Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Daemons, Links, and Kid Lit Drinks

My friend Ben sent me a link today to The Golden Compass movie website's Find Your Daemon feature. After a twenty-question personality test, I have learned I am "modest, spontaneous, shy, competitive, and sociable," and therefore my daemon is an ocelot named Sereno. This would mean more to me if the three other people I know who have taken the test were not also judged "modest, spontaneous, shy, competitive, and sociable," and also therefore future companions to ocelots. (The website itself also seems oddly educational and explanatory. . . . Part of the great genius and pleasure of The Golden Compass is how it just throws you into this world of daemons and alternate-Oxfords and leaves you to puzzle out its wonders for yourself, and the site tells you straightaway [assume kindly didactic vaguely English-inflected voice] "a person's soul lives on the outside of their body in the form of a daemon" [/voice]. Hrmph.)

Anyway, I think I am going to stick with my daemon from a few years ago, when Katy and Ted and I decided to try out what Philip Pullman said was the best test of one's daemon -- that is, having two friends confer and choose for you. Katy was an otter (cheerful and resourceful); Ted was a lemur (I think; tree-loving and vegetarian); and I was a swan (long-necked and fierce) --much snappier.

Apropos of nothing, four blogs worth checking out:

  • Isabel Archer, written by my Carleton classmate Avery Palmer, with good writing and beautiful photos of his travels in Mexico and beyond;
  • Living the Romantic Comedy, by screenwriter and novelist Billy Mernit, with reflections on one of my favorite genres (often done, rarely done well);
  • Trainwise, by my friend Jonathan Valuckas, with many great reviews and crazy adventures; speaking of which:
  • Mishaps and Adventures, by Chad Beckerman, an art director for Abrams Books for Young Readers (and formerly of Scholastic and Greenwillow), about children's and young adult book design.

Random piece of advice for the day: Do not write to an editor and tell her you want her to publish your book, but you are not open to any further editing on it. She will turn you down. On second thought, if you aren't open to any further editing, do tell her -- it will save you both the hassle.

And as you have probably seen on Fusenumber8: Next kid-lit drinks night, May 8 at Sweet & Vicious. Hooray!


  1. I took the quiz to meet my daemon and it's NOT an ocelot, so at least we know there's some variablility! It described me as modest, solitary, assertive, shy, and dependable, which I guess I'd generally agree with. But then it revealed that my daemon is a spider named Erasmus. This is a bit disturbing, since I REALLY dislike spiders. Perhaps there's a lesson there somewhere. Anyway, thanks for the link!

    On an unrelated note, if we haven't heard back about a SQUID submission, at what point may we contact you to check on its status? I certainly don't want to bother you, but if the manuscript I sent isn't right for you, I would love to send you another and/or send this one elsewhere. I sent my SQUID in January.

    Thanks! A.B.

  2. Make that four ocelots --- does that make us a crowd now? A solitary crowd, that is?

  3. I took the quiz as well. I am matched with the spider daemon. My spider daemon Elleron is one of 535 spiders within a population of of 12,929. I am almost positive that all 12,929 spiders live at my house. Ha! My son has been to the hospital twice for spider bites, one very serious. Uh, and a co-worker picked one off my head yesterday on the playground. Eek! I don't like spiders. Anyway, Elleron is sociable, flexible, assertive, softly spoken, and outgoing. Hhmmm . . .

    On another note, thanks so much for sharing Chad Beckerman's blog. I love designing book jackets. It's much more difficult than most people realize, not you of course. Hee!

    Kimberly Lynn

  4. If you haven't heard back from a January SQUID, that means I probably kept it to write comments or think about it -- it's the ones that aren't right for me I send back immediately. However, I could probably use some prompting, so feel free to contact me in the third week of May.

  5. Holy crap--I'm a spider. This is not good at all.

  6. I'm stunned. I'm an ocelot. I'd rather be a sea lion or a goat, but, really, I'm not much like either one. Except maybe that, like a goat, I'll eat anything.

  7. Modest, spontaneous, fickle, a leader and competitive. Daemon?



    Named Aurora.

    Total daemon count is up to 16,381. Ocelots comprise more than one third of them. With all the animals in the world, you'd think there would be a little more variety.

  8. Yeah, I'm an ocelot, too.

    "Solitary, soft-spoken, responsible, modest, and shy."

    What a bore.

