Whoosh! Issue 73 - October/November 2002

INSIDE THE HEAD OF LINDA CRIST
By Amy Murphy
Content © 2002 held by author
WHOOSH! Edition © 2002 held by WHOOSH
4884 words


Introduction (01)
Linda's Head (02-159)
Linda's Stories
Acknowledgments
Articles
Biography



INSIDE THE HEAD OF LINDA CRIST







Introduction



That'll be the last time ANYONE says I have fat thighs!!

Xena: Day One


[01] Linda is a popular bard and has written some great fan fiction. I have read her work from day one when she started. She is published, "The Bluest Eyes in Texas" from Fortitude Press (http://www.fortitudepress.com), and she has a short story in their anthology, "At First Blush".



Linda's Head


Interviewer:
[02] Why did you start writing?

Crist:
[03] I don't know, because I don't ever remember not writing. I made up little picture stories as early as 3-4 years old.

Interviewer:
[04] If you had to do it all over, would you be a bard? Would you write?

Crist:
[05] Yes. Absolutely.

Interviewer:
[06] Give us a brief day in the life of Linda.

Crist:
[07] Get up, get ready for work. Work (I'm a paralegal) for about 8-9 hours. Many days I workout after work. After that, go home, make dinner, and do little chores around the house. I usually settle down to simultaneously write, answer e-mail, and watch TV around 9:00 p.m. or so. Go to sleep around midnight. When Iím home, thereís always at least one cat constantly with me.

Interviewer:
[08] How do you handle stress?

Crist:
[09] Luckily I'm in a corner of the office with only one other co-worker nearby, and we have a mutual "cursing allowed" agreement. Working out helps. Playing golf helps -- very satisfying to smack that little white ball into the wild blue yonder. Basically, I've learned it's best not to hold it in if you have a good way to let it out.

Interviewer:
[10] Years from now, how would you want to be remembered?

Crist:
[11] I guess I want to have made a positive difference in the lives of the people I've known, especially the ones I'm very close to. I hope to be remembered as someone who gave something back to the world, because I've sure been blessed by being in it.

Interviewer:
[12] What is your pet peeve?

Crist:
[13] Hmmm. Rudeness in general, I suppose. I can't think of a good example of that right now.

Interviewer:
[14] Who is Linda?

Crist:
[15] That's a very good question. I think we're all works in progress. I'm probably still a rough draft.

Interviewer:
[16] What do you see yourself doing in the future? Future projects?

Crist:
[17] I guess my dream career would be travel writing, because I love to travel, and of course continuing fiction writing. I'd like to live near a beach somewhere and write - maybe Galveston or Port Arkansas, Texas.

Interviewer:
[18] How do you handle depression?

Crist:
[19] I don't get depressed very often. Sometimes I'll listen to music. Working out or riding my bike often helps. Or playing with my cats. Or ice cream.



Ares later took up country music, raised corn, and got big government checks.

Ares dealt with depression too


Interviewer:
[20] What advice can you give to future writers?

Crist:
[21] Write what's in your heart and write for yourself first and foremost. Don't worry about the end product or how it will be received.

Interviewer:
[22] How did it feel to be published?

Crist:
[23] It was a very cool feeling, and quite surreal the first time I held the book in my hands. It's a very nice-looking book -- I loved the cover.

Interviewer:
[24] What has the show Xena meant to you?

Crist:
[25] No television show has ever meant so much, and I'll be surprised if another one ever does. It has touched me deeply and inspired me in ways I never imagined. Most of the friends I hang out with in Dallas now, I met through watching this show. Because of it, I literally have friends across the country and around the world. Because of it I started writing creatively again after a long hiatus. Because of it, my first book was published. Because of it, thousands and thousands of dollars have been raised for many charities. It has made many women, myself included, feel empowered and inspired to be better people. I love the show and I greatly admire the people behind it. This show was about love. I don't think I can say "it's just a television show." It is so much more. It has been a wondrous journey, and I've had the time of my life in the Xenaverse.

Interviewer:
[26] How do you feel about its end?

