Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I received yesterday from www.lulu.com a hardcopy I'd ordered of my comic "Kim, Kimberly, and the Snake". I'd had a mind to have at least one copy to show at the Comic-Con, but I received an e-mail shortly after placing the order telling me there'd been a foul up of some kind and that I was being refunded. Then, a few days later, I was told the problem had been resolved and that I was being charged again, and here's this thing now more than a week after Comic-Con. It cost 18 dollars to print, and it looks like 38 cents as all the dark pages at the beginning are muddy messes and most of the dialogue is completely illegible throughout. Good thing I didn't order two.

I need to clean my room to-day . . .

I've always felt there's something to be said for messiness. Even before I was a Jack Kerouac fan. Probably it's one of the reasons I responded so well to Kerouac. I had a discussion with someone last night about the advantages and disadvantages of internet communication.

The narrow theatre of communication on the internet grants one virtually absolute control over presentation. The problem with this is that I've never meet anyone, myself included, who knows him or herself well enough to represent themselves as decently as they deserve. To really know someone, you have to read their accidents. Looking at a lot of blogs, you'll find it's very rare to see someone whose opinions and modes of self-representation are the same now as they were five years ago. It's the precious pieces of accidentally, or unselfconsciously, transmitted data that provide the best impression of the person underneath. This kind of thing is far easier to see in real life, where you can get it just by body language, or evident affection or hatred for persons or concepts someone has not yet acknowledged in themselves.

The internet is naturally a good place for people with aspects of their personality they can't or won't confront. I am someone who prefers to confront each and every thing, big and small, that needles me in any way, but I don't claim my M.O. is the only valid one, so I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing when people cling to the distance and distortion the internet grants for safety. My personal preference is to leave my mistakes visible, as I think this renders a truer and more interesting impression of me.

When I'm carrying on an enthusiastic e-mail correspondence with someone, where each of us are writing long, very thoughtful e-mails to each other on a regular basis, I prefer to respond as immediately as possible, as I've observed in myself and others the tendency for responses to be filtered by the experiences that came between the reading of the e-mail and the writing of the response, and the effect is almost always detrimental. Someone can sound less excited about something that initially excited them, or they can simply be in a different mood from another event that, for being recent, eclipses the feelings originally provoked by the e-mail. I think most people sense the advantage chat has over e-mail in this respect. And it's precisely because chat is a slightly messier forum.

Now, I don't mean to imply that pieces carefully constructed over a long period of time are without value. But these pieces are valuable in a very different way; their value is determined almost entirely by how willing the writer is to expose their own vulnerabilities. Very few people are willing to do this, and I think pointing the knife at one's own tender spots is one of the things that make a good artist. In any case, it's different from actually talking to someone.

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