whatever does not kill me
makes me stranger
Entropy Gradient Reversals
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Writer's Block

The deal is manifold, as always, but at base, the deal is this: we're stuck. There are reasons we could think of, have thought of and rejected. Here's one now. Whenever we write one of these things and mail it out, the first volley of responses comes from ghosts -- people who were once there, but have since moved on, restless we imagine for some larger world, some new frontier, some greater resonance. Or maybe just a cheaper ISP. Perhaps they went back to watching television, who knows. Their disembodied proxies look a lot like this...
Subject: A message you sent could not be delivered
Subject: Delivery failure
Subject: Failed mail
Subject: failure notice
Subject: LOCAL delivery error
Subject: Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender
Subject: Mail failure
Subject: Mail System Error - Returned Mail
Subject: Notification: Inbound Mail Failure - Address not found
Subject: Please retry with correct address
Subject: Returned mail: Cannot send message for 1 week, 1 day
Subject: Returned mail: Host unknown
Subject: Returned mail: Local configuration error
Subject: Returned mail: Service unavailable
Subject: Returned Mail: Undeliverable
Subject: Undeliverable Mail
Subject: Undeliverable message

This is what it must feel like to be a psychic medium and to keep getting wrong numbers from the beyond. Uncle Charlie? No. No Uncle Charlie here. Sure you got the right astral plane buddy? If email falls in the forest...

The unsubscribes that follow are almost a relief, even though we know that most of these do not result from outrage -- after all, that'd be a form of engagement -- but rather come from people too dazed by all the other spam to remember why they subscribed in the first place. Nonetheless, the depression this causes is a step closer to carefree mania than the haunting intimations of free-floating angst the first lot tends to precipitate.

The odd part of all this, because we know you're wondering and can't wait to hear, is that after we've done absolutely nothing for a while, new subs start trickling in. It's almost as if they're saying, "Hey, it looks as if you haven't written anything in quite some time. Good show! Kind of