"This doesnt make any sence!"

Here's another little account of a somewhat "interesting" email I got on December 16, 2004, with the subject line listed above. It was from somebody who decided to comment on some of my older work...

Before I ever read your story Five Fingers I saw this picture. And thought A lion thatís a mermaid?


And now I find it that itís in the story????????????????????

IT DOENĒT MAKE ANY SENCE! Even though this is Fiction.

BUT STILL! THAT IS REDICILIS! I used to draw lions like that and now I see it in a story that just changes the subject.

I MEAN THINK ABOUT IT! A lion teenaged cub that is on a mission to find his own life, then one day walks into a mysterious cave and eats a couple of berries and just CHANGES INTO A MERRAID! NO! What does this have to do with his life?????????????????????????????? That type of magic just doesnít happen OK It would if it had Rafiki to do with something like that. Maybe thatís why you donít get any comments. I am not trying to be rood but???????????? Jus tell me please way you choose to add something like this.

You are freaking me out!

I donít want to so mean or anything threatening But where does this come From?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Pleas answer my question.

Sorry about the attitude But What is up with that?????????????????????

Iím not saying itís wrong but what made come up with stupid idea like .

I apologize for my ruddiness again.




I must say, this is one of the most spirited emails I've gotten in years. But for Lord's sake, some part of the world is going to have a severe question mark shortage because of this email!

But on a more serious note, I certainly hope that this kind of narrow-minded thinking isn't a fair representation of the majority of today's youth. Not being able to see a lion with a fish's tail and webbed paws as anything other than "A lion that's a mermaid" makes me a little sad...don't kids these days have any imagination at all?

And that fish bit was probably one of the least odd happenings in Five Fingers. One of the male protagonists takes his sister as a mate, and exiles his brother for no real reason. With things like that going one, why complain about something as comparitively tame as a lion changing into a lion-fish hybrid?

Against my better judgment, I wrote back to this person, which was probably a waste of time, but it felt good to get it out.

To answer your many questions:

I wrote "Five Fingers" some time ago, and my writing methods have changed since then.

The lion depicted in the picture that you sent me isn't "A lion thatís a mermaid". I never even referred to him a mermaid. His form was inspired by the mythological "sea lion", which had a lion's foreparts, a fish's tail, and webbed paws. Early explorers of North America reported seeing large creatures that they called sea lions, which the Europeans interpreted as being part lion and part fish. I've drawn a "pure" sea lion as well. There are several mythological creatures that are part fish, which does not automatically make them "mermaids" (which are technically half woman, half fish). The hippocampus is part horse and part fish, and the tritons are part man and part fish.

Why does a lion (or any protagonist) changing into another creature as a result of eating something not make sense? I've read many stories in which similar things happen. In one Greek myth, a man named Glaucus eats a bit of grass from a field by the sea, and immediately dives into the water, where he becomes half man, half fish. In one Brothers Grimm story, a man eats one type of lettuce and changes into a donkey, and when he eats another kind he changes back. Even Harry Potter undergoes an aquatic transformation in The Goblet of Fire. None of these situations make much sense, and I'm sure nobody told the authors of these stories that "that type of magic just doesnít happen". Why shouldn't it happen? What's wrong with being random and creative? Also, why do you think that I "don't get any comments"? Comments on what? "Five Fingers"? My artwork? My webpage?

Obi's quest was just one of exploration, and in the process experiences many unusual things, he also gets the chance to see life from a different viewpoint, i. e., from underwater. Again, I wrote this story when I was young, and if I wanted to rewrite it today, I would probably work that event into the story a little more carefully, but I'm content with the way it is now. I'm not forcing people to read it or like it, I just have it on my webpage for anyone who is curious.

And I'm afraid saying "sorry" multiple times doesn't make your email any less crass. It more or less says: "I'm sorry, but your idea is stupid, it's rediculus [sic], it doesn't make any sense, what's up with that, you're freaking me out".

Please keep in mind that you're talking to a human being, not just a name on a screen. You've been unnecessarily unkind to me, and though I'm used to being insulted online, there are other people who aren't as forgiving as I am, and if you come across another story in which something that doesn't make sense to you, please think before you tell the author everything that's on your mind.

Thank you for writing,


Not surprisingly, I never got a reply. C'est la vie.

--Akril 1-16-04