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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Tuesday, February 04, 2003 - 04:20 pm:   

Welcome. For strangers who might happen to drop in, allow me to introduce myself as someone who wears three hats. In my oldest and most comfortable hat, I'm a writer who's published the equivalent of three books of short fiction in a variety of anthologies and magazines (with the lion's share in Asimov's SF). A bibliography of my fiction and a few of my stories can be found at my website <http://ltimmel.home.mindspring.com>. Wearing another of my hats, I'm a critic, mostly of science fiction. I contribute a regular column to _Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet_ and the odd essay to other publications like NYRSF, _Foundation_, and _Paradoxa_. I've posted a fair amount of my criticism on my website. Most recently, I've taken to wearing an editor's hat over at Fantastic Metropolis <http://www.fantasticmetropolis.com>. You can find a photo of me and a couple of my editorials there, as well as a list of what I enjoyed reading in 2002.

I don't much like talking about work in progress (other than to say that, as usual, I'm juggling a number of projects at once). But I'm happy to report that I've just finished writing my first political fable and found the work so much fun that I'm hoping to try my hand at writing another one soon. North American writers haven't done much with the political fable-- though this, obviously, may change, given the current political climate today in the USA. Two of my favorite examples of the form are Italo Calvino's marvellous "The Lost Regiment" (which can be found in the collection _Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories_, published by Pantheon in 1995), and Louisa Valenzuela's baroque _Bedside Manners_ (Serpent's Tail, 1995). I recommend both tales for readers who enjoy cutting their anger and fear with humane (albeit satirical) humor.

Timmi Duchamp
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Robert Wexler
Posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 06:40 am:   

Hi Timmi,

I like your hats. Would like to see more of them, in a collection.

Can't remember if I've read that Calvino story (I've only read part of that collection). I'll pull it off the shelf, and read it, and I'll look for the Valenzuala book. Can't have too much political fable right now.

Are you going to Wiscon this year?

Robert
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2003 - 03:12 pm:   

Hi, Robert. Anent WisCon this year: yes! I missed last year, & two years without WisCon constitutes a hardship.

The world of mainstream politics certainly seems to be finding great art both inconvenient & uncomfortable lately. Last week the White House canceled an event intended to celebrate Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, & Langston Hughes (two of whom the current occupants would no doubt consider discreditable to "American values," which suggests to me that the right hand didn't know what the left hand was up to in scheduling such an event in the first place) on the grounds that the poets invited to attend would be "inappropriately" putting politics into their poems.

& then this morning I read that a tapestry of Picasso's _Guernica_ was covered up in Colin Powell's (i.e., the US Government's) honor on the occasion of his speech at the UN this morning. A UN spokesperson said they did this to preserve Powell from being photographed next to the "backside of a rearing horse." (Or, as I read it, a "horse's ass.") One might also wonder if they hoped to keep viewers from being reminded of the historical scene _Guernica_ depicts, Picasso's reasons for doing the painting, & the ostensible reason the tapestry was hung outside the Security Council in the first place. & in fact, another publication reporting on the story-- artdaily.com-- said "A diplomat stated that it would not be an appropriate background if the ambassador of the United States at the U.N. John Negroponte, or Powell, talk about war surrounded with women, children and animals shouting with horror and showing the suffering of the bombings."

I think, though, if I were writing a piece of fiction in which that tapestry was covered up on the occasion of a speech like the one Powell gave, I'd cast the action more as a move to spare the shame of such an irony to a great piece of art. Pieces of art don't have feelings in real life, of course, but in a political fable they *might*.

Timmi
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Forrest
Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 03:04 pm:   

Excellent! I will see you both at Wiscon, then. Timmi, do you need a tour of my fine city? I give good tours - Robert can attest to that (or refute that).

Forrest
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Thursday, February 06, 2003 - 04:32 pm:   

It will be a pleasure to meet you, Forrest. The sad fact is that I've yet to meet many people I've chatted with via email. As for Madison, I must confess that all I know of your fine city is State Street & a small part of the campus. So yes, if there's time, I'd love to take you up on your offer.

