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Nancy Jane
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 11:19 am:   

Welcome to my little place on the Web (and thanks to Night Shade for offering me the space). I'll try to start an interesting conversation or two on here. Please feel free to chime in.

Given the location of this discussion board, even those of you who don't know me won't be surprised to find out that I write fiction that falls (more or less) at the SF/F end of the spectrum. If you want to know more about my fiction, check out the thread labeled "Shameless Self Promotion."

Otherwise, here, in no particular order, are some opinions I hold and other facts about me:

1. I agree with Steve Earle: "Townes Van Zandt [was] the best songwriter in the whole world, and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that." Well, okay, sometimes I'd say Butch Hancock is better than Townes was, but that depends on the day of the week.

2. Some other musicians I like: Tish Hinojosa, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, Tracy Nelson, Yo-Yo Ma.

3. "Seven Samurai" is the best movie ever made.

4. I like the work of lots of different writers, but I won't mention any names here so that all the writers out there can assume I'm talking about them.

5. The current President of the United States is useless as tits on a boar hog.

6. I've trained in martial arts, mostly Aikido, for about 25 years. Either writing is the intellectual form of Aikido, or Aikido is the physical form of writing. I'm not sure which. I was going to say that you fall down less often when you're writing, but that's only true if you're speaking literally and not figuratively.

7. I'd really, really like to set foot on another planet, or even a moon or an asteroid, someday.

8. Maybe the Apocalypse will be a good thing.

9. My great-grandmother Katie McCarthy was born during the 1875 hurricane that hit Indianola, Texas.

10.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 12:07 pm:   

Welcome to the NS boards, Nancy. Glad to have you here!
Jeff
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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 12:28 pm:   

I think point number 3 is worth considering but question the impulse of point 8. Point 9 I will trust you on, and will never argue with you on point 10.
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NJM
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 01:26 pm:   

Hi Jeff -- thanks for the invite.

Point 8 was indeed an impulse, Brendan, so you may be right to question it.
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Timmi Duchamp
Posted on Tuesday, March 02, 2004 - 06:12 pm:   

Point 6 interests me most.

As to point 8-- the idea of apocalypse has certainly been a seductive one for the last half-century: a rejection of Reality As We Know It ('cause what is there to do now, but start over?). The Bushies' interest in it (which accounts for their insousciance about fouling their own nest much less destroying the human-supporting ecosystem we've lately had the privilege to enjoy on this planet), however, suggests it's an impulse of desperation rather than hope.

Notwithstanding, I look forward to your posts on this board, Nancy.

Timmi
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NJM
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 10:46 am:   

I guess I better explain the apocalypse bit, which was sort of a flippant impulse, but which is also grounded in some other thinking.

I actually wasn't thinking about the Bushies at all when I wrote it, though someone just passed me a list of possible Bush/Cheney '04 slogans, of which the fourth is "Bush/Cheney '04: Apocalypse Now". Nor was I thinking of John Ashcroft and the people on the religious right who are even more extreme than he (at least, I hope he's not quite that extreme) -- the sort of people who hope the whole Israeli-Palestinian situation completely blows up, because that will signal the beginning of the Apocalypse. I certainly wouldn't want anyone to think that I believed in that kind of nonsense. (I'm afraid it could happen, but I don't want it to happen.)

I was actually thinking about an idea I got from reading Michael Ventura (and also from Joseph Campbell). It goes something like this: Christianity is a religion that focuses on individual salvation. That is, you choose to become Christian, and it is what you personally do that defines your salvation. Your choice may have to do with following the rules of a particular choice, but this still requires active choice on your part. This, ultimately, sets up a personal relationship with God (despite all the church efforts to the contrary) and leads to the collapse of religious institutions -- a kind of apocalypse. It probably also leads to a rejection of the idea of God, or at least a redefinition of what God means. The underlying idea is that Christianity by its very nature includes seeds of its own destruction.

It appears to me that we are in fact living in such a religious apocalypse, which I consider a good thing. However, the fundamentalists of all religions are very threatened by it, which may be why religious war is raising its ugly head so profoundly at the moment. And why religious fundamentalists are fighting for power in the US political arena. All that could lead to literal biblical apocalypse, which would be a nasty ironic trick to play on people like Ventura and me.

