This is how it works: Comment on this entry that you'd like to play, and I will give you a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter in your journal, including an explanation what the word means to you and why, and then pass out letters to those who want to play along.
My letter is F.
Can I possibly describe how important to my life fiction has been? How much time I've spent reading it? I can't remember what the first story I ever read was. Can't count Sally, Dick, and Jane. I do remember the first science fiction short story I ever read: "A Martian odyssey" by Stanley G. Weinbaum. I can name the story I read most recently: "The voice of the turtle" by W. Somerset Maugham. In between, so much good stuff. (And sometimes crap, thrown ceremoniously across the room and against the wall.)
When characters insist on living on after their original creators are done with them. I've had a hard time explaining to people why I like fanfiction. We all know how bad it can be. Even when it's readable, it can sometimes be obvious that it's written by writers still learning their craft. When fanfiction is great, it's great fiction.
At an impressionable age I accidentally watched the 1967 BBC adaptation. It was not a time when VCRs existed, so to get more I had to read Galsworthy. I read The man of property enough times that his style unfortunately influenced my own writing voice. If you've ever read Galsworthy you know why I say "unfortunately". I have to fight it.
A single number that stands for a beloved writer and his beloved work. At an impressionable age I accidentally listened to the second episode of the radio series on public radio. The sound of Peter Jones' voice saying "Curiously enough, an edition of Encyclopedia Galactica that had the good fortune to fall through a time warp" was something I immediately knew I had to memorize and imitate. That, and Simon Jones' voice: "Ford, you're turning into a penguin. Stop it!" No other Arthur Dents need apply.
Fit the Second -- the Bellman's Speech
"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks."
The first Lewis Carroll I memorized.
The people you hang out with. The people you bitch about random stuff with. The people you send email to when you trip over something interesting. The people you hang out with at the cafe. The people who come over with freshly-made brownies when bad things happen, and the people you make cookies for in turn.
The good stuff at the top of the latte. You can shake chocolate and sugar on top and then either mix it in with your long-handled spoon or not. The best lattes come in pint glasses. I learned to drink espresso as "giant capps" aka cappuccino in pint glasses at Cafe Roma in Berkeley on Bancroft (Strada is at that location now). Ladle in the brown sugar, grate on the nutmeg. Then sit at an outside table and people-watch.
The ever-useful copulatory intensifier. I particularly love using it as an infix: unbe-fucking-lievable! in-fucking-credible! I did not say this word out loud before the age of 21. Not a joke. I have made up for the lost time.
The classic Macintosh Finder was the best file browser ever written. It's one example of Apple's human interface brilliance.
Free as in libre software
Operating systems like Linux and NetBSD. Browsers like Firefox and Camino. Programming languages like Python and Ruby. Free software good! Free software isn't everything; I'm glad I get paid to write software. The underpinnings are free, though, and that's essential.
This letter gave me a hard time. I sat with an empty text file for a long time before I came up with even one word. Note also my failure to work in any Buffy items.