, give me a sentence starting with "I".
ELLEN: I is...
TEACHER: No, Ellen. Always say, "I am."
ELLEN: All right... "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."

MOTHER: Why on earth did you swallow the money I gave you?
JUNIOR: You said it was my lunch money.

TEACHER: If I had seven oranges in one hand and eight oranges in the other, what would I have?

Rachel Mon Oct 11 16:00:45 PDT 1999

Hi all

Jon - I thought I made myself very clear with you. I have expectations on your treatment of Americo, if you can not comply with those expecttions then you can anticiapate participating in the activities that I outlined to you.

Americo - Tell that cat to behave or he and I shall have a most unpleasant disagreement which I assure you he will come out on the losing end of.

Jack - I don't have a Mac, but I just tried to check out the chat and was not able to get in. I will try again later (grins).

Take care all

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Oct 11 15:39:08 PDT 1999

We miss you Americo :-). Oh, and just wondering if any of the Mac folk out there could try out the Chat Room to see if it works in that configuration. Everybody else, this should work. Hoping, anyway. I will try to have a chat with whoever wants to show up at 7:00 PM tonight PDT. That is about four hours and twenty minutes from now. So, we'll see if this works any better. Take care.

Jon Mon Oct 11 15:23:17 PDT 1999

For those who are missing me: good night.

Is there anyone who would like to order a copy of my Dictionary?

No, I will not necessarily hurt Americo if you do not order a copy of my dictionary. But I will NOT make a discount to anyone who does not not order not (I've just been attacked from behind). This is what I call. What can I call to this?

Americo Mon Oct 11 15:19:28 PDT 1999

This is just to tell the world that Jon has not forced me to say that he is a lovely cat. The fact that he has a gun pointed to my heart is only an indication of how much he loves me.

Rhoda: thanks for the edits. I've sent you more in rtf.

Jon asked me to ask you to... what was it you asked, Jon?

Karli Mon Oct 11 12:29:39 PDT 1999

Hello everyone!

I'm new here, so I wanted to introduce myself. I am trying to get serious about my writing now that my kids are getting old enough to leave me alone for a few minutes at a time. I live in Seattle with the four of them and my husband, a dog and a cat. I'm looking for constructive criticsm and encouragment. Think you all could help with that? I've got a couple of stories posted and I'll be adding to them as frequently as possible. Let me know what you think, and thanks for being here!

Bye for now, Karli

Rachel Mon Oct 11 09:20:26 PDT 1999

Hi all

Hey Alline - Yes! I am saying it right (grins). I had so much fun yesterday, and my goodness, when else would I get to see so much of the olympic peninsula and chat with highway patrole. Who were ever so helpful (grins and laughter). I swear, if it weren't for your dad I would still be driving round in circles (laughter). I hope those pictures work out. They should be fun.

All - I had a great time meeting Alline and her family and can tell you all that she is indeed a lovely 17 year old. Not the 400lb man in tights I had been a little worried about (grins). Sure, she sent me a picture, but yah just never know! We had tea and cake then a nice visit and did a little work. I had wanted to stay longer, but the trip was not as short as I had hoped (laughter). I needed to leave before diner if I wanted to get home, and I have to admit I was a little concerned I would get lost again and not get home at all! Of course I would have had a good time wandering around, but my family would have worried for me (grins). After having to talk me in, Allein's father decided it would be wise to drive me to the main highway. I very much appreciated this. Allein is a sweetie and her family are great.

Jack! I think I'll have to meet you some time soon (grins). Maybe at the next party you have I'll be able to show up. I certainly couldn't get any more lost than I did on the way to Alline's.

Steve - No laughing about me getting lost!

Americo - Good to hear that Jon is a nice cat. I would hate to think he was not a nice cat (GRINS).

Clyde - Hi you!

Take care all

Americo Mon Oct 11 04:24:48 PDT 1999

Good morning, everybody!

Jon has been daydreaming since he was dispensed from S*, as you have certainly realized. He is a lovely cat and cannot do any harm to anyone, mainly to me, whom he adores.

I also love him and I must say that his "Dictionary of CatsEnglish" is a remarkable work!

(Perhaps I should add two or three exclamation marks. Yes, a remarkable work!!!!?

(Thanks, Jon, for having helped me compose this post)

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Oct 11 01:34:35 PDT 1999

Allein: Glad you got a chance to meet Rachel.

Just wanted to add that I have repositioned the Notebook Chat and added a form so those wishing to add a date for a chat can do so. The chat itself is in the bottom frame. Also, the manipulation I have done with the pointers to the JAVA chat room should work now. Look forward to seeing you on a chat sometime soon. Take care.

gerry none Sun Oct 10 23:57:33 PDT 1999

writing's my bread and butter.

gerry none Sun Oct 10 23:57:06 PDT 1999

writing' my bread and butter.

Allein Sun Oct 10 19:41:00 PDT 1999

Hi all,
Rachel came to see me today and she's such a wonderful person (but I think you all knew that already). :) We had tea, she showed me some pics of her family. She brought along some little cakes to share with us and they were delicious. We also jotted down some great ideas for the masquaede scene (at this, I can see Americo perk up and think 'she's finally getting something done'). I haven't ended up writing it yet, but I might do a little of that tomorrow - I'm not sure though 'cause I'm doing something with a friend tomorrow afternoon.
I'm hoping that Rachel can visit me again over Thanksgiving (yes, for her Thanksgiving is tomorrow, but I meant, the USA's Thanksgiving). :) We didn't get a chance to have dinner because it's a long drive back to where she lives, but we usually eat early (about three or four) on Thanksgiving so that shouldn't be a problem.
Well, bye bye all,

Clyde Dixon Sun Oct 10 18:37:06 PDT 1999

Hi there old timers:
Goodweed, Hayden, Philip, Rachel, and Rhoda.

It has been a while since I dropped in, and I am pleasantly surprised to still see some names that I know. I checked up on Britomart a while back: her second book was out, but she was considering throwing in her quill. Seems that it takes a bit more to pay the bills.

Hope all is going well. I've gotten started in technical writing and am doing some web maintenance as well. It has taken a while, but I seem to be on a roll.

As always, I work on various ideas here and there, but I have one that is very close to being wrapped up, in terms of development--even have a few pages of dialog pounded out. Should have this one out the door by the end of the year.

I'm also editing a friend's fantasy novel. It's been good for my own writing and self-editing skills.

To busy to drop by here often, but good wishes and good writing to all, and may all have a good publisher.

Allein Sun Oct 10 07:24:03 PDT 1999

I couldn't help notice the time that Rachel posted here. I hope she hasn't left for my house already 'cause that means she'll be arriving soon and I'm still in my pajamas. *grins* I guess I should take a shower and get dressed. :)

Rachel Sun Oct 10 05:42:16 PDT 1999

Jon - I'm sure I don't know what your talking about (grins).

Jon Sun Oct 10 04:13:59 PDT 1999

I spared the tongue of Americo. I thought that it would be difficult for him to express his enthusiasm about my Dictionary of CatsEnglish if I cur his tongue. So he still has his tongue. We are going to do letter S today. S? Yes. I suppose we will hava a lot to comment on this S-letter. It is the letter we use instead of "Shadows" isn't it?

