1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9


It has grown cold, and I have donned my other writing costume now, a sweatshirt from the 1993 Hypertext Conference in Seattle Washington. HTML was regulated to the lobby there, a trivial idea. And after that it bloomed. And after that the world wide web connections. And after that the counting of time in nanoseconds. We go through a generation and a re-generation every three years now. What would have scandalized Sterne's grandfather and then Sterne's grandchild are now squashed into a single decade of being.

The companies so proudly emblazoned on my sleeves Sterne would have never heard of, nor known what they sell. And reader, neither would you, for you are well on the other side of the dot.bomb that squashed the name of these companies, and no amount of concentration will bring them back. Oh what the hell, reader, let's break it off for tea, and leave Sterne to grin on his own at the last remaining vestiges of his generation.

And now it is back from tea, where I shared my black current sauce all around. Perfect, they said. Lovely with cream. And it is. Here, try some. Reach across these waters and across these screens. Don't be so shy.

But back to black currents. I only have the day to tell you the story, you know. And so you ought to be ashamed to lead me so off track, gentle user, as to pull me back into this room, as I am pulling the shades of Tristram Shandy, back into the room, as I am finding the shandean things, the lost stories. The words just curve in this space is all, leading to explanatory culverts and ditches. We never did hear about the King of Bohemia.

As I was telling you, I run out and cram the black currents into my mouth. Now they taste acrid, like junipers on my high mountains. I wonder, would it be allright to boil them down into gin? It would take ages to cure into a smooth drink of forgetting. Sterne's grin peeks out from behind my screen. Of course, he has ages here before him. But I have only the day. Well, before I leave, I will put it in the woodshed, where it, with all of Sterne's rubbish, will lie forgotten until remembered.

I write this chapter before the fifth. Had I been Sterne, who had no word processor, I would have had to leave a bit blank and come back to it later. But here my words can travel freely on the page. Sterne stands behind me now, tapping my shoulder. Would not that sentence be better over here? Could you not move that bit there? O, back up, back up, I see a typo. Can you rub it out? He taps his quill on my LCD screen, and the ink runs down through the pixels. I tell him these are delicate machines. He nods, and points to his many volumes. The outsides are always delicate, my dear, he smirks. It is the insides which are indelicate. So tell me, reader, should I have him in for sexual harrassment? Can one play so with a ghost? Sterne's grin comes off the top of my laptop and saunters back over to the mantlepiece, not quite in the place it belongs. I hear him whistling lillabullero, as if he has won the argument already. I will not glance back at him for fear of what I might see.

See how easy it is, Sterne, to change a letter, to change a meaning. We started out ambling, went shambling through the brambles, but all in all, it is a gamble. And I can change the meaning, by clicking my delete key and retyping. Or I could merely hit the delete key and lose the whole



Ahh... I hear him whisper in a soft scarf flutter. So much easier than asterisks.