Letters Column for January 2007: Notes


I plan on continuing Hitherby. I wasn’t sure for a bit. Then I was sitting around watching “the Blob,” which a friend had demanded Tivo record, and I found myself writing down one fine idea after another. Nthanda came from the opening music alone.

So I can’t really stop writing Hitherby until people stop showing cheesy SF on Tivo-accessible channels.

As for the canon, I wasn’t sure on that either. For a while.

But after a bit I’ve found that I’m still interested in Liril’s story; so I just need the thinking time to put it together and post. After that, it’s not as hard, so I’ll plan on doing the rest, too. ^_^

I’m out of energy.

So I can’t do the whole webcomic pace right now. I assume at some point I’ll be back to three posts a week. Perhaps even six. But right now, it’ll update when it updates.

I’d say: “soon, though, and not, like, every four weeks or something.”


I can’t, since this *coming* week, I am out of town, and don’t know how things will go.

I might post a vignette or two before finishing the letters column. Letters columns are a surprising amount of work.

Thanks for reading! Thanks for commenting! Peace.

13 thoughts on “Letters Column for January 2007: Notes

  1. Yikes! Everyone runs out of energy eventually. The question is whether it’s temporary, or whether you’ve really hit the wall with the story.

    Have you read China Mieville’s Iron Council? Well, I’m going to spoil it, sort of… He’s a writer who is very much a believer in socialism. So he’s writing this book about a socialist revolution, and finally it has to end. Does it end in success? He can’t write that, because he has no idea what success would really involve. Does it end in failure? He can’t write that, because obviously that would be like predicting failure in reality. So he freezes it.

    It seems to me like Hitherby is in danger of something similar. It’s an answer to suffering; Jane and Martin are engaged in seeking for a religious answer. (Within the frame of the story, it may not be religious, but without, it’s religious.) Can they succeed? Well, no, not unless you become a religious leader, not a short story writer. Can they fail? No, for the same reasons as above. Somehow the story needs to end with them neither succeeding nor failing — with them proceeding to another level of questions, or something. That’s hard to write.

    But the story needs to end. The worst occurance from my point of view would be Hitherby just trailing off, a forever unfinished work. The second-worst would be the sort of fate suffered by Colleen Doran’s A Distant Soil: started long ago, still ongoing, maybe will be finished someday and maybe won’t, seemingly blocking the opportunity of another major project.

    You distinguish between vignettes and canon above. I think that the temptation of canon was implicit in Hitherby from a very early point: “Dragons” in Jan 2004. The questions “Can broken things be remade? Can destinies change? Is it worth the risk of hope?” imply answers (though not final answers), and answers imply a story. At this stage, if you’re not interested in the overarching story, I don’t think the vignettes can really sustain themselves for too long.

    Anyways, my best wishes, and clearly I’ll be reading whatever you write, at webcomic pace or not. But I do hope that if it does tail off, you’ll write something about how you’d intended the story to end. And I hope that whenever you do have the energy to write canon, you pitch it more towards closure and less towards expansion.

  2. Let me just chime in to say that I’m very glad you’ve decided to continue with your work here.

    Let me also offer my full support in whatever publishing schedule you choose to proceed with. I know from experience that you have to take care of yourself, and approach the work with a level of involvement that you can sustain comfortably. Do what you need to do, and thanks for keeping us posted.

    Take care………..e.

  3. I’m happy you’re back! I’m sad that Hitherby has been more of an energy sink than an energy source; that’s an inflection point that I have a hard time handling, myself. I hope to see more Hitherby Dragons, but I seem to like your writing in general, so I’m sure I’ll continue reading more of your work, whether in Hitherby or elsewhere.

  4. I have been continually amazed at your writing pace over the years. It’s quite understandable to slow down or even stop now. Don’t write for us, write for yourself.

    (I wouldn’t mind if you stopped writing canon and just posted random short pieces whenever they came to you. All your writing is amazing!)