I ate Rachel's celestial nourishment which allows one to live for ten years without food. Americo will have a steak instead. So now I am almost immortal.

PS. I will not like any more cats on this page (capisce, Rach?) Actually I have been thinking of expelling everyone from here. But as you know I am generous and do not mind if you also write something in praise of my life and works.

happy sunday

Jack Beslanwitch Sun Oct 10 01:21:44 PDT 1999

Rhoda: I did some tinkering with the applet code for the chat room and I think have gotten it working again. Sometime in the next week I will establish a separate page for posting proposed times for chats. I may attempt to incorporate it as a frame with the chat room in a secondary frame. If this works it may expedite the possibility for chats. Hope this helps.

Jon Sat Oct 9 14:31:44 PDT 1999

Since, given to the generosity of Rachel, who gave Americo a strange writers' food, he will not need to eat for a decade, I decided to cut his tongue. It has become dark purple by now and rather appetizing. I think I will have Americo's tongue for breakfast tomorrow. He will still be able to nodd at the entries of my Dictionary. We are at letter Q. He fainted three times today but woke up whenever I pinched his nose with my paws. I never saw such a lazy fellow. Pussy spoke of doing something to his eyes, but I did not understand of she meant. After all she does not like eating green eyes with a salad.

Okay, ladies: say goodbye to Americo's beautiful tongue!

PS: I've heard on the radio today that WE writers sometimes abuse of our imagination. That is not my case: I am a realist writer and a serious lexicographer. I am thinking of writing Americo's "Memories". Memories sell very well mainly after the dead of illustrious people. That is giving me a great idea and a good laugh. More news of Americo soon.

Allein Sat Oct 9 14:07:56 PDT 1999

Rachel - Actually, I just put in the two destinations at Yahoo Driving Directions and they did the rest. Feel free to call if you get lost - don't worry if you think it's too early (I'll probably be up between nine and ten).

Rachel Sat Oct 9 10:34:30 PDT 1999

Hi all

Philip - Happy lurking (smiles and hugs)

Allein - Got the map. It should be easy enough to get there. Yup, hop on the I-5 and then take the ferry (grins). You give excellent directions and just in case of getting lost I will have my phone with me.

Jon - I snuck into Americo's place last night and gave him a shot of writers nourishment. It will last him a decade! It is one part imagination, one part hardwork and three parts friendship. Na, na, na, na kitty. He will never need to eat again, at least not any time soon.

Amanda - Welcome. Don't be afraid to write, you can not ruin your characters, or your story. It might take you a little time to get it looking on paper the way that it looks in your imagination, but that is what the art of writing is all about. It is about practice and perserverence, it is about fear and facing your fear. I mean after all, it is not every day that we open up our dreams and imaginings to people. In most cases when we do that a friend will listen and say, wow, cool dream, but when you are writing, it is not just for your friends. It is for publishers, editors, others who will critique it, and then it is when somebody can look at your dreams and say "I'm sorry, this just isn't good enough" Don't let that get you down. Just take it and go back to work on it. All of this is coming from a person who has never sent in a story (grins) Apparenlty I'm not quite getting past the fear of editors, publishers sort of thing. Anyway, don't be afraid to write. You go for it (great big smile and a hug for you)!

Gary - You still out there? You have any more writing for me to read?

Larry - I hope you were not serious about giving up. I still would like very much to read the rest of your story. It was good. I have that whole with the baby in my mind. It was good, very, very good. Creepy beyond words!

SKS - Have fun at the writers conference!!!!

Rhoda - How are yah?

Toaster - You still lurking?

All - I am off to the hockey game tonight. Vancouver vs Montreal. This should be a great game (grins). The kiddies are pretty excited and hope to see a win. That would be nice, hum, hope our team can stay out of the toilet this year.

Take care all

PS - Sorry for any spelling errors

Jon Sat Oct 9 09:03:52 PDT 1999

Good news. Americo does not seem to be on hunger strike after all. He did not want to eat the grilled cockroaches I cooked for him, but, showing me his white tongue, he asked for a glass of water. I could not give him the water of course because that would mean that he would ask me sooner or later to go to the washroom (funny word you use in that part of the world) and I cannot allow that to him until I read him all my dictionary. But if someone asks for water that means that that person is not on an absolute hunger strike. At least I think so. I was very happy that Americo asked for the water, I do not want him to die before he listens to me until the end.

PS. Pussy did not want the coackroaches either. She said they were a bit salty. I will send them to Rhoda.

philip Fri Oct 8 23:48:04 PDT 1999

Lurking...... Love you all.

Out of here.


Allein Fri Oct 8 22:21:37 PDT 1999

Rachel - I sent you new directions to my house since I goofed on the last ones - Blonde Syndrome. :)

Lindsay - Welcome. :)

Americo - I share in your sorrow. But please do not starve yourself.

Jon - If Americo will not eat a mouse, I have two rather plump gerbils that might appeal to him. :)
*hugs* to everyone and a scratch behind the ears for Jon,

Amanda Tamminga Fri Oct 8 22:21:07 PDT 1999

This looks like it will be a good place for me. I could use every bit of support I can get right now. I'm 18 and writing (next to my horses) is my love. But it seems that my writing has come to a standstill. I can think for hours on stories and characters. I can think up a complete story all in my head, but as soon as I sit down at the computer I get terrified that if I put these characters on paper they will be ruined. So, for the past six months I have stared at my stories (at last count, I have started ten, I think), chewing my nails, afraid to write a word. The block has opened some, but not where I want it to. I'm writing Star Wars fan fiction, and I hate it! Of course, most of those get thrown out too. The only good thing in it is that it keeps my mind working. But that's not good enough. Fanfix won't get me published, and sitting on my hands day dreaming won't either. Ahh, life.

OK. I'm done rambling. Maybe I'll be a little more coherent another time. Life has been weird to me today...sudden depression, air clearing with someone special, all that good stuff. Sorry if this annoys anyone. Just glad that I may have found some people who understand.


Rachel Fri Oct 8 21:59:24 PDT 1999

Hi Lindsay - Welcome

Rhoda Fri Oct 8 19:57:19 PDT 1999


Please do not starve yourself. I present you a hug and a very rich cheese-cake. I'll even add cherry topping. Well, since this is the internet, I really cannot help you with the food, but I will give you the assurance that I will be working on "Shadows" this weekend and will have corrections no later than Monday. Bombard me with lemon cream pies in the face if I don't come through for you, friend.


Welcome to the Notebook.


What is the story on the Java chatroom? I never can get the chatroom to load. Have we all given up on chats, or can we try again to schedule them? I think it would be enjoyable.

What a day it has been! Rain, rain, rain constantly. It is wonderful after such a dry summer. The only problem is that it is flat around here and the soil doesn't hold much water. When it rains too much the back yard and our RV shed get flooded. What is really horrible is to see a foot of standing water at the entrance of my favorite grocery store.

I took my kids to school, and when I went into my room to get ready for arobics, I thought how wonderful it would be to spend the morning sleeping, for the gentle pitter patter of the rain drops was so soothing. Well that is what I did, and I have been catching up on my work all day.

I have been so busy doing housework that I haven't got any writing done today. I have got to do better with discipline.

