Scales was re Diana's replies

Ven ven at
Thu Apr 19 21:00:55 EDT 2001

> Hallie wrote
> I first read that as "Scales" from DLoD!  Oh well, he's entertaining AND wise.
lol. I'd forgotten about him. I decided to call it "scales" rather than 
lists because it seems to have a less judgemental ring.

> >My scale doesn't quite work, it doesn't take depth sufficiently into
> >account, and hence didn't include wisdom. 
> Mine doesn't either.  But then Melissa had to go and give her 
> four-dimensional scale, while we were just struggling with one each. 
> ;)

There are so many scales one can use, Tanya Huff, for example is 
definitely more lighthearted than dark souled but I wouldn't know 
where to put Dwj on that one -- I guess she transcends it.

> >It's funny Hallie, I'm sure Bujold does have wisdom but I've 
> >mentioned my low opinion of Austen.
> Why don't you bring that up again next time the list gets too quiet? 
> I'm sure we could have fun discussing all the ways in which you can't 
> abide Austen.  :)

Will do, though I'll have to admit to have only gotten through the 
two I had to endure for O and A level, perhaps I should make the 
effort to read a new one and get a fresh perspective (or be 
converted? Nah)..
> >And Cynthia Voigt I argue
> >with in my head all the time I'm reading her books -- so she can't
> >be wise because I don't agree with her <g>. it just goes to prove
> >how subjective all these things are.
> Well, you don't agree with all your friends all the time, do you? 
> At least you're not throwing the books out the window.  Seriously, 
> though we both started by saying we were only presenting totally 
> subjective views, I think I'm realising there are even more layers to 
> the subjectivity than I'd thought at first.
Tam Lin reference? Yes, it's a lot easier to ascribe wisdom to 
people we agree with -- and even more so to people who actually 
change our views. I was, however meaning that I seriously doubt 
Voigt's wisdom some of the time. 

> In the case of Cynthia Voigt I haven't read all her books, and don't 
> like all I've read, but some just really hit me hard.  _A Solitary 
> Blue_ possibly most of all.  Just recently, I had an Incident (Minor, 
> but not that minor in its impact), and I spent about two days 
> thinking over and over how *perfectly* my feeling was described by a 
> passage in that book.  So wisdom as I was using it probably relates 
> more to character, and ways in which people learn to understand 
> themselves and others, than to other possible meanings of the word. 
> And the kids in the Tillerman books, to me, have to learn the same 
> kinds of things about dealing with very, very difficult parents, that 
> a lot of DWJ characters have to learn.

> I think you're right about character and family stuff. I just get 
exasperated with the Tillerman family's extreme independence. As 
a child of the welfare state and a strong believer in mutual aid I 
really don't understand their rejection of any kind of help from 
outsiders, including the government. I know many Americans feel 
quite differently about this. I once worked with a woman who had 
serious eye problems that were likely to lead to blindness. She 
was originally from the States and said firmly that she had never 
applied for social security when unemployed and did not intend to 
in the future. When I pointed out she had been paying tax ansd 
national Insurance, and that providing a safety net was one of the 
things they were supposed to do, we exchanged looks of mutual 
incomprehension. Which is to say I'm not looking for an argument 
on this one. I suppose this is an example of how cultural 
differences affect judgement. 

 >I should have quoted more of your letter, I'm just starting to think
> >that there are lots of different kinds of mental enlargement you can
> >get from books. Wisdom, as you said -- one of my favourite bits of
> >Bujold is "the one thing you can't give to gain your heart's desire
> >and that is your heart" -- but there is also the purely intellectual
> >expansion that can be found in science fiction. I sometimes think I
> >can actually feel my brain expand when I encounter something
> >new.
> One reason I like Connie Willis's funny books.  Not that many writers 
> I can think of can be both high on the light (= entertaining, 
> easy-to-read) scale and expanding, as you struggle to keep up with 
> chaos theory and temporal anomalies.

Absolutey so. Btw I saw Connie Willis talking about character at a 
convention. She was one of these who has no truck with her 
characters having ideas of their own. She was describing the 
generation of the  character of the  young lad in the Domesday 
Book, Colin, as being based on practical considerations. She 
needed a character who could go between various others, so she 
made him helpful and bright. She wanted him to go where he 'd 
been told not to -- so he had to have a rebellious streak and so on.
It seemed almost shockingly mechanistic. Ever since though, 
especially when reading "TSNOTG" I had a feeling that she was 
selling herself short in some way, not acknowledging the alchemy 
of her own creativity -- her characters seemed to be a lot more than 
a collection of convenient attributes. Or maybe she did and I 
missed it while i was being shocked. 

> >Yeah puppies are good and so are kittens, but there'd be nowhere
> >to sit .............................
> ...not to mention less money for books after feeding them, and paying 
> exorbitant vet fees.  You're right.

My ex and I, many years ago, shared a bedsit that was so small, 
that when both the cats were in, as well as us there really wasn't 
anywhere for visitors to sit.  


If all the good people were clever,
And all clever people were good,
The world would be nicer than ever
We thought that it possibly could.

Dame Elizabeth Wordsworth, Good and Clever 1990
To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list