|Up: Foolishnesses||[Related] «^» «T»|
Friday, May 5, 2000
By Paul Ford
It's hard to reach out.
Criticism of the writing is as welcome as praise.
The only way I wish to be reached is via e-mail. I will almost always write back, but it may only be a line. Writing jobs are appreciated. Or just cash. Ask me to write for your publication, small or large. I like that, talking with you about the audience and the feel of it all and delivering something of note..
Sometimes I wish that this site operated in silence, like a cold war submarine, a gentle humming through the water. But there is also a certain pleasure when I go to my mailbox and find a handwritten letter from some assiduous reader that says, "Mr. Ford, the soft red of your heart haunts me and I sleep in the arms of an effigy of your large frame, made from trash bags stuffed with corn husks, but soon I will replace it with the real silent body, stuffed forever so that you will never leave me, Your Fan, Alice P. Talbot, Taxidermist."
My apologies to the real Alice P. Talbot.
On the subject of criticism, as David Callahan, my fictional creation who constantly overreacts and lasts only for the duration of the following paragraph, said:
Don't hold it in, write me that my words fester and pustulate on the page, terrible sores on the surface of your brain. Write me that you know what I did when I was 12 and 13 and you're going to tell everyone. Publish the pictures, cut off my inheritance, call my boss and play the tape, open my file, check my taxes from 1985, post my ugly visage on your Web site with a Java program to allow strangers to tear out my virtual eyes and disembowl me, hang me in your post-office calendar of killers, condemn me from the pulpit.
If you're going to write me, please tell me how you make your living and the sort of things you like doing and a little about yourself.
I meet many people with jobs and they need other people to work for them. I give out work every year for all kinds of things, because people call me when they have no idea what to do.
Sometimes people call me to come up with a marketing plan for their non-profit flamenco multimedia performance, or to solve some problems in e-commerce specific to Egypt, or to supervise a leeching. They call me to ask what to do now that something they loved is dead. They call me to write a brochure for their company that sells the time of people to other people who need to rent the people and count on them to do things with their hands and minds and machines together. They call because they want me to review an execrable album of Mandarin-American pop music, or because they are in the business of telling rich people what to wear and need to tell the world about their personal services.
They call me and say, I need to build something tall, and I say 2-0943-092BROX, because I compress my speech on long distance calls using the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, and we hire the aerospace engineers and structural engineers, buy the right kind of streamers and connect the nanobots to the gray feed, and we put the tower up, a giant diamond 90,000 feet into space, channeling raw sun to the ground, and the whole of the floor of the earth catches fire.
When you contact the staff, don't expect anything to materialize. I like to know what people are thinking in their heads, so that I can add the model of them to my own head, and sometimes the temporary notches in their heads match closely with the temporary notches in someone else's head, and I say, thinking algorithmically, "if we rotate the notched head here we will turn two heads into one, and two heads algorithmically connected by notch intersections is better than two heads without notches and devoid of algorithms, by far."