Timmi, I promise more on No. 6 in the near future. Probably a whole serious thread on the subject.
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mike bishop
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 04:42 am:   

This is just a welcome aboard, uh, the message board. Good to have you here. Interesting stuff about Christianity, by the way, but I don't have time to go into it this morning. A guest is sleeping downstairs, and in about five minutes will awaken wanting something for breakfast. Good stuff, nonetheless.

Yours,

Mike
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 06:05 am:   

Hey, Nancy...

Welcome.

Gotta say, Point three...I'd take Derzu Ezala and a few more over Samurai any day of the week. and as regards TVZ, well, he was great, but Steve Earle says a lot of shit and don't mean most of it--I;d have to go with Sean Penn and paraphrase what he said about acting at the Oscars, there's no best in songwriting....
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 07:19 am:   

Hi, Nancy

your story in MOTA COURAGE intrigued me. The binding of Isaac (the Akehdah) is one of the most examined stories in the Jewish tradition, so it was interesting to read an alternate history :-)

Hope to see you at WisCon.
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NJM
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 10:07 am:   

Well, damn. Here I tried to come up with a new and creative way of introducing myself, and what do I get? Critics!

But Lucius, you're absolutely right (as you so often are): There really isn't any absolute best in songwriting. Or any kind of writing, which is why I decided not to list my favorite writers. That's a list that changes often anyway. For that matter, there's no absolute best movie, either. (And we can probably expand this to symphonies, paintings, dance performances, plays, etc., etc.)

There are, however, works that knock just about every reader or viewer or listener for a loop. There are writers and songwriters and movie makers (and so forth) who consistently put something in front of you that's worth your time. And there are moments of transcendance in the oddest places: My high school class put on Thornton Wilder's "The Skin of Our Teeth". The typical high school production, with one or two actors that had a little talent, but nothing special. But one night, in rehearsal, the third act of that play did not just everything Wilder wanted it to, but everything everybody who ever had anything to do with it wanted it to. I can't tell you why, exactly, and I don't think any of the kids who were in it could have told you, either. But I'm damn glad I got to see it.

So let me revise my statements slightly.

I first heard Townes's album "Our Mother the Mountain" when I was about 21, and it blew me away. And then I found out that I could see him live in Houston and Austin all the time. I once rode my bicycle to a club to hear him play (how nerdy fanlike is that!). I saw him at the Old Quarter in Houston. I knew the punch line to all his bad jokes (his stage patter got better when he got older, but it was pretty damn pathetic in his youth -- "What's white and crawls up your leg? Uncle Ben's perverted rice."). Everytime I saw him he made me want to see him again.

And I feel pretty much the same way about Butch Hancock, who fortunately isn't self destructive like Townes was, so I still get to hear him regularly. Butch has written hundreds of songs, and if I started to make a list of my favorites I'd end up with thirty or so.

Both of them consistently came (in Townes's case) or come (in Butch's) up with new songs that hit me in the gut.

Come to think of it, despite the Steve Earle quote, I like a lot of Bob Dylan's songs, too.

As for movies, I like lots of them (and hate many more). But I make a point of watching The Seven Samurai at least once a year, and I always find something else to like about it.

I notice that no one wants to argue about point number 5. I take that as a good sign.

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NJM
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 10:15 am:   

Hi Mike: Always interested in your take on anything, and especially Christianity, which I'm sure you know more about than I do.

Hi Leslie: Thanks for the comment on the Mota story. I should probably look up some of those commentaries -- the fact that we seem to be falling back into religious war these days makes me want to look back at the beginning of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

BTW, those who want to go off on another interesting religious tangent should get a copy of Timmi's Love's Body, Dancing in Time, and read "The Heloise Archive."
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Lucius
Posted on Friday, March 05, 2004 - 01:38 pm:   

Well, I don't know if this qualifies as argument regards Point 5, but I think it might be better said that the current president is less useful than tits on a boar hog. Hell, even someone who's into bestiality ain't gonna be messing wuth George's bra... :-)

as far as movies and et al, yup. For me, the Kurosawa thing hits best with Derzu Ezala. Never be no argument about TVZ.. Like my old football coach used to say when we talked about the greatest players ever, He's in the conversation....

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