Happy writing,


Lindsey Taylor Fri Oct 8 18:49:20 PDT 1999

I don't have a computer so I have to share my views on my friend's computer. Okay,my thoughts on writing and effect it has on me.... let me think, well my writings express my deepest dreams and thoughts. I am usually so busy in school that the only time I have to write is in school. I am in AP English,so we are doing alot on that,and learning more skills to improve our grammar and writing. I'm not going to lie it's hard work,but I'm one for improvement. Who am I to not grab a good opportunity when it comes along?! Especially when it comes to writing for myself and others. I think I can handle a little hard work to improve myself since my passion is writing. I hope to expand the readers minds when they read my works. Expanding minds....Yeah thats how I want to make my impression on the world.

Lindsey Taylor Fri Oct 8 18:36:38 PDT 1999

Jon Fri Oct 8 16:15:00 PDT 1999

Americo is on a hunger strike. I caught a mouse and offered it to him. He refused to eat it!

This worries me because he must keep all his strength to hear my dictionary till the end. In the meantime I gave him two hour's holidays today. He needed to buy some sort of book or magazine for reading while I am asleep. Knowing him, I can tell that the book was certainly Kama Sutra, the magazine "Playboy". That is all he reads.

He told me that, after hearing my read my dictionary, he laughs at names of lexicographers of the past like Samuel Johnson or Webster. "Children compared to you". I agree with him, modestly.

Tomorrow I will try some grilled cockroaches. Perhaps he will not resist to that delicious treat and puts an end to his hunger strike.

Americo Fri Oct 8 16:02:26 PDT 1999

Midnight here.

I went to a book award ceremony (I wonder how you say this in English). I was introduced to the Nobel Prize of last year, José Saramago. He was so kind as to say that he knew me very well ("sic"). I thought "where does he know me from?" Till I remembered that I had a discussion with him some five years ago, in a book fair, about the advantages and drawbacks of Windows and Mac0S. When I told him that we were writing Shadows he did not seem to understand. I reminded him that he has a site on the Internet. But he shrugged his shoulders and confessed that he knew of that. However he had never had time to see it. Someone had done it for him at the request of somebody else. His publisher perhaps. When we arrived home Maria Emília advised me not to tell the others that I spend a lot of time in the Internet. Definitely, most writers and their wives still live in the 19th century.

I love you all.

Cassandra Fri Oct 8 11:07:16 PDT 1999

Greetings all,

It's a beautiful crisp fall afternoon here in upstate ny... I love the fall season, it's just so envigorating.

I just stopped in to say hi to all that agknoledged my return, and to express my deepest sympathies to the people of Portugal. It's tough to loose a person that plays so prominant a role in your national image... the best of wishes to you Americo. *hugs*

Funny you should mention the song about Rich, cause I was singing it the other day as he walked past me outside of the art dept. Under my breath of course, cause otherwise would be just plain stupid. Matt uses it so as not to go insane in his classes.

Still drowning in the responsabilities thrown on me in Graphic Design 1 though... no matter how much work I do it never seems to be enough for her. But that's Kris for ya, and I don't think she's going to change anytime soon. So I might as well just get used to it.

Good work on the grades!! Frankly, I'm jealous. :)

have a shocking and unusual day


"...the reflections are never purer and more distinct than now at the season of the fall of the leafe, just before the cool twilight has come, when the air has a finer grain."
-Henry David Thoreau

Rachel Fri Oct 8 09:26:20 PDT 1999

Hi all

Americo - I send you a hug

Allein - Could ya, would ya send me that map (smiles). Thanks

Take care all

Americo Fri Oct 8 04:37:26 PDT 1999

We said goodbye to Amália today. A whole country crying and singing her songs and clapping hands for the most loved woman of Portugal.

I feel so happy of being a part, though so humble, of a Nation whose main values come from the heart. Amáli sang, for sixty years, the poets of Portugal, from Camões to David Mourão-Ferreira. She was the minstrel of Portugal. I recall one oh ger sentence:

"All my life has been a doubt. I have spent my life unmaking things.

God bless you, Amália Rodrigues.

Thank you to those who have shared my feelings and those of a country of poets.

philip Thu Oct 7 19:58:05 PDT 1999

Welcome back Tobias ... and to Weston .. hello to Cassandra ... well done Allien ... I'm sorry to hear about your loss Americo ... and Jack, mate, it sounds very much like Australia Dreaming for you cobber? Hurry back ASAP.

philip Thu Oct 7 19:50:13 PDT 1999


I remember not long ago when I helped pull together programs for our writers' festivals here in Sydney... an interesting row ensued. We had just signed Gore Vidal but another who we were not successful with was Joannie Mitchell, after much correspondence and phoning around in the end she just could not make it. But the buzz and fuss, about whether she ought to be invited at all, raged until her appearance was no longer an issue. At the very peak of the hysteria in our committee Bob Dylan was nominated for a Nobel Prize for literature.

My loaded question then is.... are the poets of the present day only published in books, or are they also singing their works for us?


Allein Thu Oct 7 19:43:16 PDT 1999

Everybody do the happy sqrlmunk dance! ::forms a Kanga line of sqrlmunks, hums along to the beat:: We all love the sqrlmunks! Cute wee beasties frolic! ::shakes butt with sqrlmunks::
Anyone interested in seeing a hampster dance:
Love and hugs,

Sqrl Thu Oct 7 19:28:54 PDT 1999

YOU'S BACK ON THE NOTEBOOK! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY! ::dancing the happy Sqrlmunk dance::
::shaking rump to a salsa beat::
FINALLY! INSANITY! (I really shouldn't be speeking about being away for a while . . . ::darting eye's around the room::) So, Casey, how was your graphic design class? I heard everyone liked the song about Rich. ;-D

You're annoying little friend,

Cassandra Thu Oct 7 18:20:58 PDT 1999

Greetings all,

I know, I've been gone for much too long. Perhaps I've left you people alone too long...

Just to inform people, I am still writing. Mostly small things. For some reason lyrics and poetry come to me more readily now than they have previously.

I'm now a sophomore, still working hard at the artwork. I've made a conscious decision to stick with it. I'm fixing to prove them all wrong and finish the program. So, though I'm back to say hello, I still may not have the time to stop by too too often. I just wanted to stop by and say hi. Hi!

I hope all of you are still doing killer work, and would love to read shadows when it's done and finished.

Have fun,


Jon Thu Oct 7 17:00:36 PDT 1999

Americo is feeling a bit down. He works on S* day and night and not even a little word of incentive. It is unjust.

Oh, well. I gave him something to eat: half a sardine. More than you give him at any rate.

Tomorrow I will try to catch a little mouse for him.

For the distracted: I have chained him to a chair last week and am reading aloud to him my dictionary. We are already on letter P. He is loving my work.

Jack Beslanwitch Thu Oct 7 13:43:02 PDT 1999

     Tobias: Welcome back and congratulations on doing Clarion:-). I have the goal to eventually make the time and be at a level of productive writing to justify applying to Clarion West sometime in the next several years. It is far and away one of the better boots camps for a prospective science fiction writer. And I second your notion about persistence is perhaps more important than brilliance. That and having the flexibility of a tap dancer mates with a ballet dancer on springs. The nature of the publishing industry and the editors are as fickle as a leaf in a hurricane. Still, there are methods to the madness and I hope to pursue some of those in the coming year.

