[DWJ] author flirting

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Jan 28 16:51:16 EST 2009

Charlie wrote:

>Can I make a plea for a cordon sanitaire? I don't think this list can really
>be the place it's intended to be - a forum to discuss all things DWJ in a
>relaxed and unintimidating atmosphere - if we feel that anything we say may
>be conveyed to DWJ for comment. Of course, if a person gives permission for
>their ideas or questions to be relayed to DWJ that's fine; but, while those
>of us who are lucky enough to know her can certainly bring things of unique
>interest to the list (whilst being careful to respect her privacy too), I
>think we have to beware of inadvertently inhibiting discussion. If people
>are afraid to open their mouths in a slightly critical way (not that
>Katarina *was* being critical) for fear of DWJ 'getting to hear about it'
>the discussion will be bland indeed.

Since it would be pretty one-sided to talk about what is said here if she
hasn't read it, and essentially dull for both of us, it's not what I would
call something to be considered as a very serious risk.  In case anyone is
feeling as if their shoulder were being breathed over, though, I can tell
you what I *do* do: in general, only do one of two things:

[a] ask her for an answer to a direct question -- never attributing the
question's origin by the name of the person who raised it.  (In the case of
"when *did* you meet Neil Gaiman?', today, I wanted to know for myself, as
it happened, because it struck me that I didn't know and was interested in
the answer.  Since I had to ring her anyway, I asked while I remembered.)

[b] quote things I feel she'll find funny/touching/interesting -- again,
not attributed by name.  (In the case of 'author flirting' today, because I
was entertained by it and was sure that she would be too.)

I certainly didn't think Katta was being critical, and I don't believe DWJ
did either, just found the combination of Neil and Mickey irresistably
amusing -- as she has done before.

>Of course, if DWJ wants to see what people say on the list she has only to
>lurk here and she can read it for herself. Perhaps she does - but I suspect
>she has taken the decision not to, and probably wisely.

If she really wanted to know names, she could look, but as you say, I doubt
that she does so.

The only exception to this lot might be if somebody had specifically asked
me to pass something on to her, as has happened a couple of times, and in
that case I would tell her where to find them if she wanted to, not the
other way round.  Same rules for that as for any author I know or indeed
anyone I know: I do not give someone's phone number or address or email to
anyone who asks for it, I give the asker's email or whatever to the person
and say 'Joe Bloggs wanted to get in touch', leaving it up to the person
being asked about as to whether they want to be in touch or not.  In that
case I obviously do have to mention the name, or it is fairly meaningless.

Likewise, if I pass on anything from DWJ you may be sure that unless it is
clearly in the public domain, at some point during the conversation in
which it has come up I will have said 'Oh!  Please may I tell that to the
List?' and got her consent: sometimes to the extent of writing it down on a
bit of paper so she can check that I have it right.

I hope that clears up any anxiety anyone might feel?

(To be honest, DWJ and I are far more likely to gossip about the work of
Georgette Heyer and the Heyer List than we are to discuss her work and this
list.  Or medieval poetry or the work of Saki or the folly of Them -- you
know, the ones who make daft laws at the rate of two new criminal offences
a day over the past ten years, or take Von Daniken as gospel -- or what the
proper qualification ought to be for keeping a dog, or...)


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