Crist:
[27] After almost a year, I think I've put it in a warm place in my heart. The people behind the show put their whole hearts into six wonderful seasons and I will be forever grateful to them for that. The show would not have enjoyed the success it did, if it werenít for Lucy and Renee, their love for their own characters, and the chemistry between the two actresses.

[28] Has it really ended? The fandom goes on, and between conventions and fan fiction, Xena still seems to be very much alive. Truly, the only real difference for me is that I no longer plan my weekends and my VCR usage around watching new episodes. I find myself perhaps watching Xena more now than I did before, due to daily airings on Oxygen - I catch some of those every week.

[29] I also give kudos to Rob Tapert and the writers - their vision gave us many great hours of television. I won't let a less than satisfactory two-hour ending (for me) ruin the entire experience, because Xena as a whole brought me a lot of joy and blessings. I'm still very much of fan of Xena, Lucy Lawless, Renee O'Connor, and Rob Tapert, and I look forward to whatever they may do next.

Interviewer:
[30] What are your dreams? Hopes? Wishes?

Crist:
[31] To be happy. To have fun. To love well. To live fully. To be true to myself. To make a difference in the world. To someday leave the legal rat race for something more creative.

Interviewer:
[32] Who do you trust?

Crist:
[33] My best friend Suzanne.

Interviewer:
[34] What would you say every writer needs?

Crist:
[35] A computer. Seriously, what I need more than anything is nice long chunks of time. The inspiration is already there. I guess time and inspiration.



The Coke spilled, the keyboard fizzled, and Whoosh became Whoomp.

Computers superceded dogs as (wo)man's best friend in August of '98


Interviewer:
[36] Do you believe in prayer?

Crist:
[37] Yes, in that it helps me sort out things. I actually tend to talk to my mother (who is deceased), more often than I talk to God. I figure she's watching out for me and will relay the really important messages wherever they need to go.

Interviewer:
[38] What makes your best friend your best friend?

Crist:
[39] That is difficult to answer. She is my soulmate. And no, she's not my lover, as she is very straight and very happily married. She is the sister I never had. We just click and we understand each other. I think maybe we are best friends because we accept each other without judgment. We allow each other to soar but we're always there to catch each other if we fall. We are each other's champions.

Interviewer:
[40] Could you or have you ever experienced, you or someone else reading one of your stories aloud in the public? What did/would you feel?

Crist:
[41] I recently did a reading at Charis Books in Atlanta, during DragonCon. I was actully quite terrified at first, as I'm kind of shy in front of large groups if not sharing the spotlight with anyone else. However, once I got into the reading, I rather enjoyed it.

Interviewer:
[42] What theme would you like to tackle in your next work?

Crist:
[43] I just started a piece of original fiction entitled Galveston 1900: Swept Away. It's the story of two women who lived on Galveston Island at the time it was destroyed by a hurricane, in September 1900. I'm really jazzed about it and my muse is in high gear. I think about it a lot, even when I'm not writing.

Interviewer:
[44] What was the last thing that made you smile recently?

Crist:
[45] My cat, sitting in front of the television watching Animal Planet. She does this often. It's absolutely adorable.

Interviewer:
[46] What made you angry?

Crist:
[47] Did you know there are whole websites devoted to "curing" gay people through the "love" of God? They've got books and tapes and all kinds of things. It really pisses me off when people use God as an excuse to justify their own hatred, fear, and petty bigotry. If they would put half of that negative energy and those resources into a worthy cause, like feeding the hungry, building shelter for the homeless, cleaning up the environment, teaching people to read, or finding a cure for cancer -- they would change the world. If there really is a judgment day sometime in the future, I wonder what God would have to say about such a waste of time and resources.

Interviewer:
[48] You now have absolute authority over the world. Omnipotent in all areas. What is your first move?

Crist:
[49] Yikes. I originally thought to resign. Now I think I'd form a council of trusted and intelligent folks to help. At some point we would find a way to end poverty, war, pollution, and bigotry. After that, who knows?

Interviewer:
[50] Do you have stalkers? If so, how have you handled them?

Crist:
[51] No, no true stalkers. I've been pretty lucky in that regard. There are those who become, for lack of a better term, overly familiar, and will ask or say things that I consider to be inappropriate.

