Long time, no see.

Tanaquil2 at aol.com Tanaquil2 at aol.com
Sat Dec 11 11:30:52 EST 1999


In a message dated 12/11/99 10:09:36 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
sodgers at hotnet.net.au writes:

>Welcome back! I've only just got back myself from a month away... 

        Welcome back!  ;)
 
>Lots has happened, it seems.

        I KNEW it!

>We have new members, and a new round or
>introductions has brought some people sneaking shyly out of lurkdom...
>there are way many more of us than I thought there were.

        More converts to our sacred cult!  We're taking over the world!  Bwah 
hah hah!!!
 
>We've been talking DWJ Vs Roald Dahl and Susan Cooper - not Vs exactly, but
>comparing.

        Oooh!  Have to think about this one.  I wrote a brief essay-thing on 
Dahl last semester because I used to absolutely love his stuff when I was 
young(er) (ahem) but as an adult I found some aspects of his work a little 
disturbing, and I wondered why.  On the one hand he seems to have a sort of 
moral world view (evil is punished and virtue is rewarded), but on the other, 
some of the things that happen to his characters aren't particularly 
compassionate (Unlike our beloved DWJ---bowing down low...we are not worthy, 
we are not worthy...)  Anyway, I read his autobiography "Boy" and it was a 
real eye-opener and explained a lot.  I have a quote from "Boy" that I can 
dig out of the essay if anyone's curious.  I do like his subversiveness 
though, and I think that may be part of what appealed so strongly to me as a 
child and still does.  And I think there may have been something comforting 
about how black and white everything is in his world.  People are Bad or 
they're Good.  That's comforting to hear at a time (childhood) where nothing 
makes sense and people say one thing but do or mean another.  As an adult, 
though, I don't find that black and white distinction quite so comforting, I 
have to admit.
But I think DWJ is subversive too, in that she is wholeheartedly behind the 
belief that individuals should think for themselves, and take responsibility 
for themselves, and that's right up my street.  So though they both talk 
about power and the use and abuse of it, DWJ's stories seems to acknowledge 
personal power, whereas there seems to be a quality in Dahl's work, in 
places, that suggests a sort of unpredictable fate that may or may not smite 
you.  (eg: you may have the appalling luck to have evil guardians.  Or you 
may not.  It's really out of your hands, and you don't really have much say 
in overcoming them, unless fate smiles on you.  Though as I think about that, 
I think of "Matilda"--the Dahl one, not the one who told such dreadful lies 
it made one gasp and stretch ones eyes.  She took things into her own hands, 
if I remember rightly.  You know, I think there's a sort of Oliver Twist / 
Tiny Tim quality about his heroes and heroines.  Sigh....for someone who can 
easily spend half an hour in Aisle 8 at the supermarket trying to decide 
whether sugar cones or plain would be better for her daughter's halloween 
party, it's asking a lot of me to come up with a definitive opinion here!  
Except about DWJ (natch)...Her characters are real, flaws and all; nutritious 
and so delicious!
    Hmm.  Cooper.  That's another hard one.  I remember liking her work as a 
teen.  But I seem to remember something vaguely scary about her work too--I 
have a sort of 'shadowy power' impression or something.  I read her series 
too long ago (huh, try 20 years!) to be sure what it was, though.  Sorry.  
I'll dig her out and have another think.

>Nat has offered to run a kind of comparisons thing by asking us
>to list our favourite authors, books etc so he/we can compute the answers
>and find out where we meet and where we don't.

    Nat!  You sweetie!  I see a long weekend ahead of me!


>No doubt he'll give you the details.

    Please do!

 
>So, there's where we are at present, and it's been a good deal more lively
>of late, I think.

    Thank you Sally!  You are a gem!
 
Off to dig out Cooper.  Oh, and I suppose I should get an autobiographical 
thingy ready by way of introduction, though come to think of it, I may just 
have a hunt for that one I did as a newbie and send it again, because I'm 
such a lazy cow....

Oooh, it's good to be back...I can feel those juices starting to flow!
Bye for now,
--Max
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