Scales was re Diana's replies

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Fri Apr 20 16:32:28 EDT 2001


>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.

How about light-souled but often sad-hearted?? :)

>  > >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.

Did I make a Tam Lin reference there unwittingly?  I still can't see 
it. I actually meant to put a smiley, in order to indicate that you 
argue with friends, and probably feel that they have wisdom enough to 
be argued with, but less when they're disagreeing with *you*.  But as 
I forgot it this just sounds pompous.  Oh well.

>  > 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 wasn't about to give you an argument on this!  I've always felt 
that the extreme independence was really something which *could* be 
positive taken to such a length that it became a serious character 
flaw.  The Gram in the Voigt books felt to me rather akin to someone 
Granny in F&H could have become, had she had a lifetime of dealing 
with a bitter and abusive spouse, all the tragedies with children, 
instead of having one tragedy and trying to deal with it as best she 
could.  She's clearly shown to be flawed (that sounds pompous again 
and cliched, but I'm blanking out on another way to present it), but 
struggling to change as much as she can.  Dicey - also very clearly 
not perfect, indeed, often not even likeable - and her mother I'd 
felt responded in the way they did partly out of fear/knowledge that 
help would not be given without excessive interference.  All the kids 
would probably have been taken from the mother into care, and Dicey 
saw how Sammy and Maybeth could have been badly damaged, by 
well-meaning people trying to give help.

>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.

Wow.  I think I'd have found that really depressing!  Although I'd 
still love to get to one of these big conventions.

>  > >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.

My mother's two (large and white-hairy) dogs have taken over the sofa 
in her living-room.  So the distinction between *real* visitors and 
friends is whether the dogs are evicted, the sofa uncovered, and 
people actually able to sit on it.  I was determined not to make the 
same mistake, and so trained Bell carefully - she now only sits on 
the sofa when we're out or in bed.  Such obedience.


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list