     Australia was a very great inspiration for me, as is my pursuit of learning the didgiridoo, getting my certification for scuba and now starting to ride a bycicle after close to 30 years of not. All of the above and the exercise that goes into making the above happen have given me new energy and a few new aches and pains. They have also been the source for some new ideas for what I want to write and how I go about it.

Oh, and I finally - finally - finally have my new computer. It screams along, does not crash and is doing wonderfully. You should see some examples of the video editing capability of this new box sometime in the future. Take care all.

tobias s buckell Thu Oct 7 02:51:21 PDT 1999

Greetings all, after an incredibly busy summer and year I've dropped in to see how everyone is doing and am surprised to see some names I know from waaaay back. Philip Mclaren, hey you Scottish/Aboriginal how are you??? Hi Jack, SKS Perry and co.

On becoming a full time writer re: sks's brief rant... my answer is persistance is valued above all else.

I dropped of the board in April when I learned I was going to Clarion. I've been there and back. And I've just recently sold a story to Science Fiction Age. I have a lot of things going for me, but I've been writing seriously at least 500 words a day for the past seven years and submitting for three years now. I have logged 182 career rejections from magazines, 82 of those are from this January to now. It's tiring, and I'm only just now beginning to see the results. I've learned to just keep at it and keep at it. And over the years I've seen other people around me stop, give up, shoot ahead, fade away, and I've kept on putting one foot in front of the other.

I've checked out the Del Rey workshop, and was involved in Critters for a while and wasn't very impressed with how either of those bevy of critiques developed my fiction. The problem is in the nature of workshop critique itself and I don't even want to go into all that right now. I do believe in workshops, but you have to pick carefully. Right now I'm in the Cleveland SF Writer's workshop with Geoffrey Landis and Mary Turzillo and I've been impressed with the crits they give. Del Rey is a big area, but the workshop is a just an modified online slush area that they occasionally check into. Sort of hedging their bet. But that your work got picked does show you rise above the slush.

Out of hundreds of stories only a few can rise, and out of those few even fewer still are picked out for publication. Getting picked can depend on anything from luck to the editor's mood to the fact that that story is the next great masterpiece. The only way you'll ever find out is by slugging on and never giving up.

Anyhooo, I'm out

Allein Wed Oct 6 22:21:04 PDT 1999

By the way, in case anyone is wondering - we got mid-quarter grades today. Here's my break up:

Creative writing: NA (he'll have grades next week)
Japanese: A-
Health Professions: A
English Lit: B+
German: A
Sports Medicine: B

I think I'm doing damn spiffy! :)

Allein Wed Oct 6 22:11:47 PDT 1999

Americo - I am sorry to hear that Amalia Rodgiues is dead. I will be praying for her soul.

Rachel - two more days and counting!! Do you need the map to my house again? E-mail me, okay? :)


Americo Wed Oct 6 09:26:48 PDT 1999

Amália Rodrigues is dead.

For over fifty years she was the voice of Portugal and the light of Lisbon.
For three days and nights the Nation will be in mourning. There will not be a single instant when her voice will not be heard coming out from Portuguese houses. No woman was so loved in the History of Portugal.

Good morning, Amália Rodrigues!

I wished so much you could smile at the deep sorrow of my heart!

Rachel Wed Oct 6 07:14:16 PDT 1999

Allein - Three more days (big smile)

Rachel Wed Oct 6 07:13:21 PDT 1999

Steve - Hang in there:)

Gary S Tue Oct 5 21:28:46 PDT 1999

Hello folks,

There seems to be a lot of this undeliverable mail going around lately. What's that all about?

Some things about war take a lot of forgetting. Whoever proposed Hanoi Jane for woman of the century needs a little tightening up around the seams.

Steve, its all a plot to humiliate you; don't fall for it.


Allein Tue Oct 5 19:05:56 PDT 1999

Rachel - Four more days till you come and see me! :D YAY!!! I have lots of pictures for you to see and we can work on *S*.

Weston Tue Oct 5 18:36:44 PDT 1999

It is a hard thing to leave and then return, if even for a brief visit. Apologies are in order for my departing post. Still, my time is no longer my own and so I, being slow of wit and typing skills, must devote my efforts to my own writing projects. I am sorry. I am just not as prolific as most of you, and cannot keep up. I will continue to lurk and will comment as time permits or the need demands.

Speaking of need, I must reply to Jerry Ericsson's post:

Reading the post brought back memories of Lcdr. Alfred Agnew, held prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton. and Lt. Michael Haifley, killed over Hanoi. These brave men, serving with me in Reconnaissance Heavy Attack Squadron 13 aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, were shot down while flying an unarmed Navy RA-5C reconnaissance plane. My anger was again kindled and I paused for a moment to weep for my shipmates suffering and death.


Rhoda Tue Oct 5 17:54:07 PDT 1999


I either buy permanent press or I just don't iron my cottons even when they need them. I think I iron maybe 10 garments a year. Whenever I iron cottons, I use starch. For rayons, nylons and other synthetics, steam does a good job. I worked at a clothing store once and instead of pressing certain fabrics they steamed them. That always worked beautifully espacially for pleated things.

Iron the pleats from the waist band and they will usually fall right. That is the best advice I can give you. I bet the other ladies and gentlemen here can help you more.


Thank you for your e-mail. It meant a lot.

Happy writing and ironing,


S.K.S. Perry Tue Oct 5 16:20:00 PDT 1999

Okay, what I want to know is…how the hell do you women iron your clothes? I mean, I'm in the military, so I'm no stranger to ironing, but my wife just, asked me to iron a couple of shirts for her while she's at French class (the language, not the kissing) and it's next to impossible! First of all, there's not enough fabric there to even place a good, hot iron firmly on the shirt. I've got wash cloths bigger than these shirts. Secondly, there's all these pleats and tucks and little cross-stitch double button hook thingies-and, well, the damn shirt's deformed. Oh, and she says, "I want it all nice and wrinkle-free like you do your shirts, but don't use any of that spray starch." Yeah, right. I'll just call up the wrinkle-free faeries, and…what do you mean this isn't Whipped Hotline? Writer's Notebook?……Never mind.

Be Well, Live Well.

Lydia Sweet Tue Oct 5 14:02:50 PDT 1999


I apologize for not responding to your e-mail sooner, but I have not been checking my e-mail very frequently due to a new position I have assumed. It is a learning time and very time consuming and exhausting to the mind. However, I did get your mail last week and responded, but it was returned as unsendable. I tried sending it again, but I don't know if you will get it. Let me know.


I will be getting my modem for my home computer soon and will let everyone know my new e-mail address.

Hopefully, I will have more time to devote to my friends here.


Rhoda Tue Oct 5 07:53:08 PDT 1999


You are doing all that you can do. You are a talented writer and you are getting your work in the eyes of some published writers and editors. That is all you can do. If you keep going and keep learning, I believe you will make it. As far as getting an agent is concerned, I have been trying diligently for at least two years, and it just hasn't happened. There are agents out there who will represent you, but they all seem to have an angle. One will charge fees, while another one wants to sell you his editing services.

