With the speed of internet communication, when two people decide to write to each other it becomes a noteworthy event when write-send-recieve-read isn't transactional and the letters "cross each other in the ether" (if we pretend the ether includes not having checked one's inbox), while I'm sure it used to be commonplace. When I think of all the letters I wrote as a child to penpals in Japan, Europe, and other parts of the United States, I kind of miss the timeless tone one is forced to write in - emails are much more "in the present". For older people for whom letters became more of a habit that persisted through adulthood I wonder if their emails retained that timeless tone or if they've learned to adapt them more to the immediate "phonelike" tone most people seem to use. Amusing: the "grandstanding/mocking" tone of much of Usenet seems not to have been passed directly on into other media. To each form of communication its own traditions..
I rarely explain my titles, but this is a pun on the phrase "barred by swords", relating how when the swords cross to messages crossing in the ether to the idea of bards as tradition-bearers of a distinct form of communication.
Currently struggling to keep the mental representation needed for German's "doch" in my heaad, also imagining how awesome/not-awesome it would be if we filled our apartments/houses with sand in every room. It would be most decidedly un-awesome with cats - while they're desert creatures, their habits WRT waste would mean heavier folk would routinely step in things they shouldn't want to step in. I wonder if real deserts have that problem, or if there are under-sand things that break that stuff down.