26 November 2008

Letter 4.32

Some month or other (or else not)

Dear HMV,

I've been out, or out of it, for a long time, sort of half involuntarily. Well, 01' Ma N told me it was time to get out of that kuti (BAM! SMSH! well, yes ma'am, I see your point) and until a few days ago I've been loose upon the world. Though I must admit that sometimes it seemed the other way 'round to me.

Not that anyone's tried to do me more harm than, say, sprinkling some chili sambol over a mess of stringhoppers -- terrorism comes in an infinite variety of forms -- but eventually I had enough of that way and with -- I hope -- Ma N's tacit consent have once more become settled down, albeit in my own unsettled (and perhaps even unsettling) way.

Your letter of some month or other (or else not) arrived, as did your birthday (the Buddha's, not mine, and probably not yours either) greeting, and will be celebrating (or mourning) its own soon, so let this be a greeting to it as well as to you. Hi there!

As you will have noticed by now, in all likelihood, I'm writing this letter using one of those newfangled word-processing machines. Never be as good as ola leaf, goose quill, and carbon black ink, will it?, but then what can we expect in these degenerate times?

The thing is, it's not only letters what can be written on these infuriatingly versatile critters, but books as well -- they can be formatted in what is a fair approximation of electronic typesetting, and that, it seems, is exactly what is about to happen to NOTES ON DHAMMA and the rest of that shmegegga to be known collectively (unless something better comes along) as CLEARING THE PATH. The whole to be printed by something called photo-offset, if you believe everything you hear.

And it occurs to me that it's only a few months shy of 20 years since I first started, in fits and, working on Ñāṇavīra's manuscript in much the same way that your 20-year sentence (or was it life + 20?) has been, or is being, served upon WORTHY BONES. Or vice versa. And since you promise that you won't send me a copy I'll get even with you by promising that I will send you one. After all, fair is fair. But I warn you, it's a thorny work, as anyone who tries to use it for toilet paper is liable to discover.

Keep those gentle catastrophes coming, Yes indeedy, metta to all tarsals.

V .

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