Timmi
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Robert
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 06:16 am:   

Oh no! I was hoping to warn you first. A Forrest tour. Beware! But I won't let him take you any place dangerous. Last year we were trapped in the mole people's secret lair for hours.

Robert
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Friday, February 07, 2003 - 09:19 pm:   

Not the *mole* people! I'm *shocked*! I'd heard stories of them lurking in their lairs in other cities (though never in Madison, which *looks* so normal & decent), but being a sensible sort always dismissed such tales as the veriest Urban Legends. Thank you so much for warning me, Robert. Is it true that these creatures's fondest pleasure consists in deriding & ridiculing the naturally shy & retiring? If so, one could see that writers would be their perfect target group-- & Forrest an invaluable confederate for their malicious (not to say malevolent) purposes.

I am in your debt!

Timmi
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Forrest
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 10:59 am:   

Actually the mole people were once graduate students. Now they lurk in the depths of the graduate school library, poring over dark tomes until the small hours. I almost became one of them, but, thankfully, escaped through the literature section.

And you have to admit, Robert, while we were trapped in the mole people's secret lair for hours, there was some really fine reading down there! It's not so bad once you get used to the squeaking sounds and the dark aisles of books. No, really, it's fine. We'll spend some time with the mole people, Timmi and Robert . . . lots and lots of time.

Quality time.

Mwahahahahaha!

Forrest
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Holly Wade Matter
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 04:03 pm:   

Here's a quick "hi" to you, Timmi. I am off to the land of Cup Soup.
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Saturday, February 08, 2003 - 11:20 pm:   

Hi, Holly. You do realize, don't you, that you've left me with the image of you swimming in a giant soup cup (like the kind that used to be so popular in the 70s, but which I never see anymore)?

As for the mole people, now that I realize they're former graduate students who couldn't resist the fierce magnetism of the library when it finally came time for them to leave the demanding, often inscrutable tomes for that crazy little thing called "life," it's become obvious why so many awful stories are told about them. (Who, who hasn't oneself been a graduate student, could possibly empathize with eternal graduate students?) In fact, it seems likely that I hold an unconscious memory of them (however powerfully repressed), glimpsed, perhaps, in the depths of the stacks during my own graduate student days. That would explain the recurring dreams (or should I rather call them *nightmares*?) I have endured since the end of my graduate student days, dreams of inexplicable terror & sadness stalking me through those very stacks, beckoning me to join them in the darkness. . .

Timmi
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Nancy Jane Moore
Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 06:05 am:   

Hi Timmi:
While visiting the mole people was certainly the "low" point of Forrest's tour of Madison, there were compensations. Forrest not only knows all about the current uses of all the buildings in town, he knows what they used to be. And what happened to the former occupants. I can't quite remember how we got to local politics from architecture, but clearly every building is a story.
(Reminds me of my grandmother, who always had a story about any of her knick-knacks you happened to admire.)
And I, too, will be glad to meet you at Wiscon. Hope you're going to read something!
Nancy
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 12:57 pm:   

Hi, Nancy-- since both you & Robert did, actually, escape (apparently intact) from the mole people, it strikes me that only the rankest coward would decline such compensations. Forrest's tour would certainly add some, er, depth, to my experience of Madison.

It's been awhile since I've read at WisCon, so I was indeed planning to read this year. By the way, your "SF by Starlight" piece on "The Fool's Tale" gratified me immensely. Thanks very much!

Timmi
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Nancy Jane Moore
Posted on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 06:26 pm:   

The pleasure was all mine. "The Fool's Tale" is a great story. Among other things, it helped me understand my uneasiness with "Twelfth Night."
Nancy
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Stepan Chapman
Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 04:49 am:   

Yes, "The Fool's Tale" is a lovely piece of work.

Hello, Ms. D. I trust that you are well and keeping warm.

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Forrest
Posted on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 11:44 am:   

so, Timmi, will you be reading from "The Fool's Tale" at Wiscon, then? If so, I probably ought to have copies of Lev 3 to sell, eh?

and are you planning on attending Norwescon as well? Alas, I am unable to make the trip.

forrest
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Holly Wade Matter
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 12:18 am:   

Timmi, you know my giant soup cup/swimming pool is Harvest Gold, don't you? A very '70's color. And it's filled with a comfortably warm navy-bean-with-bacon soup. Lord, I smell good ...

