Letters Column for April 2005

Posted on May 3, 2005 by Jenna

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Donations for April totaled $40. Thank you! Also, thank you to everyone who bought the first monthbook. I’m stalled on finishing the third until I fix my sleep schedule.

I have used a cactus, a caliper, and a banjo to select certain comments for further response—but I’d like, as my final thank you for the month, to thank everyone who commented at all. Reading new comments is the first thing I do when I wake up and often the last thing I do before I sleep. ^_^


I can’t help thinking of “hope” as being more insubstantial than what Martin does. So he’s like an angel, maybe he started off as an angel, but he’s something more. Archangel? Messiah?
— David Goldfarb

What does a messiah respond to, and how?


So you can have dualisms about sage-kings, but not about Buddha? :)
— Mithrandir

The answer to this question is in the shape of Buddha’s ears. Find me a statue of Buddha that is not also the statue of a sage-king: I’ll look at the ears, and tell you your answer!


But as I was trying to put my thoughts in order, I realized: is Martin named Martin because of _Candide_?
— rpuchalsky

It wouldn’t surprise me, but what’s Candide?


I am mystified by the relationship between pain and art, and why the latter seems so often to proceed from the former.
— Metal Fatigue


I think suffering actually creates craft, not art.

Causation is not instrumentality.

I think that pain helps people express the beauty that was already in them.

One of the things that makes pain into suffering is the lack of consent. This isn’t hugely relevant to any resulting art, I think—I suspect that a few years shuttling between Zen monasteries and the BDSM scene would produce a healthy person with just as much experience of dissociation and physical pain as a broken child.


//1. Given the situation as shown, Officer Fiennes did the wrong thing; Bloody Bill should have been allowed to live free.

2. Anyone who assents to proposition 1 deserves to suffer and/or die at Bill’s hands.//
— David Goldfarb

The quest for a single correct answer that subordinates all other understandings can lead one to odd places. ^_^


When drafting a little robot to get a sword… pick a robot with hands.
— Archangel Beth

In Amara’s defense, by 2118, Roombas will almost certainly have both hands and brains more sophisticated than our own. See Battlestar Galactica for more details.


David: No-exits Town could be it. I was thinking Nessus-town, but I don’t know what centaurs have to do with it.
— Graeme

“Nesis” in Nesiston is short for “exegesis.”

The exact process of derivation is left as an exercise for the reader. ^_^


Raw potatoes can be quite tasty if eaten with the proper preparation.
— S

I find this quite surprising!


well, potatoes do have a tendancy to sprout tentacles and become squishy if left alone too long.
— GoldenH

As shown in the classic anime “Potato X”.

(It’s about a potato who does not exist, forced by the shadow government that rules Japan to operate outside the law. At the nailbiting end of the series, he sprouts tentacles, goes squishy, and spends twenty minutes philosophizing about the nature of humanity before finally succumbing to rot.)


Do you have to be very, very smart to comment on these stories? Because I don’t understand any of the other comments.
— Pseudointellectual


This is 300,000 words into the story, and my readers are in a very analytical phase. But most of the posts are really just there to be appreciated for themselves. ^_^

Thank you, tylercat!


//“We are oppressed and must practice the art of Baptist ninjutsu to survive.”

This is not a sentence that I expected to encounter today.//
— Eric

Sorry. :(

In the original plan for your life you weren’t going to encounter it until the 10th of this month, but I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire.


Is rebecca OK? I haven’t seen her post anywhere since this.
— GoldenH

I get Sundays off! And a weekday near the third! It’s in the contract. ^_^

Plus, the more people talk and the higher my personal standards for Hitherby, the harder letter columns get; yet at the same time, the more people talk and the higher my personal standards get, the more I enjoy writing Hitherby! It’s a conundrum that I am now facing monthly. ^_^


//But this brings up a good end-of-month question, if it isn’t too late for this month. Um, how should we address the author of these writings within our comments? Is “rebecca”, “Rebecca Borgstrom”, or “Ms. Borgstrom”, “R. Sean Borgstrom”, or some other varient preferred? Just rebecca feels most Internet-styled, but it does seem a bit informal for someone who I don’t know.

Also, how often should we expect Audience threads, in general?//
— rpuchalsky

Rebecca is fine. Ms. or Dr. Borgstrom is also fine. Whichever seems most honest on each given occasion for the particular sentiment that evokes the use of my name at all, really, is preferable.

On your last question, I don’t know. Is there a preference?

That’s it for this month!

Don’t forget to check merin.hitherby.com now and again, and thanks to all of you for reading!