Again from Ursula Le Guin, this time from Always Coming Home. This book is not so much a tale, as a collection of narrative and description from a fictional world. Le Guin is telling anthropological stories.

The image of the drum I scanned from the book (p115), where is accompanies this poem:

“When I hit the drum like this
I think the sound
was there from the beginning,
and everything has gone to make that sound,
and after it
everything is different.”

Le Guin replaces the idea of a “centre” as the thing that matters with the idea of the “hinge,” and follows this idea through the entire book (is this from Derrida?). The hinge matters in as much as it joins together two things, and she is concerned with this joining.

I was trying to figure out what our world would be like if we started ignoring events, and worked on what the events were the threshold between instead. And because we, as a company, are working on mobile phones, I was thinking about those. Calls themselves would have to be less important. I think the important part would be the address book. We could look at the address book as something that needed to be tended. Maybe you’d visualise all the different people round a garden, with people you want to treat the same approximately clustered together.

You’d see, as on a map, that a person was moving out of the zone you wanted them in, and you’d make a call to put them back in… but the subject of the call itself would be unimportant, just whatever was on your mind. I’m not sure. But it’s useful to try to think in different ways, inspired by sci-fi like this, and I find it useful myself.

Matt Webb, S&W, posted 2006-04-06 (talk on 2006-02-23)