Somewhere between animal and anima, between anime and Animaniacs....
There is:

My Own Little Corner of Toontown

Quote Of The Moment:
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress.

--Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

Latest update: 08/11/2004

Greetings and felicitations!

Hey there hi there ho there! Welcome to my shamelessly self-aggandizing webpage. I don't have a dot-com to advertise, so this space is really only good for telling you about myself. If you're still reading, I can only assume that you're interested.

My name and style is Batya "The Toon" Wittenberg (nee Levin), and the character to the left is not me precisely, but my online persona -- a toon in the anime style.
Designed after Tifa Lockhart of Final Fantasy.

My online persona hails from Toontown, which is a rather interesting place to live. That's "interesting" as in the old Chinese curse about living in interesting times. Take a look here if you want to see just how interesting it can get.... (No, I did not write this or contribute to it at all. Don't I just wish I had!)

Who am I and what am I doing here?

(I've wondered that myself from time to time....) Let's start with the who part. My name:

Batya. Translates from the Hebrew as "daughter of God." I was named for a grandmother of my father, whose family came to New Orleans, Louisiana in the early 1800's. (Yes, my ancestors were that rarity: a very old American Jewish family that stayed Jewish.) Like almost every kid who has ever lived, I went through a period of hating my name. That phase took a nasty knock in high school, and didn't survive my first year of college.

Levin. Pronounced le-VEEN, not LEV-inn. Means "Levite" or "of the tribe of Levi," who in the times of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem were Temple servants, singers, and teachers. Here in turn-of-the-millenium America, my parents both work in Jewish education, and everyone in my family sings (and we're all pretty good at it, too). Heredity's a funny thing, innit?

Wittenberg. ("Please don't call me Mrs. Wittenberg, that's my mother-in-law!") It's been over five years now since I married Alex and took his surname, and I'm still getting used to it. Until I have some more thoughts on the subject, I'm using this space to point to the online photo album, which is right now mostly pictures of the wedding. Theoretically, it'll be updated someday.

So what do I do?

Well, let's see. I lead the Committed Dreamer Clan (a bunch of friends with a, shall we say, unique approach to reality... "I have a firm grip on reality! I can reach out and strangle it anytime!"). I didn't actually plan on becoming the clan's leader...like so many other crazy, marvelous things in my life, it just sorta happened.

I'm currently involved in several group writing projects, both online and in this consensual shared hallucination we call "real life".
The Third Rainbow is my biggest group project these days, ever since I left The GARGOYLES Saga a few years back. TGS was a learning experience in a lot of ways; I'm glad to be done with it, but I'm also glad to have been part of it.

Over the past years TaleSpin: High Flight has been kind of falling by the wayside. Which is a pity, but we've all got other things to work on now...

TGS and High Flight are both group fanfic projects; The Third Rainbow is an original shared-universe fantasy series, and I've been proud to share all of them with some of the finest writers I've met online or off.

On my own, I'm working on ... let's see ... at least three novels-in-progress, a dramatization of the Book Of Esther in the Shakespearean style (The Comedie of Esther Queen of Persia -- I can never refuse a literary challenge), the odd piece of independent fanfic, and a whole big bunch of filksongs.
(So you don't know what is it -- a filksong? Check it out here.)

I also draw. A lot. Most of it's doodlings and scribblings that fill up the margins of my notebooks at work and school (along with random quotes, lines of poetry, and whatever else is on my mind -- remind me to tell you someday about why the words "Zeus Is A Big Blue Jerk" were written on the back of my Classical Mythology notebook). Occasionally I get the chance to do some real drawing, on paper or on computer. And now that I have a working scanner (yay!), I can add to the gallery a little more often.

Some other fun hobbies and obsessions of mine:

  • In case you hadn't guessed yet, I read. Mostly fantasy and science-fiction, with the odd exception. A list of my favorite books and/or authors would take far too long, but here's a beginning: a semi-complete list of the contents of our bookshelves. (At last tally. We try to keep count, but they multiply awfully fast.)

  • I don't watch a lot of television, but at any given time there's usually one or two shows that I follow fixedly. In the past it's been Star Trek: The Next Generation (and Deep Space Nine, for a while; never got into Voyager), Gargoyles (no surprise there), and The X-Files (which I still like).
    Right now it's Angel (along with Buffy the Vampire Slayer until it wrapped up last season) and Smallville, and I'm giving serious thought to picking up this new thing called Tru Calling.

  • I cook. And I love it. Few things will delight me in quite the same way as a fully stocked kitchen. (Does the spice rack fill an entire cupboard shelf? Is there lots and lots of counter space? Do the utensils include a potato masher, a baster, a large cast-iron skillet, a good set of knives?) I find cooking to be great therapy -- with the added benefit of being able to eat well afterwards! -- and besides, it's a terrific socially acceptable excuse to play with knives and fire.
    Of course, I cook the way I do almost everything else: creatively. I can follow a recipe, but it's much more fun to invent my own. Here you will find a selection of my favorite recipes, both originals and accredited to others.

    Oh, you meant what I do for a living....

    Well, having graduated Queens College (carrying away a B.A. in English with emphasis in writing) last Spring, I'm currently holding a part-time secretarial job at Waring Investments, looking for full-time employment (check out my resume at monster.com!), and trying to get some of my writings published. I'm also married, and we're pondering the whole starting-a-family thing sometime in the next few years.

    And I get to do all this while living in New York City -- which may not really be the greatest city in the world, but every so often I'm utterly convinced that it is. And it doesn't hurt that more than one of my favorite fantasy works is set here....

    [No, I'm not getting rid of this picture. At least not yet. This is what the Twin Towers looked like before September 11th, 2001. Maybe someday they'll look like this again. Maybe not.]

    Places To Go, People To See

    Now that you have some vague idea of who I am, let me introduce you to some of the people who walk this world with me.

    Aaaaand the red door to your right will take you out into Fortune City. As long as you're here, why not drop in on some of my neighbors?
    (Just don't tell them I sent you. Unless they seem pleased. Actually, if they seem too pleased, be a bit careful...it's kind of a weird neighborhood.)

    Feel like writing to me? I don't mind -- it helps fill up the three or four spare seconds I still have every few days.... (grin)
    I'm not putting up a mailto link for fear of mailbots, but if you're an actual person you can email me at batyatoon at hotmail dot com.