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An old friend from another life died last month; brilliant, brave, full of remarkable dreams. Unrealized dreams. I hardly knew what to think at the time; we hadn’t been in touch for years. But in the weeks since I have despaired of it; I have lost myself. It has preyed on my thoughts, in a way my grandfather’s death, and even my father’s, have not.

I am not a person afraid of mortality. Death is a beautiful part of life; without constraints, freedom and art cannot flourish and find expression; without the stricture of language, we would have no spaceships. Yet there are shades of death… Recently I have slept dreamlessly, eight hours at a time, something I rarely do. There are those who might say this is healthy for anyone. I wake up each morning feeling refreshed; but as soon as I open my eyes, I feel a twinge of senseless fear which only exercise can suppress.

It is too strong and insistent to be simply fear for myself — for who am I? — but fear for continuity, for those I love, for the dreams I cherish. Or is it something beyond that? All I know is that for a while I had to resort to external hints to distinguish one day from the next; I held onto receipts, reviwed my posting and edit histories, sorted my papers and problemsets by last edit, simply to remember what I had been thinking the day (the meal!) before.

In the process I discovered two things: Wikaddiction is stronger than dirt (surely tapping the same primal urges that fuel Verant‘s success), and memorization is successful even when done as a background process. The last point I knew, but had all but forgotten.

I have neglected posting, and many of you. If I owe you apologies or regrets, please trust that I will send them. I have a small list of names here, and am working through them in roughly alphabetical order.

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