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So many tasty prompts!!!

KellsS
The prompt review post is up over at sshg_promptfest, and there are some excellent ones. As a tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett, the fest particularly invited Discworld crossover prompts and I think we have outdone ourselves. Go ye and marvel!

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Farewell, Sir Terry

weeping angel
DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death.
JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.

-- Terry Pratchett, Good Omens

Sir Terry Pratchett, renowned fantasy author, dies aged 66
You will be missed...


“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET— Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.

-- Terry Pratchett, Hogfather

Four...four...four...four...

elephant
Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday
Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you
Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias
Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to
Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without

Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust

First, last, and always: The night I met Mr Psmith. It was at an Irish pub; he knew all the words to the songs, he made me laugh (he was wearing this Renaissance-y shirt with big sleeves and greeted me with, "Ola! Mi llamo Fernando!"), he quoted both Monty Python and Amadeus at me, and that was pretty much all she wrote :) It was in February and our first date a week later for sushi came in the middle of a colossal blizzard, but he drove forty miles through it to meet me... I think everyone has vivid memories of the night they met their Significant Other, the person who changed your life for the better and became your best friend and companion. How could you not?

So I'll do four besides that one. These are the first four that come to mind, in chronological order:

1) When I was in first grade, a little boy in my class -- Todd -- lost his entire family in a house fire: mother, father, four brothers and sisters. Only he and his little brother survived, because the parents put them out the master bedroom window onto the garage roof just before the floor of the room gave way. I remember the headline in the paper the next day was, "I heard my toys falling." But of course it wasn't toys... They lived just down the block from my best friend Erica and the fire happened right around Halloween. A few days later we went to Erica's house -- I don't remember if we were picking her up or dropping me off -- and drove right past Todd's house. The house was a blackened ruin, the roof collapsed, the big bay window in the living room blown out, and sitting on the sill was a half-burned jack-o-lantern. Real horror movie stuff, eh? Todd never came back to school; he and his little brother went to live with relatives, I suppose. To this day I wonder about them, where they went and where they are today.

2) My first day of Catholic school, in third grade. We're not remotely Catholic, but my mom decided to send me to a Catholic school that year, I guess because it was a really good school. My first day, in Sister Marie Helen's homeroom, we started off with the pledge of allegiance which I knew very well. Then we did the Lord's Prayer, which I sort of knew from occasional forays to church on Christmas and Easter. Then they all launched into "Hail, Mary, full of grace" which for all I knew might have been the school fight song. Sister Marie Helen, a chubby little woman (and if she looked little to ME, who was three feet tall for about three years straight, you know she was tiny), came bustling over to me with this very worried look. "What's wrong, dear? Don't you want to say the hail Mary with us?" she said. I looked around at all the staring little faces, then down at my shoes and mumbled, "I don't know it." I looked up to see a look of appalled horror on her face, like "Oh, the poor little heathen thing!" and she told off one of the other students to take me into a corner and teach it to me. I spent two years at St. John's but I'll never forget that feeling of being an utter alien, where everyone else knew something I didn't. (Sister Benedicta's penmanship class was a whole 'nother kind of unforgettable...)

3) The night I suddenly realized that grown-ups weren't some alien species but just varying degrees further along the continuum than me. I was twelve and had been babysitting for a young couple -- they couldn't have been more than 22 or 23, but of course they were GROWN-UPS so they seemed old and serious -- and afterwards the husband drove me home. I was pretty shy and didn't say much, but about halfway home he said, "Oh hey, do you mind if I turn this up? I really like this song." Of course I said no, I didn't mind. I had just discovered popular music and the song was "My Sharona", which I LOVED, and as the radio thumped out the beat and he sang along with it and kept time on the steering wheel, it was like this window opened up and I realized that grown-ups were actual people that might like some of the same things I liked. It was a real paradigm shift.

4) The night I met my first boyfriend. I was fourteen and we met at a German Club party in high school (yes, German Club -- as John Bender would say, "Demented and sad, but social" lol). He was a year ahead of me in school, and since I skipped a year when I was young that made him two years older, which seemed so grown up to me at the time. I thought he was so handsome, big blue eyes and shaggy tousled brown hair. When he dared me to guess his last name, I got it on the first try (Alexander). He drove me home in his forest-green Plymouth Satellite, blasting AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" at ear-shattering decibels the entire way, and I think I was in love before we got to my house :) We ended up dating for two years. He was sweet and warm and funny and smart and loving and kind, and although we ended up going our separate ways, I will always be grateful to him that my first love was a good one.

Hooray for us!!!

BA beta
Today is the first International Fanworks Day!! Created by the Organization for Transformative Works (the folks who brought us AO3), it's a day to celebrate the creativity that abounds in fandom. Both The Mary Sue and AO3 have great suggestions for how to celebrate it, so pour yourself a glass of wine, pat yourself on the back, and enjoy!

Five things for the sixth day

books-n-wine
Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday
Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you
Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias
Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to

Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without
Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust

"Can't live without" is pretty strong. I'm not sure there's anything I truly couldn't manage to live without, other than Maslow's basics: air, water, food, clothing and shelter. So assuming this actually means "Things without which my life would be unbearably dreary, featureless and grim," I shall go with these:

1) Family
2) Reading and writing (sorry, can't separate these two)
3) Music (if I haven't got any, I'll make some)
4) Cats (for companionship, they cannot be beat)
5) Wine or tea (I'm torn on this one, they're so mood-dependent)

Memeness, Day 5: Music

Nietzsche music
Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday
Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you
Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias

Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to
Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without
Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust

Another tough one! I have so many; music has always been a big part of my life. Here are six that I can listen to over and over and never get tired of them.

