Category Archives: Letters

#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

#2 On novelty and creation

Dear Mat,

I’m in. In fact on your prompting I finally got around to reading a few of Seneca’s letters. They’re great; one of those things that you know will be good but for some reason you put it off, almost like saving it up for later.

Should one write/create for oneself or others? Perennial question for any artist (and God knows, we’re nothing if not artists) and I agree with you about just trying to make whatever amuses or interests oneself. ButContinue reading #2 On novelty and creation

#1 On the beginning of letters

Dear Jamie,

I propose we start writing letters to each other. The rationale is pragmatic, we both like to write but we tend to do it in tandem. That makes progress slow. Letters meanwhile are necessarily separate. While the rationale is pragmatic my motivation is not. I want to reclaim our habit of dialogue to pre-you-moving-away levels. Usually bouncing ideas off only only one person might be considered a bad thing, an ecochamber. Ours is worse, which has its advantages. Continue reading #1 On the beginning of letters