"The Fool's Tale"! I love that story. Must buy copy of _Leviathan Three_.
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 04:37 pm:   

Dr. Chapman! How civil of you to inquire after my health. I regret to report that although I have indeed been keeping warm, I am nonetheless suffering from a (relatively) mild cold with all the usual symptoms. (This is my excuse, you see, for having been absent from this board for so long.) My compliments to you.

As to what I will read at WisCon: I haven't yet decided, Forrest. I'll be attending the Philip K. Dick Award ceremony at Norwsecon (though not, I think, the con itself, given my current state of being overbooked-- which I am hoping will not become a permanent condition), representing the Ministry. (Does representing the Ministry entitle me to a title, Forrest? If I can't be a Minister, I'd happy to be an Ambassador.) Jeff V. seems to think I might be encouraged to read excerpts from Lev 3 at the ceremony. My first thought at the idea of attempting to read anything from "The Fool's Tale" is one of sheer panic. All that Jacobean English! (& I'm no Glenda Jackson, you know.) In any case, please do bring copies of Lev 3 to sell. I promise an inspiring (if not inspired) reading.

& Holly, yes, you must buy a copy. Somehow, some way, though doing so will not be easy in our bustling, bookstore-rich city. Have you noticed that they don't stock it at the University Bookstore? Someone I know has decided not to shop there any more because she's so pissed at Dwayne for refusing to carry it. (She even sent him copies of some of the reviews, but received silence for a reply.) They never did carry Lev 2, either, though I asked them to myself. In fact, they don't carry any of the Ministry of Whimsy's books. . .

Nancy, I know *exactly* what uneasiness you mean. I've always been in love with certain aspects of the play, but never content with the ending (which always made me sad & melancholy, even though it's meant to be understood as "happily-ever-after"). & was always feeling an undercurrent almost sinister running beneath the play's surface. I recall having had a conversation about this with a friend (who at the time was in the midst of a major infatuation with Shakespeare) once. I probably shouldn't reveal how much time I devoted to this story (since I knew, even as I was writing it, that it would be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to sell), but I spent the entire first month reading the texts of the narratives Shakespeare drew on for the plot & characters as well a history of past performances of the play &, of course, dozens of pieces of scholarship analyzing the play. Then, of course, I had to read as many early 17th-century texts (especially those written by women, since the fool was a woman) as I could get my hands on in order to soak in the style of Jacobean prose, which is wonderfully flush with metaphor & wit. I'm sure most "pro" writers would say that spending that much time on a single story is a crime of self-indulgence. But I say, defiantly, that I loved every minute of it.

Timmi
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 04:42 pm:   

I've got a good relationship with University Books, I'll see if I can bludgeon him into stocking Ministry now that it's an NSB imprint.

Jason
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 05:44 pm:   

Thank you, thank you!

Timmi
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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 08:56 pm:   

Seconded!

Forrest

PS: Timmi, you are hereby dubbed "Propogandical Ambassador for the Ministry of Whimsy delegation to Norwescon".
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JeffV
Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 09:29 pm:   

Yes, I'll be the first to admit it hasn't been easy getting copies of Leviathan 3 unless ordered through Amazon. NS is an entirely different kettle of fish. Although they will still have to order Lev3 through Prime. However, I should soon have some copies available, which could be sent to Dwayne, at the normal discount. Leviathan 4 will be stocked by everyone.

And thanks again for agreeing to be our Minister of Speechifying & Fiction Reading. :-)
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Nancy Jane Moore
Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 05:07 am:   

I can't say I'm surprised by the work that you put into "The Fool's Tale," because it was so clear to me as I read that you absolutely knew what you were writing about. There is an air of authorial certainty about the story, which is one of the many things that makes it good.
Besides, part of the fun of being a writer (or any kind of artist, really) is becoming obsessed by something and following it all the way down, regardless of whether you're going to get anything practical out of it.
Nancy

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Holly Wade Matter
Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 10:23 pm:   

I'm surprised and disappointed to hear that about the U Bookstore.

