As posted on Protagonize on Saturday 27th November. (click link to read original)
Hi. I’m Jonty Stern and I’ll be interviewing delorfinde, whom I believed to be the most prolific writer here on Protagonize until she humbly corrected me. (She’s still the second most, though!) You can check out delorfinde’s profile here:
This interview was conducted in November 2010.
1) I think I’m right in saying you’ve written more than anybody else
during the time you’ve been on this site. On a morning such as, say, 6th
December 2009 when you wrote 25 separate pages, did you wake up and decide
that this was going to be the main focus of your day?
Actually, CrystalRose has written more than me and she’s been on the site for a slightly shorter period of time, but I’m still the second most … prolific writer. (Is that the right word? My brain is messed up from NaNo.) And as for writing 25 pages in a day, well, sometimes it’s that I’m upset about something so I’ll write a lot to get my angst out, and sometimes it’s just that I found a whole bunch of stuff in my computer and decided to post it. That was just after NaNo, so I would have been getting back into the normal swing of things, and some of it would have been the last few chapters of my novel that I was posting, too!
2) Where do you get your inspiration?
How did I know this question would come up? *laughs* Umm, everywhere, to be honest. Like, I’ll be in the shower (sorry, dodgy images there) and I’ll just have an idea. Often it’s if I’m reading through Celtic Mythology and find something I want to re-write, as with my NaNo Novel this year. Sometimes I read other books and they inspire me to write something else … and sometimes I’m playing music, which might inspire me to write something related to the song, or I’ll be in a Biology lesson and we’re talking about drowning and I’ll write “Tales of a Changeling”. I don’t know. I just pick up on things and I have an overactive imagination!
3) What would you do if you were about to visit your local museum and you
were told that you couldn’t come in because President Obama was about to be
driven in in an old London ‘bus to be greeted by Elmer Elephant and Walker
*eyes boggle* I would look at the person who told me and ask them what they were on, to start with. Then I would probably hijack the bus because it’s more fun like that :) No, I wouldn’t. I don’t know. Is this … likely to happen any time soon?
4) In “Loneliness” you suggest that we’re all lonely in our own way but
that Atheists are the most alone of all of us. You also talk of people not
understanding you. Do you think that you could understand an Atheist?
Did I say that? I’m not sure I did. I think that might be just how it came out which wasn’t my intention. I think I could understand an atheist but it depends what we were talking about, to be honest. If we were talking about faith, it would really depend on whether they would open up and tell me what had made them an atheist etc. If we were just talking about books or something, then yeah, sure, but nothing’s going to come of it, because I do often feel alone. I’m not saying that for pity! I just find the world a really hard place.
5) Your contributions to “The Huge Protagonize Notebook” go between making
me laugh and making me sad. For instance your bringing your reflections down
to Earth with a jolt by talking about buying a pen for 3p from Woolworths
just before the whole chain was shut down is funny. However you change the
tone when you talk about wishing you were on another planet rather than here
with the rest of us. Would you say you are someone who is sad and happy?
Definitely. Sometimes I seem to be more sad than happy and I’m often deep in thought, but you’ll also find me sitting at my computer crying with laughter when I read through some of the NaNoWriMo forums! I think often, more than just sad or happy, I’m thoughtful which often makes people think I’m unhappy when I’m
6) Which of the characters you’ve created here on Protagonize do you think
is the closest to you?
Well, Oona is very like me but I didn’t create her here, she was from a novel I wrote and then posted. I don’t know. All of my characters have an element of me in them. There’s Mai (The Protagonize Bus), with her writing thing; the unnamed dancer in ‘The Midnight Dancer’ is very auto-biographical; Shelley in Voices has got a few things in common with me … I think mostly this is because I use my own feelings and interests to make them more realistic.
7) What would you do if you and the twenty people you know best all fell down a wormhole in the space-time continuum and everyone went a bit nuts?
Well, if it was the 20 people I knew best then to be honest I probably wouldn’t notice the difference. It’s been remarked several times that I’m a bit crazy … and yes I’m sure there’s probably a reason for that! I’ll leave you to work out what I mean about that :)
8) Which of your characters would you least like to meet down a dark alley?
Umm, the Management from “Voices” are these alien things, and they’re pretty darn scary. I also think that the Dark Lord from “Legacy” would very intimidating and possibly a very short but lethal encounter, though I reckon I could dance him off if I wanted to! Ha ha. Mostly any of the bad guys, though they usually turn out to be better than you might expect in the end, although the Commander as he is in “World Domination Continues This Weekend” used to be good and then sort of turns crazy, and he would terrify me. I think Jean Savage, also known as Jon Shell, from my current project would be pretty terrifying because he’s the leader of a revolution and he’s quite violent.
9) You started the piece “Thinking Aloud” which so far has two chapters and two writers. Your contribution very much felt like something which a painter or a photographer would do: wanting to capture a small snapshot of a particular life on a particular day. Would you say you have an artistic bent?
Difficult question. Yes, and no. I take art at school and I always have ideas but I find it difficult to get them down on paper as drawing is quite hard for me. I do love doodling, though, and designing is also something I enjoy. My mum’s currently making me an Irish dancing dress and I designed it and chose the fabric, so you could say that. Oh, and I like photoshop and changing colours, too. I’m fascinated by Celtic knotwork.
10) Who are your favourite two authors and why?
