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LeslieWhat
Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 04:56 pm:   

Hi and welcome to my new message board. My name is Leslie What and I'm a freelance writer and artist type from Oregon. I sell stuff on eBay and also teach writing at the community college and at conferences across the U.S.

My web page is at http://www.sff.net/people/leslie.what. There you can see pictures of my shoes, my bear Skippy, and scenes from the longest running Jell-O Art show in the world.

Fiction wise, I've published lots of short stories, a pseudonymous trashy novel, and will have a comic novel coming out in 2004 from Tachyon Publications.

My newest story is up on SCI FICTION http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/ for a week (till it changes addresses) and I have another equally as cheerful piece coming up in The Third Alternative #34 and something in the anthology Witpunk: Stories with Attitude. Usually, I write satire and much of it is funny. Lately, that hasn't been the case.

Somebody say something cheerful, please.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 07:42 pm:   

Hello! I hadn't heard of you until yesterday, and now you have your own board!!!1! And among such esteemed company, too!!!1!1!!!

Erm . . . was that cheerful enough?

Seriously, um . . . hi. I'm Nathan. I'll be sure to read something of yours in the near future. I myself write a lot, although I've published nothing, for the very good reason that most of what I've written isn't by any stretch of the imagination worth publishing. I wouldn't want to be published by anyone who would buy my work. Not that I'd turn someone down were he to offer me money for my stuff . . . but I digress.

Sleep-time now.

Cheerio!

Nathan
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Lesl!eWhat
Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 08:16 pm:   

Hi, Nathan!

You're right. Exclamation points do convey a certain amount of joie. Maybe I should redecorate my life with exclamation until I'm feeling chipper.

Oh, darn. Think I just sat on one and squashed it to a period.

It's good you're writing a lot. That's the surest step toward publication. Workshops were helpful to me but they aren't for everyone. Other people were probably quicker studies but it took me a while before my writing reached the level of ideas and I began to publish.

Lesl!e

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Jorge
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 03:55 am:   

Leslie, does board writing count?

That's what I write the most, you see? At least in english... :-)
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Steve Taylor
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 07:06 am:   

Leslie:

Congratulations on your story on SciFiction. Could you tell us more about it? Also, I loved your Wildside collection.
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

Hi, Leslie--I told you I'd post. I've actually got a question--where did you get your sense of humor? It seems pretty unique. Are your parents funny people? Siblings? You had to have had an audience.
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RichardParks
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 11:45 am:   

Hah! Thought you could hide from us, Young Lady?
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 07:33 pm:   

I'm not hiding, Richard. I've just assumed a new identity. One that appears mature until you get to know me.

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JeffV
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 09:12 am:   

So, Leslie--What are you currently working on?

Jeff V.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 09:43 am:   

Jeff, funny you should ask (I can't keep calling you JeffV. It reminds me too much of when my kid was in a class with another kid who shared his same first name and the same first letter of last name. For a year, my son was known as Jacob Gl. and I've never gotten over it. My kid turns 21 today! He's legal. I sent him some Seedless corduroys and a booklet of drink coupons from Southwest Air.)

I'm mostly either working or feeling bad that I'm NOT working on a novel called "Clutter". It's a comic novel about grief, spirituality, shopping, love, and sex. I had finished a draft and then gone to visit my mother (where I was when I wrote "Death Penalty") and returned with a realization that I forgot to develop the novel relationship of mother and daughter. So I'm rewriting the last 100 pages and feeling pretty good about it. It's the first of my 4 novels in which I feel I'm utterly in control of the material.

The writing is going slow. I've been in a wee bit of a slump since both kids left me to go away to college. Harder than I thought to adjust to the change in structure.

I took a break from the novel to write a short story for our monthly workshop at Kate Wilhelm's.

I've also got a few nonfiction articles I'm building and I sent off my radio commentary for editing last night (we record tomorrow). And I'm preparing classes for upcoming workshops.

