Responsa Literature:
Partial Repiles to Sacttered Questions

J. R. Carpenter

Introduction: confessions of an avid letter writer

An Aerogramme from India, 1982.
Why is it that everyone I know lives in New York?

Part I: Writing is Hard

Part II: Writing from Exile

Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 B.C. - 18 A.D.

"Is the place any token of the author?"
"indicat auctorem locus?"
   Ovid, EX PONTO, I. VII.
Part III: Responsa

From: "Gladys Fleishman"

To: "J. R. Carpenter"

this is to show off how far grandfather and i have progressed.

i print in lower case to regain some speed.

linda says we are good students, what do you think?

i must have pressed the wrong something,but i think i am back on track.

we received your note and we will still call in a week or so to tell you of our spring schedule, in case you wish to come.

g and g
Part IV: Network Communication

Me: Hey, how come this anonmous ftp thing doesn't work?

Tech: You spelled anonymous wrong.

Me: Again.

Me: I heard about this thing called pine for reading email.
Do you know about that?

Tech: Yeah.

Me: Well, how do I get it?

Tech: Pine is for weenies.

Me: I'm a weenie.

Tech: vi editor rules.

Me: I want pine.

"A brief history of the Internet as I know it so far"
J. R. Carpenter 2003. (excerpt)

"Notions of the Archival in Memory and Deportment"
J. R. Carpenter 1997. (excerpt)
Part V: Location, Location, Location
Part VI: Optimism
"Router level Interconnectivity of the Internet" looks like a giant, blood-shot eyeball.

"Digital Crustaceans v.0.2: Homesteading on the Web"
Ingrid Bachmann at Gallery Articule, Montréal, Québec, April 4 - May 4 2003.

"Pookie" - a biological, digital, quasi-fictional manifestation of Ingrid Bachmann's imagination - explores a fascinating corner of the web at

"Nothing is more occult than the way letters, under the auspices of unimaginable carriers, circulate through the weird mess of civil wars; but whenever, owing to that mess, there was some break in our correspondence, Tamara would act as if she ranked deliveries with ordinary natural phenomena such as the weather or tides, which human affairs could not affect, and she would accuse me of not answering her, when if fact I did nothing by write to her and think of her during those months - despite my many betrayals."

Vladimir Nabokov,
Speak, Memory
Related Links:

  • Nomad Web: Sleeping beauty awakes, by Ingrid Bachmann
  • the electronic version of The Virtual Community, by Howard Rheingold
  • A Vernacular Web, by Olia Lialina

    Other Internet Writings by J. R. Carpenter
  • "Ingrid Bachmann: Digital Crustaceans v.0.2: Homesteading on the Web"
  • "A brief history of the Internet as I know it so far"
  • "A Little Talk about Reproduction"


    J.R. Carpenter ::