Boris Karloff in Therapy

An attractive woman with short hair and glasses holds a notebook and sits upright. She's the archetypal psychologist.

Her patient is seated in a comfortable leather chair with an ottoman.

"So have you tried any of the techniques we discussed last week?"

"I tried, really I did." His voice had a deep, unmistakable timbre touched with a gentleness that was genuine.

The man continued: "I'm hopelessly typecast. The other actors all get the good parts. I'm sure they're talking behind my back to the studio executives about my not being able to break the mold."

"Do you think it's going to help your cause if you attend cocktail parties in costume, like you did two weeks ago?" The doctor spoke quietly and looked him straight in the eyes.

"I told you already, it was at Crawford's house so I snuck in the back door past where her daughter and some other kids were playing. You shoulda seen them scream. I think one little girl fainted. Ha ha ha. Joan thought it was really, really funny."

The therapist paused. "Don't you think that if you were to conform to standards of dress and behavior more appropriate for a celebrity of your stature you'd have less problems with being typecast?"

Karloff's voice rose, "You mean my dress and my behavior are not normal?"

"No, no. Who knows what 'normal' is. I read once that a little girl said that normal is just a setting on a washing machine. It's what makes us different from others that makes us special; and Boris, you are indeed a very special person."

"Why thank you." He paused to give the compliment some thought.

"Remember what we were talking about, Boris. If you hate someone, it's just going to occupy space in your head, rent-free. You may even think that people are your enemies merely because they get the part. But it's your job to roll with the punches and keep on living. And should you find out that someone is indeed your enemy, forgive them. Love your enemies, Boris, and it will empower you to rise to new heights of happiness and contentment with yourself. Our time's up for today. I'll see you next Thursday at 3:00."

"Oh, thank you, doctor. I find our visits so helpful."

He walked out the door, halfway down the block and got into the hearse idling at the curb at the corner of 65th and Second Avenue.

— Crafted in the spirit of crass commercialism for Lost Gems of Yesteryear

The Lost Gems of Yesteryear quest requests not only that we name some oldies but goodies but that we find a way to promote them. Having chinged all three of my nominations Chinging is not a option. So I think I'll tell you about these three nodes and the role they played in my life.

Reading A message from sensei by sensei marked the beginning of my desire to understand the back story of his absence. I became a noder here Feb 26, 2001. A message from sensei appeared Dec 17, 2000. He was gone before I arrived but that node helped me to realized that E2 is indeed a community. If you have not yet read sensei you may find his work fascinating. Sensei was E2's elder statesman for a time. He made peace and fun happen as well as his share of chaos. He dispensed love and wisdom. I wish I'd been here a bit earlier but I feel blessed to have his words.

Writing for a wider audience by BlueDragon appeared after I learned to love the people not just the words here. BlueDragon is a remarkable writer. She also gives some good advice in this node on the process of writing. You may enjoy her other nodes as well. They are full of natural history, beauty, and insights...also a lot of Brit pride and humour, both serious and tongue in cheek.

Cinnamon and star anise poached chicken with Hainan rice by sneff inspired me to actually try one of his legendary recipes. He used to post pictures on his homenode of the product. Yum. That man can talk some good food. Maybe someday I'll taste it when he cooks it. But through his generosity I did taste this dish. My daughter xie (don't bother, she signed up but never noded) and I really enjoyed the cooking and the eating. Mmmmm she is home from college at the moment. I think I'll see if she wants to go for a repeat.

My book Sparks and Shadows came out a couple of months ago, and I've been hearing from excited noders who got their copies in the mail. Everyone who ordered a copy has my delighted thanks.

The book is a signed, limited-edition trade paperback, mostly aimed at regular SF/F/H readers, but also aimed at book collectors who're willing to gamble $19 that I'll become a big-name writer someday and they'll be able to auction their copy off for three or four times what they paid for it. That sort of thing can happen; if you bought a copy of the $50 limited edition of Brian Keene's The Rising when it first came out, you could sell it for $345 on Ebay today.

But, most readers aren't book collectors/speculators. The $19 cover price is very fair for 356-page book with a small print run; the publisher priced the book pretty close to what it's costing them to produce them. Paper is expensive, and so is good cover art and shipping boxes of signature sheets between two countries. Most big publishers price their books 60-70% more than the production cost, and accordingly demands a 55% commission on every book sold. HW Press didn't go for a big markup because they wanted people to be able to afford the books.