I sound more productive than I really am.
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Ellen
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 10:59 am:   

Hi Leslie,
Nice to see you here!!
Happy happy.
Everyone must read Leslie's story "Death Penalty" on SCIFICTION. It's truly grim but marvelous.
Ellen(me? I'm not biased, but of course, I wouldn't have bought it if I hadn't loved it.)
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Greg Gorden
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 11:17 am:   

Hello Leslie,

Picked up your thread from the Wordos, so decided to drop by and say "Hi." Congrats on your new board. For me the most intriguing line from your most recent post was:

"It's the first of my 4 novels in which I feel I'm utterly in control of the material."

A 4-novel project sounds very cool. How strongly are the novels related? At what point did you realize you were fully in control of the material?

I would not say that I have been in control of my own creativity lately... it's been more of a "Hurricane on,, hurricane off, look for interesting bits in the aftermath, then sell them." So I am very interested to know how you arrived at you current relationship with writing.

Cheers,

Greg

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Mark Kreighbaum
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 06:16 pm:   

Nice place.

I'd meant to ask this question a long time ago...what's the single best piece of writing advice you've ever received (and given)?

Don't worry, I'm not going to hit you with a whole bunch of Bernard Pivot-type questions. You've just been around so many legendary writers and your own work is so nifty that I feel you might have something to say on the subject.

Btw, I finally got around to sending those complimentary copies of the Bulletin to Bloodhag. Sorry for the delay.

For those who don't know it, Leslie What and Leon West wrote a really terrific article about a very cool band for the SFWA Bulletin. One of these days, our Bulletin webmaster will put it up for public delight.


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LeslieWhat
Posted on Monday, February 24, 2003 - 07:31 pm:   

Greg! Ellen! Mark!

Triple Trouble! (God, these exclamation points make me giddy.)

Reverse order:

"Reading is a voluntary act." - Damon Knight.

He was referring to one of my stories (never published) in which despicable people do despicable things in a graphic yet uninteresting way. His point (it might be obvious but it took me a while to get) was that he wasn't being forced to read my work, so I had to talk him into it by writing something compelling, interesting, and worthwhile.

Thank you for sending out the Bulletin copies. I lost all my correspondence and eddresses. I'll post the URL here when the article goes online.

--

Greg, My other three novels have been told in multiple viewpoints. #4 is a single viewpoint and I think that's made the biggest difference. I'm not sure how the novels are related.

#1 was "Finger Talk", a comic novel about love, misunderstanding, thuggery, and tap dancing. The characters are all offbeat and living on the edge. I still quite like the novel but it needs work and I'm not going to revise it until I've finished this all new novel.

#2 was "Olympic Games", which is being published by Tachyon next year. That one's a _Greek gods alive today and doing their best to muck up mortal lives and mortals trying to deal with it_ sort of comedy of manners. Its themes are loyalty, love, and beliefs.

#3 was "Nice Girls Do", the trashy novel written by my pseudonym, a work for hire featuring _tightly_ plotted scenes of espionage, resistance, and sex, and set in Vichy Paris. It often felt like the plot controlled me, with all the explosions and stuff that didn't feel like my kind of writing.

"Clutter" feels under control because I know the characters, understand the themes, and feel confidant in the voice of the narrative.

It's not as frenetic as my first few efforts and I think this is a good thing. I've relaxed into the book and don't feel the need to overcompensate with invention. The voice feels organic to the narrator and the insights she experiences are fun discoveries for me.

So I think it has to do with choosing to write material I can control and then establishing a relationship that screams, "I AM ALPHA" with the narrative.

Program an I AM ALPHA macro that opens up at the top of every new page.

I haven't seen any of your writing for too long.

---

Thanks, Ellen. When my mom's doctor asked me what I was writing, I thought it better not to tell him. :-)


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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Tuesday, February 25, 2003 - 06:33 am:   

I do recommend the story at SciFi.com. There is even a picture of Our Leslie which, I'm afraid, does not really capture her--although it does give a glimpse of a sort of wicked winsomeness.
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Radargunn
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 12:06 pm:   

Are you the same What Leslie that the ultra-hip Japanese youth are dressing like? I read the book, but couldn't afford the prices at the Hello Leslie Boutique in Shinjuku.
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 03:18 pm:   

"It reminds me too much of when my kid was in a class with another kid who shared his same first name and the same first letter of last name. For a year, my son was known as Jacob Gl. and I've never gotten over it."

