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Re: CHAT: facing your own mortality (as a conlanger)

From:Jan van Steenbergen <ijzeren_jan@...>
Date:Saturday, August 9, 2008, 14:27
Rick Harrison skrzypszy:

>Tuesday night I fell into a pond and nearly drowned. Since it was warm >stagnant water, there is a remote chance that I may have been infected >by Naegleria fowleri amoeba; if so, I could be dead within a couple of >weeks.
I hope you are doing fine!
>If you have a personal language that you've never revealed to >anyone else, for example: would you want to write a description of >the language ahead of time, and make arrangements to have it >published after passing away? How would you make such arrangements?
I can't really say I have anything of significance that is not online. Nothing complete enough to be published in whatever way, in any case. It's a slightly different story with my music. Nothing of it has ever been published, although most of it has been performed. I haven't made any arrangements regarding this; all I can hope is that when I'm gone my family will take care of it and make sure that it's being performed every once in a while - IMO that's a much better way of commemorating a person than visiting a grave.
>If you have web pages that you want to stay online after you can >no longer pay the hosting bill, what options are available? The >Wayback Machine at doesn't catch everything and it might >not be around forever.
I have to admit that this thought has occurred to me sometimes. Well, I suppose my domain at will stay around for a while. But nothing lasts forever, and there will be a day when it's ultimately gone. As for all my Wenedyk/RTC stuff, I would certainly hope someone else would make sure my work stays around for another while. What worries me more is actually this: how is the world going to find out that I'm dead? Even my friends from Ill Bethisad are pretty used to me being inactive from time to time. All they will notice that I don't post to Conculture, don't edit the IBWiki, and don't reply to private mails. But it might take quite some time before people would find out that I'm dead. One case comes to mind here. Remember Libor Sztemon? Well, my Internet carreer started more or less in 2001, and one of the first things that caught my interest were his North Slavic conlangs. I was thrilled to find out that someone else had been exploring the same ideas as I had. After I had created a Langmaker profile for Vozgian, he quickly linked to it from his pages. Later, I wrote him several private e-mails, but never got any reply. Only in 2004, it was Jan Havlis who posted to Slaviconlang that Libor had died in 2002 at the age of 24. His pages (with his languages and fonts) are still online; AFAIK, his family takes good care of them. I have copies of most of his pages on my computer. Should his work disappear from the net, because the host stops hosting it or something, than I'll be ready to upload them myself.
>The conlangers of ancient times published their ideas in books, >which has preserved them to some degree, although some of the old >books are scarce collectors' items, unavailable from libraries and >never webified.
Frankly, I'm very hesitant to even give it a try. My only conlang big enough for such a thing would be Wenedyk. But it's still under development. I keep creating new words, and every once in a while I make minor modifications to the existing material. Once it were to be published, that would mean the language is "frozen" from that moment on. I'm not sure if I'm ready for that. All that is pure theory, of course, because I can't think of a publishing house that would be waiting for my stuff to publish it!
>Is it arrogant to want some of your ideas to live on after you die?
Not at all! For me, it's crucial. After I'm dead, all that stays of me are two things: the memories people have about me, and my work. The latter would be my very tiny imprint in world history - one way to achieve immortality. Jan


ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>