Interviewer:
[52] How would you categorize your best writing, and give the URLs for them if posted.

Crist:
[53] The best writing flowed with ease while it was in progress, with no plan or true direction. I think the best stories are Divinity, Crossing the Fire, It's What I Do, and Destiny Conquered. They are all at the Royal Academy, MaryD's, and ForevaXena, as well as at my website: http://home.earthlink.net/~texbard/index.html

Interviewer:
[54] What stupid thing did you do as a teen?

Crist:
[55] I was a Southern Baptist poster child. Literally. My picture was actually on a nationally circulated poster promoting women and girls' missions organizations in the Southern Baptist Convention. I was such a good kid that I didn't have a curfew. If they could see me now Ö

Interviewer:
[56] What, if anything, can stop you writing, if only for a while?

Crist:
[57] If Iím reading a really good book I might be deterred for a day or so. Iíll stop to watch Xena or The West Wing. Iíll often stop to go out with my friends or play with the cats. On a nice day, golfing or bike riding will usually win over writing.



In a power play, she left her dark jacket at home...

Worth stopping for


Interviewer:
[58] In your opinion, do you fit your astrological sign?

Crist:
[59] I'm an Aries to a tee, although I really donít pay much attention to astrology.

Interviewer:
[60] What to you is the worst feeling in the world?

Crist:
[61] Grief.

Interviewer:
[62] Favorite song of the moment?

Crist:
[63] Wherever You Will Go by The Calling.

Interviewer:
[64] What is the first thing you think of in the morning?

Crist:
[65] How much I want another hour of sleep.

Interviewer:
[66] Is there one part of the writing process where you usually get stuck? What have you tried to change that, successful or not?

Crist:
[67] Finishing the last part of the story after I've reached the climax. I don't really get stuck, per se; just find it difficult to end it gracefully, in my own opinion.

Interviewer:
[68] Does the best writing flow for you, or does it come from rewrites?

Crist:
[69] What's a rewrite?

Interviewer:
[70] Which part of writing do you enjoy most and why? (e.g. Taking the original notes, final rewrites ... )

Crist:
[71] Just the process itself. I am character-driven. I see "videos" in my head and I typically "hear" the voices of my characters. I often feel their emotions. I basically write what I see and feel. It just feels very nice in progress.

Interviewer:
[72] How often do you think about a piece when you're working on it and when do you think about it?

Crist:
[73] I do some of my best thinking while I'm actually writing. I often think about it right before falling asleep.

Interviewer:
[74] When someone walks into your bedroom, what are the first 5 things that they're likely to notice?

Crist:
[75] The contents of the Xena shrine.

Interviewer:
[76] Do you feel in control of your writing, or do you get carried away by your inspiration or characters?

Crist:
[77] I am almost totally character-driven. I write on pure emotion, for the most part.

Interviewer:
[78] If you consider yourself to have a muse, what exactly do you mean?

Crist:
[79] My muse is a gift. It's that part of me that I call inspiration, and I have no idea where it comes from. She often manifests herself in the form of a tall brunette blue-eyed warrior who demands that her story be told.

Interviewer:
[80] Tell the truth -- are you your favorite writer, or in your own top five? Why or why not?

Crist:
[81] Yeah, I guess I'm in my top five. It would be pretty sad to write something if I didn't love it. I don't do a lot of re-reading of my own stories, but when I have, I often wonder where some of it came from.

Interviewer:
[82] Would the world be a better place if women ran it or would it be basically the same?

Crist:
[83] I'm not a man-hater, first of all. There are many men I greatly respect. I believe ideally that there would be less war and violence. Women might have the good sense to sit down and talk rationally about problems rather than bombing the heck out of each other's countries. I also think that women in general are more tolerant of differences in other people, so perhaps there would be less prejudice in the world. It's hard to say, though. Would women eventually let the "power trip" go to their heads, and would they eventually become just as political as our male-dominated governments have? I'd like to say "no," but power changes people.



Gabrielle dreads having 'hat head'.

Gabrielle was a pretty good ruler when she took the time to rule
(99% of the job is just showing up!)


Interviewer:
[84] What is your favorite spot where you live now?