My brother, Aaron, was in a class with a girl named Erin. The entire year, the teacher referred to them as "Aaron boy" and "Erin girl"
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 08:32 am:   

Oh dear. Poor Aaron and poor Erin. You wonder if, in a case like this, the teacher would consider tacking on the last name, just to make it less embarrassing.

I wonder if there are classes where the teacher calls out "Britny with one T and no A" ?

Leslie
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Sunday, March 02, 2003 - 05:27 pm:   

I thought I answered radargunn but I only got so far as the preview and then lost that post.

I meant to say something like, radargunn, don't believe everything you read.
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FrankWu
Posted on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 - 12:24 pm:   

Hey, Leslie, how's it going?

I was wondering if you could stop by my page http://www.frankwu.com/luminaries8.html

I have some pictures of folks from Wordos a couple weeks ago when I was was there. There's some fotos with you in it, and if you could check what I say about you to make sure it's accurate, that would be cool. If you've got a quotation of yours or anything else you'd like to add, let me know! Also, there's a couple people I didn't know, so if know who those people are or have any juicy tidbits about them, that would be cool!

Thanks
Frank Wu
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Sunday, May 04, 2003 - 06:12 pm:   

Frank, why do you think I require accuracy? I kind of like the lurid gossip and rumors and legends, but okay. I'll look as soon as I'm settled in after travel.


I thought your postcard illustration for Jay Lake's book was really wonderful.


Went to the Coast with Eileen Gunn, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Mabel Armstrong. I know everyone's nicknames but I don't think I should tell. I have many emails to answer and there was an incident involving attacking dog, poor little Snowy, fractured radius for my spouse, and me, sitting in the emergency room taking notes and thinking it will all make really good copy. I apologized to my husband for being so mercenary.

l.
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steve redwood
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 03:03 pm:   

And I thought Kafka's 'Penal Colony' was grim! And people live with you? Allow themselves to fall asleep while you are still unchained? And just what, What, do you think you are doing here? A few hours ago I was scolding you on TTA for deceiving me. I come here seeking safe haven, and here you are again. Well, I just read 'Death Penalty' (and that, I tell you, is a great honour to you, I usually avoid screen reading)and for exactly forty-five seconds after reading I sat here stunned. Then I gingerly turned my head - and it didn't fall off!
Excellent! That same attention to detail and understated feeling I noticed in 'Babies'.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 04:25 pm:   

Steve, I think I write satire. I can't help when it isn't funny :-) Anyway, I got the idea of Death Penalty from Dickens, so blame him.

What did you say about "Babies"? (I'll go over and check.) That one was based on my a difficult pregnancy and how terrified I was because the doctors expected me to deliver early. I had to quit work and do bedrest for two months, during which time I fretted and imagined the worst. This fretting is common, from what I've read and heard.

After it was safe to get up, I started visiting the dead baby exhibit at the medical school for entertainment. I found it comforting in an odd way to be ultra-aware of all the things that could go wrong. And isn't horror just literary comfort food with a twist?

I hope that I've somehow warped the children's minds. Might be too early to tell! I'm still on speaking terms with everyone in my family and love them all, lots!

What I think is a very funny story will be out soon in Mike Resnick's anthology "Women Writing Science Fiction As Men." It's about a guy who was a sperm donor in his teens who is about to meet 10,000 of his offspring.
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steve redwood
Posted on Sunday, June 01, 2003 - 01:42 pm:   

Oregon, isn't it? Guess I'm safe. On that principle of yours, I once visited a morgue to see what might go wrong with me. But they all seemed in so much better shape than me. Better complexions.
What an excellent mother! 'I hope that I've warped the children's minds'. At last, a mother genuinely ambitious for her offspring.
Hey, I also wrote a story in a woman writers' only magazine (as a woman)! The differences from your story are mine probably wasn't very funny, and there was far less sperm about - around five scrotums' full in the whole world, if I remember right.
Oddly enough, the only Resniock I've ever read was in Spanish - he once won the University of Catalunya Science fiction award some years back, a neat story about, I think,the Olduvai Gorge.