1) Queen, In the Year of 39. I love the way this song hints at a much larger, much more complicated story. Why did they have to go off searching for other planets? Where were they from? Who were the volunteers? Why did he leave her behind? So many questions. I keep hoping someone will write the story to go with it. Their Seven Seas of Rhye is the same way: anything that has beings descending from the sky saying, "I command your very souls, you unbelievers" just demands a kickass story to go with it. And oh god, that piano...

2) Loreena Mckennit, The Highwayman. This one tells a complete story, and it breaks my heart every time. I loved the poem from the time I read it in high school and was thrilled to discover the song, even though it's so sad.

3) Meat Loaf, Hot Summer Night. Just a damn good rock anthem. It's hard to beat the Loaf.

4) Runrig, The Summer Walkers. As a manuscripts librarian, this song had me at the phrase "archive gold." A gorgeous meditation on how things used to be, and how they are, and what we've lost.

5) Nightwish, I Wish I Had An Angel. Symphonic metal at its best: lush, heavy, thumping, operatic and gorgeous.

6) Warren Zevon, Accidentally Like a Martyr. This one carries a lot of bittersweet memories for me, which I suppose is exactly why it has stuck with me for so long.

There are a lot more, of course: The Mingulay Boat Song, a perennial favorite at the final pub sing; A Sailor's Prayer for the strength of its lyrics; and just recently I've become obsessed with Leonard Cohen's Come Healing.

But if I don't stop now I'll just go on and on and on, so I'd better hie me off to bed :)

Prize for easiest question ever goes to...

Cicero books
Is book reviewing a public service or an art?

Well duh. It's BOTH. Who didn't know that??

This part made me laugh immoderately, because OH SO TRUE!!!

As inert as it might look on the page, the book review is a weirdly pressurized and verbally jeopardized space, crisscrossed with potential errors. There’s a huge pull toward pomposity, for one thing. Drop your guard, mid-review, and you’ll find yourself holding forth like a drunken bishop. “Insofar as our author blah blah blah. . . . ” Book review bombast comes in three flavors: highbrow (“Every page witnesses the overflow of his vast erudition”), middlebrow (“magisterial . . . that rare thing”) or lowbrow (“Wade through burning gasoline to get this book”). And everybody does it, automatically as it were. It’s why blurbs all sound like blurbs.
George scream
Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday
Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you

Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias
Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to
Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without
Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust


Interesting question. Let's start with the big ones first, the ones that give me occasional nightmares:

1) Flying. I have been on airplane exactly once since 1993 (well, twice -- it was a round trip) and had to ask my doc for drugs to get through it. *shudder*

2) Suffering any kind of mental deterioration/deficiency (e.g. Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, etc.). The thought of not being in control of my own mind terrifies me.

3) Losing a loved one (e.g., my parents, Mr Psmith) in a traumatic/sudden way. I am (marginally, at least) ok with the idea that they will eventually grow old and die, but the thought that they might be in an accident or get murdered or otherwise suddenly taken from me is pretty scary.

4) Being helpless. I'm not the sort of person that has to be in control of an entire situation, but I damn well want to be in control of myself and able to act if the situation warrants it. I want to go down fighting.

Now the smaller ones, the ones that I dread but not to the degree that they stalk my dreams:

5) Letting someone down who was relying on me.
6) Somebody breaking into my house while I'm there.
7) Walking through a spiderweb. I do this silly frantic jumping-about dance whilst screaming like I'm being murdered. I've been told it's really quite amusing.
BA beta
Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday

Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you
Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias
Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to
Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without
Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust


Only eight???

1) People who don't keep their word/do what they say they will do.
2) Printers. They seem to have some evil intelligence that springs to life whenever I interact with them: they print stuff landscape or backwards, create paper jams, and just generally become disobedient and contrary.
3) Tuvan throat singing. Mr Psmith has started practicing it and it's driving me maaaaaaaaad.
4) People who are unkind to animals. There is simply no excuse for that. You should be beaten with a rubber hose.
5) People who are anti-science. You have a brain for a REASON, people. It's not just filler to keep your head from imploding.
6) The rampant mindless idiocy that has allowed people like the Kardashians, the cast of Duck Dynasty, and every single person on Jersey Shore to become famous and rich.
7) Words like "irrespective" and "orientate." Also corporate buzzwords like "facilitate" and "synergy" and "leverage".
8) George W. Bush. I can't help it, his fact just makes me want to smack him. Plus he invaded a country that didn't bomb us.

And here's a bonus one: The bottomless gulf between library funding and football/basketball coach salaries.

Day 2 of meme

GrampaMunster
Day 1 - Ten random facts about yourself
Day 2 - Nine things you do everyday
Day 3 - Eight things that annoy you
Day 4 - Seven fears/phobias
Day 5 - Six songs that you’re addicted to
Day 6 - Five things you can’t live without
Day 7 - Four memories you won’t forget
Day 8 - Three words you can’t go a day without
Day 9 - Two things you wish you could do
Day 10 - One person you can trust


This was harder than I thought. There isn't much I do every single day, but here we go. Note that these are in no particular order -- just because I list "Have a glass of wine" as item 3, that doesn't mean that I do it at breakfast.

1. Get up. Can't avoid that one. Wish I could.
2. Brush my teeth (OK, every once in a while I miss that one, but we'll say 99.9% of the time is good enough).
3. Have a glass of wine (see above).
4. Feed the dog -- either in the morning or at night, but at least once (Mr Psmith takes the other feeding).
5. Pet the cats. If I don't, they become obtrusive and rude.
6. Check my email.
7. Say to myself, "I should write more."
8. Read something (book, email, story, memo from my boss, wine label...)
9. Eat something chocolate.

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