Category Archives: Letters

#10 On eclipses

Eek, it looks like my letter is late this time around. My excuse is the birth of my first-born. I leave it to your judgement. My excuse that is, not the child.

You got to keep reading The Beginning of Infinity. It’s quite a slog, not because it’s dull but because he’s putting together a worldview based on really abstract concepts. And his drive to be rigorous with his poorly conceived taxonomy can be tortuous at times. I love it though and I have that familiar worrying feeling that I’m reading something that’s right, end of story. Continue reading #10 On eclipses

#8 On order

While your story might not illustrate anything, the worse outcome would have been for you to not have had a story at all. Whatever good could have come out of the world from an earnest, diligent approach to “power corrupts” from the mouths of teenagers in turn of the century Wollongong, it probably wouldn’t exist in your mind (and now immortalised on this blog) if it had followed the rules. Instead it is a funny event that is worth recounting 15 years later, maybe meaningless but not insignificant.

As a teen you probably did it to impress your peers but knowing you and the pleasure you get Continue reading #8 On order

#6 On idiosyncrasies

Dear Jamie,

You’ve reminded me that you dabbled in high school debating. I remember something funny about that story. You undermined it or won by completely distracting the crowd or something?

I’m thinking I’ve been wrong to use the word “rhetoric”. That word captures the style aspect part, but still focuses on an end result: being effective or persuasive. The thing is, if we live in a world is too complex to be understood, what good is persuasion? Wouldn’t it be disingenuous or even unethical to Continue reading #6 On idiosyncrasies

#5 On rhetoric


You got me. I did have a draft letter composed a couple of days ago… anyway, missed the deadline. In the words of Alex, the Beethoven-loving rapist from Clockwork Orange, appy-polly loggies my droog.

Anyway, I’m now convinced by your argument, in conjunction with mine, that one should do work that feels vital rather that popular, etc. I also share your suspicion for pipedream attempts at rigour. You seemed to be be saying something that style is often more important, especially once you’re in terrain that’s nowhere near the precision of say maths or physics. Copy that. But this made me think of the importance of rhetoric (your word, but one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately). Continue reading #5 On rhetoric

#4 On Jamie’s reliability

Dear Jamie,

We have been involved in many creative projects in the past. Each has required significant effort. This project less than any. I congratulate on your contribution so far. You’ve provided at least one letter to our nascent affair. But that’s not all, in an impressive example of multitasking you also happened to write at most one letter. Continue reading #4 On Jamie’s reliability