Stephanie Burgis
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Weird & wonderful internet discoveries
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I love the way the internet can send me on a spiral of discoveries. Yesterday I read Neil Gaiman's wonderful interview of Terry Pratchett on the Waterstones website. It's a lovely piece, especially for the banter back and forth between the two friends, like this bit:
I ask him how much happens on the page and how much happens in the planning. 'Planning, planning, planning,' he deadpans. 'It's more like those guys in the desert who pick up a handful of loam, or sand, and taste it, and they know whether there's any oil nearby. It's the same thing with writing: you can tell where the legs are in an idea but don't know where the idea comes from. I think it's some kind of alchemical thing, made up of lots of other things. Your apprehension of the world around you. Your knowledge that you are one of the few people that use the word "apprehension" in that last sentence in exactly the right way. Which doesn't mean to be fearful about something. I hope you noticed this.'

I tell him I had noticed that. 'And I bet you were quite impressed by it,' says Terry. 'I stopped being impressed by your accurate use of words about 22½ years ago,' I reply.

During the interview, Pratchett talks about one of the books he's reading and finding fascinating: A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, by Laurel Ulrich. It's the biography of a midwife in Maine at the end of the 18th century, and it sounds fascinating to me, too, so after reading the interview, I looked in my library catalogue (no luck) and then moved on to Amazon, looking it up by title, to stick it on my wishlist.

But it didn't end there. I, of course, added it to my wishlist, but when I wanted to link to it here, I looked it up on, because I'm pretty sure the majority of my readers are in America. And when I looked up the author, Laurel Ulrich, I found a whole list of other, equally wonderful-looking books she's written, including one with this fabulous title: Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History. Needless to say, my wishlist has gotten even longer! And I'm happy to look forward to reading several more books that I'd never even heard of until now.

Also, here's one of my very favorite recent links: Patrick's short story "The Land of Reeds", set in Egypt a few years after Alexander the Great was crowned Pharaoh, has been published as a podcast on Pseudopod! Definitely worth downloading and listening to - this story is so much fun.

Now I'm going to abandon the lures of the internet for a while to get back to my own writing, so that maybe someday people will be able to find my books by odd, serendipitous internet pathways, too... :)

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