I have just decided to forget agents for now. Even published authors are having trouble getting them. A writer friend of mine fired her agent recently. Shortly after she fired the agent, she got a multi-book contract from Kensington press, and she did that on her own. Despite what you read in books and hear from others, you can sell your first book without an agent. In fact, most people do.


You are right. Publishing houses do concentrate on the best sellers and there is only so much work to go around; however, I meet or hear of authors all the time that have just sold a first book. I also know authors who have published maybe 4 to 6 books, and now cannot get anyone to consider publishing anymore because their sales went flat. A lot of the reason for the poor sales is that the publisher spends little money for advertising to the small fry. Some of the books are poorly distributed. Also the books spend less and less time on bookstore shelves. The author has to actively push the published product, and doing that will cost his or her whole advance and more.

I agree with you that the American Publishing business leaves much to be desired. But I also agree that other avenues will open up in the future. It is so much easier now to self-publish than it used to be. There are a lot of writers who are doing that successfully, though they are mainly in niche markets.

I hear at writer's conferences all the time that most writers who try will not make it professionally. That is sadly true, but I believe the ones who will fail to publish and succeed are the folks that quit. There are few people who will tolerate getting rejected time and time again. There are also people, and I know a couple of them, who have concluded that the publishing business has everything stacked against them and that they will never publish no matter how well they write or follow the rules. For emotional issues alone, most will drop out of the race.

There are people who wish to be published authors. Well, how badly do they want it, and what will they be willing to make it happen? I know so many people who only do this writing business half-heartedly. They write, but they won't finish a book. If they do finish they will not edit. When they put their work before a critique group and are told that some of it needs to be changed, they run off hurt, angry, and defensive and never again attend the critique group. I have known others who refuse to write novels because paper and printer ink are expensive, and they just don't want to spend the money on it. I think a lot of people who pursue writing only want to do it for a hobby. Take a typical writers conference and I would say at least 60% of them are there because writing is for them a hobby or a passing fancy.

The other 40% will struggle and work. Some of these will pull out becuase of frustrations. Others will see the toll that their dream is taking on their family and health, and will find being published is not worth the cost. Some of them will see a way to benefit from the business angle of the publishing business and will open up their own literaray agencies. But I believe that most of those that really love to write and who are willing to adjust their lives accordingly will hang on until they do finally publish. And then for a few, they sell their books by pure dumb luck or by being in the right place at the right time.

I wonder if some of us, my self included, shoot ourselves in the foot by reading all the how to "crank out a bestseller books", or "how to get agents and editors to take you seriously" books and doing everything just the way the experts tell us to do it. I personally have gotten little in my life by coming in through the front door. I look at Diana Gabaldon who did everything wrong. Sure she is a one in a million success story, but I wonder if there is a lesson here?

Well, so much for my mullings,


Jerry Ericsson Tue Oct 5 07:15:12 PDT 1999

Allein - Just got this in an E-Mail from a fellow Vietnam Vet - thought you might like to see it.

>>It's truely disgusting that such a person is concidered among the "100
>>Years of Great Women". She's a traitor!!!!
>> > Unfortunately many have forgotten and still countless others have
>> > known how Ms. Fonda betrayed (not only the idea of our "country") but
>> > men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam Please take the time to
>> > and forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually
>> > up on her computer and she needs to know that "we will never forget".
>> > Lest we forget..."100 years of great women" Jane Fonda should never be
>> > considered.
>> > The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is
>> > Driscoll, a River Rat.
>> > There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Jane
>> > participation in what I believe to be blatant treason, is one of them.
>> > Part of my conviction comes from exposure to those who suffered her
>> > attentions.
>> > In 1978, the Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a former POW
>>in Ho
>> > Lo Prison-the "Hanoi Hilton". Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a
>> > cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJs, he was ordered to describe for
>> > visiting American "Peace Activist" the "lenient and humane treatment"
>> > received. He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and dragged away.
>> > the subsequent beating, he fell forward upon the camp Commandant's
>> > accidentally pulling the man's shoe off-which sent that officer
>> > In '78, the AF Col still suffered from double vision-permanently
>> > him-from the Vietnamese Col's frenzied application of wooden baton.
>> > From 1983-85, Col Larry Carrigan was 347FW/DO (F-4Es). He'd spent 6
>> > in the "Hilton"-the first three of which he was "missing in action".
>> > wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the
>> > cleaned/fed/clothed routine in preparation for a "peace delegation"
>> > They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world
>> > they still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with
>> > SSN on it, in the palm of his hand. When paraded before Ms. Fonda and
>> > cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking
>> > encouraging snippets like: "Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?" and
>> > you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?"
>> > Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of
>> > paper.
>> > She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and
>> > the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she
>> > turned to the officer in charge...and handed him the little pile.
>> > men died from the subsequent beatings. Col Carrigan was almost number
>> > four. For years after their release, a group of determined former
>> > Including Col Carrigan, tried to bring Ms. Fonda and others up on
>> > of treason.
>> > I don't know that they used it, but the charge of "Negligent Homicide
>> > to Depraved Indifference" would also seem appropriate. Her obvious
>> > "granting of aid and comfort to the enemy", alone, should've been
>> > sufficient for the treason count. However, to date, Jane Fonda has
>> > never been formally charged with anything and continues to enjoy the
>> > privileged life of the rich and famous. I, personally, think that this
>> > shame on us, the American Citizenry. Part of our shortfall is
>> > most don't know such actions ever took place. Thought you might
>> > the knowledge.
>> >
>> > To whom it may concern:
>> > I was a civilian economic development advisor in Viet Nam, and was
>> > captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Viet Nam in 1968,
>> > held for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement, one
>> > year in a cage in Cambodia, and one year in a "black box" in Hanoi.
>> > My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a
>> > missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, South Vietnam,
>> > I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I was
>> > weighing approximately 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.). We
>> > Jane Fonda's "war criminals." When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was
>> > by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet
>> > Jane Fonda. I said yes, for I would like to tell her about the real
>> > treatment we POWs were receiving, which was far different from the
>> > treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by Jane
>> > as "humane and lenient." Because of this, I spent three days on a
>> > floor on my knees with outstretched arms with a piece of steel rebar
>> > placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane every time my arms
>> > dipped. I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda for a couple of
>> > hours after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to
>> > me on TV. She did not answer me, her husband, Tom Hayden, answered
>> > her. She was mind controlled by her husband. This does not exemplify
>> > someone who should be honored as "100 Years of Great Women."
>> > After I was released, I was asked what I thought of Jane Fonda and the
>> > anti-war movement. I said that I held Joan Baez's husband in very
>> > regard, for he thought the war was wrong, burned his draft card and
>> > to prison in protest. If the other anti-war protesters took this same
>> > route, it would have brought our judicial system to a halt and ended
>> > war much earlier, and there wouldn't be as many on that somber black
>> > granite wall called the Vietnam Memorial. This is democracy. This
>> > the American way.
>> > Jane Fonda, on the other hand, chose to be a traitor, and went to
>> > wore their uniform, propagandized for the communists, and urged
>> > soldiers to desert. As we were being tortured, and some of the POWs
>> > murdered, she called us liars. After her heroes-the North Vietnamese
>> > communists-took over South Vietnam, they systematically murdered
>> > South Vietnamese political prisoners. May their souls rest on her head
>> > forever. Shame! Shame! (History is a heavy sword in the hands of
>> > who refuse to forget it.
>> > Think of this the next time you see Ms. Fonda-Turner at a Braves game)

Allein Tue Oct 5 06:39:37 PDT 1999

Well, here's some funnies. :)


No matter how hard you try, you can't baptize cats.

Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.

You can't trust dogs to watch your food.

Don't sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.

Puppies still have bad breath, even after eating a tic-tac.

Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.

School lunches stick to walls.

You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

Jon Tue Oct 5 06:22:37 PDT 1999

Look who tried to post! (see below).

Yes, my slave Americo.

Well, we are already on letter N. He will have some food when we revise I, N again, and A. The guy cannot accept "nina" as a decent word. He says it should be yony (like in the Sutra). When I say it's nina, it's nina, and when I say llabs do not think I am kidding. Nisep is a masterpiece. I invented it.

I have something really important to tell you but I can't remember what it is. This dictionary is well can lunatic be word merd she. I lost my page!

Jon (Joyce) … that's my pseudonym for this dictionary.

Tue Oct 5 06:09:50 PDT 1999

Good morning!

Jon has chained me to a chair and is reading me aloud his famous Dictionary of CatsEnglish. Good stu

Gary S Mon Oct 4 20:02:32 PDT 1999


I just stopped in to say hello. Hello, Rachel (hugs.) Hello, Hayden. Hello, Philip. Hello, Allein. Hello, new posters. I have been away to the beautiful state of Vermont for the fall color, so I have been out of touch for a few days.

Lightning Mine sounds just the kind of thing I like to read. I will see about getting a copy.

It sounds like one of those days. I know the feeling. Have you looked into publishing abroad? The idea is to try to break into a market outside the U.S. and use that as a way in to a domestic publisher. Rather like running out the front door and coming in the back, if you ask me, but it is a strange world after all. My neice attended a talk by a published writer recently, and the man suggested this idea to people in the Q&A. Lots of writers in the U.S. are stymied by the 'catch 22' requirements of the U.S. publishing business.

The complaint is that the 'popular' writers have it all sewed up. The publishers have little money left for new writers after they pay their contract obligations to their best sellers. Short stories have to be given away for the sake of getting the credit of publication, and then the top agents don't consider short stories as salable background work. To get a novel published, one has little chance with nothing to put on the jacket like a prior novel or a professorship. If you have flown a fighter plane in combat you have a chance of publishing a novel about flying fighter planes in combat. But if you write an even better novel about flying fighter planes in combat, but have never been a fighter pilot or published a book, your chances are very slim indeed. That novel had better be more than outstanding.

Well, here I am being a wet blanket to everyone's flames of aspiration. All I can say is don't let me do it; as though I could if I wanted to. But these things are realities that are best recognized if one wants to be 'in the game.' It is a bit like being in the actor business. There are a measly few jobs for all the capable actors that are looking for them. A Broadway play producer could theoretically put a new cast on stage every night for ten years. The realities are that the great majority of us are not going to make it. Talent, learning and drive - the absolute refusal to accept less than success - will be the field marks of those who do.

Gotta go,


Sqrl Mon Oct 4 19:50:05 PDT 1999



My deepest appologies for not visiting as well as not responding to e-mails! This is one hectic life I live!

I have been looking over my edited part . . . so far so good. I'll have time Tuesday, in between craming for an exam! ::grumble:: Morality Old and New? More like Ethics 101!

I do believe that someone calling themself "Toster" inquired about all of us, and our writings. As for me, I'm as old as I feel, and right now, with the way my back is acking up, I'd say I'm around 20 rounding 50! (give or take a few) I like to write poetry more so than anything! I have a weird obsession with smiley faces :-) as well as Barbie Dolls! (don't ask) I have been slowly selling off my Barbie collection in order to pay off my college tuition (IT'S NOT WORKING!) With any luck "S" will be a best seller, thus, making it possible for me to not have to drop out of college on account of me having to live out of my car! (which at this point is becoming more or less a reality!) I have $5.00 to my name (gas money) and have $100 in bills to pay! I have 3 pay checks on their way! Will they make it in time? Will I be able to pay off my bills before I get late fees thrown at me?

Stay tuned for more of the pathidic life of Sqrl!


"No matter how bad things get, smile, it drives people insane not knowing why you's so gosh darn happy!" §:-Þ

S.K.S. Perry Mon Oct 4 18:03:29 PDT 1999

Hey all,

I've been feeling kind of frustrated about the whole writing dream lately so I thought I'd vent here. If you're not interested, just scroll on by--you won't hurt my grubby little feelings any.

I write Science Fiction and Fantasy. I've written one novel, I'm half-way through my second, started a sequel to the first, and am shopping around four short stories. I belong to a couple of Crit Groups, participate in an on-line workshop, and I'm driving ten hours on our Thanksgiving weekend to attend a SF Writer's Convention where I've also signed up for the Workshop. I think that qualifies me as someone who's serious about wanting to be a professional writer.

Some of you here have related how you just love to write, how you have to write. I think I belong more to the Dorothy Parker school of writing--I hate writing, but I love having written. It doesn't matter; the results are the same. I write a minimum of a page a day. I can't remember who said it here recently, but they were right--there's absolutely no excuse for not writing every day, no matter how hectic your schedule, if you are serious about being a proffesional writer.

I'm a Master Corporal in the Canadian Armed Forces. I won't get into how hectic my job is. I teach martial arts, I exercise a minimum of two hours a day, a play in a classic rock band and and a Rhythm and Blues band, I have a wife and two teenage kids, and I still find time to write. Correction, I make time to write.

I guess this is where the frustrating part comes in. My dream is to be able to write full time. I think I'm pretty good at it too. I know I'm not a Hemmingway, but in the Alternative Fiction world, I think my stuff is as at least as good as a lot of the stuff on the shelves now. Of course, my own opinion doesn't count for much, which is one of the reason I workshopped some of my stuff. I wanted the opinion of people who weren't my friends and family. And you know what, the vast majority of these people think my stuff is pretty good too. Some of these people are published writers. The Del Rey Workshop selects an Editor's Choice every month from the work submitted. These winners are selected by Del Rey editors. For those of you who don't know, Del Rey is one of the giants in the American Science Fiction and Fantasy publishing industry. Out of the two samples I've submitted--one from each book--I won Runner up once, and Editor's Choice once.


I can't even get an agent or publisher to look at my stuff. The business end of writing sucks. On top of actually being able to craft a good novel, you have to know how to write a query letter, and a synopsis. If you want to write a good one, you'd better have a degree in marketing. Have you ever read the samples they give in the Writer's Market? They give examples of good queries and bad ones, with the editors comments in the margins. Are these people annal or what? Some of the things they sniped about in the bad query examples--well, let's just say that if that's the kind of thing that gets a query letter thrown out, I might as well just pull out the old ouiji board and roll the chicken bones for advice.

And of course, there's the old catch-22. You can't get a publisher to read you unless you have an agent, and you can't get an agent unless you've been published.

I really want to be a proffesional writer, but sometimes, on days like today, I don't think it will ever happen.

Rant over.

