(Letters Column for December 2005) Naturally Curly Hair

Hi!

That didn’t happen. I mean, I didn’t actually get eaten by a singularity. That would make me fictional and I’m not. I mean, except in the sense that communication and fiction are pretty similar.

I just wanted to make that clear so that you didn’t think, like, I was some post-singularity imposter. I’m not. I’m almost the same me as I was last year! And I’m *nearly* the same me as when Hitherby started, even though I think I’ve replaced almost every cell in my body and moved most of my mental constructs to new places in my brain since then.

This particular letters column is broken up across multiple days. This part is the middle. The beginning was yesterday, and the end is tomorrow!

**

The thing that interests me most here is that you conceptualize Hitherby as a webcomic without pictures (Thanksgiving notwithstanding), rather than a fiction blog. Do you conceptualize these as different things?
— Adamiani

I think my response to this is best summarized as, “There are enough fiction blogs that they’re a category? Man! I’m surprised, because this stuff is hard.

But yes, anyway, I do. The specific distinction is intention. If I were writing a fiction blog, then my principal motivation would be to provide good fiction. I’m writing a webcomic because my principal motivation is giving people something entertaining to read in the morning. In short, the medium is functionally almost identical but the delivered product is different. I’m writing a webcomic because it’s more important to post something imperfect than to skip a day and make it perfect. ^_^

I wobble a little because I am personally in love with the larger story and because my readers are often here for the fiction, but the core purpose remains.

**

Why does Claire really want to get rid of the chaos?
— melsner

I think there are occasional ads on TV that say: “Do you have chaos? Talk to your doctor about Dr. Brommer’s Deliciously Orderly Liquid!”

And stuff!

**

And what does it say about the characters that they think that awe-inspiring chaos is a disease to be exised? Does chaos have intentional resonance with mental illnes?
— mneme

Hm!

I think mental illness is overly stigmatized. I also think that there’s room for fair controversy over whether some conditions are alternate modes of thought and not disabilities at all—I can’t help noticing just how many of the people I respect are either autistic or dissociative, for example.

I’m not sure! Maybe there’s some intentionality to the resonance you see.

**

But I think that a pessimistic person would probably call an empty glass “entirely empty” rather than “scarcely.”
— random

Perhaps even “bounteously empty” or “refreshingly empty,” in accords with the perception of delight that bubbles slightly in a pessimist’s toes before rushing upwards in a great cascade towards their brain whenupon they witness the emptiness and dolor of the world!

Gloriously empty!

Joyously empty!

Rapturously, fascinatingly empty! A marvel of negative space! No glass unfilled shall be unturned! Nullness loves us in our dullness!

**

Genius. I’m reminded that my lack of a snarky, wisecracking servant full of wisdom has led to a life less full of roses and victory parades myself. I need to work on finding one of them, but good help is so hard to find.
— mcclintock

Stupidly, they’re under ‘Crackers’ in the Yellow Pages. Because they crack wises, I guess. I think it’s really counterintuitive and I organized a Yellow Pages burning in protest but then they delivered new ones and my whole neighborhood is full of ghostly fingers doing the walking anyway.

It’s the kind of thing that would inevitably drive me to obsession, fury, madness, hubris, destruction, and despair were it not for my naturally curly hair.

**

For torture to work as an accepted part of society, there HAS to be a differentiation between the kind of people who are tortured and the kind of people who are not tortured. It doesn’t have to be “we’re innocent, they’re guilty” (clearly it isn’t here), or “we’re white, they’re brown” or anything specific and obvious; it just has to be “not me.” Not on me. On her. On them. On the other kind of people.
— mineownaardvarks

And since I didn’t see anyone say it explicitly, I’ll add this: it doesn’t really matter much whether that differentiation is a consequence or a cause. A corrupt ideology always sees its victims as the most appropriate victims; that’s why “what you do to the least of these, ye do unto me” is so important as a moral principle. The person you feel most within your rights to hurt is probably just a representative of the category of person you’ve hurt the most already.

**

its ok, you can read it, there’s no heresy there.
— GoldenH

Oh, noodles!

