introduction for the third time, if this doesn't work I give up!

Tanaquil2 at Tanaquil2 at
Tue Dec 14 15:03:55 EST 1999

In a message dated 12/14//99 12:41:46 AM Eastern Standard Time,
shelton at phoenix.Princeton.EDU writes:

>I don't find 'optimism' to be quite the right term;

        Perhaps not optimism in the 'don't worry everything will turn out 
right anyway' sense.  How about that buzzword 'empowering'?  I don't care for 
the word, but I like what it means: that sense of having your power over your 
own life, your autonomy, restored.  (ie the first thing to go when someone 
has become a victim of someone or something, and one of the things you need 
for any degree of self-respect).  I feel like in DWJ's stories (esp Fire and 
Hemlock for me) there's that sense of responsibility being a two-edged 
sword-----on the one hand you get to be the captain of your fate, but on the 
other hand, now that you know who you are and what you want, what are you 
going to do that will make the best use of that knowledge, those skills?  But 
the discomfort of the one makes the value of the other that much higher.  So 
for me it's not a sort of underlying 'I *knew* everything would turn out 
right' feeling, it's more of a 'at least now there's a chance that everything 
will turn out right, it's just up to me' feeling.  About a million miles 
removed from the humiliation, and anger, and frustrated powerlessness that 
comes of being a victim.  And that may be why on the whole I'm not that fond 
of victim stories, and I think DWJ's the bee's knees!

>what I see, and what I think other people are seeing, is an
>intense understanding of (and appreciation for) humanity.  All of DWJ's
>characters are deeply fundamentally *human*, which is a big thing that
>distinguishes her from most other {fantasy/kidlit} authors.  Not just her
>children, but also her adults; not just her heroes, but also her villains.
>The Sempitern of Tale of Time City is as real and human as his son

        What she said!

>This is also why I find Dalemark uniquely
>compelling among created worlds; Dalemark has this incredible ineffable
>sense of a place populated by *people*, real human people, moving and
>acting just as real people do.  It is the furthest thing from cardboard.

        Yeah!  I always picture Dalemark as being absolutely part of planet 
earth.  It's a strong enough feeling that I keep expecting to see it on a 
map, somewhere around the Netherlands.  The other worlds are equally real to 
me; in fact I feel like those poor naive students of Sally's: they're right 
there in the book so of *course* they exist! ;)  But they're not part of 
earth, they're parallel to us; I may not know any magic to get there, but if 
I did, they'd be right there waiting to be visited.  I love in Howl's Moving 
Castle, where Sophie gets a peek at planet earth; it made me feel like there 
really was a portal to Ingary, if I could only find it.

>This is both a comforting and a discomforting thing.  While DWJ takes an
>overall positive view of human-ness, it also means that she faces the
>reality that some people are not really pleasant at all, to disturbing
>degrees;  it is a deep honesty about the realities of being human, which
>will always be discomfiting to some extent.

        Yeah, again!

>This is a very clumsy and terse way to say

        Not at all!

>Kaluza-Klein gravitons

        Doctor!  Look Out!  The Kaluza-Klein Graviton!  It's right behind you!

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