Be Well, Live Well.

philip Mon Oct 4 17:11:25 PDT 1999


You know, it's strange when you see a classic group dynamic at work, even in cybergroups like our own. Some just resent the arrival of others while others like the flux of change. It's unfortunate that the venomous subtext of posts like the following are publicly expressed here.

"I imagine every new name that I read on these pages is, in fact, a new name. My sin is not having been around long enough to have learned all that someone of more experience knows as a matter of fact. Forgive my ignorance of thinking that Philip was a new name here. I guess I should have said, "Welcome back."
I am honestly impressed by the publishing of your books. I recognise experience when I see it.
I must say that I appreciate the respect you have shown in pointing this out to me and making my resolve to be published all the stronger. I am grateful for the words of wisdom.
Time is an interesting thing, you only have enough when you don't need it. But then, we can all try, can't we?"

This is nothing but unwarranted sarcastic crap.

Of course no one here reads previous posts on the same page of welcome for any arrival (not to mention the archives or the bios). I don't expect to get a welcome ... there are some here who I don't address and they don't address me. That's fine ... we're secure enough to know we might communicate in the future. We'll simply get around to it, or not.

Back soon - PHILIP

Americo Mon Oct 4 16:42:38 PDT 1999

Welcome back, dear Avatar. I got your letter and sent a reply. You are indeed a writer and a remarkable 15 year old girl. Now do not take too long. We are putting the pieces of the puzzle in their places and want very much your pieces to fit in.

Jack and Xavier : follow the example of this prodigal daughter! The novel is going to be a best-seller!

(Money, money — ta, ta, ta, the world goes round)

Jack Beslanwitch Mon Oct 4 15:23:57 PDT 1999

I have archived back to Sunday, October 3, so that things should now load a bit faster and people who had trouble posting should be able to do so now. Just running out the door to hopefully pick up my newly updated computer. I will let you know if this is finally happening.

Avatar Mon Oct 4 15:02:11 PDT 1999

Arik- I am semi-fine as the saying goes right now. I am in a deep blue funk that has made me ashamed when philip told us of the working habits of the 'true' writer.
I am not a very lazy person. Incidentally, it occurs when I am writing. I am very afraid now of doing it alone.
I know that this is normal. This 'funk' of mine happened when I began collaborating with friends to get started. Then S' happened. S' was the best to help me get out of my block, but it contributed to my downfall.
I am absolutely ashamed of myself. I once read so many months ago that if one was a writer (a 'true' writer) one must write, write, write or die! Not in the literal sense, but a slow decaying of the soul because it could not express itself. Most of what I am writing now is my impression of that statement.
Am I a writer? I live for writing, yes, even dreams of things day by day. Yet I have gone two days without reaching my quota.
The backlash of this is that I am now having sleeping problems and weird dreams to boot. The sleeping problems started a year ago, but the weird dreams after I stopped. I have no doubts that the two are tied together.
All you 'true' writers out there- have you ever experienced such as this? Frankly, I think it's time to ask for help.

Americo- I will do my best to start up with S' again. I have always felt that I can start up there anytime. The problem is just trying to keep myself and my writing together without falling to pieces from doubt that I truly am a writer. I think that is why I am having such a problem.


Americo Mon Oct 4 14:15:11 PDT 1999

I am a bit sort of like a little busy helping John with his Dictionary of CatsEnglish but I grabbed this minute by its hair to wish you all a very good night.

Part of my job consists of picking up for him nice expressions in this Notebook and its archives. Pretty sordid task. But he is the boss now.


Jon's humble servant

Toster Mon Oct 4 13:30:35 PDT 1999

Thank you all. Rachel I love that name too ;).

well everyone... what do I need to do to get in? I"m starting to like this place :-)

Zoe Mon Oct 4 09:07:34 PDT 1999

Um... Hi. *S* ... Um... Yeah. I suppose I'm new here! Uhm. ... *Thinks* Ah yes. I'm interested in what inspires you people. ;) Looking for ideas!!
... Anyways must run, I have to go and paint the bathroom. ... Yeeeayyy! lol. Have a baked potatoe! *Hands out potatoes and runs*

(Blessings, Zoe - AKA Nicki)

philip Mon Oct 4 06:33:10 PDT 1999


Thank you for a fair and well considered review.


Rachel Mon Oct 4 05:00:54 PDT 1999

Hi all

Hayden - Hi, right back at yah! Thanks for the run down on "Lightning Mine" I wonder how long I will be able to resist tracking it down (smiles). My imagination is doing double time. I don't think I will bother to resist for long.

Gary - Hi you (hugs).

Allein - Not even a week till you get to behold my cute little self with your own eyes (grins and laughter)!

SKS - Hi you

Americo - good morning.

Toaster - I love the name. I keep thinking about "The Brave Little Toaster"

Take care all

Hayden Mon Oct 4 04:43:30 PDT 1999

Hi everyone, specially Gariess, Goodweed, Rhoda and Rachel. I've had little time to myself lately since work has blown out to something quite horrific.

Thought I'd better bring you all up to date on Philip's latest book "Lightning Mine" which I am half-way through at the moment, since he won't want to blow his own trumpet and I don't mind doing it for him.

Essentially the novel is about a geologist who finds an area in Northern Australia which is ideal for mining. The land is sacred to the people who live there but the mining company the geologist works for begins to mess with any who get in the way. The politicians get in on the act, just to make things really tough on the protagonists. Enter a brilliant Aboriginal lawyer named Jarra (Jarrah being a dark red native hardwood BTW)who takes on the international mining company even though they kill his wife and some of the people he respects. (At the moment I am only half-way through, so I don't know where it's going.)Where it all is going to end I can hazard a guess, (David and Goliath kinda thing) but what happens between my current point and the end is what will keep me reading.

First of all the book is one of those can't put down kind of books. Philip begins the book with a punchy first page with a badly burnt man sitting in the middle of an outback road while a semitrailier thunders down on him. He let's you breath a little while he puts things in context, and then the plot picks up again. Murders, fires, spearings, hit men, mysticism...on and on, giving you an insight into the gentle way of the people of the land and an insight into the nasty nature of politics. He has a nice way of filling in character backgrounds which fill in their past and also their families' pasts.

I found this one of the most interesting areas of the book: where Philip brings a sense of family and 'tribe' to all his characters. Most writers who deal with indigenous issues tend to make the focus group more 'tribal' while all the other groups are just a set of individuals. Philip has given the reader a grasp of different cultures and how they interact and he hasn't excluded anyones origin. It is a great way to build a character/

I did find his portrayal of the Prime Minister of Australia to be a little crudely fashioned, though, making the PM an Aussie bloke rather than someone capable of running a country...even if it is badly. Most of the politians and Prime Ministers I've met were articulate, clever and, in my mind, "dangerously aware" of the extent of their power. But that's a minor point. You can't please all of your readers all of the time and I've had to struggle to find something in the book to whinge about.

All in all a bloody good read. MATE :-)

Jon Mon Oct 4 03:21:41 PDT 1999

A quick one just to say Goodmorningeverybody! I am sort of like a little busy digesting "Star Wars", doubtless the best movie for children of the month (Americo, however, thinks that it is great stuff — what a delightful child that guy is!).

I thought that perhaps we could describe ourselves psychologically. You describe me first and then I'll say if I agree.

