Tuesday, June 17, 2003

oddments of all kinds

I really like copyright. I think copyright is a good thing. Copyright is what feeds me, for a start. Still, if there was ever a pro-copyright approach that made me instinctively want to put on a Support Piracy tee shirt, it's this article from the Washngton Post: Hatch Takes Aim at Illegal Downloading. It begins...

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Tuesday he favors developing new technology to remotely destroy the computers of people who illegally download music from the Internet.


Meanwhile I found myself fascinated by the idea of the Pan-African Big Brother uniting a divided continent.

Let's see:

Hi Neil,

Someone asked recently if the Neverwhere DVD was going to be sold in the chain stores. It is now listed in Borders' inventory system but as of yet, no copies have been allocated to individual stores. (This is not uncommon. Most of the time stores won't get stock info. on upcoming titles until 4-8 weeks before the release date.)

Borders Mole

Thank you, mole.

Hey Neil,

Were you ever in a writer's workshop class where your "peers" critiqued your work? If so, how did keep from slitting your wrists after you heard people tear apart your work as if it were nothing? I find that this class is shattering my dreams of wanting to be a writer. I guess what I'm really asking you is why must I fail at everything I attempt? But then again you can't answer that because you don't know me.huh.

Jason Madsen

I was, yes, in the UK Milford SF Writer's Workshop a couple of times in the mid 80s. I learned a lot from the two I went to (I learned more listening to people like John Clute and Rachel Pollack and Lisa Tuttle and Gwyneth Jones talk about what they'd read that I'd also read -- and missed most of what they'd picked up -- than I did from people reading or criticising my stories).

It sounds like you're in either the wrong writer's workshop class, or the wrong kind of workshop for you. While some people respond to criticism with a "hah! you bastards! I'll show you all!", most people respond with a rather sad "oh dear," and often put the story away in a dark place so no-one can ever see it again. You may be better off seeing if you can find a group of likeminded people, in the flesh or on-line, who can simply be supportive of each other's writing.

Or you could console yourself by reading this article, which strongly suggests that writing books is something only crazy people do (which will undoubtedly make my kids feel vindicated: they've been convinced their father was several piccolo players short of a full orchestra for many years).


And those of you who asked about "Supernacular" I found this over in the BREWERS Phrase and Fable section of

Supernaculum The very best wine. The word is Low Latin for �upon the nail,� meaning that the wine is so good the drinker leaves only enough in his glass to make a bead on his nail. The French say of first-class wine, �It is fit to make a ruby on the nail� (faire rubis sur l'ongle), referring to the residue left which is only sufficient to make a single drop on the nail. Tom Nash says, �After a man has drunk his glass, it is usual, in the North, to turn the bottom of the cup upside down, and let a drop fall upon the thumb-nail. If the drop rolls off, the drinker is obliged to fill and drink again.� Bishop Hall alludes to the same custom: �The Duke Tenterbelly exclaims `Let never this goodly-formed goblet of wine go jovially through me; ' and then he set it to his mouth, stole it off every drop, save a little remainder, which he was by custom to set upon his thumb-nail and lick off.�

from which we get "supernacular" meaning the very best, or first rate...