    And my daemon's name is Anicetos.

    Sounds like a suburb of LA.


    But it was a fun way to procrastinate. : )

  9. What the heck?! An Ocelot! I took the quiz four times just to be sure. I don't think I answered the questions 100% identically weach time but close enough, obviously.

    Her name is Xanthia.

  10. Chad Beckerman Wow! His website was like a jolt of good coffee! Thanks for the link. I'm looking forward to seeing what he says about book covers. I've been trying to figure out what makes a good one.

    My daemon, I am told, is a little mouse thing called Thalius, which sounds about right.

    Back to drawing volcanos.


  11. My daemon is a mouse named Cleon.

  12. That was fun!

    My daemon is Lutheus the Osprey. Somehow I think of a bird as flighty and I'm certainly not flighty! Anyway, his characteristics are solitary, soft spoken, responsible, modest, & proud. Some of that is right, I guess ...

    It was a fun assessment. Beats a SPIDER!!

    Aunt Carol

  13. Like Marilyn said..."a jolt of good coffee!" right! I second that WOW! For all of us illustators with a graphic design background, thanks for the Chad Beckerman link!


  14. Cheryl,

    Thanks for the mention of my blog! The urls seem to be mixed up; for anyone interested, the address is

    In the meantime, I will take the daemon quiz but I'll be upset if I'm not a tiger.

  15. What the?! I got a Whippet. I am spontaneous, outgoing, competitive, modest and sociable.

    No, I'm not.

  16. Hey, I got the ocelot Anicetos, too, but took the test again and got Olin, which is easier to spell...still an ocelot, though. There are a lot of us (most of the ones on child-lit seem to be, as well, though there are some wolves and tigers there too). I did want something cat-like, though, so I'm ok with it.

  17. Cheryl,

    Thanks very much for your reply. It's lovely to know that you are probably still thinking about my SQUID. I'm happy to wait as long as it takes!


  18. It would be really interesting if they had some really oddball daemons, like burrowing owls and shrews and jumping mice and llamas and French bulldogs and coots and grebes.

    I wouldn't mind having a noiseless, patient spider for a daemon. Though I'd probably be a raccoon.

    I'd think that having an osprey for a daemon means that you really like fish.

  19. I'm a MOTH of all things -- solitary, modest and passive. Thanks for that. I spent most of my youth being utterly terrified of moths (spiders, not a problem). At least if it was a spider it could write somethig interesting in a web. What are moths good for? Nothing! They just flutter and bump into things. Erg. Not impressed.

  20. Thank you for the link. Mine came up as Arion, a dog. Interesting. I did it again and changed two of my answers and came out as a mouse.

    Cheryl, thank you for letting us know that you respond quickly to the submissions that don't work for you.

  21. Oh Kate C! Maybe you don't have any ordinary moth... perhaps your Moth is huge and can carry you on its back. One never knows about these things.


  22. Yesterday morning when I took the daemon quiz, it said I was matched with spider daemon Elleron, sociable, flexible, assertive, softly spoken, and outgoing. I took the daemon quiz again after work just to see if there would be different results. Well, there was. This time, I was matched with a mouse named Elleron - spontaneous, a leader, assertive, softly spoken, and outgoing. I took the quiz three more times and still got matched with a mouse named Elleron. Going back over the questions, I realized why the results from morning and afternoon varied. I had answered one question differently, and you’re gonna love the question:

    When you make mistakes do you hide them?

    I had originally answered disagree, which wasn’t so true as I’m pretty sneaky at fixing mistakes before anyone catches them. Ha! Anyway, apparently hiding one’s mistakes is a great quality in being a leader.

    Kimberly Lynn

  23. I have a chimpanzee demon named Anicetos and I'm supposed to be modest, outgoing, spontaneous, humble, and assertive. Hmm. I'd agree with four out of those five. I won't tell you which one, though.

    Now I suppose I'll have to go and read the books. They're on my 'to read' list, anyway.

  24. Yes! Do read them! You'll love 'em!

  25. my daemon is a rabbit, shy and sensitive yet beautiful.
    his name is arriaun.

    cool eh?

  26. I've read all the books 5 times
    and the fact that they changed the name of northen lights for the movie is so annoying

  27. I took the same quiz some weeks ago and the result was that I am a, extrovert, self-center, immature, and bragging daemon, I said what!? You are lucky you got so many positive characteristics