Having received email forwards of the contents of the our sensei node and so many other kind and generous emails, I could not do less than respond. I am composing this node in a word processor so that it can just be pasted into an e2 node when I am able to obtain access. I hope that it is not too rambling; however I notice that my thoughts and speech are often less connected than I would wish.

I would like to thank my many friends on e2 for all of their kind words, thoughts, and intentions. There are so many of you that I could not mention you all without it simply being a list of hundreds of users. But I cannot refrain from mentioning in particular: My very dear friend wharfinger. Wharf is a very funny and lucid writer who has shown great care for the project of everything2 and with whom I have shared many interesting conversations (even when he was pretending to be someone else). And of course dannye who was so very helpful to me immediately after dem bones “consecrated" me with editorial cilia and I was reeling about in the nodegel, unsure of my direction. He has also very patiently answered many naïve questions about American politics and of the culture of the American South. Dear knifegirl who was helpful in my early days on e2 and then who I later as an editor and as one of the god usergroup entity found to be always trusted for help and advice. My friend ideath was one of the first people on e2 with whom I began to understand the new kind of friendship that was available to us in our interactions on the Web. She was very helpful at a time when I was heartbroken by what I saw of how callously some new users had been treated by their elders in Chatterbox. While I do not understand his modes of recreation nor rejuvenation, dem bones is very dear to me. And nate has been unfailingly kind and concerned, especially over the many weeks of my illness. Jinmyo is of course a friend of many years and has been very kind at relaying information back and forth between e2 and myself. She is the kind of writer that can bring forth the best in the nodegel. Then there are so many others, all of whom occur to me together with the thought of e2: Jay Pea, nocodeforparanoia, the fearsome Lord Brawl, thefez WHO LIKES TO BE HAPPY, discofever, Gorgonzola, ZamZ, simonc, alex.tan, team Jet-Poop, Dialogue, GroundControl, -OutpostMir-… Ah, I am rambling after all now.

What I had wanted to comment on was the kind of friendships that can occur on everything2. Sometimes we might speak of “virtual” friendship. I myself have done so. But I think that this might not so helpful a way of framing it. There is nothing “virtual” or “almost true” in the friendship that I feel for so many of you. In thinking about this relationship one obvious thing often occurs to us. We have not seen each other face to face. We do not know each other’s height and weight. All that we have are words (and perhaps the images posted on homenodes, but these are rarely snapshots of the person). We can represent ourselves howsoever we might choose. As a man or a woman, a cow named Bob, a hamster with or without a bong, a cat.

But even with those people that we meet face-to-face, there is much that we do not and cannot know. How often are our interactions with others deceptive or untrustworthy? How often are smiles or gestures merely contrived or virtual? “How are you today?” “Oh, I’m fine.”

I have discovered (as perhaps you have as well) that in the relationships we have with each other on everything2 that we learn a great deal about each other. Day after day, write-up after write-up, we come to know how we each express ourselves, conduct ourselves, what we might think or feel (no matter how momentarily). Some of us even write things that we would never say to another person. We eventually find a voice that expresses for us how we understand our world and each other.

Although over my years I have met thousands of people and have been close with hundreds, I do not believe that there is anything less real about any of you then there is about any of them.

Still, we cannot see each other’s eyes or feel how a room changes in quality when someone enters or leaves. We cannot look out the window and point out a bird flying past or the way that the clouds are moving. We cannot prepare a meal for each other or say “taste this” without it being more than an intention, ironically layered with our recognition of impossibility.

So there is much we do not know of each other. And as there seems to be much confusion or at least a lack of information on what is going on for me, I thought it would be useful then to supply a bit more information.

While I am not as old as some might suppose, I am 64 years of age. Some years ago I had a very bad bout of pneumonia. While travelling late this summer I suppose I allowed myself to get over-extended and fell ill with pneumonia and pleurisy again. This seemed to go on a very long while. I was being treated with a variety of antibiotics that were very difficult on my system. The pneumonia left an abscess in my lung which took a long time to drain and is still healing (in that the hole will slowly close in on itself). I have been very susceptible to colds and flus since then. I have had a stroke involving the left side of my body. I would rather it not be so, but I am in fact somewhat incontinent as well as slow of limb and thought. I would like to say that I am on a speedy path to recovery but this is not really so. I have moved back to my old home in Kyoto where I am trying to take care of business that has to do with the inheritance of properties and a great many intangibles. I have some responsibilities to people that I have been mentoring, so to speak, that I must fulfill for them. This takes most of my energy when I am upright and that is not often. So this is what I am doing and how things are for me.

I would like to say that I will be back on e2 soon but that is not very realistic. Even should that happen I cannot see it being more than doddering about occasionally. I can see myself absent-mindedly and accidentally deleting whole sections of the nodegel, msging users about spelling mistakes that are not there, and generally being a menace. Should this eventually be the case, I apologize to you in advance.

I know that many of us on e2 are very young people. I remember being very surprised and pleased to find that one user, Tauress, was actually 12 years old. Most of us are in high school or in university. We might not have encountered much illness or death in our lifetimes up to this point. It might be distressing for us to hear of it. But, I’m sorry to say, illness and death are inevitable not only for others but for ourselves. As a friend of mine says, “There is nothing else that can happen.” But of course this frailty, this vulnerability, is inextricably braided with the beauty of forms and fragrances and flavours. It is what makes our lives beautiful. And I am not sorry to have said that. While you might disagree, I think it an important thing to remember about this life of ours.

In closing, might I say a few things about e2 that might or might not be useful?

I believe as I always have that everything2 is a demonstration of some of the best possibilities of the Web for communication and creativity. I have spent most of my time on e2 helping in some small way to bring forth the great talents that so many of you have. I am pleased to hear that the mentorship program that was proposed to me by mistero and that I then proposed to dem bones has been put in place. I think it is very important for new users to have the opportunity to avail themselves of the experience of others. And I think it is very important for us to be able to offer of our own experience to others.

If I do not speak with you again or if not for some time, this is amongst my wishes for you: That you use everything2 to discover and express your own creativity. That you enjoy words and the writing and reading and speaking and listening of them. That you carry this out into enjoyment of all of the other areas of your lives.

Well, this was even longer and more rambling than I had feared it would be. While I have had someone look it over for me, it probably still is a bit of a muddle. If you’ve read this far, thank you for your patience.

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