Did I accidentally preach correct and virtuous doctrine again?

Man.

Sometimes I think heresy is one of those things like where, you see the Albigensians on HBO and they make it look totally effortless, like you pretty much just open your mouth and say something about how that which we perceive as evil does not reflect on God, and, bam! Inquisitors!

But heresy is actually really tough, because you wind up saying things that are consonant with doctrine unless you totally binge on evil communion wafers first.

(Well, *I* wind up saying consonant things, anyway. There’s this story about how Dustin Hoffman binged on evil communion wafers when filming an Albigensian chick flick with Laurence Olivier, and Laurence Olivier said, “My dear man, why not just hypothesize that Jesus’ sacrifice was an extratemporal event that has been continuously occuring since the beginning of time?” Now *that* was some darn good extemporaneous heresy, and we’re all lucky that it didn’t catch on and force the Church to crusade against Los Angeles. Because man, then the crusaders would be all “cutting the heads off of Tom Cruise now!” and “Ms. Swinton! Get thee to a nunnery!” and the other side would be raining down fire and ice on the Vatican with movie magic and everybody would be very distressed.)

**

Where can I get an application for joining the Cult of the Worm?
— SquidLord

Same place as sea monkeys. Just write a note on your order form.

**

How an animal can transcend moral authority i’ll never know.
— GoldenH

This is an interesting question, even if it was prompted by your misreading a word. ^_^

I suppose that we could calculate the limit of increasing virtue and synthesize it with an animal, creating a half-animal, half-infinitely-virtuous creature. I’m not sure whether it would transform from one to the other according to circumstances or remain permanently in a hybrid form. I envision it as something like Mecha-Lassie.

**

Also this community is pretty special
— tikitu

Yes, it is. ^_^ Welcome!

**

I find it difficult to imagine a state of being where I wanted either fruit or sex but didn’t have a strong preference which.
— David Goldfarb

It’s most common in people who read erotic poetry with an excess of fruit metaphors, such as “The Tomato That is His Love For Me” or “In Oranges I am Dreaming.”

(Audience! Can you provide the words to these famously erotic poems? I’m pretty sure the first is allegedly by Dickinson.)

**

What, then, is the imago?
— DSPaul

Really, now. ^_^

**

One day, I would be interested in reading how Mr. Schiff came to join the Gibbelins Tower Theater Company, leaving his previous job as a science teacher to gods.
— Eric

It’ll happen. ^_^

**
That’s a goodly length! I’ll finish this tomorrow, padding it with general chat if I don’t find enough to respond to. ^_^

Rebecca

15 thoughts on “(Letters Column for December 2005) Naturally Curly Hair

  1. But heresy is actually really tough, because you wind up saying things that are consonant with doctrine unless you totally binge on evil communion wafers first.

    (Well, *I* wind up saying consonant things, anyway. There’s this story about how Dustin Hoffman binged on evil communion wafers when filming an Albigensian chick flick…

    Whee! You’re on a roll here, Rebecca. I look forward to tomorrow’s installment.

  2. That’s a goodly length! I’ll finish this tomorrow, padding it with general chat if I don’t find enough to respond to. ^_^

    Here, I’ll give you something to respond to:

    http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/27205904/

    It was originally going to be a Christmas present, but, alas, file corruption errors caused some delays. That, and it turned out to suck. But take it in the spirit with which it is offered.

  3. its ok, you can read it, there’s no heresy there.
    — GoldenH

    Oh, noodles!

    Did I accidentally preach correct and virtuous doctrine again?

    Man.

    -snip-

    Well rebecca, if you’re REALLY concerned, I can look around. I’m sure I can find SOMEBODY who will be offended…

    How an animal can transcend moral authority i’ll never know.
    — GoldenH

    This is an interesting question, even if it was prompted by your misreading a word. ^_^

    Yeah, I was probably just reacting to people who have actually insisted that animals transcend moral authority, so just projected. whoops! :oops:

    I suppose that we could calculate the limit of increasing virtue and synthesize it with an animal, creating a half-animal, half-infinitely-virtuous creature. I’m not sure whether it would transform from one to the other according to circumstances or remain permanently in a hybrid form. I envision it as something like Mecha-Lassie.