Crist:
[85] The summit of Mt. Johnson at Possum Kingdom Lake, just west of Fort Worth. Closer to home, sitting on my balcony drinking a cup of coffee early in the morning.

Interviewer:
[86] What books are you reading now? What about it/them is holding your attention?

Crist:
[87] I'm not really reading anything at present. I do have the 1897 Sears Roebuck catalogue handy for a reference tool for the Galveston story.

Interviewer:
[88] What would your friends say is your worst trait?

Crist:
[89] I'm very private, and don't easily let people get to really know me. And Iím pretty moody.

Interviewer:
[90] Do you type with your fingers on the right keys?

Crist:
[91] Yep.

Interviewer:
[92] What is the longest any plant in your home has been with you?

Crist:
[93] 15 years.

Interviewer:
[94] Do you have any particular bedtime rituals that you follow every night?

Crist:
[95] Nope.

Interviewer:
[96] If you find a spider in the bathtub, do you help it out or squish it?

Crist:
[97] Turn on the hot water and boil the little bugger, and then run him down the drain.

Interviewer:
[98] What was the last thing you bought that you really didn't need?

Crist:
[99] I'm about to go buy the Pasadena DVD and the Xena Season One DVD's and I don't even have a DVD player.

Interviewer:
[100] Have you ever smoked cigarettes?

Crist:
[101] For a while in junior high school in the alley on the way to school. In my early twenties, I smoked occasionally when I was out with friends. Never did it on a regular basis. Haven't done it in a long time, and don't plan to. Nasty habit. Plus Iím highly allergic.



Just say the secret word...

Janice preferred stogies


Interviewer:
[102] Who is your favorite Greek God?

Crist:
[103] On Xena, it's Aphrodite. Sheís fun to write, too. I have a soft spot for Ares too, especially after the passing of Kevin Smith.

Interviewer:
[104] Why do fools fall in love?

Crist:
[105] Why does anyone fall in love? Itís a mystery to me, but I'm glad we do.

Interviewer:
[106] Do you keep a diary and if so what do you call it? If so, what effect has it had on your writing?

Crist:
[107] I used to keep a journal, but haven't written in it since I started writing fan fiction.

Interviewer:
[108] How has online writing affected your life and how you see yourself, your goals?

Crist:
[109] It's changed my life. I've made a ton of friends and I simply get great satisfaction from writing itself. As far as how I see myself, it's probably given me more self-confidence, since it's been well-received. That still amazes me on certain levels.

Interviewer:
[109] What skill would you like to have that you don't have now?

Crist:
[110] I love sailing. I was in St. Martin (French West Indies) a few years ago and actually got to race on the Stars and Stripes, a former winner of the Americaís Cup. Itís kept in port there now, along with two other Americanís Cup vessels. My job was to operate one of the winches at the back that haul the sheets in and out when we tacked. A squall hit towards the end of the race, and the boat was keeled over almost on its side. It was a huge rush. I would love to become a proficient sailboat racer.

Interviewer:
[111] Who is your real life hero and why?

Crist:
[112] My best friend for all the reasons listed above.

Interviewer:
[113] What fan fic story touched you so much that you still remember it vividly?

Crist:
[114] Heaven Down Here by Rebecca Hall. I think it was the first fan fic story I ever read. It opened up a whole new world to me.

Interviewer:
[115] If you could only choose a single climate with no variation would you prefer it to be sweltering hot or freezing cold?

Crist:
[116] Sweltering hot.

Interviewer:
[117] What is the first thing you notice about someone when you meet them?

Crist:
[118] Usually their face, just their overall expression and demeanor.

Interviewer:
[119] Have you ever done something that accidentally caused something really bad to happen to someone?

Crist:
[120] Not that Iím aware of.



Xena got a little tweezer happy.

Xena raised the bar on "accidents"


Interviewer:
[121] How is $25 well spent?

Crist:
[122] If it's $25 I'm spending on myself, it would be on an evening out with my friends. My best friendís little boy, Hank, he can inspire me to buy lots of toys, and thatís definitely money well spent.

Interviewer:
[123] Would you rather live in a sociable suburb, or alone in the deep woods?

