Interesting things . . . that don't quite work
Sa-Rah Ahyoga Hwang
As Murphy put it, "If anything can go wrong, it will." "That's entropy," Pynchon would observe. And as everybody else seems to say, "All good things must end . . ."
My friend Terrance Lindall has unexpectedly had to take on additional responsibilities at the WAH, so he just may not have the spare time to collaborate on the book version of my story, "The Bottomless Bottle of Beer," much to my regret. I must likely therefore find a different illustrator. My sixteen-year-old daughter volunteered to draw Mr. Em, perhaps to perk me up, and you see above the portrait she drew -- rather different than Terrance's depiction. I call it "Portrait of Mr. Em as a Young Devil," for he is rather devilishly handsome, possibly inspired by the passage below from my story, in which our intrepid young naif encounters Mr. Em and has a query but doesn't want to bother him:
"Well . . ." I hesitated. "I really don't want to trouble you." I looked him over, trying not to stare, but the person was somehow compelling. He had very dark eyes, though the room was not well-lit enough to judge clearly, but I hazard to say that the iris of each eye was fully as dark as its pupil. Like deep wells into which one might stumble. His hair was dark, too, jet black. In contrast, his skin was light, though not fair. One might find him handsome. I thought some woman might, some Eve or other, find him seductive. He looked to be in his forties, and he waited patiently, perhaps accustomed to being looked at. "I don't really wish to trouble you," I repeated. (Horace Jeffery Hodges, "The Bottomless Bottle of Beer," Emanations: Second Sight, edited by Carter Kaplan, Brookline, MA: International Authors, 2012, page 108)Readers can draw their own conclusions as to the illustration's verisimilitude, but I noticed something gone wrong: The word "Eve" was capitalized. That was not what I expected . . . nor what I wrote. I had written "eve" -- meaning some "evening," but with an allusion to "Eve." The allusion is not one intended by the naive hero, for he is too ignorant to have even an inkling of what is going on. It's a moment of dramatic irony, not conscious allusion. If he were to refer to "Eve," then he would be thinking of Mr. Em as Satan, and that would have far-reaching ripple effects setting up interference patterns in my story.
Something thus went wrong between my sending the manuscript and its publication -- possibly a software problem, possibly a typo -- but these things happen. I therefore set the record straight here: "eve," not "Eve."
Anyway, let Sa-Rah know what you think of her drawing . . .