Why? Why do this to me? Okay, if I really have to answer this … no, I can’t choose two. Kate Thompson is high on my list because she changed my life by introducing me to Irish music and then later, dancing, and I love how believable “The New Policeman” really is. I also like CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein. To be honest, who doesn’t? I like Stephen Lawhead, but some of his books are more interesting than others. Something odd which links all of these authors is that at least one of their books has dealt with faith – Kate Thompson’s “The Fourth Horseman” is the exception to her normally, well, pagan books.
11) I really like the first poem in “Leaves” and also “My Friend’s Harp”, which is the 53rd one in the same collection. Which is your favourite in that group of poems?
I couldn’t say, to be honest. The ones are closest to my heart are probably the ones I wrote on or around the 2nd of May, which was the day my grandfather died, as they’re ones I wrote from my pain, if you know what I mean. I like all of them sometimes and then on other days I’ll hate them all. It depends how I’m feeling. However, one of the ones I like just for how abstract it is would be “On The Wall” and I’m also quite fond of “no punctuation”. I like “Junk” as a poem, “Games on a Knife’s Edge”, “Death Row”, “If You Knew” and “Answerphone”. Well, basically, lots of them, but it’s usually the ones that I wrote sort of in the middle of the night that I prefer!
12) Which were the ones written around the time of Grandad’s passing?
“Never Got The Chance”, “Left to Live”, “Grandad” and “Mourner”. I’ve also written a couple of other works about that – “The Last Letter” is a letter I wrote to him that morning.
13) I’ve looked through them. They’re beautiful. I’ve left a comment under one of them. I suspect you and I think similarly on this issue but I’m not sure I’ve quite got you. It’s sort of why I raised what I raised with you in Question 4) – from my perspective I think whatever tragedies there are for people to deal with, if they don’t believe in anything bigger than or beyond themselves and they don’t believe in an afterlife I think how very much greater the already-great strain is they’re putting on themselves. However maybe that’s not what you think at all. Have I understood you on this one?
Yeah, I think you have. I find that although there are times when I do doubt God, there are also times when I know I couldn’t have got through it without the knowledge that he’s there and he understands what I’m going through. But some people find that organised ‘religion’ makes things worse because it brings up the questions – why me? Why now? I don’t like the word ‘religion’. It sounds boring and traditional and full of rules, and in my opinion, that’s not what Jesus was! He was a rebel :D That’s why, when I’m miserable, it helps to think of things like that. I like the fact that a rebel has got my back!
14) On a totally different topic, “Song of Freedom” is a one-chapter piece which you wrote as part of a contest. It is really uplifting, almost magical. It doesn’t have any of the sadness that you touch on in some of your other works. Does that one have a special meaning for you?
I don’t think so. It’s strange that you should pick up on the sadness in my work. That’s often what has special meaning to me as I write it when I’m sad about something, whereas happy works come less easily and I have to sometimes make myself write them. It seems that most of my poems are unhappy, and when Elo asked us for the happiest scene in our NaNo Novel so far I was almost stuck for an answer. I don’t think I’m a negative person but I find that writing things which are painful is easier for me. However, Song of Freedom is something that I like purely as an example for the fact I can write things happily! (I must say: it’s not the only one, please don’t think I’m depressed etc, I’ll find you another if you ask! (Ha ha!)
15) I certainly don’t think you’re a negative person at all! I think you are a very sensitive person. OK, you asked me to ask you – find me another jolly one and tell me a bit about it.
Well, this is a challenge but I’m sure I’ve managed it. In fact, I’ve thought of a couple. “A Clock Against The Window” is a collaborative with Spook and Elo and it’s one of the funniest things I’ve written, at least for those in on the joke, and it’s based around funny typos that we’ve made. Another collab is “A Deadly Team” with Spook, which is something we wrote about what would happen if I went to her school – based on a dream I had, actually! And yeah, that was good fun to write and I don’t think there’s anything gloomy in it. Something Spook and I were also writing was “Time Travel Makes Murder Complicated” but we never got very far. Usually, anything collaborative ends up more lighthearted than the others, perhaps because with solos, conflict is a main part of the plot.
16) Are you essentially writing for fun, for catharsis or what have you or do you have serious future plans for your writing?
I would like to be a writer, no question about that, although a musician and a dancer also feature on my list of ‘jobs I want to have that will result in me being poor for the rest of my life’ :) I’m planning to print out my latest novel and edit it half to death in December, so that it’s better than it ever was before, but apart from that nothing immediate. Yes, I love writing and yes, I do write for fun, but I’m also determined to get published!
17) Are you planning on continuing with “Evolutionary Dead End”?
Maybe. That was an idea that came to me in a Biology lesson where we spoke about people not evolving any more because we look after them when they’re weak etc, so it’s another example of random ideas coming to me at strange moments! I think I’ll leave it for now but if ever I’m really stuck I might go back to it. I do love the fact that one of the characters can photosynthesise :D
18) Do you like Protagonize’s ratings system? If not, what would you change about it and why?
I don’t think it really shows what an author’s like because some people think ‘4.5’ is amazing and others would only give that for a mediocre piece, so you end up with some discrepancies. What would be nice would be a ‘thumbs up’, ‘thumbs down’, ‘thumbs middle’ sort of thing, or perhaps ‘double thumbs up’ … they could symbolise the numbers but in a pictorial format that’s more similar to each person, do you see? I’m not being clear here. I’m a bit ill at the moment and my brain is dead. But basically, a non numeral system that can be averaged out into numbers later on for the score boards :)
The End. *goes back to bed with hot water bottle*
Go raibh mile maith agat, Delorfinde.