Crist:
[124] Neither. Give me some wide-open space on the beach or in the desert southwest.

Interviewer:
[125] What literary character did you most identify with as a child?

Crist:
[126] Tom Sawyer.

Interviewer:
[127] What is the source of your inspiration?

Crist:
[128] I have no idea. I'm just glad it's there.

Interviewer:
[129] Where do your ideas come from?

Crist:
[130] Same answer. They come from everywhere. Sometimes from television. Sometimes from reading. Sometimes from friends and readers. Sometimes they just pop out of nowhere.

Interviewer:
[131] What do you find most satisfying about your job?

Crist:
[132] Part of my job is to "sleuth" the file for a lawsuit, and search for what I call a "smoking gun." I love finding a fact or facts that will help us win a case. I also enjoy doing Internet research.

Interviewer:
[133] What are the three things you enjoy most about writing?

Crist:
[134] I enjoy the creative outlet. I enjoy the visuals in my head while Iím writing. It just makes me happy.

Interviewer:
[135] What were your favorite book, TV show, and movie when you were a teenager and what do you think of them now?

Crist:
[136] Oh, I'm having a hard time remembering what I watched in high school. I didn't watch much television back then, and time frames on some shows escape me. I sporadically watched Wonder Woman, The Bionic Woman, Charlie's Angels, and Magnum P.I. Oddly, I don't remember anything specific about any of those shows other than what the characters looked like. My favorite movie was Star Wars, and I have it on video now. My favorite books were anything by Chaim Potok or Mark Twain, as well as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are still favorites.



The three made regular chiropractor visits to realign their hips.

Charlie's Angels, say no more


Interviewer:
[137] What's your idea of a perfect world?

Crist:
[138] Before I answer that, I'm not sure I'd want a perfect world. I often wonder if I'd be the same person today if not for the sum total of my life experiences, both good and bad. I have some wonderful people in my life that I met through difficult circumstances, so if my world were perfect it would be less rich in friendship. I supposed Iíd like to see Earth as Utopia, where everyday is beautiful and everyone has respect for everyone else. Where the environment is pristine and no one wants for anything. Where we are free to pursue are hopes, desires, and dreams. But thatís very idealistic. I think Iíd settle for stamping out poverty, disease, environmental destruction, violence, and prejudice. But even thatís idealistic.

Interviewer:
[138] How real is your fiction to you?

Crist:
[139] Real, as in true-to-life? Not very. Real as in vivid in my head? Very.

Interviewer:
[140] What Disney character do you most identify with and why?

Crist:
[141] I identify with Peter Pan. I want to keep having adventures. But Baloo the bear from Jungle Book is my favorite - I aspire to be that carefree.

Interviewer:
[142] Who do you read for inspiration?

Crist:
[143] No one. I read to escape from real life or to educate myself.

Interviewer:
[144] What's your favorite website?

Crist:
[145] The Hunger Site http://www.thehungersite.com

Interviewer:
[146] When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

Crist:
[147] That changed weekly - everything from a drummer in a rock band to a veterinarian to a telephone repair person (so I could climb the telephone poles).

Interviewer:
[148] What are the limits in sacrifices for true love?

Crist:
[149] On a personal level, anyone that I would spend my life with should make my life better for being in it than it is when Iím alone, and vice versa. I think some practical sacrifices are a given, but if you go into a relationship expecting someone to change for you, or them expecting you to change for them, maybe it's not a good relationship. Given that, I guess itís pretty obvious that I think if Romeo and Juliet had been real people, they were complete idiots. Now in writing fiction, that goes out the door. My fictional characters are ready to sacrifice all for love. But Iím assuming weíre talking about reality.

Interviewer:
[150] What makes a great kisser?

Crist:
[151] (a waggle of the eyebrows)

Interviewer:
[152] What have you learned from your animals?

Crist:
[153] Learned? Iím not sure. Perhaps what itís like to have unconditional love, although I think my mother and grandmother also showed me that.

Interviewer:
[154] Does our society glorify violence to the point we have become desensitized to it and the consequences?