  5. Hm. Sometimes I would write a reply to some story and just delete it, because it seemed too gushing and I don’t want to sound like a suck-up. Which is one reason most of my posts turned out to be ‘I liked that one’ and ‘MOAR INK!’

    But honestly. You have, over the past few years of Hitherby, done more cool ideas and more quality writing than most writers can reasonably hope to accomplish in their whole career. Even if you never wrote another word, you’ve already got a cult following, and one not fractionally as big as you deserve.

    Insofar as it’s possible to read the tome of someone’s text, you sound almost sad about burning out. And that is crazy talk! It’s more like taking a break after creating heaven and earth. Anybody would do that!

  6. I’d certainly be concerned and sad if you decided to stop writing Hitherby- I really want to know what’s going to happen to those crazy kids- are they going to make it work?

    I guess maybe what we, as fans, ought to be doing is to ask how we could help. Do you want more wall-of-text comments to help you think about what you’ve done? Should we write invocations to the Muses in your name? Should we kidnap you, strap you to a table in our volcano lair, and threaten you to write new pieces under threat of laser death? (If someone will pay for the volcano and the laser, I’ll pay for the table.) Should we volunteer to move all of the content onto a wiki somewhere and start obsessively cross-linking things and mapping out all the continuity? (That’s a thing that really needs to be done, just for the sake of remembering everything.) If there are things that should be done, I’m sure there are people who will help here.

    On a more story-related note, you say you’re still interested in Liril’s story. Are you implying that you’re less interested in Martin and Jane et al?

  7. Peace, Rebecca!

    Rest up and refresh, but most of all – have some fun!

    And in case you do find yourself inspired to post something new, I’ll be sure to be checking in for that.

  8. A few notes

    – I’ve noted in the past that I don’t much care for continuity, as Penny Arcade says. So I welcome a move back to vignettes wholeheartedly, as that is what I click on Hitherby hoping to read each day anyway. Sometimes, the canon is worth it, but I don’t need it.

    – I like being in your letters replies; some of my favorite things from you are replies to what I’ve posted. At the same time, 3 days of letters is too much. So I won’t mind being quoted less if it gives you more time to do other things. Just do a page of letters every month. Don’t worry about the best, just the ones that strike your fancy.

    – I’m out of energy too. The only way I can keep being creative it seems is to forget that I am tired. I used to just sit down in my free time and churn stuff out – now I sleep in my free time and only churn stuff out when I’m truly relaxed.

    This doesn’t lower the quality – it just makes things take longer. So if you post once a month, it’ll still be good and I’ll still read it with excitement. Unless it’s canon, but that’s what the other people on this site are for :)

  9. I don’t know what to say. Hitherby Incomplete would be a tragedy, but rpuchalsky’s “seemingly blocking the opportunity of another major project” gives me shivers.

    For what it’s worth: I’ll follow at whatever pace you write — whether here or elsewhere. Best wishes for recharging!

  10. I’ve always maintained that the nice thing about working for an hourly rather than a monthly wage is that you don’t owe anybody anything; you can always choose to not work and not be paid. There’s no obligation.

    Now, as you are not really paid for Hitherby in any case, this may not be the best comparison in the world.

    But know that, for me at least, everything you write here is and has been a blessing, that I am perpetually delighted to find that you have chosen to spend your time creating something I enjoy, and that this will continue to be the case whether you do more with this project twice a day or twice a month or never again at all. Thank you.

  11. I’ll read whatever you choose to write and make available. Pretty much as simple as that.

  12. I always admired your ability to keep up such a pace with your stories. The discipline that must require amazes me. I’ll keep you around and poke around the archives as I have time. A promise for new stuff when you have the ability to post new stuff is plenty to keep me coming by.

  13. I’ll be honest. Unless you put the stories in [Title] I or [Title], Part 1 form. I don’t really get the continuity or canon. In fact, I consider your best stuff the more non-canon stuff like Ink and that Smurf story (those might be canon, but more evidence that I actually still don’t know what canon is here).

    I just enjoy reading what you write! So yeah, like others have said I will read and enjoy whatever you write.

    Peace and Sooth! –Rav

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