I think this is a physical fact. You cannot leave E2.

I've had people say to me: "I'm leaving E2."

I say, "How will you do that?"

"I will make them erase all my nodes."

It's a head scratcher.

"And where will you go?"

"Oh, I have options."

"Sure. You're a person. You can go places."

"There's Wikipedia."

"What's it like there?"

"Nicer than E2."

"What's it like at E2?"

"It's all sort of...well...you know. Aggravating."


"Well, you wouldn't know."

"You're right. I don't think I do."

"Because you're you."

"Because I've never been there."

They look at me as if I have turned to plant mulch before their very eyes.

"Of course you've been there," they insist.

And I assure them I haven't.

Last I checked, E2 was a website hosted on some servers located at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. And I have never been to Ann Arbor, but going there wouldn't bring me to E2.

"You can't leave somewhere that doesn't occupy physical space."

"Don't get technical. You know what I mean."

"It would be easier for you to leave Narnia or Hogwart's. At least lots of people know about those. But E2, there's only a few of us. And none of us have been there, unless you can tell me where the door is. Is there a door?"

"Now you're insulting."

"I don't mean to be. I just mean to be logical. The Muppets are manipulated by employees of the Henson company. Spongebob doesn't work at a crab patty lunchonette. Jack Ryan never worked for the CIA or saved the world. These are stories that echo around in our minds after we hear them. They start seeming real when we remember them and forget where we heard them. E2 is a story. It can't be left because nobody has ever been there."

"Well, I'm leaving."

"You can't. All you can do is to forget. The closest you can come to leaving an imaginary place is to stop visiting it. You just stop coming around, the way Ryan did. He had other things to do in his life, and E2 stopped being one of them."

"Ok ok. Fine. Stop arguing with me."

"But I think it's important people keep fiction straight in their minds. When we forget what's real and what's not we're easily led down ridiculous paths. It's how politicians sway our opinions. They turn fiction and some fact into real fears and desire, when all they ever have in their pockets are things they wrote. Things that never existed and never will."


"There is no iceowl, for instance. I never even tried to create an iceowl character. Other people did it. It's in their heads. I don't even know what an iceowl looks like. I never visualized one. There's only me. I'm what's real. I'm sitting here at this computer writing, and I will send my writing electronically to the E2 server in Michigan, and it will get posted and people will read it. It's not a place. I can't leave it because it's not a place I can ever get to.

"I've never been to E2. I've met some of its people, though. Flesh and blood. They're nice, these imaginers of an E2 place.

"The people are real but the place is a dream, which is why trying to make it real will always disappoint someone. Some dreams are best left that way.

"Even you, whom I invented for this conversation."

"Get out. I know I'm real."

At the end of the book, "Breakfast of Champions", Kurt Vonnegut releases his faithful characters. He walks up to them, declares his omnipotence over them and their world, and grants them their greatest wishes.

I can do the same for you.

"Get lost."

Look. I don't even need to use quotes to speak to you.

"Punctuation was never your strong suit."

I don't even have to write to change your world.

"cut it out"


"i'm ticklish"

this is so cool