Crist:
[155] Maybe. Although I can watch violence as part of a television show or a movie, and I know on a certain level that itís not real. I have a pretty high tolerance for ďfakeĒ violence and can watch some pretty intense scenes without it affecting me too much. Yet if I watch a ďliveĒ scene of violence, perhaps on the evening news, it really gets to me. I guess it depends on a personís ability to distinguish between reality and fiction. If you really want to look at things from a historical standpoint, life was much harsher, say in the middle ages than it is today. Iím not so sure the world is more violent; our weapons are just more sophisticated.



Don't worry, kids, it's just a flesh wound.

The world might not be getting more violent, but Xena: Warrior Princess sure did!


Interviewer:
[156] What is your motto?

Crist:
[157] I donít really have a motto. I have a quote, a Lucy one actually, that has inspired me at times: "Whenever I feel myself on the horns of a moral dilemma, I try to remind myself of a maxim I wish to live by: 'spread more Joy.' It helps me choose the right direction even if, in the short term, it seems the least profitable option." -- Lucy Lawless

Interviewer:
[158] What do you think we take too seriously as writers?

Crist:
[159] Ourselves.



Linda's Stories

Linda Crist a.k.a Texbard

E-Mail: texbard@earthlink.net

Website: http://home.earthlink.net/~texbard

Mailing Lists: http://groups.yahoo.com/texbard
http://groups.yahoo.com/texbardupdates


Ubers:
The Bluest Eyes in Texas
Soon to be published by Fortitude Press, Inc.:
http://www.fortitudepress.com

Moondancers' Delight
(Not available on the web) to be published in the Fortitude anthology, At First Blush. A Kennedy and Carson short vacation story.

Soul Vessels
A Kennedy and Carson short Halloween story.

Galveston 1900: Swept Away
In progress. Not yet on the web.


The Xena/Gabrielle Series
Begins after The Ides of March 4th season cliffhanger and is their ongoing adventures from that point. My Xena/Gabrielle series parts ways with the show after the 4th season. The series in order is:

March the 16th
A Solstice Treaty
The Sixth Sense
Cleopatra 4 A.D.
Divinity (Xippy winner)
The Eyes of Eire (currently in progress)


Xena/Gabrielle Stand-Alone Stories:
Destiny Conquered
(Bardís Challenge winner) - a conqueror story. Xena has conquered Greece and has her sight set on Rome. She meets a slave, Gabrielle, and her world is turned upside down. Please read the disclaimers. It is violent and graphic.

Shattered
This story deals with the subject of rape and the aftermath. I have no idea what possessed me to write it. I do urge folks to read the disclaimers. It's not for everyone and it's very graphic.

Crossing the Fire
Xippy and Bardís Challenge winner) - to quote MaryD, ďGabrielle ponders what went wrong in her relationship with Xena as she watches her warrior play with the baby Eve. Xena also wonders what happened and with a little help from the Goddess of Love, a mystery is solved. Xena and Gabrielle finally have that talk about what went wrong in their relationship.Ē

Itís What I Do
Gabrielleís thoughts after the events of Path of Vengeance.

All stories unless otherwise noted are at the Royal Academy, MaryDís, and ForevaXena, and are also at my website:
http://home.earthlink.net/~texbard



Acknowledgments

Thanks to Kamouraskan for the beta.





Articles

L. J. Maas and Murphy Wilson [Amy Murphy].One Step Beyond ... Uber, That Is. WHOOSH #49 (October 2000)

The "Inside the Head of..." series in Whoosh issues #58, 61-66,68-73





Biography

a woman of mystery Amy Murphy
Thirty-one-year-old Amy Murphy resides in Indiana, and is an avid reader of Xena: Warrior Princess Fan Fiction. If it exists in the Xenaverse, chances are she has read it! Murphy has also tried her hand at writing fan fiction, turning out two very nice pieces that reside on a couple of web sites throughout the Xenaverse.


Favorite episode: IS THERE A DOCTOR IN THE HOUSE (24/124)
Favorite line: "I Have Many Skills" Various episodes
First episode seen: TITANS (07/107)
Least favorite episode: LYRE, LYRE HEARTS ON FIRE (100/510)

 

 

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