What's this list for?

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Wed Mar 28 11:07:30 EST 2001

On Wed, 28 Mar 2001 07:38:05 EST, Voicebearer at aol.com wrote:

>I joined this list recently in the hope of seeing and joining in discussion 
>about Diana Wynne Jones's books and other children's fantasy literature.

>So far there seems to have been correspondence mainly about tea, Marmite, 
>Bovril and jello/jelly. Have I hit a bad patch? Should I stay? Is it always 
>like this? Have I missed something?

For some reason, this list occasionally goes off on the subject of food.
Someone will make an innocent comment, and it sparks long discussions about
food in general.  It must be very strange to come in on the middle of it!  I
think it happens because the list membership comes from all over the world,
and we're endlessly fascinated by the things each of us takes for
granted...and what is more common than food?  But it's really not the only
subject we discuss.  

>I'm not normally a virtuous objector to cakes and ale, or to touches of 
>companionable lightness amongst people who seem to know each other quite 
>well, but if I'd wanted discussion of that I'd have joined the cakes and ale 
>list from JISCmail.

So--what would you like to talk about?  A favorite opening gambit here is
sharing how you first became a fan of Diana Wynne Jones, or which of her
books you read first.  Or which of her books you like best.  Or discussing a
plot or story element that you particularly like or dislike.

I've never liked the idea that a newcomer should have to read all the old
digest (semi-digested, half-eaten?) posts before feeling comfortable with
adding his or her voice to the conversation.  Entertaining as our archives
no doubt are, they're not holy writ.  On another list I belong to, where
people never read the archives (they're HUGE, why would you want to?), this
leads to certain discussions coming up *repeatedly*.  Some discussion groups
flame newcomers harshly when this happens: "Didn't you KNOW that we've
already settled this?"  Here, no topic is ever really settled, and new
perspectives are very important.  I can think of a few old topics I'd like
to see come round here again.  For example:

*Was it Nat who was compiling all that information about the authors we all
share an interest in?  I saw a web site where the list members had done some
fascinating things with the same kind of data, and I think we could do it

*Is _Hexwood_ really a most brilliant book, or just confused?

*I gave _Fire and Hemlock_ to a Polly who complained there were no good
heroines in books with her name.  She was...unimpressed.  Should I dump her
as a friend?  What's up with the ending anyway, and why are DWJ's endings so
frequently like this?  Specifically, the Polly's complaint was that "she
(DWJ) had ended the book and then kept on going unnecessarily," but *I've*
always felt the ending was rushed.  Anyone have any new insights?

Marie, welcome to the list.  I hope you will make yourself at home here.

Melissa Proffitt
(who according to the archives is Always Right, but it's a lie)
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