Saturday, 29 August 2015

Jeff Seiler: Dave Sim & Me

JEFF SEILER:
Eleven years ago, when Cerebus ended, Dave Sim decided to answer all of his back mail. A month or so later, he had his "Jeff Seiler Day" in which he answered multiple letters I had written over the previous year. After I received that letter, I decided to keep writing, and he kept his promise to answer every letter he received. And now, I have a foot-high stack of letters written and received over 10 years or so. I will be posting full paragraphs or pages of interesting excerpts from those letters every Saturday.

From a letter dated 13 November, 2004, from Dave to me, a PS in response to something. I don't remember what I wrote and can’t find it right now, not that it matters much:
See, this is where I start running into problems. David C. has written me, I believe, two or three letters at the most, all of which I have answered. He is certainly not turning to me with "every spiritual dilemma" and I tell him the same thing I tell everyone else if they come to me for an answer: submit yourself to the will of God, acknowledge God's sovereignty, pray and fast and pay the stated alms [Jeff: the zakat]. I wouldn't know what to advise beyond that. As I wrote to Billy [Beach], I think it highly unlikely that anyone would be a follower, or a "follower", of mine, per se. I am just too much at variance with my society for it to be possible that someone would believe what I was saying within a year of first publication. Later? Maybe. But, as I say, I've been out here on my own for a long time, so I think I know the difference. There are people who credit me with helping them through what I've written. That, I assume, is not unheard of. Norman Mailer gave me an enormous amount of help through his writing but I'd hardly describe myself as one of Mailer's followers or even "followers". There are a number of people who are very enthusiastic about what I have to say and credit me with breaking them out of the feminist mindset. Only God knows what is actually inside of those people. I answer my mail as honestly as I can. I answer David C's letters and your letters and Billy's letters. I'm interested in ideas and exchanges of viewpoint and I don't trust anyone any further [sic] than I can throw them -- except for God.

No, I don't believe I'm a prophet of God. [Jeff: An answer to what I believe was a facetiously-asked question written by me. Remember, this was early on in our relationship.]

Five times a day, I acknowledge my belief that Muhammad was God's Last Messenger and Seal of Prophets. I'm just someone who thinks it makes more sense to believe that 2 out of every 100 people are just going to get a passing grade on Judgment Day. I just happen to live in a time and a society where most people believe that either a) there isn't going to be a Judgment Day, or b) if there is a Judgment Day it’ll be enough that you flossed after every meal to allow you to "make the cut". I’m "reading into the record" because I assume that, at some point in the distant future, society will begin to take Judgment Day as seriously as I do and that it will be useful to have a record of what someone who took Judgment Day seriously had to say. If that resonates with anyone in the next twenty or thirty years or however long it takes for the "penny to drop" well, hey, bonus. But, to say that I don’t anticipate that to be the case seriously understates my viewpoint. I do figure that a lot of people are going to claim to agree with me, but I assume that will mostly be a tactical means of trying to distract me and get the subjects under discussion off track. That’s one of the reasons behind Collected Letters 2004: "This is what I’m saying. This is 580 pages of what I am saying. You can disagree with it if you want or you can change it if you want by paraphrasing it or misrepresenting it, but this is what I'm actually saying."

Thanks, Jeff.

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