Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Tue Dec 14 16:40:49 EST 1999

Well, I'm coming in a bit late, but will do this anyway.  Great idea, Elise.

I'm Hallie - how amazing to have had Becca introduce herself as Hallie's
daughter - for many years now I've been mostly Becca's or Cara's Mum.
Refreshing change.  I'm 41, divorced and living in Dublin for the last four
years.  Actually, to be specific, we live in Dalkey, home of the rich and
famous, God help us.  The Edge (U2 for non-fans), Chris De Burgh, Maeve
Binchey and Neil Jordan are all here, and Bono is just down the road.
Today I discovered that Michael Flatley looked for a house here too - but I
can assure you that no one of the sort was fighting to get hold of our
house before I did.

My father was an Irish writer, who died when I was seven.  Childhood was
spent between Annapolis, Md. and Dublin, with the bulk here.  I've a B.Sc.
in Biochemistry, which I value extremely little, except for the fact that I
can say I survived it.

Luckily I was born into a book loving family, as I can hardly imagine that
I would have Made It Through without books.  Jane Austen was probably my
favourite author from the age of 11 on, but also Arthur Ransom, Rosemary
Sutcliff, Joan Aiken (only the early few, of course, as I'm old), C.S.
Lewis, Tove Jansson, Le Guin, Tolkien and others - and always Jane Austen,
again and again.  One of the moments which scarred my mind, was when I was
sent to live with my grandparents, as my dad was very ill, and was told
that I would not be allowed to read in bed there!  Aaargh.

I have to confess to being a very recent convert to DWJ, only a few years
ago.  Of course, conversion only took discovery!  In all honesty, I'm not
sure I could say DWJ Changed My Life, for without the list, I might have
just loved her and been unchanged.  But the list has, definitely.  I think
I would have to describe myself as a recovering powerless/helpless type.
Is there a way to say that important lessons can be gleaned from DWJ books
for types such as meself, *without* using the words "issues" or "messages"?
Be that as it may, discussions here have helped wonderfully.

There is something energy-releasing about having done something which
terrifies you, and several months after starting to post on the list, I
signed up for a writing class - NOT the sort to which you bring the
half-finished novel and twenty nine poems you wrote since last week, but
the sort in which you are greeted with words from Pat Schneider's book "A
writer is someone who writes", and then get a starting point and just
write.  Very exciting.  I also signed up for an Open University course,
which supposedly starts in February, but we've already been given about 50
hours of work (finished), an essay (first draft finished), the realization
that this is going to require a much bigger letterbox and more bookshelf
space, and the words of wisdom "time management is going to be the Monster"
from our tutor.  It's the equivalent of half-time regular university study,
so soon I too will be able to say I'm reading posts instead of studying -
much more satisfying than instead of say, washing the floor!

I'm also a rotten house-cleaner, organizer and weeder, but make a great cup
of tea and good gingerbread.  I love herbs and grow them both for culinary
purposes, and drying for sachets, dried arrangements and the like.
Traditional folk music would mostly be my favourite, Altan, Deanta, Planxty
etc, but I've added Dead Can Dance, thanks to Elise's brave recommendation.
Can't sing, dance, act or draw, ...uh, but I do embroider - though mostly
these days it takes me forever to finish things, as it can only be done
when watching television, not reading or being on the computer.  I also run
the children's book section at our church's annual fete (pronounced, oddly
enough, "fate" - is there some hidden meaning in this???), which I cannot
say is Entirely Altruistic of me.  It does help to some extent with weeding
out books we don't love enough to keep, a crucial and on-going struggle.

The bit about my dad having been a writer is possibly topical, actually, as
my mother has always said that being the widow of a writer is a full-time
job.  At regular intervals, problems with publishers and agents drive her
to hair-pulling distraction.  She gets a peculiar gleam in her eye and says
"When I'm dead and gone, *you* will have to do all this."  I now know
exactly how Christopher felt as he saw Chrestomanci-dom descending on

Hallie - the first true dog-person to testify?
hallieod at

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