    I do like Mecha-Lassie. Especially as it is a sea monster, and sea monsters are like monks. Do monks transcend moral authority? How about half-monk half-machine? We could rebuild him! We have the technology! But can we do it without his consent and has he signed a legally-binding waiver saying that such augmentation is against his spiritual beliefs?

  4. Oh, noodles!

    Taking His Noodly Appendage in vain is an improvement. Keep up the good work and you’ll get to heresy eventually!

    Also, what’s up with Maps? For those who are having difficulty posting, the site is presently more usable if you select View|Page Style|No Style in Firefox.

  5. Looks like hackers. A bit of hidden text on the index page reads “Sitenizin Yayinina MiLLi HaCK Team Tarafindan Son Verilmistir…”

    I don’t recognize the language, but a best guess would be along the lines of “Your site has been hacked by Milli Hack Team”

  6. Thanks for answering so many questions, Rebecca.

    ADamiani, excellent. I particularly liked the stylization on your Francescu and Elisabet.

    I’m reading this in IE, and I see a light blue on dark blue color scheme that, along with the page now scrolling off the left and right on the screen, makes it much more difficult to read.

  7. (Audience! Can you provide the words to these famously erotic poems? I’m pretty sure the first is allegedly by Dickinson.)

    The Tomato That is His Love For Me

    Changing as the sun through the clouds of time unseen
    is the tomato that is his love for me.
    Nurtured with soft caresses through the chilliest nights,
    the vine of affection entwines around my heart.
    Kisses spring forth on my arms and legs,bright yellow and starlike,
    hairs shivering as you pass by me without your touch.

    Bursting forth, I parade the results of our time;
    It bulges, heavy, engorged with the lust of our passions.
    Greater it grows each day, each night, each second.
    No worm tastes of his love, no interloperpiller nibbles at my flesh.
    Rainwater slips all along me, licking at my ever growing blush.

    Bright and warm as the sunset is his love for me.
    Time is ever moving forward, I ache from the heavy burden I carry.
    His hands enfold me, pulling me closer as he tastes of the love I bear.
    Juices overflow, running down his chin, dripping from his hands.
    The ache disappears in a burst of fertile oneness with each other.

    He wipes his hands and walks away, away to his next female plant.
    I drip, spent, nothing left of his love but a stain and a new bud, turning toward the sun.

  8. The Tomato That Is His Love For Me
    Allegedly by Emily Dickinson

    It sat upon the countertop
    Fair crimson radiant hue
    An orb of long restricted lust
    Far more than I was due

    It must have ripened on the vine
    Behind soft leaves of green
    As were the loins of Eden’s pair
    From falsehoods serpentine

    How else could it have thus survived
    Unblemished, perfect, whole
    Surpassing jealous oranges
    A-perched within their bowl?

    Alas, it never did suspect
    For joy to end in strife
    But immaculate beauty
    Can’t avoid the paring knife

    T’was I that killed the lovely fruit
    It’s juice is on my hands
    I watched with glee its noble end
    A-simmering in my pan

    [NOTE: Cross-posted with Beth”>

  9. a salty lick o’er the grains,
    like eyes sewn together by a mother’s kiss
    no thread or tear doth puncture
    that flesh which tastes so succulent

    hath followed a knife curved
    like moons’ gibbeous phase but dull
    no light or metal doth glint
    which rent the skin so deep

    but strewn lies the orange
    forgotten in my ardor for you are delicious
    in ways yet unwrote, unknown
    yet a dream compared to Rome

  10. I also use IE. I’d appreciate error reports posted in Central Control along with an IE version number so I can investigate further. It also seems to look okay in Firefox but I wouldn’t mind verification.

    Anybody feel up to making a replacement Maps logo?

  11. Jonathan’s poem has the right meter for Dickinson, but the punctuation isn’t anywhere near peculiar enough.

  12. ADamiani, excellent. I particularly liked the stylization on your Francescu and Elisabet.

    Wow, specific positive comments are like crack. Is this what Rebecca feels like all the time?

    Thank you for your kind words.

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