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meeting of minds

From:diana slattery <glide@...>
Date:Saturday, December 19, 1998, 2:20
> > Excellent name your cat has, BTW. > > Thank you! And she's an excellent cat. > > > > Teonaht has become increasingly complicated, over the years, > > > but it was greatly gratifying, and weird, to come across a dialog =
I had
> > > written out... oh...nineteen years ago, between a girl and a boy =
who were
> > > courting; and though I hadn't looked at this vocabulary for almost =
> > long > > > (it was largely discarded and the grammar drastically altered), the > > > exchange was perfectly clear to me. As though I was reading Spanis=
h from
> > > a textbook. How strange, and with a language I invented. It was > > speaking > > > to me across the years. > > > > I've come over all warm and fuzzy... I still find it amazing, over =
2 years
> > after I initially joined the list, to think that during all the years=
I was
> > working alone on Jameld (since '82), braving the derision, bemusement=
> > apathy of others, there were others doing similarly. Were we all isol=
> > or was there a pre-Conlang community in any way? > > > > James > > > > It is an amazing thing. As I've said before, one of the things that =
> impresses me about this listserv has been its capacity to unite people > who have been absorbed in an extraordinarily "solipsistic" or "solitary=
> artform. Only through electronic means have we been able to communicat=
> with each other. I'd love to hear stories from conlangers who have had > some kind of meeting of minds before "conlang." Anybody form their own > small clatch of "inklings" prior to electronic communication? > > Sally
Sally, I can speak to that, the experience being very fresh. Glide as a languag= e came to me in the middle of writing the novel, the death dancers, creat= ing that fictional world--although that experience makes it sound so much= more willed and deliberate than it really is. more like discovering, = then exploring, then meeting the people, conversing, then being able to = query the world, because at a certain point, it is a world, an enterable = domain. so if i have a question, i can go there and find the answers. = the language began to reveal itself that way, then i asked some question= s and got really a flood of answers. it's as if the whole thing was/is = sitting there fully formed. that's the mystery of it all--whether it's = where do constructed languages come from, or where and how do fictional = worlds get formed. so--minds meeting. as glide was emerging last summer= , i showed the glyphs to a media lab friend, tara, who was working in an = aspect of visual language--making software that makes fonts expressive = of the content and ways people are speaking textually. a bare minimum = of explanation--"it's hypertextual, many paths, try turning it upside dow= n" and she dived in, got it, saw the implications, some of the possibilit= ies. then had an experience with an e-mail buddy who writes wild hyperte= xts (he's "peace" in the resonance section of the web)--he got it, handed= off a sheet of glyphs, a composition plus the first lexicon, and gary = got it, started composing and translating and sending me the gifs. even = worked out a kind of excell spreadsheet system for mapping meanings. there have been some significantly opposite experiences as well--like sam= e signed poles of a magnet, repulsing. one comment--"you'll have to expl= ain to me what differentiates these from pebbles and bottlecaps." like, = instant rejection of the mode, total don't get it, want to get rid of it = reaction. but the heart of the matter, and what is so wonderful about = this listserv, is knowing i'm not the only one with this peculiar obsessi= on. i'm beginning to try to write about that in the section of the websi= te called "obsession"--ithe fear is--is this a purely solipsistic activit= y, a retreat into a delusionary world, something of interest and meaning = only to myself. but i managed to find two collaborators this fall who = also got it, and spread the obsession around. but it is still a matter = of being a lunatic lover of language. i just happen to believe that this= activity is significantly not only in a deeply personal way, which would= be enough in itself, even it it had to be a closet activity, but is epis= temic in the sense of learning something about the sources of language, = the language impulse, in many different ways. the subject of "learning one's own language" that developed in the cat = thread is really quite something--one's own language yet one is having = to learn it? but that is how it is. what does that say about where the = words/signs/sounds/symbols come from? Good question, Sally. Diana