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Thankyou for your mail which - links included - is quite an introduction to a "parallel universe" for me.

I'm afraid that that is just the problem, though. All the information you present me with brings it pretty clearly home to me that I HAVE, in pursuing Stephanie down her rabbit-hole - or at least, down a rabbit-hole that SHE occasionally chases her friend Gackto or God knows who else down, before coming out again and engaging in what are probably much more sun-drenched , much more "Californian" and much less psychologically weird and perilous activities with her "real-world" boyfriend - ventured into a universe I'm far from sure I want to make even an alternative and short-term domicile of mine.

Because - uninteresting and even faintly treacherous as it probably makes me to someone for whom the "secret world" of Cracky Culture is an important and essential part of life - that really is the dull prosaic fact about why I ended up engaging, for a few days there, so intensely and verbally lengthily with the Crackyhouse site. (The posting of my several thousand lines of Stickam messages was indeed Stephanie's, or Gackto's, or someone else's, doing, but in any case not mine; however, yes, the lengthy comments on other postings over the past 10 days, including yours, were unsolicited initiatives on my part). Stephanie seemed to have cut off once and for all any contact with me and the Crackyhouse site was the last forum accessible to me in which it seemed to me I might be able to address thoughts and feelings to her, even if only obliquely. (All my postings were really "letters" to her, although, realistically speaking, I suspect that the language they were counched in was SO oblique and baroque that she understood them least of anyone who may have read them, and probably didn't grasp at all that she was being complimented).

Obsession with Stephanie, however, is, as I think we can agree, not at all the same thing, nor even on the same emotional and ontological continuum, as obsession with Cracky. I don't know you, or Gackto, or really anybody at all involved in this sub-culture of Cracky-worship. But I have been struck from the time of my first contact with it by how much, in a really SERIOUS sense, the deep and troubling themes and motifs of "death-in-life", of Gnostic hatred of the body and of insight into the presence of murderous hate in all love and of transcendental, religious love in acts of hate are central to the lives and feelings of all those who are drawn to this strange shifting only-half-existent community or non-community. Intellectually and aesthetically, I am indeed fascinated by - and even in a way enthusiastic about - the ideas and the writing and the experience that this dark constellation of ideas seems to produce. For a student of cultural history, it really is extremely exciting to see how, in the culture that has grown up around this strange, elusive young English girl - or rather around the idea of her, which has probably long, long since ceased to bear any relation to who or what she really is - conscious and unconscious echoes and reminiscences can be detected of almost every era and stratum of human culture: from the Eleusinian Mysteries and the terrible sacrificial rites described in Frazer's "Golden Bough" right up to Monty Python's Flying Circus and the latest Japanese animes.

But that is also precisely why I get the sense that both Stephanie and I stand and will always stand as figures at the very edge of the subterranean gathering of the initiates celebrating these strange and wonderful rites. Maybe I am delusively grasping there again for another non-existent "thing in common" between me and this girl 30 years younger than me, but I don't think so. Scanning all the weird clone-like spectrum of images of girls approximating, to greater or lesser degrees, to a perfect reproduction, in another body, of the "Cracky imago", it has to be said that Stephanie - although she tends to "queen it over" the whole site in terms of the positioning and the magnitude of her images - is the FARTHEST of all these girls from reincarnating the rather sallow, androgynous and quasi-infantile charm of Cracky. Tend as she does, just a smidgin, to the tomboyish and the fetchingly un- and anti-feminine, no one can overlook for long that Stephanie is a WOMAN, with all the very ordinary and earthy charms of a woman. There is really, in the last analysis, little or nothing of Cracky there - little or nothing of Cracky's inherent drawing and direction of us toward the realm of death and disembodiment (someone commented early on on my Stickam messages that they were "very material, very sexual" - a comment that puzzled me at the time, until I realized that the Cracky Community is basically a commnity of GNOSTICS, in the strictest religion-historical sense, a community of Manichaean ascetics who have chosen fixation on a (rudimentarily or vestigially) female body to purify and rid themselves of the "bodily" and of the incorrigibly bodily "female" altogether.)

I really do feel that I am saying something true when I say that neither Stephanie nor I belong at all to that community and that congregation of Gnostic will and aspiration, even though she somehow wandered into it and I wandered in in pursuit of her. Of course, it would be nothing in the least new, historically, for a position at the very centre of the death-enamoured, sacrificial, propitiatory mysteries of the terrible Sacred Grove to be occupied by someone who feels no personal emotional or physical affinity at all, fundamentally, with these mysteries. When I look at Stephanie's brightly beaming American image recurring endlessly between the images of the dead girls, or of the blood-smeared, veil-draped Olivia posing amidst the leafless, desecrated trees of neglected London parks - I'm not German at all, by the way, but come from London myself originally, and am a thousand times more familiar with the sunless, rainy streets that produced Olivia than with the sunny beaches and shopping malls that are Stephanie's natural habitat - I think of the virgin led, drugged by potions or simply made compliant by her unquestioning reverence for the rites and rituals of her community (which she does not evenbegin to comprehend), to the block on which her lifesblood will be shed, even though everything in her and about her cries out for life and the Earth rather than death and the bodiless beyond.

25 or 30 years too old though I am for the role, I think of myself as the young suitor of that virgin, equally helpless to resist and oppose the ritual into which she is being drawn as an instrument, but equally incomprehending of, and alienated from, this ritual, in his secret heart.

That is to say - to put all that in much less lyrical and allusive language - I am resolved to stop, now, trying to draw closer to Stephanie by binding myself into the "Cracky Community" where she only APPEARS to be spiritually present. Writing like yours I still find admirable and interesting, but there is honestly something VERY strong and emphatic in me saying: "this is something you ought, in accordance with your very nature, keep a distance from."

Still, I have no reason to believe that you're not what you seem - an intelligent and talented guy whose problems and peculiarities are of the sort that can be understood and should be forgiven in a world not very friendly to genuine intelligence and genuine talent. The [REDACTED ANCIENT BULLSHIT] drama - and yes, even the deeper, more primordial drama around Cracky herself - is something I feel absolutely no inclination to learn about. And of course, if there was ever anything besides or beyond irony and absurdist humor in my wish to engage you or enlist your help in my personal "Lavagel drama", then that must be ruled out completely too, from now on. As I say - despite the element of grotesquerie introduced by the chasm between our ages - my "thing" with Stephanie has fundamentally nothing "Cracky-esque" about it at all. It's just a "boy-girl thing" (the girl's 19; the boy happens to be 50 next birthday). It will turn out as it will turn out (almost certainly badly for me) but so be it.

I have no objection to staying in touch, though. Write anytime, so long as you don't expect me to rush toward any initiation into the "Crackyverse" beyond the somewhat fake and superficial one I've already given myself in pursuit of someone fundamentally equally fake in her commitment to Crackydom.

All the best