Even so, $19 is a lot of money if you're on a limited budget. Heck, the $7-$8 you pay for a standard paperback is a whole lot more than it used to be, and sure enough, as book prices have gone up, sales have gone down. It's a problem for every publisher.

Another problem, particularly for small presses, is the loss of books in shipping. HW Press received most of the books in fine condition, but a couple of boxes looked as if the UPS guys had hurled them off a shipping dock. The 3-ply sturdy cardboard boxes were split at the seams, and the books inside were damaged.

Fortunately, the books were insured by the printer. The printer told HW Press to strip the damaged books -- that is, rip the front cover off -- and mail the covers back and she'd be reimbursed.

Despite what you might see in used paperback swap 'n shop stores, stripped books are not legal to sell. The book vendor or print client stripping the books is supposed to dump the books in the trash or the recycling bin ... or give them away.

The woman running HW Press felt bad about ripping covers off the damaged books, books she'd worked so hard to get into print in the first place, and she felt worse about just dumping them in the recycling bin. A book is meant to be read, even if it's banged up and missing its front cover.

So, she telephoned me: "Do you want me to send you these stripped books? You can't sell them. If you sell them we all get in trouble with the printer."

Me: "Heck yes, I want them! I will not sell them. I will send these books to reviewers who don't mind getting a stripped copy. I will release them with BookCrossing labels."

And I will send them to noders.

HW Press sent me the copies shortly before Hot Damn 5 and I took a couple of copies to the nodermeet. The books have sound spines and the pages are all firmly in place; in other words, they're perfectly readable, even if they're a bit unlovely and a few have some stray ripples from where the boxes sat on my porch getting rained on while I was at work.

So, message me if you'd like one of these copies. Unfortunately, shipping is not cheap. It will cost me about $3.50 to get a padded envelope and send a copy via media mail to someone in the U.S. It's $7 to send a book to Canada and $11 to send a copy to the UK, Europe, Australia, etc.

10/5/07 Update: I'm out of copies.

Lost Gems of Yesteryear is an excellent idea. Soundtrack right now: The Pot, by Tool.

My choices are clear. They are the tripod upon which the rest of everything2 is perched in horror and splendor.

What is more interesting than the quest itself, is all the ones I did not pick. What a list! Listen, I'm not trying to imply that my list is better than your list of "best writeups ever", but folks, it really is. I was going to say, "So you lose," but you don't. I don't win either. But these writers do. Where shall I start? Any writeup that I mention next is a part of this list.

When I first /msg'ed Brawl, I can't remember exactly what I said, but I said something like, the only reason that I didn't pick "Happy Birthday from Planet Motherfucker" was because the word 'fuck' is in there. It's brilliantly and vibrantly written, the prose is filled with momentum and energy from the first sentence. I didn't notice it at first; I was too busy enjoying "Fifteen Elvish Ways To Die" and "Welcome to role-playing game." It's one of those stories where you root for the bad guy, and I love those. But... is our hero a bad guy? But I realized quickly that while in my estimation there is one writeup I think is best, there are many that are very, very friggin' good.

I didn't pick "Why The Willow Weeps", because I loaned my copy of Humane Society to my ridiculously intelligent and well-read mother, and she loved it.

I didn't pick "God" by God because it isn't there any more.

I didn't pick "For a boat of white bone, and we three" because as excellent as it is, I haven't the slightest idea what the paragraph starting with "i was loved.." is doing there. And I never have. It's probably beyond my mind; I'm not exceptionally gifted as far as tasks like, say, comprehension and retention of data, are concerned.

Perhaps "THE LOUD NODE" and "Fuck plate tectonics" best describe what E2 was. I could have also thrown "Ham and Motherfuckers" and "Olde English "800"" due to it being those writeups specifically that made me stay here. Probably you could include "E2 is unfriendly to New Order" in this paragraph.

"Summit in Savannah" was the first (and only, maybe?) time that I have ever had occasion to genuinely enjoy anything that was collaboratively-written.

I didn't pick "Sex Games," even though it contains the following sentence of fucking flawlessly-executed English (at least, in my brain): "We graduated to talking dirty out of necessity, because I couldn't bring myself to make any noise, even when we were sure there was no one home to listen. I was not alone." There's a place in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath that says something about not being an owner unless one were cold. If someone can find me the line, please /msg me. This line hit me as hard as Steinbeck did, and that's fair praise for Hatshepsut. I suppose the sentences require explication, but that is provided by context, so go read it.