However, our much-beloved and lamented Ravenna PCC is now a Third Place Books. I'm sure they'd be happy to order in a copy for me.

Timmi, if you haven't checked them out, you ought to. It's a good space, and the woman who books the readings is quite eager to make a go of it as a venue. I'm certain she'd be delighted to talk to you if you wanted to read there to promote the anthology. I need to do some sorting through piles of paper to find her name, but I'll let you know when I do.
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 - 10:41 pm:   

I'll definitely check it out. Thanks, Holly. & please do let me know if/when you manage to find her name.

Timmi
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 01:21 am:   

I've had a nice talk with Duane, at University Books, and he'll (at the very least) be stocking all pre and post-Prime Ministry titles. He's going to try to get copies of Leviathan 3 from Ingram, particularly since it's a PKD finalist.

Jason
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 08:57 pm:   

This is very fine news, Jason. Thanks again. I saw this afternoon that he's laid out copies of the other PKD award finalists on a small table, & hung an announcement of the finalists on the wall behind the table.

Timmi
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 11:34 am:   

Yowsa, that's really cool, Jason!
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:02 am:   

Hi, Timmi. Any nervousness as the PKD Awards approach? :-) We finally have a speech ready for you to give for us should we win (although it's unlikely, since an antho has rarely ever been nominated, let alone won).

Also, what're you up to fiction-wise?
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kimberly kinchen
Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2003 - 08:17 pm:   

Hi Timmi,

Just checking this out quickly. So glad to know that Third Place is occupying the the old Ravenna PCC - but now that I'm in NYC the commute to Bothell is just the same as that to Ravenna near my old U district residence. Perhaps they can open a branch here in Washington Heights?

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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 06:47 pm:   

Nervousness about the PKD Awards, Jeff? Me? How could that possibly be, when Forrest has appointed me Propagandical Ambassador & you've appointed me Minister of Speechifying and Fiction Reading? <g> I hear that speaking for others (rather than for oneself) is a piece of cake. (People are doing that all the time, & I guess they must find it fun, or they wouldn't be so eager to do it.) In any case, I've got to say that I'd find it a thrill if the Ministry wins-- I absolutely adore the idea of reading somebody else's acceptance speech. It's just so glamorous.

As for fiction-reading: I guess I *am* a little nervous about *that*-- since I haven't got an idea yet about how long my reading should be. Guess you or I need to check into that. (But there's plenty of time, yet.)

Timmi

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Forrest
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 07:45 pm:   

I'm wondering how you're going to read it. Perhaps you could duck your head under the table while reading footnotes?

It will be the true test of your Propogandical Ambassadoriality.

Forrest
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Saturday, March 29, 2003 - 01:15 pm:   

I'm happy to report that the University Bookstore in Seattle now has copies of Leviathan 3, heaped with copies of other Philip K Dick nominees on a display table devoted to the Philip K. Dick award. Thanks, Jason!

Timmi
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 06:48 pm:   

Hey, L.
Thanks for the tips on the FM story. Hope you're doing well.

Best,


Jeff
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L. Timmel Duchamp
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 11:10 pm:   

Hi, Jeff-- 'twas my pleasure. & I'm doing very well, thanks. Is there any chance you'll be coming to Seattle for the Nebulas? I'm trying to get myself organized to go, myself (seeing as how the con's being held not much more than a mile from my home).

Best,

Timmi

(& remember, you're sworn to secrecy on that L. Sipping whiskey notwithstanding...)
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2004 - 05:09 am:   

Timmi: Don't worry, my lips are sealed. As for Seattle, I'm afraid I'm not going to make it this year. It's a city I've always wanted to visit and I actually have a story on the ballot, but before any of that went down I'd made a committment to go to Eastercon in the UK. The whole family is going. The day after we return, I'd have to leave for Seattle if I was going and two 8 hour plane flights in 24 hours is more than my frail constitution can endure, not to mention the expense. I'm sure I'll get out there eventually. Stay well and may the writing flow like a river whiskey.

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