My introduction

Ika blake at
Tue Dec 14 13:15:37 EST 2004

[this is long, but not - or not *only* <g> because I have a big head;
mostly because I've really appreciated the longer responses other people
have given, being more interested in how people *feel* about, say, their
age than in the raw data...]

Name: Ika Willis

Living in: West Yorkshire.

Age: 29 (But my girlfriend is 56, so I feel slightly detached from my
actual age, or I don't organize people into older/younger in the way that
more age-segregated people do: I expect I'm not alone in that on a list
devoted to children's books, since people are unlikely to have a great
deal of their identity invested in their age...)

[This is a cheat, because it wasn't on the original form and I was very
happy about it as I refuse to fill in the 'gender' field in forms whenever
possible; but this list is perhaps the only context in the world where I
can give what I consider to be an adequate answer, so I'm adding it in]
Gender: Cat Chant.

What I do when not playing here: Just finished a PhD in cultural studies,
so I'm teaching part-time on a Cultural Studies BA while I look for a
proper job. I'm also a moderator on the Barbelith Underground
( and I write Blake's 7, Harry Potter and DWJ fanfiction
- at least I hope I still do; the PhD ate my life and I haven't written
anything in about a year - and am about to start writing realfic.

Married/partnered/?: Well, I'm living with my True Person (Jenny), but not
'married' legally or even metaphorically (at least in the terms of our
cultures), partly because we're non-monogamous. At least, we're officially
non-monogamous, but this relationship has been monogamous in practice for
a lot longer than any of my officially monogamous relationships ever
managed. (What's that about?)

Offspring (human variety): Nope. (Not "not yet".)

Offspring (non-human): No. Might like a cat, but probably wouldn't think
of it as offspring (see above).

First DWJ/when: Eep. I have no idea. I got a lot of them out of the
library in the 80s, when I was young (eight or so?). I think Charmed Life
was the first one I owned, and it was certainly the one I read the most as
a child. My family moved abroad when I was fourteen - I put most of my
children's books in storage at that point and didn't really return to DWJ
until I was about 22 and depressed, at which point I started reading all
the ones I'd missed - HMC, Hexwood and LCC impressed me the most. Then
they brought out the shiny new editions and I started buying them all up.

Favourite DWJ: Charmed Life, if I had to pick one. A lot of my feelings
about DWJ novels are to do with which ones I owned as a child and which
ones were only in the library, though - for example, I think Power of
Three and Cart and Cwidder are certainly among the best of her books (for
me), but they haven't become part of the texture of my thinking, my
internal reference system, and I don't know passages off by heart, because
I never owned them (in fact I only read C&C for the first time last

Least favourite DWJ: A Sudden Wild Magic; Deep Secret; Fire & Hemlock.
Though Jenny tells me that *Crown of Dalemark* is going to be my least
favourite when I read it, which I am procrastinating over as apparently I
am not going to like what she does to Moril, and Moril is *me*.

(I've been really interested in other people's favourites/least
favourites, because they're so *unexpected*! I can't imagine how *Eight
Days of Luke* could be anyone's least favourite DWJ, or *Deep Secret*
anyone's favourite, for example: can anyone who listed those two elaborate
on *why*? I'd be deeply fascinated.)

Other favourite authors/books: Like Judith, I don't read much adult
fantasy; I read *some* children's fantasy, but I'd say my major preference
was for children's/YA literature.

Adult authors I like are Dennis Cooper and Geoff Ryman (The Child Garden,
Was). Children's:  Antonia Forest, Jaclyn Moriarty (I've been reading
"Feeling Sorry for Celia" and "Finding Cassie Crazy" almost continuously
for the past two years or so. I wish she'd write another book *soon*),
Noel Streatfeild (Apple Bough, The Painted Garden), Jenny Pausacker
(Sundogs, Dancing on Knives), Cynthia Voigt (A Solitary Blue), Anne Fine,
Deborah Hautzig (Second Star to the Right, Hello Dollface), Katherine
Applegate (Making Out!). I don't read much 'for younger readers', but I
like the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary and Annie Dalton's Tilly Beany

And I read a lot of cultural/critical theory, which I really enjoy,
particularly Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin.

Music: Adding my voice to Widdy's (congratulations, btw!) on The Magnetic
Fields, though I marginally prefer Future Bible Heroes. Also, Uncle Len
(Cohen), Talking Heads, the Smiths/Morrissey and other moany and/or clever
white boys with guitars and/or synthesizers.

Currently reading: A Marie Cardinale novel, La cle' sur la porte or
something, trying to teach myself to read more fluently in French.

TV and film: seconding Judith's *Pieces of April* (with a Magnetic Fields
soundtrack!) and *Mean Girls*; Black Books, Queer as Folk; seconding
Roslyn (I think it was) on the L-Word (of which my DVD has just arrived
from ebay!! Yayyy!! If you can get hold of the DVD, Roslyn, you totally
have to watch it - it gets better and better throughout the first season
to a really stunning finale which makes you need to watch the whole thing
all over again to see what you missed.) I like Buffy and Angel, and have
watched every episode a few times but the way they deal with race and
homosexuality annoys me, so I don't *love* them. I'm a big Blake's 7 fan.

Magic powers: Some combination of/somewhere between Melissa's divination
magic and Deborah's interpretation magic: my girlfriend says the way my
magic works is that it looks like I'm randomly tangling string and then it
turns into a Cat's cradle. Which is handy, since she is an empath and an
amplifier, like Tonino, working better with other people's magic, which
means that, as her True Person, I must be Cat (again) <g>.

Love, Ika

"When God changes me into a dragon, people from all walks of life will
admire me and listen to what I have to say for once in my life. Nobody
wants to listen to a scared little boy with glasses, but everyone likes
- The confusing theology of Molatar (
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