Hello hello! The newsletter finally has a name: Ideograph. I came up with it by pondering the theme I hope to convey, which is roughly "the shape of ideas." Then I discovered that "ideograph" is an extant term of art:

[...] a word frequently used in political discourse that uses an abstract concept to develop support for political positions. Such words are usually terms that do not have a clear definition but are used to give the impression of a clear meaning. An ideograph in rhetoric often exists as a building block or simply one term or short phrase that summarizes the orientation or attitude of an ideology.

This is fitting — the epistemic, ethnographic, and ethical issues that tend to intrigue me lend themselves to nebulosity and flux, thus frustrating everyone (including myself) even while assuaging our desire to follow whence mystery beckons.

Additionally, "ideograph" is a synonym for "ideogram," defined as "a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept, independent of any particular language, and specific words or phrases."

This is equally fitting, given my fascination with archetypes — which are often though not necessarily cross-cultural — and semantic systems in general. Ideogrammar was another name possibility... a tad too cutesy, I decided. (But I'm pleased enough by the coinage that I can't resist mentioning it, heheh.)

I gave $100 to St. James Infirmary, thus completing my promise to donate half of all proceeds from Mystery Zine Bundles to charity. (Earlier I donated the same sum to Open Privacy.) My thanks to everyone who participated 💗

When the woods are alone, the spirits play freely. It is like this always in Wanderverse.

Since December I've been debating which direction(s) to guide my public-domain-equivalent collaborative fiction project. Originally I intended to amalgamate others' disparate contributions into a cohesive linear narrative. In retrospect, that's not gonna work; as is typical when I discard or amend a plan, somebody else might be able to pull it off, but I don't think that I can. And per usual I've come to this conclusion with mixed feelings, but I'm not about to stop playing to my strengths!

However, I still want each new installment to be connected to the existing corpus, in order to layer up a satisfying density of meaning. Folklore morphs as it travels and grows, but continues to repeat the most resonant patterns. I've added a "rule" in addition to the CC0 license requirement, aiming to balance randomness and restraint:

Please note that additions to Wanderverse should recognizably extend, adapt, or remix material from the existing corpus. Besides that you are encouraged to create whatever is your heart's delight! Feel free to adjust the characters, plots, and settings to suit your vision. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have questions or want feedback on an idea.
Photo by XoMEoX.
Photo by Michael Coghlan.

Short one today. I'll hit you up with a links post soon. Reply to this email if you've been working on something that I should include 👀

Header art: Interior with a Girl Reading by Carl Holsøe, edited and cropped. (Often the case, but I rarely remember to mention it, sowwy.)