Soundtrack right now: Save Me, by The Tea Party.

"torch singer" pretty much means the world to me.

"Magnolia" and "L. Ron Hubbard" are the two best factual writeups on this website. Both have excellent and disparate voices.

"A Canadian Apology" probably amuses me solely because I'm Canadian, and the author of the piece is fucking crazy good at throwing words around. For the same reason, "Canada" by Palpz is a huge writeup. It's also well-written and has an undercurrent of humour to it.

Soundtrack right now, last one: Octopus's Garden, by The Beatles.

"Revelation of the Lamb in Four Parts" is amazing, the intensity is akin to the last shot of the movie "The Blair Witch Project", in which we see the young man standing in the corner, hear the young woman's screams. (Interestingly, the piece is written with very little idiom. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but the author sounds to me like a sixty year-old newspaperman, weary of his days at the office, drinking too much and brooding over the life of literary fame never providentially bestowed. And creases isn't that; he is, however, dangerous, and should not be allowed around children, women, or senior citizens. You have been warned.) And since we're here in the horror section anyway, check out "Bag of Crushed Child" by hero and, most likely, my arch-nemesis, Jet-Poop. Rat Bastard had me going to and shit.

I wanted to put a word in about "Son of a Preacher Man," too, while I'm at it. I totally thought that one dude was a different dude. I can't explain it. (The one by graceness! I got in trouble for not mentioning that!)

In my estimation, "How did I get here, Sarah?" is the best writeup on (in?) the whole website. Don't tell anybody, but I'd kind of really like to hug junkpile for writing it. And then I'd say "Thanks," catch a bus, and go.

The thing is? There's lots more. I'm going to take a week or so off at the end of August, and I've been writing every day (my health is an issue a lot these days), so if I can, I'll provide a bigger writeup like this one, or at the very least, a bigger list. This is all the writings I thought off in one sitting, there are many, many more that I could have added. And I will. Here's all the writeups I've mentioned. Please read them all:

Lost Gems of Yesteryear, Happy Birthday from Planet Motherfucker, Fifteen Elvish Ways To Die, Welcome to role-playing game, Why The Willow Weeps, For a boat of white bone, and we three, THE LOUD NODE, Fuck plate tectonics, Olde English "800", Ham and Motherfuckers, E2 is unfriendly to New Order, Summit in Savannah, Sex Games, torch singer, Magnolia, L. Ron Hubbard, A Canadian Apology, Canada, Revelation of the Lamb in Four Parts, Bag of Crushed Child, Son of a Preacher Man, How did I get here, Sarah?. Also? I am a robot.


Day three of Lost Gems of Yesteryear sees us add 7 writeups to the master list, and all of them by authors new to the list! I wanted to type 'fresh writeups' but of course that's untrue. But hopefully some will be new to you, which is entirely the point. We also have some excellent supporting writeups from our quest submitters, several of which you'll find in this day log node.

Writeups nominated on or about 3 August 2007:

Brawl's choice: Panama Hat

One of my choices is Panama Hat by GrouchyOldMan. PH is, to me, an outstanding example of an e2 factual node. Done well, an e2 factual can be vastly different than an encyclopedia-style article, and PH is done very well indeed. It's written by someone who knows his topic, and has done the research, but more importantly it's written by someone who cares. Passion for the subject makes the material engaging. Good writing on e2 is not dry, and not 'neutral' -- it is personal, it is vibrant, it is one person telling others about something that matters to them.

Read this writeup and you'll learn all that needs knowing about Panama Hats, and you'll probably be amazed at how much there is. Yet there are no detours, no filler, just a thoroughly readable journey into the myriad complexities of this unassuming millinery item. But better yet, read this and you'll know something about a person who owns a Panama Hat.

Well late, late last night we got back from our vacation to Daytona Beach, Florida. That trip could have been better for a number of reasons but that's not what I'm here to tell you about today.

We just had out first ultrasound this morning (why we spent less than a week on the vacation and get back by this morning). Yes, we're pregnant again, and unlike last time this time things are going quite well.

Too well in fact.

"You're having twins," the doc said.

"Are you joking?" I replied.




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