I will start this new and fantastic thread with my neigbor (this is the right spelling, ok?). He has a golden heart but an iron nisep (I do not swallow his "lingam" easily just because it is in The Kama Sutra). This means he is generous by nature but can get angry, mainly on Sundays after films like "Star Wars" when I do not agree with him. But after he explodes he becomes the angel everybody knows here and also in Africa, where he is called "The Blue Angel". (Sorry, that was Marlene Dietrich).

Your turn to make a psychological picture of me and of the rest of the gang. In the end we will drink a bottle of vinho verde (green wine, typical Portuguese WHITE wine). We can also eat some chocolates.

philip Sun Oct 3 17:41:12 PDT 1999


I'd just like to say how I despise economic rationalism. Some thing or some new philosophical concept must come soon to overwhelm this epidemic or we're doomed. All countries decision making relies to a greater or lesser degree on costs - budgets. Budgets are struck reflecting the political persuasion of those who hold power. And the World Bank makes sure everyone toes the line - including the USA as was evidenced recently by its president Clinton. If it cannot be rationalised, the poor will starve, the insane will walk the streets, only the rich will be educated and the sick will die prematurely. If it cannot be rationalised, tyrants will invade and genocide or ethnic cleansing will continue. Poorer, socially torn countries like East Timor will receive less assistance (and receive it far too late), if economics dictate it ought to receive any assistance at all.

Publishing doesn't escape economic rationalism either and my own weekly household budget falls in line.

Publishing is a business - its operators require books deliver a certain profit-to-cost ratio. Writers of economically failed books are linked to failure while writers of successful books, economically, will continue to be published.

Most publishers demand a book be of a certain minimum length, authors who want to continue to be published and make a living from their work happily comply. Books are measured in how many words make up the manuscript. Authors measure how many words they need to produce in a certain time frame in order to make a living from their work. If they don't meet this quota in a certain time frame they will soon learn how much shortfall they need to make up from other means to meet their household budget.

How a work is produced is a different matter. Some writers know exactly how long the work will be, how many chapters will divide the work, the names or headings or subject of the chapters. I'm not one of those.

Most successful writers I know agree it's a good idea to set goals and it's a good idea to develop your craft every day. But hey, do what you want.

Hi, welcome to the group ... about me? I'm a published writer: three novels, fourth is finished (in the pipeline) currently writing books five and six. Number five is an Australian outback thriller, number six is a thoroughly researched work of non fiction (about a shocking, death-row offence committed in Florida). I've written two published anthologies (one translated into German), four film screenplays and a television mini-series. I've re-written legal volumes of the Australian Death in Custody findings for the government (so ordinary people can understand them). And I've written advertising and journalistic works in England, Canada and Australia for years.

Now tell us about you.

Back soon - PHILIP

Jon Sun Oct 3 15:06:51 PDT 1999

Oops, some misprints. I will call the attention of the tipographer on duty. Sorry for those misprints.

Jon Sun Oct 3 15:04:43 PDT 1999

I saw "Star Wars" today (at last). Children's stuff, but Americo liked it a lot. He said that that film gathers the genius of the Portuguese intelligence (George Lucas is of Portuguese descendance), with American naivety (the story of the film is very naive indeed — naive, polite adjective on my part) and the extraodinary talent of the United Statesians (this word is in my dictionary, so buy it when it comes ou) for effects and their amazing intelligence concerning actors direction and other great things. (Ask Americo and he will explain to you whay he liked the movie).

I have something extremely important to tell you but my Internet time is coming to an end for now. (To this you can call the art of suspense)

Americo Sun Oct 3 14:56:41 PDT 1999

Toster: all of us are fantastic writers, but some of us do not care about fantasy fiction. There are mainstream writers and science-fiction writers on the block as well. It is fair to say that this page was predominantly used but sci-fiction writers until I came to spoil everything. But we are all good friends and acquaintances and are divided into three groups: would-be writers (not published yet), beginners (those who have published less than at least half a dozen books) and masters (those who have written much more and published at least as much or more than the last figure.

It should be noted that some would-be writers are much better than the masters, though probably not so good as the beginners. JON, a cat, is a lexicographer (among other things). He is writing "A Dictionary of CatsEnglish". Good stuff.

There are also people who do not write fiction but are excellent in other literary fields, like essay and biograaphy. The best example is Michelle. She posted here some days ago after some time in exile. I was very happy to see her post (about the meaning of Oedipus Rex, if I am not wrong). She does not like me but I love her. It has always been the great problem of my life. Welcome back, dear acquaintance. And how is Thomas? I will write him as soon as possible.

And you, rest of the gang, be ashamed for having forgottten to say welcome back to Michelle.

Toster Sun Oct 3 13:52:17 PDT 1999

Thank you all :-). it was really nice to hear from you.

Wow, so all of you are fantasy writers hey? I also LOVE fantasy... what fantasy to you read...

Dan Sun Oct 3 11:47:41 PDT 1999


Hi, names Dan. I write fantasy, working on a large project that has been brewing for well over six years... Just managed to start chipping away at my writers block with the help of the great people at this sight!

Thank you all...

Anyhow, I'd be more then happy to help or just chat with you in any way. Hope you find what your looking for here! Bye.


Arik- Toster Sun Oct 3 08:37:21 PDT 1999

Hello Toster, nice to meet you (and hello to all of you).

I"m just a fantasy writer, I"m 35, I have 2 kids and I live in israel... as simple as that :-).

what about you toster? tell us a little about yourself.

Rachel Sun Oct 3 08:04:36 PDT 1999

Hi all

Americo - Yup, it is me! I got my computer to behave and all would appear to be well with its world and the world of my server.

Toaster - I tend to write quite a lot. Sometimes I write poems, if I need a break or need to vent off some frustrations, but for the most part I write everyday prose. I try my hand at horror, science fiction, fantasy and have even made an attempt or two at romance. I would one day like to write a children's story. I've done a bit of work in this direction, but I'm not sure. I guess I just love to write. Still all that said every once in a while I will take a day off from writing, and just kick back and daydream, you know look at the coulds for animal shapes sort of thing. I can listen to the sound of the wind for hours. I also keep pretty busy with house stuff, each of my four children are in a couple of after school activities and of course none of this ever happens on the same day, nope, lets spread it out over the week (grins). I have a dog who seems to have developed a taste for adventure (laughter). Oh yes, and as Jon mentioned in a previous post I use a PC. (Is that the sort of stuff you wanted to know)? Well, there it is. So, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself?

Take care all

Toster Sun Oct 3 04:46:20 PDT 1999

Thank you all, can you people tell me about yourself?

Jon Sun Oct 3 04:41:28 PDT 1999

I used to write 1,000 words a day, like Walter de la Mare. But when I read in the diary of Virginia Wolf that she made fun of writers who worked like accountants, I started using a different (and more rewarding) method. Now I weigh 100 grams of white scented paper every morning and try to fill it with words during the day. I eat the paper I do not use. The problem is that I am becoming fat...

Rach asked me to send you a "hi". I see a Rachel here but it cannot be MY Rachel. She has having all kinds of problems with her PC and cannot get us for the moment. Perhaps next year.

(I did not know PCs can also be used to writing. I thought they were only for playing games...)

Jon at Americo's Mac.

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