The Apple Genius opened up my stickly little laptop. He peered inside and said that it was at least tier-3 damage, which means repairs would cost anywhere from $800-$1,000. And it could even be worse. So I'm selling the laptop on eBay, for parts, and hope to get $200-$300 for it. (The display alone, he said, was worth about $400 and the battery and keypad are also still functional.) It's what we non-tinkerers must do with our machines that no longer function. After all, for the price of repairs - especially added to the profit of the sale of the iBook for parts - I could easily get a new MacBook. Repairing it is not cost-effective. I will lose some work and some photographs, but it's simply not worth the price.
It appears a MacBook or a used PowerBook is on the horizon - though perhaps not for a few months. While a laptop is far more useful and convenient for freelance work than my iMac, it may need to wait while we recuperate from summer expenses.
So here ends my iBook odyssey. Goodbye, little computer. My memories of you will be short-lived, but sweet.