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LeslieWhat
Posted on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 11:47 am:   

I know several writers who disguise themselves (byline disguises) in order to sell their stuff. Gay porn mag readers might not be comfortable knowing the person who has written that hot little story is a housewife living in the midwest. A male friend had his story about growing up female accepted in an anthology that rejected my story about growing up female.

Writers are about interpretation, not reality.

Red, where do yo live?
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 06:28 pm:   

Leslie,

Package arrived today. My husband made his living as a toy engineer for years. I told him if he touched my Pez dispenser he would die a slow and lingering death.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2003 - 05:32 pm:   

Pez dispenser engineers have to be some of the most creative people in the world. (she likes it!)

I sent cherries and marionberries and strawberries to a writer/soldier stationed in Iraq. Can dry fruit dry out even more?
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 07:41 am:   

Bob never made Pez dispensers, he made other candy dispensers, though.

Did you know that there are conventions of Pez dispenser collectors? They make Beanie Baby people look like rank amatuers. I looked mine up on http://www.juicyraoul.com/pez/category.epl
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 09:11 am:   

I knew there was a museum of Pez and that for a while, people were making lots of money selling fantasy Pez dispensers. I thought about making fantasy Pez myself but got more into fantasy sock monkeys and made up a bunch of those to sell.


Just thinking about how much easier it would be to host a progressive dinner if we could use teleportation.

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/CABURpez.html
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2003 - 10:38 am:   

If we could use teleportation, everybody would want to be part of that dinner. Can you imagine the food?

I just went college dorm supply shopping for my son. When I remember back to when I moved into the dorm, I remember how unprepared I was.

When I look at what I bought for him, I am suddenly aware of exactly what kind of mom I am. One of those mom's who overcompensates when the kid leaves for school. I'm already planning his first care package and he doesn't leave for a month. I plan to mail it the day before we leave to take him to school so he gets it a day or two after we leave him.
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steve redwood
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 06:24 am:   

Oh gosh, I swore I wouldn't abandon you, and I did! every time I come across a deaf person who didn't quite catch what I said I feel guilty.
Spain. (OK. the answer's a bit late)
And here a pez is a fish- what the h.... is it in Oregon?? something rather frightening....
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Monday, August 04, 2003 - 09:32 am:   

The cultural divide. Ah yes, as divisive as the ocean that separates us.

http://www.pez.com/

I like the idea of dispensing fish.
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red steve
Posted on Tuesday, August 05, 2003 - 07:13 am:   

Candy? Toys? Never received 'em (cue sob in background) Dispensers???? A mysterious world indeed! I've favourited 'Pez' to examine when I have the nerve. Wow, a whole world out there I never knew existed.
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lgresh
Posted on Monday, July 05, 2004 - 06:51 am:   

Hey, Leslie, nice to 'see' you here. I just found this place as an offshoot from the hwa boards. You still into pez and jello? What's everybody (you, Adam, etc.) doing here at nightshade?






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LeslieWhat
Posted on Saturday, July 17, 2004 - 09:20 pm:   

Lois! Good to hear from you, girl. The Pez are gone--the child hid them whenever her friends came over and I started feeling ashamed to own so many. The Jell-O obsession continues on.

I still miss Genie.
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Rickie
Posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 06:48 pm:   

Hi.I took your class last weeked and wanted to tell you it was really great and I got a lot out of it and you are a really good teacher.Thankyou!
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 08:10 am:   

Thanks, Rickie. Glad it was useful. Which class? (I taught two: Writing Your Weird and Building a World.)

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