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Subject: uh... It was me : Confessions and Explanations : Part 4 ( 16 of 26 )
Posted by Jeremy Lee

[...continued from part 3]

If anyone wants to know why and how I write like I do, (the perennial "Where do your ideas come from") I can think of no better demonstration than that Indian package:

I was amazed, totally astonished by it! It was a window into a world of absurdity that I've not seen since. You see, that package had originally been wrapped in this thin, poor, floral-patterned indian cloth. So carefully, as if to waste as little material as possible. It smelled vaugely of incense. An address had been written in ball-point pen on a small card, which was badly glued to the cloth. I imagined some underpaid Indian mailroom worker, making hundreds of these individual parcels and then sorting the overseas-bound copies into a pile for bulk delivery via surface ship to ComputerWorld USA, for redistribution through more reliable mail channels.

There, I think it was roughly dropped into an overnight FedEx package, (tearing the cloth) it's destination address re-typed for the computer-printed Bill of Materials which was affixed to the plastic-coated bubblewrap package by peel-off sticky backing, at a careless cost which would probably make that indian mail-room worker weep.

Hand-wrapped cloth inside a hi-tech bubblebag. It's those kinds of incongruities which seem to leap out at me from a side-alley of life, and smash me over the head with some new insight into this insane universe. And I just have to tell someone. Anyone. It doesn't matter who. Just gotta write it down.

There was also a cheque inside for US$100, for allowing them to reprint my article. That's probably a lot of money in India. I could never bring myself to cash it.

There. My tale is done. You know the story. Time to tuck and tidy a few last loose ends:

As far as copyright goes, I believe I have joint rights with h2g2 under their contributor policy. I am happy for the original article to travel as far and wide as it can (and how could I stop it if I wanted to?) so long as a link is made back to the edited entry on h2g2, which is here. ( ) I actually found this forum question only because someone just emailed me, referring to it, while asking me for permission to use A:TCC on a site. I think the idea of copyright is funny. Enough said.

If you want to know more about me, then go here: though I can sum me up with six words right now: I'm a nerd. A quantum geek.

"Sunscreen" was written by Mary Schmich for her column in the Chicago Tribune where she describes a commencement speech she would *like* to give. Just FYI. (I follow these things)

If you liked A:TCC, then you might also like parts (eg. Saturn) of the original draft of The Solar System ( ) which I wrote before reading the submission guidelines, (*always* read the submission guidelines!) and fumbled my conceit, requiring it to be hacked up rather thoroughly for the 'Official' entry. Actually, before that, read The Stick ( ) which is a thickly veiled rant against attempts to combine personal organisers with mobile phones. (How do you write things down whilst talking, hmmm?) There's some other stuff on my site, but I didn't really put much effort into the literature there, just the facts and ideas, which I also didn't put much effort into, come to think of it. I'm very proud of the layout, though.

For the record, I'm not personally concerned with the incorrect attribution. In a funny way, Douglas *is* ultimately responsible. The only thing I'd like to see is get proper credit for being somewhere that weird stuff like this can happen.

And finally, Douglas: If you're ever in Brisbane again, I'll buy you a Fourex (or whatever you're drinking) at the Royal Exchange, and say Sorry, again, in person. You should also know that reading your comments, vis: "It's very good, I enjoyed it ... and I really wished I had written it." has absolutely made my day. Thank you!

Jeremy Lee | Orinoco

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